READINGS AND BOOK
Oakland Main Public Library
125 14th Street
Saturday, January 14, 2017 from 3 to
Book Launch: Cecile Pineda's Three
Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being
Cecile Pineda touches on issues of displacement, personal,
environmental and cultural, as she talks about 40 years of the writing life,
the breakthroughs, the discouragements, and the daily practice. She will read
and sign copies of Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being. Time will
be set aside for questions and answers.
Pineda is widely recognized as the
winner of the Gold Medal from the California Commonwealth Club and nominee for
the 2015 Neustadt International Prize.
A WEEK OF DRONE RESISTANCE, Part II
The entire plateau surrounding both Indian Springs, site of
the notorious drone slaughterhouse known as Creech AFB, and Cactus Springs,
home of Code Pink’s drone resistance, consists of hundreds of thousands of
hectares of Western Shoshone territory, including the highly polluted Nevada
Test Site, from which, despite the Treaty of Ruby Valley
of 1863, the native Shoshone have been displaced.
At this time of year, temperatures range from
freezing in the nights and pre-dawn mornings to 80 degrees and above in the
At each of the cardinal points, mountains encircle the
desert in a vast embrace. Uninterrupted by highways, roads and pathways through
the desert are unpaved. The expanse of land is flat except as it rises towards
the foothills where it begins to mound, creating shallow desert washes. Vegetation
includes mostly desert scrub, the rare palmetto and occasional Joshua tree. The
land is home to the desert tortoise (a creature shy of appearances), desert
hares, rabbits, hawks, crows, and many other bird species, as well as snakes.
The sweep of sky is vast, normally cloudless. But these days,
starting just past dawn, a dense webbing of chemtrails chalk-lattices the sky every
day of the week, Sundays included, the only exception being national holidays.
For the uninitiated, chemtrails are part of a geo-engineering effort under the
pretense of slowing global warming, to spread aluminum salts and dispose of
excess coal ash from planes flying at about 33,000 feet—with no accountability
or input from tax- and non-tax-paying
It is an area not devoid of sound pollution, paid for by
your tax dollars: five days a week, there is the steady rumble of training drones
being flown from Creech AFB Monday through Friday, lasting from 8 AM till 3 PM.
Only outside these hours can the profound silence of the desert be fully
Before the white man, the desert—and all the Earth—was
considered sacred. It did not serve as a place where objects such as beer cans,
broken glass, spray bottles, paint cans, aerosol cans, rusted bedsprings, rotting
mattresses, and rubber tires could be dumped. Archeologists of the future will
speculate those heaps of rusting palm-size cylindrical metal objects, marked by
two triangles gouged out on one side must have been devotional objects the
original desert inhabitants may have held in their hands as they worshipped.
During a week (Nov. 5 – 12, 2016) of anti-drone warfare
protests under the auspices of Code Pink, some eighteen of us activists camped
out or shared sleeping quarters in a double trailer guest house. Taken
together, we represent collectively close to 600 years of dogged activism.
Among us are elders, one of whom despite her years and state of health, journeys
to Palestine twice yearly to insure the safe conduct of Palestinian children as
they pass through Israeli check points on their way to school; a Korea war
veteran with a fearless penchant for risking arrest; a wilderness experience
coach, and activist whose people-to-people journeys have taken her to war zones
in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bahrain; a U. S. retired diplomat and co-organizer of
The Women’s Boat to Gaza; a corporate CEO; a retired licensed therapist, a novelist,
and a university anthropologist and linguist, to identify only a few. Also
participating, besides Americans, were nationals from Mexico, Pakistan, the
Shoshone Nation, the UK, Spain, France, and Iran-via-Germany.
Nearly every evening we attended presentations by a number
of our participants. Notable was the presentation by Col. Ann Wright, a retired
US diplomat, who had just returned from two visits to Standing Rock, and who shared
with us a fully vetted secure website
where donations of much needed funds can be made. She also
gave us a full report about The Women’s Boat to Gaza, intercepted in
international waters by the IDF, which impounded their boat on the high seas
(an act of piracy countermanded by international law).
Despite the silence of the complicit US
media, The Women’s Boat to Gaza is an internationally effective gesture
pointing up the plight of Palestinians under Israeli apartheid, essentially people
being held in an open-air prison where their access to power, waste disposal,
and water is highly curtailed.
Other presenters spoke of their activism in Palestine, about
the essentials of Islam, and the history of Pakistan, about cultural, and environmental
population displacement, and about “Gifting” as a way of being-in-the-world in
contradistinction to an economy of Exchange such as Capitalism prompts us to take
Every morning (except Friday—Veterans’ Day) we were awakened
at 4:30 AM by native Shoshone drumming summoning us to a prayer circle to greet
the dawn. Circling a cedar fire, we joined the dancing and chanting with our
own heartfelt invocations for the life-affirming world we want to see. Some of
us grabbed a cup of coffee and a bite to tide us over the long hours (6 to 8 AM)
of standing on the highway at the Creech AFB gate, in time to greet base
personnel as they began arriving—most of them driving single-passenger vehicles
from Las Vegas (46 miles)—with our banners (DEMILITARIZE OUR EARTH; DRONES MAKE
MORE ENEMIES THAN THEY KILL).
The winter darkness, illuminated by headlights, gave way to
the dawning light, and as the temperatures rose, we shed some layers, allowing
us to stand in the hot sun. We repeated this action each afternoon from 3 to 5
PM as base personnel left to return to Las Vegas (another 46 miles). For the most
part, the drivers chose to keep stony faces attempting to ignore us; but
occasionally a driver might wave, or even give us the thumbs up. From time to
time, big rigs roaring past us on the highway blared their horns in doppler
effect support. We activists, depending on our own cars, added to the carbon
release caused by heavy base personnel traffic.
Following our routine morning action, we staged a direct
action planned first by those willing to risk arrest (four of us originally,
with one last-minute addition). The five principle actors held a 20 by 4 foot
banner, lined up and marched slowly and ceremonially into the base gate, making
for the white line (the line where crossing is forbidden to non-base
personnel); a speaker held the bullhorn and read the words of our proclamation
to the base personnel:
As global citizens we are
part of the International Peace Patrol. Creech AFB, through its participation in the U.S. drone assassination program,
is in direct violation of the United
Nations Declaration of Human Rights, articles 3, 7 and 10. As an active member of the U.S. Air Force, your duties
indirectly support the illegal
activities taking place on this base. Therefore you are complicit in the crimes against humanity being committed
global citizens, we order you to disperse immediately and to stop helping the illegal drone program to
continue. If you fail to comply with the order
to disperse, you will be trespassing against the human rights of the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen,
Pakistan, Libya and Somalia who are
victimized by U.S. drones. Therefore I order you to disperse.
repeated readings of the above statement while counting down, the final statement was added): Since you have all failed
to disperse, we are compelled to make a
citizen’s arrest of the commander in charge of Creech
AFB. At the top of the chain of command, Colonel Case Cunningham has the highest responsibility to ensure that
all international laws are being upheld.
We call on all personnel at Creech AFB to either stand down, or to assist us, in making this arrest to protect
the global community.
the first reading of this text, one of us reported how as a veteran of the Korean
war, witness to corrupt military behavior, he attempted to report to his superiors
and to his congressman. Base personnel listened to this reportage with noticeable interest. A recent drone massacre of 15 Afghani men who
slept peacefully in their beds alluded to the 15 faceless men cutouts we had
placed at the barriers in commemoration of their now-forgotten names.
A supporting cast of those of us behind the exclusion
barrier carried the cut-outs, lining some of them up along the barrier. We
witnessed our colleagues being placed under arrest, one of them visibly roughed
up to cries of “The Whole World Is Watching.”
Skillful melding of three elements: a text which coopted the
official language of police and military personnel; the supporting “chorus” of
the 15 faceless cardboard cutouts; and especially by the ceremonial aspect of
the slow procession by the five willing to risk arrest, carrying the formal
banner, as they processed toward the trespass line made for a spectacularly
Our colleagues in Las Vegas at Veterans for Peace and the
Nevada Desert Experience went to great trouble to register us, allowing us to
participate in the Veterans’ Day Parade. The parade fee was waved, contrary to
As the last group to be registered, we had to wait in the
hot sun for nearly two hours as the military display formed up past us and entered
the parade route. At last it came our turn. We proceeded onto the parade route
with our peace banners held aloft. In short order we were forcibly cut off from
the rest of the parade and two of us were detained. The pretext
given was “No political messages allowed in
the parade.” Yet wasn’t all that military display “political messaging?” Wasn’t
it yet another commercial for endless war, and endless war profiteering?
Undeterred, we continued walking, some of us forced to the sidewalk, some of us
fielding such objections to our presence as: “They
served,” implying that we had not served.
And yet there were five
veterans amongst us, two of them young vets from recent wars, one had served in
Korea, the same one who proceeded undaunted, only to be handcuffed by irate
police. Another participant was tackled from behind. Unable to see that he carried
a cop on his back, his impulse at first was to resist. Comrades loudly
cautioned him not to offer resistance. Our videographer was also temporarily
handcuffed. Both men were released without charges.
Despite these setbacks, overall our action was
successful. People watching on the
sidelines got a full picture of our First Amendment Rights being trampled; they
saw the unfairness of excluding vets whose deeply informed inclinations against
the horrors of war must also be honored. And many bystanders engaged in
meaningful conversations as we proceeded.
As of this writing, the feasibility of a lawsuit against the
Las Vegas municipal police for improper and unsanctioned behavior is being
1. Resist. The time to sit on the sidelines waiting for “Joe
to do it” is past. We are all Joe now.
2. Join up with organizations protecting the environment,
protecting the homeless, advocating for low income housing, advocating for the
safety of people of color and LGBT in the streets of our nation, advocating for
election protection so that yet another election can’t be stolen, advocating
for demilitarization of our society at home and abroad, advocating for an end
to the prison/corporate complex.
3.. Educate yourself and your children about what fascism
4. If you can’t stand with the Native Americans at Standing
Rock, here is a secure and fully vetted donation site where you can donate.
Funds are much more urgently needed than supplies.
Everett J. Iron Eye
P.O. Box 298
Cannonball, SD 58528
5. Thank you!