Another bill comes due.
People with historical memory recall that one of the biggest nightmares for the American government was not the harmless Japanese families who were actually interned. Those people, for the most part, were firmly in the middle class and strongly identified themselves as Americans. They were highly unlikely to be good recruiting targets for Axis agents.
African Americans, however, were another story. Large numbers had been systematically excluded from the middle class, and many saw themselves as captives in a strange land. Many were prime recruitment targets for Japanese agents. As examples:
Garvey movement infiltrated by Japanese agents
By the summer of 1932, the UNIA's ranks were also penetrated by pro-Japanese elements working under the direction of the Pacific Movement of the Eastern World and its principal agent, the Filipino Policarpio Manansala, known in the United States as Ashima Takis. Takis offered Garveyites the message that Japan was the champion of the darker races. His views gained a considerable following among UNIA members.
And this fascinating tale of pro-Japanese sentiment among African Americans in the Midwest
The tens of thousands of African Americans who joined pro-Japan organizations during the 1930s were dispersed throughout the northeastern, southern, and especially the midwestern region of the country. They participated in organizations
as diverse as the Nation of Islam, the Moorish Science Temple, The Development of Our Own, the Peace Movement of
Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Pacific Movement, and the Pacific Movement of the Eastern World.
While the FBI's response to the threat was overblown, the concern was not. Had the US President been, say, Strom Thurmond rather than Franklin Roosevelt, African Americans would have had absolutely no reason to support the war effort. Even so, if the Japanese had not been quite so certain of their own racial superiority, they might well have developed a formidable espionage network in the United States.
Therefore, when one learns that
" Four men, including the head of a radical Islamic prison gang, were indicted on federal charges of plotting terrorist attacks against military facilities, the Israeli Consulate and synagogues in Los Angeles."it sounds as if history might be replaying.
I don't know if the men charged are guilty. The Administration has proven again and again that it is willing to announce breathless and baseless charges to divert attention from bad news. I don't know the precise relationship of these men to Islam. I'm not even 100% sure that the accused are African American. But the basic fact is obvious. The United States has a huge class of aggrieved people, many of whom are accustomed to violence, and who have contacts with an enemy of the United States.
In New Orleans, we are being given a glimpse into what happens when people who have a long experience to lack reason for confidence in the future, no sense that the nation as a whole cares about them are overwhelmed. Some shoot at helicopters who might be carrying aid. Some take advantage of the chaos for rape and murder. Astonishingly, many keep faith and trust in those of us who can help.
When are we going to start to pay the debt owed to African Americans, rather than letting it pile up? Will it take a case of Black Muslims making common cause with Al Qaida before we pay attention? And when we pay attention, will we make the same mistakes that were made in World War II, exacerbating grievances? Or will we listen to the people who are saying
"that chaplains can be part of the solution by steering inmates away from radical ideology"?