Homeland Theater

Cartoon wars back on?

From Fox News, Aug. 28:

Washington Post, Other Newspapers Won't Run 'Opus' Cartoon Mocking Radical Islam
A popular comic strip that poked fun at the Rev. Jerry Falwell without incident one week ago was deemed too controversial to run over the weekend because this time it took a humorous swipe at Muslim fundamentalists.

ICE detainees protest as deaths mount

On Aug. 9, 98 detainees at the federal immigration detention center in San Pedro, California refused to return to Pod 5 in an act of peaceful protest for health and dignity in their living conditions. Over 100 police, immigration and Coast Guard officials responded with threats and aggression against the protesters, according to activists from the Los Angeles-based group Homies Unidos, which organized support for the detainees. Homies Unidos activists said Coast Guard snipers armed with M-16s were on the roof of the detention center and in boats surrounding the facility during the protest, and one detainee was beaten by guards. Detainees' demands included adequate and nutritional meals; proper clothing; adequate medical treatment; respect and dignity; an end to persistent overcrowding; provision of necessary hygiene supplies; timely processing of their immigration cases; and recreation equipment to ensure mental and physical health. (Homies Unidos media alert, Aug. 12 & e-mail alert, Aug. 14)

ICE deports sanctuary activist

On the afternoon of Aug. 19, ICE agents arrested activist Elvira Arellano on a city street in downtown Los Angeles and deported her to Tijuana, Mexico within hours. Arellano became an activist shortly after she was arrested in 2002 during a federal sweep at O'Hare International Airport, where she cleaned airplanes. She gained national fame when she took sanctuary in a Chicago church on Aug. 15, 2006, in an effort to avoid being deported away from her US-born son Saul, now eight years old. Her activism has since spurred churches around the US to initiate what they are calling a "new sanctuary movement" to defend immigrants and end deportations, especially those that separate immigrant parents from their US-born children.

Padilla convicted —Bush justice system indicted

On Aug. 16, a Miami federal jury convicted Jose Padilla on charges of aiding terrorist operations abroad, together with co-defendants Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi. "We are so pleased with the verdict," said acting Deputy Attorney General Craig S. Morford. "Frankly, America is a better place today." (LAT, Aug. 17) But the charges were a far cry from the "dirty bomb" hype that occasioned his arrest as an "enemy combatant" in 2002. Furthermore, the case against him was still dubious at best. Padilla's attorney Andrew Patel, interviewed on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now the day after the verdict, provided an overview of the numerous irregularities and extreme measures in the case. Some 300,000 telephone calls and other communications were intercepted in the investigation, with 130 introduced as evidence; Padilla's voice is actually heard on only seven, with his name referenced on another dozen. In an echo of tactics used against Lynne Stewart, the government introduced portions of a CNN interview with Osama bin Laden—while disingenuously instructing the jury not to conisder it as evidence against Padilla. Finally, the most incriminating piece of evidence, a "mujaheddin data form" Padilla had allegedly submitted to join al-Qaeda, was actually filled out in more than one handwriting. Goodman also interviewed psychiatrist Angela Hegarty, who examined Padilla last year and concluded that the extreme isolation, sensory deprivation and torture he had suffered while held in military custody as an "enemy combatant" had left Padilla essentially brain-damaged. Padilla's lawyers also charged the psychological damage was augmented by LSD and other psychoactive drugs he had been given as a "truth serum." Patel pledged to appeal the verdict.

More border deaths in Arizona

Early on July 15, a man waved down agents from the Border Patrol's Tucson sector patrolling near Arizona highway 289 and told them his brother was sick and convulsing. Agents found the man nearby, unresponsive; they called paramedics, but the man was pronounced dead before he could be airlifted to a medical center. He was identified as Omar Lopez Mendiola of Iztapalapa, Mexico. Early on July 16, Border Patrol agents working on the Tohono O'odham Reservation found a dead woman lying on the side of the road. Identification on the body indicated she was an 18-year-old from the southern Mexican state of Guerrero. The body was to be transported to the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office. (Arizona Daily Star, July 17)

Hundreds arrested in Dallas area ICE raids

From July 16 to 20, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 274 immigrants in the area of Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. Those arrested included 233 men, 28 women and 13 children, said ICE spokesperson Carl Rusnok. Of the 274, 99 had criminal convictions. Most of the arrests happened at homes. ICE did not say how many of those arrested were being sought, but did confirm that "some" of those taken into custody were simply discovered in the raided homes and were unable to prove they were here legally. "Many of these individuals are in the wrong place at the wrong time, many live together," said Nuria T. Prendes, field office director for ICE's Office of Detention and Removal Operations. Police in Dallas, Irving, Fort Worth, Arlington, Farmers Branch, Carrollton and Blue Mound, along with the Dallas County constable, helped agents in the operation, according to an ICE statement.

FBI sting National Guardsmen in border coke busts

From the Arizona Star, July 25:

Two ex-Army men receive 4+ years in drug sting
A crack-addicted Army National Guard sergeant who corrupted his underlings and a Tucson Army recruiter who corrupted his soldier brother were sentenced to federal prison terms in Tucson on Tuesday.

Drug Czar: pot growers are terrorists

From Northern California's Redding Record-Searchlight, July 13, via BoingBoing.net, which notes "The D.E.A. working with National Guard troops and Blackhawk helicoptors set upon Shasta County, California this week to deal with the domestic terror threat of... pot growers":

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