Saturday, March 21, 2009

Banner drop and protests.....

Photo: The banner hangs on the VA building.
Photo: U.S. Army National Guard veteran Forrest Schmidt is handcuffed and detained. From Bill Hackwell,

From ANSWER email:

Iraq War veterans carried out a dramatic banner drop at the headquarters of the Veterans Administration in Washington, D.C., on the 6th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

A U.S. Army National Guard veteran scaled the facade of the VA building and dropped a 25 foot-long, 6 foot-high banner that read "Veterans Say No to War and Occupation, March 21st - March on the Pentagon." He was handcuffed and detained.

The dramatic banner drop was carried out in front of a well-attended press conference organized by the Veterans and Service Members Task Force of the ANSWER Coalition.

"This is the beginning of three days of sustained activities timed to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq. On Saturday, March 21st, veterans and service members will be the lead contingent in the National March on the Pentagon," stated James Circello, an Iraq War veteran and a spokesperson for the group.

Other speakers at the press conference included representatives from Iraq Veterans Against the War. Also present were delegations from Veterans for Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

From United for Peace & Justice:

Six years ago today, the Bush administration launched its 'Shock and Awe' assault on Iraq, thus beginning what has turned into one of the longest and most costly military engagements in U.S. history.

We know what the war and occupation in Iraq has cost: more than one million Iraqis killed; five million Iraqis displaced from their homes; over 4,000 U.S. service people killed and tens of thousands wounded; more than $600 billion of our tax dollars spent; one of the oldest civilizations on earth brought to ruins. Six long years of a war that never should have happened, a war based on lies and corporate greed. It is enough -- it is too much.

Today, our hearts are heavy as we remember all who have died and suffered. At the same time, today, we reflect on all of the tremendous and positive work we have done. The consistent hard work of the antiwar movement was crucial in turning public sentiment against the war. For several years now, the majority of the people of this country have said they want the war to end and for the troops to be brought home. We kept public debate, as well as public protest, going through the roughest years, and we forced the country to think about alternatives to war and occupation.

From MAS:

On Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 12:00 Noon, MAS Freedom (MASF), as the civic and human rights advocacy entity of the Muslim American Society (MAS), together with tens of thousands of peace and anti-war activists, will descend upon Washington D.C. to stage a demonstration and anti-war march on the Pentagon – the first major anti-war demonstration under the Obama Administration.

The event, sponsored by MAS Freedom, ANSWER Coalition, NCAA, American Muslims for Palestine, Veterans for Peace National, and a broad-based peace and anti-war coalition, commemorates the 6th Anniversary of the U.S.-Iraqi Invasion.

Saturday's rally and march will also focus on the recent lethal Israeli invasion of Gaza, other concerns facing the Obama Administration, including troop withdrawal in Iraq and military escalation in Afghanistan.

"While we recognize the historical significance of President Obama's election and subsequent unprecedented outreach in the Muslim community abroad, we are hitting the streets to raise concerns that exceed symbolic outreach," stated MAS Freedom Executive Director, Mahdi Bray.

I will be marching with ANSWER on 3/21/09 to protest the wars and occupations.

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