About 20 years ago, my son brought home a school project involving research into a historical incident known as the Bisbee Deportation. I happened to glance at his source material and was appalled by the description. It turned out to be another case of Big Business misconduct and the resultant coverup of blatantly illegal actions by the government. I am still appalled. There have been numerous travesties of this type in mankind’s history.
Most people will readily recall the horrible disaster in the Welsh town of Aberfan that left scores of children dead on October 21, 1966. Netflix broadcast an excellent portrayal of that event in the fourth season of the series “The Crown,” and the royal family’s reactions to it. The responsibility for that terrible catastrophe belonged to the National Coal Board. The subsequent inquiry placed the blame for the disaster on the organization and nine named employees. However, the NCB as an organization was not prosecuted, and no NCB staff were demoted, sacked or prosecuted for the Aberfan disaster. The one positive result was the passage of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act of 2007, making it possible for an organization to be found guilty of corporate manslaughter as a result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care.
The Bisbee Deportation was the illegal kidnapping and deportation of about 1,300 striking mine workers, their supporters, and citizen bystanders by 2,000 members of a deputized posse, who arrested these people beginning on July 12, 1917. The action was orchestrated by Phelps Dodge, the major mining company in the area, which provided lists of workers and others who were to be arrested in Bisbee, Arizona, to the Cochise County sheriff, Harry C. Wheeler. These workers were arrested and held at a local baseball park before being loaded into cattle cars and transported 200 miles to Tres Hermanas in New Mexico. The 16-hour journey was through desert without food and with little water. Once unloaded, the deportees, most without money or transportation, were warned against returning to Bisbee.
As Phelps Dodge, in collusion with the sheriff, had closed down access to outside communications, it was some time before the story was reported. The company presented their action as reducing threats to United States interests in World War I in Europe. The governor of New Mexico, in consultation with President Woodrow Wilson, provided temporary housing for the deportees. A presidential mediation commission investigated the actions in November 1917, and in its final report, described the deportation as "wholly illegal and without authority in law, either State or Federal." Nevertheless, no individual, company, or agency was ever convicted in connection with the deportations.
Other notable historic discriminatory actions include:
• Deportation of supposed foreign anarchists during the Red Scare of 1919–20.
• Mass deportations of up to 2 million Mexican and Mexican-American workers between 1929 - 1936 during the Great Depression.
• Relocation and internment of 120,000 Japanese nationals and Japanese-Americans to camps during World War II.
• Removal by the Immigration and Naturalization Service in 1954 of approximately one million Mexican nationals living in the U.S., without the legal right to do so. Many of these Mexican workers had been recruited during the war years, but in the postwar period, the U.S. did not want them competing with American workers. This action was known as Operation Wetback.
All in all, you can usually expect any large-scale business to ignore the rights of the common people and should be held accountable.