‘Cut-out’ Anti-Drone Protest Brings Arrests

The U.S. government’s lethal drone program continues to spark protests from anti-war activists, including a novel “blockade” outside upstate New York’s Hancock air base where a dozen protesters arrayed life-size cut-outs of the late anti-war activist Jerry Berrigan and faced arrest.

On Jan. 28, 30 life-size cutouts of the late anti-war activist Jerry Berrigan brother of Dan and Phil Berrigan blockaded the main entrance of Hancock Air National Guard Base outside Syracuse, New York, where Jerry Berrigan lived. The cutouts of Jerry Berrigan were accompanied by 12 live nonviolent drone resisters, who were arrested after blockading for an hour and a half.

Jerry Berrigan, who died on July 26, 2015 at the age of 95, dedicated his life as did his brothers Dan and Phil Berrigan to Jesus’s command to love one another. Jerry Berrigan 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.”

Life-size cut-outs of Jerry Berrigan arrayed to blockade at Hancock  airbase in upstate New York on Jan. 28, 2016. (Screen grab from YouTube video)

Life-size cut-outs of the late Jerry Berrigan arrayed to blockade entrance to Hancock Air National Guard Base outside Syracuse, New York, on Jan. 28, 2016. (Screen grab from YouTube video)

Berrigan also sought “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 Berrigan 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 his 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. His 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. As the protesters noted, 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.

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. [See also, http://www.democracynow.org/2015/11/20/numbing_horrible_former_drone_operator_brandon.]

Americans dependent on the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets know next to nothing about the drone killings, much less those who believe them to be crimes, the protesters noted.

The 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, the protesters said, calling these weaponized robotic drones instruments of terror because they perpetrate extrajudicial killings, violate due process, violate national sovereignty, and kill non-combatants and civilians.

[For more details, see www.upstatedroneaction.org]

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3 comments for “‘Cut-out’ Anti-Drone Protest Brings Arrests

  1. Evangelista
    February 2, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    “As the protesters noted, 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.”

    I think the rural New York courts are correct in their recognitions of citizens calling attention to drone killings being a danger to the colonel of a U.S. military base from where attack drones are operated and drone attacks are directed. The colonel of the base does have reason to know that extra-judicial killing is murder, and assassination killing is premeditated murder. Thus, the protestors accusations are of first-degree murder, murder by premeditated drone-attack assassination; if not also of terrorizing and being a terrorist.

    The colonel undoubtedly knows that assassinating, especially outside of a declared war, especially targeting civilians, even ones defined ‘combatant’ by only one party, especially when that party is clearly reaching for excuses and justifications to attack and kill, qualifies eminently as war-crime, too.

    Thus, the colonel is certainly justified in fearing being exposed of and accused for participation in actions he cannot possibly not know are criminal and capital both domestically and internationally.

    But do the courts in rural New York have legitimate and legal authority to grant protections to such persons? Criminals, engaging in, criminal activities? Do courts in rural New York, or anywhere else in the United States, have legal judicial authority to interdict, estop and criminally sanction persons accusing criminal behavior and confronting the person they allege having committed crime?

    I don’t see how they can in a nation like the United States, where confrontation by an accuser is a fundamental right, a protected right, for persons accused. How, in this environment of law, can an accused to go to a court and demand he not be accused? Demand that his accuser not confront him, in fact, be estopped from accusing, and then sanctioned for confronting him with the accusation?

    Can a court in the United States legally grant such protection in such a case? A protection whose purpose is not to prevent a crime, but to prevent the exposure of crime? The grant is protection for the criminal through protecting him against being accused.

    It is hard to believe any court, even the most rural court in any rural state could, without malice, knowing intent and willful deliberation, turn a law from providing protection for the innocent to protecting criminals. Especially protecting them by protecting them against having what is their Constitutional right, to be faced by their accusers, exercised.

    I think the courts of rural New York are the ones who are in trouble. Not only are they making themselves accomplice in the commission of capital crime, they are standing the United States Constitution on its head doing so. They are voluntarily, knowingly and intentionally joining themselves to the accused as participating conspirators in what the accused is accused of.

  2. Gerald
    February 1, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Harry Truman said the Buck Stops here at the White House,,, Barack Obama says the Drone STARTS HERE at the White House ! Any Congressman Can File an Impeachment Charge Against President Obama and Minimally Scare the Drones Out if him! Do it now!! Procrastination is the thief of time.. Tomorrow is today.. The handwriting has already been on the. wall TOO LONG! An Extinction World War Three is the consequence of failing to Impeach Obama yesterday!

  3. dahoit
    January 31, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Drones;Straight from the black heart of Zion,adapted by the USA as legitimate,a sad expression of the state of American honor and wisdom.

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