Friday, May 29, 2009

The forgotten internees: Japanese Latinos

On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. This allowed the military and INS to imprison any person of Japanese descent in camps often referred to as, "Department of Justice Internment Camps". Those Japanese who had recently immigrated were stripped of their legal status. Those who were naturalized were stripped of their citizenship, as were those born in the United States.

It was a dark reminder that sometimes the Constitution isn't enough.


The reason we know about this undignified part of American history is the successful lobby for reparations, which put the story in front of the press, the Congress and the President. The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 allowed for each imprisoned Japanese American or their heirs to receive $20,000.

Reparations are sometimes looked down on, but it goes beyond asking for cash. Apologies come easy and cheap. They provide a thin blanket for a cold storm and don't require any sincerity or penalty. Reparations acknowledge, in action, that a wrong was done and sometimes that the nation benefited at the expense of the livelihood of others. It also creates a future penalty for violations of human rights.

This country disowned its Japanese American citizens as it created propaganda to demonize their entire ethnicity. In addition, they were bartered with like poker chips, exchanged with Japan for the freedom of American POWs. How much is that dignity and disruption in life and family really worth?

Japanese Latin Americans Left Out

One chapter that is often left out of the history of Japanese Internment Camps is the fact that the United States pressured Latin American nations to deport their Japanese, German and Italian citizens to the United States. German and Italian prisoners had additional access to court hearings, but still suffered greatly. There's some speculation that some German Jews from Latin America may have been traded with Germany.

Japanese Latin Americans leaving a temporary internment camp in the
Panama Canal Zone to join their relatives in U.S. internment camps.
April 7, 1942. Courtesy of San Francisco Public Library.

At least 12 nations responded with Japanese and European prisoners, with two-thirds being Japanese and 80% originating from Peru. There were over 2,000 Japanese Latinos imprisoned in the United States; 800 were traded to Japan in exchange for prisoners.

These Spanish-speaking Japanese suffered double humiliations. They were disowned by their own countries, deported to a foreign country and then further alienated in a nation whose language they did not speak. Many of their native countries were simply reacting to racism and jealousy of a successful demographic. Peru had many successful Japanese businesses and schools, which were easily grabbed once their owners and participants were deported. After the war, many Japanese Latinos were not permitted by their former countries to return. Because of their limbo status, many were imprisoned for much longer than other Japanese. Today, many of them still have tainted immigration records.

Kidnapped Illegals

Japanese Latinos were not included in the reparations. Janet Reno, who was US Attorney General and head of the Department of Justice at the time, interpreted the law to only apply to people who were citizens at the time of imprisonment. Because we forced these Japanese Latin Americans into our borders, Reno interpreted them as illegal aliens. Illegal aliens that our nation kidnapped and imprisoned in our borders.

One of the indignities of seeking redress is the fact that you have to sue to get your government to acknowledge what is plainly wrong. To hear your government only apologize after being sued is disheartening. To have to go through it twice is even more painful.

After a class action lawsuit was settled in 1998, it was decided that Japanese Latinos would only get $5,000. That's one fourth of what Japanese American citizens from the US received. In addition, there was no guarantee that it would be paid. Japanese Latinos were paid from a general fund only after Japanese Americans were paid their share.

The money ran out and only allowed for 145 Japanese Latinos to be paid from the fund.


Read More

We need slaves to build monuments'

"We need slaves," my friend says. "We need slaves to build monuments. Look who built the pyramids - they were slaves."

It is already home to the world's glitziest buildings, man-made islands and mega-malls - now Dubai plans to build the tallest tower. But behind the dizzying construction boom is an army of migrant labourers lured into a life of squalor and exploitation.

Click here for the full article.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Man tried to hire prostitute for his teenage son in UK

A man who tried to hire a prostitute to take his 14-year-old son's virginity as a present was spared jail by a court on Friday.

The Polish national took the boy out in his car and allowed him to pick out the prostitute, who was standing at the side of the road in the red-light district of Nottingham.

But the 42-year-old father was arrested because the teenager had chosen an undercover police officer, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons,was handed a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, after he admitted a charge of trying to solicit a woman to have sex with a child, the Press Association reported.

The court heard that the father, who came to Britain eight years ago, was arrested last July during an undercover operation by the city's vice squad.

Prosecutor Adrian Harris said the man and his son had approached the undercover officer whose code name was Sarah and beckoned her over .

He asked "Sarah" how much it would cost for her to have sex with his son and they agreed on a 20 pound fee. However, when the car pulled over, the man was arrested by plainclothes police officers.

"The boy said that they had driven past the girl and his dad pointed to her and said 'will she do?'" Harris said.

"He said 'yes' and they had turned round. He said his dad did this because he was still a virgin and he was taking care of that for him."

Judge Jonathan Teare said he would spare the father jail because of his excellent character and that he believed he did not mean any harm to his son.

"You have a duty of care to your son and that is to look after his moral welfare, not as you might think to break him in to the ways of sex through a prostitute," he said.

The court was told the boy would continue to live with his father.

Friday, May 8, 2009