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A private security force whose biggest role is helping the U.S. government to “combat terrorism” is now patrolling the streets of a town in Montana, acting as law enforcement but accountable to nobody and operating completely outside the limitations of the U.S. constitution in a chilling throwback to the brownshirts of Nazi Germany.
So the city of 3,400 people has launched an unusual civic effort to bring jobs and prosperity back to its dusty streets: to become the Gitmo of the north.
Barack Obama's plan to close Guantánamo Bay has sent politicians scrambling to promise that none of the prisoners will be rehoused on their patch. But not Hardin.
Instead, the local council has launched an audacious bid to relocate Guantánamo detainees to the town, offering up a state-of-the-art prison facility that is currently sitting empty. Members voted unanimously to back the proposal and have been actively courting the media topromote the plans.
Hardin's economic development director, Greg Smith, has even toured the empty prison with a camera crew from al-Jazeera. He is convinced the move would be good for Hardin and for the world.
HARDIN - Officials from American Police Force, a California security company working to lock down a contract with Two Rivers Authority to fill and operate Hardin's new but empty jail, provided more details Saturday of how the finished facility will look and operate.
At a Saturday morning press conference, Becky Shay, APF's new public-relations director, said the company hopes to build a 30,000-square-foot military-style training facility northeast of the jail and a 75,000-square-foot dormitory for the trainees to the southeast, all on a 50-acre plot of land.
She said the buildings would be paid for by APF's "business activities," including security and training, weapons and equipment sales, surveillance and investigations, and are projected to cost $17 million to build and $6 million to equip. There is also room to expand the jail, if needed.
The land is owned by TRA and the city of Hardin and will be leased to APF with a stipulation that the company develop the land.
But the company's flashy arrival this week stirred new questions. APF officials rolled into Hardin with three Mercedes SUVs marked with a logo that said "City of Hardin Police Department." Yet the city has not had a police force of its own for 30 years.
"Pretty looking police car, ain't it?" Hardin resident Leroy Frickle, 67, said as he eyed one of the vehicles parked in front of a bed-and-breakfast where Hilton and other company representatives were staying. "The things you hear about this American Police, I don't know what to think."
Hilton said the vehicles would be handed over to the city if it forms a police force of its own. City law enforcement is now under the jurisdiction of the Big Horn County Sheriff's Office. The city and county are in discussions to deconsolidate.
After meeting briefly with Hilton on Friday, Mayor Ron Adams said he wanted the police logos removed. The decals were gone from the vehicles by Friday.
APF were originally contracted to provide security at a previously empty jail in Hardin, a small town in Montana, but are now patrolling the streets driving SUV’s with “Police Department” printed on them despite the fact that Hardin doesn’t have a police department. American Police Force has no jurisdiction in the area because it is a private organization, not a police force.
Having a private security force whose stated mission is to help the U.S. government “combat terrorism” patrol the streets of small towns in America without even having the authority to do so from local authorities is obviously a frightening pretext and harks back to the private paramilitary forces that helped Adolf Hitler rise to power in Nazi Germany.
Many fear that if martial law is declared in response to a flu pandemic or other emergency, private security forces such as APF will be used by the government to oppress citizens by operating outside of the law.
"Founded in 1990, ADS and its veteran team have serviced a variety of contracts under extreme conditions in the Middle East. Our projects have ranged from base camp construction operations to supplying world-class military vehicles. In the midst of international tensions, ADS will perform.
Founded in 2004, DPS and its veteran team have serviced a variety of contracts under extreme conditions in the Middle East. Our projects have ranged from base camp construction operations to supplying world-class military vehicles. In the midst of international tensions, DPS will perform. "
HARDIN - Launching a new police department in Hardin will cost about $1 million, money the city doesn't have.
"If Hardin were going to start a whole police force right now, taxes would be so high nobody would be able to afford to live in Hardin," said Mayor Ron Adams.
Enter American Private Police Force Group.
On Sept. 10, officials from Hardin's economic development arm, Two Rivers Authority, announced that they had signed a 10-year contract with APF to run TRA's idle jail.
Neither Hilton nor TRA officials have released details about APF, except to say it is a legitimate corporation. Hardin and TRA have not been asked to put money toward the APF contract.
As part of the offer, APF owner Michael Hilton said he'd help launch the police force by helping with hiring and providing the first vehicles.
Hilton and APF employees arrived Wednesday evening in Hardin driving three black Mercedes SUVs with removable decals that read "City of Hardin Police Department."
APF were originally contracted to provide security at a previously empty jail in Hardin, a small town in Montana, but are now patrolling the streets driving SUV’s with “Police Department” printed on them despite the fact that Hardin doesn’t have a police department. American Police Force has no jurisdiction in the area because it is a private organization, not a police force
According to Two Rivers Authority officials, having the private security force patrol the streets was not part of the contract. “I have no idea. I really don’t because that’s not been a part of any of the discussions we’ve had with any of them,” Two Rivers Authority’s Al Peterson told KULR 8 News. Peterson said that patrolling the streets was on the “wishlist” of APF’s what Captain Michael
“Government contract databases show no record of the company. Security industry representatives and federal officials said they had never heard of it. On its Web site, the company lists as its headquarters a building in Washington near the White House that holds “virtual offices.” A spokeswoman for the building said American Police Force never completed its application to use the address,” reports AP.
The Schutzstaffel (help·info) (German for "Protective Echelon"), abbreviated SS- or (Runic)- was a major Nazi organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. The SS grew from a small paramilitary unit to a powerful force that served as the Führer's "Praetorian Guard," the Nazi Party's "Shield Squadron" and a force that, fielding almost a million men (both on the front lines and as political police), managed to exert as much political influence as the Wehrmacht. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS, under Heinrich Himmler's command, was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Nazis during World War II, and most of the worst of those crimes.