Authorities Getting Ready To Throw Anti-War Protestors From Bush Ranch For Trespassing
Greg Szymanski | August 9 2005
Law enforcement authorities are taking steps to remove a group of about 50 peace activists camped near President Bush’s Crawford, TX, ranch, mounting an effort to accuse the Iraqi War protestors of trespassing.
Cindy Sheehan, a mother who lost her son in Baghdad and founded an anti-war group, traveled to the President’s ranch Saturday with other supporters, demanding answers from the vacationing President about his recent public statements regarding the “noble nature” of the Iraqi War.
Hadi Jawad, a spokesperson for the Crawford Peace House helping Sheehan and supporters with food and water during their protest, said today “it was a very fluid and changing situation right now” with authorities keeping a close eye on the group and warning them about the possible trespassing violation.
“A woman who owns the property across the road from where the group is camped out today began putting up no trespassing signs with law enforcement officials nearby,” said Jawad.
Sheehan and her group of anti-war protestors are camped out near the President’s ranch about 2 miles from Crawford on the side of Prairie Chapel Road.
Jawad said Sheehan tried to get as close to ranch as possible, choosing the Prairie Road location since Bush, who has not yet confronted the group, is due to pass by the protestors on Thursday on his way to a local fundraiser.
“We are digging in,” said Jawad, “and we are not planning to leave the location since Bush has no other choice but to pass by Cindy and the others on Thursday since it’s the only way he can get to the fund raiser unless he decides to go by helicopter.”
As a result of the no trespassing signs being put up around the protestors, Sheehan and the others are seeking legal counsel with the assistance of the ACLU in order that their free speech rights are protected in lieu of a police effort to move the protestors for trespassing.
“We are going to stand our ground and put up a legal fight,” added Jawad. “I was told today that nothing was going to happen so I am assuming the authorities are mounting its plan to remove the protestors. All I can is that we will challenge any attempt to be removed because Cindy is technically on the side of the road on public property.
“People are walking on the property across the road and that is where the lady who owns that vacant property is putting up trespassing signs.”
Sheehan, a vocal critic of the President’s war policy, said she was provoked to come to Crawford after Bush last week made public statements that she called “a pack of lies.”
Speaking to the nation in the wake of more than 24 Marines killed last week, Bush said, “We have to honor the sacrifices of the fallen by completing the mission and the families of the fallen can be assured that they died for a noble cause.”
And it was the words “noble cause” that sparked anger in Sheehan, the mother who lost her 24-year-old son, Casey, in 2004, and founder of the anti-war group called Gold Star Families for Peace.
Calling Bush’s statements callous and untrue, his words sparked Sheehan’s trip to the Crawford, where she plans to camp out until either she’s “arrested or gets answers to many questions” surrounding what she calls an illegal war.”
Since arriving Bush has not met with the protestors, but Sunday National Security Advisor, Steve Hadley, met with Sheehan, saying the President was “concerned and wanted a speedy return of the troops.”
However, Sheehan told Hadley his message wasn’t “good enough,” adding she arrived in Crawford to meet personally with Bush and nothing else would suffice, considering that “innocent lives were being lost every day.”
“We would like for Bush to explain this 'noble cause' to us, and I plan to ask him why his two daughters, Jenna and Barbara, are not in harm's way, if the cause is so noble,” said Sheehan from Crawford. “If he is not ready to send the twins, then he should bring our troops home immediately. We will demand a speedy withdrawal."
As Sheehan prepared for a long stay in the hot Texas summer heat, she added:
“I am tired of all the lies while young men continue to. I want him to finally admit that my son, Casey, didn’t die for a noble cause, but died in order that President Bush’s friends could get rich and line their greedy pockets with oil money.
"We want our loved ones' sacrifices to be honored by bringing our nation's sons and daughters home from the travesty that is Iraq immediately. This war is based on horrendous lies and deceptions. Just because our children are dead, why would we want any more families to suffer the same pain and devastation that we are?”
Sheehan also recently expressed deep displeasure with Bush in an exclusive article in The Arctic Beacon and the American Free Press, discussing, in depth, a recent trip she made to the White House after being invited in the wake of her son’s death after only being in Baghdad five days during 2004.
Called to the White House supposedly to be consoled by the President, instead Sheehan reported just the opposite, saying she was greeted by an “arrogant and heartless man” who entered the private room to meet with Sheehan without even knowing anyone’s, including her fallen son.
“It was a horrendous experience. I left feeling that this man was not even human. It was the worst experience of my life,” said Sheehan in the article that appeared a month ago about her private meeting with Bush.
Sheehan recounted her White House experience with Wolf Blitzer of CNN in a nationally televised interview Saturday, as she told viewers how the President was callous, cold and didn’t even know her family member’s names, including her own, when he entered the White House room for the personal visit in 2004, two months after her son was killed in combat.
In response to Sheehan’s comments and the article in the Arctic Beacon and American Free Press, officials now released a statement saying that Sheehan has changed her story since she originally said she was pleased with the Presidential visit.
Although Sheehan was unavailable for comment, all her past statements to the press, including the long interview with The Arctic Beacon and The American Free Press, indicate it would have been totally out of character for Sheehan to make such a statement unless taken totally out context by White House officials to discredit Sheehan.
Besides being founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, Sheehan is an active member of the large Washington D.C. group called After Downing Street, a large contigent of politicians and activists calling for a Congressional investigation over the infamous Downing Street Memo and whether Bush doctored WMD intelligence reports to justify the war in Iraq.
Along with members of Gold Star, Sheehan is being accompanied to the President’s ranch by members of the peace group Code Pink, Veteran's for Peace (VFP), Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and Crawford Peace House.