The Wars Abroad Meet the War at Home

by Felton Davis of NYC Catholic Worker

Below is the announcement sent out by Isaac at Action Corps NYC, and a couple of the photo sets from Monday’s demonstration across from the United Nations.  It was a long twenty hours “in the system,” as the process from the precinct through the labyrinth of basement holding cells, to the courtroom at 100 Centre Street is known.  My vest photo of Nora Al-Awlaki was taken by the officers of the Strategic Response Group at the US Mission, and put into an envelope with my house keys, belt and shoelaces, then returned to me outside the courtroom.  The officers told me that unless someone showed up at court with my real ID, I would not be released or get any property back.

August 20, 2013

The guys in the holding cell, most from a drug sweep in Washington Heights, were among the rowdiest group of arrestees that I have ever had the privilege of doing time with.  Jumping up and down to stay warm, calling out to the correctional officers for toilet paper, smacking each other around, slamming down the pay phone trying to get through to friends and family, and last but not least, going around the cell to figure out who in their circle was going to get charged with what.  They assured me that the DA would not ask for bail in my case, whether or not I identified myself, but in fact, when we were all brought upstairs and into the courtroom, the DA did ask for $1000 bail, given my numerous open cases, and “extensive interstate contacts.”

A much more thorough discussion of the issues involved in present-day antiwar efforts took place in the holding cell than will ever take place in the courtroom, as I tried to explain the context for our demonstration for the suffering people of Yemen.  We’ve been at war — undeclared, unauthorized, whatever — for so many years, with so many countries, none of whom are a threat to us, that it has become a permanent condition, and takes a special effort to bring into awareness.  The guys had no disagreement with that, and as far as war constituting theft from urgent social needs, they cited numerous examples in their personal lives.

“You know how many of my neighbors I have had to rob on the street just so my kid will eat?”

I refrained from attempting to answer that question, instead offering the opinion that on the international scene, this robbery is having a devastating effect all throughout the Middle East, as nation after nation is targeted.  “People are going to hate us…

They already hate us!  You don’t know that?”  They shook their heads in bewilderment.

“Everything we got in this country is because it was stolen, and stolen by force!  Where the FUCK have you been?”

Twenty hours was not enough time for me to go through all the demonstrations over the years that have concluded with a trip to Central Booking, but I did explain to the guys that in the 1980’s, before some of them were born, there was no toilet in the men’s cell, and arrestees would have to pee on the floor in the corner.  Then I accidentally compared that little bit of progress with the abolition of slavery, and received another instantaneous verdict from the jury.

“Fuckin bullshit!  You think slavery was abolished?  You’re crazy!  Slavery was not abolished, it was just…”

The discussion continued in Spanish as the guys searched for the most accurate word for what happened to the institution of slavery.  And slowly (very slowly without caffeine), the day dawned and we were moved along through the labyrinth.  I told the legal aid attorney who I was, and the DA already seemed to know — probably from my fingerprints — and so there was no need to inquire whose “extensive interstate contacts” were under review, mine or John Does. The judge would not order bail, and so I was released on ROR, and scheduled for trial on Wednesday, January 17th.

#LetYemenLive Emergency Protests Break Out Across US

Monday the NYPD arrested 15 people for blocking entry to the US Mission to the United Nations, while others protested at the Saudi mission, the Saudi office in Los Angeles, and at the Hart Senate Offices in DC, all under the #LetYemenLive protest name. Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK, reported there was a demonstration in Houston, too. The demonstration in New York included approximately 50 people, while the one in DC included 15, and the one in LA 10. Those in DC sang Christmas carols with original lyrics to US Senators.

Friday the White House reiterated its call for humanitarian access in Yemen. As the world’s worst famine approaches, 19 organizations participated in the emergency protest at the UN Monday. Participants performed civil disobedience against the US-backed Saudi war, visually representing Yemeni children killed and orphaned from the war. They called for an end to humanitarian and commercial blockade against Yemen, and for a cease fire by all sides.

The Catholic Worker organized the NYC demonstration. Speakers included two-time presidential candidate David McReynolds, Kate Alexander from Peace Action New York State, and Carmen Trotta, of the Catholic Worker. Dr. Debbie Almontaser provided a statement that was read by a representative of Action Corps NYC. Supporting organizations include: Voices for Creative Nonviolence, World Beyond War, Code Pink, Pax Christi Metro NY, Peace Action New York State, NYC Raging Grannies, Kairos Community, KnowDrones.com, Action Corps NYC, Granny Peace Brigade, Uptown Progressive Action, Sander Hicks for Congress, Rise and Resist NY, Veterans For Peace – NYC Chapter 034, NYC War Resisters League, Women in Black Union Square, 15th Street Quakers Peace & Social Justice Committee, and World Can’t Wait.

Statement from Action Corps NYC:

“Time is running out for the people of Yemen, who are experiencing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. With seven million people on the brink of starvation, the country will face the largest famine since WWII if Saudi Arabia continues the war and blockade. This blockade cuts access to much-needed medical supplies. Over half of healthcare facilities in the country are nonfunctional, worsening Yemen’s cholera outbreak with total cases possibly reaching one million by the end of this month. The US must use its influence to stop the blockade and must ultimately stop supporting the war.”




Gallery of Images from Hancock Resistance, 9/25/2017

Here is a gallery of images from “Rich Man’s War, Poor People’s Blood“, a civil resistance action by Upstate Drone Action at Hancock Air National Guard Base that resulted in 7 arrests on September 25, 2017.

Click on an image to see it enlarged in a frame.   The photographer’s name is highlighted on hover.   Right click on an image to see it full sized for download.   You can click through the framed images as a slideshow.




PR: Rich Man’s War; Poor People’s Blood (Update with Video)

UpstateDroneAction.org
Livestream on Youtube by Other Voices, Other Choices

Rich Man’s War; Poor People’s Blood

7 Arrested at Hancock Reaper Drone Base with Giant Bloody Dollars

Monday, 25 September 2017 at 9 AM, 7 members of the grassroots group Upstate Drone Action once again were arrested as they delivered a citizen’s war crime indictment to the chain of command at Hancock Air Force Base. Upstate Drone Action also placed a huge dollar sign [$] dripping with “blood” in the main entrance way to the base. The six-foot high dollar sign dramatizes what the group believes determines the many overseas wars the Pentagon/CIA engages in: corporate greed.

Hancock AFB — on East Molloy Rd, town of DeWitt, County of Onondaga, State of New York, just north of Syracuse – hosts the 174th Attack [sic] Wing of the NY National Guard. The 174th is one of two Reaper drone Attack Wings in New York State. Piloted from Hancock, the MQ9 Reaper drone is an unmanned, satellite-directed assassin flown over Afghanistan. CIA also uses such airborne robots for its clandestine, illegal, lethal missions over Northwest Pakistan and other majority-Islamic nations and oil lands.

According to “LIVING UNDER DRONES: Death, Injury and Trauma to civilians from US Practices in Pakistan,” published by Stanford University and New York University Law Schools, such missions are responsible for the deaths of many hundreds of noncombatants, including women and children, in that region.


Short review of events with interviews by John Amidon

According to Julienne Oldfield,

The Hancock Reaper terrorizes whole communities, generating desperate refugees.

Mark Scibilia-Carver adds that

U.S. taxpayers fund this terrorism keeping the pot boiling and creating enormous ill will toward the United States – instead of funding health, education and infrastructure here.”

Today’s action at Hancock’s main gate is simply one episode in Upstate Drone Action’s persistent nonviolent campaign to expose Reaper drone war crime. Since 2010 there have been some 200 anti-Reaper arrests at Hancock in about a dozen such street theater actions. These have resulted in extreme bails, maximum fines, Orders of Protection, and incarcerations…as well as some acquittals.

Those arrested: Ann Tiffany, Syracuse …. Dan Burgevin, Trumansburg, NY …. Ed Kinane, Syracuse …. Harry Murray, Rochester …. Julienne Oldfield, Syracuse …. Mark Scibilia-Carver, Trumansburg, NY …. Rae Kramer, Syracuse ….

They were charged with Disorderly Conduct and Trespass, and released with Arraignment tickets.

###




Hancock Drones and Grass Roots Street Heat

Why Street Heat?

Back in the eighties when the U.S. anti-apartheid movement was at a boil, “Doonesbury” had a sequence satirizing the “activists” who spent all their time at their computers. At the time I thought those geeks were a pretty odd bunch.

Though I’ve yet to succumb to Facebook, etc., now as an activist I too have become computer-domesticated. I spend lots of time generating or responding to email or chasing after links. For better or worse, on-line is now one of my comfort zones. Maybe too comfortable.

Historically and currently, here and abroad, much, maybe most, necessary grassroots change only really begins when people join in solidarity and indignation in the “street.”

What is this thing we here in Central New York call “street heat”?

It’s a way of making it easy to start getting out into the street. It’s a way to get off our duffs, to break out of our cocoons — overcoming that seemingly deep hesitation about going public.

Since 2010 at 4:15 p.m. every first and third Tuesday of the month a handful of us have been going out to the main entrance of Hancock Air Base, the hunter/killer Reaper drone hub in our back yard, on East Molloy Road in the Syracuse suburb of DeWitt. There for 45 minutes we stand facing the traffic with our anti-militarism signs. This time slot is the civilian rush hour on East Molloy and shift change at the base.

From early November through the end of March, our cold and dark season, we’re only out there on first Tuesdays. That day has its macabre significance:  each Tuesday Mr. Obama and his advisors choose the targets for the next six months for drone assassination in the Islamic oil lands – assassinations which are immoral, illegal and, while tactically clever, are probably strategically stupid.

We place ourselves across the road from those Reaper drone robots remotely operated over Afghanistan by 174th Attack Wing of the NY National Guard based at Hancock.

We seek to prick the conscience of the Hancock personnel, cogs in Hancock’s criminal role in the war machine. We also seek to reach the public driving by. Our signs declare variously,

“DRONES FLY, CHILDREN DIE”

and

“BAN WEAPONIZED DRONES” and “STOP DRONE TERRORISM”

and

“U.S. OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST,”

etc.

Without our persistent presence week in, week out, year in, year out, it’s all too easy, given U.S. mainstream media, for folks to forget that the U.S. is engaged in perpetual war – a war not “on” terrorism, but “of” terrorism.  And it’s all too easy for airbase personnel, leading their classified, insulated, indoctrinated lives to forget they are part of a war machine.




Good Friday Review

Photos by Eddie Rodriguez and Judy Bello

Hover to see name of photographer.   Click on an image to view in lightbox.  Use arrows to click through.   To view full sized image (though none are ‘high def’) right click on the image in the lightbox and select ‘View Image’.




CONNECTING THE DOTS….NO BAN, NO WALL, NO KILLER DRONES at Hancock Airport/Air Base

Thank God for the great crowd of 1,000 protesting Trump’s Ban of Immigrants at Syracuse International Airport, as thousands flooded airports all across the US last Saturday night, Jan. 28th, when the ban first went into effect!

We have a beautiful foto of a member of the Afghan Youth Peace Team with a poster saying “We Wish to Live Without War”. The youth sent a bolt of the sky blue fabric to US drone activists to wear as blue scarves to remember their wish for blue skies….skies safe without killer and surveillance drones hovering over them and assassinating them causing people to flee and become refugees.

Ironically on the other side of the same Hancock Airport campus of Syracuse is Hancock Air National Guard Drone Base. Many locals are not aware that the US assassinates people from Hancock Drone Base. Our US drone policy of execution without due process is a part of the driving force for the refugee crisis throughout the seven countries Trump has listed in his ban of people from the Middle East.

Lets work together to connect the dots…..drone assassinations cause people to flee…who become refugees…. who need asylum in other countries….countries who shut their borders to refugees….like the US under Trump.

I invite that great crowd of 1,000 to come around the corner to the other entrance of the same airport campus….to the Hancock Drone Base on East Malloy Rd, in DeWitt, East Syracuse, and demand that Hancock end their drone killings with MQ9-Reaper drones. We violate our US Constitution and International Law when we kill with drones.

We, who gather, would be giving a message of peace to the world and to the parents and children of the Middle East, saying “You can stay and live in peace in your own homes. You don’t have to flee the drones and become refugees. We, too, wish that you live without war.”

Please join us as we continue to say #NOKILLERDRONES Hancock Air National Guard Base -4:15-5pm 1st Tues. every month @ 6001 East Molloy Road, Mattydale, NY 13211.

You are welcome to attend the trial of the Big Books defendants, who were arrested March 10, 2o15.
They are charged with Trespass, Disorderly Conduct and Obstructing Government Administration
A jury trial is scheduled for:

5 PM, February 28th, 2017
@ DeWitt Town Court
5400 Butternut Dr, East Syracuse, NY 13057

Codefendants in the trial  (from the left): Ed Kinane (Syracuse, NY),  Fr. Bill Pickard (Scranton, PA), Brian Hynes (Bronx, NY), Daniel Burns (Ithaca, NY) and James Ricks (Ithaca. NY) on the far right, Attorney’s Jonathan Wallace and Daire Irwin of Buffalo, NY. (2nd and 3rd from the right) will advise them.

For info call: (607) 280-8797 -Mary Anne Grady Flores

upstatedroneaction.org

#dirtywars
#loveistheonlysolution
#groundthedronesandendthewars




Four Arrested Enacting Nativity at Hancock

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

23 December 2016

Contact: Ann Tiffany (315) 478-4571 home- Syracuse, NY
Mary Anne Grady Flores (607) 280-8797 Ithaca

UpstateDroneAction.org                                                                               Video by Jay Wilcox

FOUR ARRESTED ENACTING NATIVITY SCENE AT HANCOCK DRONE BASE

Syracuse, NY – On Friday, December 23, four activists were arrested at the main entrance of Hancock Air National Guard Base as many throughout the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace from Palestine.   The base is located on East Molloy Road in the town of DeWitt, E. Syracuse New York.

Upstate Drone Action members engaged in civil resistance by setting up a traditional Christmas nativity scene at the main entrance of Hancock Reaper Drone Base.  Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus were attended by a shepherd and a wise man.   Angels and carolers played a supporting role from across the street.

While being handcuffed, Mary (Bev Rice) noted that, “If Herod had a Reaper, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph would have been been incinerated.” Joseph (John Amidon), also arrested, said “The indiscriminate and illegal killings of so many holy families in the Middle East must stop!”

Hancock hosts the 174th Attack Wing of the NY Air National Guard – the MQ9 Reaper drone hub. Hancock is also the national Reaper maintenance training center.

The MQ9 Reaper is a robotic, satellite-linked, remote assassin drone. Hancock drone pilots fly unmanned missions over Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern, African and West Asian nations. The CIA uses Reapers for its illegal lethal missions over Northwest Pakistan.

According to “LIVING UNDER DRONES: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians from US Drone Practices in Pakistan,” published by Stanford University and New York University Law Schools, such missions are responsible in that region for the deaths of hundreds of noncombatants, including women and children, and for the terrorizing of thousands more.

Today’s civil resistance action is one chapter in Upstate Drone Action’s Gandhian Wave, a six-year scrupulously nonviolent campaign to expose the Hancock AFB war crime. Since 2010 there have been over 170 anti-Reaper arrests at Hancock.

Those arrested:

  • John Amidon, Albany, NY, (518) 312-6442 cell
  • Ed Kinane, Syracuse, NY, (315) 478-4571 home
  • Jules Orkin, Bergenfield, NJ, (201)566-8403 cell
  • Bev Rice, New York, NY., (646) 335-2404 cell

They were charged with Trespass, 2 Counts of Disorderly Conduct and Obstructing Governmental Activities.   Their next hearing will be in late January.

 




MultiFaith Anti-Drone Conference

I attended the Multifaith Anti-Drone Warfare Conference at Stony Point Retreat Center in the lower Hudson Valley.   It was a busy event with good food, good company and interesting discussions. The videos were made by Wilton Vought and can be found on Other Voices Other Choices, along with a lot of other interesting materials including audio podcasts.

The panel Friday evening featured ex CIA officer, Ray McGovern, ex Airforce Intelligence Officer Christopher Aaron who served in Afghanistan, and Kambali Musavuli of the Friends of the Congo.   Between them, they revealed the connections. . . between lethal drones flying over Africa and the ongoing theft of resources in Africa. . . between government service and service to one’s country. . .  between telling the redacted truth to the rest of us and joining us on the street in active resistance.  Both kinds of action are necessary for democracy to thrive, good information – right action.

Saturday morning, Arun Kundnani, Arun Kundnani is Adjunct Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University and author of “The Muslims are Coming” and most recently, “Violence Always Comes Home: Terrorism, Empire and Islamophobia”  gave the first Keynote. He spoke about the misleading social and cultural distortion of our perceptions about Islam and terrorism.

Followed by Medea Benjamin of CodePink Women for Peace who spoke about US policies, including drone warfare, that disrespect the people in foreign lands, exacerbate misunderstandings and invite continued threats and violence.

In the afternoon, a panel of religious people discussed the place of activism in a religious context and the insight that our faith can give to the ongoing wars and terrorism that our country is engaged in.

Multifaith Perspectives on Drones, Islamophobia & Movement Building featuring Featuring: Muhammed Malik, Rabbi Michael Feinberg,
Imam Hamin Rashadah, Aaron Stauffer & Irene Siegel

Conference Sponsors:

Peace Action Education Fund
Interfaith Drone Network
KnowDrones
Community of Living Traditions

Endorsed by:

Code Pink, Veterans For Peace, Muslim Peace Fellowship, Westchester Coalition Against Islamophobia, Standing Together Against Racism and Islamophobia, WESPAC, United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC), Muslims for Ferguson, Middle East Crisis Response, Veterans For Peace




Inside Drone Warfare Symposium

If, like me, you were not able to attend “Inside Drone Warfare”, the Whistle Blower Symposium organized by Nick Mottern and Ann Wright in Las Vegas this spring during Shut Down Creech!, you can still view the speakers in these YouTube videos.   I watched them and was glad I took the time.   Ann Wright moderates the event.

Part 1:  Jesselyn Radack of Whisper Whistleblower and Resource Protection Program and Cian Westmoreland, former Drone Maintenance Technician

Part 2: Christopher Aaron, former Air Force Intelligence Officer with the Drone program in Afghanistan and Reverend Chris Otto, Unitarian Universalist Minister and former Chaplain with the US Army in Afghanistan

Part 3: Shelby Sullivan Dennis of Reprieve with Faisal Bin Ali Jaber

Part 4: Marjorie Cohn

Part 5:  Brian Terrell, Catholic Worker Drone Activist, Q&A




SHUT DOWN CREECH- A Success!

Successful Week at SHUT DOWN CREECH!
Democracy Now, April 4, 2016 (At 11.50)
Democracy Now, April 1, 2016 (At 11.27)

25 Activists Arrested in Two days of Nonviolent Blockades at Gates to Creech AFB;
Activists from over 20 states participated in week-long Mass Mobilization to End Drone Warfare

Videos of action by Holly Severson:
1- Full Length kids action:
http://smallworldradio.net/doubletap.mov

2- Edited shorts from the action:
http://www.smallworldradio.net/DN.mov      

Shut Down Creech! with CodePinkAnti-drone protesters executed waves of multiple non-violent peaceful actions at Creech Air Force Base throughout the morning last Friday, April 1, with the intent of interrupting the drone killing activities that take place there. Creech AFB, in southern Nevada, is the primary Command Center for the CIA’s and President Obama’s Drone Assassination program. At the most heavily used eastern gate, a total of 13 people were arrested in 4 separate actions. After military personnel re-opened the main base gate in the later morning after the 1st action there, three more waves of blockades occurred. The 3rd and 4th waves breeched a barricade near the gate and continued to block the road, ultimately stalling gate operations for nearly an hour totally, counting all actions at that gate. Another 4 were arrested at a 2nd gate.

Shut Down Creech - Stop Drone attacks
Shut Down Creech

The first incident at the eastern gate occurred at approximately 7:00 AM when a group of six children and eight adults all dressed as angels, performed a mock drone attack on a funeral. The activists were demonstrating the gruesome U.S. practice of firing drone missiles into funerals for victims previously killed by U.S. drone attacks, with hopes that militants might also be killed. A ballerina led the procession, laying red roses on the entry road of the main gate, followed by the other children carrying a casket. The funeral procession was interrupted by a simulated drone attack that killed and injured many of the mourners. Ultimately seven adults were arrested after they refused to leave the roadway after a 5 minute warning.

Shut Down Creech with Peg GefellAt approximately the same time, actions took place at the other two base gates, leading to more arrests. The blockade at the 2nd gate focused on the criminal aspects of the U.S. drone assassination program. Activists stretched yellow crime scene tape around the base sign and across the entrance to the gate, preventing vehicles from entering. One protester laid across the roadway to portray a drone victim. And at the seldom used most western gate a small group held a silent meditation vigil for peace. Activists successfully delayed Air Force personnel (and presumably some drone pilots and technicians), from entering the base throughout the morning.

Shut Down Creech Angels “Many Creech personnel arrived to the base before the normal 6-8am rush hour on Friday, presumably to avoid the protest. Activists who participated in this collective effort consider even that a success because the protest is having a direct impact on daily drone operations. These sustained actions are forcing the military to change their daily routines, and potentially stimulating more discussion about the drone policies in question and the growing national opposition to drone killing,” says Toby Blomé, one of the organizers. “We deeply hope that our voices will one day soon be heard, and the expanding use of these deadly and destabilizing weapons against the most vulnerable people in the world will cease.”

On Thursday, the day before Friday’s gate blockades, 8 activists, including 7 veterans were arrested in a earlier blockade at the heavily used eastern gate, blocking morning traffic as well.

Shut Down Creech! Angels as victimsThe two days of actions were part of a week-long protest at the base, culminating in a total of 25 arrests during the 2nd Annual National Mass Mobilization against Drone Warfare known as SHUT DOWN CREECH. Activists from over 20 states converged at “Camp Justice,” the peace camp directly across from Creech AFB, for daily rush hour vigils,
nonviolence training workshops, and strategizing meetings to prepare for these nonviolent blockades to impede drone killing.

www.ShutDownCreech.blogspot.com

These activities were done to highlight the Obama administration’s drone killing program that leads to many civilian deaths and violates international law.

Friday’s arrestees:

Inside CreechLeslie Angeline
Fred Bialy
Toby Blomé
Cynthia Papermaster
Dennis DuVall
Arla Ertz
Rene Esplanade
Ron Faust
John Ford
MaryKate Glenn
Chris Nelson
Mahai’a Oliveira
Shirley Osgood
Flora Rogers
Tyler Schaeffer
Brian Terrell
Susan Witka

(Photos by Holly Severson and Toby Blomé)