Some Guantanamo prisoners will be moved to Illinois prison

Talking Points Memo reports,

On Tuesday, the administration will announce that the president has directed that the federal government proceed with the acquisition of the Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson, Illinois to house federal inmates and a limited number of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Ed Tibbetts of the Quad-City Times has more details:

In addition to the detainees, several hundred federal prisoners will be moved to the Thomson facility, which was built in 2001 to house state prisoners but has instead stood nearly empty as local officials have vainly tried to fill it. […]

The prison, if the deal goes through, will be run by the federal Bureau of Prisons, according to the administration’s plan. The agency is expected to bring 1,600 to 2,000 prisoners to the Thomson facility.

Authorities will also spend some time bulking up security.

The federal Bureau of Prisons will add razor wire between the existing double fences and beef up the existing fence detection system. The Defense Department, which would lease a portion of the facility, would also erect another perimeter fence around the 146-acre complex, according to plans.

The administration has said it would exceed security at the country’s only “Supermax” prison in Colorado.

It’s not clear precisely how many foreign detainees would be brought to Thomson, though [Senator Dick] Durbin [of Illinois] has put the number at less than 100.

Get ready for more Republican scare tactics aimed at undermining Representative Bruce Braley, who represents the Clinton area, just across the Mississippi River from Thomson. I doubt the Iowa GOP will get much traction from this issue, though. The Des Moines Register’s conservative columnist, John Carlson, recently found broad support in Clinton for the plan to expand the Thomson facility.

Braley said last month that his constituents “have told me with a resounding voice they want these jobs to come to their area.”

  • Gitmo North?

    Is how this is being framed by folks at Witness Torture.

    Here’s what Center for Constitutional Rights Executive Director Vincent Warren has to say about this develoment.

    “If President Obama is simply moving detainees from one Guantánamo to another, he has done nothing to honor his pledge to close the prison camp. The vast majority of detainees remaining at Guantánamo will never be charged with anything. Yet the president has made clear that he believes he can continue to hold these men, most of whom have already been in Guantánamo for eight years and should never have been detained in the first place, for as long as he wants without any trial whatsoever.

    “Moving the Guantánamo system onshore is not change. Whether in Thomson, IL, at Guantánamo, or elsewhere, the very idea that we would toss aside our founding constitutional principles and allow any executive the power of kings to imprison someone forever without a trial is anathema to democracy.

    “The Obama administration has already cleared for release at least 116 of the 210 men who remain at Guantánamo. Many of them have nowhere to go because they are from countries that routinely engage in torture and other human rights abuses. Will they now be subject to inhuman conditions of solitary confinement in a maximum security facility despite the fact that they will never be charged with anything and have been approved for release? For them Thomson, Illinois may be worse than Guantánamo.

    “While the fear-mongering over bringing any of the men to the U.S. is opportunistic and entirely political, we cannot support this latest move merely to shut down the symbol of Guantánamo without dismantling the injustice of Guantánamo. A change of scenery does nothing to restore the rule of law.”

    I’m thinking that calling for impeachment and prosecution for crimes against humanity are in order. Maybe Lieberman could draft the order?

    • I share those concerns

      Holding someone in solitary confinement forever is bad enough for a convicted criminal, but for someone who’s never been charged with anything it’s clearly inhumane.

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