Boston Tea Party of Kansas: Send us Guantamo detainees

Contact: Jim Davidson
Posted to IPR by Paulie
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Boston Tea Party of Kansas Says Send G’tmo Detainees

Lawrence, KS – 23 January 2009 – Today Boston Tea Party of Kansas chair Jim Davidson called on President Barack Obama’s commission to promptly resolve the fate of all Guantanamo detainees. “Please close the prison as promptly as possible. Feel free to send anyone to federal detention facilities in Kansas. We’re safer with due process of law than having star chamber courts and secret prisons.”

Davidson went on to say, “Kansans should welcome having criminals, including the worst terrorists, in federal prison in Kansas, if the alternative is to have no Bill of Rights. The rule of law means due process of law, and that means protecting the accused no matter how heinous the crime they are accused of. We cannot waver in our defense of liberty, ever.”

Many Guantanamo detainees cannot be deported to their countries of origin where they are not welcome, or where they were foreigners to begin with. One of the possible alternatives for detainees is the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth.

The shameful history of the prison at Guantanamo includes the Bush Administration refusing to charge prisoners with any crime, failing to adhere to international standards for treatment of prisoners of war including partisan combatants, torturing of prisoners, and other crimes against humanity. Transferring these people to Kansas would more likely afford them access to due process, including legal counsel, trial by jury, habeas corpus, and other essential liberties.

“Kansas should be proud of having no history of torturing suspects, nor denying due process of law. Kansans have never had difficulty convicting criminals when the evidence is beyond a reasonable doubt. There is no crime, and there is no criminal, for which we should abandon our liberties. These detainees have waited long enough to
have their uncertain situation resolved. To needlessly delay this resolution would itself be a crime,” Davidson concluded.

The Boston Tea Party is a libertarian political party founded in 2006. Its platform calls for a smaller government at all levels and on all issues. In October 2008 the party adopted in convention the national program of the Campaign for Liberty.

22 thoughts on “Boston Tea Party of Kansas: Send us Guantamo detainees

  1. Eric Dondero

    Hey good for Davidson and the Boston Tea Party. My hats off to them. They’re truly living up to their principles here.

    Though, I hasten to add, I seriously doubt too many other Kansas, or even Kasas Libertarians for that matter, would be as enthusiastic about having Khalid Sheikh Muhammed as their nextdoor neighbor.

  2. Ben

    This group seriously discounts the NIMBY effect of the actual voters in Kansas. Leavenworth is a well-known military installation and prison, but to assume that Kansas residents or anyone else will gladly place convuluted principle over the NIMBY effect is quite rash and not likely to happen on the grassroots level. There will be protesters, disruptions and unwanted limelight, not to mention massive security transports to conduct any federal hearings that would need to occur. The prison in Colorado is a much more prudent option.

  3. Thomas L. Knapp

    “The prison in Colorado is a much more prudent option.”

    What prison — if any — they belong in is the last, not the first, consideration. It’s the consideration that comes after actually charging them with crimes and convicting them in real trials in real courts with real juries.

    As far as pre-trial disposition is concerned, if they are not eligible for bail I do agree that a regular prison rather than a military prison is preferable. ADC Florence seems to be a bit overkill, though.

    The Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri sounds like a good bet. They have experience holding terror-related prisoners (the Blind Sheikh), large groups of foreign prisoners (after the mass boatlift from Cuba), prisoners backed by powerful criminal organizations (Gotti and other mobsters), etc.

  4. MJL

    It is conceivable that the Gitmo prisoners that are to be charged be broken up and placed in federal maximum security prisons throughout the country. Of course, there will be many logistical aspects that will come into play. Not the least being solitary to protect the accused terrorist from suffering the fate of countless child molesters and Jeffrey Dahmer-types.

    Kansas is likely not the proper location because Leavenworth is geared toward military prisoners. The Gitmo detainees will likely no longer be deemed enemy combatants and instead be charged under various terrorism/conspiracy laws. This means that they will be considered dangerous federal prisoners, similar in some respects to Charles Taylor’s son in Florida and the first WTC bombers as mentioned above. Others will be released.

    National security law rules will need to be put in affect to protect covert sources, and numerous pretrial motions will be made by the defense to remove vast amounts of evidence against the accused.

    Overall, it is fascinating from an academic, legal standpoint.

    I have some experience in this field and advise various organizations on such topics, so as your party continues to advocate on this issue, I am more than happy to get with you offline and provide some insight to assist in your efforts.

  5. Steve

    I’ve never quite understood (and I have a degree in Middle East Studies with a Terrorism focus) why we can’t simply get a Congressional declaration of war against the various terrorist groups then hold these people as prisoners of war. If these prisoners are captured on the battlefield, they are clearly a threat and need to be detained, but they aren’t necessairily guilty of a criminal offense for which they can be tried and sentenced. One of the mistakes of the Clinton administration was treating terrorism as a criminal offense. Bush began, properly, to treat it as an act of war then allowed it to fall into this legal black hole.

    I think Mr. Dondero is trying to point out how ridiculous and offensive this would sound to the average Kansas voter who might happen across it, and he’s right in that regard, but I don’t believe that anyone thinks of the inmates at a federal prison as their “next door neighbor.”

  6. MJL


    The underlying issue is that we are dealing with stateless actors, and not a war against a state. The Geneva Conventions, which are included in US military law, require that a military tribunal determine the status of detained enemy people. This process became muddled, and when you throw politics into the equation, you get to the point we are at now. The stateless actor portion comes into play because the portions of the Geneva Conventions that the US is signed onto focuses on state vs. state conflicts in the more conventional sense.

    There is some legal basis for the Gitmo prison idea that the Bush administration helped set up. However, the legality aspect was never meant to handle such indefinate detentions.

    Your question regarding declaring war is a good one. My opinion is that a Congressional declaration of war would be interpreted to be limited to specific state entities. A Congressional War on Terror would be so broad, and so open to interpretation, that it could create a very chaotic situation (much worse than what we have now) from legal and political standpoints.

    Might be interesting to find a law review article on the subject.

  7. Prospective Advertiser

    Steve, “why we can’t simply get a Congressional declaration of war…”

    As you know, our mutual friend Ron Paul tried to get Congress to declare war, in each case. It seems that Congress doesn’t do that any longer. If they were to repeal the 1933 emergency, and the 1861 emergency, maybe they could.

    I think Kansans should not be underestimated. The Free State was founded by people who traveled a long way on principle, the anti-slavery principle. Nevertheless, I don’t believe any part of the press release says dick about what all Kansans believe or think or want. Why should their feelings be given any regard? People who would give up freedom for some imagined security can go to hell.

    Some of these people, Steve, were picked up on battlefields, but some were not. Some were victims of large bounties given out to bounty hunters without regard to who was captured. Some of these people didn’t commit any crime, and they should be released.

    Given the very large population now in the USA whose forebears were brought to this country against their will, I don’t think there is anything to fear from people who are released from custody just because they may resent having been brought over. Now that there is a new administration, they can move quickly to release those who cannot be charged with anything, and blame it all on the previous administration.

  8. Prospective Advertiser

    MJL, the protections afforded to prisoners of war are not based on the ethical doctrine of obeying some international agreement. The ethical doctrine is: our guys would face similar treatment. Veterans have repeatedly said that they want to see captured prisoners treated better because of concerns that our military personnel would be on the receiving end of retaliation if they were captured.

    So, no, the USA military doesn’t have to do anything to establish that these men are prisoners in the custody of the military. That’s obvious. And, as such, they should accord these men the standards of treatment provided to prisoners of war as a matter of course. They should know that it is wrong to inflict cruel and unusual punishment, because every military person has sworn an oath to serve and protect the constitution, and that language is in the constitution.

    There really aren’t that many people involved. Putting them through any sort of process to sort out the ones who have actually done things from those who have not shouldn’t take this long. Most of the problems have arisen from the compromised legal status that arises from torture and other abuse. Plus the Bush administration couldn’t dream of ever admitting a mistake, or releasing anyone.

    It is all incredibly tedious and stupid. At least now that there is a regime change in DC, the blame can all be laid at Cheney and Bush and Rumsfeld’s feet.

    The war on terror, like the war on drugs, is treason. Both of these are wars on the American people, and the people are the United States. Making war on the United States is treason.

  9. MJL


    I was speaking from a purely academic and legal basis. Certainly emotion, politics and ethics will change the dynamic of any sort of debate. Everything you state relating to ethics is absolutely debatable.

    But going back to following the law pursuant to military law and international agreement, a hearing is required to determine the status of any prisoner that may be prosecuted or detained under the military code within the confines of the US. The reason is that there are certain rights afforded POWs that may not be afforded to others in detention. This doesn’t mean you can be cruel to one over the other, but it does have other legal ramifications.

    Again, your ethics argument has merit for debate purposes. The legal arguments are complex as well. There are many ethical and policy reasons for treating prisoners well, but my personal experience in dealing directly with detainees was dictated simply by the fact that treating all people, no matter what, with dignity and respect is merely the right thing to do.

  10. paulie cannoli Post author

    treating all people, no matter what, with dignity and respect is merely the right thing to do.

    Starting with the folks we discuss political issues with is as good a place as any.

  11. sunshinebatman

    As a founding member of Al-CIAda, the British subject and usurper-in-chief Barry Obama should be thrown in Leavenworth also.

    Re: Steve 6, a declaration of war would imply an actual, measurable endpoint at which time the “war” could end, and there would be no more billions of federal dollars poured into propping up (and then occasionally blowing up) scary Emmanuel-Goldstein style “terrorist groups,” much less into the sate universities to “study terrorism.” There’s no rational self-interest in undermining the terror-industrial complex.

    Hope this helps.

  12. Prospective Advertiser

    @12 Merely doing the right thing isn’t always as much fun. And, not everyone has earned the same amount of dignity and respect.

    Responding to some of these apes is often more than they deserve, Paulie.

  13. paulie cannoli Post author

    Responding to some of these apes is often more than they deserve, Paulie.

    Sometimes it’s best to say nothing. I should do that more often, too.

  14. Ryan

    How about all the torrture ourr soldiers go through if theey ar apturd, what about those who were kidnapped whn all they were trying to do was help rebuild, and they have their head cut off just bcaue thy were trying to hlp, these people deseeerve little sympathy if any, why should e giv them what thy cant give us?

  15. Dr. Fraud

    Ja wohl, Kammerad Ryan.

    Zey say zis same about ze brave German soldiers in the Great War, who after all, were just trying to help ze Polisher dumkopfs, ja? Zees polacks, und Russians, resisting ze help…zey deserve a little torture, do zey not?

  16. Scott Johnson

    The Geneva convention is for UNIFORMED combatants, not religious terrorists. If they declare war, and are captured on the battlefield, they should be treated as enemy combatants. If they are ununiformed terrorists they can be treated as spies and executed.

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