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Kafka Comes To America: Fighting For Justice In The War On Terror .: Knowledge Base
Kafka Comes To America: Fighting For Justice In The War On Terror is lawyer and author Steven T. Wax’s story as to how he succeeded in freeing two unfortunate individuals, an American lawyer Brandon Mayfield and Adel Hamad, a Sudanese hospital administrator working in Pakistan. Both were falsely accused in the war on terror and both were caught up in the U.S. government’s post-9/11 counter-terrorism measures.These measures, as declared by the Attorney General of the USA, was that citizens would now be stripped of their rights of due process, there would be no grand juries, no entitlement to a defence attorney, and the rule of law was to be chucked aside based solely on the word of the President of the USA.
Mayfield and Hamad were sent to Guantánamo where they were interrogated and prevented from receiving proper legal counsel and representation. In the case of Mayfield, he was suspected of being involved with the Madrid train bombing. Apparently, the Spanish version of the investigation pointed to the lifting of a fingerprint labelled “latent print #17” from a bag of unexploded detonators that was discovered in a van. The Spaniards requested assistance through Interpol wherein the FBI intervened and they were one hundred percent certain that the fingerprint was that of Mayfield. However, as the story unfolds, we are informed that the Spaniards were not convinced of this positive identification and they had informed the FBI of their uneasiness in accepting these findings. In addition, Mayfield was the subject of racial profiling as his warrant mentioned that he was a Muslim and that one of his client’s, whom he represented, was a “bad guy,” who was also a Muslim. Both of which had nothing to do with anything other than denouncing someone due to his religion and denying representation to an alleged criminal who is rightfully entitled to a defence attorney.
Hamad was arrested by Pakistani security police and taken from his apartment in Peshawar Pakistan at 1:30 in the morning in July of 2002.Hamad had left his native Sudan in 1986 for Pakistan where he was employed by an international Kuwaiti charity that operated camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan for refugees of the Afghan war with the Soviets. Eventually, Hamad left this job and took on employment with a Saudi-funded charity in Pakistan, the World Assembly for Muslim Youth (WAMY). Over the years he would return to Sudan for brief stays with his wife and children. His arrest and subsequent transfer to the Americans was all in collaboration with the US government that believed that Hamad was involved with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, although there was never any concrete evidence to prove these allegations.
Wax is the Federal Public Defender for the District of Oregon and executive abuse of powers has always interested him particularly, as he states, when the police can stop us on the street, enter our homes, intercept our telephone calls or e-mails, or monitor our Internet use. Although there are “bad guys” around whom we need to incarcerate, we still must be vigilant in the protection of our freedom and civil rights. Wax has spent over the last six years fighting against the abuse and the US government’s assault on civil liberties and the corrosive effect of fear.
When Wax volunteered to participate in the Guantánamo cases, he had no idea if the clients assigned to his office would be terrorists or innocents. However, he did know that the rule of law was under siege and that the battle to defend the rule of law was of utmost importance.
Initially Wax was not all that familiar with habeas corpus litigation and he was required to brush up on this extremely important aspect of the American legal system. For those don’t know what Habeas Corpus means, it is simply “bring the body forward” and is a fundamental part of Anglo and American law. As Wax mentions and as stated by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, it is the most powerful tool in Anglo-American law for guarding against executive abuse, “allowing our independent judiciary to act as a critical check on the Executive, ensuring that it does not detail individuals except in accordance with the law.”
Unfortunately, daily news reports very rarely portray the injustices that have been committed at Guantánamo. This is not to say that there are some really appalling individuals that are imprisoned, however, on the other hand there are the innocent that are entitled to their day in court. What Wax does with this book is meticulously delve into the details of the abuses, presenting thoughtful insights into the shortcomings that must be addressed. He presents a great deal of information in a clear and concise manner, although at times he is prone to occasional bouts of too much legalese. Probably the best part of Wax’s story is his objectivity in showing why and how abuse of executive power poses a danger to all of us. As he asserts, “do we need to give up freedom to maintain our security?”
The above review was contributed by: Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com, Norm Goldman, B.A. LL.L, Retired Title Attorney: Norm is also a travel writer and together with his artist wife, Lily, the couple meld Norm's words with Lily's art. To check out their travel site click on Sketchandtravel.comClick here to view Norm’s Reviews & Interviews.
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