This is news from the Nuclear Resister, a newsletter/magazine. Jack and Felice Cohen-Joppa have been publishing it since 1980, when the Plowshares Eight made their storied walk into the King of Prussia nuclear weapons plant. They’ve assiduously kept track of the hundreds of people who’ve been arrested worldwide for resisting war and the weapons of war.
In a historic decision, five Catholic Worker activists were acquitted earlier this evening of disorderly conduct charges for blocking the main entrance to Hancock Air Base, home of the 174th Attack Wing of the Air National Guard, Syracuse, New York. Hancock is a Reaper drone hub whose technicians pilot weaponized drones over Afghanistan.
Judge Robert Jokl told the prosecutor that he hadn’t found “mens rea,” Latin for “guilty mind.” He apparently was moved by the defendants, who argued pro-se that their intent was to uphold, not break, the law. This is something I’ve written about before–the question of the legality of use of drones. This acquittal marks a major breakthrough by those who have sought to strengthen international law, and stop U.S. war crimes, including extra-judicial murder by the illegal drones.
The five activists are:
~ Fr. Bill Frankel-Streit of Virginia;
~ Linda Le Tendre of Saratoga Springs, NY;
~ Ellen Grady of Ithaca, NY;
~ Carmen Trotta of New York, NY;
~ Fr. Bill Pickard of Scranton, PA.
This is all lifted from the Nuclear Resisters‘ article, but there’s much more there. And my non-nuclear resisting friends should note that Nuclear Resister is covering other kinds of protests including support for prisoners of conscience like Chelsea Manning.
One more thought–on a small scale, the drones are doing what our cruise missiles do. They’re ‘taking out’ human targets that we won’t touch with normal aircraft or even ground troops. The US general public is fine with remote control assassination. It’s when American lives are threatened that we take action. That has to change, and verdicts like this are one indicator that perhaps it has begun to change.