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Perhaps as many as two hundred others have been sent to countries with richly deserved reputations for torture, a process known as "extraordinary rendition." Still more are held at so-called black sites-CIA-run facilities so secret the Administration does not even acknowledge their existence. At these "prisons beyond the law," the Administration claims the right to hold people indefinitely, incommunicado and in solitary confinement, without charges or access to counsel, and without the benefit of the Geneva Conventions. Worse, the Administration has subjected them to interrogation techniques that Margulies argues are abusive, illegal, and immoral. Weaving together firsthand accounts of military personnel who witnessed the interrogations with the words of the prisoners themselves, Margulies exposes the chilling reality of Guantánamo Bay. He examines the genesis of the detention policy and exposes its consequences, not only for the prisoners who endure the torment of their captors but for the larger "war on terror" that is the centerpiece of the nation's foreign policy.
Joseph Margulies is a nationally recognized civil rights lawyer and law professor in Chicago. He was the lead attorney in Rasul v. Bush, one of two cases in the Supreme Court that exposed the plight of the Guantánamo prisoners and led to judicial oversight of the prison at Guantánamo Bay. He argues that in creating this detention policy, the president has claimed all the power of a wartime executive but rejected all restraints on the use of that power, including those imposed by other branches of government. The result is an unprecedented, and dangerous, expansion of presidential authority. Guantánamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power examines the arguments on both sides of the issue, but it makes clear that the present policy is a legal and ethical disaster that offers only a false promise of security against terrorism, even as it inflames sentiments against us in the rest of the world, inspiring far more terror than it could ever prevent.