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The Guantánamo Effect

Exposing the Consequences of U.S. Detention and Interrogation Practices

Laurel Emile Fletcher (Author), Eric Stover (Author), Patricia M. Wald (Foreword), Stephen Paul Smith (Contributor), K. Alexa Koenig (Contributor), Zulaikha Aziz (Contributor), Alexis Kelly (Contributor), Sarah Staveteig (Contributor), Nobuko Mizoguchi (Contributor) & 4 more

Available worldwide

Paperback, 232 pages
ISBN: 9780520261778
September 2009
$24.95, £16.95
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This book, based on a two-year study of former prisoners of the U.S. government’s detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, reveals in graphic detail the cumulative effect of the Bush administration’s “war on terror.” Scrupulously researched and devoid of rhetoric, the book deepens the story of post-9/11 America and the nation’s descent into the netherworld of prisoner abuse. Researchers interviewed more than sixty former Guantánamo detainees in nine countries, as well as key government officials, military experts, former guards, interrogators, lawyers for detainees, and other camp personnel. We hear directly from former detainees as they describe the events surrounding their capture, their years of incarceration, and the myriad difficulties preventing many from resuming a normal life upon returning home. Prepared jointly by researchers with the Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley, and the International Human Rights Law Clinic, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, in partnership with the Center for Constitutional Rights, The Guantánamo Effect contributes significantly to the debate surrounding the U.S.’s commitment to international law during war time.
Laurel E. Fletcher is Director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic and Clinical Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. Eric Stover is Faculty Director of the Human Rights Center and Adjunct Professor of Law and Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. His most recent book is The Witnesses: War Crimes and the Promise of Justice in The Hague.
“Most of this succinct and worrying book is about detention itself, but an intriguing section goes on to look at ex-detainees trying to piece together the semblance of lives after their ordeal.”—Jeremy Harding London Review Of Books
“This book adds considerable depth to our understanding of the practices of interrogation by contextualizing the primary detention facility used for these purposes, Guantánamo Bay. The authors systematically and starkly report the unsurprising, yet hitherto anecdotal, evidence of an insurmountable psychological toll, the result of accumulated experiences, including indefinite detention; mental and physical abuse; and prolonged isolation.”—Alex Braithwaite International Affairs
"Though unparalleled in its perfidy, our era is also the first in which people are trying to do something about crimes against humanity and such treacheries as torture and cruel and inhumane treatment of others. The first step toward remediation is exposure of wrongs, and this is the task ably researched and brilliantly presented by Laurel E. Fletcher and Eric Stover in The Guantanamo Effect. Their well-written narrative style makes the work a unique teaching resource, and the scholarship on this important topic is first rate. As such, it deserves widespread attention and public understanding."—Richard Pierre Claude, Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland

"The Guantanamo Effect expands our view of one of the most significant aspects of U.S. policy: our conduct in the 'War on Terror', which has deeply shaped perceptions of the U.S. around the world. As a piece of primary research, this work will be of great value to anyone coming to terms with this painful history. It may also help provide a cautionary tale to other countries designing detainee policies. This will be an area of continued interest for decades."—Christopher Kutz, Professor of Law, Jurisprudence & Social Policy Program, University of California, Berkeley

“What happened to prisoners at Guantanamo is one of the most shameful moments in recent American history. Anyone who seeks the truth about these events—now and for years to come—will be in debt to this study, which is comprehensive and careful, poignant and devastating.” —Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost

"The Guantanamo Effect takes its place at the forefront of a dark and powerful literature describing what happened to prisoners taken by United States forces in the War on Terror. In this pathbreaking book we hear the voices of 62 released detainees describe in painful detail what happened before they were brought to Guantanamo, what happened to them in the offshore prison, and what came after they were released. The book is impeccably researched and clearly written, the tone calm, patient, unflinching. However much we want to banish this grim and powerful story to the past, in fact we are living with it still. The Guantanamo Effect is hard to read. It is vital that it be read."—Mark Danner, author of Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib and The War on Terror
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Interview with the author, Laurel E. Fletcher, and Eric Stover

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