Archive for Friday, December 5, 2008

Senator opposes moving detainees

Brownback aims to block transfer of Gitmo prisoners to Kansas

December 5, 2008


— Sen. Sam Brownback said Thursday that any effort by the federal government to move detainees from Guantanamo Bay to a military prison in Kansas would be physically and legally impossible.

Brownback raised the concerns about discussions to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and transfer all or some of the nearly 250 detainees to the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth.

Such a move would violate federal law on housing soldiers near enemy prisoners of war, the Republican senator said at a news conference.

“This is a big, tough issue. There are ways to handle it, just not here,” Brownback said.

Brownback said he planned to file legislation soon to block moving the detainees — some of whom have been held for several years — to Fort Leavenworth. He said he does not support closing Guantanamo, especially without a facility specifically designed to handle the detainees for extended periods.

Fort Leavenworth, founded in 1827 on the western banks of the Missouri River, is home to the Army’s Command and General Staff College and to the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks. Some in Congress and elsewhere have called for Guantanamo’s closure and transferring detainees to the prison.

Six federal and state prisons, including the military barracks, are in and around the city of Leavenworth.

President-elect Barack Obama’s advisers are developing plans to close Guantanamo Bay, release some detainees and bring others to the United States to face trial. What hasn’t been answered is what to do with detainees who could not be released or prosecuted in criminal courts.

Brownback said Obama’s transition team should travel to Kansas to see the Army post before making any recommendations.

“Force-fitting the detainee population in existing and ill-equipped facilities creates more security, legal and infrastructure problems than we can solve,” Brownback said.

No one from Fort Leavenworth spoke to reporters at the news conference about moving the detainees. All questions were referred to Army headquarters, which passed questions on to the office of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Spokesman Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon said no decision had been made regarding the detainees.

“The Defense Department continually plans for a wide variety of contingencies; however, we do not discuss specifics of such plans,” Gordon said.

Gordon said deciding what to do with the Guantanamo detainees raises “complex issues.”

“Some courses of action may require the involvement of additional legislative authorities,” Gordon said. “Ultimately, we are dealing with very dangerous unlawful enemy combatants who we believe wish to do harm to the United States and our allies.”

The disciplinary barracks house about 450 prisoners. The facility is rated at minimum security, with one section of about 80 cells for maximum security, including those under sentence of death.

Fort Leavenworth lacks a 24-hour hospital. Any medical emergencies would require taking the detainees for treatment in Leavenworth or nearby Lansing or flying them to a hospital in the Kansas City metropolitan area, roughly 20 miles to the east.

Several Leavenworth city officials joined Brownback and U.S. Rep.-elect Lynn Jenkins at Thursday’s event, vowing to fight to keep the detainees out.

“They don’t want this to happen here,” said Brownback, although he added that fear wasn’t the factor driving his opposition.

Leavenworth Mayor Lisa Weakley said the city lacked the resources to provide the extra security she said would be needed to protect the community with the detainees at the military post.

During a driving tour of Fort Leavenworth, Brownback noted that the post covers roughly 5,000 acres and sits adjacent to the Missouri River, which is prone to flooding.

The post is home to several hundred school-aged children who attend three elementary schools and one junior high. There is no perimeter fence surrounding the post, where the core missions are educating the military’s majors and writing doctrine.

Brownback said his legislation would be similar to a House bill introduced last month by Democratic Rep. Henry Brown of South Carolina, who wants to block any transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston.


madmike 5 years, 4 months ago

Have any of you "enlightened" liberals been on Ft Leavenworth? The post elementary school os only about a quarter mile inside the main gate, making it a juicy target for any would-be terrorists. The fort itself simply can't be secured without sinking a billion bucks into it and turning it into a fortress. I think that one of the "supermax" prisons would be a better choice than Ft Leavenworth.


Andrew Stahmer 5 years, 4 months ago

Just hold them until obama takes office...he'll release them with a full pardon, invite them to stay in the country and give them full access to any kind of material needed to make biological, chemical, crude nuclear or dirty bombs....and that is the kind of change we can believe in!!


madmike 5 years, 4 months ago

Well Logicsound, carry your leftist @ss to San Francisco or Seattle! We won't miss you and you'll feel right at home there, until the 10 point quake removes you.


logrithmic 5 years, 4 months ago

In the rightwing world of "night is day" and "day is night," the "terrrorists" of Gitmo, most of which are perfectly innocent and would not have been jailed under American jurisprudence, are considered dangerous because they may put our area on a terrorist hit list. On the other hand, the rightwingers suggest that the biological weapons plant proposed for Manhattan, KS, is not only completely safe but will be great for jobs too! The small rightwing mind cannot conceive of the idea that such a facility in the middle of the heartland would pose a major risk for terrorism, including transportation lines between KCI and the facility - lines that will carry strains of these deadly pathogens. It is truly sad that the rightwing has such influence over our daily lives. But given that in this state, many of the business and government leaders subscribe to its philosphy says much about the dangers we truly face.May God help us all....


Larry_The_Moocher 5 years, 4 months ago

And when these terrorists are released, they are in out back yard, learning about the area. We would be looking to be attacked due to their area knowledge. I would guess that our area is not a tier one target at this time, but given the chance, they would see that we would make a very easy target. Brownback is right on this one.


madmike 5 years, 4 months ago

Fort Leavenworth is not a good choice for them. Due to it's proximity to the river, and the surrounding terrain, you can't secure the post against intrusion, thus inviting an attempt to either break them out, or just to cause mayhem that would cause danger to military, law enforcement and local civilians alike. Not to mention that it would attract looney tunes from Larryville and other areas there to demonstrate. The locals in Leavenworth would probably take kindly to a bunch of national level leftists constantly hanging out there.


logrithmic 5 years, 4 months ago

Saying that the far left wants the same thing as terrorist leaders is absurd, but shows how twisted the minds of the rightwing are.People should understand that the vast majority of prisoners at Gitmo have never even had a hearing to present charges against them. The government is housing them for no reason. Over half of the original contingent of prisoners have been released. A handful of the prisoners were minors, including a few that were 13 or younger. All of the prisoners, including the minors, have been subjected to torture, which is against U.S. law. This is the kind of thing the righwing likes - not unlike the inquisitioners of Spain a few centuries ago.People should also keep in mind that these prisoners are primarily from Afghanistan, a country that had nothing officially to do with the 9-11 bombings. The U.S. under the direction of the frat-boy fuhrer invaded two countries in response to 9-11, failed to capture Bin Laden, and occupied these countries and destroyed their governments even though neither government had anything to do with the 9-11 attacks. This is a fact.So in summary, we are torturing and housing prisoners of war in Cuba, the vast majority of which are not associated with Al Queda. By bringing them to the U.S., we will be able to review the trumped up hearsay evidence the military has against these unfortunate souls, and through a series of legal hearing, my guess is 95% will be returned to their countries as free men.Rightwing: stupid is as stupid is.


Pilgrim 5 years, 4 months ago

ariadne (Anonymous) says…that Bush / Cheney should be in detention is actually more likely than the many 'terrorists' that they have kept under lock & key all of this time.*****Yet another three-year-old blowing on the candles on a birthday cake.If Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon weren't prosecuted for Vietnam, George W. Bush isn't going anywhere.


ariadne 5 years, 4 months ago

certainly not the brightest bulb in the U.S. Senate.that Bush / Cheney should be in detention is actually more likely than the many 'terrorists' that they have kept under lock & key all of this time.


Tom Shewmon 5 years, 4 months ago

Sort of how BO and Co. will enabe haters of white westerners. I say just make the Gitmo detainees say they're sorry, listen to Billy Mays commercials back to back for about a week straight and let them go, then the anti-war loons are happy, the detainees are happy (after Billy Mays wears off) and terrorists and terrorist leaders are happy. Seems the same thing terrorists want, the far-left here wants.


beobachter 5 years, 4 months ago

Exact response I would expect from a strong Bush supporter and enabler. And if Ft Leavenworth can't handle them, Leavenworth Federal Prison is next door.


logrithmic 5 years, 4 months ago

OK, we can house deadly pathogens and build biological weapons in the state but can't house prisoners of war.... Hmmm.Only in the small mind of rightwing Christian senators.....


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