Hunter HS Commencement Award Protest Report
On Friday, June 13, a group of protesters, organized by War Criminals Watch/World Can't Wait and KnowDrones.com gathered outside Hunter College as families and students began to gather for the Hunter College High School commencement. This otherwise happy occasion was marred by the fact that the Distinguised Graduate award was about to be given to the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Avril Haines - in absentia (it would be accepted for her by a Hunter High School assistant principal). The fact that the school administration kept the award quiet until two days before the ceremony is an indication of how unacceptable the choice for this year's award was.
Whatever Ms. Haines’ other extraordinary accomplishments in life, she chose to become an executive in one of the most justifiably feared and criticized organizations on the globe: the US Central Intelligence Agency, known as the CIA – or just "The Agency."
Before Ms. Haines went to the CIA last year, she was in the Office of Legal Counsel of the White House, providing legal cover to President Obama for his personal role in approving "kill lists" targeting people for death who have not been charged, tried or sentenced in any court, but are nonetheless killed by flying robots controlled from thousands of miles away. The Washington Post says the Obama administration is working to bring the CIA together with the secretive Joint Special Operations Command (the subject of the book and film “Dirty Wars” by Jeremy Scahill) to perfect the “find, fix and finish process” as they refer to the targeted kills by drone assassination.
If Hunter College High School wants to distinguish itself as a leader in the rights of people, its administration should withdraw from Ms. Haines the Distinguished Graduate Award. Further, it should ask her to renounce her role in the Orwellian war and killing machine.
We were visible to all those going in to the commencement and gave out explanatory leaflets to most families. We engaged in conversations with many receiving a variety of responses from grave dismay to support for the award to not much interest either way.