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Archive for the ‘Peace’ Category

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?

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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/

CNY-Cajibio Delegation Makes Seed Contribution for Future of Colombian Campesin@s

In Corporations, Government, International, Media Advisory, Peace on July 7, 2014 at 9:40 pm

CAJIBIO, CAUCA, COLOMBIA – The 10th anniversary CNY-Cajibio sister-city delegation participated in a symbolic presentation of seeds at the Feria Campesina (Small Farmer’s Fair) in Cajibio on July 4, 2014. A card signed by all twelve delegates which read “The Future Is In The Seed”, accompanied the contribution. Open pollinated varieties of tomato, pepper, summer squash, and melons saved by Frosty Morning Farm in Truxton, and two heritage bean varieties of the Onondaga people were given to Marylén Serna Salinas of the Movimiento Campesinos de Cajibio (MCC) By delegate Colleen Kattau.

Kattau, said that “the seed donation symbolizes the right to save, share, and distribute seed autonomously which should be everyone’s right”.

This Feria is the second held by the MCC in support of the Campesin@’s campaign to be recognized as a distinct population with rights and responsibilities by the Colombian state government. The exchange of seeds, knowledge, flavors, and products that took place at the Feria was also a demonstration of the Campesin@’s quest for food and economic sovereignty.

Delegates also displayed and provided tastings of Finger Lakes agricultural and artistic products such as honey, maple syrup, cards designed by local artists, soap, beeswax candles and more (all donated by artists and small farmers from Central New York). Emily Bishop and Anthony Zaun-Lokos also made a statement representing the youth contingent of this delegation as to how the seed contribution represents the next generation of the sister-city relationship and the building of relationships with people abroad who share common goals and challenges.

Patricia Rodriguez, Associate Professor at Ithaca College, stated that “providing international solidarity and support for the MCC is now more important than ever as peace talks in Colombia continue after the re-election of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Campesin@’s fight for recognition, and representation at the negotiations.”

The delegates plan to organize community events in their respective communities in Central New York upon their return to share about the organizational processes and the united efforts that the MCC and other groups have engaged in at the local, regional, and national levels, to bring about social change.

Contact: Patricia Rodriguez at prodriguez@ithaca.edu or Frank Cetera at franklen9807@gmail.com.

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CNY’s 10th Anniversary Sister City Delegation with Cajibio, Colombia Taking Place in July

In Fundraising, Government, International, Peace on June 13, 2014 at 8:43 am

10329962_10101640180746486_7756845882952327429_oSYRACUSE, NY – Twelve regional residents from Syracuse, Cortland, and Ithaca will travel to Cajibio, Colombia from July 1st-9th marking the 10th year of this sister city relationship, one of the longest currently active in CNY.

The Cajibio relationship centers around supporting the Movimiento Campesino De Cajibio (MCC), or the Small Farmers Movement in English, a small farmers’ organization with the goal of ‘buen vivir’ (good living), rooted in sustainable local communities, free of exploitation, militarization, and dependent economic relationships.

Sister cities advance peace and prosperity through cultural, educational, humanitarian, and economic development exchanges; and serve as hubs for institutional knowledge and best practices in the field of citizen diplomacy.  Delegates on this 10th Anniversary trip will be engaging in the following activities:

1. Participation in a Feria Campesina (small farmer’s exchange fair)
2. Meetings w/ grassroots community leaders and advocacy meetings with local & national Colombian government officials.
3. Meeting with women leaders of MCC and other organizations, centered on learning of women’s rights struggles in Colombia.
4. Cultural exchange with artists’ collective & social movement working group at University of Cauca.
5. Work on the MCC’s cooperative farm for one or two days.

A fundraising campaign is currently underway to support the delegation – More general details about the delegation and the history of the sister city relationship can also be found at this link, including a curated collection of articles, blog posts, and other information curated by Syracuse delegates Frank Cetera and Emily Bishop that provide you with ongoing insight and education over the course of the next month.

http://www.gofundme.com/CNYCajibioSyracuse

Contact:

Frank Cetera, franklen9807@gmail.com, 315-308-1372