CAMP DOUGLAS, WI – Five nonviolent activists attempted to deliver an indictment for war crimes to Volk Field Commander Colonel Dave Romuald. They walked peacefully onto the base with the indictment in hand, and asked for a meeting with Colonel Romauld. Instead of a meeting, they were promptly arrested, taken to the Juneau County jail in handcuffs, and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. They were released several hours later after processing.
Arrested were Bonnie Block, Madison; Joyce Elwinger, Milwaukee; Joy First, Mt. Horeb; Mary Beth Schlagheck, Windsor, and Kathy Walsh, Madison. Between the five women, they have 25 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren that motivate them in this work.
They are all members of the Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars and they have vigiled at the gates of Volk Field monthly since December of 2011. The nonviolent solemn vigils are a way to remember the innocent lives that have been lost as a result of drone warfare.
Here in upstate New York, pretty much below the radar, a tragedy unfolds. But not without resistance.
For several years the unmanned robotic Reaper drones of the 174th Attack Wing of the New York National Guard have been piloted from Hancock air base. These weaponized robots kill and maim - and terrorize - the people of Afghanistan. Many - maybe most — of these hapless Afghans are non-combatants: infants, children, mothers, elders, unarmed men; also livestock.
The Attack Wing does its killing by remote control from its safe perch at Hancock just outside Syracuse thousands of miles from where the Reaper’s Hellfire missiles and 500-pound bombs strike. Nonetheless the Attack Wing technicians and their chain of command play judge, jury and executioner. They play God with human life. Few of these players know anything about the culture, politics, or people of Afghanistan. Few, if any, know whom they slay or even why. Robotically, drone-like, they follow orders.
Twelve children killed in the Kunar province, April 2013: Photo credit: Namatullah Karyab for The New York Times
Kabul—Since 2009, Voices for Creative Nonviolence has maintained a grim record we call the “The Afghan Atrocities Update” which gives the dates, locations, numbers and names of Afghan civilians killed by NATO forces. Even with details culled from news reports, these data can’t help but merge into one large statistic, something about terrible pain that’s worth caring about but that is happening very far away.
Our elected and unelected officials tell us that drone strikes target top level enemies of the United States who are imminent threats to us, and that killing innocent people is avoided altogether or minimized.
Congressional hearings, with a couple of excellent exceptions, question outside academics about the legality of this purported strategy. The Obama administration declines to send any witnesses.
But drone pilots have begun talking to the media. And they describe policies that bear a lot closer resemblance to reporting from the areas where the missiles strike. These pilots should be brought before Congress.
…It is often said that such comprehensive and indiscriminant sanctions make prisons of the countries targeted with them. While the regime of sanctions against inmates here at Yankton is less severe than the brutal conditions I witnessed in Iraq in 1998 or that the United States imposes on the people of Iran or Gaza (by proxy), the comparison is apt. Sanctions and prisons are both about imposing economic and social isolation and both can raise levels of tension and fear when applied without conscience.
Meaningful employment, decent housing, support of loved ones, education and self-respect would be helpful responses to the scourge of addiction and the crimes that ensue from it. Providing these for people at risk would be a priority for a responsible society but all these are robbed from inmates in federal prisons. Threats of war and terrorism are provoked by sanctions and invasions and can be countered only by addressing root causes.
CONTACT: Carol Baum, 315) 472-5478 (Syracuse Peace Council office)
FIVE HANCOCK DRONE RESISTERS FOUND GUILTY
On April 18, in Dewitt (NY) Town Court, Judge Robert Jokl found five Reaper Drone resisters guilty of trespass at Hancock Air Base. The five were among ten who last October 5 peacefully blocked the main entrance of the base as they attempted to deliver a citizens’ indictment http://upstatedroneaction.org/flyers/support/WARCRIMESINDICTMENT_2-5-13.pdf to the base commander and personnel for ongoing war crimes being perpetrated with weaponized Reaper drones over Afghanistan.
Ed Kinane’s closing statement DeWitt Town Court Judge Robert Jokl Presiding 18 April 2013 Trial for “Trespass” At Hancock Air Base 5 Oct 2012
Judge Jokl, fellow defendants, members of the public:
Tonight the charge, yet again, is “trespass”, but tonight is really about drone assassination and terrorism– about a trespass so vile that until recent years it could only be the stuff of cheap science fiction. What tonight really is about is the responsibility of a court in the face of war crimes being committed within its jurisdiction– in other words, on trial tonight is the integrity of the judicial process: does this court– or does it not– respect the highest law of our land? Or, even more to the point: does this court– or does it not– honor justice…?
Around 3:30pm yesterday, 9 individuals were arrested by DeWitt Police and Onondaga County Sheriffs for peaceably blocking the main entrance to
Hancock Air Base on East Molloy Rd in the town of DeWitt, a Syracuse, NY suburb. Hancock is the regional hub for the hunter/killer Reaper drone deployed over Afghanistan, Pakistan and, increasingly, elsewhere.
This nonviolent civil resistance is the most recent in a series of actions at Hancock meant to expose and deter the Reaper war crimes originating there. Over the last two years dozens of Upstate Drone Action members have been arrested as we sought to communicate our concerns to the Base Command and personnel by delivering to them a Citizens’ War Crimes Indictment [see attached]. Ironically, at a base bristling with lethal weaponry, the bases Mission Support Group Commander, Col. Earl A. Evans, once again, 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, not merely for its demeaning implications but for its as yet unknown legal ramifications. Currently, 20 non-violent citizens have received this order.
“More Palestinians Killed by Drones Alone in eight DAYS than Israelis Killed by rockets in eight YEARS”
Two-thirds of Palestinians killed by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) drones in the November, 2012 attack on Gaza were civilians. This statistic means that for the residents of Gaza, the ground-breaking investigation by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights into the civilian impact and human rights implications of the use of drones and other forms of targeted killing is very important.
Data taken from reports of two human rights groups in Gaza documented that, of the 162 Palestinians killed during the eight-day attack, drone strikes killed 36 and injured 100. 24 of the 36 killed in Gaza by Israeli drones were civilians. Drone strikes (72) were 5 percent of the total Israeli military strikes (1,350) but accounted for 23 percent of the deaths in Gaza, a very high percentage of deaths from the number of drone strikes when compared with deaths from strikes of jet warplanes, artillery and naval bombardment.
I just got word from the US Bureau of Prisons via Catholic
Worker-attorney Ruth O’Neill that the institution that I am to report
to by 2 PM on November 30 is the prison camp at Yankton, South Dakota.
Yankton is one of the closest federal prisons to our home in Iowa and
home to Emmaus CW House, a Benedictine Monastery and many good
friends. My address from November 30 until the end of May, 2013, will
BRIAN TERRELL 06125-026
FEDERAL PRISON CAMP
P.O. BOX 700
YANKTON, SD 57078