Chicago Indymedia :
Chicago Indymedia

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1,100 Arab-Americans Interned by US gov

1,100 Arab-Americans being held by US gov, who won't release any basic information about who what where why.
From Daybreak Newspaper #1. a midwestern anti-authoritarian newspaper. It's available for 2$ from PO Box 14007 Minneapolis MN 55414
During the summer of 1942, the United States Army's Western Defense Command displaced 110, 000 people of Japanese descent from their homes near the pacific coast. Both American born and alien Japanese residents were forcibly moved into the ten internment camps between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Mississippi River. These camps were "to serve as wartime homes for those evacuees who might be unable or unfit to relocate in ordinary American communities."

This situation is witnessed again today, as over 1,100 people have been detained in connection with the September 11th attacks. Eerily similar to past internments, detainees are being held in undisclosed locations while authorities release little or no information about exactly who has been arrested or why they are being held. The American Civil Liberties Union and other human rights organizations urged the government to release basic information about those arrested but received no reply. "We have been deeply disappointed with the government's refusal to release information that would assure the American public that this crucial investigation is being conducted with the basic protections guaranteed by our laws," Gregory Nojeim said. Attorney General John Ashcroft claims they are not required to release information as the government's actions are "consistent with the framework of law that we operate under."

Of the people who have been taken into custody, many have come out with horrifying stories. After determining that his only crime was overstaying a visa, Muhammed Rafiq Butt, a 55 year-old Pakistani man was detained for eight days at the Hudson County Correctional Center without being released or deported. Mr. Butt was not allowed to contact his family or the Pakistani consulate regarding his detention. I wasn't until an inmate found him dead of a heart attack in his cell that the Pakistani consulate was informed. A Pakistani student in Mississippi was stripped and beaten in his cell by inmates while guards watched and then failed to give him medical attention. In New York, Israeli men were blindfolded and handcuffed in their cells. Internee Yazeed Al-Salmi recounted his nine-day detention in a Manhattan facility: "They don't call you by name. . . They call you fucking terrorist." Others have been kept in solitary confinement, denied adequate food and medical supplies, and been beaten and verbally abused by guards. Police have denied those arrested their legal rights to see attorneys or make phone calls, and at least one attorney said he would not talk publicly for fear of angering federal prosecutors.

Most of the detainees are being held only on immigration or other petty violations, while a small number are being held as material witnesses. Over 100 arrests resulted from tapped phones in the hours after the crashes because they were heard "celebrating." Officials, who are notoriously shorthanded in Arabic translators, don't know if those arrested are connected with the attacks. No one has been charged with terrorist activities.



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