Anti-drone protester arrested blocking traffic into Beale Air Force Base

Occupy Beale photo

BEALE AFB/MARYSVILLE, CALIFORNIA – To draw attention to the 16th anniversary of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, northern California anti-drone activists expanded their protest to include three major commute gates at Beale Air Force Base on October 16 and 17. October 7 marked the 16th year since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, now the longest war in U.S. history.

One activist, Toby Blomé from the San Francisco area, was arrested while blocking early morning rush hour traffic into the Marysville, California drone base on Tuesday, October 17.  She was later cited and released, and faces federal trespass charges.  Scores of activists have been arrested at anti-drone protests at Beale Air Force Base over the past several years.

Activists have been protesting at Beale Air Force Base for seven years to oppose the illegality and cruelty of the drone targeted assassination program, that has killed thousands of civilians. Beale is home of the U.S. Global Hawk Drone, which is intimately involved in the U.S. drone program by surveying, tracking and identifying potential targets for remote killing. 

The protest at Beale was also part of a unified international month of actions against U.S. foreign military bases, that includes participating groups in Italy, Germany, S. Korea, Japan, Afghanistan, the Philippines, and elsewhere.  95% of all foreign bases are U.S. bases, amounting to over 800 military installations globally.

Occupy Beale photo

According to independent and conservative figures, over 750 U.S. bombs and missiles were dropped on Afghanistan in September of 2017 alone. In addition, over 10,000 people, by conservative figures, have been killed extrajudicially by U.S. drones globally since 2001.  Afghanistan is known as “the most droned place in the world.”

“Bomb makers reap huge profits from the endless bombing that is becoming routine U.S. policy, but where is it getting us?  And who pays the ultimate price for these failed policies?” asks Ms. Blomé.  “It is up to all of us to pay attention and take a stand, including the lower ranks of military personnel, because, in the end, we all suffer due to insufficient funding of education, healthcare, disaster relief, emergency services and other human needs, while billions go to war-making.  But more importantly, we need to have foreign policies that demonstrate that we value the lives of all people around the world, if we ever hope to achieve a lasting peace.”