Internment is the imprisonment or confinement of people without trial. Most modern usage is about individuals, and there is a distinction between internment, which is being confined usually for preventive or political reasons, and imprisonment, which is being closely confined as a punishment for crime. In the near past internment was instituted by England in response to the growing terrorist threat coming from the IRA. Republicans (those Irish who desired a united Ireland) were rounded up in raids and thrown into prison, without a hearing and without due process, just for being Irish. It was a knee-jerk disaster for England and led to marches and protests both on English soil and throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. They culminated in the 1972 Bloody Sunday March where 14 unarmed citizens of Derry, Northern Ireland were shot dead, many of them young people. The perps? The British Army.
Countries who signed off on the United Nations Declaration of human rights, such as England and the United States promised justice with their signatures. So why internment? Desperation and a lack of faith in the law seems to be a cause. Seems like history is repeating itself in the U.S. with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act. The Act states how the military is to be funded, but also includes a number of controversial provisions on arresting and holding suspected terrorists, which at first drove Obama to threaten a veto. The key concession to get around the veto added that it was up to the President to enforce that provision. Watered down but still a little bit disconcerting for freedom-loving people. What does it mean to be “suspected” anyway? In England during the late 60’s and early 70’s suspected meant “Irish.” After the uproar following Bloody Sunday, the “internment” law was replaced by the onerous “Diplock” law which still allowed people to be arrested, but instead of going directly to jail they made a detour into a courtroom without a defense attorney and without a jury. The prosecutors made their case and the judge ruled. No appeals. No rebuttal. No nuthin’. Is this the way our country is moving? Away from law and due process because we are afraid? Are we England? Do we not read history so we are not doomed to repeat it? Doesn’t look like it.
I wonder with all these folks complaining about Obama socialism and comparing him to Hitler if they aren’t complaining about the wrong things. See you Monday…
and so it goes….