Peter King's Hearings Part of a Long, Ignoble Tradition

Originally posted on the Huffington Post

Committee Chairman U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) listens during a hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rep. Peter King’s decision to hold a hearing before the House Committee on Homeland Security on “radicalization in the American Muslim community” embraces the grand political tradition of demonizing a minority community in times of perceived national crisis for apparent personal advantage.

In 1919 an anarchist letter-bombing campaign prompted the Attorney General and aspirant President candidate Alexander Palmer to unleash a series of raids on predominantly Russian immigrant and labor groups that flouted due process and often resulted in what even J. Edgar Hoover admitted were “clear cases of brutality.” More than 500 Eastern European immigrants were summarily deported.

The attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 led to the internment of 110,000 American citizens of Japanese origin in complete disregard for their constitutional protections. Many white Californians benefited materially as a result, especially in the farming community. FDR’s Assistant Secretary of War, John Jay McCloy, famously remarked at the time: “If it is a question of safety of the country, [or] the Constitution of the United States, why the Constitution is just a scrap of paper to me.”


Tweet Chat with Tom Parker Today at 2:00 PM EST!

Today Amnesty International USA will be hosting a Tweet Chat with Tom Parker, our Policy Director for Terrorism, Counterterrorism and Human Rights.

Today also marks the beginning of the Military Commission proceedings for Guantánamo detainee Omar Khadr, who has been in U.S. custody since the age of 15.  While the U.S. ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict in 2002, which Khadr should be protected by, the military commission trial completely fails this international obligation.  What’s more is that some of Khadr’s statements may have been made while he was being tortured. Just yesterday,  his statements have been ruled admissible  as the prosecution has maintained in its legal filings that “the accused was not tortured; nor subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”

Now’s your chance to get your questions answered on the Obama administration’s plans to close Guantánamo,  or, even more generally, U.S. policy on torture, terrorism or detainment.

Join Amnesty International today for a Tweet Chat to discuss Khadr’s case and that of other detainees at Guantanamo.

WHEN: Today Tuesday, August 10th from 2:00 – 3:00 pm EST

WHERE: Follow Tom on Twitter @TomAtAmnesty

HOW: Submit questions on Twitter any time from now through August 10th using hashtag #AskAI.  Example: How else should the U.S. gain intelligence re: terrorism plots w/o using torture? #askai