Sub discovery unlocks
a piece of U.S. history


UH researchers have located the submarine that led Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.

DISCOVERY of a Japanese submarine in waters off Pearl Harbor this week turns the final pages of the opening chapter of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack that thrust America into World War II. The historic find substantiates, after almost 61 years, the report of a Navy crew that their ship had sunk an enemy submarine an hour before Japan's aerial assault on the U.S. Fleet.

Several attempts had been made to locate the small two-man submarine, including a high-profile, televised National Geographic effort a year ago by Titanic discoverer Robert Ballard. Others, including the National Park Service and the University of Hawaii, also had been searching. It was during a test-dive of two submersibles Wednesday that researchers from the university's Hawaii Undersea Research Lab spotted the Imperial Navy vessel among the debris of old military equipment and other material on the ocean floor.

The submarine was one of five test-model "midgets" that were to enter Pearl Harbor and sink American battleships. Other, larger submarines ringed Oahu to pick off American warships as part of the Dec. 7 attack, the Star-Bulletin's Burl Burlingame reports. The vessels, each with two crew members and two torpedoes, were launched from larger submarines on the night of Dec. 6.

About an hour before the Pearl Harbor bombing began, one of the submarines was seen trying to follow a cargo ship past anti-torpedo nets that closed the harbor entrance. The destroyer USS Ward located and fired upon the sub, knocking a hole in its conning tower. The destroyer's skipper, Lt. William Outerbridge, sent a radio message about the sinking to shore, but during the process of confirmation, Japanese airplanes launched their attack.

The finding confirms the first casualties of the Pacific war, says UH submarine pilot Terry Kerby, who was part of the team that made the discovery. But recovery of the sub is problematic. Although it lies in U.S. waters, it is the property of Japan. With the remains of the crew probably still on board, the matter will have to be worked out with the Japanese government and the crew's families.


Deportation hearings
should be opened


A federal appeals court has rejected the Justice Department's secrecy of terrorism-related deportation hearings.

BLANKET secrecy of deportation hearings based on assertions of links to terrorism have yet to find acceptance in federal court. Three federal judges and now a unanimous appellate panel all have given the policy thumbs down. The time has come for the Bush administration to abandon its sweeping policy and draft a new procedure for allowing secrecy in specific cases in which security concerns can be shown.

Three Arab men arrested in Detroit soon after the Sept. 11 attacks and a fourth who remains at large were indicted this week, accused of being part of a terrorist cell planning attacks in the United States, Jordan and Turkey. While the indictment supports warnings that foreigners in America have been involved in helping global terrorists, it does not justify closing courtroom doors on a broad scale, even when the courts are operated by the executive branch.

Michael J. Creppy, the chief immigration judge, issued a directive soon after Sept. 11 that all "special interest" cases -- those that the Justice Department asserted were related to terrorism -- be conducted by the Immigration and Naturalization Service in closed courtrooms. The secrecy included neither confirming nor denying that such a case was on the court docket.

The government disclosed last month that 752 people were detained on immigration violations in connection with the terrorist attacks. By late June, 81 remained in custody; the rest were either deported or released.

Federal judges in Detroit, Newark, N.J., and Washington, D.C., have ruled that the blanket of secrecy is unconstitutional. The Detroit ruling has been upheld by a panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Newark ruling is scheduled for a hearing before an appellate panel next month.

"Democracies die behind closed doors," Judge Damon J. Keith wrote for the unanimous three-judge 6th Circuit panel. "When the government begins closing doors, it selectively controls information rightfully belonging to the people. Selective information is misinformation."

No one is suggesting that the government disclose damaging information, only that judges be required to review requests for secrecy on a case-by-case basis. "Using this stricter standard does not mean that information helpful to terrorists will be disclosed," Keith wrote, "only that the government must be more targeted and precise in its approach."


Published by Oahu Publications Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press.

Don Kendall, Publisher

Frank Bridgewater, Editor 529-4791;
Michael Rovner,
Assistant Editor 529-4768;
Lucy Young-Oda, Assistant Editor 529-4762;

Mary Poole, Editorial Page Editor, 529-4790;
John Flanagan, Contributing Editor 294-3533;

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