Posted 1 year ago on Aug. 23, 2012, 5:24 p.m. EST by LeoYo
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The Death of Sunny Sheu
Thursday, 23 August 2012 14:47 By Will Galison and Milton Allimadi, Truthout | News Analysis
The cover-up of the death of an anti-corruption whistleblower by numerous agencies and the mainstream media.
In the months following the February killing of Trayvon Martin, that story dominated headlines across the nation and around the world. Mainstream media venues have dedicated thousands of hours and countless pages to every conceivable angle of the story - including baseless speculation about unverified facts and even the imagined motivations of the victim and killer.
Why has this story generated such intense attention and passion? While a racially charged debate continues among people speculating about the as-yet-unknown circumstances of the killing, the substantive story here is one of national importance: the fact that an American police department utterly failed to investigate a killing and released the killer solely on the basis of his own word.
The ramification of this case is that an American citizen can be killed and that law enforcement can simply neglect their responsibility to investigate the killing, thus failing both to serve justice and to deter future incidents.
Protection by law enforcement and a criminal justice system is the most fundamental contract between a people and their government. Without security, all other rights and liberties are moot, so we employ our government to protect us from being robbed, injured or killed by anyone with the inclination to harm us.
Sheu, the New York Police Department's Own Trayvon Martin Case The failure of a tiny police force to investigate an apparently unpremeditated killing in a backwater of Florida engendered national protests, riots, impassioned speeches by politicians and months of headline coverage.
What would the public's reaction be if the police department in question was the largest and most powerful in the nation, the New York Police Department (NYPD)? What if the murder was not an impulsive act by an unstable misfit, but apparently a premeditated assassination? What if the police not only failed to investigate, but were directly implicated in the crime and proven to have covered it up in collusion with the FBI, the New York State judiciary, and others? What if the victim had made a video weeks before his death, exposing the corruption he had uncovered, predicting his death and naming the people he believed would kill him? What if the medical examiner (ME) officially ruled the cause of death "blunt force trauma to the head with skull fractures and brain injuries" and the NYPD continued to maintain that the victim died of "natural causes" with "no head trauma"?
In other words, what if the entire structure of governmental institutions, which exist to ensure our security, colluded to protect the killer through negligence and outright criminality?
That is precisely what appears to have happened in the case of Sun Ming "Sunny" Sheu, an anti-corruption whistleblower who was bludgeoned to death on July 26, 2010. The details of this case and the reasons you have never heard of it will be the subject of this article.
The Sheu story exposes criminal complicity and betrayal by all of the institutions we depend on for our security: local and federal law enforcement; the courts; politicians; health care providers; and, most chilling of all, our refuge of last resort, the media.
Do US Prisons Violate European Human Rights Law?
Thursday, 23 August 2012 11:20 By Angola 3 News, Angola 3 News | Op-Ed
On April 10, 2012, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued judgement in the case of Babar Ahmad and Others v The United Kingdom, thereby making a landmark ruling on the legitimacy of solitary confinement, extreme isolation and life without parole in US supermax prisons (view ECHR press release and ruling). The ECHR denied the appeal filed jointly by six appellants, consisting of four British nationals (Babar Ahmad, Haroon Rashid Aswat, Syed Talha Ahsan, and Mustafa Kamal Mustafa—aka Abu Hamza), an Egyptian national (Adel Abdul Bary) and a Saudi Arabian national (Khaled Al-Fawwaz) who have been imprisoned in the United Kingdom, pending extradition to the United States for alleged terrorism-related activities.
This judgement is now being appealed to the ECHR's Grand Chamber, with a decision expected in September regarding whether or not the appeal will be heard. Arguing against their extradition to the US, the six appellants have asserted that the risk of imprisonment in the United States (with specific citation of long-term isolation at the notorious federal prison in Colorado, ADX Florence—also the subject of both a June Senate Hearing and a recent civil rights lawsuit initiated by prisoners alleging human rights violations there) would breach their right under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights not to "be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." Ruling against the appellants, the ECHR argued in their April 10 ruling that isolation in a US Supermax prison is "relative" and will become a violation of Article 3 ECHR (which prohibits torture), only if it extends indefinitely.
Tampa Authorities Empty Jail In Anticipation of Mass Arrests at GOP Convention
Thursday, 23 August 2012 10:54 By Adam Peck, ThinkProgress | Report
Thousands of Republicans from around the country will descend upon Tampa, Florida next week for the Republican National Convention, and if recent history is any guide, so too will hundreds of protesters.
To prepare, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee has ordered the Orient Road Jail, a 1,700 bed prison in Tampa, emptied, relocating some inmates to another nearby prison and releasing others on bond. The entire facility has been transformed into a one-stop booking, detention, and bond-issuance center capable of handling large numbers of arrests, which begs the question: will Tampa police keep demonstrators on a short leash?
Sheriff Gee says no, but also indicated in a letter posted on a county website that his department would have very little tolerance for anything more than chanting and holding up signs:
To the agitators and anarchists who want only to bring a dark cloud to this event, let me be clear: criminal activity and civil disturbances will not be tolerated and enforcement actions will be swift.
Four years ago, police in Minneapolis, Minnesota were criticized for their treatment of protesters and reporters covering the RNC, and were even forced to settle in an excessive force lawsuit. And in 2004, police in New York City were found to have been surveilling dozens of protest groups for months leading up to the RNC, even embedding undercover officers within several larger groups.
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Millions Go Hungry as Congress Considers Food Stamp Cuts and Drought Threatens Crops
Thursday, 23 August 2012 10:26 By Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report
Nearly one in five Americans could not afford the food they or their families needed at some point in the past year, and now anti-poverty advocates are pressing Congress to abandon proposed food stamp cuts as a historic drought threatens to drive up food prices across the country.
A Gallup poll released this week shows that 18.2 percent of Americans did not have enough money to buy the food they or their families needed at least once during the past year. In 15 states, at least 1 in 5 Americans polled in the first half of 2012 reported struggling to pay for food during the past 12 months.
Little has changed since 2011, when 18.6 percent of Americans reported struggling to afford food, but proposed food stamp cuts in Congress and the worst drought in half a century could soon make matters worse.
The drought has impacted 80 percent of the country's agricultural lands, and the US Department of Agriculture predicts that consumers will see meat and dairy prices increase within two months. Increases in the cost of packaged products, such as cereal, containing corn and flour are expected in about 10 to 12 months.
The rate of Americans facing food hardship peaked in late 2008 as the economy fell into a deep recession. The rate spiked from 16.3 percent in the first quarter of 2008 to 19.5 percent in the last quarter.
Congress Considers Cutting Food Stamps
With millions of Americans struggling to stave off hunger, anti-poverty groups are asking that Congress abandon proposals to cut off support for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which supplies assistance commonly called food stamps. "The numbers underscore the point that people still continue to struggle, and that cuts some in Congress are proposing to our nation's nutrition safety net will only worsen a bad situation," said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center.
Why We Need the Food from Family Farms Act