Drone protesting grandmother gets a year in prison in Syracuse




He’s making her a political prisoner to suppress dissent. It’s a well known tactic in authoritarian regimes.

Oh, wait, this happened in Syracuse, NY?

What the fuck?!


Your snark is noted.

You may be disappointed to learn that this is a completely accurate description of the events.

No hyperbole, no exaggeration, no dramatisation.

EDIT: It’s three hundred fifty words. If you hadn’t been so eager to hate on Cory, you could have read the original article in the time it took you to post here.


Wow! It’s like they’re not even trying to appear like they’re a democratic country.


Completely aside from this particular case, which is a horrible abuse of power, and I hope she sues them for all they’re worth… I don’t quite understand what the particular animus against drones is. I mean, if every person killed by a drone had been killed by a Navy Seal or something, would that be better? Is it just that drones make it possibly cheaper/more efficient to bring the bullet to its destination? Or is there a deeper philosophical objection?
I understand that having the shooter safe in a building in Maryland, eating Skittles from the vending machine, dealing fiery death to someone in the Yemeni desert with doubtful accuracy, is highly distasteful, but I would think all highly advanced warfare techniques are highly distasteful. Having a soldier in a million dollars of body armor and hi-tech gear killing a guy in sandals armed with an old Kalashnikov is pretty distasteful and assymetric.
So my guess is that it’s a combination of factors that are already present to some degree in all other forms of warfare - doubtful accuracy in targeting, “efficiency” in killing, and lack of personal risk for the attacker.
Anything else?


Here is the key thing to note about all this.

She had previously been the subject of a protective order – normally issued to violent stalkers – relating to protests that targeted Colonel Earl Evans, the mission support commander for the drone program.

A Protective Order is also known as a Restraining Order - a term which I imagine is much, much more widely recognized and understood.

From the sound of it, Ms. Flores had specifically targetted Col. Evans in the past, with the article even suggesting she had visited his home. Whatever her views on drones, there seems to be decent evidence that she was taking them too far.

That is, in fact, why she has been given jail time - she violated a Restraining Order, which she knew she had been issued. Her protography was not the issue at hand.

Mr. Doctorow is framing this story as if the military is abusing the court systems to silence protesters and those who support them, but it sounds to me like a case of a single individual taking her campaign against drones too far, singling out and harassing the officer in charge of drone training as some sort of irrational fixation.


You don’t? I think you explained it quite nicely. There’s no secret, it’s not about the propellers or something.


Completely accurate? No hyperbole, exaggeration, or dramatisation? You clearly didn’t even read the first line of the article!

“Mary Anne Grady Flores, a grandmother from New York State, was sentenced to a year in prison for nonviolently recording a likewise nonviolent protest over the training of drone pilots at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse.”

This is wrong. Mary Anne Grady Flores, was sentenced to a year in prison for violating her standing Restraining Order against approaching Col. Earl Evans, the mission support commander for the drone program.

There’s also a strong selection bias in which details are being reported.

“The incident that resulted in her imprisonment involved her making a video-recording of the arrest of protesters at the base (the protesters were later acquitted).”

This quote is factually true, but it focuses only on how Ms. Flores got herself jailed - id est, by violating her restraining order.

It does not explain why she is under a restraining order in the first place, which the original article tells us is because she has previously harassed Col. Evans, suggesting she even visited his home to do so.


A more balanced write-up can be found http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2014/07/hancock_air_base_drone_protester_sentenced_to_1_year_in_jail.html. The judge sentenced her to jail on this contempt charge noting that she had previously failed to pay her fines.

1 Like

A solid article. Good find.

Here’s a transcript of her closing argument from an Oct, 2012 trial; pretty much covers everything.


Turns out, Mr. Doctorow is completely misrepresenting the judge’s statements.

Even though the pre-sentencing report recommended no jail time, Judge Gideon sentenced Mary Anne to the maximum of a year in prison. As he imposed his sentence, the judge referred to his previous Hancock decision. He had stated then and insinuated now, “This has got to stop.”

The context of this quote is not in relation to the act of protesting, but in relation to Ms. Flores’ violation of her standing Restraining Order and her contempt of court and the law.


Bravo Glitch! You have done a great job of revealing the poorly summarized truth behind this article without resorting to any ad hominem attacks or other foolishness. Given the subject matter of much of Cory’s writing, it is fair to call this an opinion piece and not reporting.


The attentive reader will note that ad hominem attacks are not something I seek to employ unless I lose my composure from having first been personally attacked for my “cold” opinions of dissent, but I’ll take the compliment for what it’s worth. :wink:

The question is, will this article be corrected in any way? That article about the Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese pancake chef got updated multiple times as people corrected it in the comments, and that was a Doctorow piece as well. Here’s hoping we get a more in-depth correction here.


Yes it is; but it doesn’t cover the issue clearly enough in that by her standing in the road to take the photographs she was still considered to be on base property. It appears Col. Evans wasn’t present in the photographs Democracy Now published yesterday, so the issue of breaking the restraining order might be sketchier than it at first appears. Because the actual boundary of the base is not clearly identified she might be convicted, and heading to prison only because she was a few feet over the line.


On top of what you’ve already said, drones are the cheap option for semi-targeted assassinations (which is what they’re used for). It’s cheaper - politically, in American lives, and financially than sending out a bomber or troops deep within hostile territory. So it’s used more casually, there’s a lower evidentiary threshold for targeting, more civilians killed (because these are done via missile, not bullets), etc. That the government can kill thousands of people without being accountable, politically, or even really have to acknowledge what’s been done…


The Grady’s are the most peaceful, loving, giving, amazing people you’ll ever meet. Their entire family, parents, and children are all active, fearless and have incredibly righteous hearts. My wife and her sisters grew up with Mary Anne’s kids, and some of Mary Anne’s kids are my mother-in-law’s god children. Whatever you want to throw around for supposition about this that and the other just to out-commenter-assumption each other, there was nothing but goodness in her heart no matter what the charges. Take that as a guarantee, as far as an HMSGoose guarantee will take you in this quasi-anonymous world… This whole family has been peacefully protesting atrocities for decades and generations, and have done plenty of jail time for their bravery and dedication, which they are not afraid to do. When they’re not on the front lines, protecting the world from America’s itchy and soulless trigger finger, they’re serving the homeless through Catholic Worker, and generally being tireless, self-sacrificing, good people.

It’s bizarre that the restraining order is some kind of “gotcha” here. If you are an authoritarian state bent on keeping the status quo and keeping the war machine chugging, and keeping uncomfortable truths out of the headlines, how much would it take for you to trump up charges against a protester in a restraining order? Not a whole heck of a lot, you can rest assured.


That seems a little absurd, no?

If a person whom you’ve gotten a Restraining Order on visits your house while you’re not home, but doesn’t technically step onto your property, or who (because your property is unmarked) steps only a few feet over the line, you’d still consider them to be violating their Restraining Order, yes?

They know not to go near you or your home, but they do it anyway and then try to get out of it by saying “But it turned out you weren’t home, so I wasn’t actually within X feet of you!” or “I technically wasn’t on your property!” or “I technically was on your property, but that doesn’t matter because it wasn’t clearly marked so I didn’t realize!”.

These are all mealy-mouthed excuses. If someone has a Restraining Order on them, they know better than to go to your home, your work, or anywhere else that they might reasonably expect you to be.


It’s odd that of all the people protesting the drones, only Ms. Flores has a Restraining Order.

But since you apparently know her family so well that you are happy to writing a glowing character reference, perhaps you can explain how the Restraining Order came about? Why, exactly, was Ms. Flores ordered to stay away from Col. Earl Evans specifically?

You make it sound like this Restraining Order just came down from on high, without legal basis, as some sort of bizarre military campaign to silence the protestations of a single woman. Why only Ms. Flores? Why not any of the other protestors? If there is really some sort of secret collusion between the military and the courts to illegally silence dissent, why silence only one person out of many?

1 Like