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July 04, 2008

US Gov't Official: Agriprocessors "Medieval"

The raid exposed allegations that workers at the sprawling plant, which employed more than 900 people, were underpaid, physically abused, sexually harassed and extorted. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a U.S. government official who has visited the plant described the operation as…
"medieval." An investigation is still under way, and a court spokesman declined to disclose whether more arrests are likely.
---Wall Street Journal, 7-3-08

Perhaps ancient Egyptian would have been a better description.

Agriprocessors Supervisors Arrested On Charges of Aiding Illegal Immigrants - WSJ.com.pdf

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Rubashkins' supervisor arrests, has sent shock-waves down the line to other "Supervisors" who supervise Kashrus
such as the CHK, the OU and Weismandel,
who are assumed to "know everything" at Rubashkins, since it's their "Job" to "Supervise" and "know" everything at Rubashkins' because if they "don't know" what's going on...." "how much could we rely on their Kashrus Level of Supervision"?

I work at one of Rubashkins' Kosher Certifiers.

I know that they are very worried that they too may be arrested next, charged with their part in covering up the well known criminal activity at Rubashkins'.

Everyone Knew about it, unless they are either blind dumb or both.

[Speaking on condition of anonymity, a U.S. government official who has visited the plant described the operation as…
… "medieval." ]

Fascinating !!!!

Maybe one of our European allies would offer to host the convicted Rubashkins in one of their "medieval" castle dungeons.

Of course, they would have Kosher Fare: greens, beans,Challah and wine for Shabbat.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a U.S. government official who has visited the plant described the operation as "medieval."

How apt. Their attitudes and manner of dress are medieval as well.

++How apt. Their attitudes and manner of dress are medieval as well.++

While the dress of a 16th Century Pole doesn't exactly qualify as "medieval", you make a good point.

I think I'd be more inclined to buy their argument that they represent "original Judaism" were they to dress in robes and sandals.

OK....maybe not.

a U.S. government official who has visited the plant described the operation as…
… "medieval."

Just plain EVIL will do.

"how much could we rely on their Kashrus Level of Supervision"?
that's very, very true jack. though one must point the difference.
OU is redeemable. CHK cannot be redeemed ever umuuvas lo yukhol liskon.

gawd!!! who gives a fuckin shit About rubashhit anymore. if this keeps up youre gonna have to change your blog to failedrubashkin or something of that nature.

[OU is redeemable]

Hi Yosef,

Please suggest ways that the OU could redeem itself.

I'm frankly extremely skeptical of this possibilty but am very open to well thought out steps, even given the OU's historical record of ignoring public opinion.

A very important detail in the Wall Street Journal is that fraudulent IDs were found in the office of Rubashkin's HR dept.

The supervisors were not acting alone.

How are Genack and the rest of these losers going to explain this one away?

Most of these posters are looking at this the wrong way.

There is never an excuse for wrongdoing, yet the plain truth is that it is more than hard, nearing impossible, to get non immigrants to work at places like this. Even Heineman has illegals - probably not as much.

It's a slaughterhouse. There is blood, there is sinew, bones, and organs; there are animals sensing death and frightened. It's everything you'd expect from a the worst slasher films. It's not for the faint of heart and it is certainly not for the average latte sipping American.

Yes, this was the biggest raid - but not the biggest secret. Virtually the entire farming and agricultural industry is engined by immigrants, many illegal. The hidden secret here is that it's done. Ask the folks at HIAS - the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and they'll tell you that they feel for the employers here. They know first hand what is happening all over the country.

One issue may be that Agriprocessors needs to make serious changes to get up to full speed and compliance, but the real issue here is the United States' immigration policy. It needs fixing and fixing fast. The lesson of Agriprocessors is that this is a problem looming large and will only get worse.

let Agriprocessors fix up and get the meat back on your plates. Chicken is now $7.49/lb - bizarre. People can't afford that. Meat is even more now.

Let's focus on the real problem - fixing the U.S. immigration policy. Instead of boycotting the meat company, make an even stronger effort to patronize shops with illegals - show our legislators that this is an issue that they need to take seriously and take it seriously now!

A latte sipping American like myself knows meatpacking industries employ illegals.

So, why are lower level supervisors charged in these crimes and not the owners? Were the CEO's of Swift or Smithfield charged after those raids? I think not.

The illegal immigrant smokescreen will blur the picture of where the true fault lies.

Maybe they are starting small to get to the big guns at the top. They first arrested the illegal immigrants at the actual plant floor. Then they arrested the lower level supervisors and it will probably go up like that. Maybe they need alot more evidence before they can get to the big ones at the top.
All people complain about is their meat and chicken going up in price. Is that what kosher is about? If you want cheap meat and chicken, i am sure if you paid OU like Rubashkin does you could get pork certified OU Glatt.

To Someone Whoknows ...

Agriprocessors is the poster child for a great many problems. True, we are in desperate need of comprehensive immigration reform, including a guest worker program.

But on the micro level there is a much more immediate problem for the Jewish community and specifically the kosher consumer. That problem is the Chillul HaShem that has gone on, and from all accounts, continues to go on at this plant. Trying to get readers to focus on the macro issues and ignore the specifics at Agriprocessors won’t work.

Read the ICE affidavit and you will learn what has gone on inside this "medieval" operation. It is nothing short of OSHEK. I also recommend an article in the American Jewish World “The Economics of Oppression“. The author describes the indentured servitude endured by these unfortunate people.

While many in the haredi community look down their noses at unions, it is clear that these workers could not, and can not count on the OU, or Rav Wiesmandl, and certainly not on the Rubashkin's to uphold Jewish law regarding the treatment of workers. So the sooner these workers are organized the better.

Given the flailing about that Rubashkin supporters have been doing since the raid, it is clear they realize they don't have a moral leg to stand on. And, the window of opportunity for the owners to sell this place to someone who knows what they are doing is quickly closing. Soon there will be nothing much left of the place worth buying. I say this with some degree of sadness.

Think about it.

The Rabbonim who work there cannot admit their last place of employment was the Postville dump -- no will want to hire them. Agriprocessors cannot attract stam poalim, much less skilled labor and supervisors – again for the same reason. No professional in their right mind would ever want their name associated with Postville. (Workers who were not picked up during the raid and who fled to neighboring states have had a difficult time finding jobs. When people ask where they came from and they say Postville, they’re turned away. No one wants to inherit an employee whose experience may only be a collection of bad habits.)

Only a large or well established corporations, who could “reassign” staff from other facilities around the country, would be able to move quickly and salvage the business before it implodes. And even these folks would want to replace the existing management base if for no other reason then to signal a change. Do you think they would want to hold onto employees who may be guilty – even if just by association - of crimes?
This is all very sad because this was all so unnecessary.

[This is all very sad because this was all so unnecessary.]

Absolutely !!!!

If Rubashkin had accepted the FREE offer of Dr. Temple Grandin to come in, in 2003, and fix ALL of the problems at Agri confidentially, she would have been able to transform the operation into a World-Class Kosher slaughterhouse.

It took about a year for Rubashkin, through their attorney, Nathan Lewin, to respond to this kind offer, which basically told PETA and Dr. Grandin to take it and shove it.

This whole sordid affair is, indeed, a tragedy of monumental proportion.

Not only did they flip the bird at PETA, but had the audacity to point the finger of blame at PETA after the brutal videotapes were released.

Were it not for PETA...well, I cringe to think of the alternative.

I resent the misuse of the word "medieval." The Middle Ages gave us courtly love, vernacular and Latin poetry, the university system, Jewish, Muslim and Christian philosophers (who are far more humane than the contemporary fundies of each faith), Gothic architecture, and much more.

Steve is right; just plain "evil" will do. But in the spirit of Pulp Fiction, I wish somebody would get "medieval" on Rubbishcan's ass!

Did anyone see the Yated Ne'eman (U.S.) editorial about Agri this week? It makes three weeks in a row that the paper has been on the attack against Agri detractors.

Yated publisher Pinny Lipschitz is the nephew of Rabbi Elya Svei.

There is a revolving door between Rubashkin and the Agudah.

Nathan Lewin is on both payrolls.

Menachem Lubinsky was formerly an Agudah VP.

All indications are that David Zweibel has lobbied in Washington on behalf of Rubashkin.

I wonder if Weissmandel has any role with the Agudah.

"But in the spirit of Pulp Fiction"

Do you see a sign around here that says "Dead ****** storage?"

there is no need for comprehensive imigration reform...dont let the corporatists fool you into believing this.

first, the numbers you see regarding unemployment are fixed...this has been true since the reagan years....double those numbers and you have the real numbers.

additionally, many of today's workers are underemployed, and making wages not comensurate with their duties

and why was the meat packing industry able to survive for years without illegal workers?

the work may be terrible, but pay a living wage, and dont ripoff your employees when it comes to benefits and housing, and yes, americans will do the work

and if there is a guest worker program, with no safeguards, what is to stop someone like rubashkin from treating those workers the same as his current employees?

For Archie Bunker:

"My Payola" by the Genack (with apologies to "My Sharona" by the Knack):

Oo my little kosher one, kosher one
When you gonna give me some cash, Payola?
Oo you make my wallet fat, my wallet fat
I can even make a chazzar glatt, Payola
Never gonna stop, give cash up, such a dirty job
I always get paid up with a touch of the Rubbish-can
Oy-ee Oy-ee Oy-ee vay "oh you!"
Ma ma ma my Payola

Come to little Postville here, in Iowa,
Close enough to cover up the lies, Payola
Keep what happens a mystery, it's bliss for me
Runnin' down the gid hanasha thigh, Payola
Never gonna stop, get paid up, such a dirty job
I always get a kavod from the frummer kind
Oy-ee Oy-ee Oy-ee vay "oh you!"
Ma ma ma my Payola
Ma ma ma my Payola

(1st guitar solo)

When will ICE get to you, get to you
Is it just a matter of crime, Payola
Is it a felony, a felony
Or is it just a game of the OU, Payola
Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty
schlacthouse
I always get paid up from a bunch of the
business kind
Oy-ee Oy-ee Oy-ee vay "oh you!"
Ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma
Oy-ee Oy-ee Oy-ee vay "oh you!"

If the posters above are correct that the kosher supervisors are getting nervous about their legal liability in all this, then maybe there is hope that this whole mess will have a positive effect on the way the kosher market currently does business. We have been calling for Menachem Genack's resignation since this scandal broke, and we urge you to visit and sign our petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Rubashkin/ and encourage your friends to sign as well.

It would be nice for the government to take down some of the worst offenders at the OU, but even nicer if our community could show that we can police ourselves and take down the OU leadership on our own before the feds get involved.

Ironically, I jut got the following email from Chabad.org. Reading it in the context of the Rubashkin scandal makes me want to throw up.

Dear Friend,

Tonight, July 5th, and Sunday, July 6th (3 Tammuz on the Hebrew calendar), marks fourteen years since the passing of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory.

We've posted lots of information to help you learn more about the Rebbe's devotion to G-d, discover how deeply he cared for each human being, and to glean insight into his teachings.

The Rebbe would frequently insist that even the loftiest of thoughts must be translated into actual deed.

Please join us on this special day in learning something additional, reciting an additional prayer, and giving some extra charity. Let us also try and apply some of the Rebbe's care and selfless dedication to our own interaction with family, friends and total strangers. There can be no more fitting tribute to the Rebbe than millions of good deeds, mitzvot, performed on his day.

May G-d help us that in the merit of our collective acts of goodness we quickly greet our righteous Moshiach, at which time we will be reunited with our beloved Rebbe and all our loved ones.

Sincerely,

The Staff of Chabad.org

P.S. The date of a righteous person's passing is an auspicious day to reflect and to ask him to intercede on High on our behalf. If you would like your prayer requests to be placed at the Rebbe's resting place during these particularly opportune hours, please visit this page.

A latte sipping American like myself knows meatpacking industries employ illegals.

So, why are lower level supervisors charged in these crimes and not the owners? Were the CEO's of Swift or Smithfield charged after those raids? I think not.

These were higher level supervisors, not lower level ones.

The comparison to Swift is also incorrect. Whiile Swift hired illegals, there was no evidence Swift helped in ID theft and fraud, or that Swift knew those employees were illegals.

Agriprocessors helped with ID theft and fraud, ran an ID theft ring, it seems, and committed many more crimes including extortion.

Expect top Agriprocessors officials to be indicted, perhaps as soon as the end of this month.

Rubash-ins' real problem now is that they missed the boat. The time to sell out for a good price has passed and they are truly up the creek. They should have faced the truth long ago and gotten out.

But what intriques me now is how the OU is going to salvage and rehabilitate McHechsher so that they can pursue their agenda of making kosherists of the gentiles thereby making themselves indispensable and the Ko$her meatpackers among the top suppliers.

So I guess this answers that dude who asked on one of the recent threads what we will do after we no longer have the Rubbishcan to play with. Oh, we got lots to do, no worries there. You're dirty we's gonna come after ya.

Yes !!!!!

At a minimum, Rabbis Weissmandel, Genack and Mandel need to be arrested, indicted, tried, convicted and sent to prison along with the Rubashkins.

++At a minimum, Rabbis Weissmandel, Genack and Mandel need to be arrested, indicted, tried, convicted and sent to prison along with the Rubashkins.+

You gonna give 'em a fair trial then hang 'em?

These three Rabbis and the organizations they work for, as well as others, are/were ultimately responsible for what happened at Agri.

Instead of making sure that ALL of the Torah Laws prohibiting animal cruelty and providing for the proper treatment of workers were adhered to, they looked the other way as the abuses went on for many many years.

Because they didn't do their jobs, countless numbers of animals and human beings had to indure horrible suffering, all for the sake of the almighty $$$$$.

If the authorities see fit to arrest and indict them, they will get a fair trial, just like all the others and, if found guilty in a court of law, will have to suffer the consequences for their misdeeds.

Because they didn't do their jobs, countless numbers of animals and human beings had to indure horrible suffering, all for the sake of the almighty $$$$$.

Wasn't their an ancient idol called Mammon that the nevi'im inveighed against?

++These three Rabbis and the organizations they work for, as well as others, are/were ultimately responsible for what happened at Agri.++

Really, John? You know this because.....?

++If the authorities see fit to arrest and indict them, they will get a fair trial, just like all the others and, if found guilty in a court of law, will have to suffer the consequences for their misdeeds.++

THIS makes a lot more sense. "If".

[++These three Rabbis and the organizations they work for, as well as others, are/were ultimately responsible for what happened at Agri.++

Really, John? You know this because.....?]

My statement stands.

Harry Truman had a big sign in the oval office that said "The Buck Stops Here".

A similar sign needs to be on Rabbi Genack's desk, as well. Same with Mandel, Weissmandel and others.

Instead, they have a sign which reads, "Big Bucks Are Made Here".

They have put "profits" ahead of "Prophets" and in doing so, have enabled a horrible "Chillul HaShem" to occur for many many years.

++My statement stands.++

So does my awareness that you didn't answer my question - didn't even try.

Read all of the DOCUMENTS in:

[http://www.goveg.com/feat/agriprocessors/letters.asp] over several times.

"The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know." (Harry Truman)

Then your question will be answered.

++Read all of the DOCUMENTS in:

http://www.goveg.com/feat/agriprocessors/letters.asp] over several times.++

I don't find PETA to be an overly compelling or believable source, and view their work at the Rubashikin slaughterhouse to more of a blind hog finding an acorn than I do anything else.

Frankly - they are as bad as the Rubashkins/Chabad in that they don't beleive that their beliefs and standards should end at the end of their own noses.

I find their donations to organizations such as ELF, ALF (both of which I consider to be terrorist organization) - people such as Rodney Colorado (who was convicted of setting fire to a research facility at Michigan State University). In fact, PETA has spent four times as much on criminals and their legal defense than it has on shelters, spay-neuter programs, and other efforts that actually help animals.

On that subject - PETA's animal shelter kill rate hovers around 90 percent - check your local shelter for a comparison, you will likely be shocked.

In short - cite a legitimate source - I'll read it. Leave the loonies to the wings.

With all due respect, you did not read the documents (1 Hour and Three Minutes) isn't enough time.

You seem to be an expert in your own mind.

Well, old Harry had this to say: "An expert is a fellow who's afraid to learn anything new, because then he won't be an expert anymore."

All this being said, our conversation is over.

++With all due respect, you did not read the documents (1 Hour and Three Minutes) isn't enough time.++

I think I was rather clear - I don't consider the source to be a valid one. Went into GREAT detail as to why.

++All this being said, our conversation is over.++

Run away! Run away! Run away!
Monty Python and the Holy Grail - 1975

"let Agriprocessors fix up and get the meat back on your plates."
You've got to be kidding. Who is this, Lubinsky? Who eats Rubbishcan anymore? Who EVER will again?

"Chicken is now $7.49/lb - bizarre. People can't afford that. Meat is even more now."
Good. GOOD. Delighted. The pricier, the less of it we'll all eat, the healthier we'll all be. Just had a great dinner of guacamole and chummus on whole wheat with some shredded cabbage, and a warm couscous salad with cherry tomotoes, black olives and brocolli. Fabulous. Try it, friends: let's reclaim our health and go vegetarian forever---or at least during the week. You'll feel great and lose weight and never look back.

"Let's focus on the real problem - fixing the U.S. immigration policy."
Agreed: a mile high fence, three miles wide, with shoot to kill orders for our border patrol: problem fixed in about...a day.

Ooops, forgot: then we have to deport 12 million illegals. To do that, we just forbid them employment in the US. Enormous fines for non-compliant corporations. THAT's what I call immigration reform.
No more illegals, and Americans will take their jobs. Just pay them fairly and you've solved your problems.
See how easy that was?

++Chicken is now $7.49/lb++

Where?

I'm still paying $2.49 for fresh (not Rubashkin) plus about another $.25 a pound to have it shipped overnight.

[++All this being said, our conversation is over.++

Run away! Run away! Run away!
Monty Python and the Holy Grail - 1975

Posted by: rebitzman | July 06, 2008 at 04:39 PM]

Really !!!!!!

YOU ran away from your responsibility to examine the evidence, as you were asked to do.

Your negative opinions about PETA are not the issue nor should they prevent you from reading and understanding the evidence.

What is contained in official letters, posted in the public domain, from the First Rubashkin Shechita Scandal in 2004, will allow any rational person to conclude that the OU lies, covers up and is corrupt.

I am not thrilled with PETA for supporting ALF, or the Holocaust on a Plate shtick. But even a broken clock tells the correct time twice a day. They have been independently corroborated, as far as I know, so this time I give PETA props.

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