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Illusions of Security: Global Surveillance and Democracy in the Post-9/11 World (City Lights Open Media) Paperback – February 15, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Observing government surveillance of individual citizens from her perch in Quebec, human-rights lawyer Webb wonders how long democracy can survive when power-hungry officials are able to persecute innocent men and women as well as the occasional terrorist. Webb focuses her criticism on the governments of Canada and the United States, but persuasively documents international cooperation on illegal, or at least immoral, high-tech information gathering. Webb devotes substantial space to the National Security Agency of the U.S and its monitoring of international telephone traffic despite apparent lawlessness and ethical violations. Webb also writes in detail about how governments, following the lead of the Bush administration, use "terrorism" as an excuse to "serve agendas that go far beyond security from terrorism--namely the suppression of dissent, harsh immigration and refugee policies, increased law enforcement power," and the consolidation of political power within governments and in exerting control over national populations. Dense writing makes the book difficult to follow at times, and the alarmist tone is, well, alarming. But it does ring true. Steve Weinberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Maureen Webb is a Canadian human rights lawyer and activist. She was a litigator for some of the first constitutional cases heard under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including the landmark freedom of association case, Lavigne and a case challenging the powers of Canada's newly instituted spy agency, CSIS.
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Product Details

  • Series: City Lights Open Media
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: City Lights Publishers (February 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872864766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872864764
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,158,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Neil J. DePaul on February 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Maureen Webb courageously steps forward to elevate our debate, expressing real concerns about the flipside of security. What are the downsides of enhanced security, what are we really giving up to achieve security, and how will this impact our future democracy are all questions Illusions of Security addresses.

This is the best book I've found so far, (and I've read numerous others), because it includes all the main points, gives better examples that are not so academic, and because Maureen Webb writes as a real person talking to us as a friend would - not like some professor who clearly knows more than us and wants us to know they know more than us.

Even though the subjects are complex ones, muddied further by politics, our own fear of terrorists, and politicians who we have become accustomed to just trusting, anyone interested in preserving democracy must face the discomfort of these subjects and at least hear the other side.

At a time when differing viewpoints have been labeled as treasonous and those suggesting them have been accused of "assisting the terrorists" Illusions of Security illustrates how debate is fundamental to democracy. Beginning with real life events carried out in the name of enhanced security, a reader does not need much imagination to perceive the hazard to real people that government secrecy brings. It also does not take much imagination to realize "it could have been me" that faced those threats.

Skillfully Maureen Webb takes us through her concerns, showing us the flipside of what we have been told we need for the sake of national security; Presidential secrecy and spying, preemption, global registration, etc.
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Format: Paperback
"Illusions Of Security: Global Surveillance And Democracies In The Post-9/11 World" by human rights lawyer and activist Maureen Webb offers an eye-opening expose about the secret domestic spying programs that the Bush administration introduced with the passive acquiesce of a Republican controlled congress over the past six years. Even with congress under the limited control of the Democrats, the Bush government is still watching the American public, buying personal data from private contractors and foreign governments. The pretense is that the Bush administration collections this information in order to 'predict' who might be a terrorist. God help you if you are caught up in this web of internal security. Not since the "Watergate Papers" of a generation past has there been so critically important an expose published on what the American government is doing to the American citizenry. Simply put, if our nation is to remain a bastion of democracy, "Illusions Of Security" should be read by every American citizen regardless whether their political philosophies are liberal or progressive, conservative or libertarian, democrat or republican or independent.
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Format: Paperback
Everyone should read this book and see how screwed up the intelligence/security organizations of the world are. One would think they are being run by Stalin or Saddam instead of democracies. And the MONEY that is being made!!! Pitiful how what was already bad enough was exponentially ramped up under Bush/Cheney. Wake up, America!

A chilling read, but would like an update. Also z little more proof-reading, especially toward the end.
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