Friday, November 1, 2013
Force-feeding demonstrations to continue
andrés thomas conteris Friday, November 01, 2013 6:24 AM Dear Jeremy, Thanks for sharing this information about protesting Samantha Powers in January. I would up for doing a force-feeding demo at this protest at the New School at the end of Jan. Am also very open to doing a force-feeding protest around Jan 11 anniversary actions in DC or elsewhere. In February, I will likely head out of the country again to build on the powerful force-feeding protests in front of U.S. Embassies in Uruguay and Argentina and the two actions we did in DC Sept. 6 and Oct. 18, plus the one in Oakland at the California Dept. of Corrections and Rehab with a focus on the torture of prisoners in Pelican Bay and other state prisons where indefinite detention and long-term solitary is regular practice. There has been some interest expressed in my going to London, and I would welcome the opportunity. There are reports that Shaker Aamer is no longer on hunger strike, but the fact that he is still held in Gitmo, makes a protest in front of the U.S. Embassy in London a very powerful symbol. I would like to be in touch with Margaret Owen, the 81-year-old grandmother who fasted in solidarity with him. The Veterans for Peace folks in London have already expressed interest in hosting me. I look forward to forging a stronger alliance with the folks at Reprieve. It was a delight to meet up with Cori outside the court on Oct. 18. I hope to explore ways to move forward with a force-feeding protest in London, perhaps as soon as February 2014. Definitely after the Debt Ceiling date of Feb. 7 when the U.S and much of the world media will be focussed on that issue. Perhaps Friday, Feb 14/2/14 could work. (Nothing like having a tube down your throat on Valentines day!) If there is a way to be in touch with Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) I wonder if he would support the ongoing feeding actions that seek to reveal the daily torture by the Pentagon perpetrators. Perhaps the colleagues at Reprieve can help facilitate contact with him. Other places being considered for force-feeding actions in Europe are: Oslo -- in front of the Nobel Committee headquarters, to show how one of their peace laureates orders daily torture; Germany -- in front of a U.S. military base, Moscow -- to protest the ongoing detention of the ballet dancer Ravil Mingazov, the last remaining Russian in Gitmo who won his habeas corpus petition in 2010. The initial force-feeding protests in Latin America were very powerful. A number of human rights organizations and media took a strong interest and this has opened the way to continue with similar protests in other countries in South as well as Central America. This may happen in the spring of 2014. Eventually, it will be very symbolic to go to Cuba and get as close to the Naval Base as possible to do a force-feeding action. As long as there are hunger strikers in Guantánamo, I will accompany them as best I can, even though the numbers have gone down to 14. On Thursday's Democracy Now! the focus on the drone war was very powerful. Incredible testimony from the Pakistani family who testified on Capitol Hill. I am looking forward to being part of the conference in DC in November. It does not seem like a feeding action would be a good idea at that time, since it's not directly related to drones, but I am open to suggestions. I honestly can't believe I continue to be open to doing protests where they put an NG through the nose, down my throat. The five times so far have been more physically painful than anything I have ever experienced. . And yet, knowing that the prisoners are tortured in this barbaric way torments me more than the tube shoved into my innermost reaches. When they do it to me, I give my consent, so it's not torture. It has taken me up to 48 hours to recover following each feeding. It is beyond my comprehension how they are subjected to this twice daily, day after day, month after month… and for Abdul Rahman Shalabi, year after year. I have had a great week on retreat at Esalen with the Philosophy Cosmology and Consciousness (PCC) program from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Great to eat good food after fasting for so long and jump in the hot springs. I just gave a presentation on Force-feeding with a Cosmological perspective on Galactic Seasons and Mass Extinctions. I daresay it's probably the first ever presentation like this combining cosmic themes with force-feeding! I was glad to do some outreach work for Democracy Now! en Español when I was recently in Latin America doing force-feeding actions at U.S. embassies. In the next couple months, I hope to return to my duties at DN!es since, work has piled up after I went on leave from July to October of this year. The income will come in handy. Among other things, I am facing an eviction attempt by my landlord from the room I am renting in Oakland. Let's keep in touch about plans for the coming weeks and months… I will be tanned, rested and ready and prepared to go on with exposing the brutal twice-daily torture of our brothers in Gitmo. At this point, my plan is to return to the water fast in January. This will be confirmed once it becomes clear that even one prisoner remains on hunger strike in the new year and is being force-fed in Guantánamo. My fast began July 8 I went 82 days on water, coconut water and electrolytes. I lost 5 pounds/week. From late September through December 2013 I will be doing something parallel to what my fellow fasters with CloseGitmo.net did by taking in 300 calories/day. Rather than count calories, I will keep track of weight-loss which will average about 1 to 2 pounds/week. This will keep me symbolically connected to the hunger strikers in the next couple months as I prepare for the next chapter in January of force-feeding actions. Gracias amigo. We carry on… Adelante! andrés -- Andrés Thomas Conteris Close Guantánamo & End US-sponsored Torture at Home & Abroad CloseGitmo.net / firstname.lastname@example.org Cel. in U.S. +1-202-232-1999 -- FB, Twitter & Skype: aconteris Long-term fast Solidarity w/hunger strikers in Guantánamo & Pelican Bay Nutrition received from nasal tube feedings. Visit Force-feeding Protests Sept 6 White House, Washington, DC Sept 25 CDCR, Oakland, California Oct. 4 U.S. Embassy Montevideo, Uruguay Oct 8 U.S. Embassy, Buenos Aires, Arg. Oct 15, 3pm U.S. Embassy, Santiago, Chile Oct 18, 11am (Federal Court in Washington, DC on day of lawsuit hearing dealing with Force-feeding in Guantánamo) Begin forwarded message: From: Jeremy Varon
Subject: ** Head's Up - Samantha Powers to Speak (hah) at New School **
Date: October 31, 2013 11:35:17 AM EDT
To: "Matthew W. Daloisio" , palina Prasasouk , Noor Mir , medea benjamin , Alli McCracken
Cc: Andrew Boyd
As you all may know, I am a professor at the New School, yeah, that "radical" university. Said university has invited Samantha Powers (!) to give the keynote at its celebration of its 80th year anniversary in NYC on Jan 30 (or thereabouts), synched to the opening of its new, 500 mill dollar bldg (Bloomberg, Cuomo, De Blasio will come). Given the occasion and setting, it may well be an ideal opportunity for a bold show of passion/force around GTMO, force feeding, and drones. VERY easy to attract media for this. Lots of time to plan.
My imagination easily fires. All of 14th street in jumpsuits with signs: FORCE FEEDING IS TORTURE. YOU HAVE THE POWER(S): CLOSE GTMO. The big drone currently at Mary House on display. YES MEN style, the presentation of the "golden drone" award to Powers, thanking her for keeping america safe by killing children.
At this point, we can just think about circling the calendar. Ample opps to devise plan, if we think it worth it.
Jeremy Varon - Editor
The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics, and Culture