Three Veterans Join Long-Term Hunger Strike of Guantanamo Prisoners
June 9, 2013 marks Day 123 of a hunger strike by at least 103 of the 166 men still imprisoned at Guantanamo. The U.S. military acknowledges that 38 are being forcibly fed twice a day by tubes snaked through their noses. Force feeding is condemned by the American Medical Association and the United Nations.
The vast majority of the 166 men have been held for more than 11 years without any charge. And, 86 have been cleared for release for years.
As of June 6, 2013, 125 more US military have been deployed to Guantanamo to help force-feed and guard the prisoners, bringing the military force at Guantanamo prison to 2,000. It is reported that 124 reinforcements from the Texas-based 591st Military Police Co. will arrive at Guantanamo on Saturday, June 8, 2013.
Three Americans are in long-term hunger strikes in solidarity with the Guantanamo hunger strikers. Diane Wilson is on Day 39 of her hunger strike. Diane is an environmental activist, anti-war activist, an author, and a fourth generation shrimper from Texas. She is a co-founder of CODEPINK: Women for Peace. She began her water-only hunger strike in solidarity with the prisoners in Guantanamo from May 1 to May 24, 2013. On May 10, Diane, a grandmother, wasarrested at the White House for chaining herself, by her neck, to the fence. Diane plans to return to Washington in mid-June to sit in front of the White House and in Congressional offices.
Veterans for Peace members Brian Willson and Elliot Adams joined Diane on long-term hunger strikes. Brian, 72 years old, has been on a hunger strike for 27 days. He participated in a number of water-only fasts, including the 47-day Veterans Fast For Life in 1986 in Washington with three other combat veterans protesting President Reagan’s terrorist wars in Central America. Brian almost died after he was run over by a train carrying munitions for Central America. Both of his legs were amputated. He travels by bicycle and last week was hit by a van in Portland, Oregon and was severely bruised and banged up.
Veterans for Peace former national president Elliott Adams, past national president of Veterans for Peace, is on Day 22 of his hunger strike. Elliott Adams is also secretary of Creating a Culture of Peace, and a member of the training committee of Meta Peace Team. He has also done non-violence and social movement trainings for School Of Americas Watch, Peacemakers of Schoharie, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Student Environmental Action Coalition, War Resistors League, and Veterans For Peace.
Ann Wright is a 29 year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. In December, 2001 she was on the small team that reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. She is the co-author of the book “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.” (www.voicesofconscience.com). She has written frequently on rape in the military.