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Medea Benjamin: Gitmo, Korean Peninsula, “Toxic” U.S.-Saudi Ties Should Top Obama’s Agenda in 2016

StoryJanuary 13, 2016
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Medea Benjamin is the co-founder of CodePink, known worldwide for activism in the cause of justice and determination to confront politicians directly. Benjamin has been removed from scores of congressional hearings for speaking out against militarism and torture. In 2013, she famously interrupted President Obama several times to criticize his policies on drones and Guantánamo Bay. At the end of their exchange, Obama said, “The voice of that woman is worth paying attention to.” As Obama delivers his final State of the Union, Benjamin outlines her hopes for a foreign policy agenda during his last year in office.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I’d like to ask Medea—we have about just less than a minute, but your sense of what the president could still do in his last year, that you would like to see him accomplish?

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Well, certainly, he could use his executive authority to close Guantánamo. I think it’s very important that he do something about the critical state in the Korean Peninsula, and that would be, instead of sending B-2 bombers over North Korea, to start a peace process with North Korea that’s been missing since 1953. And I think that we need to stop the toxic relationship with Saudi Arabia. That’s why we’re organizing a summit in Washington March 5th to 6th, and we hope your listeners will come join us to build a movement against the relationship with Saudi Arabia.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to leave it there, but we’ll continue to cover all of these issues. I want to thank you, Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink. Thanks so much, as well, to Tavis Smiley, public TV and radio broadcaster, journalist; his new book, The Covenant with Black America–Ten Years Later. Thank you to Claudia Palacios, who is a racial and migrant justice activist and a U.S. Marines veteran, and, as well, to Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, special projects director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

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