Local drone protesters arrested

Posted by Tim Louis Macaluso on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 10:42 AM

This is a corrected version of this blog.

More than 30 members of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars were arrested this week after participating in a protest outside the Hancock Air National Guard Base near Syracuse. Some of the US military’s killer drones are operated and flown to targets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries from the air base.

Three of the arrested protestors are from Rochester, according to a statement from the anti-war group, and about 275 people participated in the protest. The coalition staged a mock funeral procession, carrying coffins labeled with the names of countries where US drones have been blamed for civilian casualties.

Arrested protestors were arraigned in the De Witt Town Court with bail ranging from $500 to $3,500, according to the statement.

President Obama’s use of unmanned aircraft for information gathering and aerial attacks is among the most controversial decisions of his presidency. While some military analysts say the drones are more precise, less expensive, and highly effective at killing known terrorists, others disagree.

Critics say the drones are responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people, including women and children. And using them violates international law, they say. Drones are capable of crossing borders almost undetected in pursuit of targets.

The coalition also warns of technology creep, and how soon the drones could be used by law enforcement for domestic surveillance and killing. Worse, the drones are fomenting even more mistrust and hostility toward Americans in some parts of the Muslim world, the protesters argue.

The coalition's protests more than a year ago drew regional and national attention to Hancock National Guard Base, but many local residents are still unaware that drones are flown from Hancock Field, activists say, making upstate New York a potential target for reciprocation.

Comments (3)

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Can't you journalists ever get over excluding men from being innocent? The article states "Critics say the drones are responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people, including women and children." Is it any worse to kill innocent women and children than innocent men? Are men's lives worth less? Or is it a given that 'innocent people' only means 'men' and you have to emphasize that innocent people can also be women and children? Why not just say "innocent men, women and children'? That should cover it.

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Posted by Bedell on 05/02/2013 at 9:23 AM

"fermenting [sic] even more mistrust and hostility"?!? Oy. So now we have a problem with drunk droning?

"drones are responsible..." Uh, no. Drones don't kill people — people do. Specifically, Prof. B. H. Obama. Don't blame and harass the operators, who selflessly and patriotically do the work we ask them and pay them to do. If you're going to get up in someone's face, then follow the chain of command to Lafayette Park and share your feelings with the commander in chief.

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Posted by j.a.m. on 05/02/2013 at 11:47 AM


Shame on me! Thanks for catching that.


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Posted by Tim Macaluso on 05/02/2013 at 12:25 PM
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