News Release

Bush’s Plans for Detention and Eavesdropping


Ratner is president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is holding a news conference in D.C. today with family members of Guantanamo detainees. He will discuss the two bills proposed by President Bush and Senator Warner to legislate military commissions.

Ratner said today: “However problematic the [proposed military] commissions are, they are a distraction from the most dangerous provisions that would strip detainees of their right to challenge the legality of their detention. Attorneys for the detainees and other human rights observers and politicians have expressed grave concern that if either bill passes as currently written, it would prevent anyone taken into U.S. custody — anywhere in the world, past, present or future, innocent or not — from ever having their case heard in a court of law. This goes against every principle this country was founded on.”

The Center for Constitutional Rights is today releasing a report, “Faces of Guantanamo,” which profiles men currently detained at Guantanamo.

McGovern was a 27-year career analyst with the CIA and a member of the steering committee for Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He said today: “The courts have held that many of Bush’s policies are illegal. How does Congress respond to this? By being legal enablers and moving to draft legislation to make these policies legal — though they would still, for now, be unconstitutional. The Specter bill gives the President carte blanche. It abolishes all limits on the president’s power to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens, it embraces the most radical ‘unitary executive’ theories of executive power, and attempts to destroy the possibility of judicial review of the president’s behavior.”

McGovern added: “The most prominent individual being moved to Guantanamo is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, whom the 9/11 Commission report labels the ‘mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.’ The Commission report noted that his ‘animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experiences there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.’ We have to ask: did they hate us, or our policies?”

McGovern spoke yesterday at Camp Democracy, a grassroots gathering at the National Mall, near the White House. Video of McGovern and other material is available here.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167