Guantanamo Job Goes
To Halliburton Unit
A subsidiary of Houston-based Halliburton Co. has been awarded $30 million to build an improved 220-bed prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Pentagon announced.
Arlington, Va.-based Kellogg Brown and Root Services Inc. is to complete a two-story prison that includes day rooms, exercise areas, medical bays, air conditioning and a security control room by July 2006, according to the Pentagon.
Congress previously approved the funding for the construction. Some members, along with human rights groups, are calling for Guantanamo to close because of reports of prisoner abuse there and because the foreign detainees are being held indefinitely with no charges filed.
White House officials have said there are no plans to close the facility because the detainees there are too dangerous to release while the war on terrorism continues.
"The future detention facility will be based on prison models in the U.S. and is designed to be safer for the long-term detention of detainees and the guards," according to a statement provided by a Pentagon spokesman. "It is also expected to require less manpower to operate."
The new prison building will replace some of the older facilities at the Navy base, which officials say are not adequate for holding prisoners for the long term.
The job is part of a larger contract that could be worth up to $500 million through 2010, the Pentagon said. About 520 prisoners from the Bush administration's war on terrorism are held at Guantanamo.
Durbin Tries Again
To Clarify Remarks
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) took another step back yesterday from comments he made on the Senate floor Tuesday comparing the treatment of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention center to Nazi and Soviet atrocities.
"I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood," Durbin said in a statement. "I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings: our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support."
The statement came after another day of Republican criticism.
The Defense Department, under subpoena from a Senate committee, has provided enough information on the current round of closing 180 military installations, including 33 major bases, to satisfy Senate leaders, so no further legal action will be taken, senators said.
Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), in a letter to acting Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, said that although they have not received all the data requested, the thousands of pages they got helped them understand how the department made its decisions to close or realign some bases.
The letter comes just weeks before a July 6 public hearing in Boston of the independent base-closing commission to review the decisions to close bases in the senators' home states.
-- From News Services