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February 04, 2009

Gitmo detainees don’t belong here

Kansans, Missourians, military experts, area chambers of commerce, the mayor of Leavenworth, the Mid-America Regional Council and Kansas legislators do not agree that Fort Leavenworth should be the next Gitmo (1/24, Opinion, “No ideal solution for Gitmo detainees”).

The reality of such a decision would insert these terrorists and their associates into our daily lives — in our airports, on our roads, in our hospitals.

They are not just low-ranking Taliban fighters. They include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

The Star doesn’t account for safety precautions needed to protect the public. The security required would have a chilling effect on the post, the town and the area. As we have explained to out-of-town media unfamiliar with Fort Leavenworth, there are homes within feet of the facility. There is a railway through the post. There is not even a fence around the perimeter.

The detention of these terrorists would attract worldwide attention. Many of their associates are willing to become human bombs in targets like schools, hospitals and churches. Obviously, this poses a great threat to all of us.

I question the wisdom of wishing this on any community, let alone your own.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts
Kansas Republican
Washington

Comments

Engineer

Girl Power
You seem to be confusing the Federal penitentiary at Leavenworth with the Diplomacy Barracks maintained by the Defense Department. They are separate and quite different institutions. Leavenworth (the civilian pen) is rated as a medium security institution. It is currently over crowded, having a rated capacity of 1199 and on 7 April '08 a population of 1918. The pen does have some separation from the city, the DB none at all and not even a wall. It would seem that only someone completely unfamiliar with the conditions at either of the institutions could suggest either one of them.

TinaMcG

GP, I'm not concerned about anyone escaping from Leavenworth. I didn't want to spell it out in my post, but I thought I made my concern clear enough. I guess I was vague. I'm concernred about some unsecured rail cars used for nefarious purposes by groups who support any Gitmo detainees at Leavenworth.

Have a look at the bad boys housed at the Supermax prison in Florence, CO.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADX_Florence

Kate

GP, Your question about quantifying risk would probably be best answered by someone who is in the hazard analysis, risk and vulnerability assessment business. I’m not in that line of work, but there are quite a few firms in Kansas doing just that type of analysis for local jurisdictions who need to determine their vulnerabilities in order to mitigate hazards. There is an overview of the subject at Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazard_analysis

And FEMA provides information to help you come up with your own family preparedness plan which begins with . . . a risk assessment . . . and calculating risk with . . . risk assessment tools. http://www.fema.gov/plan/determine.shtm

As to the problem areas, some rules of thumb are: any place where a large number of people gather; places that, if obstructed, would cause the shut down of transportation – goods or people; places that, if damaged, would cause the release of hazardous substances. And, since some terrorist groups prefer to strike in more than one location all at the same time (resulting in public safety resources being spread extremely thin), think of a time of year when several major events, drawing thousands of people each, take place on the same day in the metro area.

Stifled Freedom

Kate, sorry I mispelled your name. I was in a hurry.

I may challenge your opinions, but I wont purposefully mispell someone's name as an underhanded insult.

Stifled Freedom

Tina, your arguements seem to be for shutting the entire Leavenworth prison down whether the Gitmo detainees come here or not. The residential areas are at risk with the escape of our own prisoners. The railroad is an escape route either way too. It sounds like you are arguing that the prison is in a bad location. Perhaps we should consider western KS. I'll be the local residents wont be for that when they see the economic benefits of the prison moving out.

"And, actually, it can be quantified" Kat, how? Where is that boundary? It's not enough to just declare it quantifiable? You have to demonstrate it.

Kate, what are these "problem places" you speak of? If they are problems, then we can name them.

TinaMcG

I am with Kate on this one. Prisoners don't escape from Leavenworth, but the area could well be a target. What struck me about Sen. Roberts' letter was the nearby residential areas and the rail traffic close to the prison. I wasn't opposed to moving the detainees to Kansas until I read Gov. Sebelius's reasons, and now Roberts' letter has me even more convinced.

Kate

“Kansans: brave enough when pushing someone else into a dangerous position but otherwise, scared of their own shadows.”

My son and my son-in-law are both in harm’s way, whispering. Get back to me when your children are there.

Kate

“Someone sympathetic to them could stage an attack anywhere in the US. Where do you draw the boundary of potentially-increased risk around Leavenworth? You can't. You cant quanitify it.”

Areas that have always been targets – New York and Washington – will remain targets, but the risk would also greatly increase in other areas near the prisons. And, actually, it can be quantified, and having the benefit of a sidelines view, I see our public safety people doing just that every day. There are several places in the three-county area that would be of concern to me, as I’m sure planners across the river have their own list of problem places.

Since much of my time is spent with people who are involved in planning and training for the worst, maybe my view has been shaped by the “what if’s” or what you call “government rhetoric.” On the other hand, maybe you should educate yourself as to why public safety people call those with your views “sheep.”

BudRog

So, okay, took a little nap there...so when are the Arraignments and the bail hearings scheduled for these poor innocent scheduled???

I mean, these poor unfortunates (Midwest Voices Columnist's term..check it out) just have to have their day in court........

OMG, OMG, the shame.......

whispering_to_kc

Kansans: brave enough when pushing someone else into a dangerous position but otherwise, scared of their own shadows.

solomon

Engineer,

I read that when you have a song stuck in your head that if you sing the theme to Gilligans Island twice it will get the other right out of your head.

Just trying to be helpful, my friend.

Engineer

The disciplinary Barracks is a unit of "515 beds". There are currently 485 or so inmates. So only 30 or so of the detainees could be accommodated there without displacing some military inmates. As the DB is the only maximum security facility the Defense Department operates this does present problems. As “Close Guantanamo” was a mantra for two or so years it seem some thought would have been given to this unless it was just empty rhetoric.
President Obama mandated the closing of Guantanamo with time constraints. He has belatedly discovered that there are “unexplored complications” concerning the closing. The events of the last weeks, along with additional nominee tax problems that arose today, would seem to give rise to a conclusion. The conclusion being that, compared to producing flowing rhetoric on the campaign trail, there are “unexplored complications” to the job of actually being President.

.

Stifled Freedom

"It wouldn’t necessarily affect the entire metro area, but it would affect Leavenworth County and the adjoining counties. "

HOW??

Someone sympathetic to them could stage an attack anywhere in the US. Where do you draw the boundary of potentially-increased risk around Leavenworth? You can't. You cant quanitify it.

And if local govt did succeed in justifying more local public safety staff, those staff will just end up handing out parking tickets to justify the cost of their jobs. It would all be a big ruse for some bureaucrat to expand his political backyard.

You gotta get up to speed with how the latest govt culture uses rhetoric to misguide your mind into accepting something that really makes no sense.

Stifled Freedom

"It wouldn’t necessarily affect the entire metro area, but it would affect Leavenworth County and the adjoining counties."

HOW????

Someone sympathetic could stage an attack anywhere in the US...not just Leavenworth. It is the US govt holding them....not Leavenworth County.

And if they succeed in justifying an increase in local public safety staff, they wont end up protecting you anyway. They will just end up handing out parking tickets to get more revenue to pay for the cost increase. The whole thing will be a ruse for some bureacrat to expand his poltical/official backyard.

solomon

Take a vacant school in 64130, refurbish and fortify, hire 500 of the neighborhood toughs but also a good number of the neighborhood skilled people to man it.(HVAC, Medical, Social services, administrative) Buy out at fair prices the 4 blocks in any direction for a perimeter. This will generate income for a community, as businesses will open to serve the workers and their families. (there are hundreds of correctional facilities that are THE industry in communities across America.

For much less than will be spent you've solved numerous problems.

Kate

“Nothing about life in KC metro area will change.”

It wouldn’t necessarily affect the entire metro area, but it would affect Leavenworth County and the adjoining counties. And, as Governor Sebelius points out in her letter, the detainees don’t have to be released into NE Kansas to be inserted into our daily lives. http://primebuzz.kcstar.com/?q=node/16827

Maybe you don’t live close enough to be concerned that where you shop might be an excellent place for someone sympathetic to the detainees to make a statement. Maybe your city or county won’t have to increase its public safety staff at a time when budgets are being cut. But please don’t tell the rest of us that this is nothing but sensationalism.

Whispering, yeah, it is close enough to be my backyard. And no, I don't want them there.

whispering_to_kc

Terrorists locked up in Kansas?

NIMBY.

Your friend,
Pat Roberts

Stifled Freedom

"The reality of such a decision would insert these terrorists and their associates into our daily lives — in our airports, on our roads, in our hospitals."

Nonsense and sensationalism. Nothing about life in KC metro area will change. My God people get a grip. They aren't going to release these poeple in NE Kansas. Any such assertion is just plain hysterical.

TinaMcG

I've never agreed with Pat Roberts on anything, but given the situation at Ft. Leavenworth, I agree with him on this. It sounds like a far cry from the Supermax prison facility in Colorado that houses Ramsey Youssef.

BudRog

Gitmo is not closed yet? I thought it was by Executive Order??? I thought those innocent folks were given their bail hearings?? What's the delay?

 
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