Apparently our government is disappearing US residents right here on American turf in places I've never even heard of before. They're called "subfields," and they're located just about anywhere.
"If you don't have enough evidence to charge someone criminally but you think he's illegal, we can make him disappear."According to Stevens, even Amnesty International's Sarnata Reynolds was shocked at hearing Pendergraph's words, quoting her as saying in a 2009 report called "Jailed Without Justice":
— James Pendergraph, former director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of State and Local Coordination
"It was almost surreal . . . I couldn't believe he would say it so boldly as though it weren't anything wrong."Apparently the deputy director of Human Rights Watch, Alison Parker, hadn't heard of these places either.
There are 186 unlisted and unmarked subfield offices around the country (that's 162 more than the detention centers that they don't try and hide). They're located in commercial spaces "designed for confining individuals in transit," and worse still: they're not subject to the I&CE Office's Detention Standards. That means a whole range of human rights are being violated — physical, legal, and ethical.
Every time I read about this country's descent into fascism, I can't help thinking how the BloomKlein DoE is just part of this big, big ugly picture.
I don't want to minimize the horror of these subfields by comparing them to our rubber rooms. But if, as Stevens points out, subfields "thwart transparency and hence accountability," I can't help but make comparisons. No one knows anything about what's really going on in the RRs — not the deals being made behind people's backs, and sometimes not even the charges (as in this case reported in Combier's blog).
Some other similarities are also downright creepy.
Euphemismistic names for these places. Instead of outright "Detention Centers," we get "Service Processing Centers" for subfields and "Teacher Reassignment Centers" for RRs.
Secretive maneuvering. While detainees are moved in and out of subfields by agents in plain clothes, we get suits coming to our schools snooping around for information on our colleagues.
Presumption of guilt on the part of investigators, who are not independent.
Inappropriate placements. According to Stevens, detained for a civil infraction are subjected to the same conditions in subfields as suspected terrorists. We know the RRs are filled to the brim with educators who belong in classrooms. Most are being detained in these totally inappropriate settings for minor incidents (which could be dealt with in a supervisor's office) or for whistleblowing. SoBronxSchool and the NY Post mention trailers, fences, security gate, and child-height toilets at the refurbished Manhattan/Bronx TRC.
Overcrowding. Chaz thinks our RRs are being filled up because of faulty disciplinary codes. He calculates a sevenfold increase over the pre-BloomKlein rates.
Enhanced interrogation techniques. Subfield offices are warehouses, where people are shuttled around at odd hours, shackled to each other, and kept in the cold without bedding — all of which conditions break people down. Our RRs are not meant to be happy places, designed as they are to make people uncomfortable enough to quit. But, also see Chaz again on the way OSI and SCI agents get information on people they're investigating.
I don't see all this ending anytime soon. Bloomberg hasn't listened, is not listening, and is never going to listen, despite what he says on the front page of the Times.
Our governments — plural — are on a mission. It's hard to tell precisely what that mission is at this point, but we do know that nothing good is going to come of it.
Happy New Year, though. A brief moment of holiday rest before all the work we have to do.