Monday, January 21, 2013

January 8: Beale 9 Anti-Drone Hearing

Next Occupy Beale Anti-drone Encampment:
Jan. 30-31, Wed. 3pm to Thurs. 9am, Meet at Main Gate, N. Beale Rd.

by Toby Blome

Five members of the "Beale 9" were charged with trespassing at a January 8, 2013 hearing; four arrestees had charges dismissed.

Background: On Oct. 31st, 60 peace activists gathered at Beale AFB to stand in unity against U.S. drone warfare. The main gate was blocked for nearly five hours. Utimately, nine activists were arrested. Their arraignment was January 8, 2013, in federal court in Sacramento. Here's the report back on a most amazing day! (Full photo gallery)

PHASE 1: Pre-hearing Rally and Arraignment

35-40 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! (Guari's photos tell all.) Thanks to all who supported it!

The Arraignment: Cres put together an awesome legal team of at least 9 lawyers to represent us all pro bono, the "Dream Team," as he calls it. Attorneys Michael Hansen and Mark Reichel were there on our behalf at the arraignment.

Five 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. No explanation was given in the courtroom.

Trial date was set for the April 15 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 contact was made days earlier to let them know there were constituents gathering that day from the greater N. California area.

However, a revealing photo was on the office wall revealing the Senator's priorities re: peace and war.

Photo on the wall in Senator Boxer's office. in the background is the Global Hawk,
the surveillance drone flown at Beale, and an accomplice in the targeted killings.
Of note, a Google search revealed Brig. General Polumbo now works at Langley AFB,
right next to CIA headquarters...ummmm!!! Does Sen. Boxer stand with Peace or 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. She ultimately showed respect and concern for why we were there and promised to try to arrange a meeting with us with the Congresswoman and to give her our signed letters.

(Use the model letters we've provided to send a letter to your representives!)

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.

A bazillion thanks to all who came to support the amazing day. Hope to see more of you participating as this movement grows!

Next Occupy Beale Anti-drone Encampment

Jan. 30-31, Wed. 3pm to Thurs. 9am, Meet at Main Gate, North Beale Rd.

With much appreciation,
The "Beale 9",
Shirley, Sharon, Janie, David, Jan, Louie, MacGregor, Barry and Toby


The Sacramento Bee, January 9, 2013: Beale AFB drone protesters arraigned in Sacramento federal court

Appeal Democrat, January 9, 2013: Charges against 4 Beale protesters dropped

The Union, January 9, 2013: 5 Beale protesters arraigned on federal charges

Eastern District of California Blog, January 9, 2013: Beale AFB Protesters Arraigned (This blog focuses on news and information regarding practice in the federal courts in the Eastern District of California, with a special emphasis on criminal and civil rights cases.)

Ken Butigan in Waging Nonviolence, January 10, 2013: How can you resist the age of drones?

Other: KCRA 3, local TV did a story.

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