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Monday
Nov092009

Would Gitmo transfer make Charleston a terrorist target? 

An arrow in the recreation yard at Camp Delta, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, points the direction to Mecca, the Islam holy city, so the detainees know which way to face if the call to prayer sounds while they are outside. Every cell and recreation yard has similar arrows. [Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Sara Wood, U.S. Dept. of Defense.]South Carolina's state government has learned that it will take an act of the U.S. Congress in order to stop the president from sending Guantanamo detainees to Charleston. Washington has been eyeing the U.S. Naval Consolidated Brig since President Barack Obama declared he would close the detention facility popularly known as Gitmo within one year of taking office.

On Monday, S.C. Lt. Governor Andre Bauer (R) requested the state take legal action to prevent a transfer to the Palmetto State. But Attorney General Henry McMaster (R) pointed out, “The U.S. Congress is the branch of government with the jurisdiction and the legal authority to stop the president from making unwise decisions that threaten the security of our nation.” Bauer and McMaster are among candidates seeking a nomination to run for governor on the GOP ticket.

Although the move is still considered to be tentative, Senator Jim DeMint (R) along with Congressmen Gresham Barrett, Joe Wilson, and Henry Brown have sent Obama a letter opposing the transfer to South Carolina. All 3 congressmen are Republicans.

In addition, the Rock Hill Herald reported Thursday that McMaster has called for an act of Congress to prevent a transfer to South Carolina, “or any other state on the American mainland.”

Just how “unwise” is the decision to move detainees who could be dangerous to our shores?

“There is no legitimate legal, intelligence, or military reason to bring the detainees here.” writes  James Galyean (R), an Assistant U.S. Attorney and legal counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Galyean, who is now running for Congress in South Carolina, helped draft the language that kept alleged terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Gaylean is running for the seat Barrett has held.

In addition to Charleston's classified naval engineering project, hundreds of millions of pounds of explosives, and reportedly nuclear weapons are housed at the facility. Galyean added, “There’s also a nuclear fuel transshipment facility and a jet fuel storage tank farm inside the fence. You could throw a rock from any of them and hit the brig.”

Barrett, who is campaigning for the GOP nomination to run for governor, pressed his fellow gubernatorial candidates to sign a letter to the president opposing the transfer of terrorists to Charleston. There are 10 gubernatorial candidates from both the Democrat and the Republican parties. South Carolina has a complicated primary process that one newspaper editor said, “sows confusion.”

Rather than unite behind the cause however, some candidates opted to criticise  Barrett, saying he has not done enough to stop the transfer – despite three resolutions Barrett introduced to block the transfer. Only two of the other candidates signed the letter, and Democrat candidate Mullins McLeod went so far as to tell Barrett to “take your letter and shove it.” McLeod is a trial lawyer.

“No one wants suspected terrorists on our soil while they await their richly deserved punishment,” wrote McLeod. “But when the President asks us to do our part in the international war on terrorism, the only appropriate response from this or any state's governor is 'Yes, Sir, Mr. President.'”

McLeod’s current opinion stands in sharp contrast to Democrat actions and statements when President George W. Bush held office.

Should American citizens be placed in harm's way in order to do what a politician perceives as “our part,” especially when there is no legitimate reason?

 The fact that the Washington – and now a number of gubernatorial–  candidates in South Carolina are willing to do exactly that may serve as one more in a long line of wake-up calls to “We the People.”--by Chris Carter with some contribution by The US Report staff.

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