Anti-drone protesters at Beale in court today
The US Attorney's Office in Sacramento will begin the prosecution today of nine peace advocates who were arrested last fall at Beale Air Force Base for protesting US drone attacks.
Janie Kesselman of Camptonville was among those arrested for trespassing on Oct. 30 at Beale as nearly 100 peace advocates gathered at several gates.
"We tried really hard to get arrested," Kesselman said. "We sat down on federal property, so they had to arrest us."
Kesselman said the defendants plan to plead not guilty and hope to take the case to trial.
"We want to bring attention to the use of the drones," she said. "We want to put the drones on trial, we want to bring attention to the problem with drone attacks." Beale has been a target of anti-drone protests in recent years, none as large as that of last October.
Beale is home to the U2 and the Global Hawk, the unmanned surveillance drone. Drones flown out of the base are only used for surveillance.
Peace advocates have urged an immediate ban on the use of all drones; a halt to all drone surveillance in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia; a prohibition on the sale and distribution of drones and drone technology to foreign countries; and an immediate stop to drone warfare.
Pro bono-volunteer lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild and the Occupy Sacramento defense team have agreed to represent the defendants.