Many people wouldn’t have heard of Kathy Kelly or the court case scheduled for today where the State of Nevada is charging her and thirteen other people with criminal trespass. Their crime – to try to get onto the Creech Air Force base to distribute a written proposal outlining why they were protesting “a massive targeted assassination programme.”
While the calls for a Koran burning day by some loony previously unknown Florida preacher made headlines around the world, with President Obama and Secretary Clinton making statements against what preacher Terry Jones was proposing to do, there’s been little mention of what American peace activist Kathy Kelly and her band have been trying to do on a much longer term basis – to bring attention to countless civilian casualties caused by US aerial drone attacks.
Creech is one of several US bases from where the aerial drone programme is run. The aerial drones, maintained, run and piloted from these bases carry out attacks on selected targets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. The Predator and its successor The Reaper have a powerful backer in President Obama under whose watch, according to the think tank, the New American Foundation, their use has increased nearly 50% since President Bush’s time.
Kelly is trying to raise awareness for what she says is the creation of “small ground zeroes in multiple locales on an everyday basis.”
It’s an irony that while Koran burning calls are taken very seriously at the highest levels in American politics and society, the people who protest American military killings in Muslim countries are treated at either treated as a kind of radical fringe or ignored completely.