Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

Access Asia

Beef off the menu in Maharashtra

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Nigerian elections: early results show close race

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

"Slap in the face" for Socialists in French local elections

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Nigeria: Millions prepare to go to the polls on Saturday

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: And the winner is... Tense wait for election results (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: And the winner is... Tense wait for election results (part 1)

Read more

ENCORE!

Jeanne Added on her classical pop-crossover

Read more

BEYOND BUSINESS

Race of ideas: is the US pulling away from France?

Read more

REVISITED

Video: A wind of freedom blowing in Kuwait

Read more

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

FOCUS

FOCUS

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

2015-03-30 UK

How integrated is Britain's Muslim community?

In the UK, government ministers have written to British mosques thanking them for their response to the attacks in Paris. But they have also called on Muslim leaders to do more...

Read more

2015-03-27 Portugal

Portugal: Anger at corruption scandals, one year after bailout

It's almost one year since Portugal exited its bailout, but the government is still implementing austerity measures. Taxes continue to rise, and some critics say this has led to...

Read more

2015-03-26 France

French baking taking over the world

France is well known for its culinary traditions and the nation's dishes are already famous worldwide. Now, its bread has become a rising star too, with bakers from across the...

Read more

2015-03-25 Iraq

Iraq's Duluiyah, a symbol of Sunni resistance to jihadists

Iraqi government forces and Iran-backed Shia militia are hoping to soon retake Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown, where jihadists have been holding out for several weeks. But...

Read more

2015-03-24 India

India: Beef ban criticised

Cows are a sacred animal in India, a majority Hindu country. But the western state of Maharashtra has gone one step further in protecting the animals: it has banned beef...

Read more