Barack Obama has made a promise to his left-wing base that he will close down the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which houses 240 terrorists, within a year. The question is could a jail in Montana be the next Gitmo? Read more about this below, see photos and watch a video.
Hardin, Montana is a small town of 3,400 people bordering the Crow Indian Reservation. They built a $27 million, 460-bed jail two years ago and have been looking for tenants ever since.
The Montana jail was built by ‘Two Rivers Authority’ which is the city’s economic development arm. The plan was that the facility would bring economic development to Hardin by creating more than 100 high-paying jobs. But filling the jail hasn’t been easy.
So while leaders continue to look for contracts to open the jail, which was completed in 2007, people in Hardin have approached ‘Two Rivers Authority’ executive director Greg Smith saying they have the answer: house those enemy combatants from Gitmo in our jail because hey, somebody has to do it!
Even the city council is behind the plan. They voted to support Two Rivers’ efforts and wrote the following resolution:
“The city fully supports the efforts of the Two Rivers Authority to contact State and Federal officials for the purpose of inquiring into the possibility of housing Guantanamo detainees at the Two Rivers Authority in Hardin, Montana, and to determine whether the Two Rivers Detention Center could provide a safe and secure environment for housing said detainees.”
So Greg Smith has been looking into the process to contract with The One’s administration to house the terrorists in Hardin, Montana. Of course nothing is very clear yet on the transfer of the Guantanamo detainees, including which federal agencies will be involved.
Up to this point, many have thought they’d be housed in Alexandria, Virginia because they have a detention facility and it’s close to the federal D.C. courts. But the good folks of Hardin, Montana are not intimidated by that because they’ve thought it all through.
Here’s their case: The Two Rivers Detention Center is a modern, empty facility. It is built so that with just minor conversions it can be upgraded from medium to higher security. Because the detainees would be the only prisoners in the facility, it would be easy to accommodate prisoners’ dietary, language and religious requirements.
If someone were to escape, there aren’t any huge buildings nearby to dodge into. Montana is pretty homogenous, so detainees, many of Middle Eastern descent, would not easily blend into crowds.
Bringing detainees to this area has happened before. There were prisoner-of-war camps in nearby Laurel, Montana during World War II. There were also internee camps in Missoula and near Powell, Wyoming.
Besides, the folks of Hardin feel offering a turnkey facility is practically a patriotic duty.
So… if this is such a great jail, why doesn’t it already have prisoners? Two Rivers Authority ran into difficulty shortly after construction on the facility finished in July 2007 when the state had no prisoners to send there. The city of Hardin has tried to find contracts with other states to bring in their prisoners but with no luck.
This may sound like a viable option for the Gitmo terrorists except that the entire Montana congressional caucus is against the idea. Senator Max Baucus has said the terrorists’ presence would be a security risk to the community and exceed the capacity of the U.S. District Court in Billings, which would have jurisdiction over their cases.
“My number one job is to keep Montanans safe, and bringing terrorists into our state is a clear and present danger to everyone who lives here,” Baucus said. “I understand the need to create jobs, but we’re not going to bring Al-Qaeda to Big Sky Country – no way, not on my watch.”
Though no decision has been made, the terrorists will most certainly be housed somewhere on U.S soil. I would think that Senator Baucus’ concern would be echoed by all other 99 Senators.
More photos and a video from ‘Montana Jail is New Gitmo?’ are below.
The New Gitmo: Dentention Facility in Hardin, Montana Video