Homeland Theater

Ethnic cleansing in New Orleans: it's official

From New York Newsday, Oct. 11, this harrowing report by staff writer John Riley from New Orleans' devastated Lower Ninth Ward:

Six weeks after the storm, no neighborhood in this ravaged city faces longer odds than the financially impoverished but culturally rich Lower Ninth -- and none better reflects the fault lines of race and class, nature and economics tangled together in the debate over New Orleans' future.

Border Czar out; ICE nominee probed

On Sept. 28 Robert Bonner announced he would retire as commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). He served for four years, first as head of US Customs, then as head of CBP after Customs was merged into the Department of Homeland Security in early 2003. (AP, Sept. 28)

Feds raid Connecticut madrassa for vegetables

From the Sept. 30 edition of the New York Bangladeshi community paper Bangla Patrika. Translated from the Bangla by the NY Independent Press Association:

Federal and local law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, raided the Darul Ulum Shady Brook, a Madrasha (an Islamic institution) run by Bangladeshis, located at Connecticut.

Federal contractor to pay in detainee abuse case

Some 1,600 immigrants who say they were abused at the Elizabeth detention center in New Jersey between August 1994 and June 1995 have won a $2.5 million settlement from the private prison company which operated the facility. The suit was brought in March 1996 against Esmor Correctional Services of Melville, NY; the company is now based in Florida and is called Correctional Services Corp. In settling the class action suit, Brown v. Esmor, the company acknowledged no wrongdoing. After legal fees are paid, some 1,600 detainees--many of whom have since been deported--will divide about $1.5 million, with plaintiffs' awards based on how long they were held and what abuses they suffered. Attorneys for the two sides signed off on the settlement on May 19 of this year; Dickinson R. Debevoise, US District Judge in Newark, approved it on Aug. 10.

Pakistani man dies awaiting deportation in NJ prison

From New York City's Pakistan Post, Sept. 15. Translated from the Urdu by Mohammad Jehangir Khan for the International Press Association.

A Pakistani man died of heart attack on September 9 while waiting for his deportation in a New Jersey prison, sources said.

Shehzad Tanveer, 42, who came to the United States about 13 years ago, was believed to be worried about his financial predicament awaiting him in Gujranwala, Pakistan before his death.

Moorish Science in the news

A recent story in New Jersey's Asbury Park Press sheds light on a highly esoteric group which can make a claim to being an indigenous American form of Islam, the Moorish Science movement. The story concerns Lee S. Crudup, who now goes by his "Moorish-American" name of Nature El Bey. Earlier this year, he was charged with—and acquitted of—failing to cooperate with Asbury Park police by giving a false name. He was convicted of not registering or insuring his car, and served 14 days in jail. He has now filed a federal suit, along with the Moorish Science Temple of America, accusing Asbury Park authorities of kidnapping him and illegally depriving him of his property under color of law. His numerous unorthodox legal arguments include that police have no right to stop citizens—only the sheriff, who holds the sole law enforcement office created by the state constitution, can do so, El Bey told the newspaper. But the larger issue seems to be the Moorish Science doctrine that Moorish-Americans constitute a separate nationality and are not subject to US law—or only to a strict constitutional interpretation. This doctrine has also brought followers of Moorish Science into frequent conflict with the IRS.

Iraq deployment cost lives on Gulf Coast: National Guard chief

From AP, Sept. 9, via TruthOut:

The deployment of thousands of National Guard troops from Mississippi and Louisiana in Iraq when Hurricane Katrina struck hindered those states' initial storm response, military and civilian officials said Friday.

Forcible evacuation of "Occupied New Orleans"

Survivors of Hurricane Katrina who refuse to follow the mandatory evacuation order have been handcuffed as soldiers and police force them to abandon their homes. Up to 10,000 "hold-outs" are still thought to be in New Orleans, and many are armed. (ITN, Sept. 9) The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes Sept. 9 that it feels like an "occupied" city:

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