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Farm theft conspiracy – Health inspectors linked to stealing ring; senior cop admits under-reporting driven by police inaction

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Farm theft conspiracy - Health inspectors linked to stealing ring; senior cop admits under-reporting driven by police inaction

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Jamaican public-health inspectors have been accused of being complicit in facilitating the sale of carcasses of stolen animals, a senior agriculture official has said.

The surprise disclosure by Peter Thompson, CEO of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), came on Wednesday evening during a virtual town hall hosted by the Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.

It is a cultural practice, and it resides within the community, and the community persons know who the culprits are … . I want to also indicate that there are culprits within the Ministry of Health who presume to be using their stamp to stamp meat that was stolen, the RADA head declared.

This was made known to us at a point in time when DSP (Kevin) Francis was head of the Praedial Larceny Unit. He made mention of that.

Despite being armed with this inside information, it is unclear whether RADA or Francis, who was appointed head of the farm-theft czar in 2015, pursued any cases against the public-health inspectors who are tasked with inspecting and passing all meat for sale to the public as fit for human consumption.

Where the carcass of an animal is deemed to be unfit, it is the responsibility of public-health inspectors to so indicate and make arrangements for it to be disposed of.

Since 2010, annual losses to farm theft in Jamaica have been conservatively estimated to be in the region of $5 billion-$6 billion.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Clifford Blake admitted that despite mounting evidence that farmers are often killed while trying to stop the theft of their crops and livestock, the police continue to treat farm theft as a trivial matter

A lot of our officers, in their effort to treat with murders and other violent crimes, sometimes they tend to push praedial larceny to the background. They do not give it the priority that it deserves, said Blake.

So we can no longer treat praedial larceny as persons merely stealing an orange or a bunch of bananas. It has become an organised crime, the senior cop said.

Blake disclosed that for the five-month period January 1 to May 31, there were only 22 cases of farm theft reported to the police throughout all of Jamaica, indicating that there was massive under-reporting of the problem.

Whilst the figures at the stations might be true, off the top of my head, in St Elizabeth, where I am from, I could name you 22 cases since the beginning of the year, said Blake.

And after listening to various plans about the use of drones, mobile phones, forensic evidence, and other high-tech measures, president of the Red Poll Cattle Breeders Society, Martin Hopwood, poured cold water on the initiatives.

… The reason why only 22 cases of praedial larceny have been reported is because the farmers are fed up. They cant bother go to the police because they only wasting their time, they not getting any results, the cattle breeder president said.

Hopwood, who admitted to spending J$3 million a year on security for his farm, said he still suffers at the hands of cattle thieves.

There is not one small farmer that I do business with who has not lost at least 10 per cent of his herd to praedial larceny, and I dont know how they persist because it is the most demoralising thing, he said.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories – KTVZ

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories - KTVZ

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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York are calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to create a new bipartisan committee focused on election integrity and schedule hearings to reassure Americans over a process President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine.

There is growing anxiety among Democrats, and some Republicans, that Trump will not only continue to sow doubt over the legitimacy of the coming election but throw the subsequent count into chaos by declaring victory before all the votes can be tallied, including the millions that will arrive by mail.

In a letter to McConnell, Sanders and Schumer quote back the Kentucky senator’s own words, in which he attested to the reliability of mail-in voting by citing its successes in Oregon, Washington and Colorado, which have been using the system for years.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of mail-in voting, promoted conspiracy theories questioning election security, called on supporters to act as unsanctioned “poll watchers,” and suggested that the absence of a clear result by the evening of November 3 would in some way cast doubt on the eventual outcome. Key allies in powerful positions, like Attorney General Bill Barr, have followed suit. Barr has persisted in puffing up a debunked claim that ballots received by mail would somehow strip the sender of their privacy — ignoring well-established safeguards.

By escalating the matter now, Sanders and Schumer are responding to growing concern, in partisan and nonpartisan spaces, that Americans are not adequately prepared for the potential of a longer-than-usual wait for results or Trump’s willingness to short-circuit the democratic process if he smells defeat.

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress must come together to ensure that we have a free and fair election where every vote is cast and counted without intimidation,” Sanders told CNN, “where no one has to put his or her health in danger to cast a ballot, and where we have full confidence in the results.”

The proposed hearings would invite a cross-section of election officials from across the country to testify to the security and reliability of mail-in, early- and in-person voting — subjects on which Sanders and Schumer, again, referenced McConnell’s own words.

“Despite the clear security of our vote-by-mail system, some have continued to undermine it with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud,” they wrote. “As you have correctly said, people ‘can vote early, you can vote on Election Day, or you can drop it in the mail,’ and that voters should ‘not worry about your vote not counting.’”

The minority leader and Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also want more detailed discussion about the fraught hours, or days, after the polls close and a real-time watch of the election horse race potentially swings from one candidate to another.

“We know a number of states may well be counting ballots for a period of time after Election Day, and that those votes may be determinative in this election,” the senators wrote to McConnell. “To avoid disinformation, conspiracy theories, and suspicion about results, we must understand the likely timeline for this process.”

The letter goes on to reference the recent war games-style preparations conducted by a group called the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan gathering of operatives and academics that made headlines when some of the outcomes of their exercises — including “both street-level violence and political impasse” — were reported on in late July.

“A bipartisan group of experts and officials have studied multiple scenarios where the outcome of the election was not immediately known. Some of these scenarios resulted in unrest and even violence,” Sanders and Schumer wrote, suggesting the Senate should elevate similar discussions and familiarize the public with the uncertainties ahead. “We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful.”

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS supported Caputo, with a statement that called him a critical, integral part of the presidents coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was no immediate statement from the White House.

Attempts to reach Caputo were unsuccessful.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called on Azar to fire Caputo, accusing the spokesman of trying to interfere with CDC reports to the medical and scientific community, as well as the public at large. And Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Azar himself to resign, citing interference with the CDC as one example of what he termed the administration’s failures.

Officials at CDC have privately complained of recent efforts by political appointees at main HHS to try to edit or press for changes in the agency’s weekly MMWR publications, a go-to resource for public health professionals.

MMWR articles are technical, but they reveal telling details. One published earlier this year noted that while Trump’s travel restrictions dramatically reduced travel from China in February, nothing was being done at that time to restrict travel from Italy and Europe, where the coronavirus was spreading widely and rapidly. Analysis of virus samples from hard-hit New York in March suggested it was introduced there from Europe and other parts of the U.S., the CDC article reported.

Caputo is an unswerving Trump loyalist. His recent book, The Ukraine Hoax, claims the presidents phony impeachment was rooted in a vast conspiracy.

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS…

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS...

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My RSS Feedunwinona:

This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS and Polio narrative (among others), only we’re seeing it escalated to weeks and months instead of years or decades.

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