Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Disappeared

More on the people who died after being disappeared into the US Immigration detention system:
As (Boubacar Bah) lay dying of head injuries suffered in a New Jersey immigration jail in 2007, for example, a spokesman for the federal agency told a reporter that he could learn nothing about the case from government authorities. In fact, the records show, the spokesman had alerted those officials to the reporter’s inquiry, and they conferred at length about sending the man back to Africa to avoid embarrassing publicity...
In the agency’s confidential files was a jail video showing Mr. Bah face down in the medical unit, hands cuffed behind his back, just before medical personnel sent him to a disciplinary cell. The tape shows him crying out repeatedly in his native Fulani, “Help, they are killing me!”
The agency tried to save money by sending him back to Guinea, but apparently decided that shipping a dying, unconscious man back to Africa, while he still had a catheter in him, might look bad. Mr. Bah later died.

On the day after Mr. Bah’s death in May 2007, Scott Weber, director of the Newark field office of the immigration enforcement agency, recommended in a memo that the agency take the unusual step of paying to send the body to Guinea for burial, to prevent his widow from showing up in the United States for a funeral and drawing news coverage.
Mr. Weber wrote that he believed the agency had handled Mr. Bah’s case appropriately. “However,” he added, “I also don’t want to stir up any media interest where none is warranted.” Helping to bury Mr. Bah overseas, he wrote, “will go a long way to putting this matter to rest.”
I guess the pun was unintended.

This sounds like the kind of thing that happens in Iran, or that happened in the Soviet Union, or East Germany, or Nazi Germany. But in America? The world's great bastion of freedom and accountability and morality and equality?

Draw your own conclusions.


Here's link to a very moving documentary report on Boubacar Bah.

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