GOP lawmakers criticize $750,000 Gitmo soccer field
There is now new controversy brewing over the Gitmo detainee camp. Four Republican House members and one staffer from the Senate appropriations committee have pushed the Department of Defense for answers on the new soccer field for detainees at Camp 6 in Guantanamo Bay. On Tuesday, Fox News was the first to report on the $750,000 soccer field.
So now, Congressman Dennis A. Ross, R-Fla., is introducing the “NO FIELD ACT” that would penalize the Department of Defense and cut the 2013 budget by $744,000 — the price tag for the Camp 6 soccer field.
“This may be the poster child for this election as to what’s wrong with this country,” Ross told Fox News in an interview from Tampa. “We’re talking about a significant amount of money spent for terrorist detainees at a camp that we are told is supposed to be closed,” he said. And Ross said the message from voters was clear. “I have heard from my constituents, ‘please tell us this is not true,’ you’re asking us to contribute and is this the fair share the president is talking about?”
Ironic that while we have US soldiers being killed in Afghanistan, the US government is getting ready for its grand opening of the soccer field.
Congressman Ted Poe, said, “A swanky high-dollar soccer field for criminal terrorist detainees at Gitmo. And of course, Americans are picking up the $750,000 tab for the recreation facilities for these criminals,” he said. “These radicals should be doing hard time, not soccer time. Our government has no business building this tropical Caribbean recreation facility for terrorists. It is disrespectful and insulting to all who are victims of these killers. What’s next at this terrorist playground? A tiki hut and bar on the beach?” Poe said.
The new soccer field is 1/2 the size of an American football field, has special passages that allow detainees to go from the detention center to the outdoors — without a military escort. The 28,000-square-foot field includes a soft walking track, security cameras and a razor wire fence. By spring, it should be open for detainees to use up to 20 hours a day after bathrooms and goal posts are added.
Defense Secretary Panetta was asked about the project at this week’s House budget hearing where he defended the plan to increase health care fees for the military and said:
“I had a constituent that contacted me today about a news item. Did you know that apparently our federal taxpayers are paying for a $750,000 soccer field at Gitmo? Is that something that Department of Defense knew about?” Congressman Huelskamp, R-Kan., asked.
Panetta, having heard the question twice, said he was not familiar with the project.
Rear Admiral David Woods, blames the high cost on the need to ship equipment and materials to the remote Navy base, adding that their mission is to keep the detainees under safe conditions that provide socialization. Outdoor recreation has encouraged good behavior from detainees which improves the working conditions for the guards.
Navy Commander Tamsen Reese said most of the detainees were now housed in Camp 6 and they were used to communal living in an open air camp because they followed the rules.
The price tag of $744,000 is significant. A Pentagon spokesman said anything over $749,000 needs congressional approval. So far Democrats have been silent on the issue. The ACLU, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, who advocate for detainee rights, had no comment.
Tags: $750, 000 soccer field to be dedicated, ACLU, Camp6 in Guantanamo Bay, Congressman Dennis A. Ross, Congressman Ted Poe, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Department of defense, Gitmo detainee camp, GOP irate, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, NO FIELD ACT
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 at 6:04 pm and is filed under Finance and Business, General, In the News, Politics, Terrorism, World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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