Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Sometimes, two stories strike very uncomfortable chords with each other.

For example, Joshua Kurlantzick has an excellent article up detailing the fate of Uigher detainees in Guantanamo Bay. They've pretty much all been found to be non-threats to the United States by our military commissions (a determination, it's worth noting, we only came to after detaining them for years on a secluded island prison, probably allowing Chinese interrogators to torture them in the process). So what are we doing with them? We have no idea. We can't send them back to China, they'll be tortured. No other country wants to take them. We can't allow them into the US, because, well, I assume because it would embarass us.

So, the upshot is that we've simply kept detaining some, while others we shipped off to Albania, a country which has virtually no Uigher community and does not speak a language remotely similar to Uigher. But I'm sure they'll do fine.

Meanwhike, Peggy McGuiness points to a rather forgotten part of the Japanese Internment saga: the people of Japanese descent we forcibly extracted from Latin American countries so we could snd them to desolate internment camps and, sometimes, use them as bargaining chips in POW exchanges.
Art Shibayama is an American who served in the Army during the Korean War. Like many veterans, Cpl. Shibayama was not born in the United States. He was born in Lima, Peru, to Japanese Peruvian parents. Until 1942, Shibayama, his two brothers and three sisters lived comfortably with their parents and grandparents, all of whom had thriving businesses. However, after America entered World War II, his family was forcibly removed from Peru, transported to the United States and held in a government-run internment camp in Crystal City, Tex.

Like many Japanese American families, Shibayama's family lost everything they owned. But the greater injustice occurred when his grandparents were sent to Japan in exchange for American prisoners of war. Their family never saw them again.

Shibayama and his family were among the estimated 2,300 people of Japanese descent from 13 Latin American countries who were taken from their homes and forcibly transported to the Crystal City camp during World War II. The U.S. government orchestrated and financed the deportation of Japanese Latin Americans for use in prisoner-of-war exchanges with Japan. Eight hundred people were sent across the Pacific, while the remaining Japanese Latin Americans were held in camps without due process.

In the case of the Uighers, we essentially kidnapped them, interned them without due process, and then sometimes shipped them off to a random country. In the case of these Japanese detainees, we also essentially kidnapped them, interned them without due process, and then shipped them off to another country.

Those who forget the past....

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