Thanksgiving 2005 outside of the Bush vacation ranch near Crawford, Texas with Cindy Sheehan.
Daily reports and photos to come . . .


Saturday, November 26, 2005


Gold Star Families for Peace gather at Bush ranch check point

Cindy Sheehan and peace activists from across the country wrapped up Thanksgiving outside the Bush vacation ranch today. Festivities included a press conference, book signing, big tent rally, secret service checkpoint protest, mass balloon release, and a evening candle light vigil.

The march to the Bush secret service checkpoint was cancelled due to poor weather but dozens of folks took up positions at the checkpoint anyway. Gold Star Families for Peace members, including Cindy Sheehan and her sister DeDe Miller, chanted "What noble cause?" as Secret Service SUVs passed.

Due to the presence of the protesters, the president's convoy detoured past Camp Casey and the peace rally.

More photos from Crawford today
Photos by Jeff Paterson. Copywrite 2005


Camp Casey rallies to "bring them home now"

Camp Casey hosted a rally this afternoon against the war. After Daniel Ellsberg's presentation, the activists jumped up and out of the tent to meet the Bush limo passing by. Most folks only caught a glimpse of the limo as it sped by significantly faster than the posted speed limit.

Nina Nahvi, sister of Spc. Russell H. Nahvi killed in Balad, Iraq on October 19, 2005, spoke of her loss for the first time. She said her brother Russell was clearly against the war, and she noted he would never have a chance to join Veterans for Peace. Russell was 25, and Nina is a few years younger. Seven other Gold Star Families for Peace members spoke at the rally, including Amy Branham and Bill Mitchell.

Ann Wright is one of three diplomats who resigned their posts in protest of the war in Iraq. She spoke of how Daniel Ellsberg inspired her to not just resign, but speak against the war. Hadi Jawad spoke of the role of the Crawford Peace House as the hub of the movement to hold war criminals in Washington DC accountable. Not in Our Name activist, and Gulf War resister Jeff Paterson spoke in support of recent objector Army National Guard Spc. Katherine Jashinski and her courage to resist an unjust war that spawns torture and war crimes. Vietnam, Gulf and Iraq War veterans joined Gold Star Families for Peace members demanding an immediate end to the US occupation of Iraq.

Following the rally, balloons were released towards the Bush ranch. Each balloon bore a small photo of a US serviceperson killed in Iraq with the message "bring them home."

More photos from Crawford today

Photos by Jeff Paterson. Copywrite 2005

Friday, November 25, 2005


Crawford Peace House dedicates memorial to "Sheehan's Stand", troops killed in Iraq

Dozens of supporters and members of national and regional media were on hand today for the dedication of the new Crawford Peace House garden and memorial to Cindy's stand, and the troops killed in Iraq.

The memorial reads simply "Sheehan's Stand" on one side, and asks "Why!" on the other. The backside includes a few of the first names of troops killed: "Casey", "Jessica", "Aron", "Kelly", "Alex" . . .

The memorial was hand chiseled by Ron Teska from a nearly one-ton granite foundation stone of an old Pennsylvania church. Ron, who was hand for the dedication, was a fixture of the August Crawford vigil picking away at the massive stone with ice picks, screwdrivers, and hammers in the back of his pickup.

The dedication featured Gold Star Families for Peace members Sergio Torres, father of Sgt. Daniel Torres killed in Iraq; DeDe Miller and Cindy Sheehan, aunt and mother of Army Spc. Casey Sheehan; Cindy Sheehan; and Bill Mitchell, father of Army Sgt. Michael Mitchell.

Meanwhile, less than a block away at the intersection that marks the center of Crawford, a small vigil was held "to counter Sheehan's effect". A Vietnam veteran strummed a guitar and told passers-bys that we to "stay in Vietnam until the job is done". He later corrected himself that he meant, "stay in Iraq," but later repeated his declaration about Vietnam. Joining him was Gary Qualls, father of Marine LCpl Louis Qualls who was killed in Fallujah, Iraq last year.

The new memorial stone stands only 30 feet from the official "Western White House" marker that tells the official story of G.W. Bush - the story includes how Bush purchased his vacation ranch in the run up to the 2000 presidential election.

Tomorrow afternoon a rally at Camp Casey will again call for an immediate end to the occupation of Iraq, followed by a march to the Bush ranch Secret Service check point.

More photos of the memorial dedication

Photos by Jeff Paterson. Copywrite 2005


Come to Crawford Saturday to march and rally against the war

Join Cindy Sheehan, Daniel Ellsberg, Ann Wright, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace, Gold Star Families for Peace, CODEPINK, and many others this Saturday, November 26 for a anti-war march and rally outside the Bush vacation ranch. Meet at the Crawford Peace House (map) by noon. Please use the free shuttle service to Camp Casey for the 1 PM march and rally.


Cindy Sheehan joins Crawford Thanksgiving protest vigil

Crawford, Texas - Returning from his China getaway, Bush has again been met outside his ranch near Crawford, Texas by people from across the state and country, demanding an immediate end to the US occupation of Iraq.

Renewing the Camp Casey protest vigil in central Texas on Wednesday, a dozen anti-war activists challenged the county's recent laws against camping or parking on the side of any public road. Those arrested included Daniel Ellsberg, former diplomat Ann Wright, and DeDe Miller, Cindy Sheehan's sister. They are charged with trespassing and obstructing the road. They were sitting in the ditch along a county road, and no obstruction occurred. Each of these Orwellian criminal misdemeanors carries a possible 180 days in jail, and a $2,000 fine.

The "legal" Camp Casey II has again been erected on donated land at the foot of one of the access roads to the Bush ranch. Like many folks around the country, Camp Casey gathered for a Thanksgiving meal today - but ours was traditional Middle Eastern fare.

Under a large white tent, Bill Mitchell described how he first joined a local anti-war protest in his hometown of San Luis Obispo in Southern California when the war first started. He carried a sign that read, "Bring my son home now." He noted that he soon got what he asked for, but that his sign should have read, "Bring my son home now, alive." He later helped found Gold Star Families for Peace with Cindy Sheehan.

Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower, held the tent's undivided attention with endless tales of civil disobedience against unjust laws and policy. He turned serious when he expressed his doubts that "American justice" and civil rights as we know them would not survive the next 9/11. To Daniel Ellsberg, one important question is how many of us will speak out when the government targets immigrant communities and political opponents are rounded up and placed in detention camps. We should not wait until then, now is the time to resist, he concluded.

Wrapping up Thanksgiving in Crawford, dozens of supporters and media welcomed Cindy Sheehan upon her return to Camp Casey. In a brief statement at the small airport terminal last night, Cindy expressed confidence that the August vigil outside of the Bush ranch played a key part in starting a new national dialog on the Iraq War. Many people feel that history may record Camp Casey as a turning point in the war without end.

More photos of Thanksgiving in Crawford

Photos by Jeff Paterson. Copywrite 2005

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Thanksgiving in Crawford Underway

Activists from around the country have begun arriving in Crawford, Texas and the Crawford Peace House for a simple Iraqi-style dinner to mark Thanksgiving this afternoon. The dozen activists who were arrested yesterday while challenging the ban on camping, or even parking, along any road near the Bush vacation ranch were released after a few hours. For setting up a tent in a ditch, each person was charged with two criminal misdemeanors, trespass and blocking an access road. Each charge carries a possible 180 day jail sentence. All were ordered to appear in front of a local judge on January 4. Cindy Sheehan is expected to arrive this evening and resume her vigil to win a meeting with Bush. Photo: Gold Star Families for Peace co-founder Bill Mitchell speaking to Mike, a 1991 Gulf War veteran from Fort Worth, Texas at Camp Casey II this morning.

Photo by Jeff Paterson. Copywrite 2005.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Protesters Arrested Near Bush's Ranch

By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 57 minutes ago

A dozen war protesters were arrested Wednesday for setting up camp near President Bush's ranch in defiance of new local bans on roadside camping and parking.

About four hours after the group pitched six tents and huddled in sleeping bags and blankets, McLennan County sheriff's deputies arrested them for criminal trespassing.

Another dozen or so demonstrators left the public right of way after deputies warned them they would be arrested.

The protest was set to coincide with Bush's Thanksgiving ranch visit.

The arrests were made by more than two dozen deputies who calmly approached the demonstrators in their tents and asked if they wanted to walk out on their own or be carried. Two chose to be carried. They were to be taken to jail for booking.

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan wasn't among the protesters Wednesday because of a family emergency in California, but she planned to be at the camp later in the week.

"We are proud to be here," Dede Miller, Sheehan's sister, said hours before her arrest as she huddled in a blanket at the campsite. "This is just so important. What we did in August really moved us forward, and this is just a continuation of it."

In August, hundreds of demonstrators camped off the road during a 26-day protest led by Sheehan, whose 24-year-old soldier son Casey was killed in Iraq last year. But a month later, county commissioners banned camping in any county ditch and parking within 7 miles of the ranch, citing safety and traffic congestion issues.

Earlier this week, three demonstrators filed a federal lawsuit against McLennan County over the two local bans.

During the last several weeks of their summer protest, the activists had camped on a private 1-acre lot that a sympathetic landowner let them use. That land is about a mile from Bush's ranch.


Thanksgiving in Iraq

By Tim Goodrich, co-founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War

As the time comes to celebrate Thanksgiving here in the United States, my mind wanders and my thoughts shift to Iraq. This is frequent occurrence for anyone who has been involved with the war; just ask any of the hundreds of thousands who have been deployed there.

This Thanksgiving, we have 160,000 troops in Iraq. This means there are that many empty seats at dinner tables across the US. This also means that the families of all these troops are worrying each minute about whether or not their loved one will make it home for the next Thanksgiving. In Iraq, many troops are feeling homesick, wondering why they are caught up in a seemingly endless war with no mission to speak of, when they could be home eating comfort food with their families by the fireplace. This year, real "Thanksgiving" for the troops will not involve a plastic turkey and a presidential photo-op, but instead will be when they've made it through the day alive and with all of their limbs intact.

Although the Iraqis don't celebrate Thanksgiving, one must ask, "What do they have to give thanks for?" They certainly aren’t thankful for living at the hand of an illegal and immoral occupation that has killed and wounded scores of their people. They aren't thankful for George W. Bush's version of freedom, which provides them with less electricity, potable water and security than they had before the occupation. My Iraqi friend in Baghdad is not thankful for the daily bombings that cause her great distress and have blown out her apartment windows.

Instead, the Iraqi people will give thanks when the unemployment rate of 60% goes down, the unannounced house raids on innocent homes stop and the last US troops have left their country.

During the upcoming holiday season, please show your support beyond slapping a yellow magnet on your car. We know the ultimate solution would be to end the occupation now, but please also consider giving in some way to the troops. There are a variety of ways you can do this, but please visit for some ideas.

Photo: Tim Goodrich (right) at Camp Casey II, Crawford, Texas August 29, 2005. Photo by Jeff Paterson. Copywrite 2005.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Join Cindy Sheehan to renew Camp Casey for Thanksgiving, Nov. 22-27

Join Cindy Sheehan to renew Camp Casey outside the Bush vacation ranch for Thanksgiving. The schedule of events currently posted by the Crawford Peace House include: Tuesday, Nov. 22 - Civil Disobedience action; Wednesday, Nov. 23 - Hurricane relief collection; Thursday, Nov. 24 - Iraqi Dinner of Solidarity [RSVP]; Friday, Nov. 25 - Dedication of Camp Casey Memorial Garden; Saturday, Nov. 26 - Anti-War Rally in Crawford; Sunday, Nov. 27 - Interfaith Service. If you can't make, be sure to check back here for daily reports and photos as the events unfold.

Photo: Cindy Sheehan in front of the Crawford Peace House, August 16, 2005. Photo by Jeff Paterson. Copyright 2005.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Camp Casey comes to an end, bus tours begin

Today is the last day of the encampment. Setting off from Crawford, Texas today are three buses that will make up The Bring Them Home Now Tour. Each bus is carrying military and Gold Star families, veterans of the Iraq War and veterans of previous wars. These buses will travel different routes across the country, converging in Washington, DC on September 21, for the United for Peace and Justice Mobilization Sep 24th-26th.

I was talking to Iraq veteran Kelly
Dougherty yesterday. She summed up what many were thinking, "This (Camp Casey) was not supposed to happen. No one could have planned it, but here it is. It has been amazing. And it is just the beginning. We are going to keep at it until all of the troops are brought home."

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Crosses removed

This morning the white crosses gracing the front of the massive Camp Casey II tent were ceremoniously removed, with the deconstruction of the encampments to follow throughout the day and into Wednesday. First the thousands of roses, and dozens of boots, were removed from the crosses. People then filed around the parameter of the crosses, removing a single cross each time, and then delivering it to one of the Iraq veterans who then packed it for transport.

Photo: Gold Star father for peace Bill Mitchell hands his son's cross to an Iraq veteran. Another Gold Star father, Steve DeFord, waits to do the same.

Photo by Jeff Paterson. Copywrite 2005. More photos from Monday and Tuesday are available here.


Taps played for the last time

Last night Marine LCpl Jeff Key played taps for the final time at Camp Casey. This time folks gathered at the original Camp Casey, were Cindy held vigil for the first two weeks after arriving in Crawford. In recent days, a small encampment of "stay the course" folks had taken shape across from Camp Casey I. In what was a very moving moment for many involved, a few of our cross-road neighbors came over to take part in the candle lighting ceremony. One of the those that crossed the road was a Gold Star father who brought a flag which he designed in honor of this son, "Lest they be forgotten."

Photo by Jeff Paterson. Copywrite 2005.

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