Saturday, November 10, 2012

Last Farmer's Market 2012 - Drone over Madison

LJ Prip, Brad Geyer, Steve Books, and I, members of Veterans for Peace,  spent a very good day on the capitol square in Madison Wisconsin today. The weather was gorgeous ... sun came out, the wind was gusting and blowing the oak leaves all around with many more floating down from the trees.

There were quite a few people attending the very last outdoor farmer's market for the year. We had the drone out and our signs. We got out the Vietnam War era burial flag with a Zinn quote on it,
“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
and held it upside down as a distress signal... informing the passerbys that the USA is in crisis.
LJ Prip and David Soumis at the Farmers Market - Madison Wisconsin
There were the usual grimaces of people, especially older people, which could not accept we were holding the flag upside down. One 22 year veteran stopped and was pretty upset with us, but did state he was in the military to defend our right to speak out. He expressed his total disdain for what we were doing, rather vehemently.  I salute him for understanding that freedom of speech is important to this country. He disagreed with our flag display, but we shook hands and he walked on.

Overall, the crowd was very positive to us today. We had a lot of folks stop and give thanks to us, that we were standing out there informing and educating people on what our government is doing in our name. The wars, the use of drones in killing people, and so forth. There were hugs, a lot of peace signs, and even more thumbs up.

We also had a special visitor later in the day, Brian Terrell , who has been doing a LOT of work against the use of drones (serious understatement). He is here to do a talk at The Fountain, 122 State Street, in Madison at 8PM Sunday evening. Please try to stop by.

Brian was arrested at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri during an attempt, on behalf of a larger group of protestors, to deliver an "indictment" to Brigadier General Scott A. Vander Hamm, the base's commander. Their indictment charged the chain of command, from President Obama to General Vander Hamm to the drone crews at Whiteman, "with the following crimes; extrajudicial killings, violation of due process, wars of aggression, violation of national sovereignty, and the killing of innocent civilians." It noted the fact that "extrajudicial targeted killings by the use of unmanned aircraft drones by the United States of America are intentional, premeditated and deliberate use of lethal force in violation of US and international human rights law" and demanded that these crimes immediately cease.
(left to right) Mark Kenney, Brian Terrell, and Ron Faust outside the courthouse on June 6. Photo by Marc Saviano

Brian, along with retired minister Ron Faust went to court. Both were found guilty of “trespassing”. Brian sentenced to 6 months in federal prison. Faust was sentenced to five years of probation, while Terrell received the maximum sentence. A third protester, Mark Kenney of Omaha, Nebraska is serving a four-month sentence after pleading guilty in June to trespassing. His sentence begins on November 30.

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