Jan. 27, 2005

Guantánamo: What the World Should Know

The Inquisition Strikes Back

"And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee."

--John Donne, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII, 1623

Review by Jules Siegel

Original at

1200 words

Guantánamo: What the World Should Know
By Michael Ratner and Ellen Ray
Chelsea Green Publishing Company
184 pages

We have by now all seen much of this material before, but reading it all in one piece, told by human voices in this book-length interview, is not easy to take. "Guantánamo: What the World Should Know" becomes a heart-stopper once you cross the line and realize that you could be any of these victims.

Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, is co-counsel in Rasul v. Bush, the historic case of Guantánamo detainees now before the U.S. Supreme Court. His interviewer, Ellen Ray, is President of the Institute for Media Analysis, and a widely published author and editor on U.S. intelligence and international politics.

It's hard to say which is more disgusting, the descriptions of the torture or the bone-chilling analyses of how the president of the United States gave himself the powers of an absolute military dictator. Under Military Order No. 1, which the president issued without congressional authority on November 13, 2001, George W. Bush has ordered people captured or detained from all over the world, flown to Guantánamo and tortured in a lawless zone where, the White House asserts, prisoners have no rights of any kind at all and can be kept forever at his pleasure. Despite the at-best marginal intervention of the American courts so far, there is no civilian judicial review, no due process of any kind.

Continued.......Original at

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