Illusions of Security

Illusions of Security

Global Surveillance and Democracy in the Post-9/11 World

Book - 2007
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Perseus Publishing

In light of the recent terrorist threats at U.K and U.S. airports, this book is a timely and provocative read about what governments should and should not be doing to protect us from further terrorist attacks. It is a crucial look at a little-examined aspect of the U.S. -- led "war on terror" -- the move toward the use of mass, globalized surveillance and a “preemptive” model of security, and its effects on democratic values and human rights around the world.

"George Orwell and Michel Foucault together could not have imagined the future that Maureen Webb warns is already here -- a state of global surveillance that challenges all of our most deep-seated expectations of privacy. Highly readable and critically important. Read it to see who's watching you." --David Cole, author of Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism

"Through the various 'frozen scandals' of the War on Terror—from extraordinary rendition to torture to warrant-less wiretapping and surveillance—runs a single theme: the Bush Administration's obsessive concern with 'the preemption of risk.'" -- Mark Danner, author of Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib and the War on Terror

"Tracking the myriad ways in which governments—aided by advanced technology and profit-hungry corporations—are monitoring and manipulating us, she reminds us that the only predictable consequence of it all is human suffering, with little or no increase in real security." -- Robert Jensen, University of Texas at Austin professor and author of The Heart of Whiteness and Citizens of the Empire

"This valuable guide makes clear how dramatically civil liberties have been attacked in recent years." -- Christian Parenti, author of The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq, The Soft Cage and Lockdown America

"In measured, lucid detail, Webb presents a wide-ranging account of the emerging global network of surveillance that is infringing on the personal privacy and civil liberties of people in the United States and worldwide." --Nadine Strossen, Executive Director, ACLU

"This is a compelling book and it should be compulsory reading." --Jeremy Waldron, Professor of Philosophy, NYU and author of The Dignity of Legislation and Law and Disagreement

The government is spying on us. Here's how, and what we can do about it.

Book News
Canadian human rights lawyer and activist Webb begins with the cautionary tale of Maher Arar, a Canadian snatched by US authorities and whisked off to the Middle East to be tortured for a year before being released without charge, or even apology. From there, she reveals the multitude of sleight-of-hand measures governments have taken to limit the freedom of people who were being terrified by government warnings of terrorism. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: San Francisco, USA : City Lights Books, c2007
Description: xiii, 305 p. ; 21 cm
ISBN: 9780872864764
Branch Call Number: 323.4482 Web


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Nov 09, 2013

An excellent if disturbing book. It would be most interesting to have an update since the Snowden revelations.

Oct 03, 2013

Although published in 2007, this book is as timely today, even more so than back in '07, given the incredible verification from NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden (PRISM, MARINA, and so on) and the FBI's resurrected COINTELPRO, along with NSA's sharing of data with the FBI/DIA/CIA, and so forth. A most appropriate book for today! (Latest news out: CIA will be training al Qaeda in Syria?) Summation: (to quote Ann Romano of The Stranger), "Oh God, Fox Mulder was right all along!"

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