Berkeley Long Term Fasts Launch Today, June 15

for immediate release
MEDIA ALERT FOR SATURDAY, JUNE 15, 2013

Contact: Cynthia Papermaster, Berkeley No More Guantanamos and Codepink Women for Peace, 510-333-6097

What: launch of Berkeley open-ended fasts in solidarity with Guantanamo Hunger Strike
Where: Provo Park, MLK Jr. Way between Allston and Center, across from Old City Hall in Berkeley
When: 2 p.m. Saturday, June 15, 2013

Today Cynthia Johnson, Christopher Lewis Macy, and Cynthia Papermaster will start their open-ended fasts in solidarity with the Hunger Strike at Guantanamo Prison, where over 100 men have been refusing to eat, some for over 130 days, and where over 40 of them are being force fed in a way amounting to torture.

There is a gathering at Provo Park (aka Civic Center Park) at 2 pm Saturday, June 15, where the fasters will have their last meals at a vegetarian potuck picnic hosted by CODEPINK WOMEN FOR PEACE, GOLDEN GATE CHAPTER.

We’re alerting the media, hoping that they’ll be interested in covering the news of citizens of Berkeley going on their own hunger strikes. We also hope that they’ll show an interest in the long term, ongoing, open ended fasts of other U.S. citizens:

there are three Hunger Strikers in the U.S. who have been or were fasting for more than 25 days: Elliot Adams of upstate New York, a former President of Veterans for Peace; Diane Wilson of Texas, shrimper and cofounder of Codepink Women for Peace, and S. Brian Willson of Portland, beloved veteran activist who lost his legs when a train ran over him while he was protesting arms shipments to Latin America. In addition, there are about 8 others who are on long-term fasts. You can find details of the fasters and more at http://www.closegitmo.net

There are more actions being planned, such as mass arrests in Washington, DC, of 86 orange-jumpsuited people at the White House this June 26, the annual UN International Day for Victims of Torture; a possible meeting of religious leaders with President Obama; and a trip to Guantanmo Prison via boat.

In addition, today we are launching our Guantanamo Detainee Resettlement Fund Campaign, where we’re asking every citizen of Berkeley to contribute $1 or more for one or more cleared-for-release detainees to settle in Berkeley. This is based on a Berkeley City Council Resolution which passed in October 2011, welcoming detainees to come here, using private funds. The money will be used for detainee housing, food, transportation, psychiatric counseling– all of their expenses– until the men can get on their feet and are able to take care of themselves.

The Berkeley political artist Doug Minkler* is creating a poster of one of the detainees, Djamel Ameziane, cleared for release in 2008. He’s an Algerian chef who trained in Switzerland and we would like to help him get here, if he wishes to resettle in Berkeley. Below are photos of Djamel as a young man, when he was first captured in 2002, and from today, 11 years later, after a decade in Guantanamo Prison without being charged. I think Obama can release him to us without Congress’ okay due to a waiver in the 2012 NDAA which gives him that authority.

Warmly,
Cynthia Papermaster, Berkeley No More Guantanamos and Codepink Women for Peace, 510-333-6097
Follow my open-ended fast in solidarity with the Hunger Strike at Guantanamo Prison, starting June 15, at https://mygitmofast.wordpress.com/

Djamel Ameziane, 45 year old citizen of Algeria, cleared for transfer since October 2008,
detained at Guantánamo for more than 11 years, since February 2002

*Photo credits: Center for Constitutional Rights

**”Why Do They Hate Us?” See visual at http://www.dminkler.com/graphics/guantanamo_bay.htm

Guantanamo Bay
represents the worst aspects of the decaying US Imperialist system – war, land theft, loss of the right to a trial, torture, and rendition. The prison violates the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war and ignores the World Court and UN.

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I'm now on day 60 of my hunger strike in solidarity with the hunger strikes at Guantanamo Bay Prison and Pelican Bay Prison in California. We must stop torture, forced feeding, indefinite detention, excessive solitary confinement, free the 86 cleared-for-release Gitmo prisoners, charge and try the remainder, and close Guantanamo and ALL black sites where U.S. torture policy is practised. Help me end my fast; call the White House every day: 202-456-1111. Tell Obama I'm on a hunger strike and need him to release the Gitmo prisoners cleared for release.

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