Target: Judge David S. Gideon
Goal: Demand a reversal of his decision to imprison a non-violent activist after she peacefully demonstrated against the use of drone warfare
Mary Anne Grady-Flores is a loving daughter, mother and grandmother. She is also a brave peace activist whose work has focused on ending the use of unmanned drone aircraft in the War on Terror. In 2013 Grady-Flores participated in a non-violent protest at the Hancock Field Air Force Base, a training ground for drone operators. She was previously ordered to stay away from Colonel Earl Evans, one of the base’s commanders, in an attempt to dampen her activism. Although she was photographing the protest from what appeared to be outside the base boundaries, Grady-Flores was later sentenced to one year in prison for violating the initial court order.
At her trial Grady-Flores spoke out about this injustice, made worse by “the reversal of who is the real victim here: the commander of a military base involved in killing innocent people halfway around the world or those innocent people themselves? Who are the real ones in need of orders of protection?” News outlet Common Dreams reports that her supporters’ commitment to the cause has only been strengthened by her unjust imprisonment. Syracuse Peace Council activist Brianna Shelter told journalists, “The harder they push back, the more we know that we are getting to them and we are not about to stop now.”
Drones are inherently indiscriminate killers. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism upwards of 200 innocent children have been killed by drones in Pakistan alone. Protests like those Grady-Flores regularly participated in help shine a light on this tragic abuse of power. Demand that the judge who sentenced Grady-Flores reverse his decision and order her immediate release.
Dear Judge Gideon,
On July 10, 2014 you sentenced Mary Anne Grady-Flores, peace activist and loving grandmother, to one year in prison. She was accused of violating an earlier order to keep her distance from Hancock Field Air Force Base commander Col. Evans. Many have suggested that the order was issued not to protect Col. Evans from Grady-Flores but rather to protect his drone program from public scrutiny.
This is a great miscarriage of justice. People like Grady-Flores act as an important check against the unrestrained use of violence in the War on Terror. Hundreds if not thousands of civilians have been killed by unmanned drone aircraft in the last few years, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. If anything, more Americans should be standing beside Grady-Flores and her fellow activists in condemning the barbaric use of drones.
I must insist that you reverse your earlier ruling, and order Grady-Flores’ immediate and unconditional release from prison. She, like her supporters, has a constitutionally protected right to peacefully protest injustice. It is your duty to uphold this sacred right.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: United States Air Force via Wikimedia Commons