The Harbinger Theory: How the Post-9/11 Emergency Became Permanent and the Case for Reform

Hardcover | April 8, 2015

byRobert Diab

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North American law has been transformed in ways unimaginable before 9/11. Laws now authorize and courts have condoned indefinite detention without charge based on secret evidence, mass secret surveillance, and targeted killing of US citizens, suggesting a shift in the cultural currency of aliberal form of legality to authoritarian legality.The Harbinger Theory demonstrates that extreme measures have been consistently embraced in politics, scholarship, and public opinion, not in terms of a general fear of the greater threat that terrorism now poses, but a more specific belief that 9/11 was the harbinger of a new order of terror, givingrise to the likelihood of an attack on the same scale as 9/11 or greater in the near future, involving thousands of casualties and possibly weapons of mass destruction. It explains how the harbinger theory shapes debates about rights and security by virtue of rhetorical strategies on the part ofpolitical leaders and security experts, and in works of popular culture, in which the theory is often invoked as a self-evident truth, without the need for supporting evidence or authority. It also reveals how liberal advocates tend to be deferential to the theory, aiding its deeper entrenchmentthrough the absence of a prominent public critique of it. In a unique overview of a range of skeptical evidence about the likelihood of mass terror involving WMD or conventional means, this book contends that a potentially more effective basis for reform advocacy is not to dismiss overstated threatclaims as implausible or psychologically grounded, but to challenge the harbinger theory directly through the use of contrary evidence.

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North American law has been transformed in ways unimaginable before 9/11. Laws now authorize and courts have condoned indefinite detention without charge based on secret evidence, mass secret surveillance, and targeted killing of US citizens, suggesting a shift in the cultural currency of aliberal form of legality to authoritarian lega...

Robert Diab is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law at Thompson Rivers University, and specializes in Canadian and U.S. national security law, criminal, and constitutional law. He is the author of Guantanamo North: Terrorism and the Administration of Justice in Canada (2008) and co-Editor in Chief of the Canadian Journal of Co...

other books by Robert Diab

Guantanamo North: Terrorism and the Administration of Justice in Canada
Guantanamo North: Terrorism and the Administration of J...

Paperback|Oct 15 2008

$19.11 online$19.95list price
Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.29 × 6.42 × 1.18 inPublished:April 8, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190243228

ISBN - 13:9780190243227

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. The Embrace of Authoritarian Legality3. The Harbinger Theory in Politics, Culture, and Public Opinion4. The Future of Terror in Expert Literature and the Advocacy of Extreme Measures5. Opportunity Lost: Liberal Deference to the Harbinger Theory6. An Alternative Case for Reform7. Outstanding Questions and Recommendations for ReformBibliographyIndex