Friday, November 17, 2006

A Mini-city for Trying Terror

Defense Tech points us to a 'pre-solicitation notice' The Miami Herald found posted on the web for potential government contractors, and, what they say could potentially lead to the largest construction expenditure at Guantánamo since the Bush administration set up the offshore detention center in January 2002. If the Pentagon gets the Congress on board, a contractor will be solicited to build "a military commissions compound" costing up to $125 million, "a major undertaking meant to accommodate up to 1,200 people for the first U.S. war crimes trials since World War II."

[Image: A map of the proposed site of the War Crimes Complex, compliments of The Miami Herald, 2006.]

The proposal calls for a residential and security compound on an abandoned airfield that in the 1990s housed a tent camp for Cuban rafters. Years before, it was the site of a hangar for U.S. military blimps. Further details:

On paper, the idea resembles a mini-city, with housing, dining, meeting and courtroom space for those involved in the trials -- plus a high-security space for top-secret and other classified materials.

The compound would cost from $75 million to $125 million and include a courthouse with two courtrooms, conference space, a closed-circuit video transmission center and a 100-car motor pool.

Asked why it would require housing for 800 to 1,200 personnel and a dining facility for up to 800 people, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the idea is to hold multiple trials -- and house ``any number of people -- legal and administrative personnel, media, . . . security . . . attorneys.''

So, since the new Military Commissions Act was approved by Congress essentially stripping the US courts of jurisdiction to hear or consider habeas corpus appeals challenging the lawfulness or conditions of detention of anyone held in US custody as an "enemy combatant"; and now according to court documents recently filed with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.: Immigrants arrested in the United States may be held indefinitely on suspicion of terrorism and may not challenge their imprisonment in civilian courts, the Pentagon has fancied a factory for the speedy and absolute systematic legal removal of anyone it labels an "enemy combatant," including immigrants, border-crossers, and even those who help or aid illegal immigrants and border-crossers.
Is this the high court of the state of exception? The architects of nebulous detention strike again.


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