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*** UPDATED x5 *** Gitmo prisoners on the way soon

Tuesday, Dec 15, 2009 - Posted by Rich Miller

*** UPDATE 5 - 2:35 pm *** Fox Chicago is carrying a live presser by Quinn and Durbin. Click here to watch it live. UPDATE: End. Not much new info.

*** UPDATE 4 - 2:30 pm *** From AFSCME…

Following today’s developments regarding a possible sale of the Thomson Correctional Center to the federal government, AFSCME Council 31 executive director Henry Bayer issued the following statement:

“The governor’s rush to sell Thomson ignores serious questions about the dangerously overcrowded, understaffed Illinois prison system. How can state prisons function safely with more than 45,000 inmates jammed into facilities built for 32,000?

“Events of this week underscore these concerns. Just yesterday, an employee was held hostage for hours by an inmate at a Southern Illinois prison, a standoff that ended with the inmate shot to death. The day before, news reports revealed a secret program that let hundreds of inmates, including violent offenders, walk free after serving just days of their court-ordered sentences.

“Illinois has an oversight process to review the sale. That process should be followed, not short-circuited.”

*** UPDATE 3 - 2:16 pm *** From Dan Hynes…

“As I said at the outset, I have full faith that President Obama would weigh this decision carefully and would never endanger the safety of the people of Illinois, so I trust him to do the appropriate thing regarding Thomson Correctional Center. At this point, however, the process has been ill-served by Governor Quinn.

“At the same time the Governor is asking the people of Illinois to trust him on this difficult issue, which understandably causes some unease, it turns out his administration is secretly releasing criminals, some violent, from prison early, and worse, the Governor didn’t seem to know anything about it. Governor Quinn’s bungled handling of and obfuscation on this program does nothing to instill a climate of competence and confidence that the people of Illinois need at a time and situation like this.

“As the Thomson sale moves forward, we are still waiting for the Governor to give answers to the many questions raised by his secret early release program, and he ought to level with the people of Illinois immediately.”

*** UPDATE 2 - 1:03 pm *** One of the criticisms that Mark Kirk had about the proposed move of the Gitmo prisoners to Thomson was that their trials would be held in Rockford or Chicago, which would “endanger” citizens there. But, like so much else with this hype, it’s not to be

The Obama administration is planning to hold military commission trials at the Thomson Correctional Center, in addition to housing former Guantanamo detainees there.

Also, don’t expect “hundreds” of prisoners

Under a plan officials will unveil in the coming days, the administration plans to send some of the detainees to their home countries and others to third countries, some of which operate rehabilitation programs for suspected terrorists.

The Thomson prison could house between 35 and 90 of the Guantanamo detainees, said one source familiar with the discussions.

And Jim Ryan responds…

“Slow down, Governor Quinn. Moving al-Qaeda terrorists into Illinois should not be done after only a single public hearing three days before Christmas.

Governor Quinn, be true to your word and let the people speak.  If citizens are really in charge in Illinois, then give them an opportunity to speak their mind on this important issue. Schedule a series of real public hearings after the first of the year to allow us to have our say…”

*** UPDATE 1 - 11:53 am *** Gov. Quinn and Sen. Durbin have released a statement…

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn today praised the decision by the Obama Administration to proceed with the acquisition of a state of the art correctional facility in Thomson, Illinois. Senator Durbin and Governor Quinn issued the following statement:

“Thomson Correctional Center – a high security prison – has been sitting empty for eight years. The Obama Administration has put forward a plan to make it the safest prison in America and we are pleased that they have made this decision. This move will have a tremendously positive impact on the local economy — creating more than 3,000 jobs and injecting more than $1 billion into the local economy. This is an opportunity to dramatically reduce unemployment, create thousands of good-paying jobs and breathe new economic life into this part of downstate Illinois.”

In a letter to Governor Quinn, sent by the U.S. Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretaries of State, Defense and Homeland Security, the federal government has signaled its intention to purchase and operate the prison.

They write: “We write to inform you that the President has directed, with our unanimous support, that the Federal Government proceed with the acquisition of the facility in Thomson. Not only will this help address the urgent overcrowding problem at our nation’s Federal prisons, but it will also help achieve our goal of closing the detention center at Guantanamo in a timely, secure, and lawful manner.”

The letter also addresses security concerns that have been raised about transferring Guantanamo detainees to the Thomson facility: “The security of the facility and the surrounding region is our paramount concern. The facility was built in 2001 to maximum security specifications, and after acquisition it will be enhanced to exceed perimeter security standards at the nation’s only “supermax” prison in Florence, Colorado, where there has never been an escape or external attack . . . The President has no intention of releasing any detainees in the United States. Current law effectively bars the release of the Guantanamo detainees on U.S. soil, and the Federal Government has broad authority under current law to detain individuals during removal proceedings and pending the execution of final removal orders.”

[ *** End of Updates *** ]

* Gov. Quinn is in DC today for a White House meeting on transferring Guantanamo Bay prisoners and other hardcore cons to the state’s empty Thomson facility. The decision apparently came late yesterday

Quinn’s office had released his schedule for today shortly before 8 p.m. Monday, saying he would be in Chicago for the day. A revised version was released 2 1/2 hours later, saying he would be in Washington “to be briefed on the acquisition of Thomson Correctional Center.”

Not all elected officials were notified as quickly. A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo, the Republican who represents the Thomson area, said Monday night the congressman had not received any official confirmation from the White House regarding an announcement.

* After backing away a bit from his over the top rhetoric against the prisoner transfer, US Senate candidate Mark Kirk is once again in “in full throated opposition,” a Politico writer opines. Check out Kirk’s campaign website and you’ll see this on the front page…

Clicking the “Join us” link leads you to an online petition addressed to President Obama…

As citizens of 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.

* Almost all of the Republican candidates for governor again voiced strong opposition last night during a candidates’ debate. Jim Ryan

“I think it’s a very bad idea to bring the mastermind of 9-11 to Thomson,” said Ryan. “I have no doubt we can keep him there and he’ll never get out. But no one can tell me there’s no risk.”

Bill Brady

“I think that we’ve got an investment in Guantanamo Bay, and that’s where international terrorists ought to be held, tried and kept,” said state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington. “Thomson (Correctional Center) is a facility we cannot give up right now, particularly in light of the fact the governor is releasing violent inmates.”

Kirk Dillard

“I think al-Qaida terrorists ought to stay in Cuba,” said state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale during a debate among GOP hopefuls Monday night. He called the potential move a “pathetic” example of how desperate the Democrat-run state is for money.

Bob Schillerstrom said he’d consider talking to the feds about it, but he was very critical of the administration

Still, he criticized the state management that has allowed a state-of-the-art prison to sit unused because Illinois lacks the money to open it.

“It’s just amazing, the level of incompetence,” Schillerstrom said.

* The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability will hold a hearing next week in Sterling to discuss the proposed closure. Illinois Review reports that a protest is planned…

Opponents to the prison sale, including Tea Party supporters and a group called “Moms of Soldiers,” are planning a protest outside Madigan’s hearing.

* I wonder if it has occurred to the Quinn administration that this is probably not the best time for a controversy over a “secret” early prisoner release program

“That is crazy,” said state Rep. Mike Boland of East Moline.

Quinn has shutdown the early release program in question after revelations in the media that prisoners were being cut loose after serving just few days of sentences for crimes like repeat drunken driving, drug possession and weapons violations.

Quinn says the program is now under review. […]

Other lieutenant governor candidates to criticize the early releases exposed by the Associated Press Monday were state Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan, Chicago businessman Scott Cohen and Elmhurst electrician Thomas Castillo.

And Gov. Quinn tried to fend off an attack by Dan Hynes over the program…

“When Dan Hynes slings mud he loses ground,” said Quinn.

The governor brushed aside Hynes’ attack. The Quinn campaign was buoyed by the latest Chicago Tribune survey showing the incumbent leading the challenger by a wide margin.

“The voters have made it pretty clear they like my approach to government. I don’t think they like the comptroller’s negative approach to government,” said Quinn.

“Is there something positive about this story? I’m missing that. People are pretty concerned. Eight hundred and fifty people released including some violent criminals. I’m like every other citizen in the state who wants some answers,” said Hynes.


  1. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 10:02 am:

    Bill Brady and Matt Murphy are both on the Commission, so that should help keep the hearing lively. Will they go after the plan or after each other?

  2. - Ghost - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 10:06 am:

    Big points to brady for hitting two excellent, salient points that have nothing to do with fear mongering, and everyhting to do with making fiscally responsibl decisions on the Fed and State level.

    I heard a news blurb about this, this morning in which Quinn was claiming this will bring A Billion into the State economy. I really hate when reproters just pick up soundbite commetns like that and repeat them, espcecially when that figure is sp beyound reality for the revenue the operating prison will generate in Illinois.

  3. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 10:16 am:

    This issue is a political loser.
    It is an ugly combination of NIMBY and insecurity rolled up into one GOP freebie smack dab in the middle of an election cycle.

    Those that argue in favor of this will not be heard by the populace. Terrorists in Guantanamo Bay are not seen, except on television in a far away land. Terrorists in Illinois will be seen by Illinois voters who will recognize personally a dread forced upon them by Illinois Democrats.

    You know what comes next, right? Claims that Obama personally benefits through some murky ties via Chicago with this deal. We have an Illinois president moving international terrorists that were safely held off shore, into an Illinois prison sold to the Feds in a backroom deal. The president is from Chicago. You know, the city that is now the scene of another corrupt Illinois governor, who is spilling the beans on anyone he can smear as he goes down. This is going to be in all the papers throughout 2010.

    This is political suicide for the Democrats, and an unforgetable thorn in the side of voters who question the Illinois Democrats’ decades-long slide into state bankrupsy, corruption, taxes and incompetence.

    You bet the GOP is piling on! It is a winner for them!

  4. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 10:19 am:

    We listened to the fraidy cats at the debate last nite. It was sad. One would think the proWar GOPS would want to prove they can guard these mopes and a few central IL winters might be more punishment than the ocean front gigs in Cuba.
    I guess when you are afraid of your own shadow your thinking is clouded
    BTW you reduce prison guard overtime with more guards not more prisons
    BTW-2 Us suburbanites don’t want to use tollway cash to pay for your state budget deficit — a plan outlined by OneLinerDan last nite.

  5. - Anon - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 10:20 am:

    == The voters have made it pretty clear they like my approach to government. ==

    “Government is best which governs least” Jeffersonians right here in Illinois! Who’d a thunk it?

  6. - 10th Indy - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 10:20 am:

    Kirk’s website has been like that for weeks and a google news search show no new Kirk comments - so I’m not sure how Politico gets to “once again in full-throated opposition”

    Kirk is at least giving citizens opposed to this move a chance to voice thier opinion instead of presenting a done deal a week before the public hearing.

  7. - Responsa - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 10:21 am:

    No matter where one stands on the Gitmo prisoner to Illinois issue, this plan when coupled with the current “early release” program is bound to at least perk up the rather moribund primary season.

  8. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 10:24 am:

    As Brady well knows, there’s no money to get Thomson up and running. That’s why the deal is a winner for the state.

    It’s also a winner for the country. Gitmo was an affront to our values. People need to get over their fear of these guys. They’re fanatical punks, nothing more.

    More terror is inflicted on U.S. citizens every day by Crips, Bloods, BGD, Vice Lords, Latin Kings, Aryan Nation, etc. than these losers could ever commit.

  9. - Bill - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 10:27 am:

    ==The voters have made it pretty clear they like my approach to government==

    What voters? Has there been an election? Oh yeah, the voters who voted for Blagojevich/Quinn in 2006.

  10. - cassandra - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 10:29 am:

    I can’t wait to find out how much the state will get for Thomson and what our Pat is planning to do with the money.

  11. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 10:33 am:

    ==what our Pat is planning to do with the money==

    It will be spent 10 times over before we actually see a dime.

  12. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 10:34 am:

    I saw Dan Hynes at Tenth Dems University last night and I was surprised he bridged a question about the early release program to criticizing Quinn about Thomson.

    Quinn has more liberal/progressive credentials than Hynes. Hynes wants to make the campaign about competence and acumen with the budget.

    IMO, he should have avoided mentioning Thomson. Nobody raised the issue except Dan Hynes.

  13. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 10:50 am:

    Objectively speaking, it was a brilliant political opportunity for the Administration. It allowed them unload these hot potatoes while artificially inflating the jobs-creation potential linked to the transfer. After all, the vast majority of the jobs we keep hearing about will actually support the 94% of the facility that will house domestic convicts. Whick should make you wonder: did the feds need the other 1500 beds badly enough that we could have gotten them to drop the Gitmo part of the deal; or are those beds (and the jobs associated with them) nothing more than a sugar-pill to make us accept what they know neither we nor anyone else would on its own merits? Would it surprise anyone if it turns out that this Administration purchased and staffed an entire prison that it didn’t really need just so it could get cover for the less popular details of its symbolic gesture to the ‘international community?’

  14. - the Patriot - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 10:51 am:

    Brady is right. We just had a hostage situation in P’ville yesterday. Our prisons are way over crowded and early release only shifts burdens back to local law enforcement to catch these guys again to send them back. Don’t give away another long term asset for short term case.

    Second, once they set foot in the U.S. the constitution applies. We have to eithe try them or release them. Most were not Mirandize so their statements are not admissible. Second, the evidence was collected for the purposes of conducting military operations, not prosecution in criminal court. We have to be able to try these guys in a hurry, on little or no evidene once they come here.

  15. - Will County Woman - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 10:56 am:

    -terrorist cells operating in chicago( the link below is about the two alleged mumbai terrorists from chicago)
    -a nuclear facility 20 miles away from thomson
    -thomson, 150 miles west of chicago, is now the new home of enenmy combatant detainees deemed the “worst of the worst” by the federal government/two white house administrations.

    if they are the “worst of the worst,” why haven’t they been tried and convicted yet? when will they be tried? where will they be tried? what risks to homeland/national security are associated with the prolonged detainment of the “worst of the worst” enemy combatants, and are the risks worth whatever the so-called monetary benefits to thompson or the state of illinois? did anybody do a risk assessment or cost-benefit assessment before the thomson deal was done in October? given that other states e,g. kansas under then-guv sebelius passed on housing gitmo 9/11 enemy combatants, the risks/costs were not whatever the so-called benefits, monetary or otherwise.

    we currently have an unmandated governor making unilateral decisions, in his short-term political interests, that have long-term and unknown ramifications for the state; this is the sam governor is recently discovered to have approved and overseen a secret policy that let 850+ violent and dangerous felons out of prison early to save the state money.

    then, we have a white house (aka the harvard brain trust) that has told us all year long that its stimulus was working and not to worry, despite the proof on the ground to the contrary all year long. the harvard brain trust repeatedly reported grossly inflated and incorrect numbers about its stimulus’ job growth and retention. we found out last month that the harvard brain trust has been wrong all yet about its stimulus’ results.

    we are told not to worry about enenmy combatant detainees escaping from thomson. ok, we won’t. we aren’t. with governor quinn and the harvard brain trust, what could possibly go wrong that we might find out about after the fact—when it’s too late?

    we aren’t and never have been concerned about enemy combatants escaping from u.s. federal custody. many of us are concerned about terrorist cells in chicago and elsewhere that will seize upon the issue of thomson housing their countrymen and fellow terrorists as a rallying cry for to mount terrorist attacks on Chicago or the nuclear facility 20 miles away from thomson or anywhere else. why is this not a concern of, or shared by, the harvard brain trust and pat “i’m running for governor and that’s all i care about ” quinn?

  16. - Will County Woman - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:00 am:

    “Gitmo was an affront to our values.”–wordslinger

    really? how so?

  17. - Joe from Joliet - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:07 am:

    Illinois Democrats are absolutely determined to sell government assets in order to scrape up some money to pay routine bills. CaCHING! There goes another one. I wonder how far under cost the selling price was/will be?

  18. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:08 am:

    –really? how so?–

    Holding people indefinitely without charge, with no access to legal representation and outside the reach of the courts.

    Maybe not your values.

  19. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:14 am:

    Gitmo was an affront to our values. People need to get over their fear of these guys.

    You are so off on this one, word. The “affronts” to our values can be found in what Patriot and GOP said. Have you forgotten Holder’s response to “What if we caught bin Laden tomorrow”, or are you just focused on one aspect of the issue?

    Most aren’t afraid of the prisoners themselves, word. We’re afraid of what this Administration is doing with regard to the ambiguity they’ve caused in what’s supposed to be done once they’re captured and how they’re supposed to be tried AND how all of these changes apply to those who are already in prison.

    Furthermore, I’m not looking forward to what they’re “testimonies” in Federal Court are going to do to this Country. Pleading “not guilty” so that they can talk about our “foreign policy”?!!! Come on! That’s not what our courts are for.

  20. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:22 am:

    ===I’m not looking forward to what they’re “testimonies” in Federal Court are going to do to this Country. ===

    You apparently know next to nothing about federal trials. They’re heavily stacked against a loudmouth defendant. And, even so, I’m not sure we should base policy on what some criminal doofus might say in court.

  21. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:23 am:

    In other words, word. THEY are the one’s who are supposed to be on trial; NOT the US.

  22. - Will County Woman - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:23 am:

    “Holding people indefinitely without charge, with no access to legal representation and outside the reach of the courts.”

    I addressed some of this in my previous post on this thread and on numerous occassions before on this blog.

    Unlike you, I don’t see how detaining them indefinitely in the U.S. without a trial makes it any better, or any less of an affront to OUR values.

  23. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:25 am:

    OK, time to move on. This national debate is beyond the scope.

  24. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:29 am:

    Sorry, Rich, but Holder’s answers left me with zip confidence in how the trial’s will be handled. You have to admit that he (and I’m being kind) sounded just a little unprepared to handle all of this.

    And do you really think that whatever comes out in the media isn’t going to create a heck of alot of controversy in this Country? Just the articles alone containing the terrorists’ attorney’s statement re: pleading “not guilty” to talk about our foreign policy sound like trouble. I bet that perked up some ears.

  25. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:29 am:

    OK. Sorry. Just saw your 11:25. I’m done.

  26. - Irish - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:31 am:

    I believe the argument that if the Gitmo prisoners are housed at Thomson then that gives Al Quaida a reason to move to Illinois kinda went out the window when two terrorists with Al Quaida affiliations FROM Chicago planned the attacks in Mumbai India.

  27. - Leave a Light on George - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:33 am:

    ===You apparently know next to nothing about federal trials. They’re heavily stacked against a loudmouth defendant. And, even so, I’m not sure we should base policy on what some criminal doofus might say in court.===

    Wait til that doofus is Governor F - bomb. Bet there are lots more policy changes to come as a result.

  28. - Will County Woman - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:35 am:

    Cassandra, if the $200million needed to cover students MAP grants for the upcomimg spring semester has not yet been secured, I’m guessing some of the money from the sale of Thomson will go toward that.

    Then again, it depends on how fast the sale occurs and the check is cut. The spring semester starts soon, but schools may be willing to wait it out provided they know that the money is on the way.

  29. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:40 am:

    ===I’m guessing some of the money from the sale of Thomson will go toward that. ===

    You’re guessing wrong.

  30. - Will County Woman - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:43 am:

    Ok. Sometimes I guess right and sometimes I guess. It’s a 50/50 type of thing ya know.

    So, if there profit how can/will it be used?

  31. - Secret Square - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:52 am:

    Since I wasn’t around for the worst of the Cold War maybe someone else can answer this question for me:

    Did people used to oppose building new military bases or installations in their state/community back in the 50s and 60s because it might make them a more likely target for Soviet nukes, or for Russian spies? If the prospect of becoming the target of a nuclear superpower didn’t scare people then, why should this scare them now?

  32. - Will County Woman - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:58 am:

    Irish, ‘
    I disagree with you. we have a problem in this country of keeping people who should not be here out according to recent estimates we’re looking at 20 million people by law should not be here, but are. our borders are extremely vulnerable, fortunately or unfortunately the federal government doesn’t even try to lie about this sad fact.

    we have a terrorist cell in Chicago that was involved with the Mumbai attacks. And the Chicago participants were discovered AFTER the deadly Mumbai terrorists attack, not before. So, this futher illustrates that terrorists can and are often one step ahead, while the U.S. is behind. And I don’t for moment think that the two Chicagoans suspected in the mumbai attacks are the only two. these just happen to be the two who have been caught so far. let’s be honest there are terrorist cells throughout the united states, and so long as we continue to have national/homeland security vulnerabilities e.g., our borders, the number of cell operatives will continue to expand. they’re thinking is: let’s get in while we can and while we can with little or no detection.

  33. - cermak_rd - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 12:06 pm:

    Given that AFSCME has proven it has the political muscle to prevent the closure or relocation of prison facilities, it would be madness to open another prison staffed with their members. At least having Thomson be run by the Feds means it’s Federal employees.

  34. - Will County Woman - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 12:09 pm:

    Secret Square if anything I would think that people back then would have thought they were safer with military bases around them.

    Also, people back then trusted and believed in what their government leaders told them. Post mid- 1960s we no longer blindly accept what government leadership says, especially where military stuff is concerned (e.g. Gulf of Tonkin, WMD)

    The Cold War was symmetric warfare (there were certain internationally accepted standards by which the u.s. and russians played)

    Terrorists engage in asymmetric warfare (terrorists don’t play by any rules). So, that is why so many of us are concerned about Thomson and the possible ramifications associated with it.

  35. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 12:11 pm:

    ===Also, people back then trusted and believed in what their government leaders told them.===

    Please. Have you ever seen the press clippings on 19th Century presidents?

  36. - Will County Woman - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 12:19 pm:

    People didn’t question Eisenhower or Truman on Korea. The young men who were forced into service didn’t complain about it. They went to Korea.

    @ Cermak Rd

    I don’t know that the good people of Thomson are aware that the 3000, or how ever many, jobs are likely to be federal and tough to get. BOP (Bureau of Federal Prisons) has a lot of job qualifaction hurdles, for security reasons–it’s kinda like the military.

  37. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 12:20 pm:

    I’d argue there’s no comparison, Square, primarily based on *perception* of position, numbers, location, and general “sentiment”.

  38. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 12:23 pm:

    Quinn made a unilateral decision? WCW, please take a deep breath and come back if and when you are rational…

  39. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 12:23 pm:

    WCW, have you noticed how sometimes the people who talk the most have the least to say?

  40. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 12:27 pm:

    ===The young men who were forced into service didn’t complain about it. They went to Korea. ===

    They didn’t complain? You ever meet a GI? Or a draftee?

    You need a break, I’m afraid.

  41. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 12:31 pm:

    Quinn made a unilateral decision?

    Reminds me of the time our Village was faced with fierce opposition to replacing one public service building with two. Trustees skipped the debate by literally asking in a newsletter what kind of drapes we thought should hang on the windows.

  42. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 12:34 pm:

    ==People didn’t question Eisenhower or Truman on Korea==

    I doubt that is true. In the US, people have always questioned the government. It’s a tradition! It may have been quieter in the late 40’s and early 50’s because you risked being labeled a “red.”

  43. - Will County Woman - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 12:35 pm:

    No Carl, sorry if my views don’t coincide with yours on this issue, and frankly I really don’t care what you or anyone else thinks of me or my opinions. Thomson may not be of concern to you, but it is to a lot of other people. Also, there are so many questions that have not been asked or answered about the Thomson.

  44. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 12:38 pm:

    Where will the money go? That would make a great QOTD!

    Should go: To build a new prison next to an old one that needs to be torn down.

    Will go: Into the general fund to help pay the state’s bills and payroll.

    Quinn will also trot around the state telling people the money is being used to pay for “this project” and “that program.” As I said above, it will be “spent” 10 times over before a dime ever gets here.

  45. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 12:41 pm:

    WCW, why don’t you move along now? You’ve made your point — nine times so far. This is an open conversation (that’s what blogs are for), not a forum for you.

    And don’t bother responding to mine because I totally disagree with you but am equally as unpersuadable on this. Screaming about it here isn’t going to change anything. It just gives the rest of us a headache wading through all of your griping to see if anyone else has something worthwhile to say.

  46. - Judgment Day Is On The Way - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 1:05 pm:

    1) How much money are we (IL) going to get back. Forget “the $1 bil into the economy” nonsense - I’d like to know if we’re going to cover our costs.
    2) If not (getting back what we have invested), then what is our “leadership” thinking?
    3) And lastly, what’s the cash inflow going to be used for. Better be to pay down bills, or better yet, use the money to pay down the outstanding debt we incurred to build Thomson in the first place.

    This entire debate really needs to be on “Show Me The Money…..” If insufficient money in the deal for Illinois, then forgetaboutit….

  47. - MrJM - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 1:08 pm:

    I’m proud that our State and Nation have found the gumption to hold and try these prisoners on our soil.

    Finally, we are showing ourselves to be more principled and made of stronger stuff than those who would destroy us.

    – MrJM

  48. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 1:10 pm:

    And dont forget, Square, we’ve suffered one direct hit since then. As much as people would like to forget and move on (i.e., become complacent), it changed things a bit.

  49. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 1:11 pm:

    I am very frightened of this. I am certain that the constitution requires we will have to allow the terrorists to build a camp outside of Thomson. We will have to allow them into the prison to visit their terrorist friends and give them weapons of mass destruction which they will use to break out of the prison. From there, they will travel to the nearby nuclear power plant and blow it up. After that, they will travel to Bloomington-Normal, buy a bunch of houses and and put them up for sale causing a crash in the local housing market. Next they will travel to Chicago and join the Cubs, ruining a perfectly good ball club. They will then buy the Tribune and it will go broke. Then they will take over the Chicago school system and force large numbers of students to drop out. They will hop a train to Springfield where they will take our budget and make a mess of it by overspending. Then it will be back to Chicago where they will put Rod Blagojevic on TV and radio. On New Year’s Eve, they will force drunken revelers to get in their cars and drive around recklessly. They will go to Soldier Field and distract the Bears so much they won’t make the playoffs. Their next target will be social service providers, whose budgets they will devastate and force to close. They will start close state parks, make us burn fossils fuels until we run out (and overheat the planet), put Asian Carp into Lake Michigan, ahhhhh! Oh, the pain, the agony!

    I am sooo afraid of the terrorists.

    Please, a few terrorists in NW Illinois is the least of our worries.

  50. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 1:18 pm:

    You forgot the Cook County sales tax!

    Otherwise, good post.

    Other than the sale price, my big concern is our state image. So, now we’re corrupt, Blagojevich-enabling terrorist jailers? Sheesh.

    Harold Washington used to say (paraphrasing) “Before, whenever you told somebody you were from Chicago they said, ‘Al Capone, rat-a-tat-tat.’ Now, they all ask ‘How’s Harold?’”

    Flast to the future: Before, whenever you told somebody that you were from Illinois, they said, “Rod Blagojevich, how could you?” Now, they ask “How’s Gitmo?”

  51. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 1:26 pm:

    I just read Mayor Daley’s comments about the feds footing the bill for security costs assoicated with thomson enemy combtants.

    he’s the same mayor who justified demolishing megis field in the middle of the night because he feared that the small island airport would entice terrorists. some said then and now that he totally overreacted and that his concerns were totally unfounded. it’s funny how politicians do and say things to suit their own purposes. Daley is on the job bandwagon with respect to thomson.

    the cavalier attitudes and hypocrisy of many in goverment (and elsewhere) on this thomson deal is sad. we always suffer some tragedy only for government officials to make excuses and say that if they had known…we didn’t know….we couldn’t have possibly imagined….

    In the case of thomson the saddest part is that none of the government officials involved bothered to try to find out, meaning flesh the idea out more to make sure all concerned parties are aware of what illinois is getting into.

    government spends a lot of money getting things wrong, usually.

  52. - Will County Woman - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 1:28 pm:

    Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 1:26 pm = Will County Woman (I didn’t realize my name wasn’t on until after I posted that)

  53. - Plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 1:28 pm:

    What is disturbing about the Thomson decision is the abandonment of process.

    Where is the legislative decision to dispose of excess property? Where is the negotiation for the value of the facility.

    There is a whole raft of things one should do before embarking on this adventure? Why are non of them being done?

  54. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 1:30 pm:

    That last one wasn’t me, but interesting.

  55. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 1:31 pm:

    Funny. I was going to ask whether that was WCW.

  56. - Will County Woman - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 1:33 pm:

    “We will have to allow them into the prison to visit their terrorist friends and give them weapons of mass destruction which they will use to break out of the prison…”

    Who exactly is saying any of that? Mark Kirk? he hasn’t said anything like that. No one in opposition to the hastiness of the thomson deal has said anything like that. In fact whenever I hear that or see stuff like that it comes from people who are mocking legitmate concerns about terrorists attacking northern illinois.

  57. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 1:34 pm:

    WCW, that was pure snark.

    Take a break or I’ll make you take a break.

  58. - Secret Square - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 1:41 pm:

    “And dont forget, Square, we’ve suffered one direct hit since then. As much as people would like to forget it and move on (i.e. become complacent)…”

    Of course we cannot afford to become complacent. We couldn’t afford to become complacent after Pearl Harbor, either, and that’s why communities all over the country started having air raid drills, and instituting other civil defense measures. The threat of another attack on U.S. soil was real and not to be dismissed (in fact there WERE incidents involving the Japanese on the West Coast early in the war that were not publicized for obvious reasons). There were battles and air raids going on overseas nearly every day that killed far more than 3,000 people, and we never knew when that might happen here.

    Likewise the threat of a nuclear attack on U.S. soil was nothing to be “complacent” about after the Russians got the H-bomb, beat us into space (Sputnik), started building missiles in Cuba, etc.

    Yet for all that, I have yet to hear of a single instance in which the residents of a state or community protested the placement of a POW camp, military base, weapons factory, or even nuclear missile silos in their locale, on the grounds that it would make them a more likely target for the enemy. (If I’m wrong feel free to correct me)

    Why were they less afraid of Hitler, Tojo, Stalin, Khruschev, and Castro then, than we are of Osama, KSM, et al., today?

    Actually, I would rather the terrorist suspects had stayed in Gitmo, and that Thomson were used for its original purpose — to relieve overcrowding in ILLINOIS prisons. However, I don’t see where this move warrants all sorts of panic about us becoming more of a terrorist target than we already are.

  59. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 1:43 pm:

    Hynes is starting to erode my general positive view of him as a person…he is acting more and more like a politician who is getting desperate…

  60. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 2:02 pm:

    The end of the Quinn/Durbin statement doesn’t fill me with a lot of confidence regarding what I think is the core issue here. The President has “no intention” of releasing any detainees in the U.S.? Current law “effectively” bars their release on U.S. soil? Why all the hedging? Similarly, it should be noted that the unnamed senior WH official only said that “the plan would be” to hold the military commission trials. Seems to me that a little more certainty might be nice.

    Perhaps they’d like to explain why are not confident in saying that the President WILL NOT release these detainees in the U.S., and that current law EXPLICITLY bars such release? Or that military commissions WILL be the system under which these detainees are tried? Is it because the laws in question are vague and untested, and if the courts rule the other way the President would be constitutionally powerless to avert such a result?

  61. - Secret Square - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 2:05 pm:

    “They will hop a train to Springfield where they will take our budget and make a mess of it by overspending.”

    And devastate downtown with high speed rail overpasses just for good measure!

  62. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 2:13 pm:

    …and they will pass a tax increase before November ‘10 and balance the budget…

  63. - LINK - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 2:14 pm:

    I am surprised that no one has taken umbrage over Quinn’s calling Thompson, IL “downstate”….as it sure looks to me it’s just west of Chicago in the northern third of the state. But then again…

  64. - LincolnLounger - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 2:14 pm:

    I have mixed feelings on this issue, but I am so surprised that only one individual (Thank you, Plutocrat)is question the legality of the Governor deciding that he can unilaterally “sell” a state asset at his whim? Remember the uproar when Blago was closing an office in Springfield and “moving” jobs to southern IL? If I recall, it required oversight by the AG and a legislative body? Why is there no discussion of this aspect instead of all the hysteria on things not in control of Illinois?

  65. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 2:15 pm:

    Square, I raised my last comment simply in support of my argument that comparing what’s going on today to the days of the Cold War is a difficult–if not impossible–thing to do.

    With regard to your last paragraph, feel free to apply my previous “out of scope” comments to your query. Don’t necessarily restrict your scenarios to “physical” harm.

  66. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 2:21 pm:

    ==whenever I hear that or see stuff like that it comes from people who are mocking legitmate concerns about terrorists attacking northern illinois.==

    Consider yourself mocked. :P

    With respect to your “legitimate concerns”, if they are legitimate (and I do not concede that they are), we have many more pressing concerns to our health, safety, and welfare. I suspect that Quinn is probably more comfortable discussing Thomson than he is discussing the budget mess and the host of issues that stem from it.

    Stay focused people! This whole prison thing is a grand distraction from the things that truly put us at risk.

  67. - Vote Quimby! - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 2:32 pm:

    thomson presser on fox news live now

  68. - Vote Quimby! - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 2:32 pm:

    Quinn: this will be the most secure prison in our country

  69. - Vote Quimby! - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 2:34 pm:

    Quinn: FEDERAL prisons are overcrowded (emphasis mine)

  70. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 2:41 pm:

    Henry Bayer has a ton of nerve to criticize Quinn for selling Thomson when Bayer refused to close down one of the dilapidated/outdated/overcrowded prisons in IL and move inmates/personel to Thomson…I couldn’t agree more though that this brouhaha is a distrction from the real fiscal crisis in this state…stay focused people indeed!

  71. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 2:41 pm:

    Woohoo. Lynn Sweet just shut down an attempt to shut down the presser. Cold. “I’m sorry! We’re not done!” lol Don’t mess with Sweetie.

  72. - Vote Quimby! - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 2:47 pm:

    So what was the final price tag? $140 million?

  73. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 2:49 pm:

    This whole prison thing is a grand distraction from the things that truly put us at risk.

    See what I mean, Square?

  74. - Responsa - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 2:55 pm:

    Military trials to be held at the Thomson facility per an unamed administration official.(Lynn Sweet)

  75. - Champaign Dweller - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 3:13 pm:

    What bothers me is the sale of a prison at a time when the rest of the State’s prisons are overcrowded and we had been releasing convicted criminals who served little or no time to ease that overcrowding. How does selling this address that issue? I assume that it doesn’t, and the State has no money to build another prison (or anything else, for that matter).

  76. - Responsa - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 3:25 pm:

    Champaign Dweller, hey, selling the parking meters for upfont cash seemed like a good idea at the time, too. (And was pushed through quickly and in near secrecy sort of like the Thomson deal.)

  77. - Cindy Lou - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 3:51 pm:

    Looplady, how would closing down a currently used prison and moving the prisoners to Thomson help with the overcrowded and understaffed conditions? We have about 13,000 OC now, Thomson would hold roughly 1,600 to 2,000. Leaving well over 10,000 OC is still overcrowded and understaffed.

    Closing down one prison to open another does nothing to solve the problems in prison conditions. I believe part of the workers fear with the selling of the vacant prison means that the overcrowded conditions the now face will never have a chance for improvement.

    I have a hunch if the state really had an unneeded prison and conditions in the remaining prisons were at capacity (maybe even slightly over) and safely staffed to ratio, you’d find selling a prison to the federal government something the union would be overly concerned about. The union has been begging for years to have properly capacity inmates, proper ratio staff and less mandated overtime.

  78. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 3:53 pm:

    =and the State has no money to build another prison (or anything else, for that matter)=

    Whaa? We have all kinds of money for jobs-creating building projects. Why just last week, CD, Gov. Quinn was in your fine city cutting a ribbon on the restoration of Lincoln Hall there on campus. There’s $32 Billion with a B for those JOBS, er, projects. Nobody asked for a prison, though.

  79. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 3:56 pm:

    The statement Hynes made is the correct one to play right now. Giannoulais has to say something similar.

    The Democrats are being forced into this political mess and they can’t badmouth their president. Whatever money is given Illinois will be forgotten long before the anger of what this is, and how it was handled will die down.

    Expect to see Thomson in political ads until 2012.

    This does not end the Guantanamo debate. It doesn’t end the terrorist debate. It only shifts the argument from Cuba to Illinois which makes it more emotional and angrier. The debate doesn’t end until the War ends, and the last of the detainees is returned to their homeland. The Administration has not thought this through, regardless of what Hynes adroitly claims.

    This is a horrible ad-hoc political decision that is going to be a terrible thorn in the side of the Democratic Party, especially in Illinois.

    Those who wish to defend the President will have to continue calling everyone who questions it a coward, because there is no politically defensible position to take when voters start rebelling against this. Legal arguments don’t satisfy emotional ones. Eventually, this will be seen as a terrible political mistake that will cost the Democrats dearly.

    Bad! Bad! Bad!

  80. - Plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 4:07 pm:

    Whenever things are being done in a rush or on the QT there is hancky panky going on.

    Making Thomson the epicenter of the trials was not something floated in the beginning. What else will they decide to do that they are not telling us?

    Makes me think that someone is making it up as they go along.

    So how much for the prison? How much to pay off the bonds? How much to build the prison needed to help with the overcrowding?

    With all the handwringing I see here about union employees getting shafted, why is no one listening to what the unions are saying about this deal?

  81. - 10th Indy - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 4:23 pm:

    Kirk may have over-reacted when the thomson move was first brought up but his reaction today via Lynn Sweet is spot on:

    “On November 20th, members of the Illinois congressional delegation asked detailed questions about the Administration’s plan to bring al Qaeda detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Illinois. Nearly one month later, we are still waiting for answers. Without a vote, public hearing or detailed plan, the Administration is moving quickly to force the citizens of Illinois to accept this unnecessary risk. The citizens of Illinois deserve better.”

  82. - southern illinoisan - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 4:50 pm:

    Hynes is absolutely right to point out the failings of the Quinn administration. The prison early release plan is a terrible idea. IDOC is only one of the many agencies that is floundering under poor management. Brady is correct in saying that all upper management should be fumigated. 75-80% are totally worthless. The Pinckneyville CC hostage / shooting is one of multiple incidents in the last few years. What does it take for the public to wake up and demand change? A full-scale riot with staff being killed? It is amazing to me that Quinn has a 20+ poin lead over Hynes in the latest poll. Are the voters of Illinois really that stupid? I hope not….

  83. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 15, 09 @ 11:22 pm:

    I’m proud as hell today for the State of Illinois.
    We’re not scared. This ain’t our first rodeo.

    Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Grant and Ms. Addams would be proud as well.

    These punks don’t like Thomson? Send them to 26th and Cal, and lets see how tough they are.

    And by the way, any terrorists who want to cause trouble in norhwestern Illinois, I suggest they pack a lunch. Because it’s an all-day job.

    On this issue alone, here’s to Pres. Obama, Sen. Durbin and Gov. Quinn. Once again, proud to be from Illinois.

  84. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 1:25 am:

    Yeah, word, share that last post with the survivors who were closest to the Towers. They’re still trying to get their lives back together again. (Rich, was that you who posted the Twitter link a while back from one of the survivors?)

  85. - WindyCityGardener - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 7:33 am:

    It just doesn’t get any sadder than this in Illinois. Those poor people in Thomson. They welcome this because they have no other options for feeding their families.Think about it. They are going to be serving animals who hate them and spit on them. Would like nothing better than to mutilade all the men women and children in that community.
    Nice going with those jobs programs Obama.

  86. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 8:28 am:

    Here’s to the State of Illinois for doing its bit. We should be proud.

    For too long, the burden of this battle has been borne by volunteers. And it’s been paid for with borrowed money.

    If it’s a fight worth fighting, we should all put our shoulders to it. Cowboy up.

  87. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 9:40 am:

    Yeah - we should be proud to be from Illinois, yet we have about a dozen infamous reasons not to be right now.

    Becoming the new Guantanamo isn’t going to help one bit, anymore than it helped the old Guantanamo. As this thing unravels, you bet Illinois is going to be in the news - in yet another embarrassing way.

    What would the press have said if Bush made a deal to send Guantanamo terrorists to Texas? You think there wouldn’t be talk about how the Texan president arranged a deal with his fellow Texans to ship several hundreds of millions to an empty Texas prison? As Sarah would say, “You betcha’!”

    This whole thing is going to explode in our faces, and in a very ugly way.


  88. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 10:53 am:

    VMan, I have no doubt you prefer others to bear all the burdens and take all the risks on your behalf.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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