Liz Cheney's Keep America Safe: Keep Detainees Out


Liz Cheney's organization Keep America Safe today released a mini-documentary featuring citizens of Standish, Michigan lashing out at the Obama administration's proposal to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the town's Standish Maximum Correctional Facility.

Standish is one of at least four sites being considered as potential transfer destinations for detainees, along with facilities in Montana, Colorado, and Illinois, according to the New York Times. The Detroit News reports that the Standish facility, which closed October 31st due to budget cuts, employed more than 250 people, making it the small town's largest employer. Nonetheless, some residents are reluctant to let their town play host to the 200 or so alleged terrorists facing transfer to the United States.

The video, which you can watch at left, includes interviews with citizens of Standish (which has a population just over 2,000 and is 97 percent white, according to last available census data) intercut with messages from Keep America Safe, all set to an ominous piano track.

"President Obama has ordered the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility closed," a message on the screen reads. "Hundreds of terrorists will be moved to prisons in the United States. Politicians want them placed in Standish, Michigan."

This message is followed by a woman speaking. "[Politicians] aren't listening to us little people in Standish," she says. "Because that's what we are. We're a small, small farm town. And we are not being listened to."

That's debatable: In October, the Standish City Council unanimously passed a resolution that essentially asked the Obama administration for federal prisoners, even Gitmo detainees, according to the Michigan Messenger. Yet some in the town question the alleged economic benefit that the transfer would provide.

"It will not save jobs," a man, apparently a police official, says in the Keep America Safe video. "It'll be under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Prisons, Department of Justice, Military Affairs and Homeland Security. Not one of them is going to hire any one of us to watch over these detainees that they bring on shore."

The video also features other emotional appeals: One couple who look like typical grandparents state timidly that they would like to live in Standish the rest of their lives. Exactly why this would not be possible if detainees are moved to the town is unclear.

Keep America Safe provided a statement accompanying the video.

"This latest addition to the growing list of potential host prisons shows that the administration is still committed to its perilous plan to close Gitmo and bring al Qaeda trained terrorists to American soil," the organization said. "The most pressing logistical problem confronting the administration on this issue is not a lack of available prison space--it is finding a community willing to accept the world's most dangerous war criminals."

Not every community is reacting negatively to the idea of hosting detainees, according to the New York Daily News. The town of Thomson, Illinois, home to Thomson Correctional Center, is reportedly pushing hard for the administration to send Guantanamo prisoners there.
  • Amanda Sterling

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