For several years, organized by the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, hundreds of people have taken part in non violence civil resistance outside Hancock Air Force Base, near Syracuse, NY. Carrying photos of people killed by U.S. drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, singing, praying, reading victims’ names, they have repeatedly attempted to deliver a message to the drone operators to stop; to the base commander to stop; and to the public to refuse to support killing in our names.
Over 100 have been arrested on misdemeanor charges, with dozens of trials. Randomly charges have been dropped, or convictions have brought jail time. Dozens have been subjected to “Orders of Protection,” prohibiting them from being close to the base, in an unjustified use of laws written to protect victims of domestic abuse.
Earlier this year, protester Mary Anne Grady Flores was sent to jail. Yesterday, Jack Gilroy was sent up for three months. All for non-violent political protest which the state seeks to suppress. These protesters are heroes, and we salute their determination to stop the U.S. drone wars.
PRESS RELEASE FROM SYRACUSE PEACE COUNCIL
For Immediate Release: Oct.1, 2014
Syracuse, NY. John “Jack” Gilroy, 79, of Endwell, NY and Upstate Drone Action, was sentenced to three months incarceration, three years probation, and $1000 fine by De Witt (NY) Town Judge Robert Jokl. “It’s time for our justice system to identify the real criminals…not those who carry the message to stop the killing to the gates of Hancock Air Base,” said Gilroy in his sentencing statement. Gilroy was convicted by a six-person jury on July 15th of trespass and obstructing government administration after a two day jury trial. The trial was based on Gilroy’s participation in a solemn funeral procession and die-in outside Hancock’s main gate. The event symbolized the terrorizing and killing of innocent people by MQ9 Reaper drone missiles and bombs piloted by Hancock’s 174th Attack Wing.
Hancock, near Syracuse, is one of many drone bases perpetrating US drone attacks in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere. “I was proud of the way Jack spoke truth to power, stood for nonviolence instead of war, and brought the reality and names of victims of drones into the court,” said Fr. Tim Taugher, Gilroy’s long-time friend and pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Binghamton. “Our courts can’t allow the truth to be heard. This is one of many ways our country is trying to squelch truth, debate, dialogue, and discussion of the morality of the use of drones.”
Immediately upon sentencing Gilroy, a military veteran and retired high school teacher, was taken in handcuffs to Jamesville Penitentiary.
Donations for Jack Gilroy’s fine and appeal can be sent to:
Syracuse Peace Council
2013 E Genesee St, Syracuse, NY 13210.
Please note in memo: “Gilroy fine and appeal fund.”