Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

French police question 8-year-old boy for "justifying terrorism"

Read more

FOCUS

35 Basque independence activists face trial in Spain

Read more

ENCORE!

Angoulême comics festival: The power of the pencil

Read more

WEB NEWS

Mexican government declares missing students dead

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

'Snowmageddon' is snow problem for New York

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Libya violence: At least 4 foreigners among those killed in hotel attack

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Mali: 12 people die in suicide attack against MNLA

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Who will follow in Charlie Hebdo's footsteps?'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Searching for a 'blizzard buddy'

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

2015-01-29 Spain

35 Basque independence activists face trial in Spain

The trial of 35 members of the political party Batasuna, which was due to open this Thursday in Madrid after being postponed following the arrest of several defence lawyers, has...

Read more

2015-01-28 Germany

Pegida, the movement dividing Germany

Pegida, the broadly anti-immigration movement born in Germany's east, has gained a huge following in the space of just a few months and made headlines around the world. The...

Read more

2015-01-27 Holocaust

Auschwitz, the symbol of industrial-scale extermination

On January 27th 1945, Red Army troops discovered, almost by chance, the Third Reich's largest extermination camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau. Seventy years on, FRANCE 24 looks back at...

Read more

2015-01-26 Ukraine

Eastern Ukraine dragged deeper into war

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have ripped up peace agreements and vowed to go on the offensive. The Ukrainian authorities have said they will fight back. But...

Read more

2015-01-20 Russia

Set, the new pro-Putin youth movement

In these times of international sanctions and economic crisis, the Kremlin is backing new projects to glorify Russian patriotism. These patriotic projects often idolise President...

Read more