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Eight O'Clock Ferry to the Windward Side: Seeking Justice In Guantanamo Bay Paperback – December 30, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books; Reprint edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568584091
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568584096
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,369,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Clive Stafford Smith is the Legal Director of the UK charity Reprieve, whose clients include forty detainees in Guantánamo Bay and prisoners on death row. He lives in London, England.

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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. Putley on October 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is not an anti-American book. What it is against is torture, injustice, false imprisonment, inhumanity, and the betrayal of American core values and fundamental beliefs.

This book (previously published in the UK as "Bad Men") discloses that a considerable number of the prisoners at Guantánamo Bay were at the time of their capture, and of course still are, totally innocent, but being in the wrong place at the wrong time were sold into captivity by locals greedy for the bounty offered by the US. Amnesty International has published a finding that "hundreds of people" were arbitrarily detained, after the US offered cash payments, in leaflets dropped by American aircraft, for information on Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters. This "rewards programme" resulted in a frenetic market in abductees. It is the reason for the false imprisonment of uncounted men and boys in American secret prisons, in secret locations around the world, and at Guantánamo Bay. In an earlier article [in Index on Censorship, "The Archipelago of Gulags," February 2006] Stafford Smith wrote: "The majority of prisoners I represent were not seized in Afghanistan, but purchased in Pakistan for the bounties offered by the US - starting at $5,000." In Pakistan, the per capita annual income is $720.

Torture by US proxies, the book shows, was carried out to obtain confirmation of the alleged status of these purchased captives as terrorists or enemy combatants. One victim of rendition was the 16-years-old Hassan bin Attash, who was rendered to Jordan "for sixteen months of torture" because the US government wanted information about his older brother. He is still imprisoned at Guantánamo.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on October 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This excellent book by the lawyer Clive Stafford Smith is a chilling exposé of the revolting crimes committed by the US state at Guantanamo Bay. It was written under US military censorship rules, so he has been forced to conceal worse horrors than he reveals. Since January 2002, 759 people have been imprisoned there, including 64 children. After five years, fewer than half the prisoners have even met a lawyer, but most have met a torturer.

The US state uses the `ticking bomb' rationale to try to justify torturing prisoners. But there has never been a single case where torture saved lives by yielding information that prevented the explosion of a ticking bomb.

The US state has also used this rationale to encourage, assist and exploit torture by its allies. Torture in Egypt led to the false confession of a link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qa'ida, a claim used to try to try to get us to support attacking Iraq. Torture in Morocco led to the US state's allegation of a plot to explode a dirty bomb in New York. The people that US Attorney-General Ashcroft named as responsible were never charged with the plot because, as officials said, that "could open up charges from defence lawyers that their earlier statements were a result of torture." This was to admit that the charges were true.

Under the US military commission's procedures for trying just ten of Guantanamo Bay's prisoners, even if the defendant were acquitted, he could still be held forever because all prisoners are supposedly "enemy combatants that we captured on the battlefield" (administration lawyer); "these are people picked up off the battlefield in Afghanistan" (Bush).

But in the real world, 55% of the prisoners are not even alleged ever to have taken part in hostilities.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dienne TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Clive Stafford Smith's "Eight O'Clock Ferry to the Windward Side" is one of the most readable of the spate of books about GITMO. Smith's droll gallows humor is perhaps not exactly funny, but given the situation he describes, the choices are to laugh or cry.

In the first chapter, Stafford Smith takes us with him on an average trip to Guantanamo, describing the transportation to the base, the accommodations, the process for seeing detainees and the general setting. He notes ironies such as it's a $10,000 fine to hit an iguana, but detainees can be hit with impunity. Soldiers are required to salute and say "Honor bound". The correct response is "to defend freedom". One attorney responds with "to defend the Constitution". Stafford Smith suggests that the base could do with a change of motto.

The second chapter is entitled "Ticking Bomb" and it explores the justifications for torture and other harsh treatment. Stafford Smith interviews a handful of torture proponents, whose main justification is the proverbial "ticking time bomb" scenario. In particular, he excoriates Alan Dershowitz for providing a liberal justification for torture with his idea for "torture warrants".

The following chapter explores a real life "ticking time bomb" scenario. Jose Padilla was apprehended in connection with an imminent "dirty bomb plot" in which he was allegedly going to explode a suitcase full of radioactive ("dirty") material. "Benjamin Mohammed" (real name Binyam Mohamed) was allegedly his accomplice. There was only one problem: there was no "dirty bomb plot" and, hence, there was no "ticking time bomb". Nevertheless, Binyam was captured, rendered to Morocco where he underwent eighteen months of torture, then shipped on to Guantanamo.
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