There’s going to be a big showdown in Standish, Michigan, Thursday over the Obama administration’s plans to dump Gitmo detainees at the local prison.
Just got word of an emergency town hall. Read:
EMERGENCY TOWNHALL MEETING
ON GITMO DETAINEE TRANSFER TO STANDISH MICHIGAN PRISON
“NOT IN MY BACKYARD – NOT IN MY FRONT YARD”
STANDISH, Michigan (August 19, 2009) – Michigan citizens concerned about the controversial federal plan to transfer Guantanamo Bay terrorist detainees to the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility will hold an emergency town hall meeting this Thursday, August 20, at 12:00 noon, in Resurrection of the Lord Church, 423 W. Cedar St., Standish, Michigan. The meeting is open to the public and press.
The town hall meeting will address legal, economic and security issues that could affect the Standish area community, the State of Michigan and the nation as a whole. Slated to speak are U.S. Representative Peter Hoekstra (R-Holland), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee; David Littmann, Senior Economist, Mackinac Center for Public Policy; Debra Burlingame, Founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America and sister of the pilot of the plane which was crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001; and Thomas Kerrins, chief steward for Standish for the Michigan Corrections Organization. Invitations were also extended to Governor Granholm and other state and local officials.
Residents of the Standish area community and citizens all over the State of Michigan have raised many questions and concerns about the federal government’s plan to use Standish prison to house Gitmo detainees:
* The Michigan House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on August 12 included testimony that some 300 state prison-related jobs for Standish area residents would be eliminated, to be replaced by military and federal personnel.
* The Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on August 18 passed a resolution asking “the United States Congress to make certain intelligence information regarding Guantanamo Bay detention camp detainees available to the Governor and Michigan State Legislature.” Elected officials in both parties and at all levels, including the Governor, Congressional delegation, state legislature, county and municipal officials, have raised concerns that the administration is not disclosing the security risks that will result from transferring the Guantanamo terrorist detainees to Standish. U.S. Representative Pete Hoekstra’s testimony to the Committee can be viewed at http://hoekstra.house.gov .
* Although the transfer plan was first announced over two weeks ago, repeated requests by Michigan residents and officials to the Obama administration to let the public know details about this increasingly controversial plan have not received a response.
* Americans as a whole share these concerns: a June USA Today/Gallup poll showed 2/3 of Americans oppose the relocation of Gitmo terror suspects to the US.
* Also opposing a transfer of Gitmo detainees to the U.S., the community, business and political leaders in Kansas passed resolutions and issued statements unequivocally opposing the transfer of Gitmo inmates to Ft. Leavenworth. This unanimous opposition by Kansas officials is under consideration as a possible model for Michigan residents. Their statement of opposition can be viewed at https://www.lvks.org/egov/docs/211731229029206.pdf .
Michigan residents began organizing the August 20 emergency town hall meeting this past weekend by distributing leaflets at local community groups, churches and unions, and through neighborhood word-of-mouth.
More details from the Detroit News:
The battle over whether Michigan should accept — if offered — Guantanamo Bay terror suspects continues at a town hall meeting Thursday in Standish hosted by critics of the idea.
One of the chief critics of the idea, Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Holland, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, will be there to repeat his warnings that taking the prisoners would make the community a magnet for terrorists. Hoekstra is running for governor.
The Obama administration is looking at the maximum security prison in Standish that Michigan is shutting down as one possible place to move the detainees once Guantanamo Bay closes. President Barack Obama is hoping to close the military detention facility by early next year.
The possibility that Gitmo detainees will be housed at Standish increased after a similar plan to take prisoners from California fell through…
…Also participating are David Littman, senior economist at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy; Thomas Kerrins, chief steward of the Standish corrections officers union; and Debra Burlingame, Founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America. Burlingame is also a former attorney, a director of the National September 11 Memorial Foundation and the sister of Charles F. “Chic” Burlingame III, the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.