The anti-terrorist operation that is being conducted by the United States sometimes has unexpected results. Only now, it has become known that, after the September 11th terrorist attacks, US authorities had expelled from the country over one thousand immigrants. All of them were Muslims, while the operation was kept secret.
According NBC, in the framework of the investigation of Al-Qaida activity on US territory, 1,200 emigrants from Muslim countries were detained. The operation was carried by the US Department of Justice, the FBI, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Most of the detained people were illegal immigrants. However, many people who came from Arab and Southeast Asian countries had nothing to do with the terrorist activity. They were detained just because they were Muslims.
The US public and human rights activists knew nothing about the operation. For example, to expel the last group of 131 Pakistanis, the Immigration and Naturalization Service secretly leased an hourly flight of a Portuguese airline. Neither the expelled people nor their relatives knew about the planned operation. Most of the expelled people, who had spent 8 or 9 months in prison, were happy to return to Pakistan, though, for some of them, handcuffs were necessary to put them to the plane. The plane was guarded by 30 guards.
Many of the expelled people lived in the US for a long time; they even had families in America. According to one of the diplomats who participated in the operation, “this is a human tragedy; however, the Pakistani side had no choice: the Pakistani compatriots could be released only by being expelled to Pakistan.”
Of course, illegal immigration should be fought with, but why were the US special services so “attentive” namely to Muslims? While condemning any expression of religious intolerance, the US authorities further this same intolerance in practice: it is not clear why they had to carry out the operation in secret.
Now, Al-Qaida terrorists have one more cause to accuse the United States of all possible sins. However, this time, the US authorities themselves gave them a good reason.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/07/11/44005.html