Two women arrested protesting drones at Beale Air Force Base

letter to base commander

letter to base commander

by Chris Nelson from her ANSWERING2LIFE blog

Last night, on November 25, I got to the Main Gate at Beale Air Force Base right before dusk and there were no other protestors there. One of the young men from the base walked out to tell me I couldn’t take photos toward the base as I was taking photos of horses and the sunset. Soon Shirley, Barry, Sharon and her husband came and we had a lovely little potluck. All were either gone, in their cars or in the case of Selkie and I, in our tents, by 8 p.m.

First thing in the morning we were out with our signs. I had decided to cross onto the base and give a handwritten letter I’d written (on the back of a commemorative photo of Michael demonstrating with Vets for Peace.)

Shirley had already been arrested four times at Beale but she chose to accompany me and that gave me strength.

We spoke to plainclothes military first and then were put in the gatehouse… unhandcuffed, to be “processed.” In the meantime, someone from Public Relations came and I impressed on him how important it was to give my letter to the Base Commander (see below).

After a space of time we were released and the plainclothesman took our group photo and we watched the Global Hawk drone take off. (This surveillance drone is different than the manned U-2 that you see in the photo with John and Pam. It is used to target humans for annihilation without trial or even credible evidence… One example, 6 people killed in a drone strike on a house in Pakistan this month.. that’s all we know and all we are likely to ever hear about this.)

img_4498At the end of our time at Beale I visited the little olive tree planted in Michael’s memory. It is hard to guess what he would have said about me getting Federal Trespass charges today but I have no regrets. This is our only planet. I don’t want to go to jail but neither do I want to stand aside from what is happening to rob us of peace and a healthy planet. I’m grateful there are others who agree with me on the need to be engaged and are trying to bring about the world we want. In the wake of the Ferguson decision (last evening) we can see how far we have to go.


Base Commander Lee:

My husband Michael Pike died in September of Agent Orange related cancer. My husband was Special Forces in Vietnam and came to regret his role in the war and what the US government did. I am here today in loving memory of that fine man to ask you to stop your role in the kill chain which uses the Northrup Grumman Global Hawk drone to identify human targets for extrajudicial execution. This is neither lawful (international and higher law) nor moral and you must know that. Horrible acts, like drone strikes, are leading to the atrocities we are seeing now. Inhumanity met with inhumanity.

The media didn’t even report that six people were killed when drone missiles were fired at a home on Nov. 20th in Pakistan. Who were they? What was their crime? Will anyone be held accountable? What is the value of a human life?

I believe my country has lost its moral compass and believe that the newest path to “boots on the ground” in Iraq and Afghanistan is doomed to fail because we have lost our way. At the same time our young service members will lose their lives, their limbs and their mental health. What a shame!

I’m asking you to do the right thing. First, to publicly discuss the ethical issues brought forward by the drone policy. Second, to put a moratorium on drone surveillance and targeting. Third, to join those working for peace in seeking diplomatic non-violent avenues in working with those who would do us harm. Reassert American ingenuity in helping failed states (like Iraq… because of our overthrow of the dictator we had previously supported,) and moving toward justice (e.g. stand up to Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people.)

There is much you can do in your position with courage and truth to guide you.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and all those in your power to help.

Chris Nelson RN, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
Chico, CA