News Release

Anti-Drone Grandmother Sentenced to One Year


ABC News is reporting today: “Israel Says It Downed Drone as Gaza Death Toll Climbs.” There was no confirmation as to whether the drone was armed. The Washington Post reported last week: “Israeli F-16 fighter jets, Apache attack helicopters and armed drones have hit more than 500 targets in the Gaza Strip over the past two days.” The Guardian reported late last month: “The U.S. has confirmed it is flying armed drones over Baghdad…”

“Democracy Now!” reports: “In New York, a peace activist and grandmother has been sentenced to a year in prison for her role in peaceful protests at a base where U.S. drones are piloted remotely. Mary Anne Grady Flores had been issued an order of protection aimed at keeping her away from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base after she participated in an act of civil disobedience there in 2012.

“Last year, Grady Flores says she attended another peace action, but did not participate, instead photographing it from the roadway, beyond what she believed was the base’s boundary. She was later told the base’s property extended into the road. On Thursday, Judge David Gideon of the DeWitt Town Court sentenced her to the maximum sentence of a year in prison for violating the protection order and fined her $1,000. In a courtroom packed with about 150 supporters, Grady Flores spoke about what she called the four perversions of justice in her case:

“Mary Anne Grady Flores: ‘The fourth perversion is the reversal of who is the real victim here: the commander of a military base involved in killing innocent people halfway around the world or those innocent people themselves, who are the real ones in need of orders of protection? So I, as a nonviolent grandmother and a caregiver to my own mother, as I prepare for jail, itself a perversion, I stand before you remorseful. I’m remorseful about my own country and its continued perpetuating of violence and injustice.'”

ELLEN GRADY, demottgrady6 at
JUDITH BELLO, jb.papillonweb at
Ellen Grady is with the Ithaca Catholic Worker and is the sister of Mary Anne Grady Flores. See “Hancock Air Base drone protester sentenced to 1 year in jail” in the Syracuse Post-Standard. See also the opinion piece “Stiff sentence for Hancock drone protester does not fit the crime” by Patrick O’Neill of the Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker House in Garner, N.C. in the paper today.

Bello is with Upstate Drone Action. Video of the sentencing and other resources are available on their blog.

Grady and Bello note that other protesters will be tried for alleged violations. Jack Gilroy will be tried this week for alleged obstruction of governmental administration and Russel Brown later this month.

For further background, also see the Syracuse Peace Council website: