drones

Yes to Grandmas, No to Drones

From the Syracuse Peace Council: Drone Resister Sentenced to One Year in Prison Base’s Order of Protection Begs Judgement:

On July 10, grandmother of three, Mary Anne Grady Flores was sentenced to one year in prison for being found guilty of violating an order of protection. A packed courtroom of over 100 supporters was stunned as she was led away, and vowed to continue the resistance.

These orders of protection, typically used in domestic violence situations or to protect a victim or witness to a crime, have been issued to people participating in nonviolent resistance actions at Hancock Air Base since late 2012. The base, near Syracuse NY, pilots unmanned Reaper drones over Afghanistan, and trains drone pilots, sensor operators and maintenance technicians. The orders had been issued to “protect” Colonel Earl Evans, Hancock’s mission support commander, who wanted to keep protesters “out of his driveway.”

Mary Anne began her sentencing statement with, “Your honor, a series of judicial perversions brings me here before you tonight.” She concluded that the “final perversion is the reversal of who is the real victim here: the commander of a military base whose drones kill innocent people halfway around the world, or those innocent people themselves who are the real ones in need of protection from the terror of US drone attacks?”

The orders of protection are being challenged on many legal grounds.

Mary Anne had been issued a temporary order in 2012. The next year, she photographed a nonviolent witness at the base, not participating herself because she did not want to violate the order. The irony is that those who actually participated in the action were acquitted, while Mary Anne was charged with violating the order.

Even though the pre-sentencing report recommended no jail time, Judge Gideon sentenced Mary Anne to the maximum of a year in prison. As he imposed his sentence, the judge referred to his previous Hancock decision. He had stated then and insinuated now, “This has got to stop.”

In addition, Mary Anne was fined $1000 plus a $205 court surcharge and a $50 fee to have her DNA collected.

Her verdict is being appealed.

How you can help

  1. Send letters of support to Mary Anne Grady Flores c/o Onodaga County Department of Correction, PO Box 143, Jamesville, NY 13078.
  2. Mary Anne’s lawyer is appealing this case and financial support would be gladly accepted. Make checks out to Ithaca Catholic Worker (with Mary Anne’s name in the memo) and send them to 133 Sheffield Road, Ithaca, New York 14850.
  3. Help spread this Democracy Now link around: Grandmother Sentenced to 1 Year in Prison After Protest at U.S. Drone Base — and ask your local media to cover this situation. Write something yourself if you can.

These suggestions are amended from a Facebook post by Ellen Grady. She can be reached at demottgrady6 at gmail dot com for more information on upcoming trials and related support efforts.

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Quick links from awesome people

Here are some of the very cool things that have landed in my in-box in the past few days. Had to share!

  • Reverend Billy Vs. Robobees: ‘This is a film by Stop Shopping Choir member and Ethiopian-American activist Theodros Tamirat. In it, Reverend Billy & the Stop Shopping Choir marched bee-pollinated food into the Micro Robotic Lab at Harvard University. The lead researcher in this project has received public accolades and money from Navy, Air Force and the notorious drone designers DARPA. His scientists are designing a HoneyBee robot that would artificially pollinate the factory farms of the future, while its possible military uses stop at the word “Surveillance.”‘ Help finance the Third HoneyBeeLujah RoboBee Exorcism here.
  • Astraea Foundation is seeking donations. Help support their excellent work for queer folks here.
  • Video: “Why Are We Stuck in Climate Denial?”
    “This salon-style event was hosted by Gay Nicholson of Sustainable Tompkins. To begin the discussion, Nancy Menning (Philosophy and Religious Studies) of Ithaca College, and Dave Wolfe (Horticulture) and Lauren Chambliss (Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future) of Cornell University provided some insight into the complex and often subtle explanations for denial, and approaches for moving beyond denial to address important questions regarding solutions.” Other talks: May 8: Can business and technology save us? May 29: Will government intervene? June 19: Is it up to the citizenry? Click more info on the video for details on upcoming events.
  • Queer Women Who Tech Summit New York JUNE 19-22 // NYU LAW SCHOOL // NEW YORK “The Lesbians Who Tech Summit is the only event focused on increasing visibility and tech participation in two historically underrepresented communities: women and LGBTQ. The Summit brings together hundreds of queer women in tech (and the people who love them), for the most unique technology conference ever. We’ll highlight incredible queer women who are the next generation of technical leaders, and the people who have paved the way.”
  • Information Session: NY State of Health Marketplace: “Come and learn about how the Affordable Care Act affects you, your family and your community please come to this information session on Thursday, June 26 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at GIAC… Refreshments will be served.”
  • The New Black is airing on PBS’ Independent Lens, and is up for an Audience Award. Click here to vote! “Centering on the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland, this documentary takes viewers into the pews, the streets, and kitchen tables to look at how the African American community grapples with the gay rights issue.” Click here to view a TED Talk by the director, Yoruba Richen.

Hm, that was a lot of stuff! Sorry for the long post. Hope these sorts of posts are of interest to folks; let me know what you think!

Resist Drone War Crimes

Upstate New York peace activists have been indicted and arrested (click for video) for resisting drone war crimes. You can support them by showing up at the trial and/or press conferences, and/or sharing information about what’s happened so that others will know about it and get involved.

Trial:
Friday, January 3rd 5 pm and Saturday, January 4th 10 am

Press Conferences:
Fri. 1/3 5pm & Sat. 1/4 9am
(US Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark will be there Saturday)

Click here for info on Ithaca carpool etc., on Facebook.

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