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On Muslim Genocide, Privatized Prison Healthcare & Other Shadowproof Feedback

Shadowproof Mailbag

August 19 – August 24 edition

Welcome back to the Shadowproof Mailbag.

I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend. While the weather was lovely and reasonably mild for a Texas summer, my sunny disposition suffered somewhat after I declared my support for Planned Parenthood and found my Twitter mentions filled with unpleasant, frequently homophobic responses for the next 36 hours. At the same time, other tweeters reminded me that social media allows us to share stories of hope and life-saving solidarity, too.

Even when the rest of social media frustrates me, I enjoy reading comments on Shadowproof, which are so frequently intelligent and eloquent. Below, you’ll find some selections from the best or most thought-provoking feedback we’ve received from our readers.

‘Enhanced Population Control’

Last week, I published the conclusion to my series on genocide, which accuses the United States and its allies of carrying out genocide against millions of Muslims. Stephen Tucker offered a darkly clever take on how the U.S. might weasel out of genocide charges:

The U.S. may practice genocide but it’ll never call it genocide. Perhaps a snappy new name like Enhanced Population Control would be in order.

Although this is a funny quip, it leads me to the following important aside: part of Shadowproof’s internal writing guidelines are a reminder to avoid journalistic and governmental newspeak. Our writers won’t refer to “enhanced interrogation” when we really mean torture. Feel free to raise the issue in a comment or email if you find a euphemism we missed.

Overall, I’m grateful for all the positive feedback I received from the series, including the connection I made last weekend with “Father Dave,” an Anglican parish priest from Sydney who shared this sermon on Australia’s role in destabilizing the Middle East:

‘Justice Department, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street’

When Dan reported the latest multi-million dollar fines paid for fraud by a “Too Big to Jail” bank, Bob Hart expressed the collective frustration of so many of the 99% in his comments:

As the corporate owners of both major parties the banks fear nothing more than democracy–as long as they own the government they have nothing to fear regardless of their personal misconduct or crimes. Asking the Justice Department, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street, to prosecute criminals is like asking cops to investigate and prosecute themselves for killing unarmed citizens–ain’t gonna happen.

… It’s basically a protection racket run by the government. Bank get fined, promises to be good, no one goes to prison, the government gets money.

Unfortunately, it’s only one of the protection rackets the U.S. operates.

In appreciation of ‘Silenced’

Kevin’s article on the effect of the documentary “Silenced” on three U.S. whistleblowers became one of last weeks’ most popular posts.

James Spione, director of “Silenced,” also expressed his gratitude for the story:

“Silenced” can be downloaded from iTunes or watched on Amazon Instant Video. It should be available on other streaming services soon.

‘Doctor, do no harm?!’

When Brian reported another case of a California inmate suffering after he was denied medication, I asked on Facebook, “Why do jails and prisons think they can get away with withholding medications?”

Tali Flam Wendrow reminded our readers that this kind of abuse is widespread:

It’s not just about Santa Rita (wherever that is) — this is going to happen here in Oakland County, Michigan and likely a whole bunch of other places as well. If you know someone who was mistreated in jail this way, contact your local ACLU chapter and let them know. I think this needs to be outed for the problem that it is.

And Ellie Hagans shared her personal experience with a jailhouse dentist:

I once had a dentist from Santa Rita as a client. It’s been over 20 years now — but he bragged about how little anesthesia/pain killers they provided for procedures. He was so effing proud of that. Doctor, do no harm?!

I never liked that guy!

Even though the Santa Rita jail uses Corizon, Ellie’s feedback reminded Brian and me of a disturbing video from Advanced Correctional Healthcare, the subject of his series of feature articles, “Gaming the System“:

Brian shared his thoughts with me on why prisons and jails so frequently deny inmates medical treatment:

In the twisted world of privatized inmate healthcare, corporations will craft policies and do anything they can to avoid providing medications and treatments. That’s because the cost is either coming off the company’s bottom line, or they have to bill the county, whom they’re supposed to be saving money.

They are basically brainwashing sheriffs and jail workers with these trainings and seminars, like the one previewed above, that seek to find ways to legally avoid treating inmate needs in order to avoid cost.

In conclusion …

Tell me about your weekend in the comments. You can also share articles you enjoyed recently, or whatever is on your mind. The mailbag is an open thread.


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With <3 and Solidarity,

Kit O’Connell

Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and