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Arrest, jail, charges with 11 other witnesses against drone killings enabled by Air Force video-game warriors of the NY State National Guard based at Hancock base, NY, was an uplifting action for many of us last Thursday.
Silence, inaction on this critical issue amounts to complicity. Watch the two-minute video of the protest, below...
On January 28, 2016, 30 life-size cutouts of the late Syracuse peacemaker Jerry Berrigan -- brother of Dan and Phil Berrigan -- blockaded the main entrance of Hancock Air National Guard Base outside Syracuse, NY. The cutouts of Jerry Berrigan were backed up by 12 live nonviolent drone resisters, who were arrested after blockading for an hour and a half.
A press release of the protest (slightly edited) follows:
Jerry Berrigan Memorial Drone Blockade Hancock Air Drone Base, Jan. 28 -- Twelve Activists Arrested
On Thursday morning, January 28, 30 life-sized cutouts of Syracuse peacemaker Jerry Berrigan blockaded the main entrance of Hancock Air National Guard Base outside Syracuse, NY. The 30 cutouts were accompanied by 12 nonviolent, drone-resisters, who were arrested and jailed after blockading for an hour and a half. See 2-minute video [above] (of the blockade and arrests).
"Jerry Berrigan, who died on July 26, 2015 at the age of 95, dedicated his entire life -- like his brothers Dan and Phil -- to Jesus' command to love one another. Jerry came to the base on a bi-weekly basis whenever he was able, in his words, "to remind the base commander of our government's pledge under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, a treaty to safeguard non-combatant's well-being in any warzone in which U.S. forces are engaged in combat." And further, "to register horror and indignation at reports of bombing missions by drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan which resulted in the deaths of many innocent civilians; men, women and children."
Those arrested and jailed for standing with the Memorial were Beth Adams, Bev Rice, Bill Ofenloch, Brian Hynes, Charley Bowman, Ed Kinane, James Ricks, Joan Pleune, Joan Wages, Pete Perry, Steve Baggarly, and Ray McGovern.
They were all charged with one misdemeanor and two violations, with the exception of Bev Rice and Joan Pleune, who were both charged with an additional misdemeanor (for allegedly violating an order of protection taken out by the base commander).
In 2008 Jerry was asked if there was anything he would change in his life. Jerry replied, "I would have resisted more often and been arrested more often." The activists brought Jerry's image to the gates to remember that this is where he would be, speaking out and putting his body on the line to say a clear "NO" to killing. Jerry's widow was among the supporters on Thursday.
The group also remembered Mary Anne Grady Flores, who is serving a six-month sentence for violating an order of protection, taken out by the colonel at Hancock Air Base. Courts in rural New York apparently believe that a colonel at this highly armed base needs protection from nonviolent citizens calling attention to the drone killings.
More and more evidence mounts regarding the illegality of U.S. drone policies, from the "Drone Papers" published by The Intercept, to the four drone pilots who have come forward to speak out about what this policy is doing.
Those malnourished by the New York Times know next to nothing about the drone killings, much less those who believe them to be crimes.
On Thursday, activists tried to deliver a letter addressed to the Hancock military personnel, stating "Under the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice you must not be complicit in these crimes against peace, crimes against humanity and war crimes. In fact, you are required to disobey unlawful orders from a superior."
Hancock Air Base deploys hunter/killer Reaper drones 24/7 over Afghanistan and probably elsewhere. These weaponized robotic drones are instruments of terror. They perpetrate extrajudicial killings, violate due process, violate national sovereignty, and kill non-combatants and civilians.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)