From Publishers Weekly
In the wake of 9/11, many Americans have been willing to sacrifice some of their freedoms in exchange for national security. But in this edifying volume, Cassel, a practicing attorney and law professor, contends that the Bush administration has eroded our rights without necessarily making us safer. Offering sharp critiques of the Patriot and Homeland Security Acts, Cassel argues that Bush and Ashcroft have dangerously curtailed Americans freedom of speech and religion, their right to a fair trial, and their protection from torture and unreasonable search and seizure. She astutely criticizes the "continued expansion of the word terrorism," which now encompasses, she says, "any opponent of government policy." She also provides numerous examples of the Bush administrations use of secrecy, declaring that "secret evidence and secret trials are the most dangerous threats to our civil liberties"the stuff of despotism not democracy. The bulk of the book describes major terrorism trials, including cases against Muslim charities, immigrants, lawyers and "enemy combatants"both Guantanamo Bay prisoners and U.S. citizens. Readers may find some of these discussions repetitive and outdated; the author herself admits that many of these trials are still "being played out in the courts," and its hard to "chronicle a moving target." In her introduction, Cassel cites a speech by the late William Kunstler: "Once fear takes root, then people will say, What does it matter
if he didnt get his Fifth, or Fourth, or Sixth or Eighth Amendment rights? That doesnt affect me. Im not on trial." However, the erosion of civil liberties, she says, threatens not only Arabs and Muslims, but also acts as "a harbinger of widespread changes in the legal system for all Americans." Even those who disagree with Cassel may find this books facts eye-opening and chilling.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Eye-opening and chilling." Publishers Weekly
"This timely book takes readers behind the headlines and into a brave new world of summary deportations, vengeful prosecutions, and imperiled freedoms. In clear, accessible language, Elaine Cassel untangles the implications of anti-terror laws and tracks their harrowing effects." Roger N. Lancaster, author, The Trouble with Nature: Sex in Science and Popular Culture
--This text refers to the
"She names the names . . . and describes absurd regulations under which innocent American citizens can be convicted of terrorism." antiwar.com