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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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Edited by Rachel Meeropol

Featuring detainee testimonies and analysis by Reed Brody, Barbara Olshansky, Michael Ratner, and Steven Macpherson Watt

America's Disappeared: Secret Imprisonment, Detainees and the "War on Terror" features first person accounts by individuals who have experienced the horrors of executive detention, including former Guantanamo detainees Shafiq Rasul and Asif Iqbal; Maher Arar, the Canadian citizen the United States sent to Syria to be interrogated and tortured for nearly a year; and many other non-citizens who were wrongly swept up in the post-9/11 terrorism investigations. These narratives appear alongside political and legal analysis of the Bush Administration’s controversial post-9/11 detention practices.

The confirmation proceedings for Alberto R. Gonzales and Condoleezza Rice, like the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, have triggered a national debate about the U.S. government's 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 with a resounding "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. Thousands have been imprisoned without trial or any kind of judicial hearing. Thousands remain indefinitely detained without charges being brought against them. Some are tortured; others are shipped off to other countries to be tortured. This book 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 administration’s justifications for violating the Geneva Conventions and the most basic definitions of human rights.

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“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 Guantnamo 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.”

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.”

“Here are further proofs, as though any more were needed, of what a loathsome nation we've become.”

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Barbara Olshansky is the Leah Kaplan Distinguished Professor in Human Rights at Stanford University. Previously, she served as deputy legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and director counsel of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative there. She was one of the lead attorneys in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that resulted in a decision allowing the nearly 600 detainees held at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba to challenge their unlawful indefinite detentions. Olshansky is the co-author of The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing George W. Bush from Office, among other titles, and the author of Secret Trials and Executions: Military Tribunals and the Threat to Democracy and Democracy Detained: Secret Unconstitutional Practices in the U.S. War on Terror. She lives in California.