Thursday, September 29, 2005

Other Ditch Witch Stories

from Lauren Sullivan:

Jesse sneaked out of the hotel while we were passed out - I can't believe he
made his flight. What a trouper. And our support team rocked. For awhile, it
seemed that the cops were preventing water from coming through, but it got
there eventually. Elliot told us later that Camp Casey was being recognized
as the group who brought water, and SHARED it. And Lisa asked Code Pink
to make a pee circle, which for some reason I found very funny, but then I did
have to pee. I told Rebekah, next time we're going to be the group who brings
the Depends - I kept thinking the delay in getting us all busted was just that
the cops hoping we'd all wander off to find the porta-potties. Yeah, right.

They separated the men and women so we didn't get to hear Jesse sing; we
were on the last bus. A number of unaffiliated people opted to not comply
also, and they formed a semi-circle around the Camp Casey contingent.
When the cops came for them, we chanted their names as they were carried
away - "Arrest Bush, not Mitch/Aaron/Maura" etc -- when they were gone, the
cops began taking us, one by one, and we continued yelling: "Arrest Bush,
not Jesse!" "Arrest Bush, not Lori!" "Arrest Bush, not Rebekah/ Deb/Jamie!"
etc... One by one, until I was the last one. I was still yelling "Arrest Bush!!" as
they leaned down and asked if I was going to go quietly, and I shook my head
no - then they asked if I was going to give them any trouble, and I shook my
head no, still yelling. It was good seeing Mary Ellen and James in the crowd
waving and cheering as they carried me off, still yelling at the top of my lungs.
Yes I'm still hoarse.

James has film of what happened next - the Camp Casey women started
moshing on the bus, and when we started pogoing, the whole bus bounced
up and down. Code Pink was arrested right behind us, and as they were put
on the bus, they began jumping up and down too, which made it even crazier.
It was so out of control they couldn't process us, and we all screamed out the
windows all the way through DC, past Camp Casey on the mall, with people
on the streets either staring or waving and cheering.

Lori apparently got the mean cop on our bus - her cuffs were so tight she was
in agony until another cop relented. But later at Anacostia, the cops loosened
our handcuffs and while we were in the holding tank they brought us some
KFC and chocolate cake.

It was a really long night but worth it. Camp Casey made their stand, or took a
seat, as it happened. The revolution is on.

(I mosh for the revolution.)

and from Mary Ellen Goodwin:

Acts of Civil Disobedience require two things 1) a coalition of the
willing to be arrested, and 2) an unwavering and resolved support team.

I was part of the second group.

Being on the legal side of the barricade was as hectic and at times as
chaotic as those last two weekends when we were inundated with visitors
to the Prairie Chapel Road encampment. The tents that were carried
from Camp Casey, DC to the White House were eventually set up on the
lawn across the road from the protest. It's actually illegal to raise
a permanent structure on the lawn (yes, tents are considered permanent
structures), but authorities turned a blind eye and we were allowed to
stay there until the last person was arrested. A few passersby handed
me monetary donations, some of which was given to an individual who
offered to walk the few blocks to a CVS to buy a case of water for the
trespassers. (The rest was used for taxi rides back to hostels,
hotels, etc. after detainees were let out of jail). At one point, a
volunteer grabbed an empty box and went through the crowd of onlookers
asking for donations of bottled water and didn't take long
for the box to fill up and be passed on to the coalition of the

It often appeared that Camp Casey was the only support group that was
getting water through to the front line. Officer Bransome of the
National Park Police was the hero of the day as she was the only
officer willing to come to the barrier to accept the boxes of water and
food. Whenever a box was delivered, the crowd would chant Officer
Bransome's name until she appeared. It was later reported that someone
overheard her talking on her cell, telling the person on the other end
that it was one of the most exciting events she had ever witnessed in
front of the White House. It was also reported that the mother of one
of the officers who arrested Cindy called her son on his cell after
seeing his picture on CNN coverage of the protest and scolded him for
arresting Cindy as he lamented that he was just doing his job!!!
Throughout the week, the Park Police were great to us at Camp Casey, DC
and often reminded me of the County Sheriffs in Crawford---they had our

The 15 tents pitched across the street from the White House bared the
names of 15 sons and daughters who lost their lives in Iraq and was a
powerful symbol. During the few hours of the occupation, Camp Casey,
White House was visited by many people who stopped by to thank us for
all that we have done to galvanize the movement. Some stopped for a
quick moment, others stayed to ask questions and talk about Crawford
and that whole experience. When the wind came up (which was often) and
tents started to fly away in all directions, people from the crowd
quickly and good-naturedly chased them down and returned them to the

As the Camp Casey affinity group was about to be arrested, the folks at
the front made room for me at the barrier when I exclaimed "those are
my peeps!" Upon learning who they were, the crowd began chanting
"Thank you Camp Casey!" In short time, James joined me and we proudly
watched as one by one our friends were carried to the buses waiting to
haul them off to jail. When it was over, we wept...the Camp Casey
spirit was alive and well. And as the buses rolled away, we knew the
revolution had truly begun.

In Peace,

mary ellen



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