News Release

As Violence in Afghanistan Escalates, Drone Trial Starts Tomorrow

There have been a string of attacks on Western forces in Afghanistan the last several days, killing over 20 troops.

On Tuesday the trial of the Hancock Drone Resisters, 38 people from throughout Central New York and beyond who converged on Syracuse, New York on April 22, 2011 to protest the piloting of hunter-killer Reaper drones at Hancock Air National Guard Base is scheduled to begin. They participated in a die-in at the main entrance, symbolizing the indiscriminate killing of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan by drones.

BRIAN TERRELL, brian at vcnv.org
One of the 38 people being charged in the trial, Terrell is co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. He said today: “Members of the New York National Guard are sitting in front of computers and operating drones with a mouse or joystick that fire hellfire missiles, killing people in Afghanistan 6,000 miles away. Then they go home to a warm dinner.”

ANN WRIGHT, microann at yahoo.com
Another defendant in the trial, Wright, a former State Department diplomat and retired Army colonel, helped re-open the U.S. embassy in Kabul in 2001. She resigned from the State Department in protest of the Iraq invasion in March of 2003. She said: “The recent spike in attacks on the U.S. embassy complex and elsewhere in Afghanistan can be attributed to the drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. When the U.S. is attacking innocent civilians — and there are large numbers of innocents killed in drone strikes — it breeds anger. The so-called ‘collateral damage’ — women and children and men not involved is horrific. As we kill with drones, our troops will be killed by IEDs and suicide bombers. Our government won’t make that correlation, but we must.

“Drones are also being used in Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, probably Ethiopia. Israel uses them against Palestinians and sells them to Turkey. China is starting to produce drones and will likely be selling them. Tragically, I think we will see military drone operators transition into civilian law enforcement positions and surveillance drones become weaponized and potentially used in domestic police actions.”

CAROL BAUM, carol at peacecouncil.net
Baum is staff organizer for the Syracuse Peace Council that helped organize the event. More updates, videos of the die-in, resources, media coverage and general info see: upstatedronereaction.org and this footage of the die-in.

Background: Nick Turse’s “Mapping America’s Shadowy Drone Wars.”

Article in Air Force Magazine: “Air Force World”