Union-Tribune

January 29.2002

Feinstein: Guantanamo better than state jails
Cuban facilities not inhumane, she says

By OTTO KREISHER 
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE 

WASHINGTON Sen. Dianne Feinstein said yesterday the
facilities for the Taliban and al-Qaeda prisoners at Guantanamo
Bay are better than some of the California jails she has observed. 

Back from a trip to the temporary prison facility at the U.S. naval base in Cuba, Feinstein, D-Calif., said the fighters captured in Afghanistan were dangerous terrorists who would try to kill Americans if released, but "they are not in inhumane
surroundings."

Feinstein visited the detention facility Sunday with three other
senators and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. In a session
with reporters, she compared the conditions in Cuba with the
state prisons and county jails she had visited for the California
Women's Parole Board and a San Francisco commission in the
1960s.

"Although this is not a traditional prison facility ... if I were faced either with lockdown in San Quentin or Folsom, or even on the line with two people in a smaller cell, I would rather be in
Guantanamo Bay," she said.

Feinstein said the decision on whether the "detainees" should be considered prisoners of war could depend on whether they
fought for the Taliban, the de facto Afghan government or for the al-Qaeda terrorist organization.

But she said, "A lot of these people, if you let them out, they'll go back and kill again. That is not provided for in the Geneva
Conventions," which covers treatment for POWs.

At the same time, Feinstein said winning the war on terrorism
will require the cooperation of other nations.

"So we do have to take into consideration what other nation
states feel about how we hold these prisoners. That makes it
more complicated."