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Monday, August 8, 2011
Human Trafficking: Did the US DoJ Purposefully lose the Aloun Farms Case?
By Andrew Walden @ 1:37 AM :: 19728 Views :: Ethics, Agriculture, Judiciary, Labor, Law Enforcement, Pierre Omidyar

by Andrew Walden

In all the hubbub surrounding the dramatic August 4 collapse of the Honolulu Federal human trafficking case against Aloun Farms organic plantation owners Alec and Mike Sou, nobody is asking the obvious question: How could federal prosecutors “accidentally” debase their entire prosecution of crimes alleged to have occurred in 2004 by telling a Federal Grand Jury that the defendants’ collection of “recruitment fees” was a violation of a law which did not take effect until 2008?

The Justice Department’s lead federal attorney, Susan French, has over a decade of courtroom experience with the Human Trafficking Unit of the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice. But French’s “error” not only blew the Aloun Farms case but also may have blown a much larger multi-state case against labor contractor Global Horizons by making similar mis-statements before the Grand Jury in that case.

The Sous are Hawaii Democratic contributors and have received the public support of former Hawaii Democratic Governors Ben Cayetano and John Waihee along with numerous Hawaii organic food activists who argued that Aloun Farms’ organic food is of such importance that a little slavery should be overlooked. But they are the small fry. Global Horizons provided farm labor to two of Hawaii’s largest landowners, Maui Land and Pineapple and Kauai’s Grove Farm—both owned by AOL billionaire Steve Case, cousin of former Democrat Congressman and Hawaii Senate Candidate Ed Case. To make matters even more embarrassing, Maui Land and Pineapple is now co-owned by E-Bay billionaire Pierre Omidyar, a major Democratic campaign contributor and underwriter of …(ahem)… anti-human trafficking efforts and Honolulu news site Civil Beat.

The Sou brothers had offered guilty pleas but those pleas were rejected by Mollway who ruled September 9, 2010 that the Sous’ courtroom statements showed they did not understand what they were admitting to. This ruling came one day before the Justice Department filed its long-anticipated charges against Global Horizons.

Would Obama’s Attorney General Eric H. Holder throw a case to take the pressure off of big money Democrat contributors?

This is the same Department which in 2009 faced down national controversy in order to abandon pursuit of the New Black Panthers Philadelphia voter intimidation case. And the two Panthers were just a street punk and a precinct-level Democrat poll-watcher.

Just as the Feds had the Sous in their grip after guilty pleas, the Feds also had the Panthers in their grip -- because default judgments were entered after the Panther defendants failed to respond to the court.

Right at the center of the New Black Panthers case was Mark Kappelhoff, a Democratic Party contributor and former ACLU attorney who is chief of the Criminal Section of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division. Kappelhoff is Susan French’s direct supervisor.

The Sou brothers were abortively tried before Clinton-appointed Judge, and former Hawaii ACLU Board member, Susan Oki Mollway. Nine years earlier, also in Mollway’s Honolulu courtroom, Susan French had successfully prosecuted Kil Soo Lee, a Samoa-based sweatshop operator. Lee was accused of holding and abusing workers who had been charged exorbitant “recruitment fees.” In that case, Lee was convicted--under the old laws--of “extortion, money laundering, conspiring to violate the civil rights of others, and holding workers to a condition of involuntary servitude.” In fact the Lee case was used as an argument for the additional laws, which can be found in 18 USC Chapter 77 and took effect December 23, 2008 as Sec. 1593A and Sec. 1596. And somehow Susan French has now overlooked all of this history in which she was so directly and personally involved. 

But Lee’s only value to the Democratic Party was that the taxes and license fees paid by his sweatshop provided some of the financial underpinnings for American Samoa’s deeply corrupt Democratic Party regime. Lee wasn’t an embarrassed Democrat billionaire caught up in a human trafficking case.

Meanwhile collection agencies and gangsters are closing in on the families of the dozens of Thai workers who were conned into mortgaging their ancestral properties in northern Thailand as part of their unfortunate episode with Aloun Farms and Global Horizons.







PDF: Susan French Biography

PACER lists Susan French as an attorney in 29 cases:

Kil Soo Lee
filed 04/05/01 closed 06/22/05

Virginia Solia'i
filed 04/05/01 closed 10/22/02

Robert Ati Malala
filed 04/05/01 closed 10/22/02

Elekana Nuiuuli Ioane
filed 08/30/01 closed 01/29/04

Mika Kelemete
filed 03/01/06 closed 02/06/08

Siaumau Mapu
filed 03/01/06 closed 02/06/08

Fu Sheng Kuo
filed 10/04/06 closed 01/31/08

Shengji Wang
filed 10/04/06 closed 01/31/08

Kueiling Chen
filed 10/04/06 closed 09/05/07

Lili Zhang
filed 10/04/06 closed 09/05/07

1:06-mc-00021-DAE -KSC
United States of America
filed 02/23/06 closed 02/28/06

Mika Kelemete
filed 02/08/06 closed 03/01/06

Fu Sheng Kuo
filed 05/10/07 closed 01/16/08

Shengji Wang
filed 05/22/07 closed 01/16/08

Siaumau Mapu
filed 06/26/07 closed 02/06/08

Iona Uiagalelei
filed 08/30/07 closed 01/10/08

1:07-mc-00172-HG -LK
United States Department of Justice
filed 07/30/07 closed 08/01/07

Matee Chowsanitphon
filed 08/24/09 closed 07/13/10

Alec Souphone Sou
filed 08/27/09 closed 08/05/11

Mike Mankone Sou
filed 08/27/09 closed 08/05/11

Siew Khiong Khoo
filed 08/27/09

Mordechai Yosef Orian
filed 09/01/10

Pranee Tubchumpol
filed 09/01/10

Shane Germann
filed 09/01/10

Sam Wongsesanit
filed 09/01/10

Ratawan Chunharutai
filed 09/01/10

Podjanee Sinchai
filed 09/01/10

Bruce Schwartz
filed 09/01/10

Joseph Knoller
filed 09/01/10


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