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Beale 9 Anti-Drone Hearing and RallyJanuary 8, 2013
Bay Area CODEPINK
Toby Blome's Report Back:
Background: On Oct. 31, 60 peace activists gathered at Beale AFB to stand in unity against U.S. drone warfare. The main gate was blocked for nearly 5 hours. Ultimately 9 activists were arrested.
Phase 1: Pre-hearing Rally and Arraignment
Approximately 40 activists from Sacramento, Grass Valley, Chico, SF Bay Area and Salinas participated in a lively pre-hearing rally. Large anti-drone banners and signs colored the sidewalks around the Federal courtroom for hours, before, during and after the rally.
Attorneys Michael Hansen and Mark Reichel were there on our behalf at the arraignment.
5 arrestees pled "not guilty" to trespassing charges. The prosecution requested that 4 of the 9 arrestees have their charges dismissed due to "weak evidence," according to the SacBee news report. A trial date of April 15 was set for the "BEALE 5". Their attorneys are likely to request a jury trial.
Details in Sharon's Blog:
Phase 2: Concerned Citizens Appeal to Congress
A serious effort was made to demand congressional oversight over the illegal and immoral extra-judiciary killings under the U.S. drone warfare program executed by Obama's lawless Administration. Several dozen activists delivered signed letters to staff from the offices of Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Doris Matsui. We also delivered copies of revealing research studies on the negative effects of the U.S. drone program and civilian casualties.
BOXER: Two attempts in the morning to have a meeting with Sen. Boxer's staff were fruitless, even though days earlier the office was contacted about constituents gathering that day in Sacramento from the greater N. California area. However, a revealing photo on the office wall revealed the Senator's priorities re: peace and war.
MATSUI: In contrast, though the visit was unscheduled, Ellie Longo, a staff member from Rep. Doris Matsui's office, did allow a large group of activists to meet with her informally and voice their complaints about U.S. drone killings in an extensive exchange. Ms. Longo showed respect and concern for why we were there and promised to try to arrange a meeting with the Congresswoman and to give her our signed letters.
Phase 3: Afternoon Anti-Drone Protests at Military Bases
Beale AFB: 11-12 people from Bay Area, Sacramento, Linda, Nevada County and Chico "caravaned" to the Main Gate for a lively and impassioned afternoon protest with banners for a couple of hours. Jeffrey led them all in uplifting peace songs. Barry Binks from Sacramento VFP was courageous enough to go solo to the Wheatland/S. Beale Rd. gate where he reported there was lots of traffic.
Travis AFB: 2 activists stood vigil and held out 2 very large banners and flashed peace signs. At both bases, large photos of a Pakistani child victim's face was displayed to show Americans the true face of drone warfare. These often evoked angry responses, as they aroused uncomfortable feelings. But our purpose is to uncover the truth about our "sanitized" drone wars, no matter how difficult it is to face the reality. A truth our mass media fails so terribly to reveal.
We had some media coverage, including the SacBee here:
Related News Article: