Levin: Send Those Terrorists to My Backyard

Carl Levin (Senator Levin–congrats for casting your 11,000th vote yesterday!) has come up with a sound suggestion to help close Gitmo: send them to MI.

Most lawmakers view the prospect of moving prisoners from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to their districts as a negative proposition. But at least one Democratic senator is open to the idea as a potential economic boost to his struggling state.

Carl Levin , chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said that construction and staffing at a new maximum-security prison in Michigan could help his cash-starved state.

“If the governor and the local officials are open to it, that’s something that should be considered,” said Levin, making the point that each state should make its own determination.

Former Michigan Gov. John Engler, a Republican, suggested this month that creating a “Guantánamo North” in the Upper Peninsula could net the state upward of $1 billion per year, according to reports.

While I’m not a fan of turning prisons into profit centers, I’m with these men. If you need to, build a maximum security prison in MI, in the U-P if you want. We need the jobs, and if it’d help to close Gitmo, I’m all for it.

28 replies
  1. Leen says:

    Did Levin talk to any voters in Michigan? Wonder how many phone calls he will be getting. Hell the vote was 90-6

    • skdadl says:

      I was shocked by that vote, as I think most people in the rest of the world (who pay attention) will be.

      The honour roll of six: Durbin, Harkin, Leahy, Levin, Reed, Whitehouse (Byrd, Kennedy, and Rockefeller not voting). I was sorry not to see Feingold’s name among the nays.

  2. DWBartoo says:

    Hmmm. “… Indefinitely …” Judge John Bates, last evening, ruling on how long some ‘detainees’ may be kept in prison. Bates was talking about Cuba, but the Upper Peninsula would do, in a pinch, perhaps?


    A further hmmm. Indefinitely could be construed as, essentially, ‘forever’.

    (And, no doubt new “terrorists” can, somehow, probably be ‘found’ in the course of an “endless” war …)

    Thus, $1 billion a year, for a long time.

    Sounds like a winnah!!!

    • freepatriot says:

      those who are afraid of suspected or convicted terrorists locked inside a prison are cowards.

      and those who would fool those cowards for political gain, are truly detestable

  3. fatster says:

    Who are these 347 “convicted terrorists” are? Home-grown, foreign, etc.?

    Senate Democrats reject funding for Guantánamo closure

    • Daniel Nasaw in Washington and agencies
    • guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 20 May 2009 17.36 BST

    “Obama ally Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat, pointed out that not a single prisoner has ever escaped from a federal super maximum security prison and that 347 convicted terrorists are already being held in US prisons.”


  4. bobschacht says:

    Levin could even put on some swagger and point out that Michiganders are tough enough to handle a few *alleged* terrorists in appropriate confinement in their territory. U.P. would be a great place. Levin could swagger around and taunt his colleagues as wimps and whiners. That’s what is needed to deflate this stupid Republican & DINO bleating.

    Besides, Democrats ought to be pointing out that, despite what Cheney says, these are not the worst of the worst. In fact, many of them may not be guilty of any wrongdoing whatsoever. Sen. Reid’s cringing was just awful to see. So much for “fightin’ Harry.” What a wimp.

    Bob in HI

  5. Mary says:

    BTW – following EW’s path, the AP apparently has started to acknowledge some addition errors in the CIA schedule including this one:

    The CIA chart states that a Senate staffer, Chris Mellon, attended a briefing on July 15, 2004. However, Mellon told The Associated Press that he left the Senate in April 2004 and did not attend the briefing.


  6. freepatriot says:

    there’s a guy on Olbermann who has a 400 something person Maximum Security Prision sitting idle in his town, the guy says “send them terrorists here”. what i didn’t hear him say was “We need the fookin jobs”. but I know that’s what he’s thinking

    He says Bring those guys to Wyoming, or Montana. or some place where the buffalo roam

    and on a related topic, putting these guys in the general US Prision Population ???

    what you got against these terrorists, that you’d do something like that to them ???

    I met some of the prisoners in the federal pen, and they ain’t coming into my house

    but these terrorists ain’t like common criminals

    the prisoners are gonna kill these guys, after they rob em. an do worse to em

    jes sayin is all

    look how well dahlmer did in general population

    so I really support this guy with a totally empty prison

    cuz we gotta protect these terrorists from the bugfuck crazy American criminals too

    • DWBartoo says:

      “…protect these terrorists from the bugfuck crazy American criminals …”

      Oh, you mean the ones in prison. I think some of the other ‘ones’ have already had at these unfortunate, tortured and abused human beings …

      • freepatriot says:

        I remember a prison riot in, like Kansas or something, where the primary purpose of the riot seemed to be to kill all or some of the prisoners in the protective custody block of the prison

        prisons ain’t safe

        jes sayin, is all

        • DWBartoo says:

          I agree, freep, totally.

          I recently read part of a judge’s report on prisons in Texas, of all places.

          Absolutely appalling.

          (And if torture is ‘okay’ for foreigners, doubtless some, in what used to be called ‘human development’, will likely soon see the ‘need’ of a general domestic ‘application’. Of course ‘it’ will have to be ‘applied’ before those being ‘ministered to’ actually go to prison, so as not to confuse ‘it’ with ‘punishment’.)


  7. Leen says:

    Amy’s interview with New Yorker Correspondent Jane Mayer and British Attorney Philippe Sands on Bush Administration Torture and How Obama Should Address It


    Had forgotten that Bob Shiefer asked Cheney “is what your saying here is that we should do anything to get information”

    PHILIPPE SANDS: The man—let’s face it, let’s call a spade a spade—is a torturer. And he should face what torturers should face: namely, a full criminal investigation. Waterboarding is torture. There are no ifs and buts.

    I see that clip, and I see him rewriting history. What I show conclusively in the book, what we now know, is that the legal memos followed the fixation of a policy. In other words, the law followed the policy. The policy was to move to abuse. They found the small group of lawyers who could be relied upon to sign off on the dotted line. And that is what happened. That is now clearly established. And that is why the lawyers are in the dark.

    And I find it astonishing and deeply sad that a former vice president of this country can still take to the airwaves and make those sorts of arguments, arguments that plays into the hands of foreign nations. I mean, if they’ve got memos saying these things can be done by the United States against others, then why can’t others use the same memos to do the same thing against US citizens? It’s absolutely shocking, and it is astonishing that the airwaves continue to give him the type of space to make these types of statements. “

    • Leen says:

      this interview is well worth the listening
      JANE MAYER: Yeah, I mean, he has a—you know, it depends who you talk to—a mixed reputation. Some people think he’s fantastic. I think what happened was, he changed his view on some of these things. And so, after Abu Ghraib, everybody sort of pulled back from using really abusive tactics in Iraq, as they had used before the pictures of Abu Ghraib came out. And McChrystal, though, was overseeing Special Forces. And a lot of very bad things happened in the hands of the Special Forces in Iraq in around 2003, during the insurgency. People were just rounded up and subjected to awful abuse. And it’s been described; I describe it in my book. It upset some very good officers who tried to stop it. And so, you know, there’s a lot to hide.

      And I think the problem for Obama here is, by not opening up the worst stuff from the Bush years, he may be in danger of becoming part of a cover-up. And he really—I don’t think he really wants to be in that position politically. At the same time, I understand—I’ve talked to people in the White House. They do not want to be distracted by this forever. They’ve got a very positive agenda that they want to push forward. They see this as Bush’s problems. They don’t want to be tied up in it forever.

      AMY GOODMAN: Or they’re tying themselves in it forever.

      JANE MAYER: You know, they really don’t want—they have inherited this mess. So I have a certain amount of sympathy for them, in that they want this to go away.

      AMY GOODMAN: Philippe Sands, do you have the same sympathy?

      PHILIPPE SANDS: It’s not going to go away. I mean, history tells you, in Chile, in Argentina, in other parts of the world—

      AMY GOODMAN: You worked on the Augusto Pinochet case.

      PHILIPPE SANDS: —these cases do not go away. That’s what history teaches you. You can’t bury your head in the sand and hope that you will draw a line and no one will talk about it anymore. It will go on and on.

      And my fear with these photographs is that they are taking steps which will inevitably delay the day of reckoning. It’s the same thing in relation to investigations. What’s significant about these photographs—and I think this has not been fully appreciated—

      AMY GOODMAN: And we’re talking about—they’re talking abo

  8. Dru says:

    Good for Levin. I was hoping Webb would announce something like that on the Sunday am BS tour, (as he is all about prison reform in Va these days) but no such luck. He is one of those afraid of suspected or convicted terrorists (or innocent minors) locked inside a prison.

  9. Leen says:

    Phillipe Sands ask this question why does Cheney get so much ‘air” time?

    Heard this announced on the MSM tonight that when Obama and Cheney speak tomorrow there will be a split screen. What the fuck is up with that?

    Why is Cable TV airing Cheney’s speech opposite of President Obama’s?

  10. phred says:

    EW, you and I both know that Michigan sending anyone to the UP is the equivalent of sending someone to Siberia. Or worse, Wisconsin ; )

      • phred says:

        It would be hard for the UP (or WI for that matter) to be anything but beautiful, even with a supermax ; )

        • Rayne says:

          No problem IMO, make them into Yoopers. There’s a state prison in Marquette that’s likely under-utilized; it was long intended from the day it was first constructed in the late 1800’s to be used for the most difficult of prisoners. It hasn’t marred the scenery of Marquette, either; there will only be a narrow window of time to escape such a place, too, seeing as it can snow as late as June and as early as September. (My dad said they almost canceled his weekly golf league yesterday in Marquette as it was only 40 deg. and threatening to snow.)

          Could put it on/near the former Newberry state hospital facility as well, way out in the middle of nowhere, nothing but peat bogs, forest and prairie for miles and miles. Would merely restore the size of the facility which used to be there; part of it is already used for corrections.

  11. freepatriot says:

    the mayor of Hardin Montana says “send them here” (Ron Addams ???)

    a guy named Greg Smith appeared on Olberman from “Two Rivers Detention Center”, a 464 bed prison that is empty, and ready to use

    F T R

    • Rayne says:

      I imagine the people of Muskegon wouldn’t be happy with that concept; beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, after all. I’d rather stick it in Rep. Fred Upton’s backyard as payback for the beachfront taken from the people of Benton Harbor so he could walk to a lakeside golf course.

      The UP facilities I mentioned already exist and have been there for decades (or 100-plus years, in the case of the Marquette prison). Very little change to the UP required; far less damage than the proposed nickel sulfide and uranium mines now in early study and development stages.

      If you’re going to point to a more urban setting in the lower peninsula, why not find a brownfield site — maybe a now-closed GM plant and refurb it as a new SuperMax? It’d simply use an existing footprint.

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