The Humanity of Michael Ratner, The Fabrications of Samuel Moyn

September 13, 2021
Just Security

It was one of those unseasonably warm winter days that makes you fear for the future of the planet. Three lawyers were sitting at a conference table in the lower Manhattan offices of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR): Joe Margulies, then a Minneapolis civil rights lawyer and now a Cornell professor (and co-author of this essay); Michael Ratner, CCR’s longtime president; and Steven Watt, a young staff attorney with CCR who now works with the ACLU Human Rights Program. They were on the phone with Stephen Kenney, a lawyer in Adelaide, Australia. It was mid-January 2002.

The United States had just begun to populate the prison at Guantanamo Bay. President George Bush had already declared that the United States would not comply with the Geneva Conventions unless it felt like it. The prison was strictly off-limits, as were the prisoners. When the first group arrived, a small knot of journalists, including the indefatigable Carol Rosenberg, was allowed to watch the prisoners as they were paraded by, like a war on terror perp walk....

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Last modified 

September 21, 2021