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Panel to explore Guantanamo issues

By Susanne Rockwell on April 21, 2006 in University News

The role of human rights in the treatment of prisoners at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo will be highlighted at UC Davis when nationally renowned participants and observers have "A Conversation About Guantanamo," from 7 to 9 p.m. May 5, at Freeborn Hall.

Hosted by the UC Davis Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, the evening talk will be facilitated by Amy Goodman, award-winning journalist and host of the radio show "DemocracyNow!"

The talk features Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights; James Yee, former U.S. Army Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo; and Alfred McCoy, author of A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation From the Cold War to the War on Terror.

Ratner represented Guantanamo prisoners at the U.S. Supreme Court in a landmark case that granted them the right to question their detention before a federal court. He is co-author, with Ellen Ray, of Guantanamo: What the World Should Know.

Yee was chaplain at Guantanamo until he was accused of capital charges and imprisoned in solitary confinement. All charges were eventually dropped. He wrote For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire.

McCoy is the J.R.W. Smail Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Besides his most recent book on the war on terror, he has written numerous books and articles, including The Politics of Heroin.

Goodman's acclaimed show, now in its 10th year, is heard across the nation and produced by the Pacifica Network. She co-wrote, with David Goodman, The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them.

"In organizing 'A Conversa-tion About Guantanamo,' we are hoping to educate the participants and to start a conversation about Guantanamo that will deepen and intensify for long after the Cinco de Mayo event," said Almerindo Ojeda, director of the Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas and a UC Davis professor of linguistics.

Since the U.S. sent troops into Afghanistan to root out al-Qaeda leaders after Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. has detained about 750 people at Guantanamo at one time or another. Some 500 have been released. Many of them have initiated legal action against their captors and recounted grim stories of their detention.

Tickets, which cost $10, can be purchased online at, by phone (530-752-1915), or in person at Freeborn Hall).

More information on the event can be found at the Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas' Web site,

Media contact(s)

Susanne Rockwell, Web and new media editor, (530) 752-2542,