Veterans protest inhumanity of American military drones
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On Thursday, December 1, the Hancock 38 drone resisters returned to DeWitt Town Court for the verdict in their case involving a symbolic "die-in" at the main entrance Hancock Air National Guard Base (Mattydale, NY), protesting the piloting and maintenance of the hunter/killer Reaper drones at the Base.
Early in his decision, Judge David Gideon stated, "Many issues were raised that were not heretofore contemplated by this Court on a personal level; for which this Court personally acknowledges a new and different understanding, making the decision now before the Court that much more difficult." After much consideration and several sleepless nights, he concluded that the defendants were guilty of both "obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic" and "refusing to comply with a lawful order of the police to disperse."
In their sentencing statements, the activists contested the Judge's decision, stating that they were duty bound by the Nuremberg Principles, International Law and the U.S. Constitution to act against drones - the Principles forbid wars of aggression, attacks on civilians and extrajudicial assassinations, all actions associated with drone warfare. Action is urgent since innocents are being murdered every day by drone attacks. The verdict is indeed in - the drones are illegal.
Most people received a one year conditional discharge, along with a fine of $250 and $150 court costs and community service. Four people were given jail time, ranging from four to fifteen days.
The activists are undeterred, vowing to return to the Base, inviting the Judge, prosecutor, other court employees to join them.
The action was sponsored by the Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, consisting of activists from Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Ithaca, Rochester, Syracuse and Utica.