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America's Disappeared: Secret Imprisonment, Detainees, and the "War on Terror" (Open Media Book)by Barbara Olshansky
Synopses & Reviews
September 11, 2001, sparked a firestorm of racial profiling, detentions and deportations by the United States government so grievous as to evoke the shameful internment of Japanese Americans of more than half a century past. Thousands have been imprisoned without either trial or any kind of judicial hearing: detained, often indefinitely, solely on the say-so of the executive. Yet knowledge of the particular circumstances and incidents of the detentions remains dim.
America's Disappeared: Secret Imprisonment Detainees and the "War on Terror" brings together, for the first time, detainees' own testimonies with a comprehensive framework for understanding the issues by leading constitutional scholars working for their release. Going beyond the prevailing accounts to a detailed exploration of detention — the forms currently in use, and the conditions of each — the authors authoritatively refute its alleged justifications, boldly exploring its human costs.
Beginning with a catalogue of dragnet schemes — voluntary interviews, NSEERs, the targeting of foreign students — America's Disappeared proceeds to document the blunt reality of this program of detention, presenting detainees' chilling accounts of solitary confinement, isolation, and physical and mental abuse. Turning to a history of American detention policy, the book surveys U.S. opposition to these illegal practices undertaken outside our borders and warns of the dangerous precedent set by this homegrown example.
"To read America's Disappeared is to be moved by the personal stories of human beings plucked out of our midst, tortured, kept away from family, from legal counsel, from the world. To read these stories is to be shocked by the way our constitutional rights have been violated again and again, with the government justifying this as a 'war on terrorism'. The essays in this collection not only confront us with the human reality of the detentions at Guantánamo and the tortures of Abu Ghraib. They also scrutinize and dissect the legal arguments of the government, as it tries to defend the indefensible. This volume informs us as it angers us, and provokes us to act in whatever way we can to bring democracy alive in our country." Howard Zinn
"America's Disappeared is a strong, eloquent and necessary book, one that presents its readers with a challenge and a charge to not sit by and allow the juggernaut of the Bush Administration to roll over our Constitution, our human rights, and our fellow human beings." Lewis H. Lapham, Editor, Harper's Magazine
The confirmation proceedings for Alberto R. Gonzales and Condeleeza Rice, like the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, triggered a national debate about the U.S. governments controversial treatment of detainees and its practice of torture. At the heart of the debate is the question: Is the United States undermining democracy, freedom, and human rights in its effort to protect its citizens from terrorism? The authors of AMERICA'S DISAPPEARED answer, yes.
AMERICA'S DISAPPEARED describes how the U.S. government, in response to the events of 9/11, launched an unprecedented campaign of racial profiling, detentions, and deportations so grievous as to evoke the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. It brings together, for the first time, detainees own testimonies along with analysis by the leading constitutional attorneys and human rights advocates. In addition to a detailed exploration of detention—the forms currently in use, and the conditions of each—the book challenges the Bush administrations justifications for violating the Geneva Conventions and the most basic definitions of human rights.
9/11 sparked a firestorm of grievous racial profiling, detentions and deportations by the United States government. This book brings together, for the first time, detainees' testimonies with a comprehensive framework for understanding the issues by leading constitutional scholars working for their release.
About the Author
Michael Ratner is president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He has led several cases representing detainees held at Camp X-Ray in Cuba; Rachel Meeropol is the Center's equal justice work fellow; Barbara Olshansky is the assistant legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and author of Secret Trials and Executions; Steven MacPherson Watt is human rights fellow at the Center.
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