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Berkeley, Manning, Guantanimo Detainees: Beyond the Media Hype
by Beyond the Hype
Saturday Feb 19th, 2011 10:56 AM
Last Tuesday's city council meeting got pegged as another "only in Berzerkley" moment by members of the media. The resolution regarding the detention of cleared detainees was killed because those against it on the city council "wanted the media to get a message from Berkeley that wasn't a one-liner". (Actual quote from Linda Maio)

The majority vote on city council also bowed to pressure from Neo-Conservative organizations, including Move America Forward which had members from Sacramento attend the meeting.
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Those who voted yes: Max Anderson, Jesse Arreguín, Darryl Moore, Kriss Worthington
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The resolution itself was grossly misunderstood by Berkeley city council. The council majority argued that they couldn't vote for a resolution which would have Berkeley violate federal law. However there is no intention in the resolution to have Berkeley violate federal law. It would be literally impossible for Berkeley to host any detainees without the Federal government releasing them to the city. It is uncertain how the city council members thought detainees would be able to leave Guantanamo Bay without the Federal government knowing about it.

The Peace and Justice commission acknowledge that the resolution is symbolic. In her presentation to the city council, Peace and Justice Commissioner Rita Maran stated: "The act of the city of Berkeley would be to issue a welcome in theory. We're not going to break any federal a laws; we will be in compliance of all federal laws. The point would be to encourage the attention of countries around the world... where the presence of the US has been less than felicitous, and that the people there know by the act of Berkeley... that there are people in this country that are concerned about those who have been unjustly detained and in many cases subjected to torture and other cruel treatment."

A second misunderstanding is that Berkeley would be the first city to issue such a resolution showing support for cleared detainees. However, as Rita Maran stated, Berkeley would be the third city in the United States to do so. In 2009, the city council of Amherst (MA) voted for a resolution to welcome cleared detainees. In 2010, Leverett (MA) followed suit.

Amherst: http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/11/05
Leverette: http://www.nogitmos.org/leverettresolutionsolvingguantanamoquagmire

The welcome, as stated in the presentation to the council, was to people who had been cleared by the State Department, the Justice Department, Homeland Security, and other agencies. However the majority of the city council missed this, and said they couldn't support people who hadn't been cleared. Again, this just showed how uninformed certain city council members were towards the resolution before them.

Rita Maran also mentioned that Barack Hussein Obama himself had expressed some concern (albeit very moderately, as he didn't act on that concern) that the recent military omnibus bill didn't contain any solution to cleared detainees at Guantanamo.

There was a disconnect between what the Peace and justice was trying to recommend, and what the majority of city leadership thought they were voting on. There was an even larger disconnect between the Peace and Justice commission's recommendation and what the media packaged.

The Bradley Manning resolution passed. Although it was just a demand that he be treated humanely in prison. There was no demand for his release until he actually faces trial. And there was no support of his character or of his actions in leaking evidence of war crimes.

§Comments on Bradley Manning
by Beyond the Hype Saturday Feb 19th, 2011 10:56 AM
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Ann Fagan Ginger, Bob Meola (Peace and Justice Commission), Code Pink.

See: http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175352/
(Article by Chase Madar)

"He soon found himself helping the Iraqi authorities detain civilians for distributing “anti-Iraqi literature” -- which turned out to be an investigative report into financial corruption in their own government entitled “Where does the money go?” The penalty for this “crime” in Iraq was not a slap on the wrist. Imprisonment and torture, as well as systematic abuse of prisoners, are widespread in the new Iraq."