Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE DEBATE

Taiwan on the line: Trump phone call alarms China (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Taiwan on the line: Trump phone call alarms China (part 2)

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

France's ex-foreign minister talks Syria, Iran and climate change

Read more

FOCUS

Ghana votes in tight presidential race

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: 'Graduation', 'Go Home' & Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas turns 100

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French educational system 'as mediocre as always'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Southern India bids farewell to 'Amma'

Read more

FACE-OFF

2017 French presidential election: Can Valls unite the left?

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Trump wins $50bn US investment from Japan's Softbank

Read more

FOCUS

Our Focus programme brings you exclusive reports from around the world. From Monday to Friday at 7.45 am Paris time.

Latest update : 2010-02-04

Guantanamo detainees' next destination debated

It's hard to imagine any place so different from Guantanamo Bay. At this time of year, the Illinois plains are covered by snow. The Mississippi's waters have turned to ice. We are far away from the tropics, but it's this village, Thomson, that the US media now call 'Guantanamo North'.

It's hard to imagine any place so different from Guantanamo bay… at this time of year, the Illinois plains are covered by snow; Mississipi waters have turned to ice … We are far away from the Tropics; but it's this village, Thomson, the US media now call "Guantanamo North'. 

The Mayor, Jerry Duke Hebeler, has earned his title-he himself wrote a letter to the White House last autumn to offer a brand new prison, unused for 8 years. 

The buildings look a lot like the one that have been set up in Guantanamo. And Barack Obama, who used to be a Senator for this state, was desesperatly looking for a place willing to take the 200 or so detainees left at the US base. For the village, this is all good news: 3000 jobs could come with the prisoners. Not bad for a village of 500 people. 

The plan has been met by a protests here in the US. But not in Thomson. The White House is promising the "safest prison in the US" and residents believe it. 

Jon Whitney is the publisher of the local newspaper. He received a few letters protesting the transfer of terrorists here, but all these letters came from far away. Here, he says, almost everybody is happy with the plan. There are the jobs of course, but also a sense of patriotism. "We are asked by our Commander in chief to serve our country and we will do so" says Whitney. 

The Thomson prison will not open for months, perhaps a year. But time is short for Thomson a village about to thrust into the center of the world's attention. 

For sure, if and when they come here, Guantanamo prisoners will discover very different surroundings, and weather. But Thomson too will also will be transformed by their presence here...

By Emmanuel SAINT-MARTIN et Nathan KING

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2016-12-07 Africa

Ghana votes in tight presidential race

Ghanaians are heading to the polls to elect a new president. The incumbent, John Dramani Mahama, is running for a second term and says he has a "very good" chance of winning....

Read more

2016-12-06 South Korea

Park's presidency hanging by thin thread

Park Geun-hye's days as South Korea’s president appear to be numbered right now. Every weekend, for more than a month, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets...

Read more

2016-12-05 Italy

Italy's rural south welcomes refugees with open arms

The year 2016 is shaping up to be a record year for the arrival of asylum seekers in Italy. Since January, around 170,000 have arrived on the shores of the peninsula including...

Read more

2016-12-02 Europe

Video: Far right at the gates of power in Austria

Austria's far-right candidate Norbert Hofer gets another shot at becoming president in a second-round vote on Sunday after a May election was annulled by the constitutional court...

Read more

2016-12-01 Middle East

Iraq: Embedded with Shiite militias fighting to retake town of Tal Afar

Our reporters in Iraq have been following Shiite militias who are fighting alongside the regular army. Their current mission is to retake the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul,...

Read more