80's plan to lock up Arab Americans.
September 30, 2001 10:08 AM   Subscribe

80's plan to lock up Arab Americans. I thought that all of that crap stopped after WWII.
posted by Atom Heart Mother (14 comments total)
It's interesting to see that the Japanese were not the only people interned. Concentration camps aren't a 20th century invention (they were used by Spain in the Spanish-American War). What some officials seemed to imply was that if anyone had connection to terrorist groups that they would be interned. Does anyone else have a problem with people directly connected to radical groups in the past being questioned and held for a few days? This is what the modern day concentration camp would be, not women, children and everday citizens. Concentrating people by race is bad. Concentrating people by whether they are the enemy is not is not. I'm sure I haven't made myself clear and it's going to come across like I'm a bigot.
posted by geoff. at 10:30 AM on September 30, 2001

In Britain they can hold people for 7 days without charging them under the provisions of the anti terrorist act. That's a little harsh but then again it's a harsh world.
posted by Wet Wednesday at 11:03 AM on September 30, 2001

Frightened people condone scary things. From little acorns might oaks grow. From the small seeds of fear you get a public willing to do many things that are in hindsight terribly oppressive.
posted by bjgeiger at 11:12 AM on September 30, 2001

"It seems there were contingency plans to intern Arab Americans in the 1980s"
Several scholars said the document probably was genuine. The committee said the plan apparently never was made into formal policy.

Where's the 'document'? No sources are given...this is another Fairy Tale that belongs in the unmarked grave of Urban Ledgends.
posted by Mack Twain at 11:15 AM on September 30, 2001

I many states, if a physician declares a person to pose a clear and present danger to themselves or others, a person can be interred for between 24 and 72 hours in a psychiatric facility without a diagnosis. Of course, the legal exposure for false imprisonment is pretty big, but initial physician assessments tend to stick even for non-dangerous psych patients. Mind you, we could all probably be labeled with some legit diagnosis.
posted by shagoth at 12:55 PM on September 30, 2001

I'd imagine full scale global war would cause a great many injustices to ensue for everybody planetwide. As rose-tinted we Americans/westerners have been gazing upon our relatively turmoil free existences, it wouldn't surprise me that plans like these seriously exist. If all hell breaks loose (and it very well could) the madness each of us would have to endure could also include internment camps for some.

Coming from the perspective of Western Civilization, any action like this would most certainly erase all societal progress made in, at least, several generations.
posted by crasspastor at 2:13 PM on September 30, 2001

That's a little harsh but then again it's a harsh world.

Words to live by.

posted by rodii at 2:38 PM on September 30, 2001

Twain, the source was the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, who "publicized it in the early 1990s" after it was provided to them, and the Philadelphia Inquirer said they had seen the document. The Inquirer is a respected source. The INS has interned Arab immigrants using secret evidence, and has kept many Cuban immigrants from the Mariel boatlift in INS detention for 21 years. A tent camp for Arab immigrants is just one step beyond normal practice.

Even so, none of this means it was ever considered beyond somebody reading it and firing the author in horror. But I believe the document probably reflects a poitn of view to be found within the INS.
posted by dhartung at 6:22 PM on September 30, 2001

I got into a heated email discussion with someone over the presence of Arabs in the United States. He took the extreme view of saying that we all had to watch out for Arab-Americans, for Muslims-Americans. He wasn't fazed by my reminder of what happened to the Japanese during WW2.
I think the issue here is we have very ignorant population that is making two very dangerous assumptions:
One, that all Arab-Americans are Muslims. Not true.
Two, that all Muslims, American or not are waging jihad against the US or that there is such a thing as Islamic terror.

Of course, there is no such thing as Islamic terror, just like there is no such thing as Jewish terror or Christian terror.

What we have here is a failure to recognize that Osama Bin-Laden and his associates are acting politically but are hiding behind an already largely misunderstood religion to justify their actions, which makes their crime doubly heinous.
posted by CraftyHotMelt at 9:14 PM on September 30, 2001

"He wasn't fazed by my reminder of what happened to the Japanese during WW2"

Were there any terrorist acts committed by the Japanese?
posted by semmi at 10:30 PM on September 30, 2001

Whether or not a terrorist act was committed is not the point. The point is that American citizens were signalled out because of a physical similarity to what the United States government percieved as the enemy. The same thing is happening to the Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans. Anyone with a turban is being targeted, apparently. Muslims did not bomb the US. Osama Bin-Laden did. Did you watch 60 Minutes tonight? Mike Wallace specifically talked about the particular sect of Islam that Osama Bin-Laden belongs to. Its a tiny tiny sect that does not seem to have much credibility outside Central Asia and does not reflect the practices and beliefs of a majority of Muslims, esp American Muslims.
posted by CraftyHotMelt at 10:56 PM on September 30, 2001

oh by the way, that should be "singled", not "signalled"...a hazard of late-night posting, I guess
posted by CraftyHotMelt at 6:53 AM on October 1, 2001

Islamic terror = Islamic fundamentalism
Jewish terror = Jewish fundamentalism
Christian terror = Christian fundamentalism

The biggest terror is when any fundamentalism is wed to a government.

Non-theological politics is the road to peace.
posted by yesster at 7:17 AM on October 1, 2001

You will never, ever see non-theological politics, as evidenced by the on-going abortiont rights struggle in this country, not to mention Bush's heavily Christian-laced inaugration, which by the way, only bothers me slightly, only because I am fully cognizant of the fact that the United States is a Christian country and I accept that.
posted by CraftyHotMelt at 7:40 AM on October 1, 2001

« Older This is definately a fine cocktail.   |   Track Records Don't Count in a Town that Likes... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments