Veterans Occupy National Archives Building and Much More

"Arresting Bush and Cheney for war crimes will honor our oath to the Constitution," vets say.


9-23-2008

11 AM Yesterday, A Snippet:

Adams said they have been receiving a lot of waves of approval from passersby. Will continue to update.



2:20 PM Yesterday, A Snippet:

Kauff reports that the City Police have been handling the situation very well. Would like them to come down, but are respecting their First Amendment Rights. One officer told them they could "stay up there all month if they wanted." The National Archives security are not as supportive as they see it as a security breach, but are not currently taking action.


5:30 PM Yesterday, A Snippet:

Eight hours into their occupation of the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., Veterans For Peace members report they have called all 40 members of the House Committee on the Judiciary, urging them to actively support impeachment hearings.



9:15 PM Last Night, A Snippet:

Regarding exchanges with authorities Elliott reports, "We’ve had a few more proposals of the ‘great deal’ we could get if we’d just get off the damn ledge. We respectfully declined."

Plans for the night? "We’re on the ledge trying to settle down. We’ve got lights on the banner. We’ve setup five two-hour watches so we’ll have somebody on watch all night, we brought up sleeping pads and space blankets." Elliott reported a steady stroll of curious onlookers and folks on the ground handing out flyers.

He continued, "The Archive guards have mounted a watch on us to make sure we don’t do…whatever...but, the other police forces have shown up periodically. It was pretty funny, for a long time they were trying to figure out who had jurisdiction.


Ret. Col. Ann Wright

More updates will probably be posted at this site page, coming in to today.

You Can Digg The Above Here

We are having the first of the Presidential Debates this week, on friday night, it will take place at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, known colloquially as Ole Miss. NPR has a very good writeup as a leadin: Site Of Presidential Debate Has Come Far From Past for this historic event in more ways than one.

What does this have to do with the purpose of this post and my Brother/Sister Veterans now occupying a ledge outside of the National Archives Building?

Well this first, even with all the news riveting on the financial collapse, will focus on Foreign Policy and National Security of this country. A foreign policy followed these last eight years that has greatly damaged our countries standing and leadership, as a democracy of peace, freedom, tolerance and diplomacy, even amoung those who consider themselves our allies. A foreign policy that has placed this country and it citizens in grave danger as to national security for decades to come, not only us but any who align with us!

There will probably be a number of questions on the policies followed in this so called War on Terror especially as to the two theaters it is being fought in. Some of those questions I'm sure will cover the false propaganda being fed on how the policy of Counter Insurgency 'the surge' in Iraq has worked so well, It Hasn't! The goals of the 'surge' have not been met, just ask the people of Iraq:

Introducing Iraqi Refugee Stories:

Voices Missing From Media Describe Life in Exile

Watch "Hiba's Story," one in a powerful new series of video accounts by Iraqis who have had to flee their home.


Beyond the violence and instability of Iraq is the largely untold story of Iraqi displacement and exile and its enormous human consequences. A new website, Iraqi Refugee Stories, is now giving voice to the growing crisis and providing concerned individuals viable avenues to take action.

"The silent story of Iraq has been that of the millions who've been displaced within their country or who have fled to neighboring countries and are now living in limbo. In countries like Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, Iraqi refugees can't work legally and are often hiding at home for fear of deportation because they're unable to renew their visas," said Jennifer Utz, a video journalist, founder and creator of Iraqi Refugee Stories. "The media coverage of the issue has largely focused on the plight of military interpreters, while countless other vulnerable individuals have virtually gone unnoticed, such as single mothers, members of minority religions, the elderly and those in need of serious medical assistance."

In this video clip, a young woman named Hiba, whose family fled Iraq in 2003 only to be denied entrance to Jordan, describes the four years they spent living in a tent in Ruwayshed, a refugee camp on the border, saying that she often thinks about her classmates and wonders whether they lived or died.

To learn more, visit Iraqi Refugee Stories.


Or how about one of the main reasons the violence has dropped, even though Iraqi's and Soldiers are still being killed and maimed:

After Siege, Wall Sadr City’s New Oppression - 09.22.2008

Iraq, Baghdad/Sadr City – After the failure of many security plans proposed by the Iraqi government and US military strategists, a recent plan, hand-in-hand with the so-called “Surge,” was designed. It was a desperate attempt by the US and Iraqi military forces to control the Sunni-Shia militia. At the suggestion of military leaders, the Iraqi and US governments decided to build walls to separate neighborhoods and to control militias and insurgents from entering or exiting any neighborhood without passing a checkpoint. The first wall was built in Adhamiya, in April 2007. Despite protests and opposition, United States military and Iraqi National Guard forces began to erect a wall surrounding the neighborhood of Adhamiya. The people living in the neighborhood engaged in several demonstrations against building the wall, and even Prime Minister Maliki, a Shi’a critical of the neighborhood, publicly protested the plan. Despite his intervention and public discontent, the wall was built and finished by late April 2007.

These walls tend to be approximately 3 meters in height and made from concrete. In some areas the top of the wall is covered with concertina wire to prevent intruders from climbing over the wall. There are patrols set to guard the wall and they are present around the wall daily, and at all hours, to protract the wall from being attacked or bombed by insurgents.

Another wall built at end of April 2007, but this time in Ameriya, this wall is approximately 10 kilometers in length and again 3 meters high. In September 2007 yet another wall was built in the Saidiya neighborhood. The wall surrounding that district was 23 kilometers, and by the end of 2007 there were over 50 different walls built around different neighborhoods across Baghdad.

In May 2008 a wall was built in Sadr City after battles between the US military and the Mahdi Army. There are approximately two million citizens living inside the area now known as Sadr City, probably the largest single group impacted by one of Baghdad’s walls. Previously they could come and go via nine major entrances. Many shops were force to close because of the wall, the shop owners found they could not complete there work anymore due to the wall sitting just in front of their shops.


Would you want to live like this, Would you develop growing Hatred for being forced to live like this in your destroyed country, Would you search for retribution for the loved ones, friends, and killed and maimed, and your country destroyed, in an occupation by an outside military force, What Would You Do??

And what happens in Wars of Occupation and Wars of Choice, the Soldiers know:

Winter Soldier: OIF and OEF Soldiers the Book

Back in March of this year History repeated itself. A history many of us Vietnam Veterans felt would never be repeated for we swore we wouldn't allow the country we served to ever allow itself to be led into another debacle of human destruction, a War Of Choice, an Occupation Of Innocent Others!! The country, back than, even seemed to grasp the huge mistake we had made in the policies set forth by those we elect to lead, they themselves said "We will learn from the mistakes made!", we didn't, and others don't neither!

Book Exposes Iraq Occupation Through US Soldiers' Eyes

Aside from the Iraqi people, nobody knows what the U.S. military is doing in Iraq better than the soldiers themselves. A new book gives readers vivid and detailed accounts of the devastation the U.S. occupation has brought to Iraq, in the soldiers' own words.

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan: Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations, published by Haymarket Books Tuesday, is a gut-wrenching, historic chronicle of what the U.S. military has done to Iraq, as well as its own soldiers.

Authored by Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and journalist Aaron Glantz, the book is a reader for hearings that took place in Silver Spring, Maryland between Mar. 13-16, 2008 at the National Labour College.

"I remember one woman walking by," said Jason Washburn, a corporal in the U.S. Marines who served three tours in Iraq. "She was carrying a huge bag, and she looked like she was heading toward us, so we lit her up with the Mark 19, which is an automatic grenade launcher, and when the dust settled, we realized that the bag was full of groceries. She had been trying to bring us food and we blew her to pieces."

Glantz admits that it would be difficult for the average U.S. citizen to read the book, and believes it is important to keep in mind while doing so what it took for the veterans to give this historic testimony.

"They could have been heroes, but what they are doing here is even more heroic -- which is telling the truth," Glantz told IPS. "They didn't have to come forward. They chose to come forward."


Visit Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan where you find links to the following:

* Watch testimony video
* Listen to audio archives at warcomeshome.org (a project of KPFA)
* High-quality video of Winter Soldier is available - click here for more information.
* Winter Soldier media coverage and press information
* Winter Soldier Liveblog
* Winter Soldier on the Hill (May 15th) on CSPAN
* Winter Soldier on the Hill (May 15th) audio from KPFA
* Winter Soldier on the Hill PBS NewsHour coverage
* More info on Winter Soldier on the Hill

The PBS NewsHour covers Winter Soldier on the Hill, where IVAW members testified before Congress on the Rules of Engagement.

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END ARCHIVES OCCUPATION ON HIGH NOTE

"We may be back again soon," Vets add.

Washington -- Five military veterans, all members of Veterans For Peace, are breaking camp from their perch on the National Archives building this morning, taking with them their 22x8-ft. banner demanding “DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION. ARREST BUSH AND CHENEY: WAR CRIMINALS!” that has overlooked their 24-hour action on a narrow ledge 35 feet above Constitution Ave.

Tarak Kauff, 67, former Army Airborne, who provided ground support throughout, said in a phone interview, "We're always told to 'write your Congressman,' and we have. Only this time we brought a letter they couldn't miss. We've made our point writ large that Bush and Cheney are war criminals and must be arrested and prosecuted. Impeach them if we can, but we're not holding our breath for Congress to act. The kingpins of this criminal administration will be brought to justice, along with many of their lieutenants."

Elliott Adams, VFP president, by phone from his spot on the ledge overlooking the entrance to the Archives Building, said "This turned out excellent. We're very happy with the response we've gotten to arrest Bush and Cheney for war crimes. We considered staying longer this time but we are not prepared for longer than this...although we may be back again, soon."

VFP members participating in the Archives action are: Elliott Adams: 61, NY, VFP President and former Army paratrooper in Viet Nam; Ellen Barfield: 52, MD, former U.S. Army Sgt., full-time peace and justice advocate; Kim Carlyle: 61, NC, mountain homesteader, former Army Spec 5; Diane Wilson: 59, TX, shrimp boat captain, former Army medic; Doug Zachary: 58, TX, VFP staff, former USMC LCpl discharged as a conscientious objector; and Tarak Kauff (ground support) 67, NY, painting contractor, former U.S. Army Airborne.

Do We Need Change, You're Damn Right We Do, And The World Needs Us To Change, Now!!

"The wise man points to the stars and the fool sees only the finger - and discusses it 24/7 on cable."

They'll be back?

:-)



"So your party is the only party that can save the country from the mess that your party created?" - attrib. Jon Stewart

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"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

US intelligence analysts are putting the final touches on a secret National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Afghanistan that reportedly describes the situation as "grim", but there are "no plans to declassify" any of it before the election, according to one US official familiar with the process.

"The wise man points to the stars and the fool sees only the finger - and discusses it 24/7 on cable."