Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Fashion, what's happened in 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

France: 2014 in review

Read more

#THE 51%

South Africa: Taking a stand against child marriage

Read more

DEBATE

The Future of the Book

Read more

DEBATE

The Future of the Book (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

France 24’s best documentaries of 2014

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'We have to build a new Tunisia', says the president of the Tunisian Parliament

Read more

FACE-OFF

France on alert after attacks: a case of collective hysteria?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Beijing needs to revaluate its policy in the Tibetan areas', says FM of the Tibetan government-in-exile

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

2014-12-23 China

China: A tense Christmas in Wenzhou

There are now more Christians in China than there are members of the communist party. And tensions are rising between the Christian community and the government. Nowhere is this...

Read more

2014-12-22 West Bank

Hebron, a city where peace seems impossible

In the absence of any effort to reach a compromise, relations between Palestinians and Israelis continue to deteriorate on the ground. There is one city, among many others, where...

Read more

2014-12-19 Taliban

Video: Pakistan in mourning after school massacre

The Taliban-perpetrated massacre that claimed the lives of 132 school children in Peshawar on Tuesday has been condemned globally, while in the northern Pakistani city every home...

Read more

2014-12-18 Italy

Child migrants: no parents, no passports

Since January 2014 more than 165 000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean on treacherous vessels, to reach Europe, many fleeing war and persecution. An increasing number of...

Read more

2014-12-17 Central African Republic

Hunt for Joseph Kony and LRA militants continues

The Lord's Resistance Army is a rebel group infamous for its brutality. Driven out of Uganda nearly a decade ago, LRA militants are now scattered across the Democratic Republic...

Read more