Berkeley won’t welcome Guantanamo Bay detainees

Bradley Manning, Photo courtesey of The Telegraph

Berkeley won’t be offering a home any time soon to former Guantanamo Bay detainees. And it won’t be calling Private Bradley Manning a hero, either.

The City Council on Tuesday night rejected a proposal to invite two former Gitmo prisoners to come and live in Berkeley. However, the council did approve a resolution calling for an “immediate end to the cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment,” of Manning, who is in prison awaiting trial for allegedly leaking documents to the Wikileaks group.

The city council had so many items on the agenda that it did not start to discuss the two controversial matters until 11 pm, four hours after the meeting started. After a long line of people declared their support for offering a home to the former Guantanamo Bay detainees, the council rejected the motion put forward by the Peace and Justice Commission.

That resolution failed 4-1, with four council members abstaining.


On the Manning matter, the council had tabled a resolution in December that declared Manning a hero. A revised resolution that deplored his living conditions in jail passed unanimously.

Update The four councilmembers who voted yes on the main Guantanamo motion were Max Anderson, Jesse Arreguín, Darryl Moore and Kriss Worthington. Councilmember Linda Maio proposed a substitute motion that would have welcomed the detainees following confirmation of their innocence from various federal authorities and a change in federal law allowing for them to settle in the U.S. Only Maio and Mayor Tom Bates supported the substitute motion.

Frances Dinkelspiel is co-founder and executive editor of Berkeleyside. Email: frances@berkeleyside.com.