You want to know who was behind it. It was J. Edgar Hoover who was operating in the Bureau of Investigations’ Radical Division. (The name was changed to Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the Thirties.) Although it was blamed on the Attorney General Palmer, Hoover, though a young man, was pushing all the buttons.
Where it got its name was because Hoover’s group was scaring the bejesus out of the American people to such an extent the average American thought there was a Red (which at that time was a term for any type of radical such as an anarchist, communist, socialist, or the like) under every bush in every park getting ready to strike. The country had been pushed to a panic that the Bolsheviks were about to take over.
In this atmosphere Hoover and his men launched raids that captured upwards of five thousand people. They held them in jails without warrants for days on end. They deprived them of counsel and the ability to communicate with the outside. The constant stream of false information pouring out of the Bureau of Investigations saw a country that was willing to look away from those abuses of the people’s civil rights.
It was only after we slipped into 1920 when the Bureau predicted that terrible things were to happen on that 4th of July and nothing did that the people started to see things for what they were. The people realized they were being conned, stopped worrying and got down to enjoying themselves.
I thought of this when I read about the case of the chairman of Temple University’s physics department Xi Xiaoxing, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in China. It was alleged that he schemed to provide U.S. technology secrets to China in exchange for prestigious appointments for himself in four counts of wire fraud.
It was written that: “About a dozen F.B.I. agents, some with guns drawn, stormed Dr. Xi’s home in the Philadelphia suburbs in May, searching his house just after dawn, . . . . His two daughters and his wife watched the agents take him away in handcuffs on fraud charges.” (my emphasis)
Let me stop here. What is with the FBI agents conducting these dawn raids against people they could easily arrange to surrender or quickly grab whenever they wanted? Why the big show of force? Why are agents drawing the guns when there is no danger? Why is it the judges, magistrates, federal prosecutors, and I guess, we American people, tolerate their continually acting like early morning gangsters. Aren’t people who have not been convicted of crimes entitled to some dignity; aren’t we entitled to be treated civilly without being attacked as if we are members of a terrorist group by gun-toting cowboys?
Three days before Professor Xi was arrested it was reported that “three Chinese citizens who earned advanced degrees from the University of Southern California and three others were charged in San Francisco with stealing wireless technology from a pair of U.S. companies.”
As you may know the case against Professor Xi was recently dismissed by the government. It seems “Federal agents had claimed they had evidence that Dr Xi Xiaoxing sent the secret blueprints for a sophisticated U.S. device called a ‘pocket heater’ to Chinese scientists. But months after the physics professor was led away in handcuffs . . . , the FBI admitted the blueprints they found were not for the heater at all – but for a totally innocuous gadget”
It turned out Professor XI was not committing any crime. It was the FBI that did by failing to do its job. Even though Professor XI is now exonerated he suffered greatly losing his chairmanship at Temple, his reputation being accused as a spy for China, and much money having to pay to prove his innocence.
What is more striking is that according to Professor Xi’s lawyer, “Federal prosecutors want the opportunity to confer with their own outside experts and have reserved the right to bring charges again.” You have to wonder why they did not do this before they humiliated the man.
We must be careful not to succumb to FBI propaganda and start suspecting our loyal Chinese citizens or residents of being allied against us. The FBI’s arbitrary and wrongful move against Professor Zi shows paranoia exists within the FBI and the Department of Justice when it comes to Chinese persons. That the FBI could be so very wrong about Professor Zi is very worrisome. He was prosecuted because he was Chinese. I fear we may be on the brink of a Yellow Scare.