Six arrested on Ash Wednesday at killer drone protest at Beale Air Base

photo by Paula Orloff

photo by Paula Orloff

On the afternoon of February 18, six people – including several clergy members and military veterans – were arrested during an Ash Wednesday service at the gate of Beale Air Force Base during an act of “repentance” for the innocent people killed by the U.S. government’s fleet of killer drones.

Participants spread ashes memorializing those of children killed by U.S. drones overseas. The four women and two men who crossed the line also carried an indictment with them onto the base (see indictment below). They were charged with trespassing onto federal land and taken into custody by military police.

The six arrested included: Rev. Sharon Delgado, Nevada City, CA; Barry Binks, Sacramento, CA; Shirley Osgood, Grass Valley, CA; Pamela Osgood, Grass Valley, CA; Marcus Page-Collonge, Calaveras County, CA and Lorraine Reich, Nevada City, CA.

The service was led by United Methodist, United Church of Christ and Lutheran clergy and a Catholic Worker. The service involved songs, prayers, scripture, Holy Communion (open to all), a call to action and the use of ashes to symbolize repentance and to acknowledge human mortality.

Rev. Delgado said, “In addition to focusing on repentance for the harm caused to drone victims, the service will call for repentance for: the harm done to the Indigenous people who used to live where Beale is now, the harm being done to Mother Earth by our building and deploying high-tech weapons and weapons of mass destruction, the harm done to families and communities who suffer cutbacks in public services while billions are spent for the military, the overall harm caused by the global reach of U.S. military power.”

Beale is the home of the Global Hawk “accomplice” drone, a surveillance drone that helps find targets for the armed Predator and Reaper killer drones. Beale Air Force Base has been the site of numerous protests opposing killer drones, with dozens of people arrested – including five on Ash Wednesday in 2014.

See video here.


To Colonel Douglas Lee, Colonel Kevin G. Cavanagh ( 9th Reconnaissance Wing and 940th Reserve Wing, respectively) at Beale AFB, California, and all employees of Beale AFB, as well as President Obama (Commander in Chief, Washington D.C.) ,

The public record clearly shows that the U.S. Military has used drones in foreign countries for targeted killings resulting in the slaughter of non­targeted innocents. Any individual and organization which gives material support to the drone program which attacks non­combatants are illegal uses of force against other nations, felonies in the USA, and totally immoral under all common ethical systems represented by Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Paganism, Humanism and Buddhism. Please note the moral and legal mandates regardless of your faith tradition at this time, Ash Wednesday, 2015. We humbly remind you of two important mandates in the course of your duties, and the important moral task which is dictated by those mandates.

MANDATE 1: The 7 Nuremberg Principles of 1950 apply to all civilians and military personnel who are aware of crimes against humanity in­process. Everyone is required to interfere with the extra­judicial killing of humans and torturous use of technology against humans. The principle of following human conscience to denounce and nonviolently resist immoral acts of violence are furthermore codified into the Uniform Code of Military Justice, requiring all personnel to disobey any clearly unlawful orders from a superior.

MANDATE 2: Article VI of the U.S. Constitution* (known as the Supremacy Clause, as the Supreme Law of the Land) mandates that you abide by U.S. Treaties currently in effect. Therefore, according to the 1945 Treaty (ratified by a vote of 89 to 2 in the U.S. Senate, subsequently authorized by the President) known as the United Nations Charter you must do what you can to save the current generation of humans on earth “from the scourge of war” and to help our military “refrain from the use of force against another nation”. This applies to all members of the U.S. Armed Forces and all departments of Law Enforcement and civilian staff who have sworn to uphold the Constitution, including Article VI. To knowingly use illegal force against civilians or other nations is a war crime, and to not interfere with such crimes is a crime against humanity.

Everyone reading this OPEN LETTER with any level of access to Beale AFB’s crimes against peace, humanity, and war are hereby reminded to abide by Nuremberg Principles (and oaths to uphold the U.S. Constitution), and therefore help stop drone warfare.

* ARTICLE VI: This Constitution and the Laws of the United States… and all Treaties… shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby…