I was enraged. I was also heartbroken. Sands does an excellent job of making his case. He does so in excruciating lawerly detail. Part of the credibility he brings to this is that he was one of the lawyers who brought the case against Auguste Pinochet.
Step by step through the process of the degredation of principles of law and simple human decency he outlines the way American Law, the Law of Nations, and what the Apache and other native peoples would call Sacred Law, was first, weakened, then discarded entirely. He does so using the case of Detainee 063. He shows the escalation of tactics, from strictness, through bullying, and finally into plain and simple cruelty. All of which achieved nothing of any benefit to the stated goals of finding intelligence in the War on Terror.
He interviews the lawyers who drafted the memos, the cabinet officers who expanded them. He attacks the process that led us to this state of affairs.
He draws an undeniable parallel to a case at Nuremburg which was the basis for the film Judgement at Nuremburg. He goes so far as to conduct an interview with the son of one of the Nazi defendants. What made the case at Nuremburg applicable here is that the cited case was judges and lawyers who twisted legal arguments and made a case for the legality of the death camps, the slave labor system, and other Nazi war crimes. By providing the evil a cover of law, they helped to make it happen.
The name of what I'm about to do after reading this book was graciously provided by Jurassic Pork of "Welcome to Pottersville". Thanks JP!
Samizdat was the old system in the days of the iron curtain. Using typewriters with carbon paper, using duplicating and mimeograph machines, folks behid the curtain would copy works that were forbidden. They would also memorize entire books and recite them in underground salons.
What I will do next with this book is send my copy off to Melissa McEwan of Shakesville. I chose her because she is passionate and vocal in her quest for a better America. Hell, she had a brutal case of the flu and dragged her sick ass to the polls in order to vote in the last Indiana Primary. She was one of the main inspirations that got me to start my own blogging.
I am going to send her my copy of the book, with a short little inscription. She's going to read it, write about it, and pass it on to another. Just like the old Samizdat (literally: Self Publishing).
Unfortunately, the truth has become contraband in our country. That must change.
I'm looking forward to following this book's progress through Blogtopia. (Yes! Skippy coined that phrase!)
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