You can hide the fire, but what you gonna do with the smoke? You can close Guantanamo Bay, but what are you going to do with the prisoners? Someone’s afraid that Attica is the new Gitmo:
Chautauqua County Legislator James Caflisch, R-French Creek, sponsored a motion in recent days that would signal the legislature’s opposition to the relocation of Guantanamo Bay inmates to prisons across the state. To Caflisch, it is important that legislators be on the record when it comes to Guantanamo Bay prisoners being relocated to New York state. He believes it is a very real possibility some will be housed in prisons such as Attica Correctional Facility only 50 miles away from Silver Creek and Irving. ”There was a news report out there. … A couple congressmen or federal officials in Washington were saying Upstate New York is the perfect place to relocate Guantanamo prisoners,” Caflisch said. ”It wouldn’t be fair for New York state.”
Wondering how hard this Republican official campaigned against Guantanamo in the first place – chickens coming home to roost, anyone?
I’ve searched but haven’t been able to find any reference to the “news report” Caflisch is referring to, but at least one other observer appeared to be thinking of Upstate prisons in this British report, although in the negative:
Those found guilty face a very short life expectancy if they end up in a US prison. “You put them in a prison in upstate New York, those guys are going to get knifed in their bed the first night,” [intelligence expert] Bob Ayers added.
So, is this inconvenient problem potentially best solved by warehousing Guantanamo prisoners in the towns and villages of beautiful Upstate New York — New York City’s (and now America’s?) ever-popular human dumping ground?
Whatever the status of this horrible idea, it’s clear we don’t need toothless county legislature resolutions, but instead a regionwide discussion about this area’s economic overreliance on prisons full of Downstate inmates. This pattern has simply got to stop. Someone needs to ask Caflisch why Upstate Republicans have been so eager to house prisoners in their communities at all. Well, we all know the reasons why. But when are people and political leaders in Upstate New York going to stand up and have some self-respect in the face of the poisonous “business” of prisons? (Because frankly, I’m not too enthusiastic about the passive, “it’s none of our business” reaction of the Chautauqua County Democrats, either.)
Upstate officials can’t just turn a blind eye to Upstate prisons packed with Downstate prisoners, and then scream bloody murder at the idea that the Federal government wants to house Gitmo prisoners in their town. If you’ve got a problem with that, you’ve only set the table for that situation yourself.
Albany’s leaders refuse to deal with the ramifications of the Rockefeller drug laws which has swept up many people who may or may not be hardened criminals; and the Obama Administration can’t or won’t deal with the wider questions of why we have these un-charged Gitmo prisoners in the first place, who may or may not have committed any crimes.
This is a classic example of why all politics are local.