Ellen Grady has been arrested and tried three times in the DeWitt Court for her protests in front the Hancock Air National Guard drone control base near Syracuse New York. Twice she was sentenced to 15 days in jail, and once she was acquitted.
In her trials, and as she watched the trials of other members of the Upstate New York Drone Coalition, she got fed up with the two DeWitt judges in most cases forbidding the defendants from presenting the U.N. Charter and other documentation in their defense. She believes that the judges are afraid that jurors will side with the protesters as has happened in similar trials in Ireland, the United Kingdom and New Zealand when evidence is presented that drone war violates international law and morality.
So, she thought: “Let’s block the road (into Hancock) with it (evidence).”
Grady enlisted the help of fellow Ithaca New York resident and artist Dan Burgevin http://ithacavoice.com/2014/08/prolific-ithaca-artist-paints-story-beer-elixir-working-class/ in creating four books, about eight feet tall, representing documentation of the kind that Ellen wanted to see considered in the DeWitt Court. The books are:
- The U.N. Charter http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/
- Living Under Drones http://www.livingunderdrones.org/
- You Never Die Twice http://www.reprieve.org/uploads/2/6/3/3/26338131/2014_11_24_pub_you_never_die_twice_-_multiple_kills_in_the_us_drone_program.pdf
- Dirty Wars http://dirtywars.org/the-book
Work on the books began in January, and as literal monuments to the joint creativity and resourcefulness of the Upstate coalition, they were erected in Hancock’s the main entrance road on March 19. A collection of pictures of the books and the protest, at which seven were arrested, appears at http://upstatedroneaction.org/ Those arrested: Danny Burns; Brian Hynes, Ed Kinane; Julienne Oldfield; Father Bill Pickard; Beverly Rice; and James Ricks.
A picture I didn’t see in the slide show, however, (below) shows Hancock guards loading “Dirty Wars” into a pick-up truck. All of the books are now being held as evidence against those who were arrested.
Even though it was hard to see the giant works of art hauled away by the military after so much work went into creating them, Grady was also delighted: “We want that to be evidence.”
“I think we should coordinate action at all (drone) bases with the books,” she said.