"A brilliant and eloquent indictment of our current administration's disrespect for basic human rights. Ratner breaks down what Guantánamo is, why it matters, and the ramifications for national and international law. This book should be required reading for those concerned with truth, justice, and maintaining our humanity."--Rachel Neumann, Rights and Liberties Editor, Alternet.org
"Michael Ratner is America's most important civil libertarian. If this book doesn't frighten the public into action, nothing will."--John R. MacArthur, publisher of Harper’s and author of Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the 1991 Gulf War
"Tis the season...for political nonfiction" Ruminator Review, October 2004-
Guantanamo is a profoundly disturbing portrait of the history of the U.S naval station in Cuba and those detained there. Prisoners of war and even civilians, carefully recategorized as "enemy combatants," may be held there indefinitely, on no formal charges and without access to legal counsel or a hearing in court, and even allegedly tortured in hopes of producing intelligence that may improve national security. This small book consists largely of transcripts if interviews with Michael Ratner, an attorney working with the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of the detainees in Guantanamo (some of them held there since 2002). He gives stark information about conditions within the prison as well as the ongoing struggle to give the detainees a fair hearing in court. Much of it is drawn directly from government and court sources. If our government is going to "nuance" its commitment to the Geneva Convention and its protections for prisoners of war, we owe it to each other to make civil liberty concessions deliberately, with informed consent. If we don't bother to look squarely at Guantanamo and the detainees--and the implications for our own basic freedoms the situation entails--we have no one but ourselves to blame for the erosion of those rights. This is a book you must read.
About the Author
Michael Ratner is President of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He serves as co-counsel in Rasul v. Bush, the historic case of Guantánamo detainees currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Under Ratner's leadership, the Center has aggressively challenged the constitutional and international law violations undertaken by the United States post-9/11, including the constitutionality of indefinite detention and the restrictions on civil liberties as defined by the unfolding terms of a permanent war. In the 1990s Ratner acted as a principal counsel in the successful suit to close the camp for HIV-positive Haitian refugees on Guantánamo Bay. He has written and consulted extensively on Guantánamo, the Patriot Act, military tribunals, and civil liberties in the post-9/11 world. He has also been a lecturer of international human rights litigation at the Yale Law School and the Columbia School of Law, president of the National Lawyers Guild, special Counsel to Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to assist in the prosecution of human rights crimes, and radio co-host for the civil rights show Law and Disorder.
Ellen Ray is President of the Institute for Media Analysis and the author and editor of numerous books and magazines on U.S. intelligence and international politics. She is co-editor with William Schaap of Bioterror: Manufacturing Wars the American Way and Covert Action: The Root of Terrorism, both published by Ocean Press in 2003.