Veterans for Peace and Catholic Workers from across the Midwest converge on the Iowa Air National Guard Drone Command Center in Des Moines, Sunday, March 17 at 1 p.m.
The Midwest Catholic Workers – a loose collection of dozens of autonomous communities spread out in urban shelters, soup kitchens, and rural farmsteads across the region, were holding their annual "Faith and Resistance Retreat" March 15-17 in Des Moines. This year's focus, the two year DMCW & VFP "Close the DM Drone Command Center" Campaign
Five years ago in 2014 on St Patrick's Day the Midwest CW Faith and Resistance Retreat was hosted by the DM CWers and VFP and it ended with a protest at the announced site of a yet to be build IA National Guard Armed Drone Command Center.
Sunday's rally featured speakers, Kathy Kelly; 3-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Sr Carol Gilbert and Sr Ardeth Platte; Dominican Sisters, Plowshares Activists and Wash DC CW'ers. Speaking from MN Vets for Peace; David Logsdon, National VFP Board Member and Michael McDonald, Pres VFP Minneapolis. Also speaking DMCWers Jakob Whitson and Gil Landolt, Pres, of the "Bill Bassinger" DM Vets for Peace Chapter.
The Rally ended with a nonviolent direct-action witness with protesters walking onto the base, lead by the eight Catholic Workers and Vets for Peace, risking arrest in an attempt to shut down the site. They got arrested blocking the main entrance gate with their message from St Patrick himself "In Christ there is no killing" Shut Down the DM Drone Command Center!
The eight arrested were: Steve Jacobs, Columbia MO CW; Mike Miles, Anathoth CW Farm, Luck WI and Gabe McMahan, roaming CW currently at Lake City CW Farm, WI joined five Des Moines CWers and Vets for Peace; Ruth Hart, Ed Bloomer, Jakob Whitson, Al Burney and Frank Cordaro.
All eight were taken to Polk Co. Jail. Al Burney bailed out. The other seven stayed in jail overnight, plead guilty before a Jail Judge Monday morning and fined between $100 and $1,000 and set free.