OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Contrary to allegations, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole says suspected terrorists at Guantanamo
Bay are receiving humane treatment in a well-run prison.
``Frankly, you're a lot better off at Guantanamo
than you would be at a lot of county jails in this country,'' Cole said Monday in a telephone interview from Washington.
Cole, R-Okla., and Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla., were among a group of congressmen touring the U.S. facility in Cuba on Saturday to get a close-up look at the prison, where human rights advocates allege that detainees have received ill treatment.
Cole said the prison was not nearly as primitive as he has thought, reflecting about $140 million that has been spent at Guantanamo
in the last few years to make improvements.
He said he believed the tour may have turned around some of the congressional critics of the prison.
``What struck me was the professionalism of the people running this,'' he said.
As for calls to shut down the prison, Cole said he would much rather have it located away from the U.S. mainland.
``These are very dangerous folks,'' he said. ``Guards told us how they are abused by the prisoners in the course of the day. They are told repeatedly, ``We're going to kill you,'' and ``When we get out, we're going to find your family and kill them. We'll cut off their heads.'''
He said some of those at the prison are suspected suicide bombers who would ``happily trade their lives if they could kill an American soldier.'' He said deadly homemade weapons have been taken from some of the prisoners.
Of 28,000 interrogations at the prison, only three involved improper treatment and none involved physical abuse, Cole said.
He said the standards of prison personnel ``are very high and commanders know that they are under intense security and that if anything goes wrong, it could be used for propaganda purposes.''