On the Monday, June 24th A Public Affair, host John Quinlan was joined by anti-drone activists to talk about issues of drone warfare and national and statewide efforts to turn back the use of drones.
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink, joined the conversation from Washington D.C. Code Pink: Women for Peace is strongly against war and gun proliferation. The group is known for its high-profile actions, such as staging a four-month long vigil in front of the White House, heckling George W. Bush’s second Inaugural Address, staging a “sit-in” in Nancy Pelosi’s office, and attempting a citizen’s arrest of Karl Rove. Benjamin made headlines on May 23rd when she interrupted President Obama during a landmark speech on national security issues. While being “escorted” by security out of the building, she shouted these questions, to which the president actually stopped talking to listen: “Can you tell the Muslim people their lives are as precious as our lives? Can you take the drones out of the hands of the CIA?” She addressed national efforts to stop the use of drones.
In studio, Quinlan interviewed three local activists: Bonnie Block, Joy First and Kathy Walsh, from the “Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars”. They were among the group of five women (which also included Joyce Elwinger and Mary Beth Schlagheck) who were arrested during at “an attempt to deliver an indictment for war crimes to Volk Field Commander Colonel Dave Romuald” at Camp Douglas in central Wisconsin on May 23. They walked peacefully onto the base with the indictment in hand, and asked for a meeting with Colonel Romauld. Instead of a meeting, they were promptly arrested, taken to the Juneau County jail in handcuffs, and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. They were released several hours later after processing. They have also held vigils at the gates of Volk Field monthly since December of 2011. The nonviolent vigils are a way to remember that innocent lives have been lost as a result of drone warfare. The next Volk Field action is happening on Tuesday, June 25th. Call Joy First at 437-7581 or 239-4327 if you’re interested in attending the vigil.
They join activists around the world calling for an end to U.S. attacks by killer drones. There are thousands of documented deaths already in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and other places around the globe, including over 200 children in Pakistan alone.
“We are fulfilling our obligations under Nuremberg, and exercising our First Amendment rights by going to the base today with this indictment. We must speak out and act in resistance when our government is breaking the law and murdering innocent children, women, and men,” explained Walsh.
Listen to the entire interview: