The Washington Times - November 16, 2009, 05:44PM

A little used prison in Thomson, Ill., located 150 miles west of Chicago, is emerging as the favorite setting to house suspected terrorists currently held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  Proponents say the prison would reportedly bring thousands of jobs to Thomson, Ill., where the prison is located, while opponents say the security risk is far too great.

From Tribune newspapers:


“With Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and other key officials warm to the idea of a federal purchase of the prison, federal officials have stepped up investigations into turning Thomson into a super-maximum facility with a unit for former Guantanamo detainees.

“‘This has emerged as a leading option,’ an Obama administration official said Friday night, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions.

“The official wouldn’t say how many of the detainees could transfer to Illinois, describing it only as a ‘limited number.’ The official also wouldn’t say whether the administration envisions Thomson as the sole domestic prison for the former Guantanamo detainees.

“Officials are contemplating the details — including how they would persuade Congress to change a law that bars Guantanamo detainees from the U.S. unless they are here for trial.”

Illinois Bloggers comment:

Lynn Sweet: Quinn, Durbin, Obama White House working on plan

“Gov. Quinn and Obama discussed the federal purchase of the Thomson Correctional Center when Quinn was in Washington on Nov. 4 and visited the White House. The Chicago Sun-Times has learned that Quinn and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) will outline proposals for the future of the prison at press conferences in Rock Island, Chicago and Rockford on Sunday.”

Illinois Review: Republican outrage grows against Quinn’s Gitmo-in-Illinois plan.

“Tomorrow, U.S. Representatives Peter Roskam, Mark Kirk, Judy Biggert and Don Manzullo will hold a press conference to discuss their outrage with the plan.

“And GOP gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard opposed the plan.”

Marathon Pundit: Mark Kirk denounces Gitmo North in Illinois on FoxNews.

Team America’s 10th District Blog: Dems’ Idea of an Economic Boost?

“Senate candidate Mark Kirk is strongly opposed to the idea, and has started an online petition that you can sign. The Dems, of course, are shouting “fear monger!” and tell us we have nothing to worry about. Well, read about what’s happening in Britain with this same kind of set up.”

Clout Street: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk no Gitmo transfer to western Illinois prison

“U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk is circulating a letter among the state’s congressional delegation and state officials urging the White House not to transfer suspected terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to the little-used Thomson state prison in western Illinois.”

Lynn Sweet: Durbin, Quinn stump Sunday for Illinois Guantanmo

“In a fly-around the state Sunday, Gov. Quinn and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) accused GOP political rivals of spreading panic over efforts to house some Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainees at the state’s little used Thomson Correctional Center in northwestern Illinois.

“Republicans, including Rep. Mark Kirk (R-10th), the Republican Senate front-runner, are lining up against the proposal and raising security concerns.

“…Quinn called it a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for Illinois to attract a billion dollars in economic development money and as many as 3,000 jobs to the area around Thomson, 150 west of Chicago.

Illinois Review: Trio of conservatives support terrorists in Illinois.

“David Keene, founder of American Conservative Union, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, and former representative and presidential candidate Bob Barr have signed a statement in favor of moving Gitmo terrorists to Thomson, Illinois.

“Perhaps they wouldn’t be so keen on the idea if it were their backyard.”

Lynn Sweet: Read Obama’s executive order to close Guantanamo Bay.

Marathon Pundit:

“There is a perfect place for these inmates—Guantanamo Bay. It has a state-of-the-art medical facility. Unless one is built for Thomson, terrorist who become ill will have to be treated at a hospital—posing numerous security risks. Such as an escape.

“In a May bloggers’ conference, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) revealed that ‘there are people on the internet and on the airwaves’ planning rescue missions at Gitmo, which is not nearly as accessible as Thomson.”

Marathon Pundit: Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Ryan opposes transfer of Gitmo terrorists to Illinois.

Moline Democratic Maverick: Do Conservatives fear the attractiveness of fundamentalist Islam?

“It is almost as if these Conservatives find fundamentalist Islam’s ideas, commitment, moral certainty and absolutism more attractive in some respects than the traditional American ideals of democracy, freedom, diversity, choice and the rule of law. Why else would they so fear that when the world hears these ideas they will be seduced into anti-American terrorism? They must not believe that demonstrating our commitment to fair trials, rule of law and justice by publicly giving these criminals their day in court will be seen by the world as more attractive and admirable than terrorist rhetoric.”