Author William Shawcross: “JUSTICE AND THE ENEMY” — January 12th, 2012

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British author-journalist William Shaw­cross, scribe of many best-selling books and no stranger to con­tro­versy, will dis­cuss his new book just as it is pub­lished in the US. “Jus­tice and the Enemy: From the Nurem­berg Tri­als to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed” looks at the ongo­ing polit­i­cal and legal argu­ment about whether and how to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his co-conspirators for their role in the 9⁄11 attack.

William Shaw­cross is a dis­tin­guished jour­nal­ist, broad­caster and com­men­ta­tor who has cov­ered inter­na­tional con­flicts and con­flict res­o­lu­tion and has reported for the “Sun­day Times,” “Time Mag­a­zine,” “Newsweek,” and “Rolling Stone” mag­a­zine, among many other pub­li­ca­tions. He is the best­selling author of many books includ­ing biogra­phies of Rupert Mur­doch, the Shah of Iran and the offi­cial biog­ra­phy of the Queen Mother. In 2003, he was named “New Statesman’s” Man of the Year. He is a chair­man of Arti­cle 19, a Lon­don based char­ity and pres­sure group which defends the rights of free expres­sion enshrined in Arti­cle 19 of the Dec­la­ra­tion of Human Rights; a board mem­ber of the Inter­na­tional Cri­sis Group; and was a mem­ber of the High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees’ Infor­mal Advi­sory Group from 1995 – 2000.

His books include “Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruc­tion of Cam­bo­dia” (1979), nom­i­nated for a Pulitzer Prize, “The Shah’s Last Ride” (1989), “Dubcek: Dubcek and Czecho­slo­va­kia”(1970), “Deliver Us From Evil: War­lords and Peace­keep­ers in a World of End­less Con­flict” (2001), “Queen Eliz­a­beth: The Queen Mother”, “Allies” and “The Qual­ity of Mercy: Cam­bo­dia, Holo­caust, and Mod­ern Con­science.” In 1995 he wrote and pre­sented the three-part BBC tele­vi­sion series Monar­chy and in 2002, to tie-in with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, he again wrote and pre­sented a land­mark four-partBBC tele­vi­sion series, Queen and Coun­try, a reveal­ing and inti­mate por­trait of the Queen, and an absorb­ing study of the chang­ing face of monar­chy and of Britain dur­ing the past half-century. He lives in Lon­don and Corn­wall.

’Shaw­cross stands as the fore­most jour­nal­ist of his gen­er­a­tion.‘

Irish Times

’…Shaw­cross holds a mir­ror up to our­selves as we respond inef­fec­tively to the world’s hor­rors.‘

Glas­gow Her­ald

’It is an intel­lec­tual plea­sure to read William Shaw­cross… clear-sighted, objec­tive and ratio­nal [and] a relief from the usual fare of fan­ta­sis­ing served up by our stand­ing army of the self-righteous.‘

Sun­day Inde­pen­dent

Since the Nurem­berg Tri­als of 1945, law­ful nations have strug­gled to impose jus­tice around the world, espe­cially when con­fronted by tyran­ni­cal and geno­ci­dal regimes. But in Cam­bo­dia, the USSR, China, Bosnia, Rwanda, and beyond, jus­tice has been served halt­ingly if at all in the face of colos­sal inhu­man­ity. Inter­na­tional Courts are not rec­og­nized world­wide. There is not a global con­sen­sus on how to pun­ish trans­gres­sors.

The war against Al Qaeda is a war like no other. Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda’s founder, was killed in Pak­istan by Navy Seals. Few peo­ple in Amer­ica felt any­thing other than that jus­tice had been served. But what about the man who con­ceived and exe­cuted the 9⁄11 attacks on the US, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? What kind of jus­tice does he deserve? The U.S. has tried to find the high ground by offer­ing KSM a trial – albeit in the form of mil­i­tary tri­bunal. But is this hyp­o­crit­i­cal? Inde­ci­sive? Half-hearted? Or merely the best appli­ca­tion of jus­tice pos­si­ble for a man who is implaca­bly opposed to the civ­i­liza­tion that the jus­tice sys­tem sup­ports and is derived from? In this book, William Shaw­cross explores the vis­ceral debate that these ques­tions have pro­voked over the proper appli­ca­tion of demo­c­ra­tic val­ues in a time of war, and the endur­ing dilemma posed to all vic­tors in war: how to treat the worst of your ene­mies.


Library Jour­nal

Well-known jour­nal­ist Shaw­cross (Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon, and the Destruc­tion of Cam­bo­dia), son of Britain’s lead pros­e­cu­tor in the Nurem­berg war crime tri­als, under­takes the task of defend­ing the U.S. pros­e­cu­tion of al-Qaeda detainees, par­tic­u­larly Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Using the Nurem­berg tri­als and the opin­ions of Supreme Court Jus­tice Robert Jack­son, chief U.S. pros­e­cu­tor at the tri­als, as his lodestar, he finds sup­port for mil­i­tary com­mis­sions to try those accused of being ter­ror­ists. Shaw­cross begins with the ori­gins of the Nurem­berg tri­als and moves to the his­tory of al-Qaeda, then the legal under­pin­nings of the mil­i­tary tri­bunals. Given state­less actors not bound by rules of war, he argues that the use of drones and enhanced inter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques is law­ful. While the U.S. gov­ern­ment has faced great dif­fi­cul­ties han­dling the pros­e­cu­tion of ter­ror­ists, it has, accord­ing to the author, Nurem­berg as a use­ful prece­dent. VERDICT What dis­tin­guishes the book is the qual­ity of the writ­ing and analy­sis; regard­less of their per­sonal polit­i­cal views, read­ers will find Shaw­cross makes a nuanced argu­ment. Clear, briskly writ­ten, and per­sua­sive — of inter­est to those on all sides of the issue. — Harry Charles, St. Louis.

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