You Gotta Love Medea Benjamin

Submitted by tnjp on May 25, 2013 - 2:39pm.

You Gotta Love Medea Benjamin

If you're an advocate for Peace and Justice you just gotta love Medea Benjamin. She consistently speaks out when the rest of us only wish we could. As co-founder of CodePink she's been at it for over a decade, repeatedly speaking truth to power at the risk of losing personal freedom and physical harm. She may be diminutive in size but posses a gargantuan spirit.

Her latest exploit? Speaking out against President Obama's policies during his counter-terrorism policy speech at the National Defense University. As Obama said himself - "The voice of that woman is worth paying attention to..."

Witness it yourself in the below videos, reports, and interviews...

President Obama Heckled By Code Pink Leader Madea Benjamin. Guantanamo Gitmo Speech

Medea Benjamin v. President Obama: CodePink Founder Disrupts Speech, Criticizing Drone, Gitmo Policy

During President Obama’s first major counterterrorism address of his second term, he said the United States cannot continue waging what he described as a boundless global war on terror. He also discussed his administration’s efforts to close down the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay. He was repeatedly confronted by CodePink’s Medea Benjamin in the audience, ultimately stopping his speech to address her directly. We air the complete exchange between them. "The voice of that woman is worth paying attention to," Obama said in response to Benjamin. "Obviously, I do not agree with much of what she said. And obviously she wasn’t listening to me in much of what I said. But these are tough issues, and the suggestion that we can gloss over them is wrong."

"That Woman Is Worth Paying Attention To": Medea Benjamin Explains Why She Disrupted Obama’s Speech

Less than 24 hours after she interrupted President Obama’s major speech on the future of the secret drone war and Guantánamo, CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin describes why she repeatedly interrupted Obama’s address. Benjamin, the author of "Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control," criticized Obama for failing to explain why a U.S. drone in Yemen killed the teenage U.S. citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki in 2011. "I was very disappointed. He said that his policy is to capture, not kill. That’s just not true. I know personally of many incidents where it would have been very easy to capture people, like the 16-year-old Tariq Aziz in Pakistan, who was in Islamabad at a well-known hotel, but instead was killed by a drone strike two days later," Benjamin says. "I think the president is really justifying the use of drones, which will continue to happen under his administration and be passed on to the next."

Interview with Code-Pink founder, Medea Benjamin After She "Heckled" Obama by Dennis Bernstein of Flashpoints, a daily news magazine broadcast on Pacifica Radio.

DB: Medea, how are you feeling? You were taken into custody?

MB: I am doing great. I was held by people in the military base, the FBI, and the secret service, and questioned for a while about who I am and my motives. Then amazingly enough, I was let free with no charges.

DB: What were you trying to tell the president?

MB: I got to speak three different times. When he was speaking about blaming Congress for not being able to close Guantanamo, I said he is the Commander-in-Chief so obviously has the ability to close Guantanamo today if he wanted to and release the 86 prisoners who have been cleared for release -- so why isn't he doing that. I got a chance to speak up again, talk about the drone strikes and ask why he isn't taking them out of the hands of the CIA. Why isn't he prohibiting signature strikes where people are killed just on the basis of suspicious activities? And why will he not apologize to, and compensate the families of the innocent victims of our drone strikes? I got one more chance and asked who killed the 16-year-old American Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, and why?

DB: That's when you were arrested and taken into custody?

MB: Yes.

DB: Obama made a major foreign policy speech today. He said something about Guantanamo. What is your response to what the president said?

MB: I was hoping we would get some significant changes because the rumors had been flying about real policy changes like the ones I just mentioned. Unfortunately what we got is more rhetoric that justifies the drone program. He talked about Anwar al-Awlaki but refused to talk about his 16-year old son. He said the drone strikes are only used when we can't capture people, which is not true. I know many examples where it would have been simple to capture people, such as 16-year old Tariq Aziz from Pakistan, who was in the capital city of Islamabad at a public meeting in a public hotel. Instead of capturing him there, he was killed two days later by a drone strike.

In Yemen there are many drone strikes that are very near the capital city were people could have easily been captured. There were many statements in the speech that weren't true. Unfortunately there were no significant policy changes except the restricting of the self-imposed ban on not releasing people from Guantanamo to Yemen.

DB: You told Obama you wanted him to recognize the hunger strike. Why is it very important for the president of the United States to recognize the hunger strike?

MB: It's an absolute crisis. There are over 100 men in Guantanamo who haven't been eating, and they started over 100 days ago. They are being terribly force-fed in a way that even the American Medical Association calls torture. They need some justice, not nice sounding words from President Obama. We [have] heard since before he was president that he was going to close Guantanamo. People are sick of hearing him say that. They want it closed.

DB: Medea, you have many times put your body on the line. How does it feel? Were you frightened of being hurt?

MB: I was very scared going in there. I assumed that I would be recognized and kicked out. But I was there for two-and-a-half hours and nobody said anything to me, which sometimes makes me feel that I'm invisible. It was very scary to be in there and think about interrupting the President of the United States. It is not an easy thing to do, but I kept breathing deeply and thinking about the people I met in Afghanistan and Pakistan who have been so harmed by our policies. I thought about the people who have been hunger striking for over 100 days. I thought that maybe I could get it out if I thought about how meaningful it would be for the people who are suffering from our policies.

full interview at

Obama heckler got press pass
So how did well-known heckler and war protester Medea Benjamin -- leader of the activist group Code Pink -- get into President Obama's counter-terrorism speech on Thursday?

With a press pass.

Politico reported that a photographer who stood in line with Benjamin at the National Defense University saw her wearing a bright green pass pass adorned with her original name, Susan Benjamin.

Security officials eventually escorted Benjamin from the hall after she continually yelled at Obama in protest over drones and the terrorism prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Atlantic recited Benjamin's history of heckling: "She's been seen and heard at many big political events over the last year: at CIA chief John Brennan's confirmation hearing, the NRA's Wayne LaPierre's press conference, the Republican National Convention." It quoted a "Senate source" as saying she also used the media pass trick to get into one of its events....

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