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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Comment is Censured and Censored by the Manzanar Committee*

On August 4th 2013 I posted a short comment to a the following Manzanar Committee blog:

As the Committee posting was an enthusiastic "three-cheers" for the NPS, I could not resist offering advice to the Committee about being too over-enthusiastic about the NPS, especially in light of the numerous cases of abuse of human and employee rights that I have documented over the last 10 years.  My comment may have been posted briefly, but was quickly removed—no surprise there.  What was surprising, however, was the manner in which my comment was dismissed (copied from the Manzanar Committee bog site listed above on September 5th 2013): 

Chad Montreaux says:
From the moderator: This comment has been deleted.
The author has made some very serious allegations against National Park Service staff at Manzanar National Historic Site, Tule Lake, and at other NPS locations/offices, but has ignored requests to provide verifiable evidence to support his claims.
Without verifiable evidence, the allegations are baseless hearsay, and highly inflammatory. Because of that, they are not appropriate for publication on our blog.
The Manzanar Committee took no position on the claims made by the author.

The main problem is that I was never contacted by the “moderator” for the information that she claims I refused to supply.  I certainly could not “ignore requests" I did not receive.  Of course, I had to post a response to the Manzanar Committee comment.  I did that on September 5th 2013.  Because I suspect this response will also be censured and censored, I will post that response below for your edification:

Dear Moderator:

Thank you for reading and publishing my comment, however brief that consideration may have been.  My intention in not providing “verifiable evidence” for the allegations in my comment was to protect my sources, many of whom are rightfully terrified by the tyrannical power NPS management wields over their lives.  (This is not unlike the tyrannical power the WRA and US government held over people of Japanese ancestry during WWII.)

The intent in my comment was to be “inflammatory” in the best sense of the word: provocative, incendiary, rousing, fomenting, seditious, subversive, and mutinous.  When a dogmatic, unjust paradigm dominates a culture it is the duty of every thinking citizen to become an unyielding source of “inflammatory” criticism of that injustice.  If I am not mistaken, you own organization was created by a group of such “inflammatory” speakers and thinkers who challenged the paradigms of the day with provocative, incendiary, and subversive concepts such as: the forced removal and false incarceration of Japanese Americans was unconstitutional, unjustified, and  policies which were derived from racist origins.  This was clearly an “inflammatory” statement for the majority of Americans throughout a significant portion of the 20th century.   Unfortunately, an embarrassing percentage of Americans continue to hold  to this racist paradigm well into the 21st century.   I am a great advocate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who also made “inflammatory” statements, such as the words I try to live by, written from the Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”   For me, there is nothing more uniquely American than our right as citizens to push forward “inflammatory” ideas to challenge injustice and abuse of power.

I was also a bit confused by your statement that my “allegations are baseless hearsay.”  What confuses me is that the foundation of this statement lies on the suggestion that I “ ignored requests to provide verifiable evidence to support [my] claims.”  You see, I find this statement from your moderator “hearsay,” because I never received any request to provide verifiable evidence to support my claims.  This type of circular reasoning discredits me for something I did not do.  Does not this type of practice sound suspiciously similar to Earl Warren’s preemptive actions against all people of Japanese ancestry in California based on the absurd reasoning that lack of any evidence of sabotage and espionage by the Japanese Americans was proof that they were planning to implement such actions in the immediate future?  I am doubled confused, because I thought we, as a nation, had evolved beyond these types of circular, groundless convictions.  

I would also caution you and your organization against making arguments to dismiss “hearsay” evidence.  All of the evidence that the people of Japanese ancestry experienced emotional and psychological injury and distress as a result of the removal and internment experience is, in fact, “hearsay.”  There are neither verifiable evidence for nor physical scars of such injuries.  It is indeed unfortunate that we live in a society where victims of abuse and hostility are additionally fraught with the burden of “proof” of their injuries while the perpetrators of such injustice can hide their actions behind such legalities as claims of “hearsay.”  This type of injustice is epidemic within the National Park Service (NPS) wherein all conflicts between Management and employees are resolved based on veracity quotients fabricated by multiplying the GS level of the person positing her version of the incident. (Please see the reference to that claim provided below.)

If your lack of requesting the verifiable information upon which I based my comment to your blog was an oversight,  please allow me to provide you with the some of that requested information now:

1) If you would like to know more about NPS anti-union activities, particularly at Manzanar, please contact:

Laborers Local 220 representative Douglass Kessler:   estellack@aol.com

2) For the evidence of the general malaise within the NPS caused by dysfunctional and abusive managers, please look to Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey http://www.fedview.opm.gov  (since 2004, the NPS has hovered in the bottom-most rankings for Employee Satisfaction results).  The National Parks Traveler http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2011/11/national-park-service-falls-best-places-work-rankings9091 does a fair job of outlining the generalities of the NPS data.  To fully comprehend how damning the survey results are to the policies and actions of the predatory NPS management, however, I will refer you to the data website for the survey, which will require from you a certain familiarity with spreadsheet files to obtain the NPS results http://www.fedview.opm.gov/2012FILES/FEVS2012_PRDF_CSV.zip

I would also be pleased to refer you to the NPS commissioned report: “National Park Service Employees Opinions About Factors Contributing To Workplace Satisfaction Research Findings conducted on behalf of the Center for Park Management by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. December 22, 2008,”  but alas, I cannot find it on line.  I have seen this report and how damning it is to NPS management.  I would suspect that the report has been buried.  Please take time to seek this report out; if I find it I will send you a link and/or post a PDF on my blog site.  

3) For additional information about the dysfunction and criminal misuse of power by NPS managers, all the way to the top of the agency, I would like to refer you to Paul Berkowitz and his break-thru book, The Case of the Indian Trader.  I would also suggest that you contact him directly, as I have, for a deeper understanding as to how all of the accountability programs within the NPS have been co-opted by management to protect hostile, abusive, and criminal managers from staff  “allegations [that] are baseless hearsay, and highly inflammatory.“  (I love your rhetoric here—I have been shown numerous copies of “confidential” NPS findings for grievance against management, which were dismissed using the exact same verbiage.  Your “moderator” does not work for the NPS; does she?)   I would also refer you to Paul Berkowitz and his book for more information on the “inflammatory” statement I make above about the manipulation of information by NPS managers to protect dysfunctional management. 

I can provide many more verifications for my claims.  In the interest of brevity, however, I will end here and make that additional information available to you and your readers on my blog. 

Chad Montreaux
Newell, CA

*On September 6, 2013, I noticed that the Manzanar Committee had posted the comment I sent to their blog on September 5th.  I clearly underestimated the integrity of the Manzanar Committee and would like to formally apologize to that fine organization for my mistaken assessment.  I do, however, disagree with the moderator's comment to my current post.  I furthermore would state, for the record, that NPS management policies that are hostile to social justice and the rights issues of their employees (at Manzanar NHS, of all places!) are "excessively-germane" to any discussion of the success or failure of NPS involvement as stewards at Sites of Conscience.  Because the Manzanar Committee provides such effective advocacy for human rights, equality, and social justice, I will remove myself from this discussion at this time.  I sincerely wish the Manzanar Committee the greatest success in their mission.