Wisconsin peace activists put drone warfare on trial

Raging Grannies take a stand against dronesOn September 24, seven peace activists from across Wisconsin who were arrested during a drone protest at Camp Williams / Volk Field had their first court date in nearby Mauston.  (Photo of the Raging Grannies supporting the drone protesters by Joyce Ellwanger, defendant and WNPJ Lifetime Achievement Award winner.)

Joy First explained, "We were arrested by the Juneau County Sheriff just inside the gates of the base on April 24 after peacefully walking onto the base to hand deliver a letter to base commander, Col. Gary Ebben.  We have been vigiling at the base monthly since December 2012, and sending letters to Col. Ebben stating our urgent concern about the training they are doing in operating Shadow drones.  Our letters have been ignored and so on April 24 we decided to try to hand deliver a letter.  We were arrested, handcuffed, and transported to Mauston, the county seat of Juneau County.  There we were processed and charged with criminal disorderly conduct and released."

At the plea hearing, the judge dropped criminal charges against the protesters, with new noncriminal ordinance violations charges to be filed against the seven, requiring more court appearances.

In addition to the local media coverage of the planned drone aircraft maintenance and training facility at Volk Field, the peace activists organized presentations to high school students and community members about drone warfare, while in Mauston.