Bringing Gitmo to the Senate

On July 30 we had a combined action both inside and outside the Hart Senate Bldg. A gaunt looking Elliott Adams, on day 73 of his hunger strike, managed to get there from his home in upstate NY and spoke outside the Hart. Perhaps not quite as gaunt, I also spoke to those assembled. Cynthia Papermaster also spoke. Diane Wilson was there and spoke passionately. Tighe and Gail from CODEPINK with Dr. Margaret Flowers commenting staged a simulated forced feeding which was so well done and powerful that for me at least, it was hard to watch.

Seven of us, six VFP members and one from CODEPINK, Cynthia Papermaster, Mike Tork, Margaret Flowers, Will Thomas, Crystal Zevon, Jay Wenk and myself went inside to read compiled accurate information put in first person mode statements from prisoners at Guantanamo and from prisoners in long-term solitary confinement here in the U.S.

We positioned ourselves at different locations and floors around the atrium, Tighe Barry somehow got a 5 ft. length of heavy chain and lock inside and brought it to me and then helped me wrap it around my waist and to the railing on the 2nd floor. Once that was in place I began to speak. Having the chain wrapped around me meant I would have more time to speak, which was the intention. I’ve linked to the video by Eddie Becker and here’s one by Crystal Zevon. Besides filming Crystal was one of the arrestees. Ellen Davidson took great pictures so a good part of the action can be seen.

Speaking with the others afterwards we all felt it was a powerful experience for each of us, being able to speak for those whose voices have been essentially silenced and shut away. We spoke for prisoners in Guantanamo and for those locked up in long-term solitary here in the U.S., including two women who have been in and out of solitary since they were sixteen.

Since I had the most time to speak, being chained, I also spoke about the debt of gratitude people worldwide have for Bradley Manning’s courageous actions in revealing the crimes of our government and military and also much of what we know about Guantanamo.

Personally, I’m finally starting to feel a bit more mellow – which is good, but also a bit weaker, which I guess comes with the territory of me feeling more mellow. Been taking in 300 calories/day mostly liquid form but these last four days before breaking the fast will be on water only. Don’t ask me why I’m going to water only, now. I just got a strong inner feeling that is what I should do these last days so that’s what I will do. Looking forward to breaking the fast on Sunday at the Masjid As-Salam, that’s the Mosque in Albany, NY.

I want to express my gratitude to all the people who have taken this issue to their hearts and to those who have made the commitment to see this through, however long it takes, so that justice will prevail and we can someday see all human beings, and the earth, to which we depend upon, treated with dignity and respect.