The Syracuse Post-Standard reports: “For protesters of U.S. military drone use in Afghanistan, [the recent FAA] announcement that Central New York would become a test site for integrating drones into commercial air space was unwelcome news.
”That’s too bad,’ said Ed Kinane, a Syracuse peace activist and member of Upstate Drone Action, about the announcement. ‘It gives a boost to Hancock’s belligerent use of weaponized drones.’
“Kinane was referring to the Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing, based at Hancock Field. The attack wing remotely flies armed Reaper drones over Afghanistan from the Syracuse area air base.
“Kinane conceded that the designation of Central New York as a test site will likely mean more jobs. But he questioned the moral cost of those jobs.
“‘The use of weaponized drones is immoral,’ he said. ‘I don’t think central New York should thrive on the bodies of innocent people. This drone technology will perpetuate U.S. attempts at global control. It doesn’t make any of us safer. It’s good for the Lockheeds of this world that make enormous profit with these kind of initiatives. It’s not good for the people of the world.’
“Monday’s FAA announcement comes just days before Kinane and other protesters go to Dewitt town court to face charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct [on Friday]…”
The 16 protesters and allied activists will hold news conferences Friday and Saturday and released a statement: “On October 25, 2012, the 16 served a War Crimes Indictment to Hancock Air Base, home of the 174th Attack Wing of the New York Air National Guard, and were arrested. The base is located on the backside of Syracuse Airport. Base personnel fly drones in Afghanistan, train operators and maintain MQ9 Reaper drones. In violation of international law, these drones kill and terrorize Afghan civilians. The defendants are a part of Upstate N.Y. Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars. Their intention was to uphold the U.S. Constitution and international law, including the UN Charter, ratified by the United States. …
“Defendant Andrea Levine says, ‘My grandparents and great aunt survived the Holocaust and lost the rest of their family. My grandfather later testified against a Nazi in a war crimes trial that followed the Nuremberg Trials. Because of my family history, I am moved to ask how we can all challenge militarism and systemic racism. We’ve got a lot of work to do both at home and abroad.’
“After hearing first-hand accounts from people living under drone attacks, three defendants, James Ricks, Judy Bello, and Patricia Wieland, protested on behalf of the drone victims they met in Pakistan.”
The following activists in upstate New York — who have focused on drones and the trial tomorrow — are available for interviews and can also facilitate interviews with others:
CAROL BAUM, carol at peacecouncil.net
Baum is with Syracuse Peace Council.
MARY ANNE GRADY FLORES, gradyflores08 at gmail.com
She is with the Catholic Worker in Ithaca, New York.
ED KINANE, edkinane at verizon.net
Kinane is with Upstate Drone Action in Syracuse.