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Top presidential policymakers under both George W. Bush and William J. Clinton are set to attend an international conference on counterterrorism this month in Florence, Italy. The conference, the second of its kind anywhere in the world, is sponsored by the Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law. “We’re doing this because nobody else is doing it,” said Karen J. Greenberg, executive director of the center. Last June, the NYU law center hosted the inaugural gathering in what it plans to be a series of annual conferences on coordinating international law as a weapon against worldwide terrorism. The first conference attracted 25 judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and government and law enforcement officials from Europe and the United States. This year, 40 attendees are confirmed, including a distinctly bipartisan U.S. delegation, said Greenberg. “This is a chance for people to hear one another. We don’t have an agenda,” she said. “In this country, we have what you might call two separate national security regimes — the Clinton camp and the Bush camp. There needs to be better communication between the two.” Greenberg said that irrespective of politics or future campaign victories, appointive government lawyers will be “the people involved in dealing with terrorism, so let them get to know each other. We need to establish long-term personal relationships. People don’t share sensitive information with people they don’t know.” The May 26-28 conference, “Prosecuting Terrorism: the Global Challenge,” is among three recent, major achievements of the center, which was established in 2003. Other milestones include: � Baltasar Garzn of Spain recently made a quiet arrival at NYU Law as a senior fellow in residence at the center. As investigating magistrate judge of Madrid, he has indicted Al Qaeda fugitive Osama bin Laden and former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Garzn also has helped prosecute those responsible for the March 11, 2004, coordinated suitcase bombings at Madrid railroad stations that killed more than 200 commuters. Garzn is scheduled to deliver a series of public lectures through December in conjunction with the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, a cultural exchange program at NYU. He will also participate in colloquia with NYU faculty. (Garzn has declined interviews until later this year, though he did sit for a photograph with Greenberg as the two met this week to discuss the upcoming conference in Italy.) � In January, Cambridge University Press released “The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib,” a massive collection of legal memoranda from the White House and the U.S. Justice Department to greenlight extraordinary interrogation measures. The documents were gathered and organized by Greenberg and New York criminal defense attorney Joshua L. Dratel. Their 1,283-page book, according to a review by Michael Ratner, president of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, “may well be the most important and damning set of documents exposing U.S. government lawlessness ever published.” The British publisher will issue something of a sequel this month — “The Torture Debate in America,” a collection of essays assembled by Greenberg to reflect what she calls “the whole spectrum” of views on terrorism. With the upcoming conference, Greenberg means to meld those divergent U.S. views into an international conversation. “It’s been the major thrust of the center to coordinate discussion of counterterrorism on the global level,” she said. “The world needs to establish good working relationships among lawyers for governments, the intelligence services and police organizations.” To that cause, Greenberg said she would rely on Garzn’s insistence on breaking down international barriers to develop a unified response to Al Qaeda and its ilk. In an extended interview aired last July on “Frontline,” the Public Broadcast System series, Garzn set forth his basic ideas in confronting “the threat we need to confront, which is not an isolated one,” as he put it. “What needs to be done is to evolve into more agile formulas of cooperation,” said Garzn, according to a transcript of the interview. “[I]n order to do that, it is essential to recreate certain institutions [and] rethink certain regulation.” But a “universal consciousness,” he said, does not yet exist — despite the evidence that global counterterrorism is the logical tactic in fighting global terrorism, as is a respectful understanding of terrorism’s causes. If such logic does not develop, said Garzn, “the cause is further separated from the effect; that is, the massacres themselves form a response to them [and] we again become victims of bureaucratic inertia. … After 16 years of experience, I can tell you that the greatest difficulty in giving a judicial response is neither the difficulty in the interrogation of terrorists, nor in obtaining evidence in a particular country, but in getting it in time.” Garzn has been equally insistent on fighting terrorism within a legal framework. In an article published in April 2004 in Mother Jones magazine, he told Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tim Golden: “What frightens me is when people start going beyond the limits of the law,” Garzn said. “In [Spain], we know what it means to use this heavy hand. We know that when the fight against terrorism moves outside the law it becomes very dangerous.”

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