Four protesters arrested blocking road into California drone base

Toby Blomé, Pamela Osgood, Shirley Osgood and Mauro Oliveira, just after being released.  Photo by Janie Kesselman

Toby Blomé, Pamela Osgood, Shirley Osgood and Mauro Oliveira, just after being released. Photo by Janie Kesselman

from Occupy Beale Air Force

In the rainy, dark early morning hours of October 25, nine Northern California activists stood with large banners and blocked the main gate at Beale Air Force Base (AFB) for over 30 minutes to protest the ongoing extrajudicial and secret U.S. drone killing program. Traffic was backed up for over a mile, while one activist approached the drivers, most of them airmen. Leaflets were handed to each driver, informing them about the horrible consequences of the drone program and the execution last month of 15 Afghan civilian men who were illegally killed by drone missiles last month in eastern Afghanistan while sleeping in their beds.

After California Highway Patrol arrived on the scene and ordered the protesters to disperse from the road, four of the activists walked to the Beale AFB gate boundary line and continued to block traffic while educating the military police present about the recent civilian men wrongfully killed in Afghanistan. The United Nations is currently investigating the incident. Many critics of U.S. drone killing point out that blowback results from these policies. And four drone whistleblowers wrote a public letter to President Obama last fall, declaring that the drone program is a major factor contributing to spreading of radical extremism in the world.

14717054_10155032573968912_5677344936767843846_nToby Blomé, Pamela Osgood, Shirley Osgood and Mauro Oliveira crossed the base boundary line to express their grievances about the unlawful polices of drone assassinations that has led to the deaths of thousands of children, women and civilian men. The activists were handcuffed and detained for about an hour in the rain, charged with trespassing, and later released with a citation.

Beale AFB controls the Global Hawk surveillance drone that does surveillance, identification and tracking of potential targets for the very secretive remotely controlled assassination program. Many of the Beale personnel that work in the drone program see live post-drone strike carnage on their computer screens, which has contributed to their own psychic trauma and PTSD. The 15 civilian men in eastern Afghanistan who were killed by U.S. drone missiles last month, and the 13 others who were injured, were gathered to welcome a man who had just returned from his religious pilgrimage to Mecca. According to one source, they were all supporters of the current government in Afghanistan.

“These are serious crimes against humanity that the U.S. is committing in the world,” says Toby Blomé, one of the arrestees. “This cruelty will continue to cause blowback at the western world with future incidences of suicide bombings and escalation of violence. What the U.S. has unleashed on the world is a criminal practice that will haunt us for a long time. Tragically, neither of the current leading presidential candidates show any sign of halting these inhumane acts.”

The action was one of the monthly anti-drone protests that have been happening at Beale AFB for the past six years.

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