Pentagon lays out costs and savings for shutting down Guantanamo Bay

WASHINGTON - U.S. officials say the Pentagon's long-awaited plan to shut down the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer the remaining detainees to a facility in the United States calls for up to $475 million in construction costs, but would save as much as $180 million per year in operating costs.

See Full Article

The plan, which will be delivered to Congress Tuesday, is the administration's last-ditch effort to make good on President Barack Obama's campaign vow to close Guantanamo and convince lawmakers to allow the Defence Department to move nearly 60 detainees to the U.S. But the plan provides few details, and may only further antagonize members of Congress who have repeatedly passed legislation banning any effort to move detainees to the U.S.

Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of House Armed Services Committee, has said that his panel would hold a hearing on a closure plan. But he sent a letter to Obama warning that Congress has made clear what details must be included in any plan and that anything less than that would be unacceptable.

The U.S. officials say the plan considers 13 different locations in the U.S., including seven existing prison facilities in Colorado, South Carolina and Kansas, as well as six other locations on current military bases. They say the plan doesn't recommend a preferred vite and the cost estimates are meant to provide a starting point for a conversation with Congress.

More detailed spending figures, which are considered classified, will be provided to Congress, said the officials, who were not authorized to discuss the plan publicly ahead of its release, so spoke on condition of anonymity.

The seven facilities reviewed by a Pentagon assessment team last year were: the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks and Midwest Joint Regional Corrections Facility at Leavenworth, Kansas; the Consolidated Naval Brig, Charleston, South Carolina; the Federal Correctional Complex, which includes the medium, maximum and supermax facilities in Florence, Colorado; and the Colorado State Penitentiary II in Canon City, Colorado, also known as the Centennial Correctional Facility.

According to the officials, the U.S. facilities would cost between $265 million and $305 million to operate each year. The annual operating cost for Guantanamo is $445 million, but the officials said the Cuba detention centre will need about $225 million in repairs and construction costs if it continues to be used.

They said it will cost between $290 million and $475 million for construction at the various U.S. sites, depending on the location. Some of the more expensive sites are on the military bases, which would need more construction. Because of the annual operating savings, the officials said the U.S. would make up the initial construction costs in three to five years.

Late last year, other U.S. officials said that the assessments done by the Pentagon team suggested that the Centennial Correctional Facility in Colorado is a more suitable site to send detainees whom officials believe should never be released. Those officials were not authorized to discuss that matter publicly, so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Members of Congress have been demanding the Guantanamo plan for months, and those representing South Carolina, Kansas and Colorado have voiced opposition to housing the detainees in their states.

The administration is currently prohibited by law from moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States.

The long-running dispute has taken on added intensity now because the White House has launched a final push to close to the prison before Obama leaves office. Advocates of closing Guantanamo say the prison has long been a recruiting tool for militant groups and that holding extremists suspected of terror acts indefinitely without charges or trial sparks anger and dismay among U.S. allies.

Opponents, however, say that changing the detention centre's ZIP code won't solve those problems. And they warn that moving al Qaeda-linked detainees to the U.S. could create security concerns around the new location.

There are currently 91 detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Of those, 35 are expected to be transferred out by this summer.

The rest are either facing trial by military commission or have been determined to be too dangerous to release but are not facing charges. Some can't be charged because of insufficient evidence and some may face future prosecution or have been designated for indefinite detention under the international laws of war.

Seven detainees are in the early stages of trial by military commission, including the five men accused of planning and aiding the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, and three have been convicted and are serving sentences.

At its peak in 2003, Guantanamo held nearly 680 detainees, and there were about 245 when Obama took office.

"We've always been very clear about what needs to happen," said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. "We're going to continue to transfer detainees to other countries who agree to take them, and take steps to make sure that ... the threat they pose to the US is limited. Second, that we'll continue to prosecute those that can be prosecuted. And third, that there's this small group of individuals that can neither be safely transferred nor prosecuted, and it will address those three things and lay out a range of options."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Italy's interior minister says Malta should take rescue boat

    World News CBC News
    Italy's populist, anti-migrant interior minister said Friday that Malta should allow a Dutch-flagged rescue ship carrying hundreds of migrants rescued from rubber dinghies off the Libyan coast to make port there because the ship is now in Maltese waters. Source
  • Albertan who killed three people gets life, no chance of parole for 30 years

    Canada News CTV News
    An Alberta man who fatally shot three people in November, 2015, has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 30 years. Mickell Bailey, 21, was convicted in April of three counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of his aunt Roxanne Berube, 36, her partner Daniel Miller, 46, and her 16-year-old daughter Jazmine Lyon. Source
  • After U.S., Israel also backs away from UN human rights body

    World News CTV News
    GENEVA - Diplomats say Israel has temporarily reduced its participation with the UN Human Rights Council, days after the United States pulled out. The diplomats in Geneva, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said Israel had "lowered" its participation. Source
  • Union under fire at Wettlaufer inquiry for defending problem nurse

    Canada News CBC News
    Within hours of finding out Elizabeth Wettlaufer was suspended for making a medication error, the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) filed a grievance on her behalf, a public inquiry heard Thursday. There was no investigation about why Wettlaufer was being suspended or whether she had put patients at the Caressant Care nursing home in Woodstock, Ont. Source
  • Case of accused serial killer Bruce McArthur put over to July 23

    Canada News CTV News
    In this artist's sketch, alleged serial killer BruceMcArthur makes an appearance via video in a Toronto courtroom, Wednesday, April 11, 2018. From left, lawyer Samantha Saunders, part of McArthur's defence team, McArthur, Justice Wendy Agnew and Crown Michael Cantlon are shown. Source
  • Russia says evidence of Syria chemical attacks was faked

    World News CBC News
    Russia said Friday that the U.S. and its allies have relied on fabricated evidence to accuse the Syrian government of launching chemical attacks against civilians. Russia's foreign and defence ministries also charged the international chemical weapons watchdog with failing to objectively investigate the alleged chemical attacks and with being subject to political control. Source
  • Inflation rate holds steady at 2.2% in May despite soaring gasoline prices

    Canada News CBC News
    The cost of living increased at a 2.2 per cent annual pace in May, matching the increase seen a month earlier. Statistics Canada reported Friday that all eight components it tracks to come up with the consumer price index were higher during the month, but more than half of them grew by a slower rate than they did in April. Source
  • National Indigenous Peoples Day should be a week, Elijah Harper's son says

    Canada News CBC News
    The son of the man who originally called for the establishment of National Indigenous Peoples Day would like to see it extended to a week to better educate Canadians about the first peoples of this land. Source
  • N.L. confronts its archaic coat of arms depicting 'noble savage'

    Canada News CTV News
    Another archaic symbol of Canada's colonial past is under the microscope. The Newfoundland and Labrador government confirmed this week it plans to redesign the province's 400-year-old coat of arms, which depicts two Indigenous warriors holding a red shield. Source
  • EU retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods go into effect

    World News CBC News
    The European Union is enforcing $3.4 billion US in tariffs on U.S. products as of Friday in retaliation to duties the Trump administration has put on European steel and aluminum. The goods targeted include typical American products like bourbon, peanut butter, and orange juice, in a way that seems designed to create political pressure on U.S. Source