Monday, July 7, 2008

Kafka Comes to America
Kafka Comes to America: Fighting for Justice in the War on Terror - A Public Defender's Inside Account, by Steven T. Wax; Other Press; First Edition (June 3, 2008). ISBN-10: 1590512952.  Hardcover, $22.89; 380 pages.

Wax, the head of the Oregon Federal Public Defenders’ office, writes that when he volunteered to represent inmates at Guantánamo Bay he didn’t know if his clients “would be terrorists or innocents.” 

At least one, Adel Hamad, a Sudanese aid worker, seems patently innocent, and Wax also represented Brandon Mayfield, a lawyer whose story—he was falsely linked to a bombing through shoddy fingerprint evidence—illustrates the short path from depriving terrorists of their rights to depriving everyone else. In an enthralling, enraging narrative, Wax captures the damage that Guantánamo has done to America’s reputation abroad, and shows how the legal fights on behalf of detainees might restore it. When Hamad, who helped run a hospital for refugees and was known for his Ping-Pong skills, disappeared, his wife was left destitute, and their infant daughter died from a lack of medical care. Hamad spent nearly five years at Guantánamo.

Noted by The New Yorker

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