Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts in Human Rights

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In a story that sounds like good old-fashioned government-sponsored eugenics, a California doctor is accused of sterilizing female patients illegally. This is the sort of thing that inspired the Nazis and Josef Mengele and was the predecessor of the Holocaust.

The California State Auditor criticized federal and state oversight of sterilization surgeries for female prison inmates after finding numerous illegal surgeries and violations of the state’s informed consent law.

Of the 144 inmates who underwent tubal ligations from fiscal years 2005-06 to 2012-13, auditors found nearly one-third were performed without lawful consent, according to the report released Thursday.

In 27 cases, the inmate’s physician — the person who would perform the procedure in a hospital or an alternate physician — did not sign the required consent form asserting that the patient appeared mentally competent and understood the lasting effects of the procedure and that the required waiting period had been satisfied.

In some cases, physicians falsified the consent forms, indicating the proper waiting period had passed when it clearly had not.

The CIR investigation, published in July, found that 132 women received tubal ligations in violation of prison rules from 2006 to 2010 — and perhaps 100 more dating back to the late 1990s.

Heinrich previously told CIR that the money spent sterilizing inmates was minimal “compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children — as they procreated more.”

Dr. James Heinrich and his staff should be sued for their actions and have their medical licenses revoked and imprisoned. The story gets stranger, and creepier, when looking back at previous findings.

Dr. James Heinrich also has a history of medical controversies and expensive malpractice settlements both inside and outside prison walls. Female patients have accused him not just of trying to dictate their reproductive decisions, but also of unsanitary practices and botched surgeries that injured them and their infants.

Overall, the number of sterilization surgeries sharply increased after Heinrich joined the prison system and the federal court began oversight.

The responses to the increase site that Heinrich saw more patients than other doctors, but given his problems before being hired, why did the prison system decide to hire such a controversial figure?

Crystal Nguyen, a former Valley State inmate who worked in the prison infirmary, received a letter in August asking her to participate. “The Medical Board is currently examining Dr. Heinrich’s patient care,” it said.

Nguyen had many names to offer, she said, because Heinrich’s habits, like eating while conducting vaginal exams, were well known not just by inmates, but also by staff, who she said felt powerless to force him to change. Nguyen said she experienced those habits firsthand during her pregnancy at Valley State.

“He would be eating popcorn all the time. Popcorn, cheese and crackers. And he would be examining while he would be eating,” she said. “And to me, that’s not hygienic. … It was gross. It just creeped me out.”

To protect against infections, state and federal safety rules ban health care professionals from having food and drink in areas where patients are treated.

The CIR article gives several examples of how Heinrich simply didn’t care about his patients, whether they be in prison or not, and pushed unnecessary procedures on them. People place a huge amount of trust in doctors to know what is best. If something seems off, get a second opinion.

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backscatter_large

After years of backlash, the TSA removed the controversial screening machines that had the capability of revealing too much in their images. They weren’t scrapped entirely. They are now being transferred to state and local prisons across the country.

So far, 154 of the machines have been transferred to prisons in states including Iowa, Virginia and Louisiana. It’s a good fit because privacy concerns raised by airport passengers do not apply in many cases to prisoners, according to TSA.

Arkansas received five of the scanners in early May for use by local sheriffs as well, according to TSA. The remaining 96 scanners are still being stored in the warehouses of scanner manufacturer Rapiscan.

“TSA and the vendor are working with other government agencies interested in receiving the units for their security mission needs and for use in a different environment,” TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein said.

TSA owned about 250 of the screening machines at its peak — valued at about $40 million — before removing them from airports in the first half of 2013 in response to pressure over the virtually nude images it created of passengers.

The machines were banned in Europe. The TSA trivialized health and safety concerns until Congress got involved, but, somehow, after sitting in a warehouse for a while, they are magically okay to use on prisoners.

The very real health concerns were never addressed and will become a problem if these machines are widely used on a regular basis.

The systemic repercussions of widespread application of X-Ray backscatter systems in the various private penal colonies of the united states, while financially sound at its salesmans word, certainly isnt a long term bet to hedge. Incidences of debilitating cancers will need medical treatment for both guards and prisoners alike as has been shown in the incidences of cancer for certain groups of TSA screeners. Liability for introducing a prisoner or employee to a cancer suspect agent will likely follow the course of most other folly of american scientific perversion in the hands of government.

It will likely be assigned to the government, who in turn will insist it was the technology, and in turn the manufacturer will absolve itself through a complex series of medical puppet shows, out of court settlements, and evasive restructuring practices so as to ensure no real harm comes to the corporation. Once your sentence is complete, and you emerge from prison, the biblical retribution set upon you is now the denial of employment, housing, food stamps, medicare, and finally a malignant cancer risk substantially greater than the rest of society as your corrections system applied background scanners quietly and incessantly for the duration of your incarceration.

America has the highest incarceration rate in the world. The consequences could be staggering.

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Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, (ret.) talks with Rachel Maddow about how Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and state legislators protected the oil and gas industry from being held accountable for pollution that has destroyed vital protective coastal wetlands.

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The White House will not appeal a federal court’s order to release the memo outlining the administration’s legal arguments for the use of lethal drone strikes against American citizens. The announcement was made Tuesday on the eve of a key Senate vote. David Barron, President Barack Obama’s nominee for a seat on the US Court of Appeals, cleared a procedural Senate vote Wednesday.

Voting 52 to 43, Barron will now proceed to a formal confirmation vote. Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky voiced his opposition, saying anyone who argues the president has the power to kill an American citizen without trial “is not worthy of being placed one step away from the Supreme Court.” Lindsay France discusses these and other breaking developments on Capitol Hill with RT’s Sam Sacks.

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