Activists at Schumer Drone Policy Protest Accept “Community Service”

Beth Adams | January 14, 2014

Summary: At a Pre-trial Hearing today at the District of Columbia Superior Court, 500 Indiana Avenue, defendants Beth Adams (Massachusetts), JoAnne Lingle (Indiana) and Alice Sutter (New York) accepted a Diversion offer the Office of the Attorney General of the District of Columbia, which included assigning the same sentence to all three defendants: “sixteen hours of Community Service in the defendants’ home jurisdictions” in exchange for Dismissal of the charges of “Blocking, Crowding and/or Incommoding“ on government property. This resulted from their protest and arrest on November 18, 2013 outside of the office (Hart Senate Office Building) of Senator Charles E. (Chuck) Schumer (NY), a vocal supporter of drone program development in both his home state of New York and also in The Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Magistrate Judge Diana Epps generously accepted the request of the defendants’ Attorney Mark Goldstone to allow the reading (and entering into the Court record) copies of photos of drone victims attached to a statement written and delivered by New York City defendant Alice Sutter and co-signed by all three.

Why did National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance organize a protest at Senator Schumer’s office?
Ms. Sutter cited the defendants’ sense of urgency and necessity of reading the names and ages of some of the known drone victims, giving testimony about the horrific effects of the un- constitutional drone attacks/extrajudicial killing of thousands of innocent fellow human beings in countries with strategic geopolitical and economic interests, such as Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, among other countries, where minerals, petroleum and other land and water resources are ripe for exploitation.

“These attacks constitute a renewal of the “scorched earth” policies of the past, “stated Ms. Adams in a post - sentencing analysis of her actions on November 18, 2013. She then added, “While they minimize resistance to corporate land grabs, pipeline construction, and mining and drilling projects, they are an affront to the rule of law and a call to conscience of the American people and especially to people of all religious convictions. Where is the Church? How long will it continue to ignore the scourge and the criminality of torture and of drone attacks, such as it did (for the most part) during the Holocaust based upon lies of the State?!”

Ms. Sutter added, “How could I stop speaking out when the US threatens and terrorizes people with drone attacks, so that they cannot attend school, weddings, funerals community meetings, even work?! How could I stop speaking out about Schumer’s support for drones, when a pilot, sitting in an office at a computer at Hancock Air Force Base in DeWitt, (near Syracuse, new York) obliterates people and whole villages thousands of miles away in my name?!”

All three agreed that drone surveillance and bombings are un-constitutional, that they violate the UN Charter and Geneva Conventions. They inflict social unrest and mental health problems among populations in cities and rural villages. They restrict freedom of movement of local residents and create security risks within the US, especially when over 76 countries have drones. Ms. Adams ponders, “Are drones a stimulant for “endless war”? What will happen to civil liberties and human rights, once drones have “free reign” from the FAA to fly within US air space...How can democracy survive when drones fly?

Footnote: Ms. Adams, Ms. Lingle and Ms. Sutter are part of a growing national movement which collectively says “no” to the US and global drone network. They hope that their actions on November 18, 2013 raised the consciousness of others about the lethality of drones. National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance is committed to join with Code Pink and other US and global coalition partners to continue working against illegal surveillance and killer drones.