Saturday, September 22, 2012

Beale: Occupy Militarism, Ground the Drones, Shut the Base Down!

Protests and No Drones Encampments are held monthly at Beale Air Force Base, one hour north of Sacramento, near Marysville.
Last Monday and Tuesday of every month
3:00 pm Monday to 8:30 am Tuesday
Includes vigil and leafletting during pm and am base traffic rush.
Central meeting area: N. Beale Rd. entrance gate.
Encampment area: main gate parking area at end of N. Beale Rd.
Full information at Occupy Beale Air Force Base
Beale pilots control the Global Hawk, an important surveillance and reconnaissance drone that plays an important role in finding military drone targets and coordinating information before and during drone strikes. Pilots at Beale witness the carnage and devastation of drone strikes and are complicit in the assassination program.

Bay Area Contacts:

Toby Blomé (Bay Area CodePink):, 510-215-5974

Elana Levy:

Shirley Osgood (Grass Valley):, 941-320-0291


Join the Facebook event and invite friends to the September protest and encampment -- Monday, September 24, through Tuesday, September 25.

Bring banners, signs, tents, warm and cool clothes. Spread the word please!


Please join us October 29-30th, Mon. 2:00pm to Tues. 9:00am, when we will have our 1st nonviolent direct action, to increase our resistance to the brutality of drone warfare.

As usual, there will be a vigil at the base Monday afternoon during rush hour, and Occupy Encampment activities Monday night.

Nonviolent Direct Action to take place early Tuesday morning during morning commute rush into the base. (Details to be disclosed on Monday night.)

We want to build this into a large collaborative effort by local peace groups. Nonviolence training to be offered in mid-October. We need hundreds of people to risk arrest or provide support. Come one or both days.

Suggestion: Come to the September vigil encampment (see above) to get familiar with Beale AFB.

For more info about Drone Warfare and our resistance at Beale AFB: CODEPINK activists protest deadly drone strikes at Beale AFB - Video coverage from KMAX, February 28, 2011, on Youtube.

See also: full list of California drone bases.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

San Diego: Protests of Drone Maker General Atomics Go Global

Members of the San Diego chapter of Veterans for Peace (VFP) and a growing body of fellow protesters gather every week at the headquarters of the company that supplies the workhorse of the U.S. program of drone killing and drone surveillance -- the Predator and Reaper drones. Their goal in demonstrating outside the General Atomics facility is to heighten public awareness of the problems presented by drone technology, and to instigate oversight of drone use.

Thursday, September 27, will be special because the group will be coordinating the protest with their counterparts in the United Kingdom. As protesters here in San Diego gather at Scripps-Poway Pkwy and General Atomic Rd., people in London will be protesting at the General Atomic offices near the UK Ministry of Defense. (Learn more about the UK movement against drones and the week of action to protest the growing use of armed drones from 6th – 13th October, organized by the Drones Campaign Network.)

Date: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Time: 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Location: Scripps-Poway Pkwy and General Atomic Rd., San Diego
More information: dpatterson998 [at]

Bring banners and signs!


KPBS San Diego, August 16, 2012 - Drones Are Controversial But Profitable For San Diego - Good snapshot of the drone economy in the San Diego area -- General Atomics, Northrop Grumman, and several smaller contractors. Quotes Dave Patterson from VFP: "“People need jobs, and that’s a good paying job,” he said. ”But we need oversight of these products. There’s no oversight. They are just kind of run amuk!"

North County Times editorial, September 16, 2012 - Drones and our privacy - "Ultimately, the courts will decide the constitutional limitations on the domestic use of drones. But the courts look to Congress for guidance; Congress is the direct representative of the American people, and needs to weigh in on these difficult issues. And soon."

Gail Chatfield in the North County Times, September 10, 2012 - Domestic drones a threat - "The sudden use of military surveillance equipment to spy on private citizens in the U.S. is frightening and controversial. ... When government and private industry are given more and more tools to track and control its citizens, is the system ripe for abuse?"

Gail Chatfield in the North County Times, September 16, 2012 - Liberty demands oversight on drone use - "I doubt that our founding fathers could have imagined that 250 years after the formation of out great nation, the president would have the power to kill people without authorization from Congress, or oversight of any kind. This should deeply worry all Americans. On our borders, Homeland security is flying 20 of the Predator drones, and if local law enforcement wants them to put someone's private property under surveillance, Homeland Security is happy to help out. Big pipe technology is advertised where high-resolution video or sensor data can be collected and shared with "select" law enforcement and government officials. We are asking, who are these "select" officials and what are they doing with video taken over our private land? "


Video: Drone Demonstration, Vets for Peace

MAP: Scripps-Poway Pkwy and General Atomic Rd., San Diego

Related posts

The 2013 April Days of Action Against Drones activities in San Diego were an unprecedented demonstration of opposition to U.S. warmaking and drone killing, and helped spur actions nationwide.

(See April Days of Action Against Drones in SAN DIEGO )

Activists in San Diego held a weekend of demonstrations in solidarity with the nationwide Spring Days of Drone Action. One feature of the weekend was an evocative and powerful street theatre performance in San Diego's Balboa park, simulating a drone attack on American soil like those that have been and continue to be deadly reality in Pakistan and Yemen. Click here to stream video of the event.

(See Drone Strike Kills 7 in San Diego)

Today, people protesting drones are contacting their representatives to encourage support for H.R.4372: the Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act. If passed, the bill will require the Obama administration to come clean about the killings it has carried out using drones -- killings that, up until now, the administration has been able to pretend don't exist. So now's the time: write or call your member of Congress today.
(See Write or Call Your Member of Congress Today: Make the U.S. Come Clean on Drone Killings )

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Count of California Drone Bases Tops National List

California has more bases approved for drone use than anywhere else in the country -- by a long shot.

According to the Department of Defense Report to Congress on Future Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training, Operations, and Sustainability (April 2012), California has eighteen (18) locations that have been designated as potential basing locations for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) [i.e. drones] (p. 8 ff.).

The table below gives information on the types of drones that are proposed for basing at each location.

BASE Predator/Reaper type Shadow/Raven type Other
SCLA Victorville MQ1B RQ-11B
El Mirage MQ1B, MQ1C
San Clemente Island MQ1B, MQ9A RQ-11B
Gray Butte MQ1B, MQ9A
NAWS China Lake MQ8
Pt Mugu MQ8
Camp Morena RQ-11B WASP, PUMA
MCB Camp Pendleton RQ-11B
SSTC, Imperial Beach RQ-11B WASP, PUMA
Simi Valley RQ-11B WASP, PUMA
Vandenberg AFB RQ-11B
Camp Roberts RQ-11B, RQ-7B Scan Eagle
Fort Irwin RQ-11B, RQ-7B
MCAGCC 29 Palms RQ-11B, RQ-7B, RQ-21A Scan Eagle
Filmore WASP, PUMA

Not surprisingly, California also tops the nation in the number of members (twelve) of the Congressional drones caucus.

Could it have anything to do with the fact that the drone industry is centered in California -- starting with San Diego-based General Atomics, the maker of the Predator and Reaper drone?


Beale has been heavily funded over the last decade for upgrades related to drones:
2003 - Global Hawk Squadron - operations/maintenance facility - $3.7 million
2003 - Global Hawk - upgrade maintenance dock - $4.6 million
2003 - Global Hawk dining facility - $3.5 million
2004 - Global Hawk - upgrade docks - $9.0 million
2004 - Global Hawk - 144 room dormitory - $14.6 million
2005 - Global Hawk - upgrade dock 2 - $8.3 million
2005 - Global Hawk - addition to age facility - $1.9 million
2005 - Global Hawk - two-bay maintenance hangar - $14 million
In addition, $17.4 million is allocated for 2013 for a BAMS maintenance and training facility at Beale. Even bigger expansion at Beale is scheduled for 2015 and 2016 -- $51 million and $35 million respectively.

Similarly, March was funded $6 million in 2007 for a Predator operations and training complex. and $8 million in 2010 for a TFI-Predator LRE beddown.


Beale AFB (RQ-4): Beale AFB currently operates the CONUS-based AF fleet of RQ-4s. Operation from Beale is conducted under a COA issued by the FAA allowing the aircraft to climb into Class A airspace above Flight Level (FL) 180 and transit to operational locations.

March ARBI/SoCal Logistics Airport (MQ-l & MQ-9): An FAA COA requires chase aircraft to escort RPAs from Southern California Logistics Airport (formerly George AFB) to the R-2S08 Complex associated with Edwards AFB, NAS China Lake, and Fort Irwin.

The report further discloses that three locations operate under the status "Locations Requiring COAs [Certificate of Waiver or Authorization]":
  • El Mirage/Grey Butte (MQ-1C)
  • Simi Valley (RQ-llB Raven - Class G Notification)
  • Camp Roberts (RQ-7B SHADOW)
This refers to: "locations where the Army currently conducts operations outside of Restricted Areas that require a COA from the FAA. In the majority of these locations, the purpose of the COA is to transition from the launch site to adjacent Restricted Areas. Additionally, the Raven can be operated using DoD-FAA agreed-to Class G airspace notification procedures for flights flown over Government-owned or -leased land." (DOD report, p. 20)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Berkeley: No Drones Language Finalized for Consideration By City Council

In a meeting Monday, September 10, the Peace and Justice Commission of Berkeley, CA, approved language for a "no drones" resolution. The resolution will now move to the full Berkeley city council for consideration, with consideration likely scheduled for November.

The approved language is provided below, followed by a list of additional articles relevant to a Berkeley No Drone Zone.

Resolution to Proclaim Berkeley a No Drone Zone and Enact an Ordinance to that Effect

From Commissioner Meola, September 10, 2012

WHEREAS, the Peace and Justice Commission advises the City Council on all matters relating to the City of Berkeley’s role in issues of peace and social justice (Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC) Chapter 3.68.070); and

WHEREAS, Berkeley has a history of standing up for peace, justice, civil liberties, and the welfare of people; and

WHEREAS, United States airspace is the busiest in the world, with up to 87,000 flights per day, including commercial airliners and freight haulers, air taxis and private and military aircraft; and

WHEREAS, “Statistics show unmanned aircraft have an accident rate seven times higher than general aviation and 353 times higher than commercial aviation;”1 and

WHEREAS, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, also known as Drones, are not now allowed in United States general airspace because of the threat they present to other aircraft and under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 the FAA is directed to create regulations that will enable drones to fly throughout United States airspace by September, 2015; and

WHEREAS, small drones, 25 pounds or under, are now permitted to fly in general airspace below 400 feet for the use of police and first responders, with FAA permission; and

WHEREAS, drones have limitations in “vision” compared to the vision of human pilots, do not have the same capability to avoid other aircraft as aircraft piloted by humans, and there has been at least one instance outside the United States of a drone collision with an aircraft with a human pilot on board and another incident, as well, of a near miss and these instances occurred in airspace much less crowded than that of the United States2; and

WHEREAS, drones have at times gotten out of human control, in at least one instance having to be shot down3, and drones are susceptible to electronic interference and having control seized electronically by unauthorized operators; and

WHEREAS, drones have the capability of carrying a variety of weapons, including 12-guage shot guns, tear gas, rubber bullet guns, bombs and missiles, but drones have significant limitations in identifying specific individuals and groups; and

WHEREAS, Unmanned Aerial vehicles (drones) have the capability to watch individuals, groups and populations on a 24-hour basis, following and recording their movements for days and weeks in an unprecedented way; and

WHEREAS, drones have the capability to continuously monitor cell-phone and text messaging of individuals, groups and populations; and

WHEREAS, drones are being developed that will use computerized facial images to target individuals and, once launched, to operate, autonomously, without further human involvement, to locate and kill those individuals; and

WHEREAS, drones would present an unreasonable and unacceptable threat to public safety in the air and to persons and property on the ground in the City of Berkeley, due to limitations in drone “vision”, capability to avoid other aircraft and adequate control; and

WHEREAS, armed drones and surveillance drones would present an unreasonable and unacceptable threat to the rights of individual privacy, freedom of association and assembly, equal protection and judicial due process in the City of Berkeley;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Berkeley, with this resolution, and by Proclamation, proclaims Berkeley a No Drone Zone, and instructs the City Attorney to perform the necessary legal tasks to transform this declaration of a No Drone Zone into an Ordinance for the City of Berkeley wherein drones are hereby banned from airspace over the City of Berkeley, including drones in transit. Under that Ordinance, flying of a drone within the airspace of the City of Berkeley shall be considered a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $10,000. Each offense that is more than one offense of flying a drone within said airspace will be considered to be an additional misdemeanor, with jail time and fines based on the number of violations.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that drones will not be purchased, leased, borrowed, tested or otherwise used by any agency of the City of Berkeley.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that exemptions will be made for hobbyists to continue to fly remote controlled model aircraft in specified areas, away from dwellings and the urban cityscape of people and buildings as long as those devices are not equipped with any kind of camera or audio surveillance equipment.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be sent to Governor Jerry Brown, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, State Senator Loni Hancock, Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, the Alameda County Sheriff, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Barbara Boxer, Representative Barbara Lee, President Barack Obama, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense.


1 Spies in the sky signal new age of surveillance
2 Midair Collision Between a C-130 and a UAV | Defense Tech
A Drone Near-Disaster? An airplane pilot reports a near collision with a "remotely controlled aircraft" over Denver
German Army Luna UAV vs Ariana Afghan Airlines Airbus A300B4 – YouTube
Drones Most Accident-Prone U.S. Air Force Craft: BGOV Barometer – Bloomberg
3 Out-of-control drone shot down by US jet plane before it flew into Tajikistan | World news |
4 USAF reports on drone crashes that likely would not have happened had there been a pilot on board. This is just from skimming crash reports, and there likely are more.
Executive Summary: Aircraft Accident Investigation - MQ-1B Predator, T/N 07-3182, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, 5 May 2011
not found


FAA Documents Raise Questions About Safety of Drones in U.S. Airspace

Help EFF Find Out How Your Local Police Agency is Using Drones

Are Guidelines Issued by Drone Industry an Attempt To Avoid Government Regulation?

NY Claiming ‘No Drone Zone’, Hopefully More States Will Follow

Hatred: What drones sow: The hidden and growing danger of Obama's remote air war in Pakistan and Yemen

Drones spur debt and polio: The price tag for Obama's remote control war keeps rising

Rand Paul takes on the Pentagon: The Kentucky senator wants to curb unmanned flights, but the Air Force tells Salon about its plans to expand them

U.N. rights chief calls for drone probe: Civilian victims are due compensation, says top official; Panetta says strikes will continue

not found

Another right-wing drone skeptic: Jack Goldsmith, a former Bush official, supports an ACLU lawsuit for more information on remote aerial warfare

Losing Yemeni hearts and minds: CIA drone strikes in the Middle Eastern country are undermining our mission there

States fight for drone biz: Six UAV test sites are up for grabs -- and state governments are eager to get their hands on them

The face of collateral damage: Photos of missile debris help trace the path of a CIA drone missile that killed a young girl

Who will drones target? Who in the US will decide? A new procedure puts the White House squarely in control of who will be targeted by drone attacks

Drones’ new weapon: P.R. - The industry's fighting back, determined to remake its image. "Change scares people," an industry rep tells Salon

Conservatives turn on drones: Right-wing writers, from Charles Krauthammer to Matt Drudge, join the left in criticizing domestic drone use

Coming soon: Bigger drones: The FAA has decided to allow larger drones to fly in U.S. airspace

Drone war defensive: The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan has quit, undermining Obama's reassuring tale of remote control war

Fear the zombie drone: How do you safely launch thousands of new aircraft into already crowded skies? The safety concerns of domestic UAVs

Drones invade campus: Universities are buying drones faster than police departments -- and the military is helping foot the bill

Drone victims’ defender speaks: The deaths of innocent Pakistani civilians turned Shahzad Akbar from a U.S. friend to full-time critic

Drones for “urban warfare”: Manufacturers are targeting U.S. police forces for sales, as drones move from the Middle East to Main Street

Petraeus and the signature of U.S. terror: The CIA pressures Obama to step up indiscriminate attacks in Yemen

Air Force ramps up drone war: New documents reveal plans to more than quadruple Reaper missions by 2016

In Iowa, occupiers picket a drone factory: The owner touts benefits of aerial technology as merchants complain about disruption of holiday shopping

Look up in the sky and see a drone

Drone operations over Somalia pose danger to air traffic, U.N. report says

Congress: Domestic drones pose potential threats - The House Homeland Security Subcommittee held a hearing Thursday about the domestic use of drones. Rep. Michael McCaul expressed concern that drones not only could be hijacked and flown against a target, but also pose other safety issues. (July 19)

KnowDrones - provide drone replicas and educational materials to support citizen action to achieve an international ban on weaponized drones and surveillance drones - war drones.