13 Ithacans on Trial For Opposing
Over the past year, twelve Ithaca area residents, deeply concerned about President Obama’s drone policy and the illegal drones strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries, participated in several civil resistance actions at Hancock Airfield that resulted in their arrests.
Hancock Airfield is just outside of Syracuse, NY in the Town of Dewitt. It is the home of the 147th Attack Wing of the Air National Guard and the national maintenance and training center for the MQ9 Reaper drones. These drones are operated by remote control from the base, and are used to carry out attacks in Afghanistan and possibly other countries.
Over the past 4 years there have been on-going demonstrations at the base by The Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, an organization made up of groups from Upstate NY including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton, Albany, Ithaca and other towns.
Since October 25, 2012, three different civil resistance actions at the Hancock Base have culminated in the arrest of 57 people, including the fourteen from Ithaca.
The three actions happened on: October 25, 2012, where seventeen people were charged with Trespass (violation) and Disorderly Conduct (violation); February 13, 2013, where nine people were charged with Disorderly Conduct (violation); and April 28, 2013 where thirty-one people were charged with Obstruction of Governmental Administration (misdemeanor), Trespass (violation), and Disorderly Conduct (violation).
Ironically, at a base bristling with lethal weaponry, the base Commander requested and received from the Dewitt Town Court an order of protection against the nonviolent activists. The activists are bewildered by the request and the Courts acquiescence to it.
In each of the actions, the activists presented and read a document to personnel at the base, which they called a “People’s Indictment for War Crimes”. The indictment reads, in part: “These drones are being used...for killings far removed from combat zones....to assassinate individuals and groups...
“Extrajudicial killings such as those the U.S. carries out by drones, are intentional, premeditated, and deliberate use of lethal force to commit murder in violation of U.S. and international law.
“There is hope for a better world when WE, THE PEOPLE, hold our government accountable to the laws and treaties that govern the use of lethal force and war. To the extent that we ignore our laws and Constitution and allow for the unchecked use of lethal force by our government, allowing the government to kill who ever it wants, where ever it wants, how ever it wants with no accountability, we make the world less safe for children everywhere. We appeal to all United States citizens, military and civilian, and to all public officials, to do as required by the Nuremberg Principles I- VII, and by Conscience, to refuse to participate in these crimes, to denounce them, and to resist them nonviolently.”