Joan Pleune, who is being prosecuted in upstate New York for her protest at Hancock Air National Guard base and a mug shoot of her after she was arrested in 1961 while a Freedom Rider in Mississippi.

Today, June 24, 2015, Ellen Barfield, of Baltimore, MD; Jules Orkin of Bergenfield, NJ; and Joan Pleune and Beverly Rice of New York City, will begin their trial before a six-person jury in the DeWitt, NY, charged with two counts of disorderly conduct, one count of trespass, and one count of obstructing government administration.

Here is a letter from Joan, outlining the need for $3,000 to assist the defendants in their defense.  Please support their witness as generously as you are able.

Dear Friends:  As many of you receiving this letter already know, we (the we being Bev Rice and Joan Pleune of the Granny Peace Brigade), along with 27 other war resisters, were arrested April 28, 2013 at Hancock National Guard Air Force Base in DeWitt, New York, for protesting the assassination of people living in Afghanistan and Pakistan by drones manned from this base. As a sign at the entrance to the base makes clear, this is “the home of the 174th attack wing of the Air National Guard.”

Over the past two years, many of you have given us money, and this email is intended as a thank you and an update. Others of you have offered to help with the expenses associated with our defense and we have suggested that you hold off until we knew more. Then there are still others of you we think might want to help or who might know people who are in a position to help. 

Whichever category you fall in, we want you to know that the time is now. Our trial is going to be this week. We returned today from a hearing in DeWitt where the DA indicated that he intends to pursue charges against us that could result in jail time of up to a year.  This charge entitles us to a jury trial, which is going to begin on June 24 and could go until Saturday, June 27. Our attorney, Lew Oliver, has asked us to raise enough money to pay for a stenographer (in case we need to appeal) as well as money for an expert witness if we are able to obtain such. The stenographer alone will cost about $3000. We did have a witness who is an expert in international law set to testify, but she recently informed us that she is unable to do so. We don’t give up easily. The search continues. It’s a nail biter.

Whether or not you are able to help financially, we want you to know that your encouragement and support for all the Hancock defendants over the years has meant a lot to us.

Thanks for whatever you can do.


Joan and Bev

PS Checks may be made payable to Gray Panthers Project Fund—GPB. On the memo line, please write “GPB—drone defense” and mail to Granny Peace Brigade, c/o Gray Panthers Project Fund, 244 Madison Ave, Ste. 396, New York, NY 10016. If you’ve already sent a check with “Bev and Joan” on memo line, that’s perfectly fine.