Hardin wanted (won't get) Gitmo Prisoners.

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Hardin wanted (won't get) Gitmo Prisoners.

Post by Billings_Griz » Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:56 am

WTF? :?

Maybe they will escape to the battlefield down the road and there is a tragic re-enactment accident. [-o<

Thumbs down on Gitmo prisoners in Hardin
Congressional delegation opposes bringing detainees to empty jail
Of The Gazette Staff

Federal officials on Thursday strongly opposed an effort to bring Guantanamo detainees to Montana.

President Barack Obama has ordered holding centers at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Center be closed and that current detainees, who are considered enemy combatants, be sent to their home countries or American facilities by Jan. 22, 2010.

The negative reaction from Montana's congressional delegation and the state's U.S. marshal came after the Two Rivers Authority said it is interested in housing the detainees in the not-yet-used detention center in Hardin.

Two Rivers, Hardin's economic development arm, built the 460-bed facility hoping to bring jobs to the city, but it hasn't been able to secure contracts since the facility became ready for inmates in July 2007. The congressmen said they understand the need to create jobs and to fill the $27 million facility but that bringing in people identified as federal security threats is not worth the trade-off.

In a letter to Two Rivers, Sen. Max Baucus said "we're not going to bring Al-Qaeda to Big Sky Country - no way, not on my watch."

Sen. Jon Tester said he is "against any proposal to bring Guantanamo detainees to Montana."

Rep. Denny Rehberg said the detainees are terrorists and "we should be doing everything possible to keep them out of our country, let alone our state."

Two Rivers Executive Director Greg Smith said the responses don't surprise him but that he still thinks Hardin is a viable option.

"I still say it's probably going somewhere," Smith said.

Closing Guantanamo was one of Obama's campaign promises, so people knew this was coming and should have opposed it earlier,

Smith said. Part of Obama's executive order is providing due process to the detainees, and that requires alternatives for where the detainees are sent, including into the United States.

"If people really believe they should not be on our shores and be given due process under our judicial system, then this should not be an issue," Smith said. "If this is such a big issue and nobody wants them in their states, then they belong at Guantanamo Bay."

U.S. Marshal Dwight MacKay said he is opposed, "given the resources we have." The U.S. Marshals Service is likely to be responsible for helping to move the prisoners, he said.

MacKay's term as marshal may be running out as Obama's appointees are beginning to be named. MacKay is a Republican.

"My personal view, not speaking as marshal, I believe it would be inappropriate to consider to bring these types of prisoners to Hardin or any other community in Montana," he said.

Among MacKay's concerns is the transportation issue - not just getting detainees into Montana, but ferrying them between Hardin and Billings for what could be hundreds of pretrial motions and trials.

The James F. Battin U.S. Courthouse in Billings is not designed for the level of security needed, MacKay said, because prisoners can't be completely separated from the public. That would only get worse if more detainees - and high-risk people at that - were brought in, he said. The detainees have to be moved within a year, and a new federal courthouse in Billings won't be built for several years.

"These are not the normal Joe Six-Pack meth users," MacKay said. "This is a different league of people that can be considered a national threat. We have to take the proper steps to ensure the safety of our community, the safety of our courts, the safety of our U.S. attorneys."

He's also not sure how the judges would be able to keep up with the additional cases.

Local court officials have described Montana's federal courts as among the five busiest in the nation and have said that during some years judges here have tried more criminal jury cases than any other federal court in the nation.

Baucus said taking these cases to court would be "taxing not only our Montana federal judges but also potentially additional defense attorneys and prosecutors."

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Re: Hardin wanted (won't get) Gitmo Prisoners.

Post by SonomaCat » Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:09 am

http://www.bobcatnation.com/bobcatbb/vi ... 25&t=18203

This looks like my first "New Hangout" moderating task. This is a topic that is probably expected to be fairly political and charged, so it most likely belongs on the "Issues" board (where I posted it last night :wink: ). So I'll move this one.

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