Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

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

2014-07-25 immigration

Many Turks angry over Syrian refugee situation

According to the UNHCR 2.5 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries since the conflict there began. Over 800 000 of them are now in Turkey. Ankara has maintained an...

Read more

2014-07-24 Ukraine

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

As early as the late 19th Century Crimea has lived off tourism. But the annexation of the peninsula by Russia, using military force, has already had an impact on the 2014 season....

Read more

2014-07-22 Angela Merkel

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Calm, efficient, successful... Pick a stereotype about Germany and it seems to be holding true right now: their national football team just won the World Cup, their economy is...

Read more

2014-07-23 agriculture

Hunger in a fertile land...

In Senegal a series of bad harvests mean the government and international organisations have been forced into distributing food aid. The aid helps farmers during lean times, but...

Read more

2014-07-21 environment

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

For years environmentalists have been sounding the alarm: the global appetite for bluefin tuna is pushing the species to the brink of extinction. Japan, the world’s number one...

Read more