DC wants to cast ballot in any congressional vote on military action in Syria

DC Veteran Speaking at War Memorial in front of Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor GrayCongress returned to Washington today and immediately took up the possible use of military force against Syria. But despite paying federal taxes and often having served in the military,  DC residents are not represented in the debate. The District of Colombia’s non-voting delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, called today for DC to be included in a Congressional vote. FSRN’s Noelle Galos reports.

Standing in front of the D.C. War Memorial, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton joined local officials and DC veterans today to remind President Obama that as he seeks Congressional approval for the use of military force in Syria, he should remember the D.C. women and men who served in the military, but don’t have  representation in Congress.

NORTON: “For us, the slogan of the revolutionary war now has a perverse meaning. Give your country your money, and prepare to give your life, but do not expect to have a say on either.”

Norton added that with the evidence she’s seen thus far, she’d vote no.

NORTON: “I haven’t heard more of the intelligence and perhaps there’s something I don’t know, but I certainly am not convinced by what I’ve heard.”

Norton drew attention to the many Congressional representatives who can vote and who have been inundated by constituents who are against military strikes in Syria.

Many members of Congress, including those who voted for intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, are bringing back  anti-war messages from their constituents. Politico reports that of the 83 Republicans still in Congress  voted to give George W. Bush authorization to invade Iraq, only 10 have come out in support of military action in Syria. Noelle Galos, Free Speech Radio News, Washington.

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Activists call for closure of Guantanamo, end to force feedings

Former military officials, prisoners and activists gathered in front of the White House today to protest the ongoing detention of prisoners at Guantanamo.  They also drew attention to the force-feeding of 30 detainees on hunger strike at the facility, a practice that human rights groups consider torture.  FSRN’s Noelle Galos reports.

Surrounded by supporters wearing orange jumpsuits, human rights activist Andrés Thomas Conteris underwent a voluntary force feeding Friday in front of the White House.  He has been fasting for 61 days in solidarity with prisoners in Guantánamo and Pelican Bay Prison in California.  Pelican Bay hunger strikers ended their protest on Thursday. Today’s action aimed to raise awareness about the indefinite detention of Guantanamo detainees.  Protesters demand the prison’s closure.  Eric Montalvo is the attorney of former Guantanamo detainee Mohammad Jawad:

“I’m not here to say they are innocent or guilty, but they deserve a trial.  And when you start trying to do a trial 10 years after the fact, that undermines the entire justice system and the rule of law, which is what it’s all about.”

Last week, the Obama administration transferred two detainees to their home country of Algeria, the first release from Guantanamo in more than a year.  One-hundred sixty-four detainees remain, 84 of whom are already cleared for release.  Noelle Galos, FSRN, Washington, DC.

Download or listen to the full piece here.