Drone Warfare Must Stop, Not the Resistance

From the March 2014 PNL #832

by Carol Baum

On Friday, February 14 the twelve sentenced members of the Hancock 17 Drone War Crime Resisters were released from Syracuse’s “Justice” Center Jail. This closed a week in which the National Security Administration’s role in the assassinations of drone victims was revealed, Pakistani anti-drone activist Kareem Khan was freed after having been abducted from his home and President Obama considered a drone assassination of yet another US citizen.
On February 7, after five evenings of court over five weeks, Town of DeWitt Court Judge David Gideon had found the Hancock 17 guilty of disorderly conduct for their nonviolent civil resistance action at Hancock Air Base in 2012. They had symbolically blocked Hancock’s gates and 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 and fines of $325 per person. He also imposed a two-year Order of Protection, prohibiting the defendants from going to the home, school, business or place of employment of the Commander of Hancock’s mission support group. Considering that the resisters had never met or knew of him before their arrest, it is clear the intent is to keep people away from his place of employment – the base.

As resister 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.” The group will be challenging the Order.

The resisters had been prepared for whatever sentence the judge gave. 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.”

It is drone warfare that must stop, not the resistance to it.

Of the five resisters not sentenced, one is to be sentenced later. Two others had their cases dismissed on technical grounds and the remaining two had pled guilty earlier.

The resisters 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.

Watch the video of the sentencing at vimeo.com/86277951. More video will be uploaded. Check peacecouncil.net for updates and names of the resisters. Contact Carol Baum at SPC to get involved.