Monthly Archives: April 2008

New York City Cops Acquitted After Shooting an Unarmed Man

Source: The New York Times

CantonTruth Comments in blue

In the early morning hours of Nov. 25, 2006, Sean Bell, a 23-year-old New York City man due to be married later that day, walked out of a Queens strip club, climbed into a gray Nissan Altima with two friends who had been celebrating with him – and died in a hail of 50 bullets fired by a group of five police officers.

The shooting shocked the city and brought back memories of the deaths in other high-profile police shootings – in particular, the death of Amadou Diallo, an African peddler killed after police fired 41 shots at him in 1999. Both men were black and both were unarmed, although in both cases the officers appeared to have believed the suspect had a gun.

Believing that someone has a gun does not justify murdering them. If it does then any police officer that pulls you over has the right to open fire on you if he only BELIEVES that you may have a gun.

While the death of Mr. Bell did not prompt the same levels of rage and protest as the Diallo case, it prompted unsettling questions about the changes in police procedures adopted in recent years, and about whether black men remained unfairly singled out for aggressive police action.
On March 16, 2007, a Queens grand jury voted to indict three detectives in the case, charging the two who had fired the bulk of the shots,Detective Michael Oliver and Detective Gescard F. Isnora, with first-degree and second-degree manslaughter, and the third, Detective Marc Cooper, with reckless endangerment.

The three pleaded not guilty, and in the days before the trial began on Feb. 25, 2008, defense lawyers made clear that they were going to concentrate on potential justification for the first two shots fired by Detectives Oliver and Isnora. In particular, they were expected to focus on evidence that Mr. Bell was intoxicated and on a statement by one of Mr. Bell’s companion that there had been talk outside the nightclub that someone had a gun. The officers have said they followed Mr. Bell and his companions in the belief that they were going to retrieve a gun following a dispute outside the club.
During the trial, defense lawyers pointed to forensic evidence that suggested that the firing only began after Mr. Bell rammed his car into an unmarked police van. They also accused Mr. Bell’s companions of lying on the witness stand.

Even if the firing didn’t start until after Mr. Bell rammed his car into an unmarked police van the question still remains of why were there 50 shots fired. All three men were unarmed and were no threat to the police officers. True the were intoxicated but this does not give the police the right to open fire at you let alone to fire 50 times.

On April 25, 2008, Justice Arthur J. Cooperman, who heard the case alone after the detectives waived their right to a jury, acquitted all three men of all the charges against them. — April 25, 2008

It can also be said that the detectives waived their right to a jury so that no human side could be brought into the court room. If there is no jury to try to convince that you acted appropriately then you only have to convince one man. Sean Bell was murdered by the New York City Police Department and his killers have just been acquitted.

Elaborate Hoax Or Government Cover Up? UFO Sighting In Skies Over Phoenix, Arizona On April 21, 2008


Wednesday April 23, 2008
Associated Press

PHOENIX — Red colored lights that formed a square and then a triangle were seen floating over north Phoenix late Monday, a sight reminiscent of an unexplained 1997 sighting that has become part of the area’s lore.

There was no immediate word where they came from.

The Air Force said the lights weren’t from any of their flight operations and officials at Deer Valley airport and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport could not explain it.

The lights were visible for about 13 minutes around 8 p.m. Monday.

A Luke Air Force Base official said the base wasn’t flying any aircraft in the sky Monday night and that the lights are not part of any Air Force activities.

KSAZ-TV, a local Fox affiliate in Phoenix, reported that officials from Phoenix Deer Valley Airport saw the lights approximately 4 miles south of the airport and that the lights were rising as they watched.

Airport officials said the lights were not from any aircraft at that airport.

Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said that air traffic controllers at Sky Harbor also witnessed the lights, but do not know the cause.

On March 13, 1997, thousands of residents reported seeing a mile-wide, v-shaped formation of lights over the Phoenix area. In that case, the lights appeared about 7:30 p.m. and lasted until 10:30 p.m.

Great Lakes Danger Zones?

Source: The Center for Public Integrity

By Sheila Kaplan


For more than seven months, the nation’s top public health agency has blocked the publication of an exhaustive federal study of environmental hazards in the eight Great Lakes states, reportedly because it contains such potentially “alarming information” as evidence of elevated infant mortality and cancer rates.
Researchers found low birth weights, elevated rates of infant mortality and premature births, and elevated death rates from breast cancer, colon cancer, and lung cancer.
The 400-plus-page study, Public Health Implications of Hazardous Substances in the Twenty-Six U.S. Great Lakes Areas of Concern, was undertaken by a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the request of the International Joint Commission, an independent bilateral organization that advises the U.S. and Canadian governments on the use and quality of boundary waters between the two countries. The study was originally scheduled for release in July 2007 by the IJC and the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
The Center for Public Integrity has obtained the study, which warns that more than nine million people who live in the more than two dozen “areas of concern”—including such major metropolitan areas as Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee—may face elevated health risks from being exposed to dioxin, PCBs, pesticides, lead, mercury, or six other hazardous pollutants.
In many of the geographic areas studied, researchers found low birth weights, elevated rates of infant mortality and premature births, and elevated death rates from breast cancer, colon cancer, and lung cancer.
Since 2004, dozens of experts have reviewed various drafts of the study, including senior scientists at the CDC, Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal agencies, as well as scientists from universities and state governments, according to sources familiar with the history of the project.
“It raises very important questions,” Dr. Peter Orris, a professor at the University of Illinois School of Public Health in Chicago and one of three experts who reviewed the study for ATSDR, told the Center. While Orris acknowledged that the study does not determine cause and effect—a point the study itself emphasizes—its release, he said, is crucial to pointing the way for further research. “Communities could demand that those questions be answered in a more systematic way,” he said. “Not to release it is putting your head under the sand.”
In a December 2007 letter to ATSDR in which he called for the release of the study, Orris wrote: “This report, which has taken years in production, was subjected to independent expert review by the IJC’s Health Professionals Task Force and other boards, over 20 EPA scientists, state agency scientists from New York and Minnesota, three academics (including myself), and multiple reviews within ATSDR. As such, this is perhaps the most extensively critiqued report, internally and externally, that I have heard of.”
Last July, several days before the study was to be released, ATSDR suddenly withdrew it, saying that it needed further review. In a letter to Christopher De Rosa, then the director of the agency’s division of toxicology and environmental medicine, Dr. Howard Frumkin, ATSDR’s chief, wrote that the quality of the study was “well below expectations.” When the Center contacted Frumkin’s office, a spokesman said that he was not available for comment and that the study was “still under review.”
De Rosa, who oversaw the study and has pressed for its release, referred the Center’s requests for an interview to ATSDR’s public affairs office, which, over a period of two weeks, has declined to make him available for comment. In an e-mail obtained by the Center, De Rosa wrote to Frumkin that the delay in publishing the study has had “the appearance of censorship of science and distribution of factual information regarding the health status of vulnerable communities.”
Some members of Congress seem to agree. In a February 6, 2008, letter to CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding, who’s also administrator of ATSDR, a trio of powerful congressional Democrats—including Rep. Bart Gordon of Tennessee, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology—complained about the delay in releasing the report. The Center for Public Integrity obtained a copy of the letter to Gerberding, which notes that the full committee is reviewing “disturbing allegations about interference with the work of government scientists” at ATSDR. “You and Dr. Frumkin were made aware of the Committee’s concerns on this matter last December,” the letter adds, “but we have still not heard any explanation for the decision to cancel the release of the report.”
Canadian biologist Michael Gilbertson, a former IJC staffer and another of the three peer reviewers, told the Center that the study has been suppressed because it suggests that vulnerable populations have been harmed by industrial pollutants. “It’s not good because it’s inconvenient,” Gilbertson said. “The whole problem with all this kind of work is wrapped up in that word ‘injury.’ If you have injury, that implies liability. Liability, of course, implies damages, legal processes, and costs of remedial action. The governments, frankly, in both countries are so heavily aligned with, particularly, the chemical industry, that the word amongst the bureaucracies is that they really do not want any evidence of effect or injury to be allowed out there.”
The IJC requested the study in 2001. Researchers selected by the ATSDR not only reviewed data from hazardous waste sites, toxic releases, and discharges of pollutants but also, for the first time, mapped the locations of schools, hospitals, and other facilities to assess the proximity of vulnerable populations to the sources of environmental contaminants. In March 2004, an official of the IJC wrote to De Rosa to thank him for his role in the study, saying that he was “enthusiastic about sharing this information with Great Lakes Basin stakeholders and governments,” and adding, “You are to be commended for your extraordinary efforts.”
Unlike his Canadian counterpart, however, the ATSDR’s Frumkin seems anything but thankful. De Rosa, a highly respected scientist with a strong international reputation from his 15 years in charge of ATSDR’s division of toxicology and environmental medicine, was demoted after he pushed Frumkin to publish the Great Lakes report and other studies. De Rosa is seeking reinstatement to his former position, claiming that Frumkin illegally retaliated against him. Phone calls to ATSDR seeking comment about the pending personnel dispute were not returned.
“I think this is really pretty outrageous, both to Chris personally and to the report,” Dr. David Carpenter, a professor of public health at the State University of New York at Albany and another of ATSDR’s peer reviewers, told the Center for Public Integrity.
Some members of Congress have also taken De Rosa’s side. That same February 6 letter to Gerberding, which was co-signed by Rep. Brad Miller of North Carolina, chairman of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of the Science and Technology Committee, and Rep. Nick Lampson of Texas, chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, expressed concern that “management may have retaliated against” De Rosa for blowing the whistle on ATSDR’s conduct related to this investigation and another involving work on formaldehyde in trailers supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. “The public is well served by federal employees willing to speak up when federal agencies act improperly, and Congress depends upon whistle blowers for effective oversight,” the letter states. “We will not tolerate retaliation against any whistle blowers.”
Barry Johnson, a retired rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service and a former assistant administrator of ATSDR, told the Center that before he left in 1999 he recommended that the agency investigate the dangers that chemical contaminants might pose to residents of the Great Lakes states.
“This research is quite important to the public health of people who reside in that area,” Johnson said of the study. “It was done with the full knowledge and support of IJC, and many local health departments went through this in various reviews. I don’t understand why this work has not been released; it should be and it must be released. In 37 years of public service, I’ve never run into a situation like this.”