[What follows is a short review of Gareth Peirce's Dispatches from the Dark Side (Verso, £9.99) by Steven Poole in The Guardian.]
When is a "miscarriage" of justice really a perversion of it? The answer is clear enough in the most compelling essay here, on the Lockerbie bombing, justifiably entitled "The Framing of al-Megrahi". Other subjects include British complicity in "rendition" and torture overseas; the indefinite "detention" without trial (or, as Peirce calls it, "internment") of British citizens after 9/11; and the American mania for imposing solitary confinement, both before trial and in its "SuperMax" prisons, which she argues persuasively is at least blatantly vindictive and probably constitutes torture.
Along the way there are illuminating detours into terminological history (Peirce is very good on the way "defence of the realm" became "national security"), and a consistent seething contempt for governmental mendacity and secrecy. Despite some occasionally opaque syntax (one often ends up reading a sentence twice in a dour hunt for the main verb), the writing has an attractive steeliness.