Homeland Theater

Seattle imam faces deportation to Somalia

On June 1, after six months in detention--with much of that time spent in solitary confinement--Seattle Muslim leader Abrahim Sheikh Mohamed gave up his legal battle against deportation. Mohamed was arrested Nov. 14 on immigration violations at Sea-Tac Airport, where he'd just arrived on a domestic flight. For five years before his arrest, Mohamed led prayers as imam of the Abu-Bakr mosque in Rainier Valley, and he is well-respected in the local Somali community. Although he has not been charged with any terrorism-related crimes, FBI agents and other witnesses--including a local restaurant owner--testified at Mohamed's bond hearing last February that the imam had ties to terrorism and was raising money for al-Itihaad a-Islamiya, an alleged Somali terrorist group. More than 200 people rallied in support of Mohamed outside the bond hearing. Immigration Judge Victoria Young concluded that Mohamed was a threat to national security and denied bond.

LA: South Central farmers evicted

First from CBS, June 13, via Chiapas95:

LOS ANGELES Dozens of people have been arrested for allegedly violating a court order and obstructing sheriff's deputies from evicting farmers and supporters from a 14-acre urban garden near downtown Los Angeles.


New York's Hero Rescue Workers Face Kafkaesque Nightmare

by Joe Flood

An hour after Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the men of FDNY Engine Company 240 received orders at a nearby command post to enter the building and help evacuate survivors.

"As we were walking there it began to collapse and we were caught in the debris field," says fireman Thomas Dunn. "You could see absolutely nothing, we thought the building we were next to collapsed and that we were trapped…the only way I knew we were still outside was when I felt a car door next to me."

Los Angeles: struggle for the land

Leave it to Los Angeles. The media start paying attention when big-name stars flock to the cause. Meanwhile, heartening to know that this grassroots effort at urban-renewal-from-below has lasted as long as it has. From the LA Daily News, May 25:

Farmers facing imminent eviction from their urban plots of land played the ultimate trump card Wednesday: They called folk singer Joan Baez and stuck her in a tree.

The Los Angeles South Central Farm has been an oddity for the past 14 years. Tilled by mostly Mexican and Central American immigrants amid warehouses and train tracks, the 14-acre plot stuck out as a verdant block in a drab, industrial sector off the Alameda corridor.

Bush proposes thousands of Guard troops for Mexican border; raids and protests continue

From AP, May 13:

WASHINGTON - President Bush, trying to build momentum for an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws, is considering plans to shore up the Mexican border with National Guard troops paid for by the federal government, the Associated Press reported Friday, citing unnamed administration officials.

World War I protesters win (posthumous) pardon

What an historical irony that this is happening now, eh? Talk about the paradoxical unity of opposites. And hooray for Montana! Even out in the heartland, not all Americans are brainless reactionaries, it seems. From AP, May 3:

HELENA, Montana — It was a black mark on dozens of family histories that lingered for nearly nine decades -- until a journalism professor and a group of law students examined what happened to citizens who spoke out against the government during World War I.

NYC: May Day mobilization report

Sarah Ferguson writes for the Village Voice, May 2:

A Day Without White People
On May Day, the masses rose up in New York. But where were the white peaceniks?

A bit of revolution hit the streets on May Day in New York. Folks will debate the size of the crowd that jammed Union Square and beyond yesterday afternoon. People filled sidewalks along side streets, searching for a way into the rally. By 3 p.m. the park was full; by 5 it was bursting--so much so that police pulled back the metal barricades blocking 14th Street and let the throngs spill down Broadway an hour before the rally inside the park was supposed to end.

4th Circuit remands case to lower court over NSA snooping claims

Another (very tentative) glimmer of hope in the battle for your privacy rights. From AP, April 25:

WASHINGTON -- An appeals court on Tuesday returned the criminal case against an Islamic scholar to a trial judge to determine whether the Bush administration's domestic spying program was used to gather evidence against him.

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