Montana mayor says his town will take 100 Gitmo prisoners

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Dick Cheney is slamming the Obama administration for its plan to close the notorious Guantanamo military prison. Cheney claimed this week that he didn’t “know a single congressional district in this country that is going to say, gee, great, they’re sending us 20 Al Qaida terrorists.” But Ron Adams, mayor of Hardin, Mont., told the World that his town is requesting that 100 Gitmo detainees be sent there, where they could be held in the empty local prison and then get “fair trials like everyone is entitled to.”

Earlier this month, under the radar of most of the nation’s media, Hardin’s town council voted unanimously to request that the U.S. government send the detainees there.

The detainees “have to go somewhere,” Adams said, and “although I don’t have the power to make the final decision, we have the room and the facilities here to house them.”

Asked whether people in his town had concerns about taking in people whom Cheney and Bush have repeatedly described as “dangerous” and “the worst of the worst,” the mayor replied:

“First of all, there are lots of tough criminals in America who have committed horrible crimes and we have them housed in towns all across this country. With all those feds that will come in here along with the Guantanamo detainees, we’ll have a lot more law enforcement around here than we have now. We need everything we can get, what with the high cost of law enforcement these days.”

He noted that Hardin, “like other towns, is hard hit by the economic crisis. People don’t want to hear scare stories about how dangerous the terrorists are. They’ve heard all that and they know all that. What we need is some help to get us through these hard times and we believe that there will be at least 100 new jobs created if they come here. This would be a boost to any small town suffering in this economy.”

Other right-wing Republicans have, of course, joined the Cheney bandwagon against the closing of Guantanamo. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said in an appearance on MSNBC this morning that “no community in the U.S. would welcome terrorists, would-be terrorists, former terrorists or any kind of terrorists from Guantanamo, not even into its courthouses for a trial.”

Soon after Shelby made that claim, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) issued a statement repeating his assertion that the detainees could be tried in his Alexandria, Va., district.

jwojcik @ pww.org