Homeland Theater

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)

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.

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