June 11, 2013
George Takei is hardly the only American concerned about the NSA's massive surveillance programs. But unlike most people, his fears are rooted in the memory of the government persecution he suffered firsthand in a Japanese internment camp.
"Due process is a pillar of our American justice system," the Star Trek star told Daily Intelligencer last night at the Eighth Annual Stella by Starlight Benefit Gala. "We were rounded up simply because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. And we were put in prison camps with barbed wire and machine guns pointed at us. It was a horrific violation of our Constitution."
Because of that experience, Takei is particularly wary of the government's powers being abused. "We know where this can go," he said. "We have to be ever vigilant against overstepping of the fundamental ideals of our democracy."
During WWII, the US government operated an “enemy alien” program which affected nearly one million immigrants from the Italian, German and Japanese communities in the US and from Latin America. This program was separate from the internment of the 120,000 US citizens and resident immigrants of Japanese ancestry.
In the late 1930s, as turmoil in Europe and Asia escalated, the US government began to prepare for the possibility of US involvement in war. Preparations included surveillance of Japanese, German and Italian resident aliens, compiling lists of “potentially dangerous persons” and plans for internment and deportation. This was massive racial and ethnic profiling, not based on action or evidence but rather on who could potentially be dangerous.
Inevitably the government ordered mandatory mass evacuation controlled by the Army; first to assembly centers—temporary staging areas, typically at fairgrounds and racetracks—and from there to relocation centers—bleak, barbed-wire camps in the interior. Mass evacuation went forward in one locality after another up and down the coast, on short notice, with a drill sergeant's thoroughness and lack of sentimentality. As the Executive Order required, government agencies made an effort, only partially successful, to protect the property and economic interests of the people removed to the camps; but their loss of liberty brought enormous economic losses.
Originally posted by PRS395
If people like George just came to this realization or epiphany, heaven help them. I laugh at the statement; Could lead! How about, It IS LEADING TO Internment camps!
If the rest of you think this will never happen, ah, okay, then there is nothing to see here. Move along.
Originally posted by Telos
Originally posted by muzzleflash
Liberty or Death.
Feb 04, 2014
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told law students at the University of Hawaii law school Monday that the nation's highest court was wrong to uphold the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II but that he wouldn't be surprised if the court issued a similar ruling during a future conflict.
Scalia was responding to a question about the court's 1944 decision in Korematsu v. United States, which upheld the convictions of Gordon Hirabayashi and Fred Korematsu for violating an order to report to an internment camp.
"Well, of course, Korematsu was wrong. And I think we have repudiated in a later case. But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again," Scalia told students and faculty during a lunchtime question-and-answer session.
Scalia cited a Latin expression meaning "In times of war, the laws fall silent."
"That's what was going on — the panic about the war and the invasion of the Pacific and whatnot. That's what happens. It was wrong, but I would not be surprised to see it happen again, in time of war. It's no justification but it is the reality," he said.