Beginning at noon Tuesday, December 22, thousands of concerned citizens will rally in Sterling, Illinois against turning the Thomson Correctional Center into Gitmo North. Illinois law mandates a public hearing so inside Sterling High School lawmakers will debate whether to recommend to Governor Pat Quinn that he sell the TCC to the federal government. They have good reason to be concerned.
It is possible that six months from now the only ones safer in America than an indicted former Guantanamo detainee will be those amusing themselves in Thomson by attacking the Military Police.
“Our young military men and women routinely endure the vilest invective imaginable, including death threats that spill over to guards’ families. All soldiers and sailors working “inside the wire” have blacked out their name tags so that the detainees will not learn their identities. Before that step was taken the terrorists were threatening to tell their al-Qaeda pals still at large who the guards were. “We will look you up on the Internet,” the prisoners said. “We will find you and slaughter you and your family in your homes at night. We will cut your throats like sheep. We will drink the blood of the infidel.”
“That is bad enough, but the terrorist prisoners throw more than words at the guards. On a daily basis, American soldiers carrying out their duties within the maximum-security camp are barraged with feces, urine, semen, and spit hurled by the detainees. Secretly fashioned weapons intended for use in attacking guards or fellow detainees are confiscated regularly. When food or other items are passed through the “bean hole,” an opening approximately 4 inches by 24 inches in the cell doors, the detainees have grabbed at the wrists and arms of the Americans feeding them and tried to break their bones.” — Gitmo Jive by ‘Inside Gitmo‘ author Gordon Cucullu,
Life around Thomson would change, for better or worse:
“While the detainees will remain far from public sight, the men and women who will secure them stand to be the main forces of change. The Pentagon expects to deploy a staff of 1,000 to 1,500 people, about two-thirds military and one-third civilian. Service members would not bring their families during the first year, to give school districts time to prepare. Enlisted soldiers might end up living at a nearby military installation, one official said. Because Thomson would host military tribunals, the government also will ask some staff to remain undercover to avoid becoming targets. More security muscle will come from the U.S. Marshals Service, which will protect judges, jurors and prosecutors and their relatives, if necessary.”
Click on image to view a pdf side-by-side comparison of Gitmo to Thomson
The only boom there might be the one lowered on the Mayor. For each of the 100 to 125 detainees held at Thomson, the town would be paid $100
per year per month. That $150,000 might cover the costs of a police force, station, cars, and training, plus legal fees and liability insurance. The tax base will diminish when the federal government either buys or takes property for the TCC to create stand-off distance to employ heavy weapons. On the bright side, business would flourish if defense lawyers and store front mosques set up shop. Yet the town should expect an ACLU-led lawsuit if it outlaws loudspeakers calling the faithful to prayer five times a day without also silencing the ringing of church bells on Sunday mornings.
Guantanamo Bay’s detention facility costs $100 million a year to operate (Cuba reinforces the perimeter for free). If we close it, thousands of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers will patrol far and near and billions of dollars will be spent to secure less than 200 detainees inside the United States. Instead of elite anti-terror units conducting surveillance in line with the gathered intelligence, many will be protecting judges, prosecutors, and others living under dire threat. In addition, the FBI will divert a Joint Terrorism Task Force to assist each pre-trial investigation. No, al Qaeda will not break out of “beyond Supermax.” They’ll just wage jailhouse jihad at every opportunity and force guards to extract them from their cells when its feeding time. The slightest bruise will be dutifully reported to the press by their pro bono lawyers. Those indicted will have similar fun in lockups around the country for, in addition to Manhattan and Brooklyn, an additional 50 detainees will be farmed out for federal prosecution.
Thomson and a few federal courthouses would become fortresses. The trio touting those ideas also handed al Qaeda recruiting tools by comparing our troops to “Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others,” saying “the US has ended torture,” and admitting that “only a few detainees were read their rights.” Those same geniuses want to award war criminals Constitutional due process as the bonus prize for murdering more civilians than soldiers.
“Closing Gitmo would make our neighborhoods less safe,” will probably not be eight words sincerely used by President Barack Obama anytime soon. The protest in Sterling, Illinois on Tuesday is to demand that Congress break a bad campaign promise for him if the President can’t find good reason to do so on his own.