June 10, 2013 – Brian Willson temporarily suspends hunger strike


On May 12, 2013, S. Brian Willson began an open ended hunger strike,  on only 300 cal/day.  This was  in solidarity with the prisoners’ hunger strike in Guantánamo demanding closure of the barbaric torture facility.


On Monday, June 3, while he was hand-cycling to the “Close Guantánamo”daily vigil in Portland, Oregon, he suffered a serious accident.  Brian was hit by an SUV vehicle while stopped at a traffic light.  He ended up severely bruised, lying on the road, with


his severely damaged cycle on top of him.


Fortunately, Brian’s partner Becky showed up soon, and he was taken home. On June 9, Brian spent three hours at a hospital emergency room to get urgent blood tests.  They showed that he has not recovered from serious, recent health issues which have now complicated his ability to heal from the recent accident.


Given his medical situation, on June 10th Brian temporarily suspended his hunger strike after 28 days,  and after a loss of 24 pounds.  He will continue to support the campaign to close Guantánamo, and will consider rejoining the fast when he fully recovers.  We send our gratitude and support to him.

S. Brian Willson, 71 years old, Guantanamo Fast Solidarity Statement, June 4, 2013.Gitmo PDX Fast 6

My Personal Fast

I have been on a 300-calorie-a-day indefinite hunger strike since Sunday evening, May 12. As of today, having completed 23 days of fasting, I have lost nearly 21 pounds. My participation in this strike was prompted by the decision of 130-140 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (where 166 total prisoners have been held, without charge or chance for trial, for as long as 10+ years) to embark on a hunger strike to protest their continued long captivity and tortured treatment. Since their fasting commenced, many have been force-fed with tubes rammed into their noses and down into their stomachs, causing bleeding and vomiting, while chained from head to foot in a chair. These men have not seen their families since being brutally snatched from their home communities beginning in 2001 upon directives from the U.S. government and its secret operatives, who are known to have freely handed out lucrative bounties to those who would finger someone, anyone. The continuing captivity and maltreatment of these prisoners is medieval, barbaric, sadistic, and grotesquely illegal according to both U.S. and international law. It dehumanizes all of us.

The Most Salient Question

For me, the salient question is: What is the proportionate response when one knows his or her government has waged, for twelve years, and continues, a Global War OF Terror, committing on an ongoing basis the supreme international crime of aggression (Nuremberg) against a multitude of countries around the world, while participating in the associated war crimes and crimes against humanity, murdering as many as two million innocent human beings, maiming and displacing millions of others, while torturing thousands, destabilizing regions for years, even decades to come? Meanwhile, domestic repression tightens the noose on any effective dissent. The 2001 Patriot Act eliminated Habeas Corpus for foreigners, as the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) eliminated it for U.S. citizens deemed by the President as “terrorists.” Please tell me: What is the proportionate response to all this diabolical criminality and barbarity?

Though there may not be a simple answer, this is a most important question. I viscerally feel the pain of the Guantanamo prisoners. Each of these individual’s odyssey began with being kidnapped, hooded, and continually shackled while being transported from one torture prison to another, until finally flown (hooded and shackled) to the U.S. gulag known as Guantanamo. The U.S. has acknowledged at least 100 of the prisoners were murdered during the torture process, before arriving at Guantanamo, ruling the deaths as homicides. The U.S. military prison at Guantanamo is located within a 45-square-mile parcel of land forcefully taken from the Cuban people in the 1898 (illegal) Spanish-American War.

Preserving my humanity requires me to do something, as I strive to express unmistakable solidarity with the pain and suffering of the prisoners who remain at Guantanamo. As Socialist Eugene Debs declared, “While there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”

U.S. Pattern of Imperialism is Entrenched

Since my birth on July 4, 1941, my country has overtly, militarily and illegally invaded dozens of countries at least 390 times, covertly interfering in other countries’ sovereignty thousands of times, while bombing 28 of them. I personally witnessed grotesque atrocities against the Vietnamese people, and subsequently witnessed illegal and barbaric U.S. policies at work in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Haiti, Israel/Palestine, Iraq, Colombia, among others. The September 14, 2001 AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force) passed by Congress [US House vote: 420 to 1; Senate: 98 to 0], authorized the president to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred onSeptember 11. This has been used as the authority for the US to wage an unprecedented war OF terror against the whole world ever since, murdering and maiming millions of peasants 6,000 miles distant from our country. This now includes use of our newest killing invention – remote Drones – adding another inherently destructive technology to our global murder arsenal, enabling the President to decide anyone labeled “terrorist” can be murdered with premeditation, any place, any time, such decisions being made at his whim, in secrecy, with no accountability. It smacks of the August 7, 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed by Congress [US House vote: 414 Yes to 0; Senate: 88 to 2] authorizing the President “to take all necessary measures to repeal any armed attack against the forces of the United States” which unleashed eleven years of unspeakable terror that led to the murder of more than six million southeast Asian peasants 9,000 miles distant from our country. That authorization led to my being snatched as a young man into war exposing me to the grotesque bowels of unspeakable US barbarism.

The U.S. is now a totalitarian state that has eliminated basic principles established some 800 years ago with the Magna Carta. Smart bombs and smart missiles are in fact really dumb because they directly create more enraged enemies, endangering the U.S. American people. In my eyes, the U.S. President is a totalitarian monster no less than the worst monarchs and dictators in world history.

The Gated Society: The U.S. love affair with incarceration, solitary confinement and torture

I live in a country that imprisons more than 2.5 million of its citizens on an average day in more than 9,000 jails and prisons, boasting the highest per capita detention rate in the world by far – 800 prisoners for every 100,000 people [Local jails: 745,000; state and federal adult prisons: 1,600,000; juvenile facilities: 141,000; and immigrant detention: 34,000 = Grand Total: 2,520,000 U.S. prisoners]. Rwanda has the second highest detention rate at 595; Russia comes in third at 568. The world’s average per capita detention rate is 146.

More than 60 percent of U.S. prisoners are from racial and ethnic minority groups yet they comprise only 36 percent of the general population. The U.S., with 4.6 percent of the world’s population, holds 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. At least 80,000 of these, and as many 110,000, are locked up in solitary confinement in facilities for years such as continues at Pelican Bay Prison in California, and Angola Penitentiary in Louisiana, among dozens of locations. Being held in solitary for more than 15 days was determined in 2011 by the UN Special Rapporteur to begin devastating, often irreversible physical and mental ill effects, and is therefore considered torture. Force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strikes in the U.S. is also not unusual, itself another form of torture in violation of international law. Solitary confinement inevitably contributes to increased risks of prison suicides, of which hundreds are reported every year. Nine Guantanamo prisoners are reported to have died, and at least six of these deaths were suicides.

I studied the regular use of torture in Massachusetts prisons in 1981, where force feeding of striking prisoners was common; as was the withholding of rights and privileges such as necessary medicine, mail, or winter clothing during cold weather; the imposition of hazards such as flooding cells, igniting clothes and bedding, providing too little or too much heat, and spraying mace and tear gas; inflicting physical beatings of prisoners filing prison complaints or litigation, of those protesting conditions using hunger strikes; and various forms of intentional psychological abuse such as arbitrary shakedown of cells and brutal rectal searches, ordering prisoners to lie face down on cold floors or the outside ground before receiving food, and empty announcements of visitors or family only later to say it was a joke.

During the Spanish-American war in the Philippines, President Teddy Roosevelt proudly defended water boarding torture as part of the arsenal of techniques to achieve “the triumph of civilization over the black chaos of savagery and barbarism” of the Filipinos, or “googoos”. In Haiti in 1920, the NAACP investigated the conduct of U.S. Marines who were murdering thousands of Haitians while practicing widespread torture to overcome a Haitian revolt of “savage monkeys” against the continuing unwanted U.S. presence there. The word googoo morphed into “gook” as the derogatory term used by U.S. soldiers against the Vietnamese.

In 1931 President Hoover’s Wickersham Report (National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement) concluded that the use of torture (intentional infliction of various methods of pain and suffering) was “widespread” throughout the entire U.S. criminal justice system. The U.S. school of the Americas has been teaching torture (“interrogation”) to Latin American military personnel since 1946.

Torture IS U.S. policy.


Guantanamo continues a long U.S. tradition and pattern of domestic cruelty to its own prisoners, as it represents the continuation of the supreme international crimes launched by the U.S. beginning in 2001. This hunger strike intends to address this chronic pattern by affirming my mantra, “We are not worth more; they are not worth less”. 





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GTMO has been open:

U.S. Hunger Strikers

Hunger Striker's Blog

 U.S. Faster in Solidarity w/Gitmo & Pelican Bay Prisoners


Foreground: EMT prepares the tool for the nasal intubation.       Background: U.S. Embassy, Buenos Aires, Argentina Middleground:...agony awaits. 

The feeding demo is extremely painful, yet it is done with consent. The long-term solidarity fast continues with nasogastric nourishment in front of U.S. governmental symbols of power. The twice-daily force-feeding of Gitmo hunger strikers is nonconsensual and therefore real torture by the standards sponsored by U.S. taxpayers and authorized by members of Congress who just raised the debt ceiling to nearly $17 trillion. President Obama's actions continue to belie his empty words "Close Guantánamo."  As Commander-in-Chief, he could easily order an end to what the Pentagon refuses to call "forced-feeding."   The force-feeding is premeditated  relentless forced penetration of plastic into their innermost sacred cavities !

Andrés Thomas Conteris - fasted on water and coconut water with vitamin and electrolyte supplements. Solidarity fast began July 8, 2013 with 30,000 hunger striking California prisoners urging fulfillment of 5 Core Demands of the Pelican Bay supermax prisoners.  Force-feeding protests began Sept. 6 & Sept. 25 in front of the White House & later in front of the Oakland Office of CA Dept of Corrections and Rehab (CDCR) to depict how prisoners in Guantánamo are tortured with force-feeding twice-daily and how CA prisoners as future hunger strikers have been threatened with a court order authorizing force-feeding.  On Oct 4 and Oct 8 he was tube-fed in front of the U.S. Embassies in Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina. On Oct 15 a similar protest took place in Santiago, Chile.  On Friday, Oct 18 the feeding protest returns to Washington, DC outside a Federal Court hearing on the lawsuit challenging force-feeding in Guantánamo.  He is now on a maintenance fast losing about 1 pound per week, unlike the 5 pounds/week the first 11 weeks.  In January 2014 with the anniversary of Guantánamo on Jan. 11, the force feeding protests will recommence.  Please spread the word. 

Join a Rolling Fast

U.S. Hunger Strikers who have suspended their fast






Diane Wilson - Water only 58 days (lost 48 lbs). Diane, co-founder of CodePink and member of Veterans for Peace, suspended her hunger strike on June 27, 2013 after detention following her arrest for scaling the White House fence the day before. She faced a jury trial in DC District Court on Sept. 5th, 2013.


S. Brian Willson - Suspended Hunger Strike on June 10, 2013 after 31 days on 300cal/day, when a car accidentally hit him. Supporters continue a vigil with a rolling fast, in Portland, OR.



Elliott Adams - Went 80 days on 300 cal/day from May 18, to August 4, 2013 losing 45 lbs.   He is past President of Veterans for Peace.







Tarak Kauff - Ended fast on August 4, 2013 after 58 days on 300 cal/day since June 7.  He lost 29 lbs. On Board of Directors for Veterans for Peace.


Cynthia Papermaster - After 84 days on 300 cal/day, Cynthia suspended her  hunger strike on Sep. 6 which began June 15, 2013. Code Pink member,  lost 35 lbs. The transfer of two Algerian prisoners on Aug. 29, 2013, inspired her to suspend her fast. 

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