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General News    H3'ed 5/12/12

Drone warfare protests May 18 to May 20 in the Bronx and Manhattan

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1. Friday, May 18 -- 5:15 p.m. -- Gather at the Fordham University Main Entrance at 2853 Southern Parkway, Bronx, NY.
At 6 p.m. Archbishop Timothy Dolan will be presenting the Fordham Baccalaureate Mass for the Fordham University Commencement for the Class of 2012. Urge Archbishop Dolan to speak out against the war drones controlled out of Hancock Air Base in Syracuse, NY; Syracuse is part of his eccelesiastical province.

Note: On May 9, a group from upstate New York visited Syracuse Bishop Robert J. Cunningham to ask him to publicly oppose drone warfare; a *report of their meeting appears below.
2. Saturday, May 19 -- 9:15 a.m. -- Main Gate of Fordham University, Southern Parkway near Fordham Road, Bronx, NY.
Protest the awarding of an honorary degree to John Brennan, the Obama Administration's Deputy National Security Advisor for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security and drone warfare advocate as well as the school's invitation to him to be the commencement speaker for the Class of 2012. The ceremony starts at 10 a.m.
3. Sunday, May 20 -- 3:15 p.m. -- Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Avenue, Manhattan, NY.
Protest drone warfare at the awarding of an honorary degree to Congressman Edolphus Towns (Brooklyn, NY), at the 4 p.m. diploma ceremony for the Fordham Graduate School of School Service. Congressman Towns is a member of the Congressional Unmanned Systems (Drone) Caucus, a lobbying arm of the drone industry within the Congress.
*Report of the Meeting with Bishop Cunningham -- May 9, 2012
Ruth Giammichele opened with a prayer for Fr John Donovan, who was undergoing surgery at about the same time we were having our meeting.
Main point of our group was to get the Bishop to take a leadership position and call for an end to drone killings.
Ruth Giammichele, Jim Clune, Ed Kinane, Paul Welch and Jack Gilroy met with the Bishop Wednesday afternoon on May 9.
Bishop Cunningham had a binder with articles on drones, and said he had read most of the information. We did not lecture him on drones but rather continued to press him to accept the immorality of killing drones and asked that he take the issue to the Catholic Council of Bishops meeting next November. He responded that their agenda is established long before the meeting, and that a specific issue like drones would not be considered.
We then asked for him to take leadership in his diocese calling for an end to drone killings. As Bishop of the Syracuse Diocese, he is the acknowledged moral leader of all Catholics and an important symbol for people of all faiths. 
Bishop Cunningham responded that we need to know that there are many people who do not agree with our position. There are Catholics who work at Hancock and who support drones. We noted that this is true, but we're asking him to take the step to stop violence and speak out.
Bishop Cunningham noted again the issue of not just jobs but people believe that our soldiers and airmen are protected by drones which eliminate much of the need for our men and women to go into foreign lands to conduct war.
We noted that jobs would be created if crematoriums or immigrant prisons were to be built locally by the government, that the argument of jobs will always be there but we're asking him to do the right thing and speak out in opposition to violence -- the violence of drones.
We asked him what we could do to help him make the statement. We asked him if we could draw up a statement he could use.
Bishop Cunningham said we could do that but assured us he was not ready to make such a statement. He needed more time to consider.
Each member of the team had something to say. All comments were listened to by the Bishop.
It was a good and genial meeting. What may come of it we don't know.
We asked if he would meet with us again.
He said he would.

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