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Guantanamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power Paperback – July 3, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Margulies, a Minneapolis lawyer and civil rights activist, served as lead counsel in Rasul v. Bush, successfully petitioning the Supreme Court to extend the right of judicial review to all prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. This book, Margulies's first, minutely chronicles the attempts of the present administration to extend the bounds of presidential authority while limiting official culpability. Breaking new ground by comprehensively analyzing the government's legal reasoning and deconstructing it in the light of historical precedent, Margulies states: "The Bush Administration has not provided a complete explanation for its detention policy. (Part of the motivation for this book is that no one else has either.)" Interspersed with accounts of his fascinating and frustrating attempts to obtain access to his British client, Shafiq Rasul, Margulies shines light on the theory and practice of indefinite military detention, peering into a self-contained, Kafkaesque universe of our own creation barely 90 miles from American shores. Accessible to nonlawyers, the book also offers full citations for those who wish to do further research. Margulies's clear explications of intricate legal points move his narrative effortlessly from the signing of the Geneva Conventions through the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, to the myriad cases of the detainees in Guantánamo. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In Rasul v.Bush, the Supreme Court affirmed the right of prisoners in U.S. military custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to challenge the legality of their detention in federal court. As one of the lead counsel on behalf of the detainees in that case, law professor and civil-rights attorney Margulies is uniquely qualified to narrate the legal struggles surrounding the prison that was built to evade legal oversight. Infused with firsthand accounts of both interrogation room and courtroom, Margulies' narrative is lucid, precise, and made urgent by recent legislation, currently before the Supreme Court, that purports to render Rasul meaningless. Most compelling, however, is that Margulies never lets the legal blow-by-blow obscure the historical and political import of Camp Delta, where preservation of prisoners' "debility, dependence, and dread" trumps all other concerns and even shapes the Bush administration's interpretation of the law. Timed to coincide with the Supreme Court's forthcoming ruling on jurisdiction over Guantanamo, this powerful selection deserves all the attention it will receive. Brendan Driscoll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The book is written from a lawyer's perspective and lays out clearly the history of the Guantanamo prison and the legal battles over the treatment of prisoners there. As the author stresses, the torture tactics have done immense damage to American prestige yet produced little if any valuable intelligence. This failure should not be a surprise, since most of the prisoners are either innocent of terrorist activity or were Taliban small-fry with no connection to September 11 or other attacks on U.S. targets. That hundreds of these pathetic men are still incarcerated speaks volumes about the indecency of the Bush Administration and its inability to admit that it ever makes mistakes.
Fortunately, the Supreme Court and the U.S. Senate have stepped in to curb the worst abuses and to restore some sanity to our detention policies. They have partially rescued America's good name and commitment to the rule of law. However, until officials of the Bush Administration are put on trial for violations of the War Crimes Act and the Torture Act, the stain on our national honor will not be fully erased.
This book confirms that many laws, national and international, regarding torture, detention, and so on have been willfully violated. It is a compelling and disturbing story. And the final chapters are still to be written.
It will take many years to regain the high moral ground which Americans once held dear after the unbelievable inroads GWBush and company have made into the Honor we once clung to. When he and his ilk have the gall to trumpet that they have been "protecting" me and my family by their disgusting, depraved, dishonorable acts against humanity through the use of torture - it sickens me. I can only hope that the guilty will be brought to justice and until that day, I will consider it my responsibility and my shame as an American for allowing these atrocities to be commited in all our name.
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