MARYSVILLE/BEALE AFB April 28, 2015 – Sixteen people – including military veterans, clergy, and a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee– were arrested early Tuesday morning as they walked past the main gate onto Beale Air Force Base, where Global Hawk Drones are operated. Several protestors were in tears as the names and ages of children killed by U.S. drones were read aloud.
After being arrested, protesters were cited and released. They will be arraigned in U.S. Federal Court on misdemeanor trespassing charges.
Among those arrested was Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly from Chicago, who just finished three months in prison for attempting to deliver a loaf of bread and a letter to the base commander of a drone base in Kentucky asking him to stop piloting lethal drone flights over Afghanistan from within the base.
Those arrested at Beale AFB Tuesday also attempted to deliver a letter to Col. Douglas J. Lee, Commander, 9th Reconnaissance Wing asking him to stop drone killings. Beale AFB provides surveillance drones for U.S. killer drones. Civilians, including hundreds of children, have been killed by U.S. drones, including two – an American and Italian – in a strike made public by Pres. Obama just last week. The letter – which Air Police accepted as they made the arrests – said in part:
“Our purpose in delivering this letter is to urge you and other military and civilian leaders to end your participation in the U.S. drone warfare program and begin to work for peace. Drone have become the preferred weapons to conduct war…but these drone strikes have led to the death of hundreds of innocent civilians in countries where we are not at war, including Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.”
The Sacramento chapter of Veterans for Peace, which is active with the Beale demonstrations, recently helped produce the first-ever anti-drone television commercials appearing on CNN and other cable news networks in several cities surrounding U.S. air bases, including Beale. The spots implore military drone operations personnel to not obey an “immoral order” and to “refuse to fly.”