Cindy Sheehan launching People's Accountability Movement

Anti-war activist Sheehan plans rummage sale as she leaves peace movement
AP, July 3, 2007

FORT WORTH, Texas: Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan will return to her protest site near President George W. Bush's Texas ranch this weekend to bid farewell to the peace movement.

Sheehan will sell some camping items, gather with friends from previous demonstrations and celebrate her 50th birthday in Crawford, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Fort Worth. Then she will hand over the deed of her 5-acre (2-hectare) lot to its new owner, radio talk-show host Bree Walker.

"I'm feeling like it was the right decision for me. I feel like it was the best thing to do," Sheehan told The Associated Press on Tuesday by telephone en route to Texas.

Sheehan, who became the face of the anti-war movement after her son Casey died in the Iraq war in 2004, stunned supporters and critics in May when she announced she was ending her protests and selling her Crawford lot. She said she felt her efforts had been in vain and that she had endured smear tactics and hatred from the left as well as the right.

She told the AP that she wanted to spend more time with her three children and that she wanted to change course.

Sheehan said Tuesday that she is asking people to join her in a 10-day walk from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., starting July 13 for a "people's accountability movement." On her blog, she said Bush's commuting the prison sentence of former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was "the straw that broke my camel's back of exhausted ennui."

"I tried to remove myself from the political realm of the U.S., what BushCo is turning into an Evil Empire, but the blatant audacity of George commuting Scooter's sentence ... has dragged me kicking and screaming back in," she wrote.

Sheehan first came to Crawford in August 2005 in a caravan from Dallas with fellow protesters who had been at a Veterans for Peace convention. They marched toward Bush's ranch and were stopped at the security checkpoint, where Sheehan demanded to talk to the president about the war.

Two of Bush's top aides talked to Sheehan that first day, but Bush never did during her 26-day vigil that started in ditches off the winding, two-lane road leading to the ranch. As the protest swelled to thousands and caused traffic jams, a sympathetic landowner let the group use his vacant lot for camping and rallies.

Sheehan, held other rallies in Crawford the rest of that year and in early 2006. Then she bought the 5-acre (2-hectare) lot near downtown for a permanent protest site last year with $52,500 (€38,600) in insurance money received after her son's death.

Sheehan, who turns 50 next week, will sell camping equipment and other items from the site now known as "Camp Casey." Sheehan said she plans to keep some of the personal mementos, such as the large painting of her son.

Sheehan said the rows of white crosses representing soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan may remain on the lot but that she will remove the one bearing Casey's name.

Los Angeles radio talk show host Walker, the lot's new owner, plans to build a peace memorial on the property and keep it open to protesters.

Sheehan said that despite her departure from the anti-war movement, this trip to Crawford may not be her last.

"Bree is keeping it open, so I may be back to visit," Sheehan said.

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