Statement of a Drone Protester

Jack Gilroy was released from Jamesville Penitentiary the day after Thankgiving. Below is his sentencing statement given before the Town of DeWitt Court near Syracuse, NY. The Assistant DA for Syracuse asked that he be given a year and 15 days. “Mr. Gilroy is a criminal. His sentencing statement is a clear indication that he has no remorse for his criminal acts.” Gilroy tells me: “My crime, of course, was a die in before the gate of the 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Drone assassination. My message was to stop the killling. Currently, I am confined to Broome County, NY. I will need a travel pass to go to another county to see my appeal lawyers. Additionally, my Probation Officer said in all her years she has never seen such a large community service sentence…1500 hours.”


I thank the court for the opportunity to make a statement.

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic.  It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness…

Howard Zinn….WWII Bombardier who became one of the great nonviolent peace makers of the 20th century

Your honor, all of us who resist violence are hopeful that someday, the judicial system will recognize the right to speak out in opposition to violence without being charged with a crime.

My conviction of trespass and obstructing government administration is in itself an obstruction of my United States Constitutional right to object to the crimes of my government.

Yet it has to be asked: Is judicial support of illegal acts of the United States government unconstitutional? Are judicial decisions that allow illegal government acts simply enablers of the system of illegality? Is the refusal by this court to hear the truth of assassinations emanating from Hancock mask the immorality and illegality of drones fired from Hancock into areas only the Gang of Eight, the NSA and CIA know?

Is the court acting out of Fear? Are you acting out of a sense of local and national duty to follow illegal and immoral orders?

Judge Jokl, if you really wanted to get to the reasons so many nonviolent people take the nonviolent message to the gates of Hancock Drone base to STOP THE KILLING then you would have allowed my only witness, Professor Mary Ellen O’Connell of Notre Dame School of Law. You rejected her by masking the assassinations that we protest. Assassinations known by Prof. O’Connell– a major legal voice for justice –to be illegal.

Here is part of what Professor O’Connell, a leading expert on United States Constitutional law, and who has testified several times before Congress on International Law—letting the truth be known that international law is accepted by our US Constitution as supreme law of the land:

“International Law is the law of the United States. As such, it is obligatory upon all whose actions are attributable to the United States under international law, it is binding on Congress, on the President of the United States and the Executive Branch, on the states—on state legislatures and state officials, down to the lowest official of city, town or village, on the courts, on the federal courts, from the Supreme Court down to the federal magistrate or administrative judge and on states courts, from the highest court of appeals to the village magistrate or police court judge

Judge JokI, I practiced my first amendment right of nonviolent speech, assembly, and petition… to call on my government to stop the killing of innocent people. I practiced my first amendment right to assemble, to speak, to practice my Catholic Social teaching that killing is wrong and that the first principle of Catholic Social teaching is the dignity and worth of human beings…I participated in a solemn funeral procession to clearly announce that my government is engaging in killing of innocent people…

Those of us who took oaths of nonviolence before we practiced our constitutional rights are not criminals. We’re the messengers…practicing a long respected tradition of American history. The real criminals are those who order the killings including the President of the United States and his gang of eight who each week decide who will die without being officially charged, without having a hearing, having a trial….Yet, this DeWitt Court acts to suppress our nonviolent right of assembly and speech and charge us as criminals.

Our national leaders with Town and Village courts in support kill suspects and surrounding family and friends based on so called “intelligence”. A US military drone operator noted how very little is done to insure civilians are not killed in strikes. He said as reported by journalists Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald: People get hung up that we’re targeting a list of bad guys. It’s really like we’re targeting a cell phone. We’re not going after people we’re going after their cell phones in the hope the other person on the other end of the missile is the bad guy.”

Years ago, I was at a protest near the Pentagon of another type of assassination our country and their enabling courts have protected. Specifically, …training Latino soldiers to kill teachers, union leaders and clergy who are considered enemies of the state in many Latin American countries. As we gathered about 60 people lied on the ground outside of the Pentagon doing a die in with fake blood on their bodies. It was April, a cold day and many of the people lying on the concrete were elderly. Federal Marshalls took hoses and fired the cold water on the people lying down. A woman next to me asked the US Marshall if he would do the same if it was poison gas. He answered: “If I’m given orders, Mame, I’d just do my duty.”

Are you just doing your duty, Judge Jokl? Is your demeanor, your attitude, your very evident dislike of those of us who practice our legal right to object to the killings part of your duty?

I have honorable discharges from both the US Navy and US Army. I took an oath to do my duty but to not obey an illegal order.

Judge Jokl, you are an enabler of those who order extrajudicial killings. Shame on all those mask crimes by calling the protestors the criminals.

Whatever your sentence of me, I forgive you. I may not accept the injustice but know how you and others in the system are trapped. I only hope that your conscience will some day awaken you to recognize the real criminals, the national and local purveyors of violence….that is not us, the nonviolent resisters who call out to stop the killing.

My final hope is that you will somehow find the courage to stand in support of our nonviolent constitutionally correct resistance to assassinations by speaking out for truth. It may cost you your job but it could make your life more livable.

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