Sunday, December 02, 2012

Re-election Boogie: Thomson Prison Belongs To Us Now

I hadn’t planned to post today. The Vapors have returned. Then I saw Michelle Malkin’s essay in my gmail account — one of Obama’s “shady deals” I’d covered in 2009 — so I pulled together enough of what’s left of my frontal lobes to write the following post.

As usual, the ever-patient Baron fixed it up into something that could go on our new “improved” blooger blog. And as usual, I am ever so grateful for his patience in doing this.

Remember the First Obama Administration’s efforts to buy Thomson prison in Illinois? He desperately needed a place to stash those Gitmo “detainees” left over from the Bush period, the ones he’d campaign-promised would be removed and Gitmo closed.

Back in the day, those battlefield captures were considered possible sources of intelligence information — which was no doubt true. But then whaddya do with the warm body when you’re done extracting information (or have given up trying to get enough out of one to make it worth your while)? You still have a human being to feed and clothe and lots of white gloves to buy so your guards can hand out the Koran.

It’s not worth the depressing effort to search through the rubble of the MSM to ascertain how many of the terrorists we let go are back at work. However, at least one of them was involved in the Benghazi assassinations. [I read that nugget in Diana West’s invaluable intel on Benghazi, but the print on her site is so small and my eyes are so tired… besides, she has more information over there about this perfidious president, so it’s worth a look for yourself. The woman has a strong stomach!]

Well, here we are in the second term of the Obama administration and voilà! Turns out that the feds very nicely took over that white elephant of a prison from the state of Illinois, much to the delight of the governor. See, they built a prison and then didn’t have the money to hire any staff to run the thing. So it sat there, gathering dust…

The Quad City Tribune wasn’t too happy back in 2009, when they first attempted to sew wings onto this bird. Congress was even unhappier and quickly moved to pass legislation to prevent Thomson from becoming Gitmo North. And so it was that Gitmo kept its inmates, much to the relief of those imprisoned there.

Then in October 2012, a month or so before the election, the feds bought Thomson anyway, promising to use it only to relieve overcrowding in other federal estates. No Gitmoese there, honest Injun. That doesn’t mean the Gitmo Boys won’t then be moved to other facilities as openings occur… but that will be after Thomson slowly fills and federal public sector union guards are hired or transferred to run the joint. Illinois may not be able to afford to staff a prison it built on speculation (yes, that move does boggle the mind — state prison real estate on spec??) but money is never a problem with Uncle Sam — not when it comes to prisons. A budget for modern weaponry? Not so much.

Is Congress raising a fit? Sure, but Obama is promising to double down on this by vetoing legislation if they won’t go along. If that doesn’t work, look for the usual late Friday afternoon Presidential Directive bypassing those pesky laws.

As I did that first time, I returned to the local newspaper for their take on this. They didn’t like it much the first time around, but the economy is even worse now, and jobs hard to come by. My guess is the main staff will not come from the local workforce, but low level positions will be available. And all those people need housing, and groceries, etc. So their main take on the situation is a kind of once-removed “study”, with a byline from their own staff, Ed Tibbetts.

A U.S. senator who backs closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center says a new study shows there is clearly capability to hold the remaining 166 inmates being held there at U.S. prisons.

But the Obama administration, while reiterating its desire to close the controversial facility, too, said the Thomson Correctional Center, where it once wanted to house those detainees, will hold only inmates in the U.S. prison system. Thomson is about 50 miles north of the Quad-Cities.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, asked for the study, which was conducted by the Government Accountability Office. She said Wednesday that it makes clear the U.S. prison system can hold Gitmo detainees “if the political will exists” to close the facility.

Closing Guantanamo Bay has long been a goal of President Barack Obama, but bipartisan opposition has stopped him. Congress has passed measures that prevent money from being spent to move Gitmo detainees to U.S. soil, and they continue to be on the books. The administration has opposed those measures and did so again this week in a veto threat of a defense policy bill pending in the Senate. Those kinds of warnings have been given before, however.

There are few comments on Mr. Tibbetts’ report. However, one of them suggests that the Honorable Dianne Feinstein house the Gitmo Boyz in her backyard. A right good idea, but not bloody likely.

Here’s more:

Republican critics in Congress, who have been suspicious, particularly where Thomson is concerned, renewed their skepticism. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., who has said purchase of the Thomson prison could be the first step toward moving the detainees, reacted to the new GAO report by saying he’s troubled it was “kept secret” until Thursday.

A spokesman for Feinstein said she asked for the study in 2008 and had not discussed the matter with the president, according to the Miami Herald. Its release was delayed two weeks because it was received as Gen. David Petraeus was testifying before Congress about the attack in Libya, the newspaper reported.

The transfer of ownership of the Thomson facility to the federal government has been completed, according to a Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., reiterated that Durbin is on the record opposing moving Gitmo detainees to Thomson.

“This is about bringing jobs to Thomson,” Christina Mulka, the spokeswoman, said.

The GAO’s 68-page study said it was not passing judgment on whether any specific facility was suitable, and it did not mention Thomson. It said it was describing the facilities at Guantanamo Bay, as well as facilities and factors to be considered if U.S. prisons were to be used in the future to hold detainees. The report also noted the Justice Department said it was not preparing for any transfer.

How many lies do you think Mr. Tibbetts has recorded here? He wisely refrains from comment. However, I was intrigued by the notion that Feinstein could’ve ordered this study in 2008, and the President knew nothing about it — or rather, she says she didn’t discuss it with him till now.

I followed the clue Mr. Tibbetts left in his story — a mention of the The Miami Herald. If you google the Herald, Feinstein and Gitmo a slew of hits pops up. The one I picked is a goldmine of information… including a sidebar chart of current federal detention facilities that would be suitable for military detainees. They are regionally located brigs and such, with two smack dab in the middle, in Kansas. None of them has a large population and they seem to date to an earlier era.

That was a worthwhile search; in addition to the current story, it led to the Herald’s Gitmo page, probably the most comprehensive place for news — and by now, history — of the detention center’s place in this Long War. That page contains lots of detail, including brief accounts of those who committed suicide. It made me think of the increasing numbers of U.S. military suicides in recent years. They surely felt the full weight of our futile and misguided forays into places we don’t belong. We especially don’t belong there because of the insane rules of engagement dreamed up by “Holy Koran” Petraeus , long may his name live in deserved infamy. The general is exactly the kind delineated so well by John Boyd when he described those in the military who want to do and those who want to simply get promoted and be somebody. Petraeus lived — and fell — by the Peter Principle (no pun intended). He has the blood of many our finest young men on his hands.

That Herald Gitmo page appears to be kept up by Carol Rosenberg. If you follow Twitter, you can find her updates here: Carol Rosenberg@carolrosenberg. Here’s a recent one:

CSPAN interview from this morning includes callers' opposition to stateside relocation, support for US troops mission.

Michelle Malkin also has a report on this unholy mess. It is echoed by the people who called in to CSPAN, noted above. In today’s essay she says:

Sen. Durbin told a local Illinois paper that “the decision to move ahead came directly from President Barack Obama” and that he had secured the green light during a discussion on Air Force One earlier in the spring. But this gift to Obama’s Illinois homeboys wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill campaign favor.

Obama’s unilateral and unprecedented decision steamrolled over bipartisan congressional opposition to the purchase. That opposition dates back to 2009, when the White House first floated the idea of using Thomson to house jihadi enemy combatants detained in Cuba. As you may recall, the scheme caused a national uproar. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department’s budget, blocked the administration from using unspent DOJ funds for the deal. With bipartisan support, Congress passed a law barring the transfer of Gitmo detainees to Thomson or any other civilian prison.

The message was clear: Taxpayers doesn’t want manipulative Gitmo detainees or their three-ring circuses of transnationalist sympathizers and left-wing lawyers on American soil. Period.

But when this imperial presidency can’t get its way in the court of public opinion, it simply circumvents the deliberative process. As Rep. Wolf noted: The shady deal “directly violates the clear objection of the House Appropriations Committee and goes against the bipartisan objections of members in the House and Senate, who have noted that approving this request would allow Thomson to take precedence over previously funded prisons in Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia and New Hampshire.

And Obama yawns in our faces.

Welcome to the second edition of President Thug. Just because the Leftie base wants — demands — the closing of Gitmo, he’s gotta do or die this term if he wants to salvage any credibility with the voting bloc he is aligned with most closely. What a freakin’ farce. At any moment I expect to see Feinstein and Obama break into a chorus of “Shall We Dance” as they boogie on down the halls of Congress.

Never mind that Gitmo detainees don’t want to move to the mainland prisons. They’re living in a climate they can tolerate where they are. So these Leftie bleeding hearts want to make them feel better by sending them to prisons with far less luxurious accommodations than they have now, and in climates that are far more punitive. Notice they didn’t ask the prisoners for a voice vote. That’s because they know what the result would have been.

Just think. We’re not even into his second term yet. This is going to be recorded as one of the lowest points in U.S. history.