Video from a 2015 drone protest at Beale AFB
Protests Block Beale USAF Drone Base!
On Whistleblower Daniel Hale’s Sentencing Day
CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace and Others
(July 27, 2021) — The Main Commute Gate at Beale Drone Base, Marysville, was Shut Down for nearly three hours! No arrests were made. With Pink Paper Handcuffs, 13 activists with CODEPINK, Veterans For Peace — from the Bay Area and Northern California — gathered at Beale to peacefully make a symbolic “Citizen’s Arrest” of the Beale’s Commander: Col. Heather Fox. They carried signs that read:
“Prosecute Col. Fox for War Crimes, NOT Daniel Hale the Whistleblower.”
“FREE DANIEL HALE, Release Him From Jail!”
“ARREST COL. FOX, Put Her in the Box!”
Victims of US drone assassination strikes
Why Protest at Beale?
Toby Blomé / CODEPINK
(July 27, 2021) — Why Protest at Beale? Because of Daniel Hale’s leaks, published as THE DRONE PAPERS (2015), we learned about the critical role Beale played in the secret US remote assassination program, as well as many other secrets of the US drone terror program. To honor Daniel’s courageous whistleblowing — and protest his persecution — we felt it most appropriate to bring our protest to one of the “Bellies of the Drone Beast,” and to show a bit of courage ourselves.
On Tuesday, July 27, Daniel’s sentencing day, 13 activists peacefully vigiled for the first 1.5 hours of the morning commute at the “Wheatland gate,” holding large banners and signs, educating hundreds of military about Daniel Hale. One sign merely stated: “Daniel’s Sentencing TODAY!” Another: “Prosecute Col. Fox for War Crimes.”
“FREE DANIEL HALE” was the dominant message stretched down the highway. After talking with many military police officers, it appeared the vast majority knew nothing about Daniel Hale. An informative leaflet, explaining the reasons Daniel leaked the drone documents, was distributed all day. During the last hour of the commute, 6 of us entered the Wheatland gate roadway, putting an immediate halt to the traffic, to express our extreme opposition to the prosecution of whistleblower Daniel Hale. “Prosecute the drone war criminals, not the whistleblowers!”
The blockade lasted nearly 3 hrs, with Fox40 videographer (NOT Fox News) doing periodic live-streaming throughout! Beale command made NO arrests, even though the main artery into the base was halted, and during most of the blockade we stood across “the line” on military property. (Why: Covid, vs. lessening media coverage, vs. other?). We held our ground until news of Daniel’s sentencing reached us, then, using bright tempura paint, we colored the entrance road with support messages for Daniel: FREE DANIEL HALE, Stand With Daniel Hale.org, etc.
• 1.5 hrs. of vigiling during morning commute
• 6 activists held a 3 hr. peaceful blockade of main commute gate.
• After crossing onto base property, all 6 activists gave passionate testimonies through the megaphone as to why we were there.
• Activists vowed to stay until Daniel’s sentence went public: 45 mos. time:
• Chico activist, Chris Nelson passed out flyers long backup of cars. 6 accepted.
• Successful media coverage
• Meaningful education of military thru signage, flyers, and conversation.
When military police asked: “Does Col. Heather Fox (Beale commander) know we are attempting a “citizen’s arrest” of her for the drone war crimes committed on this base?” a female officer replied, with a smile and a twinkle: “She most definitely does!”
When asked if very many people on the base know who Daniel Hale is, an MP replied: “They’re all Googling his name now!”
During the long blockade, Military police delivered plastic bottle water to us, leaving it on the ground, in spite of our “allergy to plastic”…. out of concern for our possible dehydration!
In the afternoon, joined by Susan Pelican from Chico, three of us were able to stay for the afternoon commute traffic. When we arrived at the Doolittle Gate, the entrance road was “shut down” by Beale police cars and a CHP/Sheriff. We could see the traffic detoured to another gate, a quarter mile down the base property road. Were they anticipating another blockade? We waited for about 10 min…. then decided to take our vigil to the North Beale Rd. entrance, a third Beale gate, to continue our “education of the troops” about Daniel Hale, via visual messages/banner and leafletting.
Many thanks to:
-DANIEL HALE, who acted on his deepest conscience, and sacrificed so much for all of us!
-Gini Newell, who eagerly jumped on board to put her body on the line, at her very first Occupy Beale protest.
-Eleanor Levine, Michael Kerr, Susan Witka, and Leslie Angeline who were also able and willing to join our peaceful civil resistance to drone murder and terror, and stand with Daniel Hale to oppose the atrocious remote killing off human beings.
Anti-Drone Activists Block Beale AFB Drone Center Entrance;
Attempt ‘Citizen’s Arrest’ of Base Commander as Daniel Hale Sentenced
“I am here because I stole something that was never mine to take — precious human life. I couldn’t keep living in a world in which people pretend that things weren’t happening that were. Please, your honor, forgive me for taking papers instead of human lives.”
— Daniel Hale’s statement to Judge Liam O’Grady at his July 27 sentencing hearing
BEALE AFB, Calif. (July 27, 2021) – Activists blocked traffic leading into the Beale Air Force Base Drone Operations Tuesday morning, with hundreds, maybe thousands, of vehicles backed up miles for about three hours.
Activists had vowed to risk arrest while attempting a “Citizen’s Arrest” of Beale Air Force Base commander Col. Heather Fox between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. at the Beale AFB Wheatland Gate, South Beale Rd and Ostrom Rd, just outside Marysville, CA.
Law enforcement on and off the base refused to arrest any of the dozen demonstrators.
There will be a second protest from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Doolittle Gate, Beale AFB: Doolittle Dr. & Hammonton-Smartville Rd.
The protest is one of many across the US in support of Drone Whistleblower, Daniel Hale, who was sentenced to 45 months in prison Tuesday in a Federal Court in Virginia, for charges under the Espionage Act, for leaking classified documents to the media in 2014. Daniel faced up to a 10-year sentence.
These leaks, reported as The Drone Papers (2015) exposed critical information to the public about the US drone program, including Beale Air Force Base’s integral role in the covert US targeted assassination program, as well as revealing compelling facts about the high rates of civilian deaths in US drone attacks.
The Beale AFB protest is organized by SF Bay Area CODEPINK and joined by Veterans For Peace members and local Northern California activists from Chico, Grass Valley and elsewhere. Participants call for the prosecution of the real war criminals.
Their pleas: “Prosecute Col. Fox for War Crimes, NOT Daniel Hale for Exposing the Crimes!” “FREE DANIEL HALE NOW!
Beale’s Col. Fox, the top in command, is ultimately responsible for all crimes executed by her subordinates at Beale Drone Base. Educational leaflets about Daniel Hale will be offered to military exiting and entering the base, home of the US Global Hawk, a surveillance drone that plays an integral role in the covert US Drone Assassination Program, that has killed thousands of innocent and “unintended targets.”
Edward Snowden, famed NSA whistleblower currently exiled in Russia said: “Daniel Hale is one of the most consequential whistleblowers. He sacrificed everything and is an incredibly courageous person.” Hale’s leaks revealed many disturbing truths about the crimes and human rights violations committed with US drones that the government had been denying and lying about for years. These leaks revealed that in Afghanistan “90% of the casualties in one 5 month period were innocents, bystanders or not the intended target,” says Snowden. “We couldn’t have established that without Daniel Hale’s voice!”
Anti-drone activists have been protesting at US Drone bases across the country for over 10 years, expressing their grievances about the illegality, lack of transparency, and criminality of the covert US program. Thousands of civilians and “unintended targets”, including children, have been killed. Many US citizens have risked arrest and spent days and sometimes months in jail as a result. Our voices have been ignored, and top officials, including presidents, continue to mislead and lie to the public about the secret US Drone program.
These same activists have organized actions across the country this last week in support of Daniel Hale. Daniel Hale’s case is an assault on the very democratic principles that this nation is supposed to stand for.
Edward Snowden said:
“When exposing a crime is treated as committing a crime, you are being ruled by criminals.”
Under the Espionage Act, Daniel Hale was not allowed to testify as to the intent or motive to his actions in leaking military documents. And thus, his lawyers advised he accept a plea deal, because there was no possibility of a fair trial under these restrictions.
As a former intelligence analyst who helped identify and find targets to be killed by US drones, Daniel states in a letter to his judge, Liam O’Grady:
“What possibly could I have done with the undeniable cruelties that I perpetuated. My conscience, once held at bay, came roaring back to life. At first I tried to ignore it… Left to decide whether to act, I only could do that which I ought to do before God and my conscience. The answer came to me that to stop the cycle of violence, I ought to sacrifice my own life and not that of another person.”
“Anti-drone peace activists have been working tirelessly on behalf of the victims of drone strikes for years, but also on behalf of all the military personnel themselves, who suffer from deep and lasting moral injury due to the violence they are asked to perpetuate,” says CODEPINK organizer, Toby Blomé.
One participant attending Tuesday’s Beale action is a member of Veterans For Peace, and participated in the secret bombing of Laos during the Vietnam war. To this day, he still suffers from deep psychic wounds from his Air Force service days decades ago.
90 Percent of US Drone-Strike Victims Have Been Civilians
Locally in San Francisco, we have appealed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take action on this courageous whistleblowers behalf. On July 11, CODEPINK delivered a petition in support of Hale, signed by thousands, to Pelosi’s S.F. home. Hundreds of us have also emailed and/or signed a letter to House Speaker Pelosi urging her to stand behind this courageous whistleblower. (See letter attached.) Speaker Pelosi remains silent.
Letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
(July 11, 2021) — Daniel Hale, a US veteran, and former intelligence analyst, worked in the US Drone Program while stationed in Afghanistan. He was deeply troubled by this secret “targeted assassination” program that caused high rates of civilian casualties. While officials repeatedly withheld the truth from the public about the covert program, denying and minimizing civilian deaths, Daniel knew otherwise. He ultimately leaked documents in order to inform the American public, who have a right to know the truth. One leaked military document revealed that, in one five month period in Afghanistan, 90% of those killed remotely by drones were NOT the intended targets.
After leaving the military, Daniel was deeply troubled by what he had witnessed and even participated in as an analyst identifying and targeting individuals to be killed. Ultimately, taking great risks to his own safety, he acted on his conscience, and leaked these classified documents that were published as “The Drone Papers,” in The Intercept. Mr. Hale’s courageous act exposed the severity of the criminal activity inherent in the covert US drone program. The information leaked was and still is absolutely essential to ensure greater public awareness in order to allow informed debate.
Daniel faces up to 10 years of prison at his sentencing trial July 27. Mr. Hale was wrongfully charged under the antiquated Espionage Act, but he is not a criminal. Rather, he should be lauded for his strength and courage to expose US war crimes, risking his own freedom to do so.
Congresswoman Pelosi, would you want your own son to be imprisoned for acting on his conscience for the greater common good? PLEASE DO NOT BE SILENT. This prosecution is a serious attack on our civil rights, and a threat to all future whistleblowers, who, by law, are supposed to be protected. Time is running out for Daniel. Please do everything you can, in your high position as House Speaker, to urge President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland to drop all charges against Daniel Hale, clear his record, and immediately free him from prison. This case is a travesty of justice and a disgrace to our democratic process. The whole world is watching.
PLEASE STAND WITH DANIEL, as if he were your own son!
Speaker Pelosi, In Your Position as House Speaker,
We are ALL your constituents
More About Daniel Hale: www.StandWithDanielHale.org