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Archive for the ‘Drones’ Category

Activists Oppose Authorization for Military Force (AUMF), Say Rise of ISIS Rooted in Crimes of Iraq War

In Anti-War, Drones, Exclusive on March 19, 2015 at 7:32 pm

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO and COVERAGE BY INDY MEDIA CNY

http://bambuser.com/v/5363616

Iraq12Capture

SYRACUSE, NY – To mark the 12th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, peace activists in Syracuse joined a rally hosted by the Syracuse Peace Council. The rally called on Congressional representatives to stand up for peace and diplomacy rather than a continued policy of military force.

On February 11, President Obama sent Congress a proposed joint resolution for Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which would authorize and extend military action against ISIS for the next three years in Iraq, Syria and beyond. The Syracuse Peace Council calls on citizens to urge to Congress to reject this new AUMF, to repeal the 2001 AUMF which has been the justification for military intervention thus far and to stop the endless war on the people of the Middle East.

“The last 12 years have shown unquestionably that military force does not solve problems. US involvement in Iraq and Syria is one factor supporting the existence and strength of ISIS as we know it today, said Amelia Lefevre, Organizer with the Syracuse Peace Council. Lefevre continued, “Our involvement in Iraq did not achieve any of the stated goals of the invasion. It is undeniable that the formation of ISIS is a direct result of U.S. policies that destroyed Iraq – every civilian casualty and tortured detainee in Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo fuels the recruitment efforts of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The crisis today teaches us that military intervention is harmful, not helpful.”

“I am here today because I have seen the mistakes of U.S. foreign policy for too many years. Most heart wrenching is to hear about the staggering number of veteran suicides – 22 everyday, almost one per hour,” said Dave Kashmer, a retired Navy veteran who served off the coast of Yemen and Iran. Kashmer is actively forming a Central New York Chapter of Veterans for Peace. “I am out here today because of my sons. I do not want them or anyone’s children put in harms way.”

“Students need to be part of anti-war efforts. We need to be aware of U.S. military intervention and its consequences. We must question the motivations and the reasons for military intervention and seek out the truth. It’s critical that students participate in the anti-war movement so we can expose the violent policies U.S. government implements in our name,” said Henry Nelson, a Syracuse University student activist.

Syracuse peace activist Ed Kinane also spoke at the rally. Kinane was present in Bagdad during the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

From Kinane’s statement: “On February 15, 2003, millions of people around the world took to the streets to protest the U.S.’ threatened invasion of Iraq. In Bagdad, thousands of us hit the streets, too. I was there with a group of peace activists, Voices in the Wilderness, a group that for years had been practicing protracted civil disobedience by bringing medical supplies to Bagdad, supplies which were banned by the genocidal sanctions on Iraq. I say “genocidal” because the U.N. estimated that several hundred thousand Iraqi children died prematurely for lack of such supplies. It was illegal for U.S. citizens to visit Iraq. Apparently the U.S. government didn’t want U.S. citizens to see and report on the murderous havoc the sanctions were inflicting no the Iraqi people.”

Contact:
Ursula Rozum, ursula.rozum@gmail.com (315) 414-7720
Amelia Lefevre, amelia@peacecouncil.net, (315) 472-5478

Punish the Bearer of Bad News

In Direct Action, Drones, Peace on December 3, 2014 at 3:01 pm
Personal reflections of Hancock Drone Resister Jack Gilroy, 79, of Endwell, NY after being released from Jamesville Correctional Facility on November 28th.
I just spent two months as a prisoner in Jamesville Penitentiary in Jamesville, NY.

I was jailed for my involvement in an April 28, 2013 solemn funeral procession at Hancock Air Force drone base in Syracuse, NY. I joined 30 others to carry the message to “stop the killing”. Hancock’s 174th Attack Wing of the New York State National Guard, flies missiles and drops bombs via satellite from drones thousands of miles from Syracuse. The targets are suspected “terrorists” somewhere in the Middle East.

Stanford University Law School’s International Human Rights Conflict Resolution Clinic and New York University Law School”s Global Justice Clinic, working independently with The Bureau for Independent Journalism, spent years collecting data on United States drone strikes in Pakistan.  The findings are grim.  In their report titled: Living Under Drones, only 2% of the killings have been confirmed ‘suspected terrorists’ by the law schools study. Thousands have been killed, thousands wounded–body parts scattered in cities and countryside by our killer drones. There are no estimates of psychological damage to millions who live under drones 24/7. The killings by American drone missiles may be the best recruitment tool for more Middle East terrorists.

My ‘crime’ was being a nonviolent messenger outside the main gate to Hancock. I was convicted of trespass and obstructing government administration. I was handcuffed and sent to Jamesville Penitentiary in Syracuse. As the oldest prisoner at Jamesville at 79, I was also the only political prisoner- a prisoner of conscience. Before my sentence, I was offered a plea bargain. Plead guilty and have all charges dropped or go to trial and face 1 year and 15 days in Jamesville Penitentiary.  As a former High School teacher of Participation in Government, I could not say I was guilty of a crime for practicing my 1st amendment rights of assembly, speech, press and religion.

Thankfully, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, did not support arresting  Wall Street demonstrators during the United Nations Climate Summit in September of this year. “I think the First Amendment is a little more important than traffic,” Mr. de Blasio said when asked about disruptions caused by the Wall Street Demonstration. The NY City Mayor noted: “The right of people to make their voices heard, regardless of their views, is a fundamental American value, and we’ll protect that value.”

It should be noted that those of us arrested did not block traffic at Hancock Drone base on April 28, 2013.

The refusal of the DeWitt Town Court in East Syracuse to recognize 1stAmendment rights of assembly is akin to the medieval act of killing the messenger of bad news. The insistence of the DeWitt court to collaborate with the military to stop nonviolent protest near the Hancock Attack Wing  is in violation of the United States Constitution. The DeWitt Court Order of Protection to stay away from the assassination base begs the question: Is there collusion between the DeWitt court and the military to suppress Constitutional Rights?

Speak Out Against Drones! A Day of Global Resistance at Hancock Air Base

In Drones on October 2, 2014 at 9:47 am

Anti-drone activists in Syracuse will participate in an action during the Global Weekend Against the Use of Drones for Surveillance and Killing in solidarity people around the world opposed to weaponized drones.

Sunday, October 5 at 1 pm
Hancock Air Base Main Entrance
6001 E. Molloy Rd., between Townline and Thompson Rds, Mattydale
Parking: OCM BOCES (6820 Thompson Rd) & side streets (Falso & Moore)

Event flyer is available at http://peacecouncil.net/sites/default/files/Oct_5_Flyer_for%20_web.pdf

Bring props,  and signs! Costumes encouraged!
Join a contingent or create one of your own, such as…

  • Bicyclists Against Killer Drones
  • Medical Workers Against Killer Drones
  • Gardeners Against Killer Drones
  • Veterans Against Killer Drones
  • —You get the idea

Sponsored by Upstate Drone Action and hosted by the Syracuse Peace Council.

Contacts:
Syracuse and more information (general): carol@peacecouncil.net, 315.472.5478
Ithaca: demottgrady6@gmail.com
Rochester: jb.papillonweb@gmail.com
Buffalo: victoryross9@gmail.com

In De Witt, NY Town Court for Opposing Reaper Drone War Crime at Hancock Air Base

In Drones on September 11, 2014 at 2:57 pm

DC Woman on Trial September 15

At 8:30 AM, Monday, September 15, Ms Eve Tetaz of Washington, DC will defend herself against a charge of trespass in a bench trial before Judge David Gideon in the De Witt town court near Syracuse, New York in Onondaga County.

Over a year ago, on April 28, 2013, Ms Tetaz, 83 years-old, was arrested along with 30 others as she read aloud the First Amendment of the Constitution, in the driveway leading to the main gate of the Hancock Reaper drone base on East Molloy Rd. When ordered to stop, she continued her reading. Ms Tetaz notes that, when arrested, she was “peacefully petitioning my government for a redress of grievances, a right protected under the Constitution.”

Those arrested on April 28, 2013 are members of Upstate Drone Action, a grassroots group which since 2010 has been seeking to call base personnel and the public’s attention to the killing and terrorizing of Afghan civilians by the 174th Attack Wing of the NY National Guard stationed at Hancock.

Upstate Drone Action believes such killing and terrorizing is immoral and illegal, violating the UN Charter and international law – which under Article Six of the U.S. Constitution trumps both local and federal U.S. law.

Since 2010 there have been over 160 arrests and numerous incarcerations of Upstate Drone Action members for our scrupulously nonviolent protests at Hancock.

In July Judge Gideon sentenced Mary Anne Grady-Flores, a grandmother of three from Ithaca, New York, to a one-year prison sentence for allegedly violating an Order of Protection protecting Hancock’s commander from these nonviolent demonstrators outside the base’s perimeter. About a dozen more such trials are scheduled between now and next spring. ###

CONTACTS:
Eve Tetaz, (202) 332-0599
Ed Kinane, (315) 478-4571
http://www.upstatedroneaction.org

Interpretive Editorial: The Perversion of “Protection” in U.S. Courts

In Drones, Firearms, Interpretive Editorial on July 17, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Orders of protection are notoriously difficult to secure. They have also proven to be a largely inadequate way to shield people at risk of violence, especially from those in their intimate circle. We have only to look at the case of Ron Lee Haskell. After assaulting his wife in 2008 and violating an order of protection in recent years, Haskell armed himself last week in Spring, Texas and allegedly murdered Katie Stay, his ex-wife’s sister, and all but one member of Stay’s immediate family (six, in all). Stay and her family refused to disclose the location of Haskell’s ex-wife, Melanie, and they paid with their lives.

In at least one media report, police acknowledge that Haskell was not prosecuted for recent violations against his ex-wife. According to another report, Haskell’s own mother petitioned for an order of protection after he assaulted her for daring to contact his ex-wife in early July. One need not be a feminist to notice the failure of powerful legal institutions to end the threat of daily violence that women endure, here and around the world.

In light of failures like this, it is truly extraordinary that our courts are now using orders of protection to shield the most powerful military in the world from peaceful dissidents here in our own community. In 2012, Judge Gideon awarded an order of protection to Colonel Earl Evans at Hancock Air Base, in an effort to stifle a campaign of nonviolent resistance among those opposed to the use of drones in the “war on terror.” Mary Anne Grady Flores is one of the protestors against whom Evans secured a temporary order. In an effort to honor the temporary order, she chose not to participate in a subsequent protest but, rather, to photograph the event. Those who participated in the protest were acquitted of all charges. Then, on July 10, Flores was sentenced to a year in prison.

Somehow, the U.S. judiciary is treating Flores as though she poses a greater threat of violence than did Ron Lee Haskell. The irony is, of course, that Colonel Evans routinely perpetrates more violence than even the bloodthirsty Haskell.

When we step out of the wonderland of U.S. courts, we see clearly that Flores stands in the way of violence. Indeed, she champions nonviolence. For this, she has lost her freedom. Conversely, Ron Lee Haskell openly championed violence and was rewarded with freedom. Colonel Evans, meanwhile, practices violence as an institutional prerogative, and, as a result, thousands of Pakistani civilians have lost their lives and the rest of us have lost our freedom.

Feminists don’t all agree on the precise relationship between everyday violence against women and broader forms of institutional violence. But we don’t need consensus to honor the courage and commitment of Katie Stay who gave her life to protect her sister and Mary Anne Grady Flores who gave her freedom so that we can see how little we have left. In the names of Stay and Flores, I urge you to confront all the institutional forms of violence that fray women’s freedom and endanger our lives. But don’t go it alone. Join one of those small groups of thoughtful, committed citizens Margaret Mead invoked, or create one in your own favorite institution. Then, with the new tools you’ll make, change your favorite institutions, plank by plank. And… hurry, because when unarmed grandmothers are imprisoned to protect colonels armed with reapers, there’s no refuge left from the storm.

Contributor: Maureen F. Curtin, Onondaga Hill

Another Hancock Anti-Drone Protester Convicted of a Misdemeanor

In Drones, Media Advisory on July 16, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Jack Gilroy of Binghamton, NY was convicted after a two-day jury trial in DeWitt Town Court of charges stemming from his arrest during a nonviolent protest at Hancock Air National Guard Base on April 28, 2013. Jack was convicted of Trespass, a violation, and Obstructing Governmental Administration, a misdemeanor by a jury of five women and one man. He will be sentenced by Judge Robert Jokl on October 1st, a year and a half after his arrest. The sentence for the latter charge may be up to one year in jail and a fine of $1000. Jack’s Order of Protection was also reissued today as a 2 year Permanent Order protecting Commander Greg Semmel, the commanding officer at Hancock Base.

Jack testified that he joined the Army out of high school, and was stationed in Austria in the early 50s at a time when the Cold War was hot. He says that despite a climate of distrust and contempt towards Russians, when he actually had to look a young Russian soldier in the eye during a ceremonial event, he didn’t see the evil he’d been trained to expect. Since then, Jack has spent 30 years as a teacher. A member of Veterans for Peace and Peace Action New York, Jack is currently working with Peace Action at Binghamton University to convince the college to offer a Peace Studies Program.

Regarding the April 2013 protest, Jack testified that the boundaries of the base were unclear and unmarked at the time. He said his intention was to send a message to base personnel and the public, not to disrupt the operation of the base. Only one gate was affected by the symbolic die-in he participated in, which blocked the inbound lane of the access road. Jack was arrested and removed 30 seconds after lying in the road so he had little effect on potential base traffic.

Hancock Air National Guard Base, home of the 174th Attack Wing, is a domestic hub for MQ-9 Reaper drone support. It is a training site for pilots and technicians, a drone test location and an active site in the ongoing wars overseas. Heavily armed Reapers piloted at Hancock fly lethal missions over Afghanistan and possibly elsewhere. Hancock pilots also fly test flights from Fort Drum over Lake Ontario.

Upstate Drone Action has been protesting the Drones at Hancock Base since 2009 with bimonthly vigils, annual rallies and a Gandhian Wave of civil resistance. Mary Anne Grady Flores was convicted of violating an Order of Protection by standing in the road in front of Hancock Base and sentenced on July 9 to one year in prison. There are 11 trials scheduled for Hancock protesters in DeWitt between now and next July stemming from the April 28 protest. Several more trials are pending. On July 30th and 31st Russell Brown will be tried pro se, serving as his own defense council, on the same charges Jack Gilroy faced today.

For more information go to upstatedroneaction.org. PDF available at: http://upstatedroneaction.org/documents/PressReleases/Jack-Gilroy-Press-Realease.pdf

Contact:
Jack Gilroy, Binghamton NY (607) 748-8105, jgilroy1@stny.rr.com
Judy Bello, Rochester NY (585) 733-4058, jb.papillonweb@gmail.com
Ed Kinane, Syracuse NY (315) 478-4571, edkinane@verizon.net

Drone Resister Sentenced to One Year in Prison: Base’s Order of Protection Begs Judgement

In Drones, Government, Media Advisory, Peace on July 11, 2014 at 11:39 am

On July 10, grandmother of three, Mary Anne Grady Flores was sentenced to one year in prison for being found guilty of violating an order of protection. A packed courtroom of over 100 supporters was stunned as she was led away, and vowed to continue the resistance.

These orders of protection, typically used in domestic violence situations or to protect a victim or witness to a crime, have been issued to people participating in nonviolent resistance actions at Hancock Air Base since late 2012. The base, near Syracuse NY, pilots unmanned Reaper drones over Afghanistan, and trains drone pilots, sensor operators and maintenance technicians. The orders had been issued to “protect” Colonel Earl Evans, Hancock’s mission support commander, who wanted to keep protesters “out of his driveway.”

Mary Anne began her sentencing statement with, “Your honor, a series of judicial perversions brings me here before you tonight.” She concluded that the “final perversion is the reversal of who is the real victim here: the commander of a military base whose drones kill innocent people halfway around the world, or those innocent people themselves who are the real ones in need of protection from the terror of US drone attacks?”

The orders of protection are being challenged on many legal grounds.

Mary Anne had been issued a temporary order in 2012. The next year, she photographed a nonviolent witness at the base, not participating herself because she did not want to violate the order. The irony is that those who actually participated in the action were acquitted, while Mary Anne was charged with violating the order.

Even though the pre-sentencing report recommended no jail time, Judge Gideon sentenced Mary Anne to the maximum of a year in prison. As he imposed his sentence, the judge referred to his previous Hancock decision. He had stated then and insinuated now, “This has got to stop.”

In addition, Mary Anne was fined $1000 plus a $205 court surcharge and a $50 fee to have her DNA collected.

Her verdict is being appealed.

For information on how to support Mary Anne, contact Ellen Grady at demottgrady6@gmail.com.

UPDATE: COURTROOM VIDEO AVAILABLE
From Judy Bello: Mary Anne Grady Flores was sentenced to a year in jail for standing in the highway across from the front gate of Hancock Air National Guard Base taking pictures of protesters. Below is a link to a Video of the Courtroom Drama: On July 10, Mary Anne Grady Flores was sentenced after being convicted of violating an Order of Protection protecting Col Earl Evans, Material Support Commander at Hancock Air National Guard Base. The video includes Mary Anne’s Sentencing Statement and Judge Gideon’s cynical defense of his Sentence, followed by her removal by guards to Jail.

http://upstatedroneaction.org/wordpress/2014/07/13/drone-resister-sentenced-to-one-year/

History of “THE UPSTATE DRONE ACTION CAMPAIGN TO EXPOSE REAPER DRONE WAR CRIME AT HANCOCK AIR BASE”

In Drones, History, International on June 20, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Written by Ed Kinane, and Distributed by the Upstate Drone Action Network:

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The campaign to expose Hancock’s MQ9 Reaper began in 2009 as President Obama, the Pentagon and the CIA/JSOC ratcheted up the flights of these hunter/killer drones over Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere.

The Reaper perpetrates maimings, killings (including extra-judicial executions and assassinations), and home demolitions – i.e. perpetrates war crime and terrorism in the ironically labeled “war on terrorism.” Violating international law, the Reaper frequently attacks non-combatants outside of war zones.

The local campaign was soon expanded by folks from all over New York State and beyond. (In 2009, Veterans for Peace held a four-day anti-drone fast in downtown Syracuse over the Thanksgiving holiday.) We coalesced into a group calling ourselves Upstate Drone Action (also known as the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars).  See www.upstatedroneaction.org.

    If we had a mission statement, it might read something like this:

  Upstate Drone Action is a decentralized, informally-organized, grassroots network of activists mostly from upstate New York.

We seek to educate the public and Hancock Air Base personnel re the war   crime perpetrated upon Afghanistan with the MQ9 Reaper. This unmanned aircraft is remotely piloted via satellite from Hancock, home of the 174th Attack Wing of the NYS Air National Guard located just north of Syracuse in the Town of DeWitt

  We also seek to educate the public re the risks of drone proliferation and blowback as well as the surveillance and civil liberties threat the Reaper and other robotic planes pose domestically.

  Legitimized by international law and by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Upstate Drone Action members heed our consciences and the  Nuremburg mandate to expose and impede our nation’s war crime.

  Committed to nonviolent direct action and civil resistance, members periodically undergo arrest, trial, fines, Orders of Protection and incarceration.###

In 2009 the Syracuse Post-Standard began a series of lengthy front page articles publicizing – some might sayhyping — the Reaper at Hancock. These articles revealed that:

~ Hancock was piloting Reapers over Afghanistan;

~ Hancock was the national center for training technicians to maintain Reapers;

~ then commander Col. Kevin Bradley was looking forward to having drones used for domestic police work.

Ignoring Reaper war crime, those P-S articles generally sidestepped the moral, legal and even strategic issues. [Author’s note: weaponized drones are tactically clever, but due to proliferation and blowback, strategically stupid – a threat to the ultimate security of the U.S.

SPEAKERS

To educate ourselves and the public, Upstate Drone Action has organized drone-oriented talks in Syracuse by prominent national anti-war activists. These have included Col. Ann Wright; Kathy Kelly (Voices for Creative Nonviolence); Brian Terrell (Iowa Catholic Worker); Elliott Adams (Veterans for Peace); Debra Sweet (World Can’t Wait), Leila Zand (Fellowship of Reconciliation); Medea Benjamin (CodePink); Bruce Gagnon  (Global Network); David Swanson (World Beyond War)….

In turn, our speakers have helped expose the Reaper at campuses, community groups and congregations (including several panels in the Catholic diocese of Syracuse) in Cortland, Binghamton, Utica, Albany, Oswego, Rome, Rochester, Buffalo, Saratoga Springs, New York City, Connecticut, Massachusetts,  Maryland, Georgia….

TABLEAUX

Each August since 2010 the “SPC Players” (from the Syracuse Peace Council) perform a series of tableaux at the main entrance to the NY State Fair. These involve a costumed cast of about seven who stay silent and motionless for about 20 minutes. The tableaux feature a five foot-long scale-model Reaper, a pilot at a computer, an Islamic mother and dead infant, two or three corpses covered by  bloody shrouds, an “al Qaeda” recruiter, and a young recruit.

The backdrop is either rubble or a banner depicting rubble. There’s signage identifying the tableau elements and one by the corpses and mother saying, “How would you feel if this were your family?”  We do several performances every other day of the ten-day Fair while leafleters distribute thousands of our flyers to the crowds streaming in and out of the Fair.

STREET HEAT

Beginning in September 2009 from 4:15 to 5 pm on Tuesdays we’ve been holding ongoing weekly, monthly or twice-monthly (depending on the season) anti-war/anti-Reaper drone demonstrations outside Hancock’s main gate on East Molloy Rd. and elsewhere in Onondaga County. We now have a legal permit for our demonstrations across the road from the base. And every Saturday we demonstrate in Syracuse across Park Street from the regional farmers’ market from 9 to 10 am (no permit required).

November 2009 saw the first of several rallies at Hancock drawing 200 to 300 folks from across the state and beyond. These events have sometimes been preceded by long lines of folks with signs and banners walking to the base from Ithaca, downtown Syracuse or from the nearby village of Mattydale.

DIRECT ACTION/CIVIL RESISTANCE

Since the spring of 2011 Upstate Drone Action has repeatedly engaged in scrupulously nonviolent direct actions attempting to deliver letters or citizens’ war crime indictments to the base command. (We recite a Pledge of Nonviolence before each action.) As these attempts are rebuffed, we have sometimes blocked Hancock’s main entrance with banners and our presence.  So far NYS troopers, Onondaga County sheriffs & Town of DeWitt police have made over 150 arrests (including recidivists). So far there’s been no rough stuff.

We think of the Hancock civil resistance as part of a “Gandhian Wave,” a persistent recurrence of actions meant to protest the persistent recurrence of drone war crime. Our Wave is in the Gandhian tradition embodied by the U.S. civil rights movement, and the School of the Americas Watch campaign ongoing since the early ‘90s at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Here’s a chronology:

Read the rest of this entry »

Video of the Sentencing and Jailing of the Hancock 17

In Drones on February 12, 2014 at 2:13 pm

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Video of the sentencing and jailing of the Hancock 17 by Charley Bowman of the Western NY Peace Center:

https://vimeo.com/86277951 (Sound and video of court start at 1:55).

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Hancock 17 Drone War Crimes Resisters’ Verdict Is In

In Drones, Government on February 7, 2014 at 11:35 pm

All found guilty of  disorderly conduct but acquitted of trespassing; Order of Protection extended 2 years; Judge decides to send a message

Friday, February 7, Town of DeWitt Court Judge David Gideon found twelve of the Hancock Drone War Crimes Resisters guilty of disorderly conduct, but acquitted them of trespassing.They had gone to Hancock Air National Guard Base near Syracuse, NY, on Oct. 25, 2012, to bring a Citizens War Crimes Indictment to the base and symbolically block the gates. Their nonviolent action had called for an end to drone warfare.

Saying, “At some point this has to stop,” the judge gave the defendants the maximum sentence – 15 days in jail (starting immediately) and a $250 fine with a $125 court surcharge. He also imposed a two-year Order of Protection, prohibiting the defendants from going to the home, school, business or place of employment of Col. Earl A. Evans, Commander of Hancock’s mission support group. Considering that the defendants had never met or knew of him before their arrest, it is clear the intent is to keep people away from the base. Defendant Rae Kramer stated, “No person on the base was intimidated by us, that is clear. But the end result is to deprive me of my 1st Amendment Rights.”

In their sentencing statements, the defendants spoke from their hearts and minds. Some reaffirmed their legal duties as citizens to stop war crimes. Clare Grady said, “We went there to stop the war crimes. That was our intent.” James Ricks hoped the judge would “sentence us to community service to investigate the war crimes they are committing at the base.” Judy Bello said, “The people suffering are so significant. It requires a persistent response,” and argued that the international law argument is indeed valid. Mark Scibilia-Carver quoted the Pope saying “violence is a lie,” and “Faith and violence are incompatible.” Mark Colville challenged the Court, stating, “This court has been found guilty of stopping it’s ears to the laws that are in place to protect life. This court has been found guilty of stopping it’s ears to the voices of the victims of the drones.”

The defendants were prepared for whatever sentence the judge imposed. In the words of Ed Kinane, “Any penalty this court can impose on me is trivial compared to the death sentences imposed on the drone victims.”
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Of the five defendants not sentenced, one, Elliott Adams, is to be sentenced later. Two others had their cases dismissed on technical grounds, and the remaining two had plead guilty earlier.

The defendants are part of the Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, which seeks to educate the public and Hancock Air Base personnel about the war crimes perpetrated in Afghanistan with the MQ-9 Reaper Drone piloted from Hancock Air National Guard Base. See upstatedroneaction.org.

Video of the sentencing and sentencing statements will be available soon at www.peacecouncil.net.
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Defendants who were sentenced:

  • Judy Bello, Rochester, NY
  • Daniel Burgevin, Trumansburg, NY
  • Mark Colville, New Haven, CT
  • Clare Grady, Ithaca, NY
  • Mary Anne Grady Flores, Ithaca, NY
  • Martha Hennessy, New York, NY
  • Brian Hynes, Bronx, NY
  • Ed Kinane, Syracuse, NY
  • Rae Kramer, Syracuse, NY
  • James Ricks, Ithaca, NY
  • Mark Scibilia-Carver, Trumansburg, NY
  • Patricia Weiland, Northampton, MA

Submitted by Carol Baum and Ellen Grady.

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