- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 17, 2010

A group led by anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan rallied Saturday near the CIA’s headquarters and former Vice President Dick Cheney’s home in Northern Virginia to protest the use of unmanned drone aircraft for attacks on al Qaeda and Taliban targets.

The group of about 70 people rallied along a highway outside the CIA compound. About half then marched to Mr. Cheney’s street, which is nearby, and stayed for 20 minutes, though police kept them from going down his street.

Ms. Sheehan’s 21-year-old son, Casey, was killed in Iraq in April 2004. She staged a prolonged demonstration outside former President George W. Bush’s ranch near Crawford, Texas, in 2005.

She called the use of drones “cowardly” and “immoral.” She says she’s concerned about all military uses of drones but specifically about their use by the CIA in Pakistan. She says drones have killed about 700 civilians.

“They are actually making themselves judge, jury and executioner,” Ms. Sheehan said of the government officials who decide whether to fire missiles from the drones.

Among the protesters was a woman who held a sign that read “Drone bombing is terrorism with a bigger budget” and two Buddhist nuns from Massachusetts who beat drums and chanted a prayer for peace.

Also in the crowd were approximately two dozen people from the group Witness Against Torture, who wore orange jumpsuits and black hoods. The group has been in Washington all week for demonstrations.

Stephen Peterson of North Carolina, a 26-year Navy veteran, said Saturday’s protest was his first.

“A drone attack is an execution without a trial,” said Mr. Peterson, who wore a T-shirt with his message: “Drones are for cowards.”

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