Religious Leaders’ Outreach Letter:


The issue of the torturous conditions faced by the 80,000+ people held in long-term solitary confinement in prisons across the US looms on the horizon. On July 8th, people held under these conditions in California prisons plan to restart the hunger strike they suspended in 2011. At that time, 12,000 men felt driven to starve themselves for weeks rather than continue to silently accept being arbitrarily placed in small, windowless, soundproof cells where they were denied human contact for weeks, months, or even years at a time. These conditions fit the international definition of torture and studies have found that they can drive people insane, yet prison authorities across the US continue to subject people to them. (Cornel West and Carl Dix got into all this in more depth in their recent Dialogue, “Mass Incarceration + Silence = Genocide; Act To Stop It Now!”)

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network has called for Days of Solidarity with the Fight to Stop Torture in US Prisons for June 21st – 23rd. We ask that religious leaders address this issue in their communities during these Days of Solidarity. What is at issue here is a question of humanity— both that of the people asserting their humanity by resisting these conditions, and our own. Do we not lose our own humanity if we allow these conditions to be widely enforced without raising our voices in opposition?

Despite many differences in our ministries, we share a love of justice. On that basis, we ask that you join in and answer this appeal from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. During the Days of Solidarity, commit to speak with your religious community about the injustice of long-term solitary confinement which so many of our brothers and sisters suffer (yes, women are subjected to these conditions too). We also ask that you add your name to this letter and circulate it to other religious leaders.

For more information on long-term solitary confinement and what the Stop Mass Incarceration Network is doing to build awareness of, and opposition to, it, visit:

Rev. Luis Barrios, Professor, John Jay College*

Rev. Stephen Phelps, Interim Senior Minister, The Riverside Church*

Cornel West, Author, Educator, Public Intellectual, Activist

James Vrettos, Professor, John Jay College*

Rev. George F. Regas 

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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. 

Collaborative of Organizations

Arlington West Santa Monica

- Campaign for Alternatives to

   Isolated Confinement - NY

Close Guantá

Code Pink

Global Exchange

- Fast for the Earth

- The Jericho Movement

The Justice Campaign

The London Guantánamo


Meta Peace Team: "Pursuing peace

   through active nonviolence"

- Metta Center for Nonviolence


No more Guantánamos

Nonviolence International

Nuremberg Actions

Office of the Americas

Peaceworkers USA

Save Shaker

Stop Mass Incarceration

Witness Against Torture

The World Can't Wait

Veterans for Peace

Pelican Bay Hunger Strike

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