Weekend Open Thread: Welcome to Manzanar


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One of Ansel Adams’s series of photos of Manzanar during the internment camps, here overlain with the colors of the Iranian flag.

Don Donald Trump has continued to implement Vladimir Putin’s wish list for destroying the United States from within — I’m not saying he’s taking orders, it could all be a coincidence! — by assassinating a (like it or not) beloved foreign military leaders on a flimsy pretext, leading to:

  • converting what had been a generally stable situation in Iran into an actively antagonistic one
  • Iranians resuming work on nuclear weapons  — and possibly a massive Israeli strike that will leave Israel a sitting duck for economic (from Europe) and violent (from who knows where?) responses in its wake
  • converting what had been a reasonably stable situation in Iraq into one where Americans are being expelled and it’s not clear who will fill the vacuum
  • the inevitable resurgence of ISIS in an increasingly chaotic Iraq

And that’s just in the Middle East.  Domestically, today we’re seeing the outlines of Trump’s possible re-election strategy: intensifying mistreatment of Muslims and stirring up more rage and violence against them, but treating even citizens as enemies.

The Washington State branch of CAIR, the Center for American-Islamic Relations, is reporting that the Administration has detained an American citizen of Iranian ancestry for ten hours at the U.S. border, and claimed the right to do so again (and again.)

Politically, I’m not a big believer in giving paramilitary police organizations (and right now ICE counts as one) exactly what they want — which is generally a conflict where they get to try out new anti-riot toys and stomp people and throw them in jail for attacking officers, so someone else will have to raise any such call.  But I am a big fan of giving them what they don’t want — which is truckloads of gum in their works.

This is a call for attorneys to join me in determining how we here in OC can commit to being gum in their works if they continue to prey of American citizens of Iranian ancestry.  This is not to downplay the importance of defending the rights of permanent residents and such; it is simply a reaction to this lawless Administration having deliberately crossed a line in dealing with citizens that it should know not to cross — a line resonant of names like Manzanar, Tule Lake, and Korematsu.  It is a call to organized, aggressive, and tireless opposition.  Not on our watch.

OC and LA have the largest group of residents  of Iranian/Persian in the world outside Iran.  This include a huge number of U.S. citizens.  So I will issue call to my fellow attorneys here: our Southern Californian Iranians are our people, and if Trump comes here messing with them, detaining them, and god knows what other Presidential powers he may think would help him get re-elected, we had better be prepared to fight him every inch of the way.  We need training, we need strategy, and — as much as anything else — we need trained legal professionals who can take the fight to the sorts of people who — for blatantly and baselessly internal political reasons — would re-enact the sordid history of Manzanar in our new decade.

I’m not active in the legal community of either county, but if someone who is would like to work with me to create and propagate petitions for people who want to get ourselves locked and loaded to respond to any such aggression in court, please let me know.  We will not quietly repeat the atrocities of the past.

This is your belated Weekend Open Thread.  Write about that or whatever else you’d like, within reasonable limits.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 (in violation of Roberts Rules) when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Expelled from DPOC in October 2018 (in violation of Roberts Rules) for having endorsed Spitzer over Rackauckas -- which needed to be done. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. One of his daughters co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)