Press Conference at 3pm, Sentencing at 4 pm
Mark Colville of New Haven CT will be sentenced on Wednesday December 3, 2014 in DeWitt Town Court (5400 Butternut Dr., East Syracuse). On September he was convicted of charges stemming from a December 9, 2013 protest in which he and two others stood outside the closed gate of Hancock Air Base singing hymns and holding a sign that said “The People’s Order of Protection for the Children of Afghanistan and their Families from Reaper Drones.” Colville was convicted of two misdemeanors, – Obstructing governmental administration and contempt of a judicial order, and three violations -trespass and two counts of disorderly conduct. The contempt charge was for violating an Order of Protection held by the base commander, a man Colville had never met.
Colville, a Catholic Worker who has devoted his life to working with the poor and disenfranchised, has met a member of an Afghan family who live with drones, and who have lost a loved one to drones. He came to the base on behalf of this family and the many others so threatened According to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism “Afghanistan is the most heavily drone-bombed country in the world” and “a 2013 study found that drone strikes are significantly more likely to kill non-combatants than those carried out by other aircraft.”
Colville’s protest is part of a worldwide nonviolent movement against the use of weaponized drones. Locally, on July 10, 2014, Mary Anne Grady Flores from Ithaca was sentenced to a year in prison for violating an Order of Protection. She is currently free on appeal. Jack Gilroy from Binghamton was just released after two months in jail for his nonviolent protest on April 28, 2013. He faces three years on probation. On December 10, Julienne Oldfield of Syracuse will be tried for her act of civil resistance at the same April protest, and faces a year in prison if convicted. There are 11 more trials scheduled for Hancock protesters in DeWitt between now and next July stemming from the April 28 protest.
Hancock Air National Guard Base, home of the 174th Attack Wing, is a domestic hub for MQ-9 Reaper drone support. It is a training site for pilots, technicians and sensor operators. Heavily armed Reapers piloted at Hancock fly lethal missions over Afghanistan and possibly elsewhere. Hancock pilots also fly test flights from Fort Drum over Lake Ontario.
Upstate Drone Action has been protesting the Drones at Hancock Base since 2009 with bimonthly vigils, annual rallies, educational events and nonviolent civil resistance.
For more information go to upstatedroneaction.org