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General News    H2'ed 9/23/08

Breaking Camp: Veterans Occupy National Archives Building

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[Editor's note: This action was repeated on November 15. To read about it visit: Update: Homeland Security Climbs Scaffolding on National Archives to Arrest Veterans]
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008 7:20 a.m.

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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." (courtesy of Mike Ferner, VFP)

For more information: Veterans For Peace 314-725-6005. Elliot Adams 518-441-2697, Ellen Barfield 410-948-8023, Tarak Kauff 845 249-9489

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.

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video courtesy of Tom Chelston (VFP)

9:15 P.M. UPDATE:

Checking in with Elliott Adams, President VFP, one of five Veterans for Peace occupying the ledge of the National Archives Building at 35-feet.

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. One group would come and they’d leave and then another group would come with their sirens going and they’d leave. It caused some kind of conundrum where the DC police didn’t think they had jurisdiction because it was Federal property, but the Archives doesn’t have a contract with the Federal police..."

Asked what he anticipates will happen when/if they descend tomorrow morning, Adams was unsure. "I have no idea. We can’t figure that out. Part of it depends on the shift changes. This morning it was the Archives people that were wanting to get us arrested and the DC Police were like ‘I don’t know…’ This evening the Archive guy was real nice and trying to talk us into leaving." Apparently, Mr. Archive indicated to the veterans that with the shift change of the DC Police, things might not go as smoothly.

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Cheryl Biren is a Philadelphia-based researcher, writer, editor and photographer. From 2007-2011, she served on the editorial board of

Cheryl has also consulted for the Rob Kall Radio Show with guests such as Noam Chomsky, (more...)

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