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Whiteoak Co-Sponsors Anti-Torture Lecture

The Pioneer Valley Coalition Against Secrecy and Torture, the Smith Democrats, The Order of Whiteoak Druids and many other Peace and Justice groups are extremely pleased to be able to announce a lecture at Smith College Neilson Browsing Room by Center for Constitutional Rights President Michael Ratner, on Thursday, October 2 at 4:00 PM. The lecture is entitled:

"The First 100 Days: Restoring Our Constitution"

Torture, Off Shore Penal Colonies; Kangaroo Courts; Illegal War; and the claim that the Executive is the law (or above the law) have characterized the last eight years. The Bush administration, with little opposition from weak kneed Democrats, has systematically dismantled some of the most
important rights and protections in the United States Constitution. In the first 100 days of office, the next president can, often with the stroke of a pen, restore, protect, and expand the fundamental rights on which our nation was founded. It is up to all of us to see that he does.

Michael Ratner is one of the foremost Constitutional lawyers of our time, and his non-profit human rights litigation organization, the Center for Constitutional Rights, has been on the forefront of the battle against the depredations on civil liberties by the Bush Administration in its War on Terror. The CCR early on posed a legal challenge to the USA PATRIOT Act and filed a lawsuit on behalf of post 9/11- immigration detainees in the US. It
represented Maher Arar a Canadian citizen who was sent, or rendered, to Syria, where he was tortured. Mr. Ratner was co-counsel for Guantanamo Bay detainees before the United States Supreme Court in Rasul v. Bush in which the court decided detainees have the right to test the legality of their
detentions in court. In 2006 he filed a criminal complaint in the courts of Germany requesting the criminal prosecution of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other US officials for the abuse and torture at Abu Ghraib Prison.

The CCR has also sued two private military contracting companies in Iraq, alleging their employees were involved in the abuses and torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. The recent historic Supreme Court decision in Boumediane v. Bush reaffirming that men detained in Guantánamo Bay have a constitutional right to habeas corpus review in U.S. federal courts included CCR clients.

Mr. Ratner has authored numerous books and articles, including Against War with Iraq and Guantanamo: What the World Should Know, and a textbook on international human rights. Mr. Ratner is also the co-host of the radio program, Law and Disorder.

This man is one of the legal heroes of our times. Please join us in 
spreading the word about his lecture. He will also be signing books at the Odyssey Bookshop on the evening of the 2nd and will be at Western New England College on Friday, October 3.

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