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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.
“[W]hen the history of our era is written not by the torturers and their apologists, but by those who never gave up on the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—Wolfgang Kaleck will be one of the primary authors. Until then, we can be grateful that he has chosen to write this account of struggles well fought.” —Edward Snowden