Law Versus Power

sub-heading:
Our Global Fight for Human Rights
Foreword By
EDWARD SNOWDEN
£15.74

Adding to cart… The item has been added
  • 226 pages
  • Paperback ISBN 9781682191736
  • E-book ISBN 9781682191743

about the bookabout

Wolfgang Kaleck, best known as Edward Snowden's lawyer, is a human rights activist extraordinaire. For more than two decades, he has travelled the world to fight alongside those suffering injustice at the hands of powerful players, people who, prior to the arrival of Kaleck and his colleagues, often enjoyed impunity.

Kaleck's work has taken him to Buenos Aires, to stand with the mothers of youngsters "disappeared" under the Argentinian military dictatorship; to exiled Syrian communities, where he assembled the case against torture mandated by those high up in the Assad government; to Central America, where he collaborated with those pursuing the Guatemalan military for its massacres of indigenous people; to New York, to partner with the Center for Constitutional Rights in taking action against Donald Rumsfeld for the "enhanced interrogation techniques" he greenlighted after 9/11; and to Moscow, where he represents the whistle-blower Edward Snowden, "a likeable man whose talents go far beyond his technical skills".

In recounting his involvement in such cases, Kaleck gives full voice to those he is representing, emphasizing the courage and persistence they bring to the global search for justice. The result is a book crammed with compelling and vivid stories, underscoring the notion that, while the world is often a terrible place, universal standards of human rights can prevail when people are willing to struggle for them.

About The Author / Editor

Photo © Ute Langkafel/Maifoto Wolfgang Kaleck is the founder and General Secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin. Working with partners around the world, ECCHR takes legal proceedings against individuals, corporations, and state actors who have breached the law relating to human rights.

Read An Excerpt

Moscow, late January 2014

On January 26, I take an Aeroflot flight to Moscow Sheremetyevo from Berlin's provincial Schönefeld airport, where echoes of the Realsozialist past can still be detected in the commands barked by airport personnel. A taxi brings me through the Moscow winter, high-rise apartment blocks, commuter towns, heavy traffic, neon signs, amusement parks, imposing buildings of all kinds. At a hotel downtown I join a small group of fellow lawyers headed by Ben Wizner from the American Civil Liberties Union. I've known Ben for a decade, we worked together on the case of Khaled al-Masri, a German who was kidnapped by the CIA and tortured in Afghanistan. Now we've come to Moscow to meet with Edward Snowden.

Ever since Edward Snowden's revelations the previous summer, my colleague Carsten Gericke and I have been making arrangements in Berlin to prepare Snowden's legal representation in Europe. We've had meetings to explore the possibility of an asylum request and to assist him in his appearances as an expert witness in front of state inquiries such as at the German Parliament and international bodies like the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. In autumn 2013 we assemble a small team of European lawyers and meet in Berlin, but until now nothing has been made public. I haven't met Snowden before and I'm looking forward to our encounter.

We get a taxi to the arranged meeting place. Snowden looks just as slight and young as he seems in the photos. But instead of the nerd I'd expected to find, we meet a friendly, open person who begins by giving each of us a gift of a Matrjoschka. The conversation is straightforward and to the point. Snowden explains, question, issues requests and directives, but he also listens, understands and is open to suggestions. There is a long list of topics for discussion but we swiftly agree on common positions. I feel well primed for the tasks ahead.

While the discussion runs smoothly, the circumstances are deeply unsettling, themselves an intrinsic part of and an expression of the problem of surveillance: who is intercepting our conversation, who is tracking us, how secure are my office and my apartment back home? My mobile phone suddenly dies, specialists examine it later in Berlin but the data cannot be retrieved. A sense of threat hangs in the air.

in the media

Law Versus Power

sub-heading:
Our Global Fight for Human Rights
Foreword By
EDWARD SNOWDEN
£15.74

Add to Cart

Adding to cart… The item has been added

about the bookabout

Wolfgang Kaleck, best known as Edward Snowden's lawyer, is a human rights activist extraordinaire. For more than two decades, he has travelled the world to fight alongside those suffering injustice at the hands of powerful players, people who, prior to the arrival of Kaleck and his colleagues, often enjoyed impunity.

Kaleck's work has taken him to Buenos Aires, to stand with the mothers of youngsters "disappeared" under the Argentinian military dictatorship; to exiled Syrian communities, where he assembled the case against torture mandated by those high up in the Assad government; to Central America, where he collaborated with those pursuing the Guatemalan military for its massacres of indigenous people; to New York, to partner with the Center for Constitutional Rights in taking action against Donald Rumsfeld for the "enhanced interrogation techniques" he greenlighted after 9/11; and to Moscow, where he represents the whistle-blower Edward Snowden, "a likeable man whose talents go far beyond his technical skills".

In recounting his involvement in such cases, Kaleck gives full voice to those he is representing, emphasizing the courage and persistence they bring to the global search for justice. The result is a book crammed with compelling and vivid stories, underscoring the notion that, while the world is often a terrible place, universal standards of human rights can prevail when people are willing to struggle for them.

About The Author / Editor

Photo © Ute Langkafel/Maifoto Wolfgang Kaleck is the founder and General Secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin. Working with partners around the world, ECCHR takes legal proceedings against individuals, corporations, and state actors who have breached the law relating to human rights.

Read An Excerpt

Moscow, late January 2014

On January 26, I take an Aeroflot flight to Moscow Sheremetyevo from Berlin's provincial Schönefeld airport, where echoes of the Realsozialist past can still be detected in the commands barked by airport personnel. A taxi brings me through the Moscow winter, high-rise apartment blocks, commuter towns, heavy traffic, neon signs, amusement parks, imposing buildings of all kinds. At a hotel downtown I join a small group of fellow lawyers headed by Ben Wizner from the American Civil Liberties Union. I've known Ben for a decade, we worked together on the case of Khaled al-Masri, a German who was kidnapped by the CIA and tortured in Afghanistan. Now we've come to Moscow to meet with Edward Snowden.

Ever since Edward Snowden's revelations the previous summer, my colleague Carsten Gericke and I have been making arrangements in Berlin to prepare Snowden's legal representation in Europe. We've had meetings to explore the possibility of an asylum request and to assist him in his appearances as an expert witness in front of state inquiries such as at the German Parliament and international bodies like the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. In autumn 2013 we assemble a small team of European lawyers and meet in Berlin, but until now nothing has been made public. I haven't met Snowden before and I'm looking forward to our encounter.

We get a taxi to the arranged meeting place. Snowden looks just as slight and young as he seems in the photos. But instead of the nerd I'd expected to find, we meet a friendly, open person who begins by giving each of us a gift of a Matrjoschka. The conversation is straightforward and to the point. Snowden explains, question, issues requests and directives, but he also listens, understands and is open to suggestions. There is a long list of topics for discussion but we swiftly agree on common positions. I feel well primed for the tasks ahead.

While the discussion runs smoothly, the circumstances are deeply unsettling, themselves an intrinsic part of and an expression of the problem of surveillance: who is intercepting our conversation, who is tracking us, how secure are my office and my apartment back home? My mobile phone suddenly dies, specialists examine it later in Berlin but the data cannot be retrieved. A sense of threat hangs in the air.

in the media