Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
HAVE YOUR DONATION DOUBLED!

If you are able to donate $100 or more for our Annual Fund Drive, your donation will be matched by another generous CounterPuncher! These are tough times. Regardless of the political rhetoric bantered about the airwaves, the recession hasn’t ended for most of us. We know that money is tight for many of you. But we also know that tens of thousands of daily readers of CounterPunch depend on us to slice through the smokescreen and tell it like is. Please, donate if you can!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Disappeared in the Southland

by Jordan Green Facing South

A virtual shroud of silence has been cloaked over the detention of at least 600 immigrants, some held on visa charges, who have been detained following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

A consortium of groups, including the ACLU and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, announced on Oct. 29 that they filed a Freedom Of Information Act request to the FBI, Justice Department and Immigration & Naturalization Service to determine the identities, countries of origin, and the charges against the detainees. The request was denied, and they are now in the process of appealing.

“The secret detention of over 800 people over the past few weeks is frighteningly close to the practice of ‘disappearing’ people in Latin America,” said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, one of the groups seeking information.

Across the South, a small number of cases have come to light, mostly involving suspects who have been released, giving clues to the treatment of the “disappeared.”

On Oct. 3, Newsweek reported on the case of Al-Badr Al-Hazmi, a Saudi Arabian doctor who was taken from his home in San Antonio, Tex. by agents of the FBI one day after the Sept. 11 attacks. As he was handcuffed in front of his house, Al-Hazmi asked, “What is my guilt?”

He was never told why he was being held. Throughout his ordeal he was moved from administrative arrest at the San Antonio FBI office to a jail in nearby Comal County, and eventually to Manhattan Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City. Al-Hazmi said FBI agents routinely kicked him in the small of his back while shouting at him as he was being interrogated. The fourth-year radiology resident at the University of Texas Health Science Center was unable to speak with his family or a lawyer for 11 days. He was released on Sept. 28.

On Sept. 29, the Houston Chronicle reported on a 20-year old Pakistani student, Hasnain Javed, who was detained by INS agents at a Mobile, Ala. bus station. He was taken to a prison in Mississippi, where he said he was placed in an open dormitory with hardened criminals who called him “bin Laden.” The other inmates stripped him naked and beat him so badly that they ruptured his eardrum, broke out a tooth, and fractured his ribs, said Javed. Twenty to 25 minutes after he pleaded through the intercom for help, four guards appeared and stood in the doorway watching the conclusion of the beating.

Two days later, Javed was transported to INS headquarters in New Orleans and released on a $5,000 bond.

In Kentucky, federal law enforcement efforts have targeted ethnic communities that would seem to have little to do with Islamic fundamentalism.

Four Mauritanian nationals were detained by the INS in Louisville, Ky. following the Sept. 11 attacks, as reported in the Courier-Journal. Attorney Rusty O’Brien said the INS was moving to deport all four. One was released on bond while another, thought by authorities to have requested flying lessons, was held in the Grayson County Jail. The other two were taken to an immigration court in New Orleans. All have subsequently been released, according to Courier-Journal reporter Tom Loftus, with deportation hearings set for early next year.

The week following the Louisville detentions, a coordinated round-up consisting of federal and local law enforcement swept through northern Kentucky, detaining 25 Mauritanians. All were released within eight hours, but a confiscated computer was never returned.

“They never apologized to us or told us why they took us to the police station. We feel very mistreated by the police, and we would like to know why we were taken in,” said Mohamed Daheye, a technology student at Northern Kentucky University who is from Mauritania.

The raid focused on Burl Park Apartments in Burlington, unsettling the ethnically diverse community. One resident, Josh Boling, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that he met a group of white men outside the apartments who said they had come to beat up Muslims. Another resident, Robin Sanchez, said her Mexican-American fianc?e was scooped up by federal agents and hasn’t been heard from since.

In addition to detaining individuals without trial, the State Department now wants to talk to 5,000 young male foreigners who have sought entry into the country since Jan. 1, 2000, on tourist, student and business visas. Justice officials say the men, all age 18 to 33 and with non-immigrant visas, are not suspects but are wanted for voluntary interviews. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee says the list is based on age, sex and national origin and “smacks of racial profiling.” The committee said the interviewing is open to serious abuse if civil liberties are not respected.

Aggressive White House initiatives on the domestic front of the anti-terrorism war this week have also caused concern from civil libertarians. On Wednesday, President Bush issued an executive order establishing military tribunals to try foreigners charged with terrorism. Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, expressed concern that “a defendant could be sentenced to death without a public trial.”

Jordan Green is Editorial & Research Associate at the Institute for Southern Studies.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
October 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Clinton, Assange and the War on Truth
Michael Hudson
Socialism, Land and Banking: 2017 compared to 1917
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in the Life of CounterPunch
Paul Street
The Not-So-Radical “Socialist” From Vermont
Jason Hirthler
Censorship in the Digital Age
Jonathan Cook
Harvey Weinstein and the Politics of Hollywood
Andrew Levine
Diagnosing the Donald
Michelle Renee Matisons
Relocated Puerto Rican Families are Florida’s Latest Class War Targets
Richard Moser
Goldman Sachs vs. Goldman Sachs?
David Rosen
Male Sexual Violence: As American as Cherry Pie
Mike Whitney
John Brennan’s Police State USA
Robert Hunziker
Mr. Toxicity Zaps America
Peter Gelderloos
Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Democracy
Robert Fantina
Fatah, Hamas, Israel and the United States
Edward Curtin
Organized Chaos and Confusion as Political Control
Patrick Cockburn
The Transformation of Iraq: Kurds Have Lost 40% of Their Territory
CJ Hopkins
Tomorrow Belongs to the Corporatocracy
Bill Quigley
The Blueprint for the Most Radical City on the Planet
Brian Cloughley
Chinese Dreams and American Deaths in Africa
John Hultgren
Immigration and the American Political Imagination
Thomas Klikauer
Torturing the Poor, German-Style
Gerry Brown
China’s Elderly Statesmen
Pepe Escobar
Kirkuk Redux Was a Bloodless Offensive, Here’s Why
Jill Richardson
The Mundaneness of Sexual Violence
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Choreography of Human Dignity: Blade Runner 2049 and World War Z
Missy Comley Beattie
Bitch, Get Out!!
Andre Vltchek
The Greatest Indonesian Painter and “Praying to the Pig”
Ralph Nader
Why is Nobelist Economist Richard Thaler so Jovial?
Ricardo Vaz
Venezuela Regional Elections: Chavismo in Triumph, Opposition in Disarray and Media in Denial
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
NAFTA Talks Falter, Time To Increase Pressure
GD Dess
Why We Shouldn’t Let Hillary Haunt Us … And Why Having a Vision Matters
Ron Jacobs
Stop the Idiocy! Stop the Mattis-ness!
Russell Mokhiber
Talley Sergent Aaron Scheinberg Coca Cola Single Payer and the Failure of Democrats in West Virginia
Michael Barker
The Fiction of Kurt Andersen’s “Fantasyland”
Murray Dobbin
Yes, We Need to Tax the Rich
Dave Lindorff
Two Soviet Spies Who Deserve a Posthumous Nobel Peace Prize
Rafael Bernabe – Manuel Rodríguez Banchs
Open Letter to the People of the United States From Puerto Rico, a Month After Hurricane María
Oliver Tickell
#FreeJackLetts
Victor Grossman
From Jamaica to Knees
Michael Welton
Faith and the World: the Baha’i Vision
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Kirkuk the Consolation Prize?
Graham Peebles
Beyond Neo-Liberal Consumerism
Louis Proyect
On Gowans on Syria
Charles R. Larson
Review: Candida R. Moss and Joel S. Baden’s “Bible Nation: the United States of Hobby Lobby”
David Yearsley
Katy Perry’s Gastro-Pop, Gastro-Porn Orgy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail