JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Federal Judge found two anti-war protestors charged with trespassing at Whiteman Air Force Base near Knob Knoster, Missouri guilty.
Defendants Ron Faust of Gladstone, Missouri and Brian Terrell of Maloy, Iowa were among a group of anti-drone peace activist demonstrating at Whiteman Air Force Base last April. The men were arrested when they approached the front gates of the base and tried to deliver a document outlining their concerns with the use of unmanned drones in the nation’s war on terror.
The aircraft, known as Predators, don’t fly from Whiteman Air Force Base but they are remotely operated by pilots based at Whiteman, some 90 miles southeast of Kansas City.
Shortly before his trial began at Federal Court in Jefferson City, defendant Ron Faust told FOX 4 drones have “about 98 percent failure rate in terms of innocent lives that are lost. Not everybody that’s killed is a terrorist.”
His figure comes from the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalists.
Defense witness Bill Quigley, a professor at Loyola University in New Orleans, says the two defendants weren’t trespassing, they were exercising their first Amendment Right of Free Speech.
“They were peaceful, they didn’t intimidate anybody. They were outnumbered 20 to 1 by military police there,” Quigley said.
Prosecutors say the two anti-drone activists refused to leave the base when they were told to go. Judge Magistrate Matt J. Whitworth heard testimony on Monday.