The Terror Courts
The Terror Courts
Rough Justice at Guantanamo Bay
By Jess Bravin
Yale University Press, Hardcover, 9780300189209, 448pp.
Publication Date: February 19, 2013
Soon after the September 11 attacks in 2001, the United States captured hundreds of suspected al-Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan and around the world. By the following January the first of these prisoners arrived at the U.S. military's prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they were subject to President George W. Bush's executive order authorizing their trial by military commissions. Jess Bravin, the Wall Street Journal's Supreme Court correspondent, was there within days of the prison's opening, and has continued ever since to cover the U.S. effort to create a parallel justice system for enemy aliens. A maze of legal, political, and moral issues has stood in the way of justice issues often raised by military prosecutors who found themselves torn between duty to the chain of command and their commitment to fundamental American values.
While much has been written about Guantanamo and brutal detention practices following 9/11, Bravin is the first to go inside the Pentagon's prosecution team to expose the real-world legal consequences of those policies. Bravin describes cases undermined by inadmissible evidence obtained through torture, clashes between military lawyers and administration appointees, and political interference in criminal prosecutions that would be shocking within the traditional civilian and military justice systems. With the Obama administration planning to try the alleged 9/11 conspirators at Guantanamo and vindicate the legal experiment the Bush administration could barely get off the ground The Terror Courts could not be more timely.
“Jess Bravin’s The Terror Courts is the definitive account of the legal aftermath of 9/11—and the still-unsettled legacy of the decisions made in those frenzied days.”—Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Oath: The Obama White House vs. the Supreme Court
"Jess Bravin has written an authoritative account of a dark chapter in American history, a chapter that is still being written. This riveting and deeply disturbing book should be required reading for all engaged citizens."—Anne-Marie Slaughter, Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University
"A damning, brave book by an author who is legitimately outraged by what he uncovered."—Kirkus Reviews
“A remarkable job by one of the news media's most persistent reporters on matters of law and national security. Bravin penetrated a system designed for railroading prisoners in near-total secrecy, and he demonstrated the persistence of many ordinary—and some extraordinary—Americans’ visceral devotion to such quaint notions as the presumption of innocence and the rule of law.”—Harvey Silverglate, Reason