Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ACCESS ASIA

Korea's divided families: Hopes for a reunion after decades apart

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Iranian singer Sepideh Jandaghi: The trapped voice

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Royal gatecrasher! Queen Elizabeth attends London Fashion Week

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Venezuela launches its own cryptocurrency

Read more

IN THE PRESS

The secrets of Jean-Marie Le Pen: Far-right party founder publishes tell-all

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Tens of thousands bid farewell to Morgan Tsvangirai

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Afrin, 'a war without images'

Read more

THE DEBATE

Syria on the brink: Can Assad help the Kurds against Turkish forces?

Read more

FOCUS

Inside the murky business of cobalt mining in DR Congo

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

2018-02-20 Africa

Inside the murky business of cobalt mining in DR Congo

Cobalt is an essential component of batteries for smartphones and electric cars. Around 60% of it comes from just one country, DR Congo – and most of the metal is exported to...

Read more

2018-02-19 Europe

What's behind Germany's steep drop in juvenile crime?

One in five prison beds in Germany are empty. The figures from German juvenile offenders' institutions are even more striking: the rate of youth crime fell by half between 2007...

Read more

2018-02-16 Africa

The revival of the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway line

In eastern Africa, you can now reliably take the train from Ethiopia's capital to neighbouring Djibouti. The new railway line - built and paid for by China - went into operation...

Read more

2018-02-15 Europe

Why Italian graduates are choosing life on the farm

Italy's youth is breathing new life into the country's rural areas. In the past two years, the number of young graduates - often from urban centres - starting up their businesses...

Read more

2018-02-14 Middle East

Iraq's Tikrit still in ruins, three years after liberation from IS group

As a donor conference aimed at raising funds to rebuild Iraq wraps up in Kuwait, we look at the reality for those living in the bombed-out cities. Baghdad is looking for $88...

Read more