Eyewitness to Aug. 20

An official with the “coalition” that makes up Camp Casey had been talking to the ISO to diffuse the situation. I caught snippets of what he was saying… He said things like, “If it were up to me personally, I’d have no problem at all with you guys being here. What we need to do is all meet and discuss this, and figure out how we can all come together on this… The problem some people are having is not your presence here, but that you set up a rather large book table, with large signs and banners promoting the ISO, rather than the antiwar effort and Gold Star Families for Peace… All the money we raise here is to keep the peace effort here in Crawford going [free food, beverages, tents, shuttles, etc.], while some are objecting to your selling your books which goes to the ISO…” etc. It seemed that he was saying that they would be able to stay on, but that the ISO might have to do tone it down a bit.

At a few points on Saturday, members from the ISO *did* jump up on the table, trying to get everyone’s attention, shouting things like, “We’re getting arrested,” and “They are kicking us out.” This was at the beginning, when they were told rather forcefully by someone that they had to leave. (There was a guy who was being [aggressive] about it, apparently he was a Vietnam vet; after he initially stirred it up, he disappeared from the scene. Someone told us that they thought *he* was arrested.) A few times the cops (there were two of them) did pull someone aside, to talk to privately, but insisted that no one was being arrested unless they refused to pack up their books. We watched them pack up their books in boxes, and carry them to the trunk of their car. It seemed everything had calmed down, the cops kinda faded away, it was just the Camp Casey official talking with the ISO, so [the two of us] left, figuring it was being worked out… Personally I didn’t like the presence of the cops at Camp Casey, but I have to say that they seemed to handle it professionally; they tried to calm things down, and insisted over and over, “We are not the ones kicking you out. It is the Camp Casey people who object to your presence. We are here serving them; if they don’t want you here, then it’s our job to see that you leave…”

–received via email Aug. 27, 2005

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