Saturday, September 23, 2006

Wash Post: Week of Action Begins

Antiwar Push Starts Near White House; 34 Arrested

By Sue Anne Pressley Montes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 22, 2006; A08

A group of ministers, veterans and peace activists attempted to deliver a "declaration of peace" to the White House yesterday, kicking off a week of vigils and other activities in 350 communities across the country calling for the prompt withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Thirty-four people were arrested here and charged with disorderly conduct after they demanded to speak with President Bush, then refused to leave the west gate of the White House. As part of an initiative of more than 400 groups, many of them religiously affiliated, the activists said they had to "bear moral witness" against the U.S. military role in Iraq.

"We are in a time of peril, and people of morals have got to stand up," said the Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., who founded the D.C.-based Hip Hop Caucus to involve youths in political and social action and helped to lead yesterday's protest. "If we don't stand now in the 21st century, there will not be a 22nd century. We will destroy ourselves -- we will either solve this together or die as fools together."

The day's activities also featured vigils for peace in dozens of cities and towns, including Little Rock; Tucson; Pasadena, Calif.; Miami; Decatur, Ga.; Pittsburgh; and Austin. In San Diego today, there will be a Dance Action for Peace. Tomorrow in Cincinnati, a tent city dedicated to peace will be erected. San Francisco is hosting a mass bicycle ride to protest the conflict in Iraq, and Madison, Wis., is holding community forums on the issue.

The week's activities will include civil disobedience actions at the U.S. Capitol, organizers said, as participants try to persuade members of Congress to sign the declaration of peace, a document demanding that the Bush administration "establish a concrete and rapid plan to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq."

The declaration of peace was created after religious and secular peace groups, including the Methodist Federation for Social Action, the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship and United for Peace and Justice, began discussions in January. Since then, the document has received more than 12,000 signatures online. Thousands more signatures have been gathered in petition campaigns around the country, organizers said.

At yesterday's event outside the White House, about 75 people listened as Yearwood and others explained their purpose. Some held small, red "stop" signs to show their support for an end to the war and chanted, "No to war! We declare peace!"

"Today, here in front of the White House, we kick off a week of intensive antiwar action throughout the nation," said Leslie Cagan, national coordinator for United for Peace and Justice, which she described as the country's largest antiwar coalition. "It is time to end the war in Iraq. It is time to bring all of the troops home."

© 2006 The Washington Post Company

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sunday Die-In at White House

Yesterday, a half-dozen of us participated in a dramatic die-in in front of the White house, as dozens of tourists watched and discussed our nation's aggressive and immoral role in the war and occupationof Iraq.

A small group of us have become a little frustrated by the low turnout at Camp Democracy and the relative lack of willingness on the part of many participants there to take concrete anti-war action.

We donned t-shits with messages like "Young Iraqi Boy, Cluster Bomb," "U.S. Soldier, Friendly Fire," "Iraqi Civillian, Tortured" and had fake blood packets underneath. We covered the t-shirts with normal looking button down shirts and behaved like tourists at first.

When we did the action, two others became spokespersons and reminded all the onlookers that this is what war is about as we lay there bloodied with our messages, and that their tax dollars are being spent this way. They also urged people to learn more by stopping by Camp Democracy.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Four Vets Detained at Pentagon


4 Iraq War Vets Detained at Pentagon

Tell A Friend

by David Swanson

Online at: http://www.campdemocracy.org

Speakers available for interviews: http://www.campdemocracy.org/speakers

Four Iraq War Vets Detained at Pentagon

What: Press Conference with veterans who have been detained, and possibly arrested, at the Pentagon

When: 9:30 a.m., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2006

Where: Camp Democracy on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., near Fourth Street.

Four veterans of the current war in Iraq and one supporter (a total of five young men) were detained at the Pentagon today after they attended an open house and left behind flyers providing information about the lethal effects of depleted uranium.

The five (if released) and leaders of Iraq Veterans Against the War, and Veterans for Peace will hold a press conference at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, Sunday, September 10, at Camp Democracy, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., near Fourth Street.

The veterans observed literature available in the Pentagon's chapel, which is at the site of the 9-11 plane crash. This literature, produced at tax-payer expense, included copies of the New Testament in camouflage covers.

They left behind flyers explaining the effects of depleted uranium. Some of the vets detained currently suffer from depleted uranium poisoning.

The four vets are Steve Mortillo of Pennington, N.J.; Joe Hatcher of San Diego, Calif.; Geoff Millard of Buffalo, N.Y.; and Toby Hartbarger of Indiana. Also detained was Gregory "Tristan" Watson of Chicago, Ill.

Retired Col. Ann Wright said, "Iraq vets who have suffered the effects of depleted uranium have every right to educate others about the terrible effects of this illegal substance used in weapons produced by the United States government."

For more information see: http://www.campdemocracy.org

Monday, September 04, 2006

Camp Democracy Begins!

Although Camp Democracy does not start until tomorrow morning, the 5th of September, there have already been people staying over night watching the tents near the intersection of 15th and Constitution Avenue N.W., located between the Washington Monument and the American History Museum.

This is an exciting time for the movement. Finally, about two-thirds of Americans agree that the war and occupation in Iraq must be ended, Americans are also aware of how they are being short-changed at home. There must be more funds for Hurricane Katrina relief, there must be healthcare for all Americans and it's time to stop the chipping away of our civil liberties! The question is how do we transform this sentiment into action?

Friday and Saturday night, my friend Jamie, a young peace and justice activist camped the nights on site. Friday he was rained on and there was some flooding under two of the tents. Saturday, I went down to visit with him briefly with a mutual friend after we saw the documentary film on the troubled Iraqi elections in 2005, "My Country, My Country!" at the Avalon theater. Excellent film and the film maker spoke to the audience after the show.

Then I visited Camp Democracy again last night, and there was a group of students from University of Maryland holding watch. They were a great group, full of enthusiasm. They are with the student group at College Park called Peace Forum. I only stayed a little while, but it made me hopeful that so many in the younger generation are dedicated to building a more just and peaceful future.

Tuesday evening, DAWN will hold its regular weekly meeting there. We are a open, non-member group who has gone through some internal strife recently, but we are alive and still engaged in organizing. In fact, two of the strong forces in erecting Camp Democracy are Pat Elder and Jose Rodriguez -- two DAWNistas! These two guys have done a lot of the work thus far, in addition to David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org, and Karen Bradley of Democracy Cell Project.

More info for Tuesday, opening day of the camp:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 4, 2006
Contact: Ryan Fletcher 202-641-0277
Michael McPhearson 314-303-8874
Nancy Lessin 617-320-5301
Camp Democracy contact: David Swanson 202-329-7847 or Online at: http://www.campdemocracy.org
Veterans and Military Families Hold Press Conference and Day of Events to Open Camp Democracy September 5th

WASHINGTON, DC - September 5th in Washington DC will witness the opening of a 17-day event called Camp Democracy, a non-partisan camp for peace and democracy, focusing on ending the war in Iraq, righting injustices here at home and on holding accountable the Bush Administration and Congress.

WHO: Veterans of the Iraq War and Other Conflicts, Military and Gold Star Families
WHAT: Silent Procession, Press Conference, and Day of Activities to Open Camp Democracy
WHERE: Camp Democracy will be located at Constitution Avenue and 14th Street NW
WHEN: Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Summary of events on Tuesday, September 5, 2006:
For a full schedule of events, go to: www.campdemocracy.org/schedule

8:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. -Vigil, March around Capitol Building to remember the fallen and remind Congress of the human cost of the War in Iraq (visuals include combat boots and shoes representing the fallen; tombstones, pictures), led by Veteran, Military and Gold Star families. Assembly point is 1st and Independence at 8:00 a.m.; procession steps off at 8:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m. to Noon
• Opening Press Conference featuring Iraq War Veterans, Military Families, Gold Star Families, Veterans of other Conflicts
• Opening Ceremony at Camp Democracy
• Speak-Out featuring members of Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families Speak Out and Gold Star Families for Peace

1:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. - Roundtable Discussion: Why We Say "Bring Them Home NOW, and How To Make That Happen (Veterans and Military Families)

4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. - Panel Discussion - How the U.S. anti-war/Peace and Justice movements can support reconciliation and Peace in Iraq and the greater Middle East.

7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. – Sneak Preview Film Screening: "The Ground Truth" – Iraq Veterans talk about their wounds of war, and the hidden wounds of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; followed by a panel of Veterans and Military Families discussing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Opening soon in major theaters across the country.

9:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. - Concert featuring Anne Feeney http://annefeeney.com and Emma's Revolution http://emmasrevolution.com

For more information see: www.veteransforpeace.org , www.ivaw.org , www.mfso.org www.campdemocracy.org

Technical note: Events in the morning on the 5th will use a sound system powered by batteries. There will be no power outlets available to the media (or anyone else) until after our generators arrive at 11 a.m. and are hooked up and started.

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Members of Congress, Progressive Democrats of America to “Organize the Progressive Agenda” at Camp Democracy Sept 6th

PDA Main Contact: Tim Carpenter tim@pdamerica.org 413-320-2015
PDA Camp Democracy Contact: Mike Hersh mike@pdamerica.org 240-483-3191
Camp Democracy Contact: David Swanson david@davidswanson.org 202-329-7847

WASHINGTON, DC - Several Members of Congress will join grassroots activists on September 6 to present more effective, better alternatives to the failed, fatal policies of the Bush/Cheney Administration. They will lead discussions about Ending the Iraq War, Implementing Single-Payer Universal Health Care, Helping Katrina / Rita Refugees, and other critical issues.

PDA National Board Members Rep. Lynn Woolsey and Rep. Barbara Lee, (Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus); Rep. Maxine Waters, (Chair of the Out of Iraq Caucus); Rep. Jim McGovern, Sponsor of H.R. 4232: End the War in Iraq Act; Rep. Bob Filner; PDA Executive Director Tim Carpenter; PDA Board Members Rev. Lennox Yearwood (CEO Hip Hop Caucus), Steve Cobble, (Peace, Trade, and Voting Rights expert) and Joel Segal (Legislative Aid for Health Policy, for Rep. John Conyers) will present a Progressive Agenda for National Security and Domestic / Human Needs. Local and national political activists will join them. All events will be in the Main Tent on Constitution Ave. between 14 St. and 15 St. near the Washington Monument.

4:00 PM. Rev. Yearwood, just back from New Orleans, will report on continued devastation and suffering then lead a discussion about the campaign to pass the Gulf Coast Reconstruction Act.

5:00 PM. Joel Segal will lead a discussion of HR-676, legislation to implement a universal, single-payer healthcare system, eliminate corporate waste in health care and cover all of the 45 million Americans who lack access to quality health care today.

5:30 PM. Rep. Lynn Woolsey will lead a discussion on legislation to end funding for the Iraq war and to bring the troops home now with Grassroots progressive leaders.

And here's more info about Laura Portias' film "My Country, My Country!":