For the next few days I’m going to post the statements that my co-defendants gave in court before we were sentenced. I am grateful to have shared this experience with them. For details about the trial of the Beale 5, the first trial of anti-drone activists in California, and about the harm caused by drone warfare, see my past blogs about drones. Here is my good friend Janie’s statement:
Jane Kesselman’s Statement at Sentencing in Federal Court
I was too preoccupied with a death in the family to be able to organize my thoughts to be read in absentia at our trial last month, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to speak today.
Although I was found guilty, I don’t believe I have done anything wrong by my action. Indeed, I believe that NOT acting to bring attention to the immoral and illegal use of drone warfare would’ve been a far worse offense.
As I understand it, in a so-called “signature strike” the military targets a supposed enemy based on profiling a particular set of movements and activities that are deemed likely to be that of a “terrorist.” This profile is tracked using surveillance drones such as the ones at Beale AFB. Drone strikes are then ordered for those who match the profile. Using this protocol, many innocent people are killed by US drones, in countries with whom we aren’t even at war!
With every drone strike, with every death of an innocent child or adult, our country generates more and more hatred, exponentially boosting the number of terrorists driven to act against us. This is such a sad and dangerous strategy!
Imagine if we used just a fraction of the money spent on drone strikes to help repair the educational, health, and economic infrastructure of the countries whose populations we’ve been terrorizing… I believe that by acting as a humane rather than a disciplinary force in the world, the US could replace fear and hatred by our so-called enemies with respect and even gratitude.
Judge Delaney: I am thankful to be here today with my co-defendant comrades to speak from my heart and conscience against the grievous offenses of the US military. I am ready to be sentenced for my own offense: my civil disobedience. If you deem it necessary, I will go to prison, but I hope you will afford me the opportunity to do community service in lieu of any fines, probation, or prison time. Thank you for hearing me.