Nine activists arrested on Good Friday at NY drone base

Photo by Ellen Grady

Nine peace activists were arrested on April 14 during a Good Friday witness against drone warfare at Hancock Air Base in New York.  While blocking the entrance into the base, some of them stood with arms outstretched against replicas of cross-shaped drones, while others held cut-outs of drones topped with signs, some of which read “Drones Crucify Love”, “Drones Crucify Families”, “Drones Crucify Due Process”, “Drones Crucify Diplomacy” and “Drones Crucify Peace”. 

When they arrived around 10 a.m., two of the activists delivered a “War Crimes Indictment” to the guards at the guard shack. Supporters stood nearby holding a banner that read, “Whatsoever You Do To The Least, You Do To Me”.

Hancock hosts the 174th Attack Wing of the NY Air National Guard – the MQ9 Reaper drone hub. Hancock is also the national Reaper maintenance training center.

Jessica Stewart, Joan Pleune, Ed Kinane, Mark Colville, John Amidon, James Ricks, Tom Joyce, Brian Hynes and Ray McGovern were handcuffed and taken to the Onondaga County sheriff department’s north station. They were all released in less than an hour with charges of trespass and disorderly conduct.  Appearance tickets they were given noted May 9 or 10 initial court dates.

Their action statement:

Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus.  Recognizing that 70% of our nation identify as Christian, we come to the gates of the Hancock drone base to make real the crucifixion today.  As Jesus and others were crucified by the Roman Empire, drones are used by the U.S. Empire. In Roman times, crosses loomed over a community to warn people that they could be killed whenever the Empire decided. So, too, our drones fly over many countries threatening extrajudicial killings of whoever happens to be in the vicinity.

On this Good Friday, we recall Jesus’ call to love and nonviolence. We’re asking this base and this nation to turn away from a policy of modern-day crucifixion. Let’s embrace Jesus’ call to build the Kingdom of God on Earth instead of killing suspected enemies and innocents, including children. In the process, we are also crucifying Children, Families, Love, Peace, Community, Diplomacy, Rule of Law, US Constitution, UN Charter, US Treaties and Due Process.

What if our country were constantly being spied upon by drones, with some of us killed by drones? What if many bystanders, including children, were killed in the process? If that were happening, we would hope that some people in that attacking country would speak up and try to stop the killing. We’re speaking up to try and stop the illegal and immoral drone attacks on countries against which Congress has not declared war.