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Over 40 years of educating about law, democracy, and human rights
Street Law /
"The Response is a superb film that dramatically illustrates many of the complex dilemmas of U.S. government detention operations. At a time when many important legal and policy issues of counter-terrorism and detention are still being worked through by all three branches of government, and when overheated rhetoric dominates the airwaves, this film stands out for its careful nuance and thoughtfully provocative presentation. I intend to use it with my law students, and I urge other educators to consider using it as well. The filmmakers and cast do a masterful job in portraying this difficult subject matter."
Matthew C. Waxman, Esq., Associate Professor, Columbia Law School, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs (2002-04)
"In creating The Response, Sig Libowitz (and everyone involved) has advanced the discussion of national security and the law by leaps and bounds and made the important issues involved approachable and understandable to lawyers and non-lawyers alike. This short, focused and superbly presented film should make everyone think about their own values and the country they want the United States to be. All of our public officials and military leaders should see this film before another decision on dealing with the legal side of the war on terrorism is made."
In his film The Response, Sig Libowitz has done a great job of demonstrating the complexity of the situation involving the detainees at Guantanamo. His even-handed portrayal of a Combat[ant] Status Review Tribunal appeals to those on all sides of this difficult issue. Though dramatized, Libowitz (along with the cast, filmmakers and everyone involved) uses actual excerpts from a collage of real cases and then illustrates the difficulties of weighing competing interests in coming to a decision on the status of these detainees. The film’s thoughtful ending then leaves the watcher to determine his or her own "response." This film is a must-see for those interested in national security and individual rights."
“Terrorism is dangerous. Just as dangerous is the fact that there are many more opinions than knowledge about how the fight against terrorism does and doesn’t work. The Response performs an indispensible public service, helping to bridge the gap between opinions and knowledge. By taking us into the secret world of Guantanamo “combatant status review tribunals” the film provides a hard lesson in how far the architects of the Guantanamo system have strayed from universal notions of fairness and justice. No one who sees it will ever again claim that “terrorists don’t deserve a fair trial” because they will understand that absent a fair process, they, too could be the next person unfairly labeled ‘terrorist.’ ”
"The great virtue of The Response is its fair engagement with the moral complexity of military detention. Against the backdrop of a national debate on the issue that is mired in partisan rhetoric and the methods of caricature, this is no small achievement. Indeed, the film is a compelling teaching tool both for specialists and the public at large, compelling us to confront at a granular level the competing considerations that make the detention issue so difficult to resolve."
Robert Chesney, Professor, University of Texas School of Law, Distinguished Scholar, Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security & Law
"This riveting film takes you inside a military tribunal hearing to explore the pressing legal and moral issues surrounding the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay. The film not only powerfully captures Guantanamo's failings such as the extensive use of secret evidence, the denial of fair hearings, and the human cost of illegal detention. It also tackles difficult questions America confronts as it seeks to balance liberty and national security in the fight against terrorism. As an attorney who has represented Guantanamo detainees, I was struck by the way the film captured the reality of a Guantanamo hearing, the desperation of its prisoners, and the controversies that rage around its continued existence. The film distills the complex legal issues we have been arguing about in the courts for years into an accessible format. Any person interested in understanding Guantanamo, and the challenges it presents to America's Constitution and values, must see this film."
"What is the price of one man’s freedom? With the dramatic portrayal of the circumstances surrounding the capture and treatment—and, therefore, the legal status—of just one detainee at Guantánamo Bay, The Response forces you to confront, in a very personal way, this timeless question. The viewer is compelled, regardless of political persuasion, to join the continuing debate about the the right balance of policies that will protect both our national security and the values we profess. In 30 short minutes, the film captures the essence of this complex moral and political struggle. Must eternal vigilance necessarily cost us either our liberty or our personal safety? Watch The Response before you decide."
"The film is provocative, in the best sense of the word."
Martha Rayner, Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law
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