Illinois prison could house Gitmo detainees

December 9, 2009
By Jack.H BRONZE, Elmhurst, Illinois
Jack.H BRONZE, Elmhurst, Illinois
4 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
No man drowns if he perseveres in praying to God, and can swim. ~Russian Proverb

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson


President Obama has expressed his desire to relocate Guantanamo Bay detainees to a prison on American soil. Thomson Correctional Center, about 150 miles from Chicago, is the leading choice of the Obama administration to house the detainees. The move would fulfill President Obama’s campaign promise of closing Guantanamo Bay.
Built in 2001 as a maximum-security prison, Thomson Correctional Center is largely vacant, housing about 150 prisoners in the minimum-security unit (according to the Illinois Department of Corrections). The maximum-security cell houses have been vacant since the prison opened.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons would increase the security of the prison if they decide to occupy it. The Bureau would also ensure that the fewer than 100 Guantanamo Bay detainees kept in the maximum-security unit would be separate from the minimum-security unit.
The move would economically benefit Thomson, Illinois, where people have been badly hit by the recession. The federal prison would create over 3,000 jobs for the town, as well as lower the 10.9% unemployment rate two to four points in the surrounding county (Carroll County) according to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois said, “There are too many people out of work, there are businesses closing down because people are out of work. They need paychecks.”
Despite the economic benefits, the proposal is facing fierce opposition from politicians that are positioning themselves for the upcoming state primary elections in January. Mark Kirk, Republican Congressman of Illinois and a Republican U.S. Senate candidate, said that the move is an unnecessary risk. He said that the Chicago area could become “ground zero for Jihadist terrorist plots, recruitment and radicalization.” He claims that the terrorist suspects housed in a super-max prison 150 miles away from Chicago would jeopardize Chicago’s security.
What was not mentioned by Kirk was that Chicago already temporarily houses suspected terrorists at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, which is within walking distance of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower.

Additionally, federal facilities on American soil house 216 international terrorists and 139 domestic terrorists (according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons). In a supermax facility in Florence, Colorado, Zacarias Moussaoui, one of the September 11th plotters stays, as well as Theodore Kacynski, the “Unabomber.” Roughly 330 miles away from Chicago, in southwestern Illinois, the United States Penitentiary at Marion also houses international terrorists. These supermax prisons often confine their dangerous prisoners to solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. The Thomson prison will be run the same way. Terrorists imprisoned in nearby prisons are nothing new, despite current outrage over the move of the detainees.
Kirk, apparently ignorant of the dangerous prisoners already in our prisons, circulated a letter to Illinois’s congressional delegation and state officials that said, “As elected officials in the state of Illinois, we urge you to put the safety and security of Illinois families first and stop any plan to transfer al-Qaeda terrorists to our state.”
Republican Congressman Peter Roskam of Illinois said, “The Obama administration’s utter inability to create jobs here does not somehow make sending some of the world’s worst terrorists to our backyard a good idea.” In response to the strong opposition to relocating the terrorists, Iowa Representative Bruce Braley said, “The time for fear-mongering is over.”
Closing Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp would end what President Obama described as “a sad chapter in American history.” The Illinois politicians that argue fervently against Illinois housing terrorists were described by Durbin as “crossing the line.” Quinn described the relocation of the Guantanamo detainees as being a “great, great opportunity for our state.”



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This article has 7 comments.


on Jan. 26 2010 at 6:02 pm
TxDragon BRONZE, Saratoga, California
1 article 0 photos 61 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Come and Take it!" -citizens of Gonzales, Texas, when the Mexicans tried to take away the cannon used to defend their town.

How are we supposed to testify against the suspected terrorists in a trial? They were captured while in battle. There is no evidence we can show against them. There is a reason that in times of war enemy combantants are not given trials. Also, respecting the enemy may make us feel all good inside, but it will not change their opinion of us. We respect the Muslim world, but the people we are fighting do not. They don't care who they blow up, Muslim , Christian , or atheist. They fly planes into buildings full of innocent civilians. They tell a Muslim woman to blow herself up in the middle of some American soldiers. If she refuses they kill her children. Respect will get us nowhere. They will continue to retaliate until they have wiped out every American, Christian . They are evil and they hate us. They will just laugh at us if we are respectful and decent. They will use that to their advantage. That's why we have to act according to the situation. If we don't we'll let all the terrorists go because we have no proof, they'll join all their buddies, and we'll end up with more attacks on the innocent people in our country.

Jack.H BRONZE said...
on Jan. 25 2010 at 7:22 pm
Jack.H BRONZE, Elmhurst, Illinois
4 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
No man drowns if he perseveres in praying to God, and can swim. ~Russian Proverb

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

The technicality that the British soldiers that Adams represented were not prisoners of war doesn't disprove my point that this "war on terror" is destroying the ideals our country is founded upon.
I realize that the right to a fair and speedy trial applies only to American citizens. But I believe not taking the moral high ground on this issue of how to prosecute people suspected of terrorism would hurt our country . . . its ideals and ultimately, the world's view of us.
Also, in reality, wouldn't it be better to give respect to people suspected of terrorism by giving them a fair trial; I don't think you can argue against the principle that trials should be fair for all.
While you acknowledge the U.S. is at war, I don't see how respecting the enemy is giving the terrorists the upper hand, as you call it. If we respect the enemy--giving proper respect to the Muslim world--they will, in time reciprocate this trust. We should not look at these people as savages, and treat them as such. Your kind, as well as those who you likely idolize, do nothing more than further the problem of terrorism by disrespecting the enemy. They will continue to retaliate, just remember that, if we continue our war on the Muslim world.

on Jan. 25 2010 at 10:49 am
TxDragon BRONZE, Saratoga, California
1 article 0 photos 61 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Come and Take it!" -citizens of Gonzales, Texas, when the Mexicans tried to take away the cannon used to defend their town.

You make an excellent point, but the British soldiers were not prisoners of war. Since the colonists and the British were not yet at war, techinically they were all British citizens. John Adams took a risk by representing soldiers who'd killed colonists, but he was't representing terrorists from another country. The right to a fair and speedy trial applies only to American citizens. Prisoners of war should face a military tribunal. People need to remember that America is at war right now, and giving Constistutional rights to a suspected terrorist is not going to give us the upper hand.

Jack.H BRONZE said...
on Jan. 24 2010 at 9:13 pm
Jack.H BRONZE, Elmhurst, Illinois
4 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
No man drowns if he perseveres in praying to God, and can swim. ~Russian Proverb

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

I am happy that you enjoyed my article, and happy that we are having this discussion because civil skepticism and debate is vital to a democratic country.

As far as 300 jobs per detainee--which you (rightly) voiced your skepticism about--I would agree that that sounds like an inflated number. I, however, did not say this number, but a Illinois politician who I believe I cite in the article.

When you repudiated my claim that your conclusions were based on xenophobia, I thought about how this (important) debate we are having is representative of America's current predicament in the 'war on terror.' Our country sees Middle-Eastern people who have been detained--often preemptively--and just as you said, we "detest the things these terrorists do." I don't think it's fair to make these kinds of assertions about the detainees. Often, they haven't done anything . . . yet, which is the key idea for terrorism hawks.

Now, I don't want to sound combative, and I hope you understand this: I am just debating your ideas, not you. But this brings me to your next point, that these terrorists shouldn't be tried in a court of law, which a whole new issue.

I believe in the ideal that all should be entitled to a fair and speedy trial. When we ignore this principle--one that our nation was founded upon--we lose the authenticity of this great country--and ultimately, the credibility of the so called the American Experiment.

I believe to really understand the ideals behind a fair and speedy trial, we need to go back to one of the defining moments of our history, the Boston Massacre. British soldiers fired into the crowd, which may or may not have provoked them with excessive physical and verbal abuse . . . but that's not the issue. John Adams, against the revolutionary zeitgeist of the times, agreed to defend these soldiers, who without him, surely would have been tarred and feathered: they would have been tried by a mob of angry revolutionaries, and pronounced guilty without defense.

But, John Adams defended these foreigners on American soil--in fact, against the wishes of his cousin and revolutionary leader Samuel Adams. Despite public opposition, Adams did the smart and respectable thing, and stood up for justice.

Now, you could say that 'this situation is different.' But I don't think it is. What has changed is America; I don't believe we as a nation, believe in the perhaps idyllic principles of the Enlightenment, of which our nation was founded upon. This may be a cause of celebration for some, but it benefits nobody, and lowers our respectability as a nation. We no longer have the moral high ground in this debate; or one could phrase that as saying the terrorists have one . . . they have changed America forever.

on Jan. 24 2010 at 7:39 pm
TxDragon BRONZE, Saratoga, California
1 article 0 photos 61 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Come and Take it!" -citizens of Gonzales, Texas, when the Mexicans tried to take away the cannon used to defend their town.

First, I would like to say that your article was well written and you got your point across.

Second, bringing terrorists onto American soil will give them constitutional rights and would cost taxpayer dollars. Why should we bring them to the middle of our country instead of leaving them in Cuba? They are prisoners of war and have no constitutional rights. Also, how can 100 prisoners create 3,000 jobs? 300 jobs for each detainee?As for your xenophobia comment, I do not have an unreasonable hatred of things or people foreign, I just detest the things these terrorists do. These are the people who blow up innocent men, women, and children and we want to bring them to our country and give them trials and Miranda Rights.

Jack.H BRONZE said...
on Jan. 21 2010 at 6:33 pm
Jack.H BRONZE, Elmhurst, Illinois
4 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
No man drowns if he perseveres in praying to God, and can swim. ~Russian Proverb

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

As to your allegation that the detainees would radicalize other prisoners, I addressed that concern when saying that they would be isolated from current inmates at Thompson prison.

As far as keeping terrorists at Gitmo, our country should not resemble the scum of the world who imprison people outside of the court of law. In Gitmo, also, we don't know what they're doing there.

I appreciate your comments, however your fears are largely based on unfounded facts and xenophobia.

As

on Jan. 21 2010 at 4:30 pm
TxDragon BRONZE, Saratoga, California
1 article 0 photos 61 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Come and Take it!" -citizens of Gonzales, Texas, when the Mexicans tried to take away the cannon used to defend their town.

If we were to close Gitmo, we'd be bringing terrorists onto our own soil. Putting them into a prison in the middle of our country, and allowing them to radicalize other prisoners in the prison. What's wrong with keeping the terrorists at Gitmo?


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