A nurse at a Georgia Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility is accusing the detention center of performing hysterectomies on immigrant women being detained there, usually without their consent.
Dawn Wooten made the allegations in a whistleblower complaint sent by Project South to the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Inspector General.
Wooten claimed women were frequently sent to a gynecologist outside of the center who frequently chose to remove all or a portion of the detainees’ uteri.
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A nurse at a Georgia Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility is accusing the detention center of allowing mass hysterectomies to be performed on immigrant women detained there, usually without their consent or with very little care.
In a whistleblower complaint sent by Project South to the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Inspector General, nurse Dawn Wooten cited poor treatment of migrants detained at the Irwin County Detention Center, including what she described as limited and negligent medical care, and minimal testing for COVID-19.
“Ms. Wooten’s account of the treatment of people in ICE custody is horrifying. People’s lives are at risk in immigration detention and ICE has continued to prove through its record of medical neglect that no one is safe in its custody. This harmful agency was shamefully created to target and criminalize immigrants leading to loss of life, abuse, and the separation of hundreds of thousands of families and loved ones. ICE must be abolished,” Silky Shah, Executive Director of Detention Watch Network, a nonprofit which also helped file the complaint, told Business Insider in a statement.
The facility is operated by LaSalle Corrections, a private prison company, Law and Crime reported.
Business Insider could not reach LaSalle Corrections on Monday but the company said in a statement to The Intercept: “LaSalle Corrections is firmly committed to the health and welfare of those in our care. We are deeply committed to delivering high-quality, culturally responsive services in safe and humane environments.”
The whistleblower complaint alleges that immigrant women were frequently sent to a gynecologist outside of the detention center who frequently chose to remove all or a portion of the detainees’ uteri.
One detained immigrant said she spoke with five women who were at the facility between October and December 2019, all of whom had a hysterectomy done.
Wooten also reported that women who saw this particular gynecologist, who was not named in the report had lost ovaries.
“We’ve questioned among ourselves like goodness he’s taking everybody’s stuff out … That’s his specialty, he’s the uterus collector. I know that’s ugly … is he collecting these things or something … Everybody he sees, he’s taking all their uteri out or he’s taken their tubes out. What in the world,” Wooten said, according to Law and Crime.
She also recounted a story in which the doctor removed the wrong ovary in one young woman who was supposed to have her left ovary removed, allegedly because of a cyst.
“He took out the right one. She was upset. She had to go back to take out the left and she wound up with a total hysterectomy. She still wanted children—so she has to go back home now and tell her husband that she can’t bear kids … she said she was not all the way out under anesthesia and heard him [doctor] tell the nurse that he took the wrong ovary,” Wooten said in the report.
Several individuals and Wooten told Project South that some women did not know that the procedure was being performed on them or were not told what exactly the procedure entailed.
“I’ve had several inmates tell me that they’ve been to see the doctor and they’ve had hysterectomies and they don’t know why they went or why they’re going,” Wooten said.
Another woman who was given the procedure said when she asked why she was having it done, she was given three different answers.
The complaint also alleged limited COVID-19 testing at the facility, which may have put detainees at risk of contracting the virus, a lack of adequate medical care including not giving detainees life-saving medications, and overall neglect of detainees who complain of pain.
ICE did not reply to Business Insider’s request for comment at the time of publication.
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GOP’s Biden report littered with debunked claims and “Russian disinformation”
Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images
Senate Republicans on Wednesday released an interim report of their investigation into Democratic nominee Joe Biden and son Hunter Biden that largely recycles old claims to back up allegations which have already been debunked.
Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, released an interim report titled “Hunter Biden, Burisma and Corruption” less than six weeks ahead of the election.
Johnson previously teased that he had found evidence which would “certainly help Donald Trump win re-election.” But the report largely relies on witnesses who already testified on the matter in the House impeachment inquiry and presents little evidence to support allegations which have been refuted.
“Hunter Biden’s position on Burisma’s board was problematic and did interfere in the efficient execution of policy with respect to Ukraine,” the report said, though it provided no evidence of any policies which were affected.
The report went on to acknowledge as much, undermining its own conclusion by noting that “the extent to which Hunter Biden’s role on Burisma’s board affected U.S. policy toward Ukraine is not clear.”
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said the report was the culmination of a “sham investigation.” He described the probe as “an attempted political hit job facilitated by the State Department and rooted in the disinformation pushed” by Russian operatives.
“Throughout this effort, I have been deeply disturbed by Senate Republicans’ willingness to disregard national security concerns and push Russian disinformation,” Wyden said. “The Senate must never again be abused in this way.”
The probe was launched after Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden while he worked for the energy firm Burisma, even though Ukrainian prosecutors said there was no evidence of any wrongdoing by Biden.
Trump has falsely claimed that Biden pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who had investigated Burisma to protect his son, even though a coalition of western nations had pushed for the prosecutor’s removal over corruption allegations. Multiple State Department officials repeatedly refuted that claim during the impeachment inquiry.
Democrats expressed concerns during the investigation that Johnson’s probe relied on Russian misinformation aimed at hurting Biden. The GOP report devoted 10 of its 87 pages to countering allegations that their probe had fueled a Russian disinformation effort.
Democrats said the Republicans advanced a narrative pushed by sanctioned pro-Russia Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach, who provided information to the committee. The report claimed that Johnson and Grassley “did not receive” and were “unaware of” the information sent by the lawmaker, arguing that “it is impossible that Derkach’s efforts could have shaped the committees’ investigation in any way.”
But Politico noted that Johnson’s allegations “mirror those pushed by Derkach.” The Ukrainian lawmaker also met with Trump attorney Rudy GIuliani, who led the off-book investigation in Ukraine which ultimately led to Trump’s impeachment.
Johnson also had contact with former Ukrainian diplomat Andriy Telizhenko, who worked for Blue Star Strategies, a lobbying firm that represented Burisma, and advanced the debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
The report cited “confidential sources” nearly 100 times, whose identities remain unclear. Republicans also did not immediately release transcripts from witness interviews, instead only releasing selective quotes from the interviews.
Democrats slammed Republicans for withholding the transcripts. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said releasing the report without simultaneously releasing the transcripts was a “direct violation” of rules that weakened “the committee’s ability to effectively carry out its responsibilities on behalf of the public in the future.”
The report largely relies on the testimony of top State Department official George Kent, who testified during the impeachment proceedings. Echoing his comments to the House last year, Kent told Republican investigators that Hunter Biden’s role on the company was “very awkward” for U.S. officials pushing anti-corruption policies in the country.
The report also cites a New Yorker article published last year, which details a discussion between Joe Biden and an aide about his son’s role at the company. However, the article did not include Biden’s side of the conversation.
The report said Kent and another official had raised concerns about a potential conflict of interest and Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma casting “a shadow” on U.S. policy in Ukraine. But it did not provide any evidence that it affected U.S. policy.
Johnson cast the release of the report as damaging to Biden’s electoral chances.
“People need to take a look at this report very carefully and understand what the ramifications are for electing Joe Biden as president,” he said in a radio interview the day before the report’s release.
Johnson’s repeated insistence that the report would hurt Biden prompted criticism from within his own party.
“It is not the legitimate role of government, for Congress or for taxpayer expense, to be used in an effort to damage political opponents,” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said last week, calling the investigation a “political exercise.”
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also confronted Johnson over concerns that his probe would fuel Russia’s disinformation effort, according to Politico.
Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told the outlet on Wednesday that Johnson had “wasted months” on the investigation while seeking to “subsidize a foreign attack against the sovereignty of our elections with taxpayer dollars — an attack founded on a long-disproven, hardcore rightwing conspiracy theory.”
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3 “Strong Buy” Stocks That Are Flirting With a Bottom
In the investing game, it’s not only about what you buy; it’s about when you buy it. One of the most common pieces of advice thrown around the Street, “buy low” is touted as a tried-and-true tactic.Sure, the strategy seems simple. Stock prices naturally fluctuate on the basis of several factors like earnings results and the macro environment, amongst others, with investors trying to time the market and determine when stocks have hit a bottom. In practice, however, executing on this strategy is no easy task.On top of this, given the volatility that has ruled the markets over the last few weeks, how are investors supposed to gauge when a name is flirting with a bottom? That’s where the Wall Street pros come in.These expert stock pickers have identified three compelling tickers whose current share prices land close to their 52-week lows. Noting that each is set to take back off on an upward trajectory, the analysts see an attractive entry point. Using TipRanks’ database, we found out that the analyst consensus has rated all three a Strong Buy, with major upside potential also on tap.Progenity (PROG)Offering clear and actionable genetic results, Progenity specializes in providing testing services. The company started trading on Nasdaq in June and saw its shares tumbling 44% since then. With shares changing hands for $8.11, several members of the Street recommend pulling the trigger before it heats up.Piper Sandler analyst Steven Mah points out that even against the backdrop of COVID-19, PROG managed to deliver with its Q2 2020 performance. “We are encouraged by the recovery in late Q2 2020 with 75,000 accessioned tests (~79,000 in Q1 2020), driven by noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) and carrier screening,” the analyst noted. Expounding on this, Mah stated, “Progenity did not provide guidance, but June test volumes of ~28,000 were strong (Q1 2020 monthly average was ~26,000) which we believe showcases the durability of its reproductive tests and the success that Progenity has in co-marketing and attaching carrier screening to the more essential NIPT. Of note, despite the pandemic disruptions, Progenity was able to maintain its leading pre-COVID test turnaround times.”Additionally, health insurer Aetna is temporarily extending coverage of average-risk NIPT until year-end as a result of the pandemic, with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) also expected to endorse average-risk in the future given its clinical utility, in Mah’s opinion.Reflecting another positive, the fourth generation NIPT (single-molecule counting assay) test was able to measure fetal fraction, a key milestone according to Mah, and will continue to be developed into 2021. As the technology could potentially be applied to DNA, RNA, epigenetic markers and proteins for additional clinical applications such as oncology, the analyst is looking forward to the completion of the preeclampsia verification in Q4 2020 and a possible 2H21 launch. “We believe preeclampsia (~2.3 billion serviceable market) is a major differentiator for Progenity, allowing them to cross-sell across the full-continuum of reproductive testing,” the analyst added.If that wasn’t enough, PROG signed its first GI Precision Medicine partnership agreement with a top-20 Pharma company in August. The Oral Biotherapeutic Delivery System (OBDS), an ingestible drug and device combination designed to precisely deliver biologics systemically through a needle-free liquid jet injection into the submucosal tissues of the small intestine, is set to be utilized as part of the collaboration. Mah commented, “We believe Progenity can sign additional Pharma deals and look forward to the newsflow coming out on this front.”To sum it all up, Mah said, “We believe Progenity shares are undervalued given the robust recovery in the core testing business and multiple upcoming growth catalysts.”To this end, Mah rates PROG an Overweight (i.e. Buy) along with a $17 price target. Should his thesis play out, a twelve-month gain of 105% could potentially be in the cards. (To watch Mah’s track record, click here)Are other analysts in agreement? They are. Only Buy ratings, 4, in fact, have been issued in the last three months. Therefore, the message is clear: PROG is a Strong Buy. Given the $13.33 average price target, shares could climb 60% higher in the next year. (See PROG stock analysis on TipRanks)Tactile Systems Technology (TCMD)Developing at-home therapy devices, Tactile Systems Technology wants to provide new treatments for lymphedema, which occurs when the lymphatic system is impaired, disrupting normal transport of fluid within the body, and chronic venous insufficiency. Down 52% year-to-date, its $32.67 share price lands close to its $29.47 52-week low. Thus, with business trends improving, the Street is pounding the table.Writing for Canaccord, analyst Cecilia Furlong acknowledges that the pandemic has hampered the company, with COVID-19 weighing on both volumes and sales. In the second half of March, volumes were down 50% compared to the first half of the month, and TCMD’s patient volumes in April and May remained challenged. That being said, trends started to improve at the end of May.“Going forward, given the vast majority of TCMD’s clinician customers practice in outpatient or office-based settings, we remain positive on TCMD’s ability to demonstrate better insulation against COVID impacts and likely experience a greater bounce-back relative to overall med-tech volume trends, with TCMD further benefitting from its expanding using of technology to remotely engage with clinicians and support patients,” Furlong explained.The analyst added, “Furthermore, recent trends among some providers to prescribe Flexitouch (an advanced intermittent pneumatic compression device to self-manage lymphedema and nonhealing venous leg ulcers) earlier along the therapy process, as a means to reduce in-person contact, could provide upside near term, as well as potentially transition to a longer-term tailwind.”On top of this, Furlong is also optimistic about new CEO Dan Reuvers and the reprioritization of the company’s investment and market development efforts. TCMD will shift focus away from its acquired Airwear product line, with it redirecting investments toward its Flexitouch and Entre (a pneumatic compression device used to assist in the home management of chronic swelling and venous ulcers associated with lymphedema and chronic venous insufficiency) products.“Given significant under-penetration in the lymphedema/phlebolymphedema market targeted by Flexitouch alongside the large patient population with limited treatment options today targeted by the firm’s Head & Neck platform, we view the combination of education and clinical data as key to further developing and penetrating these markets… Going forward, we expect management to continue to compile a broad base of clinical data to support reimbursement and drive broad adoption,” Furlong commented.All of this prompted Furlong to keep a Buy rating and $62 price target on the stock. This target conveys her confidence in TCMD’s ability to soar 90% in the next year. (To watch Furlong’s track record, click here)In general, other analysts are on the same page. With 3 Buy ratings and 1 Hold, the word on the Street is that TCMD is a Strong Buy. The $62.33 average price target brings the upside potential to 91%. (See TCMD stock analysis on TipRanks)uniQure N.V. (QURE)Last but not least we have uniQure, which delivers curative gene therapies that could potentially transform the lives of patients. Even though shares have fallen 44% year-to-date to $40, not much higher than its 52-week low of $36.20, multiple analysts still have high hopes.Representing SVB Leerink, 5-star analyst Joseph Schwartz acknowledges that shares struggled after news broke of its collaboration and licensing agreement with CSL Behring for AMT-061, QURE’s gene therapy for Hemophilia B, he argues the “shareholder base turnover is likely now complete as investors and QURE shift focus to next-in-line AMT-130, its AAV5 gene therapy for Huntington’s Disease (HD).”Schwartz further added, “With the M&A premium now out of the stock, we see the QURE’s current level as an attractive buying opportunity for those investors interested in the company’s up and coming CNS gene therapies, internal manufacturing, and robust intellectual property and knowhow.”Looking more closely at the agreement with CSL Behring, QURE will be tasked with the completion of the pivotal Phase 3 HOPE-B trial as well as the manufacturing process validation and manufacturing supply of AMT-061.According to management, 26-week Factor IX (FIX) data from all 54 patients enrolled in the trial remains on track, and topline data from the pivotal trial is still slated to read out by YE20. It should be mentioned that in a Phase 2b dose-confirmation study, QURE reported 41% FIX activity out to one year. Additionally, Schwartz points out that with HOPE-B progressing as planned, QURE has continued its manufacturing process validation work ahead of the anticipated BLA/MAA submissions in the U.S. and EU in 2021.On top of this, as part of the deal, QURE is eligible to receive more than $2 billion including a $450 million upfront cash payment, $1.6 billion in regulatory and commercial milestones and double-digit royalties ranging up to the low-twenties percentage of net product sales.“With a strengthened cash position, QURE is well funded to rapidly advance CNS assets including AMT-130 (AAV5 gene therapy for Huntington’s Disease (HD)) and AMT-150 (AAV gene therapy for Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 3/SCA3)…We continue to believe that as QURE’s CNS pipeline assets mature, the company could once again be an attractive partner to larger biopharma companies that have recently acquired many publicly traded gene therapy platforms with substantial manufacturing capabilities,” Schwartz noted.Everything that QURE has going for it convinced Schwartz to reiterate an Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating. Along with the call, he attached a $67 price target, suggesting 68% upside potential from current levels. (To watch Schwartz’s track record, click here)What does the rest of the Street have to say? 9 Buys and 3 Holds have been issued in the last three months, so the consensus rating is a Strong Buy. In addition, the $69.89 average price target indicates 75% upside potential. (See QURE stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for beaten-down stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
Acting DHS secretary says white supremacists are ‘most persistent and lethal’ threat within U.S.
Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told senators during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday that white supremacists are the “most persistent and lethal” internal threat the United States is facing.
Wolf, who has been acting head of DHS since November, said overall, the deadliest threats to the U.S. are pandemics, national disasters, and foreign adversaries, and the government “cannot ignore” anti-fascist protesters.
Earlier this month, a DHS whistleblower named Brian Murphy said Wolf instructed him to stop providing intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian interference in the United States. Murphy also alleged that Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Ken Cuccinelli told him to change an assessment’s section on white supremacy to make “the threat appear less severe” and to add information “on the prominence of violent ‘left-wing’ groups.” Murphy said in both cases, he did not comply.
Wolf denied the accusations, calling them “patently false.”
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