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

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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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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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 (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,487,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Imagine that you have been swept away to a prison, kept in solitary confinement and when taken out for questioning you are continually asked about the tomatoes you were carrying ( the translators don't always have a full command of dialects )and you have no idea what your interrogators want or if they are totally insane. Because this book is written from a lawyer's point of view and lays out only the facts ( only what he has been able to ascertain and what he is allowed to make known ) it takes some reflection and imagination to put yourself in the place of the detainees and savour the experience that they have had and continue to have.
In other words this isn't "Midnight Express", but a look at guantanamo, its rules, the U.S. military, the stories of a few of the detainees and the constitutional and humanitarian issues involved.
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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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Format: Hardcover
If you haven't read Robert Conquest's seminal work The Great Terror about the purges, the show trials, law, and justice under Stalin, you might want to consider reading that first. Perhaps visit the Amazon site which has a quote from Harrison Salisbury saying the book is "an odyssey of madness, tragedy, and sadism". Then read Smith's eloquent book. Much is different, of course, but there is a lot that seems eerily similar. In Russia it was a crime to be suspected of anti-Soviet activities. This did not mean that you were actually guilty of such activities--it just meant that someone thought you might possibly be guilty, and being thought possibly guilty was a crime in itself, worthy of torture, a one-way trip to the cellars, or death in the labor camps. Evidence of guilt seemed to take a back seat to suspicion of guilt. Then read Smith's book.

The Russian show trials were carefully scripted, and designed to give the mostly leftist press in attendance and the rest of the world through media coverage the impression that the rules of law were being followed and that justice was indeed being carried out. Much of the world wanted to believe that the deviationist wreckers were truly guilty and deserved the ultimate punishment for trying to sabotage the workers' paradise. Reading Smith's book will show that the Stalinists were not the only ones who loved carefully scripted show trials before handpicked judges.

There is, as I've said, much that is different. In Russia, a popular sentence was "exile, without right of communication", a hypocritical euphemism for being shot in the cellars. In Guantanamo, as you'll see in the book, "detention, without right of communication", is not a sentence from a judge at a two-minute hearing, as in Russia.
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