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Le Temps, Switzerland

The Puzzle of Guantanamo Bay



By Stéphane Bussard

Addressing those who think that it would be a good idea to close the prison located on American soil in Cuba, [Senator Lindsey Graham] speculates that they have forgotten the 9/11 attacks all too quickly: “Have you lost your mind? We’re at war. Act like you’re at war.”

Translated By Stuart Taylor

3 December 2012

Edited by Gillian Palmer


Switzerland - Le Temps - Original Article (French)

When you talk to him about the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, a symbol of the years of torture under the Bush administration, he does not mince his words. Last Thursday, during a Congressional debate about Guantanamo, Lindsey Graham, South Carolina’s Republican senator, even resorted to hyperbole to express his feelings: “Most Americans believe that the people at Guantanamo Bay are not some kind of burglar or bank robber. They are bent on our destruction. And I stand with the American people that we’re under siege, we’re under attack and we’re at war. Simply stated, the American people don’t want to close Guantanamo Bay, which is an isolated, military-controlled facility, to bring these crazy bastards that want to kill us all to the United States.” Addressing those who think that it would be a good idea to close the prison located on American soil in Cuba, he speculates that they have forgotten the 9/11 attacks all too quickly: “Have you lost your mind? We’re at war. Act like you’re at war.”

Lindsey Graham is not just anyone. These days, he is on every television channel, criticizing the potential candidate for the Secretary of State to replace Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice. The senator is a member of Congress who has often been seen jet-setting across the planet with senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman.

Recently, The New York Times took a completely different position in an editorial, revealing that Guantanamo Bay is still a stain that contaminates American democracy. The daily newspaper recognizes that Barack Obama has not made life easy for himself by trying to keep his promise to close the infamous prison during his first year in the White House. During the electoral campaign, he was virtually never questioned on the topic of Guantanamo. However, on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central, the president nonetheless expressed his ongoing desire to close the prison.

Today, it is principally Congress that is preventing the progress of the case. Congress is making the transfer of the 90 prisoners still detained in Cuba back to their country of origin practically impossible. In two years, there has been almost no transfer of this type. So far, it is even less probable that the prisoners will be transferred to courts on American soil. Human rights and civil rights defense organizations are speaking out. They condemn the fact that we do not wish to give the same judicial rights to Muslims. They are asking Barack Obama to counter his veto on the 2013 adoption of the National Defense Authorization Act, which sets down demands for such transfers to be respected.



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