Saturday, August 19, 2006



While the others were off hanging out with Karl Rove ( one of the most fun actions a lot of the people had ever participated in - and hey, press ranging from CNN to Washington Post to USA Today, so pretty successful : ), I stayed around to hold down the fort. Actually, lots of us stayed (and lots of us went). We have two people on security 24 hours a day. There are some "crazies" who have made various threats, and the police have warned some of them to stay off the property etc. Plus, you never know who the next "crazy" will be. So we check out everyone coming in or out.

Fellow security person. Jamie, I think...?

Three folks from Austin!!

Larry and ???? Larry can fix ANYTHING

The founder of the Peace House....'nuff said!

The Rev..... Lenox Yearwood, from DC......he gave a great talk Saturday night!

Adrian....we had a lot of fun playing. He was here for the day with his dad....we even did some racing...(he always won)

Zachary! I was impressed with her leadership and organizing abilities...Thanks Zach!

Cindy - but you knew that...

Late night, after the Rev's talk....

more late night photo ops....The Rev really gave a nice talk on Saturday night...I have extensive notes, and I'm hoping for the audio from my sound buddy....

The Rev talking with karen . Karen was holding down the office duties while i was there. She's also a delegate for the Dems in California, and is part of the Progressive Democrats of America

After everything was done, Karen (above), Kyle (from Austin) and I were talking with the Rev informally. He pulled four chairs into a little circle and we sat down to continue. Before long, five more people had joined us and we kept on talking. We started out discussing how to keep the Camp Democracy agenda inclusive of multiple issues and not too narrow, but it evolved into a wide-ranging discussion of the middle east, politics, and solutions.... exciting. This is what education and gatherings like this are all about!

I think this was late night friday???? The loud part of camp...I was asleep ten minutes later.

-nimbus couzin

Friday, August 18, 2006


Ft. Hood Action

Hey ya'll,
Here's a few pictures from today. I'm too beat to write up any text right now. But I'll work on it tomorrow (depending on activities and events around here). Must get some sleep! Goodnight...

Okeeee, I added my rough notes from Friday, followed by snippets of an email to a friend I wrote late last night describing my day...

Here's a few scrappy notes from during the day Friday, and from an email at the end of the day. First, here's a link to a story in the local Killeen paper about our "action" at Ft. Hood yesterday (see above pix). In the print version they included a photo showing the GI hotline on one of our signs, which explains soldier's rights, so that was quite a success.

Anyway, here are some rough notes:

Morning meeting, Friday, August 18, 2006…

They played taps, tent by tent at 7:30 this morning, announcing breakfast. I slept through it and woke up at 8:45. So I missed breakfast, but still got some coffee and fruit.

Meeting was going on at the peace house when I showed up at 9:00. There are about 40 people at the meeting. Everyone introduces themselves and says why they’re here and how they’re involved in working for peace. Zachary goes through housekeeping and some chore signups (security food, etc)…..

Zachary turns the discussion over to Lisa to talk about actions and the plans for the day.

Organizing, and skill-building, and network are important for our time here, she says. We’ve identified five audiences: high schools, info on non-mil. Options. Ft. Hood, GI rights. Recruiting stations. Neighborhoods, door to door. And strip clubs, because that’s where a lot of GI’s are at night.

Kilene, Crawford, Waco.

Training, so we all know answers to questions. Also, skill-building in public speaking.

If the camp is going to continue permanently, we need to create things like infrastructure. Things like solar showers. So that is another goal while we’re here.

Also organization with our allies in Texas (Dallas peace house, etc). .

Information on Suzanne swift’s action. PTSD discussion – how can we expand this message? 70% are being turned away and being told it is a pre-existing condition.

Ft: Hood Action in Solidarity w/ Suzanne Swift:

Goals: **(Suzanne S. is setting up a tent city outside Ft. Lewis to draw attention to her demands – Washington State. She was sexually assaulted in Iraq. She finally pressed charges after getting out. She was redeployed, but decided to go AWOL. She was arrested and has been confined to barracks, but has not been charged. She is demanding treatment for PTSD, honorable discharge, and demanding the three men who sexually assaulted her are brought to justice.). Amplify her fight.
** GI rights (publicize hotline). This will be easier to get across to people.


Message. Yo have rights, support troops, know your rights,


Logistics - large banners, flyers, tent, transport, maps, sunblock, car paint

Workshop at 3 o clock. About 20 of us want to go down to Ft. Hood.

Make stickers on mailing labels and place them around: “you have rights, know your rights, GI Hotline – telephone #) …..

1:30 advance team
3:00 departure
4:00 complete setup

The 3 pm workshop on “peaceful solutions to conflict” got moved to 11 am, so that the people going down to ft. hood wouldn’t miss out on it. I volunteered to be on scouting the area for future actions (high schools, coffee shops, recruiting stations).

- also this morning, the web guy for volunteered to help me with coffee shop website, hosting, etc….yay…his name is wild horse, I think….

-nimbus, 11:44 EDT..
Evening program: (I arrived late)
Jamie Bratigan, talking about sexual harassment in the military. Someone else was speaking before her. These discussions were in solidarity with Suzanne Swift. I didn’t catch the next speaker’s name, but he (she –transgender) gave a discussion of an arrest where one protestor was sexually harassed in a bathroom while in custody.

Yell of “fuckin’ hippies” from a truck driving by (hwy 137).

Original song by “cool hand luke”

Tina, talking about a political campaign in Mo

Today. The message of solidarity for Suzanne, and the GI rights hotline, within the military system they were not helping her. We reached a lot of people today at Ft. Hood. A lot of people were stopping by for information. A lot of family members were stopping by for info.. We may have saved some people today. A lot of these people don’t know they have rights.

Moan and groan at george bush. If you’re angry, be angry about this damn war that is killing our troops.

Let this be the peace mecca so the GI’s know to come here and find out about their rights. If nobody shows up to fight this stupid war, there won’t be a war. I don’t want them to send my son back. When I meet people like perry today (gold star father) and hear about there loss, I realize this war has the highest suicide rate of any war, because of what they’re making them do over there.

This is about saving lives. This is a life and death situation.

We have so many crosses that we don’t have enough people to get them into the ground. This is wrong. …..

-about 10:00 EDT, Camp Casey III


And some snippets from an email to a friend that I wrote late friday night:


Finally a moment to relax. I think I'm going to try getting to sleep early tonight. I'm back at the peace house (AC environment and wifi). We rolled back into town after eight, and they were supposed to save us dinner, but my driver and I (his name is David Ham, and goes by "Ham") were pretty sure the food would be all gone. But sure enough they had saved dinner. yay! I can't even remember what it was. Some hummous and tabouli and lentil some stir-fried veggies on rice. Plenty of veggie options here (last year was "food not bombs" and was all veggie, but this year they have meat options).

So I sent you that super quick email and headed over to the camp. I'm not sure how much I missed, but it was much less exciting than the previous night. maybe I missed a whole hour and a half (I got there about 8:30, and they may have started at 7:00). Harumph. I thought they would have delayed it for the 20 of us down at Ft. Hood (most of the more "hard-core" activists went down. )...oh well.. and they were about to show a movie, so I just decided to head back to the Peace house, download some photos and relax.

The "action" today was pretty successful. Killeen, Texas, is the home of Ft. Hood, a pretty big base. Ham and I scouted out the high schools, mapping out the area, looking for parking, sidewalk space, empty lots, etc, generally getting info we'd need prior to a protest/informational session. We want to educate the students about their options before the recruiters lure them in. We also checked out the local recruiting station, as well as a few coffee shops. Only one coffee shop was open, still in business, and able to be found (out of five).

The coffee shop experience (just me and ham) was pretty funny...I asked what kind of drip coffee they had. There was an empty home Mr. Coffee coffee pot, and she started reaching for the industrial sized folgers can when I said, nah, how about a double espresso. I observed the process, and it was pretty pathetic. The one thing she did right was to grind fresh. But she didn't tamp the portafilter at all (compress the coffee with a tamper), which is critical to making espresso. Then proceeded to pour about an 8 second shot. Any faster than 20 seconds, or slower than 30 will yield off flavors. An 8 second shot really should be tossed. The water just flowed right through it (maybe because it wasn't tamped??!!). Anyway. Terrible espresso. No wifi (they had terminals they rent for $6/hour). We took off quickly.

The "action" was actually well-received by most soldiers (driving by). Lots of peace signs, a few middle fingers and obscenities, but mostly positive. Our signs said "Know your rights...GI hotline 1-800-782-4555" (or whatever the number was), so nothing too radical. A few peace signs , end the war signs, etc were on people's cars too...And also we had signs expressing solidarity with Suzanne Swift. This was sort of a trial run for future actions, just to check police response, or whatever. But the cops stayed away. Ft hood is big. 340 square miles, 33,000 people, big! It is pretty important from the organizers perspective, because it is a way to reach an awful lot of soldiers, so we didn't want to be confrontational at all today.

But overall, it was a lot of work, and it was very very hot. It is amazing how much work it takes to accomplish just a little bit. But a lot of soldiers took our little info cards, and so did some of their family members. So now they have access to a hotline to find out their rights (including things like conscientious objection). Just because they're in the army doesn't mean they have to go fight and kill.

Hmmmmm...Trying to decide if I should load some photos, or go sleep. Guess I'll try a few more...

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Arrived Today !!

SCROLL DOWN for a bunch of Camp Casey III photos....

***NOTE*** If you can't come, please visit, and SEND MONEY to them *** (Zachary,one of the coordinators here is asking all bloggers to request that)

So here I am, on a plane to Austin. This is my second year in a row heading to Crawford. It is a bit discouraging that this war is still going on, with no end in sight. And really, one has to wonder if there is any hope for a withdrawal with the current regime running the country. As I sit here, I ask myself a couple questions. 1. Why am I going to Camp Casey, and 2. Why did Bush/Cheney/the neocon crew go to Iraq in the first place.

Number one is easier to answer. I feel like I need to show solidarity with the peace movement in this country, no matter how small it may be. Sure, it sucks to be out in hundred degree heat for days in a row. But if people don't come out and protest, then aren't we tacitly approving of this illegal war? A majority of US citizens say they want troops to come home from Iraq, either immediately, or a gradual withdrawal. Yet, these same people don't take action(s) to make that occur. Talk is cheap. Sure, it isn't easy to cause change, but I think we need to make it happen, one way or another.
This gathering in Crawford clearly demonstrates dissent, and reminds the nation (through media coverage, blogs, etc) that there is opposition to this illegal occupation (I hesitate to call it a war, because I've said all along that it was really an illegal invasion followed by an illegal occupation). If, say, 5 or 10% of US residents would inconvenience themselves to gather in protest, we'd have 15-30 million protesters, and you can bet the government would be forced to act. But we are fighting apathy and ignorance. The US media, overwhelmingly controlled by mega-corporations has nothing but profit and status quo on their minds. They are really closer to entertainment than journalism. Perhaps by putting the protests in front of peoples' faces yet one more time, some minimal progress will be made.

Camp Casey also serves as a gathering for the peace community, to network and share ideas. Staying energized and motivated is important for activists, and it allows us to communicate what we're doing, and make plans for future actions. I had no idea what to expect last year, and really don't know what to expect this year. It is the kind of place you have no idea who you'll run into. But I'm looking forward to it, uncertainty and all.

Number two is tougher. Why did they invade Iraq? I don't think it was just vengeance (for papa Bush). Of course, oil was involved in the reasoning, and I buy into the speculation that it was primarily in order to take control of the energy supply from the region. The US is building permanent bases in Iraq (13, I believe), and I doubt they have any intention of leaving. By having a strong military presence in the region, and an ability to control the oil flow to Asia and Europe, the US can maintain it's desired global hegemony. They apparently decided it was worth it, even if terrorism is increased. The increase in terror works well in creating an atmosphere of fear that they have so effectively utilized in order to remain in power. So that aspect is working. And of course, there is apparently no concern for innocent lives being lost, or an entire nation being thrown into chaos. The US military has shown no reluctance to use banned chemical weapons (white phosphorous), raze entire cities (Fallujah), or engage in widespread well-documented torturous activities. All worth it. Just like the sanctions of the 90's (under Clinton) that killed half a million Iraqi children. In the words of Secretary of State Madelaine Albright, "it was worth it."

Well, landing soon. I'll be in Crawford in a couple hours. I may stop for a cup of coffee on the way…. But more tonight…

-nimbus, 3:35 EDT, Thursday, August 17, 2006


Hey all,Made it to the Peace House an hour or so ago. Just in time for a nice spinach lasagna dinner. I've met a lot of nice people already, including several folks who were here last year. Geoff wrote an op-ed about yesterday at Here's a link: of the people I've run into are from Texas. Some a couple hours drive, some a 500 mile drive, including one old retired vet who has been here for a week, and is staying the duration. There is an overwhelming disgust for Bush's policies, both foreign and domestic. (surprise, surprise)

-nimbus, 5:17 EDT, Thurs, August 17, 2006


Thurs night program, (at Camp Casey III)

Joe Machome (sp?), Conscientious Objector (CO). He wonders if people are listening when he talks and communicates. He relives his reasoning behind his decision, opposition to the war (Vietnam), following through on the process. He went through a minister, the vice president of Schlitz in Milwaukee, who supported his decision to become a CO, and wrote a letter of support. He was advised to mention nothing about politics. "you would not be able to point a gun at somebody and pull the trigger" was the only reason they'd approve you as a CO. "I would be the worst soldier." His son is a French national, where they have mandatory military service. He comments on the elaborate Bastille day parade which is quite militaristic. But also comments that American militarism has come back with a vengeance. He worries about his son now, and tells him "take this arm point it in a certain direction and pull the trigger" if he ever considers military service for all of the benefits (free education, etc).

Next, Banjo Eukalele player, Dan, leads us out to the crosses….

I put my computer down on a chair by the crosses (there was a line of chairs along the edge of the crosses). And who sits down on the chair next to it but Cindy Sheehan. So I sat down where my computer was and said hello to Cindy. I told her I was here last year, for a week, but didn't get to meet her. "When I was in California? " "yes." Someone brought her some grape Gatorade, along with a cup of ice. I used my computer (closed) as a tabletop, and pouted her some gatorade. Then after a couple of readings, she got up and spoke:

Cindy Sheehan: (paraphrase + quotes) " I didn't get to bring my coffee on the airplane that day because leiberman lost yesterday, and bush's poll numbers are down. "

"The peace movement exists because other people who don't have skin in the game (non military) are taking part also. The veterans are important, but so are the others."

"Every Iraqi baby that is killed, every Iraqi civilian, are also my children. It took my son being killed for me to realize that. "

"I'm leaving Tuesday - I'm having a historectomy next week. Keep the focus on the mission. Ending the iraq war, holding bush accountable. The war won't end with bush in office. Those are the immediate goals. Then we must make sure this never happens again. We must never allow this to happen in the world again, to our children. It is only going to happen because we allow it to happen. "

"This place will be the heart of the movement to end this war, and the heart of the movement to end future wars. We will have an activity every day to focus on the mission to hold bush accountable. He is just a figurehead of the evil neocons. I mean all of them. Unless you have a job, at that time, people that come to camp casey will be expected to participate in that mission. I bought this as a peace camp not a KOA. I have never been to a protest where I haven't had fun. We're doing our job for democracy. I'm going to be gone for a week, and I'm counting on all of you to focus on that mission. It takes all of us taking responsibility for our own inner growth. I can't tell you how much I've grown since my son was killed. Inner growth and outward actions. I expect you all to make your own peace communities. I don't expect you to do anything that I don't do every day. This is the only way we're going to end this war, and prevent future ones. Something I wanted to say last night, is when they talked about not being forgotten, by honoring them as a sacrifice for peace."

The only reason we got involved in Iraq is because we forgot the lessons of Vietnam. I'll never let them forget my son's face. The babies. The buddhas have a great saying. That people die twice. Once when the physical body dies, and once when they're forgotten. The people who died for this stupidity and bullshit and greed will never be forgotten. I believe this landis sacred and I appreciate everybody who comes out here to help fulfill our mission."

Followed the singing of Imagine, with flute and eukalele accompaniment.
After cindy spoke, I said, that was very nice Cindy, she just smiled and patted my leg (I was sitting right next to her)…

Then a traditional walk around the crosses, preceded by a movement, reaching for all the people honored by the crosses….Cindy looked to be on the verge of tears as we walked around the crosses. I asked her if it was pretty emotional for her. She said it always is, as she reached out in a half hug as we walked along. We concluded by forming a small circle (about twenty of us) holding hands, and singing the "peace song."

-10:09 EDT

After that, a few minutes of break, then back to the tent/stage for the second part of the program, Poem by rick, the title was "Why do they hate us?" commented on Pinchet, Chile, Guatemala, and the lack of justice in countries America has meddled with. Iran's Shah, Nicaragua. And our disdain for the World Court "we define justice as it suits us" "we're willing to kill many, just to get a few." "just like the playground bully. The small and the weak are our specialty." "compassionate conservatives" To solve our problems we like to use our might. "high tech death from America as they saw the warplanes arrive. Kill em all and let god sort em out. Collateral damage. They happened to be in the wrong place, they shouldn't have been home on their farm. Depleted Uranium. Children riddled with cancer, their mother's eyes filled with tears. Our legacy the walking dead. "what have we ever done? Why do they hate us?" - that was just a tiny part of his long multi-page poem.

Followed by Lisa, about organizing an action. "look at where we are." " the tent looks familiar, but look at this land!" Last year it was a handful people in a ditch, and it has grown into an extraordinary community. "

She has been working in New Orleans for the past year. "We find ourselves in a really unique moment in history. When camp casey it was a place inconvergence, a place where people just had to come. It is a place to resist. To resist the oppression. And to create structures for liberation. "having to challenge this administration, and how to keep it alive. Looking at recruiting stations in Waco. Going to high schools and doing counter recruitment. Going to bases. We have two and a half weeks to continue using this peace camp. Tomorrow, we want to kick it off. We want to go down to the bases and make our presence known. Each and every one of us has to begin thinking about what to do here with our time. Maybe forming groups. To go out and take actions. Tomorrow, as many as possible to go down to the base (kaileen (sp??))…going to stores….putting up flyers. Talking to people at five, when they leave the base. There are a lot of people in texas looking to organize…coffeehouses…I look forward to conspiring with all of you on all the really great things we might do. I hope to talk with you all more individually. Talk about where we go from here and the fall. "

The most important thing to think about is what we can do. "cindy's sweat shop for peace." Morning meeting at eight thirty o clock. Town crier needed at seven forty five to go from tent to tent….breakfast at eight. Tomorrow is as far ahead as we should think

"Two IVAW speakers coming up, and one Grant Hollins first. The war is wrong and unnecessary and illegal. We just violate the rule of law all the time. We use the excuse promoting democracy all around the world, yet invade sovereign nations under false pretenses. Since I've been speaking with other veterans, more and more of these experiences that I've tried to forget…..jan tenth 2005, just before some elections. One person showed up to vote near an area I was in, and a group of first battalion marines, out of Hawaii, third marine division, (normally they're used in the pacific), they were brought in to give some extra muscle for the push into fallujah. I got pretty close to some of them, as you do in combat. These guys took some casualties, just like we did. They were excited about getting back to their ships. They were kept longer for the elections. My unit got pushed out to a sunni city out west, these guys were excited about the election duty after making it through fallujah. One night in base camp, my squad was on react (back in base camp, on rest, but ready just in case for backup_/ I was woken up by the sergeant to get get geared up because they had lost contact with the Hilo crew. We got out and there was a burning hundred by thirty meters dugout hold in the ground. With ammo cooking off, popping. We knew Hilo had gone down. We waited for the sun to come up. Waiting for the rounds to cook off, then any bodies we could see we marked with glow sticks. My squad and everybody was not saying a word. When the sun came up there was thirty one dead marines. These guys were getting ready to go back to their ships in five days. They were carrying their personal belongings, their books, their letters, etc. We didn't have enough body bags. We used their sleeping bags to bag them up. Not a lot of us had had experience dealing with burn victims. There is a certain way to handle the bodies, and a lot of our guys were traumatized as they mishandled the bodies. It was the bloodiest day since Lebanon. "

"That wouldn't have happened if the war hadn't started. CNN was there snapping photos during the memorial service, with tears coming down our face. I think about those guys a lot. I just got off the phone with my father. He's blindly loyal to this administration. He can't accept the fact that I might know what I'm talking about. I try to say that if anybody has an opinion on it, you should listen to the guys who've been there. We see through the bullshit. He thinks I'm a traitor. I'm not going to be talking to him for awhile. If he wasn't my father, I'd probably kick the living shit out of him. People hear what they want to hear. They want to hear that it is a war on terror. My resistance to it was getting out. I'm going to keep speaking out. "

Next, Tina's son, Cloy. For the record, I didn't ask to speak. " when you're trained to kill trained to dehumanize everything, you're doing it for America. You build a wall. America is the greatest thing in the world, …" You use alcohol drugs suicide, to try to strengthen that wall, but unfortunately it breaks through. My first tour in Iraq, that wall was necessary. I didn't want to affect the mission , didn't want to let my marines down. When I got home, I blanked everything out. . I was home for a month and a half. Then back for another seven months. When I got those orders, everything came back. I realized that maybe war was wrong. We were doing the initial assault into bagdhad, the invasion. We got a call saying three thousand militants coming behind us, so we were told do do direct fire missions, and blew everything to hell with our cannons. Afterwards, we found nothing bus civilians. I figured it was ok. "

"A couple days later, another call for fire. We did "shake and bake" artillery, then white phosphorous, then whatever doesn't burn, blow em up. Afterwards, we did an inspection, in a line, and while walking they were telling us to look for weapons, RPG's , AK47s, all we found were children's shoes with feet still in them, bodies, womens' clothing. Pamphlets . The translator said the pamphlets said flee the city. Retreat. As they were fleeing we were ordered to shake and bake them.

As I was thinking back, I realized that wasn't really necessary. I want to make peace with myself. If I can end this war, maybe I'll be forgiven for my sins."

"We support our troops, and they serve us, and that is done in our name." "Cloy, it is not you who needs to ask for forgiveness. It is us. You shouldn't be having to go there. I ask your forgiveness for you having to go there. We're going to fight every day to make sure not another person has to go through what you went through. "

Finally, Tina, Cloy's mother, spoke about how he pushed everybody away and wanted to kill himself. How he said he had killed too many women and children and didn't deserve to live and had a gun in his mouth. All she could say, on the phone, was that we love you. "I knew bush in the 2002 state of the union, was a warmonger, and everyone who clapped for him, was a warmonger. "

"When he got back , the gov't who sent him there abandoned him. They put him on graveyard guard duty solo, even though they knew he had mental issues. Even today, they're trying to prove he doesn't need help, to save money. They don't treat for PTSD. You sent them to fight an illegal war, but dammit you need to take care of them when they get home. That is why I've joined military families speak out. It is24/7 end this war. That is all I do. My son and I went to DC a couple months ago, and looked at the last name etched on it. There is going to be an Iraq memorial. We're going to spend every day trying to make sure it is a small memorial. We're going to work through camp casey, and other organizations, and I am so thankful that there are so many people out there working for the same goal. That is what gives me hope, and that is what gives my son hope too. "

Zachary (wearing camo peace hat : "thank you. That is the end of our program this evening. It is ten, so we're turning off the amplified sound and the tent lights. You're free to go out into your campground, continue the dialogue. We get quieter around eleven. Parts of the campground are quieter than others. There have been amazing things that happen after three am. Sweet dreams, lets stop this fucking war. Come prepared to take action tomorrow."

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?