Rules of the Game

Detention, Deportation, Disappearance

Edited by
February 2010 9781850659693 220pp
February 2010 9781850659686 220pp
EU Customers


In the aftermath of the suicide bombings on London’s transport infrastructure in July 2005, the then Prime Minister Tony Blair said that ‘the rules of the game have changed’. He referred to how his government planned to respond to the attacks, but few people at the time anticipated that counterterrorism would become synonymous with circumventing time-honoured concepts such as the rule of law. It is associated now with words such as profiling, incommunicado detention, rendition and torture. Rules of the Game investigates global counterterrorism through the perspective of those affected by such measures. Asim Qureshi’s indefatigable research took him to East Africa, Pakistan, Sudan, the USA, Bosnia and Canada to record the testimonies of the victims of these detention policies. He analyses the effects of global counterterrorism not as individual policies or pieces of legislation, but rather as parts of a larger phenomenon that has uniformly changed the way governments view justice and eroded fundamental norms in pursuit of often phantom terrorists. Among the issues he discusses are profiling of Muslims by security services and concurrent mass arrests; the use of detention without charge, control orders and incommunicado detention; rendition; domestic detention policies in North America; and how the establishment of Guantánamo Bay has affected global perceptions of justice and imprisonment.


‘In a panic-stricken response to the attack on the twin towers in New York on 9/11 the US government sought to allay the anger of its citizens and to exact revenge by launching a ‘war on terror’. In doing so it abandoned its adherence to principles of justice developed over two hundred years. Asim Qureshi documents the tragic and shameful history of this cruel and counter-productive policy which has particularly impacted on many Muslims who have been subjected to torture and imprisonment in intolerable conditions without legal safeguards. The great importance of this well researched book is its emphasis on the experience and suffering of the victims whose voices are eloquently transcribed.’ — Sir Geoffrey Bindman, QC, chair of the British Institute of Human Rights

‘Asim Qureshi’s meticulous research has produced a book which gives the widest picture yet of the impact of 9/11 on the destruction of fundamental human rights and legal norms by the most powerful of Western politicians. His story is a horrifying one, but his sober tone makes it possible to follow him and the tormented Muslim men he has spoken to, from Bosnia to Pakistan, from Egypt to Syria, and even further afield, into an area of lawlessness, lies, torture, and degradation that no one who has not lived it can imagine. The importance of this scholarly book and the years of recording and reporting that have gone into it, is that it tells a story of what has happened to our civilization. No one can afford not to know these things.’ — Victoria Brittain, journalist, writer, and former associate editor of the Guardian


Asim Qureshi was trained in law and is currently the Senior Researcher for Cageprisoners. With his team of researchers, he has written and published many reports exposing the use of unlawful detention, rendition, and torture in the ‘war on terror’.

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