News Release

Drone “Death by Metadata” — And Imprisonment by Activism


In a piece published today, Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald report in “The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program,” that “The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes — an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.” The journalists cite a former drone operator: “Based on his experience, he has come to believe that the drone program amounts to little more than death by unreliable metadata.”

Meanwhile, the Syracuse Post-Standard reports: “DeWitt Town Justice David Gideon Friday evening sentenced 12 people to jail and ordered them to stay away from the Hancock Air Base after he found them guilty of disorderly conduct during a protest in October 2012.

“The defendants, who are members of Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, were immediately taken into custody in the courtroom, told to give any personal things to loved ones to hold and whisked away to the Jamesville Penitentiary to begin their 15-day sentence.

“As they left the suburban courtroom about three dozen supporters began singing ‘Courage, brother, you do not walk alone. We shall walk with you and sing your spirit home.’ …

“The protests appear to be escalating, Gideon said. In one of the tapes offered in evidence, the judge said he saw someone get out of a car and confront the protesters. ‘I do not know where this stops. It seems to be escalating, and in a bad way,’ the judge said. He added later ‘at some point you’re going to be confronted by an individual [from the base] who’s violent.'” [See report and video]

ELLIOTT ADAMS, elliottadams at
CAROL BAUM, carol at
Adams is past president of Veterans for Peace. While virtually all the other defendants in the Hancock drone trial are now behind bars, he will not be jailed until later this month.

Baum is with the Syracuse Peace Council — which has done much of the organizing around the drone trials. The group released a statement and video quoting many of the defendants who are now in jail: “Defendant Rae Kramer stated, ‘No person on the base was intimidated by us, that is clear. But the end result is to deprive me of my First Amendment Rights.’ … Clare Grady said, ‘We went there to stop the war crimes. That was our intent.’ James Ricks hoped the judge would ‘sentence us to community service to investigate the war crimes they are committing at the base.’ Judy Bello said, ‘The people suffering are so significant. It requires a persistent response,’ and argued that the international law argument is indeed valid.”