For Immediate Release:
Mary Anne Grady Flores
Today, in an action that included three women successfully reading a War Crimes Indictment at Hancock Air Field in Mattydale, NY, thirty-three members of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones were preemptively arrested by the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Dept. two blocks from the entrance to the base. Those arrested included an 87 year old woman in a wheelchair, parents (accompanying their children), a member of the press, and the group’s attorney Ron Van Norstrand. Cameras, camcorders and phones were confiscated by the Sheriff’s Department. To view a video of the action, see upstatedroneaction.org.
The Indictment calls attention to Article 6, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution and reads: “…we charge that the Air National Guard of the United States of America, headquartered at Hancock Air Field Air National Guard Base …is maintaining and deploying the MQ-9 Reaper robotic aircraft…Extrajudicial targeted killings such as the U.S. carries out by unmanned aircraft drones are intentional, premeditated, and deliberate use of lethal force in violation of U.S. and international human rights law…” Everyone in the chain of command, from President Obama to drone operators, is charged in the indictment.
The arrests preempted political free speech as the anti-drone activists proceeded silently and in single file on the shoulder of a public road towards the air base entrance. Sheriff’s Department vehicles blockaded the road and police officers corralled the group. Arrests began without warning; most were charged with violating a Town of DeWitt ordinance requiring a permit to march. How ironic that the real criminals who plan, fund and perpetrate drone strikes go free while citizens who are upholding the U.S. Constitution and international law are arrested. What is so dangerous and powerful about the Indictment that such an effort is made to prohibit its delivery?