5:30 PM UPDATE:
Vets call 40 members of House Judiciary Committee from perch on National Archives
Washington -- 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.
11:00 AM UPDATE
Editor's note: Spoke to VFP President, Elliott Adams, at 11:00 a.m. Adams said, "We're still occupying this ledge. We have our 22 foot banner that reads Defend the Constitution, Arrest Bush and Cheney." By 11:00, there were about ten National Archives guards present. Police units have come by trying to determine jurisdiction. They gave the group a few options including "come down now and you won't get arrested" and that if they came off the ledge now they would be allowed to stay on the ground with banner. The group has rejected the offer and intend to stay for 24 hours to make their statement. Adams said they have been receiving a lot of waves of approval from passersby. Will continue to update. - C. Biren-Wright
Veterans for Peace march to White House - photo by Cheryl Biren
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 23, 2008 Contacts: Elliot Adams 518-441-2697, Ellen Barfield 410-948-8023, Tarak Kauff 845 249-9489
On Tuesday morning, September 23, 7:30am, at the front of the National Archives Building on Constitution Ave. in Washington, D.C., five military veterans will risk arrest as they climb a 9-foot retaining fence and occupy a 35-foot high ledge to raise a 22x8 foot banner stating, "DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION. ARREST BUSH AND CHENEY: WAR CRIMINALS!"
The group has declared its intention to stay on the ledge, fasting for 24 hours "in remembrance of those who have perished and those still suffering from the crimes of the Bush administration," according to a written statement. With a portable PA system, they will broadcast recorded statements from prominent Americans for the impeachment and/or arrest of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney. "Citizens Arrest Warrants" will be distributed to people waiting in line to enter the National Archives.
The veterans emphasized they are taking this action because "Bush and Cheney's serial abuse of the Law of the Land clearly marks them as domestic enemies of the Constitution, they have illegally invaded and occupied Iraq, deliberately destroyed civilian infrastructure, authorized torture, and unlawfully detained prisoners. These actions clearly mark them as war criminals, accountability extends beyond impeachment to prosecution for war crimes even after their terms of office expire."
"We take this action as a last resort," their statement added. "For years we have pursued every avenue open to good, vigilant citizens to bring these men to justice, to re-establish the rule of law, and to restore the balance of power described in our Constitution. We are not disturbing the peace; we are attempting to restore the peace. We are not conducting ourselves in a disorderly manner; our action is well-ordered and well-considered. We are not trespassing; we have come to the home of our Constitution to honor our oath to defend it."
Those participating are all members of Veterans For Peace and include 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, 828-626-2572; Diane Wilson: 59, TX, shrimp boat captain, former Army medic, 361-785-4680; Doug Zachary: 58, TX, VFP staff, former USMC LCpl discharged as a conscientious objector, 512-791-9824; and Tarak Kauff (ground support) 67, NY, painting contractor, former U.S. Army Airborne.
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