Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Gitmo Detainees Coming to Illinois, GOP Suggests We All Cower In Fear

The administration announced today that some of the detainees from the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will be moving to the Thomson Correction Center in Illinois.  The Republican Leadership is going all out to convince the American public that:

o  a US Supermax prison is not up to the task of holding terrorism suspects;

o  the US system of justice is not up to the task of dealing with enemy combatants, and;

o  the US cannot be made safe from Al Qaeda under any circumstances.

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., the No. 3 House GOP leader, said moving terrorist suspects to the United States would put the public at risk.

“The Obama administration is putting international public relations ahead of public safety,” Pence said.

Not exactly the rousing speech President Bush gave from the smoking rubble at Ground Zero, but this is the new, improved and more timid, GOP.

Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

AP Photo, Spencer Green

Henry C. Jackson at AP shares information as to the types of detainees and outcomes that will be processed at the Thomson facility.  None of these appear to include “arming terrorism suspects and releasing them into the surrounding woods”:

Administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they could not yet lay out a timeframe for when a transfer of detainees from the Navy-run detention facility to Thomson. They said the administration would have to work with Congress to amend laws and secure funding before any prisoners are brought to U.S. soil.

The officials said military tribunals for potential detainees would be held at Thomson. They also said that the facility could house detainees whom the president determines must be held indefinitely but can’t be tried.

So, it appears that the administration will still be able to handle the detainees much as they have been at Gitmo, legally providing military tribunals for some, indefinite detainment for others and conceivably processing through the more standard court system for others.  If we aren’t careful we might just demonstrate that the Rule of Law is the law of the land in America, and you know what sort of terrible precedent that would set.

Congressman Don Manzullo (R-CO) on CNN today tried to articulate the danger he sees looming by holding prisoners in an American Supermax prison:

It serves as a magnet.  I mean, when you take a look for example there was an article in the Washington Post Saturday.  Two Yemeni brothers.  One has been in Gitmo for eight years, the other is in Yemen.  And the one in Yemen said, “When President Obama promised to close Gitmo we thought it meant he would be releasing the prisoners, but if he decides to move them to the mainland of the US the hatred will be even greater, people will be more prone to acts of violence.”

Well, I can’t say I really care what someone in Yemen wants us to do, and I don’t support my government making decisions based on what makes Al Qaeda happy.  Forgive me if I’m just slow, but if we start making decisions in attempts to do what our enemies want us to do haven’t we already lost?

Screw Al Qaeda, I don’t care what makes them and their supporters happy.  I care about my country living up to its own standards.


  1. Well, they will if Americans allow these asshats to keep them from demanding justice and living in fear.

    Reposted for relevance:

    Ramzi Yousef-Captured in Pakistan, convicted for role in Bojinka plot in 1996, convicted for role in 1993 WTC bombing, sent to ADX Florence.

    Wali Khan Amin Shah-Captured in Manila, convicted for role in Bojinka plot, sent to ADX Florence

    Abdul Hakim Ali Hashim Murad – Captured in Manila, convicted for role in Bojinka plot, sent to ADX Florence

    Eyad Ismoil – Captured in Amman, extradited to US, convicted of role in 1993 WTC bombing, sent to ADX Florence

    Khalfan Khamis Mohamed-Captured in Cape Town, convicted of 1998 Embassy bombings, sent to ADX Florence

    Mahmud Abouhalima-Captured in Egypt, convicted of 1993 WTC bombings, sent to ADX Florence

    Mohamed Rashed Daoud Al-Owhali-Convicted of 1998 Embassy bombings, sent to ADX Florence

    Mohammed Odeh-Captured in Karachi, convicted of 1998 Embassy bombings, sent to ADX Florence

    Mohammed A. Salameh-Convicted of involvement in 1993 WTC bombing, sent to ADX Florence

    Mohammed Ali Hassan Al-Moayad-Captured in Germany, convicted of federal crimes related to funding Hamas, sent to ADX Florence

    Apparently, Colorado hasn’t disappeared in a geyser of radioactive vapor from all the pure EVIL concentrated there…


  2. HappyinVT

    the facility could house detainees whom the president determines must be held indefinitely but can’t be tried.

    If KSM can be tried then surely others can, too.  Or they need to be released.  Or the president will need to make a very strong case for holding these guys.  I’m more skeptical about this than I am regarding Afghanistan so it would be an extremely tough sell.

    BTW, I’m surprised no one has raised the issue that these detainees are going to IL, Obama’s home state.

  3. Shaun Appleby

    They were detained along with other assorted recidivist felons the deterrent effect would be all the stronger.

  4. HappyinVT

    “There’s the political side about whether the Guantanamo detainees should be brought to American soil, but once that argument is settled, we may as well have them here,” said Todd Smith, who owns Buck’s Barn Golf Resort, a recreational complex about two miles north of the prison with an 18-hole golf course, 53-room hotel and restaurant.

    “Any place that would have been a good target for terrorist before won’t change on the basis of where the prisoners are being held.”


    Lisa Johnson, who helps manage the Station convenience store in Thomson, says economic interests trump any lingering security concerns.

    “Everybody’s sick and tired of paying taxes on something that’s not bringing in any revenue,” she said. “Some people are afraid because they use the word terrorist. … I’m concerned too, but now that the prison is here, fill it up.”


    But Tuesday’s announcement will not solve all the administration’s Guantanamo-related problems. More than 200 detainees will remain at Guantanamo, and the White House faces other legal issues and potential resistance from Congress.


  5. HappyinVT

    On a conference call just now, senior administration officials provided some details about their plan for detaining Guantanamo detainees at Illinois’ Thomson Correction Center. The facility will be for a “limited number” of detainees, a senior administration official told reporters, for those “who would face trial [in] military commissions.” A different official clarified that “I think the plan would be to hold the military commissions at Thomson.”

    But Thomson will not be a way station for out-processing Guantanamo detainees back to their home countries. Nor will it house detainees who will face prosecutions in federal court – those detainees will be transferred the jurisdictions trying them. Finally, a senior administration official said that while “notionally” it could house detainees for indefinite or preventive detention – the so-called “Fifth Category” of detainees who the administration contends cannot be tried in any forum nor responsibly released – the administration has not yet identified any detainees who fall into that category. Accordingly, neither official told reporters how many detainees at Guantanamo it had identified for transfer to Thomson, saying the process of review remains ongoing.


  6. rfahey22

    I’m sure that there was no outcry to transfer Timothy McVeigh to Gitmo, even though he was a domestic terrorist who arguably was “at war” with the U.S.  This is probably just one of those issues that will disappear after the prisoners are transferred, at which point it will become obvious that the world didn’t explode.

  7. HappyinVT

    Representative John Boehner said at least at least two pieces of legislation would have to go through Congress before the U.S. government can move any of the detainees to an Illinois prison — and he doubted either bill would pass.

    “I wouldn’t want to bet on when those two pieces of legislation will pass, if ever,” Boehner told reporters.

    The Democrats have a majority in both houses of Congress, but lawmakers in both parties are nervous about President Barack Obama’s pledge to close the prison camp at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba that houses foreign terrorism suspects.

    This week the administration said it planned to buy an Illinois prison and move some Guantanamo detainees there.

    But current U.S. law bars Guantanamo detainees from being brought onto U.S. soil, unless they are going to be prosecuted. Boehner suggested that provision would need to be changed…


Comments are closed.