Three activists arrested at Ft. Meade in killer drone protest

Photo by Keith Wrightson, DC Media Group

Photo by Keith Wrightson, DC Media Group

from National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance

After getting no response to a letter to the director of the National Security Agency, twenty activists went to Fort Meade, Maryland on May 3 to seek a meeting. First, they gathered alongside Route 32 to read the names of children killed by U.S. drone strikes and hold a die-in to represent victims of a drone attack. The die-in continued for about 20 minutes, and Janice Sevre-Duszynska, a Roman Catholic woman priest, wailed and ministered to the victims. Dick Ochs performed a drone song he had written and played the guitar.

The activists then headed to the guard station to seek a meeting with someone in a policy-making role. As they marched, they sang Peace, Salaam, Shalom. NSA police arrested Ellen Barfield, Marilyn Carlisle and Manijeh Saba when they refused to leave the roadway outside the base’s gates.

Barfield, Carlisle and Saba face three federal charges – failure to comply with a lawful order, entering protected property and disorderly conduct. They will eventually be arraigned in federal court in Baltimore, but a date is yet to be determined. The three activists look forward to appearing in court, as they hope to put the drone assassination program on trial.

National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) members had sent a letter to Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, calling for an end to the NSA’s involvement in the illegal drone assassination program. The NSA plays a significant role in targeting victims of U.S. killer drone strikes, and must be held responsible for being involved in an illegal and unconstitutional strategy which has killed, it is believed, six U.S. citizens and thousands of non-combatants.

Within the last month, yet another U.S. drone strike took place in Yemen, killing dozens of “suspected terrorists”. Sadly, the Obama administration is following in the footsteps of the Bush Administration, keeping this country in a state of perpetual war. NCNR members believe they must resist such an offensive foreign policy. Congress has never declared war against Pakistan or Yemen, yet drones have attacked citizens of both counties despite a lack of due process.

The National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance believes that this assassination program violates international law, and will continue to join with other organizations across the country in resisting this abomination. The three activists arrested at the National Security Agency were abiding by their Nuremberg Obligation. The Nuremberg Principles make it clear that when a government is engaged in illegal activities, citizens must take action.

“I believe in the principle declared at Nuremberg in 1945: “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.” — Edward Snowden