Bush-Era Spying ‘Made Legal’ Under Obama

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/06/09-0

Security officials defend legality of government’s top-secret surveillance system

Lauren McCauley

Despite feigned outrage over the use of “illegal” surveillance techniques employed under the Bush administration, in the follow up to this week’s news of a massive government surveillance system, revelations have come forth regarding President Obama’s role in not only the expansion of existing surveillance methods but also of the codification of laws that permit the violation of Americans’ civil liberties.

Speaking with Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace about what President Obama has done with surveillance programs inherited from the Bush administration, Michael Hayden, former director of both the NSA and CIA answered:

In terms of surveillance? Expanded [the programs] in volume, changed the legal grounding for them a little bit. […]

We’ve gotten more of these records over time. With the amendment to the FISA Act, in 2008, which Senator Obama finally voted for, NSA is actually empowered to do more things than I was empowered to do under President Bush’s special authorization.

“We misunderstood Barack Obama years ago when he slammed the Bush administration for arbitrary intrusion in the privacy of citizens, in the name of the war on terrorism,” writes political blogger Juan Cole, referencing the President’s 2007 declaration that he would “provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our constitution and our freedom.”

“No more illegal wiretapping of American citizens, he promised. But note that he didn’t say ‘no more wiretapping,’” Cole continues. “Apparently Obama only meant that he would pass laws and issue presidential decrees that allowed the government to violate civil liberties, so that the vast domestic surveillance was legal, in contrast to its illicit character under Bush. It isn’t the surveillance that he was promising to curtail.”

In a statement issued Saturday, Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., defended the legality of the top-secret government surveillance program, PRISM, under Section 702 of FISA, as approved by Congress in 2008.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/06/09-0

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Cop Sexually Assaults Woman Then Arrests Her For Protesting

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Greek Transsexuals Are Being Rounded Up, Arrested and Threatened In a Pre Pride CrackDown

From planetransgender:  http://planetransgender.blogspot.com/2013/06/greek-transsexuals-are-being-rounded-up.html

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Amidst the Greek government’s ongoing draconian reaction to the recent protests and the subsequent silencing of the media, there is yet another untold story of human suffering. The police at the bequest of the Orthodox church are targeting law abiding transgender residents of the northern city of Thessaloniki in a bid to terrorize the LGBT community by breaking the weakest link, before the city’s second Pride.

The Transgender citizens of this city are already marginalized, and desperately need the world to know about this.

Source grr Reporter: The police in Thessaloniki has been carrying out a series of ungrounded arrests of transgender persons as stated by the Greek Transgender Support Association. “According to written complaints filed by our members who live in Thessaloniki, it is clear that from 30 May 2013 onwards, the police have been carrying out purges and arrests of transgender citizens on a daily basis. The same complaints state that those arrested are being taken to the police headquarters in Thessaloniki in Dimokratia Square, where the victims are waiting for at least three or four hours to be identified under the pretext that the authorities should establish whether the particular person was not a prostitute,” reads an address of the non-governmental organization (NGO).

The Association stresses that the police behaviour during the arrests was offensive, humiliating and that it was intended to undermine the dignity of transgender persons. In three of the complaints, the victims note that traffic policemen had stopped transgender women while they were driving their cars without any proof or suspicion of any fault or violation of the law. Later, they were taken to the police station in order for their identity to be verified.

The testimonies of a large number of victims suggest that before being released from custody, the policemen threatened transgender women, warning them that if they did not “return to normal”, legal proceedings against them would be initiated for indecent behavior in public places.

Continue reading at:  http://planetransgender.blogspot.com/2013/06/greek-transsexuals-are-being-rounded-up.html

Father Confronts Transgendered Child Shopping for Prom

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A Gown With No Gender

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2013/06/03/op-ed-gown-no-gender

Why high schools should really drop the gender segregation when it comes to graduation robes.

BY Michelle Garcia
June 03 2013

In some high schools, there are two graduation robes. Female students wear one color robe, and male students wear the other. After four years of high school, it doesn’t matter that you’re a straight-A student on the scholarship track to the best university you could get into or that you’re just a traditional dummy who shocks everyone by showing up sober, let alone actually receiving a diploma. No, you’re a girl, so you must wear The Girl Robe.
It’s absurd that in 2013, something that should be gender-neutral like education can culminate in gender segregation. Women are probably told to wear a dress and heels underneath — because you’re a lady, darn it, and you’re going to be dignified!
What’s worse, some schools eschew school colors by ensuring that girls wear white robes and boys wear black. Is this like wearing a white dress on your wedding day to declare your virginity to the world? If that’s the case, some of those robes should be off-white, but fortunately most high schools don’t like to slut-shame their students in such an official capacity.
When it comes to the gendered gown, we’ve received a few reports of transgender and gender-nonconforming students who are being forced to wear graduation gowns that do not correspond with the gender with which they identify.
In particular, Pennsylvania student Issak Wolfe won the right to run for prom king. Initially, however, his principal placed his female birth name in the column for prom queen, so there’s that. But after that was rectified, when graduation came around, the Red Lion Area School District told him he could wear the boy’s cap and gown, but his female birth name would be read when he accepted his diploma. Damian Garcia, a transgender male senior at a Catholic school in Albuquerque, was told that he had to wear the white cap and gown that was intended for female students. Sadly, he’s decided that the only dignified thing left for him to do would be to miss his own high school graduation. Fortunately, Chris Calderon-Perez, a transgender student in Fostoria, Ohio, will be allowed to wear the female gown, because she is female, and her principal understands that.
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Meeting the Needs of Transgender Patients: Medical Informaticists Work through the EHR Challenges

From Healthcare Informatics:  http://www.healthcare-informatics.com/article/meeting-needs-transgender-patients-medical-informaticists-work-through-ehr-challenges

Efforts are underway to find ways to modify EHRs in order to meet the special needs of transgender patients

May 30, 2013

On April 30, 2013, JAMIA, theJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association, published online an article titled “Electronic medical records and the transgender patient: recommendations from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health EMR Working Group,” authored by Madeline B. Deutsch, M.D., Jamison Green, Ph.D., JoAnne Keatley, M.S.W.., Gal Mayer, M.D., Jennifer Hastings, M.D., and Alexandra M. Hall, M.D.

As the article’s abstract notes, “Transgender patients have particular needs with respect to demographic information and health records; specifically, transgender patients may have a chosen name and gender identity that differs from their current legally designated name and sex. Additionally,” the authors note, “sex-specific health information, for example, a man with a cervix or a woman with a prostate, requires special attention electronic health record (EHR) systems. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) is an international multidisciplinary professional association that publishes recognized standards for the care of transgender and gender-variant persons.”

The Executive Committee of WPATH last year convened an Electronic Medical Records Working Group comprised of clinicians and clinical informaticists, in order to make recommendations for developers, vendors, and users of EHRs, with respect to the needs of transgender patients. The recent result of that committee’s work was published in 2012 as an online book, available free of charge, and titled “Collecting Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data in Electronic Health Records: Workshop Summary.” That document was prepared by Joe Alper, Monica N. Feit, and Jon Q. Sanders, for the Board on the Health of Select Populations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), as a summary of the workshop “Collecting Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data in Electronic Health Records.”

Madeline B. “Maddie” Deutsch, M.D., of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who was the lead author of the JAMIA article, spoke recently with HCI Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland regarding the challenges and opportunities inherent in honoring the wishes and needs of transgender and gender-variant patients while working with electronic health records. Below are excerpts from that interview.

What was your goal in doing this research and putting together this article?

Continue reading at:  http://www.healthcare-informatics.com/article/meeting-needs-transgender-patients-medical-informaticists-work-through-ehr-challenges

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I am Bradley Manning

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Julian Assange praises Edward Snowden as a hero

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/jun/10/julian-assange-praises-edward-snowden

Whistleblower will go down in history for exposing ‘formulation of a mass surveillance state’, says WikiLeaks founder

guardian.co.uk, Monday 10 June 2013

Edward Snowden is a “hero” who has exposed “one of the most serious events of the decade – the creeping formulation of a mass surveillance state”, Julian Assange said on Monday.

The WikiLeaks founder said the question of surveillance abuses by states and tech companies was “something that I and many other journalists and civil libertarians have been campaigning about for a long time. It is very pleasing to see such clear and concrete proof presented to the public.”

Assange told Sky News that Snowden was “in a very, very serious position, because we can see the kind of rhetoric that occurred against me and Bradley Manning back in 2010, 2011, applied to Snowden”.

Following the Cablegate exposures in 2010 there were calls from some US politicians for Assange to be tried for treason and even assassinated. Manning, who has admitted leaking classified US military secrets to WikiLeaks, is on trial facing 21 charges, including “aiding the enemy”.

Assange has been confined for almost a year to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, having been granted asylum by the Latin American country in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sex assault and rape accusations, which he denies. The Australian fears answering the allegations in Sweden would make him vulnerable to onward extradition to the US to face potential charges relating to the WikiLeaks releases.

Assange had earlier told an Australian interviewer for ABC News that he had been in “indirect communication with [Snowden’s] people”, but declined to elaborate further.

He described Manning and Snowden as “very serious, earnest young men who really believe in something, and have shown great courage, and there is no doubt actually that history will look on them extremely favourably and perhaps, in a few years, will liberate them from their predicament.”

Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/jun/10/julian-assange-praises-edward-snowden

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Boundless Informant: the NSA’s secret tool to track global surveillance dat

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/08/nsa-boundless-informant-global-datamining

Revealed: The NSA’s powerful tool for cataloguing global surveillance data – including figures on US collection

Boundless Informant: mission outlined in four slides
Read the NSA’s frequently asked questions document

guardian.co.uk, Sunday 9 June 2013

The National Security Agency has developed a powerful tool for recording and analysing where its intelligence comes from, raising questions about its repeated assurances to Congress that it cannot keep track of all the surveillance it performs on American communications.

The Guardian has acquired top-secret documents about the NSA datamining tool, called Boundless Informant, that details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks.

The focus of the internal NSA tool is on counting and categorizing the records of communications, known as metadata, rather than the content of an email or instant message.

The Boundless Informant documents show the agency collecting almost 3 billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks over a 30-day period ending in March 2013. One document says it is designed to give NSA officials answers to questions like, “What type of coverage do we have on country X” in “near real-time by asking the SIGINT [signals intelligence] infrastructure.”

An NSA factsheet about the program, acquired by the Guardian, says: “The tool allows users to select a country on a map and view the metadata volume and select details about the collections against that country.”

Under the heading “Sample use cases”, the factsheet also states the tool shows information including: “How many records (and what type) are collected against a particular country.”

A snapshot of the Boundless Informant data, contained in a top secret NSA “global heat map” seen by the Guardian, shows that in March 2013 the agency collected 97bn pieces of intelligence from computer networks worldwide.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/08/nsa-boundless-informant-global-datamining

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Intelligence for Dummies

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/08/opinion/collins-intelligence-for-dummies.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=1&

Published: June 7, 2013

Question for the day: Do you feel more secure or less secure, now that you know the government is keeping a gargantuan pile of information about everybody’s telephone calls in the name of national security?

You have heard, I’m sure, that the National Security Agency has been mining Verizon’s records for information, such as numbers called and the location where the call was made. This is known as “telephony metadata,” and the very fact that we now have a term like “telephony metadata” is perhaps reason enough to be against the entire concept.

“Nobody is listening to your telephone calls,” President Obama assured the American people on Friday. Well, probably nobody. And, if they are, it’s under an entirely different part of the program.

We’ve had a passel of these stories this week. (It also appears that the N.S.A. is sucking personal e-mails and other data from the servers of the giant Internet companies.) Security issues are very tough to figure out. One side is always saying, as Obama did on Friday, that whatever is going on will “help us prevent terrorist attacks.”

The phrase “help us prevent terrorist attacks” is sort of a conversation-stopper.

The other side is worried about privacy, but the public is resigned to the idea that some Big Brother is monitoring their communications. After all, we live in a world where you can e-mail your husband about buying new kitchen curtains and then magically receive an online ad from a drapery company.

Let’s start with the real basics. Does the N.S.A. really need all the stuff it’s collecting? Ever since the attack on the World Trade Center, the agency has been exploding. It has an enormous operation outside of Washington, and it is building another million-square-foot complex in the Utah desert. It collects an estimated 1.7 billion pieces of communication a day.

“When you have the ability to get more and more data, the natural inclination is to get as much as possible,” said Representative Henry Waxman, the former chairman of the House oversight committee.

Those of us who have seen the show “Hoarders” know that more is not always better, and “as much as possible” is sometimes covering up a pile of dead cats. After all, the government didn’t fail to stop the attack on the World Trade Center because of a lack of data. It had lots of information about Al Qaeda and its plan to stage an attack on America. The problem was with follow-up.

And the N.S.A. has been known to go overboard. During the administration of George W. Bush, it decided to drop a modest in-house plan for data analysis in favor of a gargantuan program called Trailblazer, which funneled more than $1 billion to private consultants and turned out to have the additional liability of not working. The official who fought most vigorously against it was rewarded in 2010 by being charged with violating the Espionage Act when he released information to a reporter.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/08/opinion/collins-intelligence-for-dummies.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=1&

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Meet the contractors analyzing your private data

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2013/06/10/digital_blackwater_meet_the_contractors_who_analyze_your_personal_data/

Private companies are getting rich probing your personal information for the government. Call it Digital Blackwater


Amid the torrent of stories about the shocking new revelations about the National Security Agency, few have bothered to ask a central question. Who’s actually doing the work of analyzing all the data, metadata and personal information pouring into the agency from Verizon and nine key Internet service providers for its ever-expanding surveillance of American citizens?

Well, on Sunday we got part of the answer: Booz Allen Hamilton. In a stunning development in the NSA saga, Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald revealed that the source for his blockbuster stories on the NSA is Edward Snowden, “a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.” Snowden, it turns out, has been working at NSA for the last four years as a contract employee, including stints for Booz and the computer-services firm Dell.

The revelation is not that surprising. With about 70 percent of our national intelligence budgets being spent on the private sector  – a discovery I made in 2007 and first reported in Salon – contractors have become essential to the spying and surveillance operations of the NSA.

From Narus, the Israeli-born Boeing subsidiary that makes NSA’s high-speed interception software, to CSC, the “systems integrator” that runs NSA’s internal IT system, defense and intelligence, contractors are making millions of dollars selling technology and services that help the world’s largest surveillance system spy on you. If the 70 percent figure is applied to the NSA’s estimated budget of $8 billion a year (the largest in the intelligence community), NSA contracting could reach as high as $6 billion every year.

But it’s probably much more than that.

“The largest concentration of cyber power on the planet is the intersection of the Baltimore Parkway and Maryland Route 32,” says Michael V. Hayden, who oversaw the privatization effort as NSA director from 1999 to 2005. He was referring not to the NSA itself but to the business park about a mile down the road from the giant black edifice that houses NSA’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Md. There, all of NSA’s major contractors, from Booz to SAIC to Northrop Grumman, carry out their surveillance and intelligence work for the agency.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2013/06/10/digital_blackwater_meet_the_contractors_who_analyze_your_personal_data/

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Edward Snowden: saving us from the United Stasi of America

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/10/edward-snowden-united-stasi-america

Snowden’s whistleblowing gives us a chance to roll back what is tantamount to an ‘executive coup’ against the US constitution

guardian.co.uk, Monday 10 June 2013

In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden’s release of NSA material – and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago. Snowden’s whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an “executive coup” against the US constitution.

Since 9/11, there has been, at first secretly but increasingly openly, a revocation of the bill of rights for which this country fought over 200 years ago. In particular, the fourth and fifth amendments of the US constitution, which safeguard citizens from unwarranted intrusion by the government into their private lives, have been virtually suspended.

The government claims it has a court warrant under Fisa – but that unconstitutionally sweeping warrant is from a secret court, shielded from effective oversight, almost totally deferential to executive requests. As Russell Tice, a former National Security Agency analyst, put it: “It is a kangaroo court with a rubber stamp.”

For the president then to say that there is judicial oversight is nonsense – as is the alleged oversight function of the intelligence committees in Congress. Not for the first time – as with issues of torture, kidnapping, detention, assassination by drones and death squads –they have shown themselves to be thoroughly co-opted by the agencies they supposedly monitor. They are also black holes for information that the public needs to know.

The fact that congressional leaders were “briefed” on this and went along with it, without any open debate, hearings, staff analysis, or any real chance for effective dissent, only shows how broken the system of checks and balances is in this country.

Obviously, the United States is not now a police state. But given the extent of this invasion of people’s privacy, we do have the full electronic and legislative infrastructure of such a state. If, for instance, there was now a war that led to a large-scale anti-war movement – like the one we had against the war in Vietnam – or, more likely, if we suffered one more attack on the scale of 9/11, I fear for our democracy. These powers are extremely dangerous.

There are legitimate reasons for secrecy, and specifically for secrecy about communications intelligence. That’s why Bradley Mannning and I – both of whom had access to such intelligence with clearances higher than top-secret – chose not to disclose any information with that classification. And it is why Edward Snowden has committed himself to withhold publication of most of what he might have revealed.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/10/edward-snowden-united-stasi-america

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Former CIA Employee, Snowden, Blows Whistle on NSA’s Dragnet Surveillance

From Truth Out:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/16866-former-cia-employee-blows-whistle-on-dragnet-surveillance-of-americans

By Marjorie Cohn
Monday, 10 June 2013

Just as Bradley Manning’s court-martial was getting underway, another brave whistleblower dropped a bombshell into the media: The Obama administration is collecting data on every telephone call we make. Nearly 64 years to the day after George Orwell published his prescient book 1984, we have learned that the “Thought Police” are indeed watching every one of us. “They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” Edward Snowden told the Washington Post.

A former undercover CIA employee who has worked at the National Security Agency (NSA) for four years, Snowden provided a secret order of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to the Guardian. The order requires Verizon on an “ongoing daily basis” to provide the NSA information about all phone calls in its system both in the United States and other countries. Glenn Greenwald wrote that it “shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of U.S. citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.” That secret order is scheduled for declassification on April 12, 2038.

The order, issued under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, mandates that Verizon provide daily phone records for all “communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.” The government is collecting “metadata” on our phone communications. That is, the identities of the sender and recipient, and the date, time, duration, place, and unique identifiers of the communication. Administration officials defending the program claim they are not reading the content of our calls.

But, as ACLU’s Ben Wizner and Jay Stanley note, “Even without intercepting the content of communications, the government can use metadata to learn our most intimate secrets – anything from whether we have a drinking problem to whether we’re gay or straight … The ‘who,’ ‘when’ and ‘how frequently’ of communications are often more revealing than what is said or written.” For example, “Repeated calls to Alcoholics Anonymous, hotlines for gay teens, abortion clinics or a gambling bookie may tell you all you need to know about a person’s problem.” And, they add, “URLs often contain content – such as search terms embedded within them,” so that “the very fact that we’ve visited a page with a URL such as ‘www.webmd.com/depression’ can be every bit as revealing as the content of an email message.”

Continue reading at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/16866-former-cia-employee-blows-whistle-on-dragnet-surveillance-of-americans

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Glenn Greenwald “The White House Talking Points You’re Using Are Completely Misleading And False!”

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How supermarkets get your data – and what they do with it

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2013/jun/08/supermarkets-get-your-data

It doesn’t matter if you are part of a loyalty scheme, pay by card or even cash, ‘Big Brother’ supermarkets know your every move

Donna Ferguson
The Guardian, Friday 7 June 2013

We all know supermarkets use information about our shopping habits to target us with personalised vouchers and offers – but how would you feel about sitting down to watch a movie and being confronted with adverts based on what was in your shopping trolley a few hours earlier?

Or what would you think about Tesco using its Clubcard database to check what you are eating, and possibly offering vouchers for salad and fruit if your basket is usually groaning with unhealthy items?

These are just two of the ways the supermarket giants are planning to make use of the data they gather on us.

For every loyalty point or coupon that Sainsbury’s, Tesco and the like dish out, they gobble up a huge amount of information about our shopping habits. We are all familiar with targeted offers linked to loyalty cards, but you might be surprised at the amount of data the big retailers collect on all of their shoppers – and even potential customers – and what they do with it.

If you have opted out of taking out a loyalty card because you don’t want “Big Brother in your shopping basket”, then too bad, because the supermarkets also track debit and credit card payment data and till receipts – so someone, somewhere, knows about that bottle of wine you bought at 12.28pm on Tuesday, and that you recently switched your brand of athlete’s foot cream.

If you have a loyalty card or shop online, the supermarkets will build up a demographic profile of you, and collect data about how loyal you are, what you buy and how much you spend, says Guy Montague-Jones of The Grocer.

They can then change what you see when you log in to make it easier to find the products their data suggests you will buy, and in-store they will use their data to make decisions about what they sell.

For example, Sainsbury’s discovered that a cereal brand called Grape-Nuts was worth stocking – despite weak sales – because the shoppers who bought it were extremely loyal to Sainsbury’s and often big spenders.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2013/jun/08/supermarkets-get-your-data

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Pro-Fracking Greens Called Out in Ecologist’s New Manifesto

From Yes Magazine:  http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/pro-fracking-greens-called-out-in-sandra-steingraber-s-new-manifesto

In a statement, ecologist Sandra Steingraber denounced Illinois’ new fracking regulations and described the need for a movement dedicated to abolishing fracking nationwide.

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Drop that bacon!

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2013/06/10/6_reasons_to_fear_the_pork_industry_partner/

Chances are your favorite breakfast meat is laced with veterinary drugs — and that’s just the start

By Martha Rosenberg
Monday, Jun 10, 2013

You know things are bad in the pork industry when the whistleblowers aren’t animal rights activists, but the government itself. In May, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of the Inspector General exposed extreme sanitation and humane violations in 30 US swine slaughterhouses it visited and in records of 600 other US plants slaughtering pigs.

“During FYs 2008 to 2011, FSIS [Food Safety and Inspection Service, the regulatory agency within USDA] issued 44,128 noncompliance records (NRs) to 616 plants; only 28 plants were suspended, even though some plants repeated violations as egregious as fecal matter on previously cleaned carcasses,” says the Office of the Inspector General report. “In one plant, flies hovered over an area where blood was being collected to be sold for human consumption” (for products like blood sausage and blood soup). Twenty-two of the 28 plants that were actually suspended were allow to “continue to operate within a short period–some as little as one day after suspension,” says the report. There’s a deterrent for you.

This is not the first time the USDA Office of the Inspector General has sounded the safety alarm about the meat supply. A 2010 report warned that farmers were feeding drug-laced milk, banned for human consumption, to calves. “When the calves are slaughtered, the drug residue from the feed or milk remains in their meat, which is then sold to consumers.” Two years earlier, an OIG report warned that USDA officials “believed the sanitizer spray was sufficient” to kill the prions that spread Mad Cow disease. Prions are not inactivated by cooking, heat, autoclaves, ammonia, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, phenol, lye, formaldehyde, or radiation!

The OIG swine report comes as US regulators consider the proposed acquisition of 87-year-old, Virginia-based Smithfield foods by Shuanghui International. If approved, the $4.7 billion deal would be the biggest takeover of any US firm, not just a food company, by a Chinese company. Some worry Smithfield will suffer from China’s scandal-ridden food climate in which thousands of pig carcasses were recently seen in a river that supplies Shanghai’s drinking water and rat meat was billed as lamb. (And don’t forget the US pet dogs killed from tainted Chinese dog food in 2007.) But others say the US hog industry has managed to eliminate all wholesomeness, purity, ethics and animal welfare without China’s help.

Here are some of its worst features.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2013/06/10/6_reasons_to_fear_the_pork_industry_partner/

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