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America's Disappeared: Secret Imprisonment, Detainees, and the "War on Terror"by Michael Ratner
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.
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.
The confirmation proceedings for Alberto R. Gonzales and Condeleeza Rice, like the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, triggered a national debate about the U.S. government's controversial treatment of detaineesand its practice of torture. At the heart of the debate is the question: Is the United States undermining democracy, freedom, and human rights in it's effort to protect its citizens from terrorism? The authors ofAMERICA'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 deportationsso 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 andhuman 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 administration's justificationsfor violating the Geneva Conventions and the most basic definitions of human rights.
About the Author
Barbara Olshansky is the Assistant Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. She focuses on class action lawsuits concerning immigrants rights, racial discrimination in employment and education, environmental justice and public health, prisoners' rights, and Native American rights. She has developed a name as a fierce critic of Homeland Security legislation and the PATRIOT Act and as an adamant defender of civil liberties.
Table of Contents
Introduction / Rachel Meeropol — Open letter to president George W. Bush from former detainees / Shafiq Rasul and Asif Iqbal — The Guantanamo prisoners / Michael Ratner — Statement / Maher Arar — Torture, "stress and duress," and rendition as counterterrorism tools / Steven MacPherson Watt — The road to Abu Ghraib / Reed Brody — Statement / Kenneth Scott — Looking for hope: life as an immigration detainee / Phillip Marcus — Statement / Hemnauth Mohabir — The post-9/11 terrorism investigation and immigration detention / Rachel Meeropol — Statement / Mohamed Maddy — What does it mean to be an "enemy combatant"? / Barbara Olshansky — Poem for my mother.
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History and Social Science » Crime » Prisons and Prisoners