14 January 2016
UNITED STATES: Former CPT Iraq, Palestine, Vieques team member goes to jail for drone resistance
On 12 January, the National Day of Action to Stop Killer Drones, grandmother and drone resister Mary Anne Grady Flores learned that she will go back to jail for six months starting Tuesday, 19 January. Grady Flores served as an intern on the Palestine and Iraq teams and was part of Christian Peacemaker Team’s delegation campaign to stop the U.S. Navy bombing of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques.
Grady Flores had been out on appeal of a lower court convicting her of violating an order of protection. Col. Evans of the Hancock Air National Guard Base 174th Attack Wing (in Syracuse, NY), sought the order to “protect” him from nonviolent anti-drone activists. The court charged her with violating the order because she took pictures of eight Catholics protesting the US drone assassination program at Hancock on Ash Wednesday, 13 February 2013. Onondaga County Court Judge Miller upheld the lower court conviction. Of note is that a court acquitted all eight Catholic drone resisters because they went to uphold law, not break it.
The court and the Base have used orders of protection, typically given in domestic violence situations, in an attempt to deter protest and suppress free speech. Judge Miller also upheld a lower court ruling on the Hancock 17, seventeen nonviolent drone resisters who received orders of protection, jail time, and fines.
Grady Flores, a grandmother of three, has been a part of The Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, which resists the drone assassination program, since 2011. According to leaked military documents called the Drone Papers sent to the Intercept, 90% of drone assassinations target and kill civilians, including children. On the National Day of Action, drone resisters were arrested at Creech Air Force Base (Nevada), Beale AFB (California), and Volk AFB (Wisconsin), and Ramstein AFB, Germany and in Pakistan, all a part of the worldwide resistance to drones.
Grady Flores received the verdict and sentence by mail, even though she was originally told to appear in County Court on 22 January to hear the court’s decision. The letter may have been an attempt to prevent a courtroom full of supporters with press and cameras attending, as occurred at the time of her original sentence. On 19 January, she will report to the Dewitt Town Court (5400 Butternut Drive, East Syracuse, NY) at 500 p.m. to be remanded to Jamesville Correctional Facility, East Syracuse NY.