Monday, November 18, 2013

Four drone protesters arrested at Schumer's Washington office; two from Syracuse attended but not arrested

Four drone protesters arrested at Schumer's Washington office; two from Syracuse attended but not arrested Ed Kinane, of Syracuse, protested drones on the corner of Teall Avenue and Robinson Street before President Obama arrived at Henninger High School in August. (By Michelle Gabel | By Michelle Breidenbach | on November 18, 2013 at 5:18 PM, updated November 18, 2013 at 5:41 PM WASHINGTON -- Four people [Elizabeth Adams from Western Massachusetts, Joanne Lingle, Indianapolis, Richard Ochs, Baltimore, and Alice Sutter, New York City] were arrested this afternoon by the U.S. Capitol Police as part of a drone protest at U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer's office in the Senate Hart Office Building. Police have not yet released their names. At least two Syracuse residents were part of the protest, but were not arrested, according to a group called Code Pink, which organized it. Ed Kinane and Ann Tiffany, of Syracuse, were part of the action in Washington today, said Medea Benjamin, Code Pink co-founder. She is the anti-war protester who heckled President Barack Obama in May during a speech on drone policy. Capitol Police said the four are being charged with "Crowding, Obstructing & Incommoding." Malachy Kilbride, a member of the coordinating committee of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, said about 26 people went to Schumer's office to demand a meeting and to deliver a letter opposing the use of armed drones. When they did not get a face-to-face meeting with the senator, four people started reading the names of drone strike victims from a balcony inside the Senate office building and they were arrested, she said. Of those arrested, Kilbride said one was from New York City and three were from other states. Kinane and Tiffany could not be reached for comment. Here is the letter they tried to deliver: Honorable Senator Schumer: We are members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, and are deeply concerned about our government's use of unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, to assassinate people in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other places. NCNR representatives would like to meet with you on Nov. 18, 2013 to urge you to support an end to this assassination program which we believe to be illegal. We are quite flexible, and would accept a meeting any time on Monday. In 2011 in Yemen, CIA drone attacks were used to kill, first, Anwar Al-Awlaki and weeks later his son. They were U.S. citizens, who were never charged, brought to trial, or convicted of any crime. In fact, two other U.S. citizens have been assassinated by killer drone strikes without any pretense of due process. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights brought a lawsuit in US federal court against the Obama Administration regarding the assassination of Al-Awlaki. The suit was lost on procedural grounds; however, the judge in the case stated "Can the executive order the assassination of a US citizen without first affording him any form of judicial process whatsoever, based on the mere assertion that he is a dangerous member of a terrorist organization?" The killer drone strikes only promote more terrorism directed at the US. This point was made by Malala Yousafzai when she met with President Obama and his family. On Oct. 11, 2013 Philip Rucker of THE WASHINGTON POST wrote this: "Yousafzai said she was honored to meet Obama and that she raised concerns with him about the administration's use of drones, saying they are 'fueling terrorism.'" We are also disturbed by the lack of transparency and oversight by congress. In spite of assurances from President Obama that the victims of drone strikes are surgical targets, it has been reported that hundreds of victims who are innocent of crimes against the US have been killed including civilian men, women, and children. These people have names and families who love them. According to a report, "US: Reassess Targeted Killings in Yemen," released on October 21, 2013 by Human Rights Watch "United States targeted airstrikes against alleged terrorists in Yemen have killed civilians in violation of international law." The report added that the strikes are creating a public backlash that undermines US efforts against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). We hope that you will take our concerns seriously, as it is our position that killer drone strikes are wrong on many levels: the illegality and immorality of assassinations, the violation of international law and the Constitutional protection of due process, the targeting of civilian populations, and the disregard of sovereignty. We have great concern for people caught up in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia and Yemen. We believe the US killer drone program must be brought to an end immediately. Please respond to our request to meet and to discuss the termination of the assassination program. This is an opportunity to consider our proposal of reconciliation and diplomacy rather than pernicious killer drone strikes. A U.S. policy of endless wars must be placed in the dustbin of history. We look forward to your response. Contact Michelle Breidenbach at (315) 470-3186, or follow on Twitter @mbreidenbach. Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to "The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

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