Activist in Jail for Opposing Drones at Volk Field

Joyce Ellwanger, Milwaukee peace activist and WNPJ Lifetime Achievement Award winner, began serving a five-day jail stay in Mauston, Wisconsin, county seat of Juneau County, on May 5, rather than pay a fine of $250, levied by a Juneau County judge for trespassing at the entrance to Volk Field on May 28,2013.

Accompanied by four other women activists, Ellwanger approached the entrance to Volk Field in an effort to talk with the commander of the Air Force Base, or to convey a message to the commander, regarding the illegality of the drone training taking place at Volk Field.  Previous efforts to communicate with the commander of Volk Field resulted in refusal or no response.

Charges of disorderly conduct against Ellwanger were dropped, but the trespassing charge was sustained by the judge.  Ellwanger insisted that her conscience would not permit her to pay the fine for doing something that was harming no one and that was carried out as a citizen's duty to hold officials accountable for harmful and illegal actions that they were doing in "our name."

The document carried by the five women to the gates of Volk Field on May 28, 2013, stated that the drone training taking place at Volk Field violates Executive Order 11905, the Supremacy Clause of the U. S. Constitution, the UN Charter, the International Humanitarian Law, and the Human Rights Law.

The United Kingdom Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that in Pakistan alone, the drone attacks have killed 2,599 to 4,172 people, including several hundred children.  Major drone attacks are also being carried out in Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan.

"Besides the horrific killing of innocent men, women, and children by the drone attacks," Ellwanger states, "there is the fear and the anger toward the United Sates created by the drone attacks, that can linger for generations.  As citizens of this nation, which maintains more than 700 military bases around the globe,"  Ellwanger adds, "we believe that these words of Martin Luther King still hold true: 'The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.'"

A regular participant in the MICAH prayer vigils held at the site of every homicide in Milwaukee, Ellwanger says that she tries to live out faithfully her deep belief that "Every life is precious."

The other four women arrested with Ellwanger on May 28, 2013, were:  Bonnie Block, Joy First, Mary Schlagheck, and Kathleen Walsh.