As high-profile Republicans increasingly join Democrats and civil rights groups in denouncing the U.S. holding of alleged terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, a proposal to move detainees to this historic Army post in the geographic heart of America is gaining widespread political support.
Under the plan, several hundred foreign detainees could be transported from the U.S. detention facility in Cuba, a prison that has evoked worldwide outrage amid allegations of strong-arm interrogation tactics, to the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks here, the Department of Defense's only maximum-security prison on U.S. soil.
The plan has drawn criticism from many residents around Ft. Leavenworth.
The move, supporters say, could quell criticism that the United States is using the isolated Guantanamo prison to hold detainees in substandard conditions and to use torture to obtain information. And although experts caution the transfer of these prisoners may do little to change the legal rights they are currently afforded, the proposal is reviving debate about how much -- if any -- constitutional protection these prisoners should have while in U.S. custody. Read more...
According to this article from USA Today, both Senators Joe Biden and John McCain support this plan.
None of the Democrats have specific plans on how to shut down the prison. McCain and Biden advocate moving the Guantanamo prisoners to the military's only maximum-security prison, Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. That might run into a space crunch: The military prison there can hold 500 prisoners and currently has 450 inmates, according to Janet Wray, Fort Leavenworth spokeswoman.
An inmate at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, took to the pages of The New York Times to tell about the degradation and misery the hunger strikers are experiencing at the prison. His name is Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, and he can only "write" by dictating to his lawyers, through a translator, over the phone. Read more...