On Saturday, November 15, at 8:00 am, at the National Archives Building on Connecticut Ave., eight military veterans and a military mother climbed a nine-foot retaining fence and occupied a 92-foot high scaffolding to raise two 450 square foot banners stating, "DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION. ARREST BUSH AND CHENEY: WAR CRIMINALS!" and "WE WILL NOT BE SILENT." The same message will also be displayed at demonstrations in the Los Angeles area on Saturday.
Members of Veterans for Peace (VFP) chose the Archives for their nonviolent protest because it is symbolic of their military oath to "defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." In September they occupied the Archives for 24 hours, and plan to stay longer this time.
"The offenses of Bush, Cheney, and their accomplices are appalling," said Kim Carlyle, a VFP member and Army veteran. "Their misdeeds have killed or maimed more than a million people - American soldiers, innocent civilian children, women, and men. They have displaced almost five million people, with millions seeking refuge in other countries. Their total disregard for international agreements has severely tarnished the reputation of America in the world. Their unlawful wars have squandered billions of dollars that could have bolstered a troubled economy."
The veterans are demanding Bush administration be tried for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against peace; asking the media to clearly inform the public of the administration's crimes; and encouraging citizens to take similar nonviolent actions.
According to Tarak Kauff, a VFP member, "People say Bush and Cheney will be gone soon so what's the point? The point is, there is no statute of limitations on war crimes, and if not held accountable, criminality will continue regardless of who is in office. We either are or we are not a nation of law."
They are planning a live video broadcast from the ledge - but may have technical difficulties. If all works well - the broadcast will be at 2:01pm (eastern standard time).
THOSE STAGING THE OCCUPATION ARE:
Elliott Adams VFP: 61, Sharon Springs, NY, VFP President and former Army paratrooper, Viet Nam
Ellen Barfield VFP: 52, Baltimore, MD, former Army Sgt.
Kim Carlyle VFP: 61, Buncombe County, NC, former Army Spec 5
Doug Zachary VFP: 58, Austin, TX, VFP staff, former USMC Lance Cpl.
Tarak Kauff VFP: 67, Woodstock, NY, former PFC, Army Airborne
Will Covert VFP: 63, San Diego, CA, VFP lifetime member, former E4 Navy
Elaine Brower, MFSO: 54, Staten Island, NY, Military Families Speak Out, National Steering Committee, mother of USMC Sgt. James Brower on third tour in Iraq
Matthis Chiroux IVAW: 24, Army Sergeant, served in Afghanistan, refused deployment to Iraq