Berkeley City Hall “Hunger Strike Solidarity” Rally says: “Release the Cleared Prisoners and Close Guantanamo Prison!” Rita Maran Reiterates Official City Welcome of a Cleared-Detainee to Re-settle in Berkeley.
Cynthia Papermaster of Berkeley No More Guantanamos and Code Pink Golden Gate Chapter 5-21-13 Press Release: “A Gathering to Declare that “Berkeley Says NO to Indefinite Detention and Torture!”
Marking 100 days of an ongoing hunger strike by Guantanamo prisoners, Codepink, Berkeley No More Guantanamos, and others gathered at Old City Hall in Berkeley to hear from City of Berkeley Peace and Justice Commissioner Rita Maran (Sunday, 5-19-13). Rita Maran spoke on behalf of City Council member Linda Maio about the critical life or death human rights situation for Guantanamo prisoners. Rita Maran talked about the standing October 2011 Berkeley City Council Resolution welcoming cleared-for-release detainees to settle in Berkeley using private funds. She addressed the concern that Congress lift the current ban on their entry to the USA. Janet Weil of Code Pink spoke for an end to this ongoing madness.
Cynthia Papermaster of Berkeley No More Guantanamos spoke about the 86 cleared-for-release prisoners still in Guantanamo – up to 7 years after their cases were dismissed by the Bush and Obama administrations. She announced a “Guantanamo Freedom Fund Pledge Drive” for donations to pay expenses such as psychiatric care, housing, food, etc. for the prisoners who will be invited to resettle in Berkeley. The crowd was thrilled to welcome U.S. torture policy architect “John Yoo” (bubble-head actor), a tenured professor at UC Law School and darling of the Wall Street Journal, the Tea Party, Young Republicans, American Enterprise Institute, and the Federalist Society. Mr. Yoo, played to the hilt by Toby Blome, handed Ms. Papermaster a giant “check” pledging $250,000 to help cleared-for-release Gitmo prisoners with living expenses in Berkeley. Papermaster told Yoo she appreciated the donation, but that she still hoped he would be prosecuted for his unethical, illegal and immoral role in torture, destruction of civil rights, and pre-emptive war.
Vic Sadot, Chair of the Berkeley Fellowship Social Justice Committee spoke about our need to stand here to express the conscience of Berkeley and US citizens. He led the crowd in singing “Tell John Yoo That Torture Is A Crime”, a song recorded with the Code Pink Golden Gate Chorus and released on 9/11/11 on a CD titled “9/11 Truth & Justice Songs”, which is available at CD Baby and for which a video was made using photos from David Swanson’s WarIsACrime site.
All attendees were invited to write postcards to the illegally held Guantanamo “detainees” (prisoners), to President Obama to ask him to use his authority to free the cleared-for-release prisoners, and to write to John Yoo to mock-thank him for his generous pledge to help the men that he conspired to torture by writing bogus legal briefs to justify the use of torture, and to violate the Geneva Conventions, which are by treaty also the law of the United States.
This Guantanamo Hunger Strike Solidarity Action and the issue of closing Guantanamo peranently was the lead story on the Berkeley-based KPFA evening news that day. That segment begins at 2:32 and ends at 8:00 on this archived recording): http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/91701
BERKELEY CALLING! “Inviting Gitmo Detainees to Berkeley”
Rita Maran explained the Berkeley Peace & Justice Commission proposal to the City of Berkeley, and why it was passed. These “indefinite detainees” have been tortured but were never charged with a crime. Many have been cleared by the Bush and Obama administrations. But the advocates of a “war on terror” need some real life people to populate that policy. They apparently prefer to conduct their “war” outside of US Constitutional law, due process, and habeas corpus rights established by Magna Carta. The prisoners known in the corporate media as “detainees” have been kept from their families for 11 years and counting. This is not American justice! Guantanamo torture testimony was used in the 9/11 Commission report to support the “official conspiracy theory” that 19 Muslim men, mostly from Saudi Arabia, were led in the successful attacks of 9/11/01 by Osama bin Laden from a cave in Afghanistan. At this time (5-20-13) over 100 of them have gone past 100 days in a hunger strike as an attempt to call their plight to the attention of people of conscience all over the world. On Sunday, May 19 a small group gathered to call for the release of all the cleared detainees and once again Dr. Rita Maran was there to speak out. Posted on May 16, 2013.
Berkeley Welcomes Guantanamo Prisoners – Holly Harwood of Code Pink Golden Gate Chapter takes on Shaun Hannity and Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice Uploaded on Feb 16, 2011
The issue of permitting terrorist detainees released from Guantanamo Bay to settle in U.S. cities is front and center in Berkeley, CA. Jay Sekulow appeared on Fox News’ Hannity Show to debate the issue with Holly Harwood of the Golden Gate Chapter of CODEPINK.
May 16, 2013 marks a dark milestone in one of the world’s most horrific prisons – The 100th day of a mass hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay. Out of 166 inmates at this time 130 are on hunger strike, according to prisoners, while the military only admits to 102. At least a third of them are being force fed through tubes, a procedure recognized by various medical organizations as painful enough to constitute another form of torture. And by all accounts – there’s no end in sight to the strike. RT discusses the stand-off with former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg in Birmingham UK, who is now the Director of the “Cage Prisoners Activist Group”, Attorney Pardiss Kebriaei of the Center for Constitutional Rights who serves as the legal representative of 8 current Guantanamo “detainees”, military attorney Lt. Col. Barry Wingard, Judge Advocate General of the US Air Force, speaks out quite forcefully on behalf of his client. Wingard thanks RT for their consistent coverage of the prisoners’ plight. He sharply denounces American media “who are more than willing to forget about the whole situation”. He denounces CNN saying, “They’re doing a real fine job this week not interviewing a single prisoner, and regurgitating exactly what the camp officials want you to hear… There’s a two-part strategy, one is the public relations strategy and the behind the scenes crackdown that they are trying to hide…The President has the authority to sign a waver to get these men out of here. He can sign a waver… Indefinite detention is both illegal and immoral.”
No Matter What Hollywood Propaganda Movies like “Zero Dark Thirty” say, Torture is a Crime, and “Questions about the Death and Dumping at Sea of Osama bin Laden Remain!” Published 3-30-13 Truth Troubadour Blog: Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? If he is dead, when did he die? Was he really the “mastermind of 9/11”, or not? How can we know the truth? An exploration of these subjects by Truth Troubadour Vic Sadot, a member of the Northern California 9/11 Truth Alliance.
The Political Film Blog: Declassified Memo Shows ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Filmmakers Played Role of Willing Propagandists for CIA – Newly Declassified Memo Shows CIA Shaped Zero Dark Thirty’s Narrative – Torture is:
1. Felony crime under US Law, 20 year penalty and death penalty if victim dies.
2. International War Crime.
3. A conspiracy to torture when multiple parties engage in it.
4. Conspiracy extends to those covering up these felonies and war crimes … do the math!
“CIA requested Zero Dark Thirty rewrites, memo reveals – Document shows agency requested removal of interrogation scene with dog, and shots of operatives partying with AK47.” Ben Childs, The Guardian, 5-7-13. The UK Guardian exposes CIA role in Zero Dark Thirty, a fiction movie that justifies the use of torture.http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2013/may/07/zero-dark-thirty-cia-memo
“A substantial number of people in Gitmo were basically sold to the CIA/ US in return for the reward offered for ‘terrorists’: basically, someone from a hostile family in Afghanistan would kidnap a shepherd and hand him in as a suspect. Once you’re in the system you’re a terrorist because you wouldn’t be in the system otherwise. It’s intelligence gathering turned on its head, and hill-clans in Afghan made a tidy profit out of settling personal scores. This is fact, not supposition.” Comment by reader Sam Russel after watching a UK Documentary on subject. Torture: The Guantanamo Guide Book (49:28)
CIA whistleblower imprisoned despite prosecutor’s promise RT 5-30-13
May 30, 2013. John Kiriakou: “I never tortured anybody, but I’m heading to prison while the torturers and the lawyers who papered over it and the people who deceived it and the men who destroyed the proof of it–the tapes– will never face justice.”…Then-CIA director David Petraeus hailed the conviction, “This case yielded the first IIPA (Intelligence Identities Protection Act) successful prosecution in 27 years, and it marks an important victory for our Agency, for our Intelligence Community, and for our country,” Petraeus said. “Oaths do matter, and there are indeed consequences for those who believe they are above the laws.” “Tell the Whole World that Torture is a Crime” by releasing John Kiriakou and by prosecuting those who approved the “enhanced interrogation techniques” (Rumsfeld, Rice, Cheney), “indefinite detention” (imprisonment for more than 11 years under these cruel “techniques” without charges), and by prosecuting those who prosecuted this man instead of the real criminals.
Peace Poets & Witness Against Torture: Hunger Strike Song
Hunger Strike Song by The Peace Poets and Witness Against Torture, posted Johnny Barber at YouTube. See link to the post by World Can’t Wait 166 men remain trapped at Guantánamo. The vast majority have never been, and will never be, charged with any crime. Of these, 86 have been cleared for release. Almost all of the men are on hunger strike since Feb 6, 2013. http://www.worldcantwait.net/index.php/media-files-mainmenu-28/audio-mainmenu-30/8244-song-for-the-guantanamo-hunger-strikers
Andy Worthington, author of “The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison” and “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and co-director of the documentary “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” can be reached on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Consider joining the new “Close Guantánamo campaign.”