Arrests at Nevada nuclear test site and Creech Air Force Base

photo by Sam Morris/Las Vegas Review-Journal

photo by Sam Morris/Las Vegas Review-Journal

from Nevada Desert Experience

On Sunday morning, September 21 – the U.N.’s International Day of Peace – after an interfaith liturgy at ten o­clock a.m., 6 men and 4 women were arrested at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), which is 65 miles from Las Vegas. Prayer-­activists continue to visit the NNSS (formerly called the Nevada Test Site) annually in order to work on a spiritual level for the end of ongoing nuclear violence at this solitary U.S. nuclear weapons proving ground and site of weekly low­-level nuclear waste dumping. Since 1997, subcritical nuclear weapons testing has occurred regularly at the NNSS.

The next morning, September 22, eighteen miles away at Creech Air Force Base, 4 people were arrested at the end of a 30 ­minute meditation for peace. Twenty peace and justice advocates were praying for nonviolence and social justice. Evy Hubb, Dennis DuVall, Susan Dillon and Kelley Kolberg were given citations from Clark County, charged with blocking a roadway and given a November 3 arraignment date. They were then released across the U.S. Highway 95, with a warm reception from the remaining demonstrators.

Creech Air Force Base is the command center for U.S. remotely piloted aircraft (“drone”) warfare, and the location of the Central Intelligence Agency’s “Squadron 17” secret assassination team. The demonstrators had formed two groups, eleven people who stayed on the side of the street and the remaining nine stayed in the road, blocking traffic along with a police vehicle that Metro Police stationed for safety’s sake. When the final warning of arrests was announced, five blockaders retreated to join the first group on the sidelines to continue picketing and holding banner­s.

The arrests at Creech Air Force Base were the culmination of a retreat weekend focusing on four issues of environmental and social injustices in southern Nevada.

The other issues of focus during the weekend were recent developments in Geneva pertaining to justice for the Shoshone people, and about last month’s commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the closing of the former Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons test site (in Kazakhstan), which resembles the NNSS.

Nevada Desert Experience (NDE) has been holding interfaith prayers for peace and justice since 1982 – mostly at the NNSS, and more recently at Creech. 1982 was the first year the U.N. called for all nations to observe a day of peace and cease­fires from all wars.

Bonnie Bobb, spouse of Chief Johnnie Bobb of the Western Shoshone National Council, has returned from Kazakhstan where the Soviet Union had closed their nuclear testing range due to popular support for closure in the 1980s. Because the two super­powers’ test sites are located on indigenous people’s lands, the Kazakhs and the Western Shoshone tried to stop both governments from incessant nuclear weapons explosions, uranium mining and nuclear waste dumping which was permanently destroying their homelands. The recent pronouncement from Geneva recommends that the U.S. adopts new measures to ensure the rights of the Western Shoshone Nation to self­determination over their ancestral lands in accordance with due process of law and U.S. obligations under the Geneva Convention. The Western Shoshone lands have been unlawfully used by the U.S. for nuclear weapons testing, extraction of minerals without permission from the Western Shoshone Nation, and oppression of Shoshone ranchers who try to graze their cattle in their ancestral homelands, all of which should not be occurring if the U.S. would abide by the Treaty of Ruby Valley of 1863.

More information can be found at Nevada Desert Experience’s web page for the weekend’s activities.