May 31, 2011

U.S. official cites misconduct in Japanese American internment cases

Posted in Japanese American Incarceration tagged , , , at 12:56 pm by minidokapilgrimage

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-japanese-americans-20110525,0,3517138.story

Acting Solicitor Gen. Neal Katyal says one of his predecessors, Charles Fahy, deliberately hid from the Supreme Court a military report that Japanese Americans were not a threat in World War II.

By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
May 24, 2011, 7:27 p.m.

Reporting from Washington— Acting Solicitor Gen. Neal Katyal, in an extraordinary admission of misconduct, took to task one of his predecessors for hiding evidence and deceiving the Supreme Court in two of the major cases in its history: the World War II rulings that upheld the detention of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans.

Katyal said Tuesday that Charles Fahy, an appointee of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, deliberately hid from the court a report from the Office of Naval Intelligence that concluded the Japanese Americans on the West Coast did not pose a military threat. The report indicated there was no evidence Japanese Americans were disloyal, were acting as spies or were signaling enemy submarines, as some at the time had suggested.

Fahy was defending Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, which authorized forced removals of Japanese Americans from “military areas” in 1942. The solicitor general, the U.S. government’s top courtroom attorney, is viewed as the most important and trusted lawyer to appear before the Supreme Court, and Katyal said he had a “duty of absolute candor in our representations to the court.”

Katyal, 41, who is of Indian American heritage and is the first Asian American to hold the post, said he decided “to set the record straight” Tuesday at a Justice Department event honoring Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

He said that two of the government’s civilian lawyers had told Fahy it would be “suppression of evidence” to keep the naval intelligence report from the high court.

“What does Fahy do? Nothing,” Katyal said.

Instead, Fahy told the justices the government and the military agreed the roundup of Japanese Americans was required as a matter of “military necessity.” Roosevelt issued the order on Feb. 19, 1942, about two months after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, which plunged the U.S. into World War II.

In 1943, the high court unanimously upheld a curfew imposed on Japanese Americans in the case of Gordon Hirabayashi vs. United States. And in 1944, the court in a 6-3 decision upheld the removal order imposed on Japanese Americans in Fred Korematsu vs. United States. The majority accepted the government’s claim that it was a matter of “military urgency.”

Scholars and judges have denounced the World War II rulings as among the worst in the court’s history, but neither the high court nor the Justice Department had formally admitted they were mistaken — until now.

“It seemed obvious to me we had made a mistake. The duty of candor wasn’t met,” Katyal said.

Korematsu, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton, died in Marin County in 2005 at age 86. On Tuesday, his daughter Karen said she was grateful that Katyal had acknowledged the mistakes of his predecessor.

“It was a remarkable statement he made,” she said. “It proves what my father believed all along — that removing the Japanese Americans was wrong and incarcerating them was unconstitutional.”

Korematsu was sent to a camp in Utah, one of 10 in the country. California had two, Tule Lake and Manzanar.

Katyal said that last summer he was doing research for several immigration cases when he came upon some ugly, disturbing comments about Asians in 19th century briefs submitted to the Supreme Court. Chinese immigrants were described as “people not suited to our institutions.” People from India were described as a “subject race.”

He then looked into the history of the World War II internment cases, including documents revealed in the 1980s. Peter Irons, a professor at UC San Diego, had found reports in old government files that showed the U.S. military did not see Japanese Americans as a threat in 1942. His research led to federal court hearings that set aside the convictions of Korematsu and Hirabayashi. Congress later voted to have the nation apologize and pay reparations to those who were wrongly held.

Katyal said he decided it was important to publicly acknowledge the mistakes made in the solicitor general’s office. Hiding the truth from the justices, he said, “harmed the court, and it harmed 120,000 Japanese Americans. It harmed our reputation as lawyers and as human beings, and it harmed our commitment to those words on the court’s building: Equal Justice Under Law.”

Hirabayashi is now 93 and living in Canada. His memory of the World War II years has faded, said his nephew Lane Hirabayashi, a professor of Asian American studies at UCLA. “I know Gordon would be very pleased by this. He didn’t know at the time that government prosecutors had distorted evidence. However, he knew in his heart that mass incarceration was unconstitutional,” he said.

“I thought it was good and very long overdue,” Irons said of Katyal’s statement. “This was a deliberate, knowing lie by Fahy to the Supreme Court. For the government’s highest counsel to make that statement now is quite noteworthy and admirable.”

A year ago, Katyal became the acting solicitor general when Elena Kagan was nominated to the Supreme Court. He had made a name for himself in legal circles in 2006 when took on the case of Salim Hamdan, who faced a military trial at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He won in the Supreme Court, which struck down the military commissions because they had not been authorized by Congress.

But that victory in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld earned him some critics in the Senate — and it may have cost him the chance to win Senate confirmation as solicitor general. This year, President Obama passed over Katyal and nominated Deputy White House Counsel Donald Verrilli Jr. for the post. Katyal said he would step down when the Senate officially confirmed Verrilli.

david.savage@latimes.com
Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

April 20, 2011

2011 Minidoka Pilgrimage

Posted in 2011 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Civil Liberties Symposium, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , , , , , , , , , at 8:48 pm by minidokapilgrimage

Press Release – For Immediate Release

2011 Minidoka Pilgrimage

June 30 – July 3

Seattle, WA – Close to 70 years ago, during World War II, almost thirteen thousand people of Japanese ancestry, many of whom were American citizens, were forcibly removed from their homes in Washington, Oregon and Alaska, and sent to a desolate “incarceration camp” near Twin Falls, Idaho.

To commemorate the 69th year of this historic event, former incarcerees, their families, friends, and those interested in this historic event will make a pilgrimage from Seattle and Portland to the former Minidoka Internment Camp from June 30 – July 3, 2011. The Seattle Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, the Nisei Veterans Committee, and the Friends of Minidoka invite all those who are interested to join us on our pilgrimage.

This year’s Pilgrimage highlights include:

  • Honor Roll will be dedicated.  While Minidoka had seven percent of the males of all the centers, it provided 25 percent of the volunteers that made up the most highly decorated regiment in the history of the U.S. armed forces, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, an all Nisei unit. As a way of honoring those volunteers, an Honor Roll was constructed in the Victory Garden just inside the entrance to Minidoka.  It named each individual from Minidoka who volunteered to serve in World War II.
  • 1.6 mile walking trail will be completed and way signs will be installed to guide guests at the historical site.
  • Optional tours to Hagerman fossil beds are scheduled for Friday with morning and afternoon visits to view a small collection of Minidoka artifacts that are being temporarily stored there until the Visitor’s Center is completed.
  • An original barrack that is being returned to camp will be in place on the Block 22 site.
  • BBQ on Saturday to be hosted by Roy Prescott, local rancher and the town’s people of Eden, ID.  Eden is the end of the rail line where the internees from Camp Harmony were off loaded and put on buses for the final leg of their journey to Minidoka.

Today, most of the 33,000 acres that once made up Minidoka has been taken over by farms.  However, in 2001, 73 acres along the North Side Canal, near the entrance was designated a National Historical Monument.  On December 21, 2006, President Bush signed H.R. 1492 into law guaranteeing $38,000,000 in federal money to restore the Minidoka relocation center along with nine other former Japanese incarceration camps.  And on May 8, 2008, he signed into law The Wild Sky Wilderness Act, which changed the status from U.S. National Monument to National Historic Site and added the Nidoto Nai Yoni (Let It Not Happen Again) Memorial on Bainbridge Island, Washington to the monument.

There will also be a two-day symposium on Civil Liberties in Wartime at the College of Southern Idaho prior to the Pilgrimage. The theme is “Patriotism, Honor, and Sacrifice.”  Speakers include Dr. Bob Sims (Minidoka history), Dr. David Adler (constitutional issues), Dr. Martin Cutler (Native Americans during the war), Larry Matsuda (poet), Dr. Linda Tamura (MIS), Dr. Brenda Lee Moore (Japanese American Women in the Military during WWII), and Prof. Eric Muller (draft resisters).

Registration is due by June 3, 2011.

To register and for hotel and registration information, please visit our website: http://minidokapilgrimage.org/ or email: minidokapilgrimage@gmail.com .

Contact:

Ann F. Lindwall
206-367-8749
206-251-6713

February 15, 2011

Day of Remembrance 2011 Taiko Festival

Posted in 2011 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka Pilgrimage, Taiko Festival Pictures tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:21 pm by minidokapilgrimage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 16, 2011

Day of Remembrance 2011 Taiko Festival

Seattle, WA – On February 19th, 1942 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which forcibly expelled over 120,000 Japanese American citizens and legal residents from the west coast and into incarceration camps during the Second World War. In order to raise awareness of this historic event the Minidoka Pilgrimage Committee, in partnership with the Friends of Minidoka and Seattle University, is proud to present the second annual Day of Remembrance Taiko Festival on Sunday February 20th, 2011. The concert will take place at Seattle University’s Pigott Auditorium located at 1016 E. Marion St. from 2pm – 5pm and will feature a variety of performances from local Pacific Northwest Taiko Groups including Inochi Taiko, Kaze Daiko, One World Taiko, Ringtaro and Asako Tateishi/The School of Taiko, Seattle Kokon Taiko and Seattle Matsuri Taiko.

The concert is being held in conjunction with Seattle University’s observation of the national Day of Remembrance which commemorates the signing of Executive Order 9066 and provides an ongoing reminder about the dangers of sacrificing civil and constitutional rights in the name of national security. In recalling the events of February 1942, the Japanese American community aims to remind the public about the need to protect civil rights and is especially relevant in a post 9/11 world.

Tickets for the concert are only $20 and can be purchased at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington (JCCCW) main office at 511 – 16th Ave. South or via Pay Pal on the Day of Remembrance Taiko Festival website (http://tinyurl.com/2011taiko). Tickets purchased through Pay Pal will be available at will-call on the day of the concert. Raffle tickets will also be sold for a chance to win a 42” LCD television. Cost is $10 per ticket, and will be available from Minidoka Pilgrimage Committee members at the concert, and through the JCCCW (participants need not be present at the concert to be eligible to win the grand prize).

For more information about this fantastic fundraising concert please visit the Day of Remembrance Taiko Festival website at http://tinyurl.com/2011taiko or contact the Minidoka Pilgrimage at mailto:minidokapilgrimage@gmail.com.

January 19, 2011

2011 Day of Remembrance Taiko Concert, Feb 20, 2011

Posted in 2011 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Bainbridge Island, Minidoka Pilgrimage, Taiko Festival Pictures tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:15 pm by minidokapilgrimage

For Immediate Release

Day of Remembrance 2011 Taiko Festival

Seattle, WA – January 14, 2011- The “Day of Remembrance” is an annual observance of the signing of Executive Order 9066, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt that ordered 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry to be imprisoned in concentration camps during World War II.

Decades later, the order was deemed unconstitutional and was belatedly but dramatically reversed by the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Despite the reparations that were issued because of this act, Japanese Americans still feel a need for an official time for remembrance.

In honor of this historical event, the 2nd annual Day of Remembrance Taiko Festival will be held Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 2:00 p.m., Pigott Auditorium, Seattle University, 1016 E. Madison St.

Tickets are $20 each.  They are available at JCCCW (Japanese Community Cultural Center of Washington) or at www.MinidokaPilgrimage.org .  JCCCW main office is located at 511 16th Ave. South, Seattle, WA 98144, 206-568-7114.

The groups performing will be: Inochi Taiko, Kaze Daiko, One World Taiko, Ringtaro and Asako Tateishi/The School of Taiko, Seattle Kokon Taiko, Seattle Matsuri Taiko.  The program will also include a reading by Larry Matsuda from his book “A Cold Wind From Idaho.”

Matsuda was born in the Minidoka, Idaho War Relocation Center during World War II. His poems appear in Poets Against the War website, The Raven Chronicles, New Orleans Review, Floating Bridge Press, Cerise Press and the International Examiner Newspaper. He was a junior high language arts teacher and Seattle School District administrator and principal for twenty-seven years.

Raffle tickets will also be sold for a chance to win a 42-inch LCD television. Cost is $10 per ticket, and will be available from Minidoka Pilgrimage Committee members at the concert, and through the JCCCW (participants need not be present at the concert to be eligible to win the grand prize).  Funds from this raffle will go to help support the Minidoka Pilgrimage and Friends of Minidoka Honor Roll Project.

Contact:
Ann Fujii Lindwall
fujiilindwall@comcast.net
Ph:  (206) 251-6713

May 10, 2010

Evening Magazine: Tribute band remembers those in internment camps

Posted in Bainbridge Island, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka Pilgrimage, Minidoka Swing Band, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 10:28 pm by minidokapilgrimage

For those who may have missed the viewing on Thursday evening, the Evening Magazine piece on the Minidoka Swing Band was also posted online.  Here’s a link to the source article and video: http://www.king5.com/on-tv/evening-magazine/Tribute-band-remembers-those-in-internment-camps-93028904.html.

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