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Cindy's Stand in Crawford
On the 7th commemoration of the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq, there was a rally and march in DC sponsored by the A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition that was attended by about eight thousand people.
For quite awhile, I have been having problems with marches on Saturday, anyway. It seems like we march past empty buildings and shake our fists at them and promise that if those empty buildings don’t change their ways, we will be back next year to do the same thing. The arrests are symbolic and don’t shut down anything, except in the case of large arrests, where the police stations are busy for a few hours.
Thousands of protesters - many directing their anger squarely at President Barack Obama - marched through the nation's capital Saturday to urge immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
At least eight people, including activist Cindy Sheehan, were arrested by U.S. Park Police at the end of the march, after laying coffins at a fence outside the White House. Friday marked the seventh anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
"Arrest that war criminal!" Sheehan shouted outside the White House before her arrest, referring to Obama.
At a rally before the march, Sheehan asked whether "the honeymoon was over with that war criminal in the White House" - an apparent reference to Obama - prompting moderate applause.
The protesters defied orders to clear the sidewalk on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House and park police say they face charges of failure to obey a lawful order. Read more.
Four videos and a slide show:
Protesters prepare for Saturday's antiwar demonstration
By Michael E. Ruane, Staff Writer | Washington Post
Maggie Pondolfino has a 24-year-old son who is a soldier serving in Afghanistan -- "he's honorable, courageous, has a lot of integrity and he loves his mother," she said.
Which is why, in part, she said she will be marching in an antiwar demonstration Saturday to bring him and other soldiers home from what protesters Thursday called America's "illegal war for empire."
The protest, against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, will begin with a noon rally in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House. The march will follow.
Organizers said at a news conference Thursday that the Afghanistan conflict has become "Obama's war." They criticized the continued fighting there and in Iraq, and said the president's war policies were just like former President George W. Bush's. Read more.
Notes From DC
By Missy Comley Beattie
Spirits were soaring on Monday morning, despite the cold rain that fell as a large tent for CAMP OUT NOW, the prelude to Peace of the Action, was erected on the grounds of the Washington Monument. People are here from California, Louisiana, New York and many other places, plus more are arriving daily. The elderly, middle aged, and young are represented, all sharing common goals of bringing our troops home, no more contractors, ending US Empire, closing foreign military bases, fully funding the VA system, saying no to robotic warfare, closing torture and detention facilities as well as paying reparations to those who live in war-torn regions.
Additionally, we hope to bring awareness to Americans about the cost of US Empire. The wars devastate those who live in the lands we invade and they impact us morally and financially here at home.
On Monday evening, renowned peace and social justice leader Cindy Sheehan took the microphone on a stage under the tent and introduced Kevin Zeese, co-founder of Voters for Peace. Zeese spoke about the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and the grotesquely obese US military budget. The statistics he presented were staggering.
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan is restarting her campaign against wars in Iraq and Afghanistan today, setting up tents and teaching protest seminars near the Washington Monument.
Dubbed "Camp OUT NOW," the protest is geared to pressure President Obama and Democrats, whom Sheehan says have abandoned the anti-war cause now that they have control of the White House and Congress.
"Obama said there'd be one combat battalion coming home per month, and that has not happened," Sheehan says. "We still have significant troops in Iraq, and he's ramped up in Afghanistan.
"I don't think this is what people understood they were voting for. I think they were voting for a change."
White House officials declined to comment.
The number of U.S. servicemembers in Iraq have declined to 98,000 in February from a peak of 170,000 during President George W. Bush's surge. Obama has presided over plans to send 30,000 more servicemembers to Afghanistan and has expanded missile strikes against suspected militants in Pakistan and Yemen. Read more.
Why do I laugh when a major newspaper’s headline is about Eric Massa’s “groping” history? That his staff was uncomfortable with his tickling routines? I guess because I’m reminded of all those Saturday Night Live noogies. Of course, those were skits. But, then, so are these, some among many in today’s political theatre. The Massa example, though, reeks of immaturity—the overly friendly behavior, touching in all the wrong places, is conduct that makes people skittish. And sickish.
Yes, I laugh but, then, so soon, I feel like crying.
Because the salacious is considered headline material or breaking news in our country, today.
Why no large type about the growing numbers of military suicides? Or that more and more troops who’ve had multiple deployments are unfit for service? Post-traumatic stress disorder is, well, very seldom stressed in our disordered world.
Why no photographs of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s parentless, limbless children whose lives have been forever shattered by our smart bombs?
Why no mention of antiwar actions, beginning this month in Washington, DC and lasting until the troops start returning home?
We’re past crunch time here in the USA.
"We are not anti-American, we are anti-Imperialism"
By Cindy Sheehan | Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox
My request to interview President Hugo Chavez Frias of Venezuela was finally granted on March 2nd while we were down in Montevideo, Uruguay with President Chavez for the inauguration of the new left-ish president and freedom fighter, Jose Mujica.
The reasons I went down to Venezuela with my team of two cameramen were two-fold.
First of all, I just got tired of all the misinformation that is spread in the US about President Chavez and the people’s Bolivarian Revolution. In only one example, the National Endowment for Democracy (another Orwellian named agency that receives federal money to supplant democracy) spends millions of dollars every year in Venezuela trying to destabilize Chavez’s democratically elected government. Read more.
The Indefatigable Cindy Sheehan
By Missy Comley Beattie
A little more than a year after her son Casey was murdered in Iraq by the US Military Industrial Complex, Cindy Sheehan took a stand in Crawford to challenge the cowering George Bush who hid behind security at his ranch. The Peace Mom sat in a ditch under the searing Texas sun and asked the question heard round the world, “For what noble cause?” I remember this well. My nephew Chase was also murdered by war that same weekend.
George Bush never answered Sheehan. If he’d had the balls, he’d have faced Sheehan and said, “For power, empower, Empire.”
Over a year ago, Bush passed the war baton to Barack Obama. The 44th commander-in-chief sprinted with it, not to the finish line but, instead, to expand its trajectory.
During the presidential campaign, many peace organizations endorsed Barack Obama despite his statement that Afghanistan is the “right war.”
In August of 2005, Cindy Sheehan breathed new life into the anti-war movement when she set up camp outside of George Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas.
In March of 2010, she hopes to once again breathe new life into a beleaguered movement against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sheehan and others from a new organization called "Peace of the Action" will start setting up camp on the National Mall in Washington, DC on March 13.
In a recent interview with Reader Supported News, Cindy Sheehan was very critical of the way the movement put its energy into the election of Barack Obama:
"Unfortunately, I feel that the movement that grew up around the Camp Casey protests was misused to elect Democrats, and we have seen since 2006, the Democrats have done nothing to end the wars, or even put a dent in them. The Dems fully funded Bush's wars and refused to hold him accountable for starting them in the first place.
An even greater tragedy occurred in the anti-war movement when it supported and helped get Barack Obama elected, even though he was strongly in favor of sending more troops to Afghanistan and was very pro-military strength." Read more.
The year is beginning with President Obama proposing more money for war and a budget freeze for most social programs. This is occurring despite the insecure and often desperate financial straits in which most Americans find themselves. The military is coming before the needs of the people.
Last year, President Obama broke all records of military funding. Not only did the DoD budget reach new heights, but so did his war-funding supplemental budgets. Now, Obama begins the year ready to break even those records. He is asking for another $30 billion war supplemental and the next military budget will be a record-breaking $708 billion.
Debate in Congress will not focus on whether this is too much money. If anything, Congress will probably make both budgets bigger. Opposition to war and militarism are views not heard in Congress. There are a few members, some from each party, who speak out against the military budget, but they are marginalized by a Congress working in lockstep with the military-industrial complex. When Eisenhower coined that phrase, his initial draft used "military-industrial-congressional complex," a phrase that seems apt for today.
While we can criticize Obama and the Democrats for their actions, and we should contact Congress and tell them we oppose this funding--call Congress at 202-224-3121 and ask for your senators and representative--it is also a time for those of us who oppose war to reflect on why the anti-war voice is so muted and on what we can do about it.
I recently wrote an article on which I would like your views; read it here. The point of the article was to begin to outline what an effective anti-war, pro-peace movement would look like. I see the peace movement as still trying to restart after the 2008 election. Many were lulled by the corporate media into believing that Obama would be a president who would reduce U.S. militarism. Some in the media described him as a peace candidate. As you can see by looking at Peace Perspectives from 2008, we at Voters for Peace repeatedly reported on Obama's pro-militarist positions; we were not fooled, but too many were.
What would an effective peace movement look like? I'd like to hear your views. Email me at: email@example.com. Here's an outline of my thoughts on the ingredients that a successful anti-war, pro-peace movement includes:
It is clear that the most dangerous and sickening crimes being committed by the US government are being directed by the CIA. The CIA poses the biggest threat to US national security and the security of the planet. The US Constitution and international law must be used to ensure security and enforce justice.
An Open Letter to Leon Panetta
Dear Mr. Panetta:
We are writing you to express our anger and dismay at the criminal and sadistic actions of the Central Intelligence Agency. There is overwhelming evidence that your organization and its front companies are guilty of the most supreme crimes against humanity. These include but are not limited to destabilizing and overthrowing elected governments, drug smuggling, child prostitution, and of course, orchestrating illegal wars of aggression. The latter was done under the pretext of eliminating a shadowy terrorist organization, Al Qaeda, which was in fact created by your own treasonous agency.
Perhaps the most sickening of the CIA's crimes is the systematic torture of human beings. Not only do you and your colleagues engage in this cowardly act, you attempt to cover up the crime through destruction of evidence and control of the media.
Associated Press Misrepresents Reason for Drone Protest at CIA; Leads to Harassment of Cindy Sheehan
January 14, 2010
To: Associated Press
CC: Jessica Gresko
RE: Misleading article about the January 16th protest at CIA Headquarters
From: Cindy Sheehan representing Peace of the Action
Yesterday, Peace of the Action Coalition organized a protest in front of CIA Headquarters in Langley, Va.
Ms. Gresko, from the AP was at the protest for the entire time. She interviewed me, all of the other speakers, and some of those in attendance.
We feel that all of the speakers at the event and the stated reason for the protest were very clear—we were there protesting the loss of innocent life due to the cowardly and immoral use of drones by the CIA that actually kill about one-hundred times more civilians than “suspected terrorists.”
Since Ms. Gresko’s story came out falsely declaring that we were there to protest the use of drones on “al Qaeda and Taliban,” I have received dozens of hate mails, one of which even called my dead son Casey a “queer” and a “faggot.”
After all the time Ms. Gresko spent there listening to us it seems like this story was filed with the intent to cloud our issue and undermine the absolute moral authority our protest had in denouncing the loss of innocent life.
We at Peace of the Action Coalition demand that the AP file a new story clarifying the seemingly deliberate obscuring of the facts in the first article and print a retraction in every news outlet that the article dated January 16th appeared.
Cindy Sheehan representing Peace of the Action Coalition
The Board of Directors of the US Peace Memorial Foundation has voted unanimously to award Cindy Sheehan its 2009 Peace Prize for extraordinary and innovative antiwar activism. In addition to this high honor, she has been designated as a Founding Member of the US Peace Memorial Foundation. Her history of diverse and impressive activities that advocate against war and for peace is documented at www.USPeaceMemorial.org/registry.
Michael Knox, Chair of the Foundation, made the official announcement on December 12 at an antiwar rally in front of the White House. A reading of the inscription on the plaque was met with great applause. Ms. Sheehan received the award on December 30. Knox thanked her for her peace leadership and for serving as a role model to others. She has served to raise the awareness of those who are not inclined to think about peace and the devastation of war.
The US Peace Memorial Foundation, a national, not-for-profit, grassroots organization, is spearheading a nationwide effort to recognize peace leadership by building the US Peace Memorial in Washington, DC, and publishing the US Peace Registry. These projects will honor the millions of thoughtful and committed Americans who have taken a public stand against a particular U.S. war or who have devoted their time, energy, and other resources to peace.
US Peace Memorial Foundation, Inc. is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity.
The IRS has determined that donations are tax deductible.
Cindy Sheehan will be Scott Horton's guest today at 3 PM EST on Anti War Radio.
By Cindy Sheehan
One of my friends, Joshua Smith, just texted me from Cairo and said that some U.S. citizens of the Gaza Freedom March went to the U.S. Embassy today there to try and implore the staff there to intercede on behalf of the March to help get them into Gaza--they were not so warmly welcomed.
Recently, almost 1400 people from around the globe met in Cairo to march into Gaza to join Gazans in solidarity and to help expose their plight after years of blockade and exactly a year after the violent attack in what Israel called "Operation Cast Lead" that killed hundreds of innocent Gazan civilians. So far the Marchers have been denied access (Egypt closed the Rafah crossing) and their gatherings have become increasingly and more violently suppressed.
In my understanding of world affairs, embassies are stationed in various countries so citizens who are traveling can seek help in times of trouble, but this doesn’t appear to be so right at this moment in Cairo.
Mike Whitney---President Barack Obama recently visited Dover Air Force Base where he was photographed with the flag-draped coffins of soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why did Obama do this and what was your reaction?
Cindy Sheehan--"I think Obama did this as a publicity stunt and used the dead troops (that he was responsible for killing) as props to show that he "cares" about the troops. This stunt was in the middle of the "discussions" about how many more troops to send to Afghanistan (after he has already sent about 35,000).
It made me sick.
MW---On Thursday, on orders from President Obama, the US military launched cruise missile attacks on Yemen which were followed by raids by the Yemeni Security forces. An estimated 120 people were killed. Obama's actions indicate that he accepts the Bush Doctrine, that he thinks the US has the right to assassinate people without due process on the mere suspicion they may be linked to a terrorist organization. Is Obama right? Does the US need to be more aggressive in the “post 9-11" world?
Cindy Sheehan---And Obama reiterated this doctrine during his Nobel acceptance speech--which some are calling the "Obama Doctrine" now.
No, I do not agree with these extra-legal executions. I do not agree that the CIA can be jury, judge and executioner in Pakistan and indiscriminately kill people with their drones.
I adamantly disagree with the doctrine of "pre-emptive" strikes or invasions and I don't agree that they keep Americans "safer" and, even if they did, innocent people are getting caught in the crossfire and we are creating enemies that we will never be able to kill. Read more.
As part of a continuing series of discussions, I had a great conversation with Cindy Sheehan about getting arrested -- the joy, nobility and logistics.
Getting arrested as a protester engaging in civil disobedience is often described by those who have been through the experience as a joyful experience. I've been interviewing protesters to get their perspective and to learn their attitudes and strategies for engaging in the process. Tonight, I'll be talking to Cindy Sheehan.
Last week I spoke to Daniel Ellsberg, partly about getting arrested as a noble, honorable, joyful experience. I'll be talking with Cindy about it tonight. Looks like I'm going to write a book about it. And yes, that does mean I WILL be getting arrested. I'm starting to look forward to it. First, I'll be getting great advice from experts-- that I'll share in the book. You see, I believe we face times when the congress is out of control, unresponsive, non-accountable and protest-- civil disobedience-- could be the only way to change that situation. To help make it happen in a big way, we need a much bigger conversation about civil disobedience, about getting arrested, why it is a noble, honorable thing, a heroic, and perhaps necessary thing we need to do for our children, our future, for humanity. Because we are at war with corporations and the wealthy and as far as they're concerned, they've already won.
Here's the link to the interview. It will be available until Jan. 22.
Recording Download Link
Peace Activists to Set Up Encampment in Washington
By Scott Galindez | Truthout
In August of 2005, Cindy Sheehan, who had lost her son in Iraq, set up camp outside George Bush's vacation home in Crawford, Texas. She had a simple question; she wanted to know what the "noble cause" was for which her son had died. Thousands of people joined Cindy in Crawford, and Camp Casey became a national story that breathed new life into the antiwar movement.
In March of 2010, Cindy Sheehan and other activists from a group calling itself "Peace of the Action" will be converging on Washington, DC, to set up a camp on the National Mall.
When asked how long the encampment will last, Sheehan responded, "as long as it takes, that will be up to the government; we are prepared to stay until our demands are met."
Sheehan went on to say that the demands are simple, "troops out of the Middle East, which includes drones, permanent bases, contractors and torture/detention facilities."
Sheehan said that she has known for years that the peace movement needs to take bolder action and that the group's goal will be to hold multiple civil resistance actions daily throughout the nation's capital.
Sheehan said that participants will be asked to adhere to agreed-upon nonviolence guidelines while standing up and resisting against what she called the "robber class."
She said they will also be reaching out to the homeless in DC by providing them food and clothing. "While there are a lot of long time homeless people with mental illnesses, increasingly there are people joining the ranks of the homeless for purely economic reasons stemming from the war economy" said Sheehan.
Listen to Cindy and David Swanson describe what is necessary to form a more perfect union. Click here. Join them as they talk about what progressives must do to counter Congress' subsidy to health insurance and pharmaceutical companies, how Obama has continued Bush's disastrous illegal, morally reprehensible policies, and how we can ultimately restore our Republic to its constitutional limits.
It won't be easy, but it can be done. What are the other options?
Dear Mr. Obama,
I hear that you were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize recently in Oslo, Norway and that, in addition to that spiffy medal, it comes with 1.4 million tax-free dollars that you are going to "donate to charity."
I just want to let you know that there are still some of us in the US who oppose the wars, even though you are president, and its nothing personal, but I vehemently oppose your wars and especially oppose the escalation of troops to Afghanistan and the fact that there has been no de-escalation from Iraq.
It has been super-tough being a peace activist since you took office, because a lot of my colleagues supported your candidacy and gave you a "wait and see"and "give him a chance," while I have been working against these policies since Bush was president and have never stopped.
Well, I don´t know if you have heard, but I am planning on setting up a Camp right across the street from you house on the lawn of the Washington Monument called--Camp OUT NOW--and, not only will it be an anti-war Camp, but it will also be a community for people who have lost their jobs and homes during the past years of the Goldman Sachs depression. Also, while the need is rising, the city of Washington, DC is cutting back on services for the poor.
On Saturday, Bay Area CODEPINK and I, started our caravan to Creech AFB in Nevada with a morning peace rally at Travis AFB in Fairfield, CA.
After we got there we were informed that we had to move off the base and were shown by MPs where we could protest. As good warriors for free speech and peace, we groused about it and we were moving forward to where we were supposed to go, when a very angry older man pulled up and started yelling at us to: "Don't go, I want to counter protest you." I told him, first of all, he shouldn't be drinking so early in the morning, and secondly not to worry, that we were going anywhere, we were just moving about 100 yards away.
We decided to just stop and take a picture by the Travis AFB sign and then we were going to get back in our cars to caravan down to Lemoore NAS because it was extremely windy and we were running a little late anyway.
I was giving a little speech denouncing the drone-bombing program and the upcoming 50 percent troop escalation to Afghanistan, when the angry old man, now dressed in a military uniform, charged around the corner and got right into my bullhorn-I told him to get out of my face and he very violently slaps the bullhorn away from me.
Everything happened so quickly: I was so shocked that I was actually physically assaulted that I just turned away from him and that's when my colleague, Suzanne immediately jumped to my aid and got between the man and me. He swore profusely and pushed her-and then a mini-melee ensued. The numerous MPs and POs that were there finally intervened after I asked them to stop the man from assaulting my friends. I touched no one even though I was within my rights to defend myself. The video clearly shows that the aggressor and the person who brought unreasoning anger and violence to the rally was Sgt. Phil Ward. Read more.
On Monday, November 30, the Peace of the Action Coalition will be sending out a press release condemning the escalation and announcing our Mother of all Protests (MOAP) that will begin in the spring.
The so-called anti-war movement currently finds itself in somewhat of a quagmire: What to do when the man you raised money for, volunteered for, and yes, even voted for, actually fulfills one of his most repulsive campaign promises?
First of all, I never understood why, or how, peace people could support someone who voted to pay for the wars while he was a Senator and was quite clear on the fact that he would increase violence in Afghanistan and perform a slow, painful and very incomplete withdrawal from Iraq. Principles that were proclaimed so loudly while Bush was president get shoved aside and buried now that a Democrat is president and how do you get your principles back from the dung-pile of selling out?
Secondly, On January 23rd of a rapidly dissipating 2009, Barack Obama perpetrated his first war crime (as president) by authorizing a drone attack in Pakistan. In February of this same year, he ordered an increase of roughly 20,000 more troops to Afghanistan: more war crimes, no corresponding outcry. However, when I cried out, I was roundly attacked by the “left” for not giving Obama a “chance.” 2009 is going to be the most deadly year for our troops and Afghan and Pakistani civilians on record. I think George Bush is calling: he wants his Nobel Peace Prize back. Read more.
This Sunday on Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox, one misbehaving woman interviews another one. Thank goodness for women who do buck the system and resist "going with the flow," just so as to appear socially acceptable to a society that is not so polite.
Cindy interviews Malalai Joya, a female Afghan Parliamentarian who courageously stands up for female rights and peace against the warlords of Afghanistan and America. Cindy and Cliff caught up with Malalai when she was in Berkeley to talk about her book: A Woman Among Warlords.
Cindy loves to bust Myths (and is almost finished with Myth America II: 20 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class and the Case for Revolution) and was thrilled when Malalai busted the stuffing out of the Myth that US and NATO forces must remain in Afghanistan to "protect the women."
Please listen to this interview on Sunday at the website after 2pm (PACIFIC):
1360am Rational Radio in Dallas, TX at 3pm (central)
“Peace Mom” Cindy Sheehan to Speak at Central Connecticut State University, Today, November 16, 2009
“Peace Mom” Cindy Sheehan to Speak at Central Connecticut State University, November 16, 2009
Her Protests Galvanized National Attention to the Human Cost of the War in Iraq
November 11, 2009 (New Britain, CT)--Cindy Sheehan is an internationally known peace and social justice advocate whose son, Army Specialist Casey A. Sheehan, was killed in action in Sadr City, Baghdad, on April 4, 2004. Sheehan is founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, an organization of Americans who have had loved ones killed in wars. As an act of protest against the war, in August 2005 Cindy took a stand outside of George Bush's home in Crawford, Texas asking what noble cause her son died for; this began the “Camp Casey” peace movement. Sheehan will be at Central Connecticut State University on Monday, November 16, to give two presentations. The events are free and open to the public. Campus map and directions available at www.ccsu.edu/visit. More below the fold.