Press Release: Russell Brown Trial July 30, 31

Buffalo Man Faces Jury Trial 7/30-31/14 for Drone-Protest Street Theater

Buffalonian Russell Brown faces a jury trial on July 30 and 31 in DeWitt Town Court, on the outskirts of Syracuse, due to charges stemming from his arrest during a nonviolent protest at Hancock Air National Guard Base on April 28, 2013. He is charged with Obstruction of Governmental Administration (OGA), a misdemeanor carrying up to a year incarceration and up to $1000 fine, as well as Disorderly Conduct, a violation. Hancock is one of the three primary drone centers in the U.S.

Mr. Brown will represent himself at the trial. Continue reading

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This is Madness

by Leah Grady Sayvetz, daughter of Clare Grady daughter of Clare Grady who is one of 7 people arrested July 23, 2014 at Hancock Air Base

My mom is in jail tonight with a $10,000.00 bail for delivering a war crimes indictment and people’s order of protection to Hancock Air Base, home of the 174th Attack Wing which pilots killer drones over Afghanistan. “That’s crazy!” you might say, and it is. Or others may say, “Well, she did do that and knew she would be arrested.” Stop and think about that statement, though. Isn’t that still crazy because what she was doing was a perfectly peaceful and legitimate action, protected by our constitution? My mother was practicing her first amendment right to petition her government for redress of grievances. For that she was handcuffed, taken to court, arraigned on criminal charges, given a $10,000.00 bail, and locked up in the Syracuse Justice Center- a notoriously freezing cold and cruel environment. If your mother were mowing her lawn or bringing cookies over to the neighbors and that happened to her you would say that was crazy, madness. Well, I do not argue that I’ve just given anything near to a stellar analogy there, but my point is simply this: If you say that you’re not shocked and upset by what has happened to my mother after she peacefully held a sign outside of a military installation, then perhaps we should all take a step back and analyze what we accept these days as normal, as given. This is crazy.  Continue reading

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We Are Losing A Generation Because of Drones

A Q&A with longtime activist and grandmother Mary Anne Grady Flores, 57, about what motivates her actions (reprinted from Alternet.org)

‘We Are Losing A Generation Because of Drones’ Says Activist Sentenced to Prison After Photographing Anti-Drone Protest

Warplanes have long been based at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, NY. But in 2009, something new arrived: MQ-9 Reaper drones that were flown remotely over Afghanistan, dropping missiles and bombs and unleashing terror.

Organizers in Upstate New York started protests soon after the drones arrived and founded Upstate Drone Action in 2010. In 2011, one longtime activist, member of the Catholic Worker movement and grandmother, Mary Anne Grady Flores, 57, joined the struggle. As part of the “Hancock 38” in April that year, she was arrested for protesting at the base’s main entrance by participating in a die-in to illustrate the indiscriminate killing of civilians overseas by drones.

She was arrested again in October 2012 for another act of “civil resistance,” as she puts it, not “civil disobedience,” to uphold the U.S. Constitution and international treaties the U.S. signed. That led to Grady Flores and the 16 others being placed under court orders restricting their protest rights. Frustrated by the protesters’ persistence, a base commander, Col. Earl Evans, sought and received a Orders of Protection — usually reserved for domestic violence victims — which was used over time to bar approximately 50 protesters from the base’s grounds.  Continue reading

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Anti-drone activist’s 1-year sentence will not deter movement

By Ben Kuebrich, originally published in Waging Nonviolence

Like most of her supporters in the courtroom, I was enraged when I heard N.Y. Judge David Gideon sentenced Mary Anne Grady-Flores to one year in jail on July 10. But a deep hope prevailed, which characterizes the local anti-drone movement in New York and is no small part of the impact we’ve had.

When Grady-Flores was handcuffed in DeWitt Town Court, the 115 people in attendance stood up and sang. Resonating deep from her roots in the Catholic Worker movement, we called out in unison that night in the courtroom:

Rejoice in the Lord always
Again I say rejoice
Rejoice, rejoice
Again I say rejoice

Continue reading

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Press Release: 7 Arrested at Hancock July 22

Seven Arrested at Hancock Base held on Outrageous Bail

23 July 2014

Syracuse July 23, 2014   Earlier today eight Atlantic Life Community activists joined with Upstate Drone Action at the main gate of Hancock Air Base, in Syracuse, New York. Hancock is the home of the 174th Attack Wing of the New York State Air National Guard. The 174th Attack Wing pilots weaponized MQ9 Reaper drones over Afghanistan – killing and terrorizing an uncountable number of civilians.

The eight delivered a People’s War Crimes Indictment to the Hancock chain of command by affixing it to the fence after being refused by the base personnel.  Also delivered was an Order of Protection on behalf of the children of the world who are subject to U.S. drone surveillance and attack.

The eight issued a statement that began with a list of names of persons who have been killed by drone strikes; “Syed Wali Shah, 7 years old, killed by an American drone strike. Momina Bibi, mother and midwife, killed by an American drone strike. Tarik Aziz, 16, killed by an American drone strike…  This Must Stop!  We are a community of peacemakers who resist war, racism and greed. We stand … in solidarity with men, women and children being terrorized by US military aggression.”  Continue reading

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Harassing The Drones

Reprinted from TeleSUR, English

Kabul– On July 10, 2014, in New York State, Judge David Gideon sentenced Mary Anne Grady Flores to a year in prison and fined her $1,000 for photographing a peaceful demonstration at the U.S. Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Field  (near Syracuse) where weaponized Reaper drones are remotely piloted in lethal flights over Afghanistan.  Dozens have been sentenced, previously, for peaceful protest there. But uniquely, the court convicted her under laws meant to punish stalkers, deciding that by taking pictures outside the heavily guarded base she violated a previous order of protection not to stalk or harass the commanding officer.

Mary Anne is a 58 year-old grandmother of three, from Ithaca, New York, where she is part of the Upstate Drone Action.

Since late 2009 this grassroots group has persistently raised awareness about the consequences of drone attacks in Afghanistan, the global epicenter of U.S. drone warfare.   In December 2012, the U.S. Air Force revealed that U.S. drones had struck targets in Afghanistan 477 times during just the preceding year. Continue reading

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Breaking News: Protesters Arrested At Hancock Gate

Eight 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 today. They have come 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.

Here is their witness:

Syed Wali Shah 7 years old, killed by an American Drone strike. Momina Bibi, mother and midwife, killed by an American drone strike. Tairk Aziz, 16, killed by an American drone strike… This Must Stop! Continue reading

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Please Support Our Ongoing Trials and Appeals

This is an urgent request for financial support needed to challenge the growing misuse of orders of protection to stifle dissent, and to fund the mounting legal costs of the many drone resisters at Hancock Air Base who have been served with these orders of protection. Legal proceedings are expensive, and like other public services, they are most burdensome for those with small incomes from Social Security, pensions and low paying or part time employment.

Orders of protection, typically used to protect victims of domestic violence, have been issued to over 50 people participating since 2012 in nonviolent resistance actions at Hancock Air Base, where weaponized drones are remotely piloted. The stated purpose of all these orders is, astonishingly, to “protect” a Hancock base commander from these nonviolent protesters. Their real intent is to keep resisters away from the base. Continue reading

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Show Trials

In a post called “The Hancock Show Trials: Quashing Dissent Against America’s Criminal Drone Killing Program” on the blog of No Drones New York State, anti-drone activist Joe Scary says:

What is particularly significant about the upcoming trials is that they are part of a government plan to put a chill, once and for all, on citizens’ exercise of Constitutional rights.  The citizens rely on Bill of Rights protections, Constitutional provisions about civilian control over the military, and the international treaties covering conduct of war and human rights, to which the United States is a party. The position of the government is that no dissent will be tolerated, and that the severity of the penalties for expression will be rapidly escalated, until the point where dissent is cut off entirely.

Continue reading

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Press Release: Drone Activist Released on Appeal

Drone Activist Mary Anne Grady Flores
Released on Appeal of Violation of Order of Protection

July 18, 2014, Syracuse, NY   Last night Mary Anne Grady Flores was released on $5,000 bail from the Syracuse Justice Center after appearing before County Court Judge Thomas J. Miller who granted a stay of execution of her one year sentence, pending appeal of the Order of Protection granted to Col. Earl A. Evans by the DeWitt Town Court judges requiring drone protesters to stay away from the Hancock Airbase. Continue reading

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