Saturday, July 27, 2013

Prosecuting Edward Snowden in Absentia

Edward Snowden, provider of surreptitious government surveillance documents, has temporary safe lodging.

In spite of assurances that Edward Snowden will receive a fair trial, not be tortured or executed, his Russian guardians have thus far refused extradition petitions.

The Justice Department has charged Edward Snowden with the following criminal offences: Theft of Government Property—Unauthorized Communication of National Defense Information—Willful Communication of Classified Communications to an Unauthorized Person.

The Constitution requires defendants' presence during proceedings but Mr. Snowden could formally abrogate this right and request a trial in absentia .

Mr. Snowden has acknowledged theft and publication of aberrant National Security Agency data mining programs.

So the probing question is, does a citizen by whatever means have the responsibility and right to expose unlawful government activities?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Ractopamine in Smithfield Foods and other Animal Products Raises Import Barriers

At Issue: Ractopamine Hydrochloride

FDA Black Box Warning:
Ractopamine hydrochloride, is a beta-adrenergic agonist. Individuals with cardiovascular disease should exercise special caution to avoid exposure. Not for use in humans. Keep out of the reach of children.
U. S. Livestock Ractopamine Feeding Practices Altered by Outside Influences

Russia, China, the E.U. and various other countries prohibit the use of ractopamine, a weight-enhancing synthetic supplement in livestock production, because the drug has critically sickened animals—remains in product—and thus may expose consumers to similar health risks.

The ractopamine feed additive provides notable returns, an expected 10-20% gain in marketable meat.

Ractopamine, an over-the-counter status drug, does not require veterinary supervision. Government standards for ractopamine residue limits are set at 30 ppb for beef and 50 ppb for pork. These guidelines may be followed or not. The FDA rarely tests meat products for ractopamine.

According to the FDA, Eli Lilly's Elanco Animal Health Division and other pharmaceutical providers, ractopamine presents no human health risk. Aside: FDA 2002 Elanco Animal Health Violation Letter

Pigs have been consuming ractopamine (Paylean) since 1999, Cattle (Optaflexx '04) and Turkeys (Topmax '08).

In contrast to other pharmaceutical animal-improvement schemes, i.e. hormones and antibiotics, ractopamine is added during the finishing (prior to slaughter) period. These accelerate-growth drugs are unnatural, medically unnecessary and not listed as product ingredients.

Smithfield Foods Inc. (NYSE:SFD)  notified investors in February 2013 that the use of Ractopamine impaired global expansion plans and consequently would be removed from some swine feeding regimens. This announcement was followed by the news in May that Shuanghui International Holdings, intended to acquire Smithfield Foods.

China and Russia are currently boycotting meat containing ractopamine and are mandating independent testing to verify the same. This zero ractopamine tolerance policy was made possible by the Neogen Corporation. Lateral Flow Device technology utilized by Neogen is able to detect minute amounts of ractopamine in meat samples.

In their February 2013 letter to Trade Representative Ron Kirk, thirty-three Senators expressed concern that Russia is interfering in U.S. affairs. The Senators are of the opinion that the ractopamine ban "contradicts generally accepted scientific conclusions and Russia's obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)."

The National Pork Producers Council and the National Pork Board would likely agree with the Senators' assessment. From the industry's point of view:
Ractopamine is used as part of a healthy, balanced diet for growing pigs. Ractopamine helps pigs make the most of the food they eat by promoting the conversion of dietary nutrients into lean muscle, which helps produce a leaner meat product.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The National Security Agency's Captive Audience

The 2002 U.S. Information Awareness Office—Knowledge is Power—Seal
Rear Admiral John M. Poindexter—Information Awareness Office Director
1972 Supreme Court Dissenting Opinion re Government Surveillance

This case [ Laird v. Tatum] involves a cancer in our body politic. It is a measure of the disease which afflicts us. Army surveillance, like Army regimentation, is at war with the principles of the First Amendment. Those who already walk submissively will say there is no cause for alarm. But submissiveness is not our heritage. The First Amendment was designed to allow rebellion to remain as our heritage. The Constitution was designed to keep government off the backs of the people. The Bill of Rights was added to keep the precincts of belief and expression, of the press, of political and social activities free from surveillance. The Bill of Rights was designed to keep agents of government and official eavesdroppers away from assemblies of people. The aim was to allow men to be free and independent and to assert their rights against government. There can be no influence more paralyzing of that objective than Army surveillance. When an intelligence officer looks over every nonconformist's shoulder in the library, or walks invisibly by his side in a picket line, or infiltrates his club, the America once extolled as the voice of liberty heard around the world no longer is cast in the image which Jefferson and Madison designed, but more in the Russian image.

Without judicial oversight or public knowledge, the U.S. government in 2002 was quietly compiling all-encompassing dossiers. Technology enabled, the Total Information Awareness—Department of Defense initiative—permitted infrastructure analysts to capture and store intimate data.

Citizen and business composites included, but were not limited to, e-mail accounts, social network contacts, phone usage, financial worth and health history. These no-cause-to-create profiles were congressionally discredited in 2003 but as the Edward Snowden released National Security Agency documents reveal these watch programs have remained in place.

Since his '05 appointment to National Security Agency Director, General Keith B. Alexander, has intensified Total Information Awareness surveillance policies.

There are many firms assisting the U.S. Intelligence Community but Booz Allen Hamilton is a favored player.

Electronic eyes, domestic and foreign, are able to roam the massive Booz Allen Hamilton-designed, government-financed repositories for mischief, profit and influence. A Utah desert facility, code-named Bumblehive, will soon house the captured data.

The kinship between the contracting parties may be too close for comfort. James R. Clapper, Jr., Director of National Intelligence, was a former Booz Allen Hamilton V.P.   John M. McConnell, the Bush-appointed Director of National Intelligence, presently works for Booz Allen Hamilton.

The Booz Allen Hamilton company, presently controlled by the Carlyle Group, has a history of chargeable improprieties and acknowledged in 2011 that the group Anonymous had breached its encryption firewalls. In its most recent financial statements, Booz Allen Hamilton reported that 98% of its billion dollar plus income was supplied by the government.

Over the years, numerous National Security Agency surveillance violation complaints have been filed in federal courts and all have been dismissed. The reason: lack of evidence.

Government intrusion issues are addressed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Judges currently serving were chosen by Chief Justice John Roberts.

As punishment for publicizing embarrassing reality, Edward Snowden has been charged with: Theft of Government Property—Unauthorized Communication of National Defense Information—Willful Communication of Classified Communications to an Unauthorized Person.

From the point of the June 2013 U.S. universal spyware disclosure, the President and his representatives have issued Edward Snowden extradition requests and have promised economic sanctions for any country providing Edward Snowden safe haven. These actions raise ponderous questions.

At the close of his presidency, Eisenhower warned of perpetual war and the consequences of being under the influence of the military-industrial complex.

Eisenhower's words:
Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations.
Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology -- global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence --economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.