Since 9/11, a new configuration of power situated at the core of the executive branch of the U.S. government has taken hold. In Crimes of Power & States of Impunity, Michael Welch takes a close look at the key historical, political, and economic forces shaping the country's response to terror.
Welch continues the work he began in Scapegoats of September 11th and argues that current U.S. policies, many enacted after the attacks, undermine basic human rights and violate domestic and international law. He recounts these offenses and analyzes the system that sanctions them, offering fresh insight into the complex relationship between power and state crime. Welch critically examines the unlawful enemy combatant designation, Guantanamo Bay, recent torture cases, and collateral damage relating to the war in Iraq. This book transcends important legal arguments as Welch strives for a broader sociological interpretation of what transpired early this century, analyzing the abuses of power that jeopardize our safety and security.
In 1996, Congress passed expansive laws to control illegal immigration, imposing mandatory detention and deportation for even minor violations. Critics argued that such legislation violated civil liberties and human rights; correspondingly, in 2001, the Supreme Court ruled that many facets of the 1996 statutes were unconstitutional. Michael Welch shows how what he calls "moral panic" led to the passage of the 1996 laws and the adverse effects they have had on the Immigration and Naturalization Service, producing a booming detainee population and an array of human rights violations. Detained: Immigration Laws and the Expanding I.N.S. Jail Complex offers sensible recommendations for reform along with an enlightened understanding of immigration. In an epilogue, Welch examines closely the government's campaign to fight terrorism at home, especially the use of racial profiling, mass detention, and secret evidence.Recently, the INS, particularly its enforcement and detention operations have expanded dramatically. This book will offer many readers their first look inside that system. It will be an invaluable guide to thinking through whether the system is fit to take on the additional responsibilities being asked of it in the post-September 11th world.
The attacks of 9/11 led to a war on Iraq, although there was neither tangible evidence that the nation's leader, Saddam Hussein, was linked to Osama bin Laden nor proof of weapons of mass destruction. Why, then, did the Iraq war garner so much acceptance in the United States during its primary stages?
Mass Deception argues that the George W. Bush administration manufactured public support for the war on Iraq. Scott A. Bonn introduces a unique, integrated, and interdisciplinary theory called "critical communication" to explain how and why political elites and the news media periodically create public panics that benefit both parties. Using quantitative analysis of public opinion polls and presidential rhetoric pre- and post-9/11 in the news media, Bonn applies the moral panic concept to the Iraq war. He critiques the war and occupation of Iraq as violations of domestic and international law. Finally, Mass Deception connects propaganda and distortion efforts by the Bush administration to more general theories of elite deviance and state crime.
The disproportionate representation of black Americans in the U.S. criminal justice system is well documented. Far less well-documented are the entrenched systems and beliefs that shape punishment and other official forms of social control today.
In Race, Gender, and Punishment, Mary Bosworth and Jeanne Flavin bring together twelve original essays by prominent scholars to examine not only the discrimination that is evident, but also the structural and cultural forces that have influenced and continue to perpetuate the current situation. Contributors point to four major factors that have impacted public sentiment and criminal justice policy: colonialism, slavery, immigration, and globalization. In doing so they reveal how practices of punishment not only need particular ideas about race to exist, but they also legitimate them.
The essays unearth troubling evidence that testifies to the nation's brutally racist past, and to white Americans' continued fear of and suspicion about racial and ethnic minorities. The legacy of slavery on punishment is considered, but also subjects that have received far less attention such as how colonizers' notions of cultural superiority shaped penal practices, the criminalization of reproductive rights, the link between citizenship and punishment, and the global export of crime control strategies.
Uncomfortable but necessary reading, this book provides an original critique of why and how the criminal justice system has emerged as such a racist institution.
From its largest cities to deep within its heartland, from its heavily trafficked airways to its meandering country byways, America has become a nation racked by anxiety about terrorism and national security. In response to the fears prompted by the tragedy of September 11th, the country has changed in countless ways. Airline security has tightened, mail service is closely examined, and restrictions on civil liberties are more readily imposed by the government and accepted by a wary public.
The altered American landscape, however, includes more than security measures and ID cards. The country's desperate quest for security is visible in many less obvious, yet more insidious ways. In Scapegoats of September 11th, criminologist Michael Welch argues that the "war on terror" is a political charade that delivers illusory comfort, stokes fear, and produces scapegoats used as emotional relief. Regrettably, much of the outrage that resulted from 9/11 has been targeted at those not involved in the attacks on the Pentagon or the Twin Towers. As this book explains, those people have become the scapegoats of September 11th. Welch takes on the uneasy task of sorting out the various manifestations of displaced aggression, most notably the hate crimes and state crimes that have become embarrassing hallmarks both at home and abroad.
Drawing on topics such as ethnic profiling, the Abu Ghraib scandal, Guantanamo Bay, and the controversial Patriot Act, Welch looks at the significance of knowledge, language, and emotion in a post-9/11 world. In the face of popular and political cheerleading in the war on terror, this book presents a careful and sober assessment, reminding us that sound counterterrorism policies must rise above, rather than participate in, the propagation of bigotry and victimization.