Archive for the ‘History’ Category


In Government, History, Media Advisory on June 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Jean Kessner, Syracuse Common Council, will Challenge David Valesky in a Democratic Primary if he continues to refuse to return to the Dems.   Dave Valesky is part of the IDC ( Independent Democratic  Coalition) that has been siding with the Republican minority to give them control of the Senate.  By doing so the Senate has blocked important legislation like a Moratorium on Fracking, Women’s Equality, DREAM act ect.  Please see these two Important events this Week

Tuesday June 24th at 4pm Press conference with Assembly person Sam Roberts and others supporters of Jean Kessner’s primary against Dave Valesky if he refuses to reunite with Senate Democratic Conference.

WHERE: New York State Office Building 333 E Washington St, Syracuse, NY

Thursday June 26th at 4 pm PETITIONING FOR Jean Kessner to get on the ballot.  There will be a press event with clip boards in hand at 4pm at the SEIU office in Syracuse 250 South Clinton St

Contact Larry at 917-721-5205


June 19th, 2014 SYRACUSE, NY – As this year’s legislative session comes to an end it is once again clear that the Republican-IDC coalition in the Senate has failed to deliver on key legislation supported by a majority of New Yorkers. Senator Valesky was among the small group of Democrats who formed the IDC and gave control of the Senate to Republicans despite the Republicans not having the majority of votes. Legislation important to people in Syracuse and the entire senate district, like a real Minimum Wage Increase, the DREAM Act, Women’s Equality Act, a ban on Fracking, and Public Funding of Elections have been blocked by the Republicans in control as a result of the Republican-IDC coalition deal. Concerned citizens, leaders and advocates responded today by calling on Senator Valesky to rejoin the Democrats and take back control of the Senate from the Republicans. Further, if Senator Valesky instead chooses to continue to support Republican control of the Senate, a growing list of organizations and local leaders are resolved to enthusiastically support Jean Kessner in her bid to defeat Senator Valesky in a Democratic primary.

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

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


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

    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.


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….


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.


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.


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:

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