At 9:15 am on March 19, the 12th anniversary of the U.S.’ illegal invasion of Iraq, seven members of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars shut the main gate of the Hancock Drone Base (near Syracuse, NY) with a giant copy of the UN Charter and three other giant books – Dirty Wars (Jeremy Scahill), Living Under Drones (NYU and Stanford Law Schools), and You Never Die Twice (Reprieve).
The nonviolent activists also held a banner quoting Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, stating that every treaty signed becomes the supreme law of the land. They brought the books to Hancock to remind everyone at the base of the signed treaties that prohibit the killing of civilians and assassinations of human beings.
The group also attempted yet again to deliver a citizen’s indictment for war crimes to the Hancock Air Base chain of command.
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One of the giant books, Living Under Drones: Death, Injury, and Trauma to Civilians from US Drone Practices in Pakistan, states that such missions are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of noncombatants, including women and children, in that region.
One of those arrested, Fr. Bill Pickard of Scranton, PA, stated, “The Reaper drone not only kills and maims humans; it destroys homes and displaces and terrorizes whole communities. U.S. taxpayers pay for such terrorism which perpetuates the violence and generates enormous ill will against the United States.”
Hancock hosts the 174th Attack Wing of the NY Air National Guard – the MQ9 Reaper dronehub. Drones flying over Afghanistan are piloted from the base. It is also a training center for dronepilots, sensor operators and maintenance technicians
Today’s action at Hancock’s main gate is one chapter in the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars’ five-year scrupulously nonviolent campaign to expose the Hancockwar crimes. Since 2010 there have been over 160 anti-Reaper arrests at Hancock, resulting in extreme bails, maximum fines, incarcerations, and Orders of Protection…as well as some acquittals. See www.upstatedroneaction.org
Those arrested for closing the gate with giant books ((created by artist Dan Burgevin of Ithica, NY) were:
Danny Burns, Ithaca,
Brian Hynes, Bronx,
Ed Kinane, Syracuse,
Julienne Oldfield, Syracuse,
Fr. Bill Pickard, Scranton,
Bev Rice, NYC,
James Ricks, Ithaca