Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Back Talk Requested: Guantanamo — Rhymes with Geronimo.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | January 24, 2009

Posted by Cliff Tuttle

Once again, I listened to the afternoon talk shows while driving to the court house. The topic of the day: closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Perhaps you’ve forgotten, but this facility was erected on an old naval base that the United States acquired in 1903, in the aftermath of the liberation of Cuba in the Spanish American War. As I understand it, the primary purpose for imprisoning the enemy combatants in a location outside the United States was to postpone trials indefinitely. The problem was and is that prosecuting suspected terrorists involves disclosing classified information, at least to the suspect and his attorney, and possibly to the world. But that justification for an offshore prison has been stripped away, primarily by decisions of the United States Supreme Court.

Nevertheless, it seems that a lot of Western Pennsylvanians are afraid of having these prisoners housed anywhere on the same continent. The fear was expressed that any such prison would be a target for terrorists. I didn’t listen long enough to hear whether the concern extended to jail breaks.

So, why not (as Conressman Murtha suggests) support the local economy by inviting a few long term guests to inhabit our region? If one of them did escape, it is pretty likely he would head for the border — not stick around to commit acts of terrorism. So, if you don’t live in Mexico or Canada, what’s the big deal? Back Talk Requested.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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