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Last Night’s Guantanamo Debate in Berkeley

| February 16, 2011
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Here’s a video archive of last night’s eventful Berkeley City Council meeting, which featured a debate and vote on the resolution to invite former Guantanamo detainees cleared of charges to live in the city, as well as a resolution in support of Private Bradley Manning, the Wikileaks whisteblower now imprisoned for leaking classifed information. The Guantanamo measure failed, the Manning measure passed.

You have to fast forward all the way to 4:01 for the start of public comments on the Manning resolution, in which several councilmembers deplore the conditions under which Manning is being held.

To listen to comments on the Guantanamo issue, zoom ahead to 4:11, where Rita Maran, a member of the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission who introduced the resolution, makes her case.

One humorous note: At 3:58:40, a vote is taken on the issue of calling for a resolution supporting Assemblymember Jared Huffman’s bill calling for alternatives to SmartMeters. After the roll is called, the clerk says, “Motion fails,” at which point some councilmembers object that it actually passed. The roll is called again, producing a “yes” vote for what might have been the second time.

Something similar happens at the end of the Guantanamo vote. In general I would not say I was overly impressed with the level of clockwork-like efficiency of the proceedings.

But I am impressed at the role that this city of just over 100,000 has managed to carve out for itself in the country’s popular imagination, not to mention that of the right wing. Rarely have so few teed off so many so often…

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