We need your support this Tuesday night at the Berkeley City Council meeting, 7 pm, Old City Hall, MLK Jr. Way.
This Tuesday night I will call on the Council to make a Proclamation acknowledging my hunger strike, and and Cynthia Johnson's long term fast, and asking President Barack Obama to immediately begin releasing the 86 cleared-for-release Guantanamo detainees. My hunger strike is now 31 days old. I have not eaten solid food for 31 days, and am existing on less than 300 calories a day. I've lost about 20 pounds. I am committed to continuing my hunger strike until the President, who has the clear authority to do so, begins to release the cleared, innocent men from the prison. Cynthia Johnson has been fasting on mostly liquids for nearly 25 days.
Our City Council passed a Resolution co-authored by me, Peace and Justice Commissioner Rita Maran, and the national group "No More Guantanamos", in October 2011, which welcomes one or two cleared detainees to settle in our community, at private expense. We've been successfully raising funds for this purpose, and I will ask the Council and Mayor to each donate $1 to the "Berkeley Guantanamo Resettlement Fund" on Tuesday night. The Resolution also said that the Council would urge Obama to close Guantanamo Prison and Congress to lift the ban against detainees resettling in the United States. Well, that hasn't happened, yet we think that if the men had a place to live, a safe and welcoming place, that Obama could use his Executive Order privilege to allow them to live in the USA, in Berkeley. We also know that there is a waiver in the National Defense Authorization Act that allows him to release detainees. So there's really no reason for him to refuse, especially since I, Elliot Adams and Tarak Kauff are on long-term, open-ended hunger strike. Elliot is on day 60 of his hunger strike. Tarak is on day 47. We are all taking less than 300 calories a day. You can see our profiles and hunger strike statements at http://www.closegitmo.net
. Click on "Hunger Strikes/Fasts" tab. The hunger strikers are blogging at http://www.closegitmo.net
Because my health is at risk, I think it's time to step up the actions for helping the men go free and I would like the City Council to put their full weight and authority behind this. I'm working on the wording of my statement and the Proclamation. If anyone reading has experience writing Proclamations, please get in touch with me right away.
As Dr. Martin Luther King said- “These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.”
draft Statement and Proclamation
Cynthia Papermaster, a resident of Berkeley for 48 years, is on an open-ended hunger strike in solidarity with the Guantanamo prisoner hunger strike. She has committed to continuing her fast until President Obama begins to release the cleared-for-release detainees from the prison. Cynthia Johnson is also fasting for Guantanamo detainees who are cleared for release.
The Berkeley City Council passed a Resolution in October 2011 welcoming one or two cleared-for-release Guantanamo detainees to settle in our community at private expense. Funds are being raised for this purpose, housing has been secured, and private citizens and groups are ready to provide food, clothing, mental and general health care, transportation, and other needs for the detainees.
In light of Ms. Papermaster's dangerous and courageous commitment to the cause of the detainees' release, the Berkeley City Council is making the following Proclaimation, and calls on President Barack Obama to do the following:
We commend Cynthia Papermaster for her courage and commitment and urge President Obama to begin releasing cleared-for-release Guantanamo detainees immediately. Specifically, we would like to work with Special Guantanamo Envoy Clifford Sloane to identify one or two detainees to be released to Berkeley, at private expense, including providing air fare to the San Francisco or Oakland International Airport, housing in private residences in Berkeley, psychiatric and medical care, food, clothing, phone and other necessary support. The funds for this purpose will be deposited in the Federal Cooperative Credit Union immediately, and will be accounted for and disbursed by a committee of volunteers formed as a finance committee for this purpose. We ask for an immediate response to this request, and upon receiving the reponse will arrange for the transfer of the detainee(s) to our City Manager, City Attorney and Chief of Police for travel to Berkeley.