Some friends of mine have gotten arrested more times than I can count now for the offense of protesting drone use outside Hancock Air Field near Syracuse, N.Y. Sometimes they’ve blocked the gates to the base. Often they’ve been aware of the risk of being arrested. But they’ve gone into court and argued that the larger crime is being committed inside the base by drone pilots. The protesters have gone into court and said things like this:
“I am proud to accept the consequences of my acts and any jail time. I do not want any suspended sentence. If you give me one, also please let me know how I can violate it before I leave the courtroom.” — Elliott Adams
If you’re among the tens of millions who have assiduously avoided becoming aware of major news stories, what my friends are protesting will come as a shock: President Obama has developed a program of murder, with drones as the primary weapon, that is unprecedented in size, extent, claims of legality, and almost-protest-free acceptability. On Obama’s list of people to kill are men, women, and children, Americans, and non-Americans. He has targeted and killed people in all of those categories. He has targeted and killed people whose names he did not know but who showed a pattern of behavior that suggested they might be resisting the U.S. occupation of a foreign nation. And the vast majority, almost all in fact, of the people our president has killed have simply been men, women, and children who were in the wrong place at the wrong time and not on the list at all. All of this is done in secret, without Congress, without courts, and without the public. It’s done at a scale that can only properly be termed “drone wars.” It’s done in nations where the United States was not previously engaged in any ground war but now is sending in troops as a result of the inevitable blowback from the drone wars. And the news stories are generated by the White House, which wants to brag about this effort.
I apologize to informed readers for passing along all of that old news, but volunteers keep phoning me from the Obama campaign and MoveOn.org who’ve never heard of this at all. They always promise to read up on it and get back to me, and then a different ignorant do-gooder phones the next day instead.
What is new, as far as I know, is what the police in the town of Dewitt, near Syracuse, have now done to try to prevent drone protests outside Hancock Air Field. They’ve found, out of all the individuals stationed on the base, one particular coward by the name of Earl A. Evans. The protesters I’ve spoken with had never heard of him before. They don’t know who he is or what he looks like. Here’s a photo I’ve found. He is apparently a Lieutenant Colonel in charge of the 174th Fighter Wing Mission Support Group. I suspect he might have access to some troops and some weaponry. But the Dewitt Town Court has banned some 17 nonviolent peace activists with posters from coming anywhere near him.
Each oh-so-dangerous demonstrator has been issued an order of protection — not to protect them but to protect the Lieutenant Colonel from them. Under this order, they’ve been told they will be arrested even if they demonstrate in permitted areas near the base. Presumably that is the order’s real purpose, to prevent demonstrations. But what the order says is that each nonviolent opponent of institutionalized mass murder may be sent to prison for up to 7 years if they go near the home of Earl A. Evans (although they don’t know where that is and have not been told), the school of Earl A. Evans (although they don’t know what or where that is and have not been told), the business of Earl A. Evans at 6001 East Molloy Road in Dewitt, N.Y. (which is the military base), or the place of employment of Earl A. Evans at the same address. They are required to refrain from all communication with Evans — and Evans in particular, as no one else on the base is named. And they are specifically forbidden from doing the following things to Evans (but not others?): Read the rest of this entry →