Homeland Theater

Drones to patrol US skies

From the technology news site CNET, March 29:

Unmanned aerial vehicles have soared the skies of Afghanistan and Iraq for years, spotting enemy encampments, protecting military bases, and even launching missile attacks against suspected terrorists.

Objectivists vs. Islamists at NYU

File this under words-mean-whatever-we-say-they-mean. NYU "had not put any pressure on [the Objectivist Club's] free speech", but "said the panel discussion could not be open to the public if the cartoons were shown on stage." Huh? It's amazing how absolutely everybody pays lip service to free speech, while practically nobody upholds it. And of course it is right-wing nimrods like the Objectivists and the New York Sun who get to reap the propaganda benefits of this capitulation. Will "progressives" never learn? From The Sun, March 30:

US-Mexico tension over border death

On Dec. 30, a Border Patrol agent shot 20-year old Guillermo Martinez Rodriguez, a native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, as he and his brother, Agustin Martinez Rodriguez, were fleeing back into Mexico. The brothers had sought to enter the US through the Zapata de Tijuana canyon but reversed course after being discovered by Border Patrol agents. An agent fired at them as they were returning to Mexico, hitting Guillermo Martinez with a bullet in the back near the wall separating Tijuana from San Diego. Agustin Martinez took his brother to a Red Cross facility in Tijuana, Baja California, where after 16 hours in intensive care and two operations, Guillermo Martinez died on Dec. 31. (La Jornada, Mexico, Jan. 2; AP, Jan. 4)

Ethnic cleansing of upstate New York remembered

Kudos to G. Peter Jemison of New York state's Seneca Nation, for keeping this bit of history from going down the Memory Hole. Maybe this legacy says more about the political tradition the US is now exporting to Iraq than the interminable empty phrases about "freedom." From Indian Country Today, Nov. 30:

New Orleans elite kicks out citizen volunteers

The class struggle for the future of New Orleans is made clear by this Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24) report in Newsday that the volunteers who have established soup kitchens and work brigades to help the poor survive and resist being made exiles from their own city have now been ordered to clear out—due to pressure from the city's old-money elite:

California convict smells coffee: Jews not white

A Jewish inmate at California's San Quentin prison says his life is in danger because he's being housed with white inmates, many of whom belong to anti-Semitic white supremacist gangs. The inmate is asking prison authorities to reclassify him from "white" to "other." Stephen Liebb, an Orthodox Jew and UCLA law school graduate, has been imprisoned since 1981 on a murder charge. Since 1995, he has been incarcerated at San Quentin, where he says he has often been forced to live and to pray in close quarters with neo-Nazis and white supremacists covered in swastikas and SS lightning-bolt tattoos.

Jewish terrorist killed in prison

Earl Krugel, a Jewish Defense League militant convicted of plotting to bomb a Los Angeles mosque and the office of a local politician, was murdered just three days after being transferred to a new prison. The former dental assistant, who received the maximum 20-year sentence by a Los Angeles court in September, was killed by a fellow inmate while exercising at a medium-security prison in Arizona. The FBI has opened an investigation into the killing, but would not comment further. It is believed Krugel had received threats in the past from both white supremacist and Islamist militants.

Border deaths hit new high

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said at least 464 immigrants died crossing the border from Mexico into the US during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. The death toll was 43% higher than the previous year. "This total by far exceeds any year that we have on record," said CBP spokesperson Mario Villarreal in a phone call from Washington. Villarreal said the main cause of death was heat exposure; more than half the deaths took place in Arizona during a heat wave in June and July of this year. Other causes of death included drownings or car wrecks. (Reuters, Oct. 3)

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