Howard Coble and Homeland Detention Camps (NC-06)

A congressman who heads a homeland security subcommittee said on a radio call-in program that he agreed with the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Doesn't that sound horrible? That must have happened a long time ago, right? Wrong.
Read more below!

Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., made the remark Tuesday (Feb.3,2003 - added for clarification by lc.) on WKZL-FM when a caller suggested Arabs in the United States should be confined.

Coble, chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, said that he didn't agree with the caller but did agree with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who established the internment camps.

"We were at war. They (Japanese-Americans) were an endangered species," Coble said. "For many of these Japanese-Americans, it wasn't safe for them to be on the street."

Coble allowed that the world had changed some since the 40's, and even though "some Arab-Americans" may be wishing us harm, he didn't think that they should be interred in detention camps.

However, in 2005, Coble, as chairman of the subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, personally supported and helped passed HR 2360, Homeland Security Department FY 2006 Appropriations Act

The language embedded in this law is disturbing. It allows for the government "to plan, construct, renovate, equip, and maintain buildings and facilities necessary for the administration and enforcement of the laws relating to customs and immigration". Once the "camps" are built, they can be used by any government agency, in any emergency. Ostensibly, they could be used by FEMA to shelter citizens displaced by a Katrina-like natural disaster.

However, when combined with the recent erosions the Administration has made to the Constitution, those same camps could be used by the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, or whoever, to detain American citizens without recourse, without being charged, without access to an attorney, without the civil rights we take for granted.

All of this was supported, promoted, and voted for by Rep. Howard Coble, (R-NC 06). His pattern of racism, thoughtlessness, and mindless lockstep with the administration should earn him his place in the sun - at a retirement home.

By the way -

Among the billions of tax dollars appropriated by this law is a $385 million contract to:

build the centers for the Homeland Security Department for an unexpected influx of immigrants, to house people in the event of a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space

The contract was awarded to KBR, a subsidary of Haliburton. KBR is the subsidary of Haliburton that has been criticized for so over-charging the US government on contracts in Iraq.

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Coble on WWII

Eric Muller at IsThatLegal covered this extensively at the time. I chimed in at my blog and newspaper column, too.

Coble has actually shown some independence from the administration in voicing early concerns about the lack of a strategy in Iraq, but he hasn't really done much about it. He did say recently that a Congressional rebellion could be brewing.

I know it was covered extensively at the time

My concern is not only what he said at the time, but that he personally supported and voted for HR 2360, which appropriates more than 300 million dollars to build "immigration" detention centers. When you read through the language of the law itself, you find that once the detention centers are built, they can be used by any federal agency, for any purpose.

Because of HR 6166, which was also supported by Coble and the rest of Republican majority, any "enemy combatant", including American citizens, can be arrested and held indefinitely. Habeus corpus means nothing. The Bill of Rights means nothing.

And Congressman Coble, who is supposed to represent me and my interests, did worse than nothing. He actively promoted this. It doesn't matter that the original remarks were made three years ago. The actions taken earlier during the 109th Congress show that he is not a fit representative of the people of the Sixth District. In My Opinion.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Ghandi