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Paki Wieland of Northampton gets jail time for New York drone protest

DEWITT, N.Y. — Patricia “Paki” Wieland, of Northampton, was among 12 people sentenced to jail Friday on disorderly conduct charges stemming from a 2012 protest at Hancock Air National Guard Base in New York.
Wieland, a retired professor at Antioch University New England in Keene, N.H., and 15 other members of the Upstate New York Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars were charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct after being arrested at the air base in DeWitt, N.Y., Oct. 25, 2012, where members were holding a rally at the base’s gate.
Wieland and her group argue that by carrying out drone strikes, which sometimes kill civilians, the United States is violating international law.

On Friday, DeWitt Town Justice David Gideon dismissed the trespassing charge due to conflicting testimony about the base’s boundaries, but found that 12 of the 15 defendants were guilty of disorderly conduct because they stopped vehicles and pedestrians from entering the base.

They all received the maximum sentence, 15 days in jail, and ordered to stay away from the air base, according to The Post Standard of Syracuse. As they left the courtroom about three dozen supporters sang “Courage, brother, you do not walk alone. We shall walk with you and sing your spirit home,” the paper reported and caught on video.
The trial started Jan. 3, though a recess was called which extended the length of the trial. Wieland and most of the other defendants represented themselves in court.
In addition to Wieland, the defendants were Judy Bello, Rochester, N.Y.; Mark Colville, New Haven, Conn.; Clare Grady, Mary Anne Grady Flores and James Ricks, all of Ithaca, N.Y.; Martha Hennessy, New York City; Brian Hynes, Bronx, N.Y.; Ed Kinane and Rae Kramer, both of Syracuse, N.Y.; and Mark Scibilia-Carver, Trumansburg, N.Y.
Wieland began her protests against drone strikes after paying a visit in October of 2012 to Pakistan, where she met with local tribes that had been affected by drone strikes and family members of victims.

Legacy Comments12

Thank you to Paki for her courage and for those above who have appreciated the coverage of her story. She recently presented in a class here at Smith College and we have been inspired by her actions and her words.

Paki brings an important message with her civil disobedience acts - in this case, extrajudicial executions by drone, which often end in the killing of innocent women, children and men. The US media so often does not publish the stories - we must go to news media in the UK for much of them. The US is becoming known as the "American Taliban" in some of these countries where drones are operating - the killing of innocent civilians is driving more people into terrorism than it is preventing terrorism. Suicide rates of former drone operators have also risen sharply.

Paki supports women who take on the Taliban in there own countries. They are the only ones who can truly stop Al Qaida. Much of the change will have to come from within.

How did that work out for Malala?

Regardless of what one thinks of Ms. Wieland's actions, we might ask why the Gazette feels that is has to cover them so often. After all, there are dozens, even hundreds of individuals who work tirelessly for various causes throughout the Valley, and are every bit as worthy of having their stories told. Could it be that the Gazette is expressing approval of Ms. Wieland's political positions by giving her so much ink? If so, they should be honest about it and say so. If not, they should give her a rest and let someone else have a say.

Just thought people would be interested in the story. And I'd say judging by the number of people who read and commented on this article, they were. Best - Kristin Palpini, Web editor

Thanks.

Paki is a shero!!

I wonder if she'll get a jailhouse tat.

Local hero, global hero. A courageous citizen. We all owe Paki Wieland our thanks.

A "hero?" "Courageous?" Please. If you want to protest something, why not protest the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Oh, right, that would mean supporting American troops who are actually in harm's way, doing something. If you want to see courage, how about watching Lone Survivor.

I've known Paki for years. She acts against violence, no matter who is engaged in it.

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