On June 2, 1987 in the early morning, Katya Komisaruk, a peace activist from the San Francisco Bay area, walked through an unlocked gate leaving cookies and a bouquet of flowers for security guards and entered a satellite control facility named "NAVSTAR" at the Vandenberg AFB in Santa Barbara County, California. (’NAVSTAR’ is the U.S. global positioning system of satellites. When fully operational, this system will consist of 18 orbiting satellites which will be able to provide the navigational and guidance signals to Trident II and other nuclear missiles as well as the Star Wars system, for a first-strike nuclear attack.) Once inside, she used a hammer, crowbar and cordless electric drill to damage panels of an IBM mainframe computer and a satellite dish on top of the building. Using a crowbar she removed the computer's chip boards and danced on them. On the walls she spray- painted "Nuremberg," "International Law," and statements for disarmament. After being undetected for two hours, she left the base and hitchhiked to San Francisco.
The next morning she held a press conference at the Federal Building in San Francisco to explain her action whereupon she was taken into custody by the FBI agents. She was charged with sabotage and destruction of government property. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. The day before her trial the sabotage charge was dropped in the face of a defense brief that had been earlier submitted calling upon the government to prove every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Her trial began on November 10, 1987 in Los Angeles Federal Court. Several weeks before the trial, Judge Rea ruled in favor of the U.S. prosecutor's "motion in limine" which would severely restrict the evidence allowed as well as Katya's personal testimony. Katya, who represented herself and was assisted by co-counsel, was not allowed to mention words like "nuclear missiles" or "first-strike". The jury found her guilty of destruction of property on November 16, 1987. On January 11, 1988 Katya was sentenced to 5 years in prison. In addition Judge Rea ordered her to pay $0.5 million restitution because he had heard that there might be a movie or book based on her action.