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Sheehan Buys Land In Crawford ‘For Base’

From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Sheehan buys plot in Crawford with son’s insurance money

By JACK DOUGLAS JR.

Thu, Jul. 27, 2006

CRAWFORD — As President Bush prepares to spend some vacation time at his ranch here, not all is peaceful within the peace movement that has doggedly criticized his war policies for the past year.

The Gold Star Families for Peace says on its Web site that its members will again flock to Crawford in August to protest Bush’s wartime decisions. Leader Cindy Sheehan is again demanding to meet with the president — a replay of a year ago — garnering worldwide attention and making Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier, the most familiar face of anti-war protesters.

But Sheehan and Mark Mattlage, owner of the 1-acre property where protesters have been allowed to gather, have had a falling out over scheduling and increased costs for liability insurance.

So, Sheehan has purchased a 5-acre plot in Crawford, saying she did so with some of the insurance money she received after her son, Casey Sheehan, was killed in Iraq.

"We decided to buy property in Crawford to use until George’s resignation or impeachment, which we all hope is soon for the sake of the world," Sheehan said in a newsletter, scheduled to be sent to her supporters today. "I can’t think of a better way to use Casey’s insurance money than for peace, and I am sure that Casey approves."

Now an official resident of Crawford, like Bush, Sheehan predicted in the newsletter that she and her supporters will "enjoy a cordial relationship with everyone."

The anti-war gathering in this tiny town, 20 miles west of Waco, is scheduled for Aug. 16 through Sept. 2. But there is a question about whether protesters will ever get within shouting distance of the president since he is scheduled to be at his ranch mainly during the first two weeks of August, before the protests get under way.

In an e-mail to the Star-Telegram, Sheehan called Mattlage’s family "heroic" for "their contribution to the peace movement." Referring to the property used last year, she added: "We left them with a better property and one with amazing positive and peaceful energy."

Mattlage, who no longer lives near Crawford, said he is a registered Democrat but has not opposed Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq. He said he did not lend his land to the protesters for political reasons. Instead, Mattlage said, he was worried that someone would get hurt if anti-war advocates continued to assemble just off Prairie Chapel Road, leading up to the president’s ranch.

"We’re kind of peacemakers. We didn’t want to see anybody get run over on that road … and we knew nobody else would offer" land, Mattlage said.

He said he did not charge for the use of the land but did require the protest group to reimburse him for the cost of liability insurance, initially amounting to between $700 and $800. For subsequent gatherings, including Thanksgiving and then Easter, Crawford Peace House paid to put in electrical and water lines.

Mattlage said he had no idea so many Sheehan supporters would gather on his property, and he acknowledged some of what the protesters said about Bush and the U.S. in the war made him cringe.

"I did not want a Jane Fonda incident," he said, referring to the actress’s 1972 visit to a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft camp that earned her the famous nickname "Hanoi Jane."

Despite some misgivings, the business relationship between Sheehan and Mattlage was friendly and, at times, jokingly flirtatious, according to an exchange of e-mails between the two, provided to the Star-Telegram by Mattlage.

The relationship began to sour somewhat, he said, when he recently learned on the group’s Web site that protesters planned to return to Crawford in August. He said he did not agree to let them use the land at that time because it coincided with his family’s plans to hunt doves. He said he also did not want Sheehan to use his property when Bush was at his ranch. "I just didn’t want his vacation to be interrupted. It was out of respect for the president," Mattlage said.

He said he eventually agreed to let Gold Star Families for Peace use his land in August but only with the understanding that, because of the expected huge crowds, liability insurance costs were going to increase significantly to between $5,500 and $6,000. Mattlage said that, on the advice of his lawyer, he also told the protest group to sign a "hold harmless" agreement that would further free him of liability if something went wrong.

In a newsletter e-mailed to Mattlage and protest organizers on June 23, Sheehan told Mattlage, "I cannot in good faith accept the terms that you and your lawyers are holding us hostage with. … I fear we will have to find alternatives to using your land … "

Mattlage, in a phone interview, said Sheehan had initially agreed to pay the higher insurance costs. It made him mad, he said, when she later sent an e-mail to organizers suggesting he was holding her "hostage."

Mattlage sent his one-time friend an e-mail back that said, "You can go away now."

And Sheehan replied: "Okay. Bye."

And yet she refused to buy her son a headstone.

And why are so many of these people such liars?

Mattlage, who no longer lives near Crawford, said he is a registered Democrat but has not opposed Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq. He said he did not lend his land to the protesters for political reasons. Instead, Mattlage said, he was worried that someone would get hurt if anti-war advocates continued to assemble just off Prairie Chapel Road, leading up to the president’s ranch.

"We’re kind of peacemakers. We didn’t want to see anybody get run over on that road … and we knew nobody else would offer" land, Mattlage said.

Here’s what Mattlage said last August, when he allowed Cindy and her merry band to use his property:

Crawford resident Fred Mattlage — described as an Army veteran who sympathizes with the demonstrators — this week invited Sheehan and her supporters to set up their anti-war, anti-Bush shop on his property, located about a mile from Bush’s ranch.

"I just think people should have a right to protest without being harassed," Mattlage told The Associated Press Tuesday night. "And I’m against the war. I don’t think it’s a war we need to be in."

You’d think the local reporters would remember him, since the media did numerous articles about him. They even claimed (probably falsely) that Mattlage was a cousin of the gentleman who fired a shot in the air to try scare the protesters off his property.

But our one party media never brings up anything facts that conflict with their agenda.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, July 27th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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