April 2- May 27 Anti Drone War Billboards go up In Syracuse!!
Full Story on Blog
March 24: General Meeting in Syracuse, Details Soon
* * * 2017 * * *
October 11: Mary Anne Grady Flores Appeal Challenges Hancock OOPs
September 25: 7 Arrested at Hancock with giant bloody dollar sign
Rich Man’s War; Poor People’s Blood Indictment Press Release August 18, 19: Annual Kateri Peace Conference, Organized by John Amidon June 16-18: Upstate Drone Action at UNAC Conference 2017
James Ricks, Ed Kinane, Judy Bello presented along with David Swanson,
Medea Benjamin, Ajamu Barak and other critical voices of our movement
UNAC Action Plan, Video Recordings of Conf Panels and Workshops
March 7, 2016: Mary Anne Grady Flores released from jail Press Release
Grandma Drone Resister Letters from jail: First, Second
January 28: Jerry Berrigan Memorial Blockade, 12 arrested at Hancock Field
Press Release Statement Message to Drone Pilots
* * * Ongoing * * *
Street Heat Vigils at Hancock Gate, 1st & 3rd Tuesdays
see our Calendar for details . . .
Wilton Vought of Other Voices Other Choices livestreamed Rich Man’s War; Poor People’s Blood demonstration at Hancock National Guard Base, 9/25/2017. Click to view.
Just before 10 AM on September 25, protesters appeared at the mouth of the access road leading to the front gate of Hancock Air National Guard Base, home of the lethal Reaper drone. They blocked the inbound lane with a giant dollar sign that dripped with blood and big bills. The banner read "Rich Man's War - Poor People's Blood". Hancock AFB was designated the domestic Reaper Drone Training Center in 2010, and has been blessed this year with plans to double the number of drone pilots on site and expand their training programs. We oppose these plans to double down on the flying of assassin drones in our community. Drones violate International Law and US Constitutional Law. The use of drones to create new warzones is morally reprehensible and increases resentment against the United States around the globe. Drone warfare is a cash cow for numerous high tech corporations who make their fortune off the murder of defenseless people around the globe.
Event Video by Heriberto Rodriguez
Wilton Vought livestreamed the event Here.
Around 10 a.m. April 14 we arrived, unannounced, at Hancock’s main ingress and set up our 14 crosses. The crosses [see video] resembled Reaper drones. The crosses were assembled in the base ingress driveway, then three of us in orange jump suites and black hoods ascended the three more sturdy crosses with platforms and hung there, arms outstretched, for the duration.
Upon arrival, as we customarily do, two of us, James and Tom, delivered a “War Crimes Indictment” to the guards at the guard shack. The base immediately placed a sign on the north shoulder of East Molloy directing any traffic to another base gate. That sign remained there only temporarily. As far as I could see through my black hood, there was little vehicle traffic and no public pedestrian traffic.
The nine perps were arrested in about an hour. Upon arrest, we were handcuffed and taken to the Onondaga County’s sheriff department’s north station. We were held there for less than an hour (without being photographed or fingerprinted) before being issued appearance tickets and released into the parking lot. We were charged (only) with violations --trespass and disorderly conduct, with no arraignments or bail. We are to appear in the DeWitt court either on Tuesday May 9 or on Wednesday May 10.
Besides those arrested there were 15 or so supporters holding banners or signs on the south shoulder of East Molloy Rd. A new wrinkle: supporters used a megaphone to broadcast statements – both prepared and improvised -- to base personnel and law enforcement.
There was no rough stuff, but my three-legged stool – like my cane at the Dec 23 “Nativity” action -- was confiscated. Our 14 crosses were confiscated by base personnel and taken away in a pick-up truck. ~Statement by Ed Kinane
Traditional Nativity at Hancock: Video by Jay Wilcox
Protesters staged a traditional Christmas Nativity outside the front gate of Hancock Done Base outside Syracuse, NY. The story of Christ's birth is particularly appropriate to bring to our attention the US policy of random drone murders of poor people in the Middle East. In the Creche, Mary and Joseph and their newborn son were attended by a shepherd and a Zoroastrian wise man. When the police arrived the actors chose not to leave the scene and were arrested. Angels and others observed from across the street. Ed Kinane, Bev Rice, John Amidon and Jules Orkin were arrested and charged with Trespass, Disorderly Conduct and Obstructing Governmental Administration.
Press Conference Featuring Harry Murray, Mary Anne Grady Flores, Ed Kinane and Beth Harris followed by Harry's Sentencing Hearing - Filmed by Wilton Vought on March 10, 2016
Undrone Upstate! Walkers traveled from Hancock Base to the Federal building in downtown Syracuse, stopping at St. Joseph's Hospital along the way to protest the drone bombing by the U.S. of a MSF hospital in Kunduz Afghanistan that killed 12 staff members and 10 patients; and injured many more. From the Federal building, they walked to Marcellus. Each night was spent in a different place (usually a church) in a small town. There were 3 stops in the Rochester area. Listen to fascinating Panel at Nazareth organized by Harry Murray. Then there was more action in the Niagara Falls/Buffalo Area with Medea Benjamin. Photos, Medea's speech.
Calendar Itinerary and Map Press Release
Sentencing for Bev, Joan, Jules, Ellen: Bev Rice, Joan Pleune, Ellen Barfield an Jules Orkin, convicted of Trespass in June for April 26, 2013 Die-In, were sentenced July 29. After hours of hearing motions argued by attorney Lew Oliver, and denied by Judge Joseph Zavaglia, the defendants were sentenced to a 1 year Conditional Discharge, with a 2 year permanent Order of Protection for Hancock Base Commander Col. Greg Semmel. Joan and Bev demanded jail time and were resentenced to 15 days in the Onondaga County lockup - with an OOP, of course. In his sentencing statement, ADA Peter Hakes said that the case was not about the defendants' First Amendment rights but about killing people with drones. On this point, he is in sound agreement with the defendants. It might appear that he 'got it'. But his claim also might be understood as a preemptive shot at undermining any appeal that might be in the works.
Vigil for the Innocent Victims of US drones and global war. The event was moved from the grass outside the Hancock front gate to Thorndon Park in Syracuse because our permit was rescinded at the request of the base commander 2 days before the event. About 25 people came and experienced a very moving ceremony following a brief talk by Cathy Breen about her experiences visiting with Iraqi and Syrian refugees in Iraq, Kurdistan and Turkey this spring. It is difficult to imagine the devastation these people have suffered, having lost their homes and their livelihood; now living a very insecure life with limited electricity and gas; lack of health care, and of schools for their children in many cases; and limited access to basic food and water necessary to live. Worse than that, they feel disrespected and abandoned by the world.
Click to read the Call. Here we are at Hancock!
End the Wars at Home and
Abroad A number of us attended the UNAC Conference. There are videos linked to the Schedule, Panel and
Workshop pages of the Conference
Website, more coming ... Here Nick Mottern interviews Kathy Kelly:
Protesters block Hancock front gate with 8' books; 7 arrested: Those arrested were charged with trespass, disorderly conduct, obstructing governmental administration. They will be arraigned in DeWitt Town Court March 23, 24 and 25. In an interesting twist, those holding OOPs naming Col Earl A Evans were not charged as he is no longer serving at Hancock Base.
Slide Show by Charley Bowman of the Western New York Peace Center
UCGDEW sent Ellen Grady and Jim Clune to join The Nevada Desert Experience, CodePink, Veterans for Peace and other anti-drone activists from around the country in a series of demonstrations over 3 days to Shut Down Creech in a Convergence for Peace to ground the Reaper drones flown from there. Click the image on the left to see the Pink Drones video. See more videos from Creech here.
Below: The Arrests, A Message to Drone Pilots
Drone-Spotter Bonny Mahoney's trial was completely transformed in the days and hours prior to
her conviction. Bonny's trial date was set nearly a year ago, for charges she was arraigned on 17 months
ago following a protest at Hancock Air National Guard Base, April 28, 2013. She was given a date for a jury
trial on charges of Obstructing Governmental Administration (OGA), and a couple counts of Disorderly Conduct
(DisCon). A week before trial, she was notified that a new charge would be added. When she arrived for her
jury trial with a plan, witnesses and 2 attorneys to advise her, she was arraigned on a new trespass charge, a
violation. Judge Gideon upheld a motion brought on Bonny's behalf to dismiss the OGA charge, the only
misdemeanor. He then dismissed the jury pool and initiated a bench trial. Requests by Bonny and her
co-council for an adjournment to prepare for the new circumstances were denied. Following closing arguments,
Judge Gideon acquitted her of the DisCon charges and convicted her of Trespass. Prior to her sentencing
date, on February 12, Bonny's team will submit a motion expressing their concerns about the procedural
inconsistencies of this trial. ** Press Releases: Before,
12/03: Mark Colville Sentencing Hearing: Mark was up against 2 years, but in a surprise decision, Judge Robert Jokl, who had previously seemed prepared to issue a punitive decision, sentenced him to Conditional Discharge During the press conference above, he was expecting the max. Click the image to see Mark speak at the press conference.
11/28: Jack Gilroy Released from Jamesville after 60 days in jail. In a statement published on his release, Jack said
"As the oldest prisoner at Jamesville at 79, I was also the only political prisoner- a prisoner of conscience.  The refusal of the DeWitt Town Court in East Syracuse to recognize 1st Amendment 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."Jack Gilroy Interview prior to sentencing.
November 13 Hearing, Bea Dewing, Clare Grady, Martha Hennessy: Bea's attorney, Kathy Manley submitted a motion to Dismiss as Bea's charges were based on the same actions as those of John Amidon whose charges were earlier dismissed following a motion by Ms. Manley before Judge Gideon. It was granted. Clare Grady, represented by attorney Jim Kerrigan and Martha Hennessy, represented by Jonathon Wallace, appeared for motions. A motion for for postponement presented by Mr. Kerrigan was granted by Judge Gideon on behalf of both Clare and Martha.
Our Global Day of Action Against Drone Warfare and Surveillance Speakout at Hancock Base was a roaring success, quite literally.
Prior to the attack, we heard from representatives of many of the groups who attended, under the watchful eyes of a a large contingent of military, state and local police, and a handful of counter-protesters who joined us.
10/8: Joan Pleune's Trespass Charge from July 23, 2014 Dismissed! Judge Robert Jokl dismissed the July 23, 2014 Hancock trespass charge against former Freedom Rider and Brooklyn Granny Peace Brigade activist Joan Pleune, 75. Albany attorney Lew Oliver, representing Joan at the Motions Hearing in the DeWitt town court, defended her primarily on First Amendment grounds. Oliver also argued that the Base’s accusatory instrument was defective and failed to establish the legitimacy of the painted blue line at the beginning of the driveway into the base supposedly marking Hancock Base boundary. Prosecutor Jordan McNamara, who had previously received Oliver’s several motions dealing with the blue line and other matters, failed to show up for the hearing.
09/19: Mark Colville Conviction Mark was convicted on five charges On September 19, after a two day jury trial in DeWitt Town Court with Judge Jokl presiding. The charges came from a protest he engaged in at Hancock Base on December 9, 2013 with two Graduate Students from Yale Seminary. They attempted to deliver a People's Order of Protection to Col. Evans along with some flowers. Mark, who went before the court pro se, without an attorney, was quite eloquent in his explanation of the issues at hand. In his Closing Remarks he said “The faces of dead children that you are not allowed to see, I have seen.” [the Judge would not allow the photos to be presented] And later, “We have a claim to be there [in front of Hancock Gate] under the First Amendment. He [Col. Evans] has a claim under the Order of Protection. You can decide can which is stronger.” However, the six member jury failed to grasp the issues he raised. Press Release
Jack Gilroy Sentenced to 3 Months in Jail and 3 Years Parole: Jack was convicted of OGA and Disorderly Conduct On July 31, after a two day trial in DeWitt Town Court with Judge Jokl presiding. Before going to court, he said “It’s time for our justice system to identify the real criminals…not those who carry the message to stop the killing to the gates of Hancock Air Base.” Press Release
Eve Tetaz Not Guilty
Eighty three year old Eve Tetaz of Washington, DC motioned for dismissal based on the fact that her actions were legal expressions of her first amendment right to express her dissatisfaction with the government and ask for redress of grievance. Immediately after ADA Jordan McNamara completed his case, Ms. Tetaz's motion was granted and all charges were dismissed.
Attorney Mark Goldstone talks about Eve Tetaz's Victory
Video by John Amidon
Russell Brown Acquitted of Obstructing Governmental Administration and Disorderly
Conduct by Jury
Russell Brown, a Pro Se defendant, was assisted by Attorney's Daire Irwin and Paul Fallon of Buffalo. Russell gave his own opening and closing statements, and handled most of the questioning of defendants, with occasional advice from his team. Russell's personal testimony was extremely moving. However, the videos he showed clearly indicated that the charges were inconsistent with the actual events and Russell's actions. As usual, ADA McNamara close his case with the presentation disturbing but irrelevant materials. At the end of his closing remarks, he showed an out of context video that was part of a much longer approved video, but irrelevant to the events around Russell's arrest and followed that with an image of a high caliber pistol as a partially completed jigsaw puzzle as an accusation that has no relevance to the events at hand whatsoever except in so far as it indicates that he has not made his case but he hopes people will be sufficiently disturbed by the possibility that they will convict. He has used both these ruses in the past.
Seven protesters arrested delivering an Indictment and a People's Order of Protection at
Seven protesters, including three grandmothers, two already subject to Orders of Protection, protecting Col Earl Evans and Col Greg Semmel, the commanding officers on the base, are standing outside Hancock Air National Guard Base. They came to witness the violence done to peoples around the world by U.S. armed missions against defenseless populations, and in particular the use of remote controlled drones to commit murder in places where ordinary weapons cannot go, and where ordinary soldiers would not kill.
The seven are being charged with Trespass. Two of the defendants, Clare Grady and Martha Hennessy were also charged with violation of an Order of Protection. Liz McAlister and Erica Brock were charged with Disorderly Conduct. Clare Grady and Martha Hennessy are being held on $10,000 bail. Felton Davis, Erica Brock, and Joan Pleune are all being held on $2,500 bail. Clare and Martha were released a week later on $100 bail, and a couple of days after that, the rest were released on their own recognizance.
Jack Gilroy found
Guilty of Obstructing Governmental Administration and Trespass by Jury
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. He will be sentenced October 1st.
Mary Anne Grady Flores and Judy Bello Interview on Talk Nation Radio
Mary Anne Grady Flores was sentenced to 1 year in prison and $1000 fine plus $208 fee.
The judge actually stated that he thinks she has lots of money because she paid her bail. Must be he hasn't heard of a bail fund. He lashed out at a pre-sentence study by the Parole Office that recommended Mary Anne be given a Conditional Discharge. View videos by Cris McConkey Productions of Mary Anne's Sentencing Hearing and the preceding Press Conference.
Mary Anne was released on $5000 bail pending Appeal on Friday, July 18.
You are invited to attend our trials
Yes, we love the support. But also, the process is interesting. On May 8, trials were scheduled for 14 people, one a month over the course of the next year. Please check our Calendar for details. And, this is human drama where significant issues are upheld in a court that normally handles only the mundane concerns of suburban living. Defendants face the Judge and the Prosecutor, armed with their honest conviction that it is a just cause to bring the crimes of our government to light, and that it is their right and their obligation stand against arbitrary murder and destruction in our name.
People's Order of Protection Against Drone Terrorism
Following Dr. West's talk, met at BOCES parking lot, which is located on Thompson Road near the East Gate of the base, for a Rally at 4:30 pm. We then had a permitted walk to the South Gate on Molloy Road and a ceremony to uphold the
Last year, Mohammad, a young man from Wardak Province, Afghanistan, submitted a request for an Order of Protection for his family and community after his young brother-in-law was killed in a drone strike. Raz said:
“On Friday,the 30th of May, 2008 my brother-in-law was killed by a drone, along with four of his friends. My brother-in-law was a student and was innocent. Accountability from the U.S. military for this incident was non-existent.
This incident created a situation which was beyond imagination.
It affected the minds of my sister and all members of my family. When my nephew was 5 years old, he asked his mother, “Where is father?” My sister replied, “Your father was killed by a computer.” These negative effects on all of us persist till today.
I am worried for my family and the people of Maidan Shahr. I request that the U.S. courts protect my sister, my family and my village.
I wish that U.S. will be able to save all humanity from drones.”
Although the courts have so far failed to honor Raz's request, we will come out to support Mohammad, his family and his community. While we regularly hear about illegal drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen, we rarely hear about them in Afghanistan. Hancock pilots fly MQ-9 Reaper Drones over Afghanistan, and they should be accountable for the ongoing carnage and bring them a People's Order of Protection for the children of Afghanistan, for their families and their villages.