Sunday, 19 January 2014
Hancock 17 Drone War Crimes Resisters Trial, January 2014
The first day of the trial of the Hancock 17 Drone War Crime Resisters began Friday, January 3 to a packed courtroom of over 75 supporters.and ended just after midnight early Saturday morning, January 4. The trial continues Monday, January 6 at 5 pm at the Town of Dewitt Court, 5400 Butternut Drive, East Syracuse, NY.
The first day included powerful opening statements for the group by Ed Kinane and Clare Grady, which began with a moment of silence for people killed by drone attacks. Ed powerfully stated that the defense was the convergence of two paths - the paths of legalism and of justice and conscience - and that the activists came not to break laws, but to uphold International Law.
Clare then spoke movingly that "law is here to serve humanity NOT the other way around" and that very important laws have been signed and agreed upon by the nations of the world that reflect this. "When we go to Hancock," she affirmed, "we go to call a halt to drone War Crimes.We breath life into treaties and agreements that are the supreme laws of our land. These laws, treaties and agreements, are designed to lead us toward peace and away from war."
The prosecutor called his first two witnesses, including Col. Earl Evans, who had been responsible for the activists being subjected to orders of protection ever since they were arrested on October 25, 2012, which state, among other things, that they stay away from his place of work. The two witnesses agreed that no one was violent or seemed dangerous or threatening. There was much discussion about the base property lines, in particular about where the road easement ended and where the base property started.
The activists are all from the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, a decentralized, grassroots organization that represents diverse peace and justice organizations from different cities. We seek to educate the public and Hancock Air Base personnel about the war crimes perpetrated in Afghanistan with the MQ9 Reaper Drone piloted from Hancock Air National Guard Base just outside Syracuse. See http://upstatedroneaction.org/