Why are the terms “Nazi Germany” and “Mengele” become trending topics on Twitter? The words dominated the social media platform on Monday after it was revealed that a whistleblower has alleged “high numbers” of immigrant women at a U.S. concentration camp in Georgia were sent to be given unnecessary hysterectomies. Many of the women reportedly didn’t know why they were being sent to have the surgery and were all sent to the same doctor, according to the complaint, with one woman describing the facility as an “experimental concentration camp.”
Twitter users made several analogies to various Nazi atrocities on Monday, like the sadistic medical experiments performed on Jews by Josef Mengele during the Holocaust in the 1930s and ‘40s. And while U.S. concentration camps aren’t currently operating as anything close to the European death camps of the Holocaust, there’s still reasonable concern about what the fuck is happening in the U.S. right now under the Trump regime.
The whistleblower, a nurse named Dawn Wooten, worked full time at a concentration camp run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement called the Irwin County Detention Center, until her work hours were cut in July, a result of alleged retaliation for speaking up internally about health and sanitary conditions in the prison. The facility is technically owned by a private company called LaSalle Corrections, much like several other ICE and CBP concentration camps across the U.S. that currently house tens of thousands of detainees under a for-profit model.\
the most shocking revelations involve many women who were sent to have hysterectomies—a medical procedure to remove the uterus, rendering the women unable to become pregnant and have children—without getting a clear answer on why they were having the surgeries done.
From the complaint to the OIG, which is available online:
One woman told Project South in 2019 that Irwin sends many women to see a particular gynecologist outside the facility but that some women did not trust him. She also stated that “a lot of women here go through a hysterectomy” at ICDC. More recently, a detained immigrant told Project South that she talked to five different women detained at ICDC between October and December 2019 who had a hysterectomy done. When she talked to them about the surgery, the women “reacted confused when explaining why they had one done.” The woman told Project South that it was as though the women were “trying to tell themselves it’s going to be OK.” She further said: “When I met all these women who had had surgeries, I thought this was like an experimental concentration camp. It was like they’re experimenting with our bodies.”
The whistleblower, nurse Wooten, explained in her own words how one unnamed doctor was allegedly carrying out this mass sterilization effort on immigrant women. Wooten even called the doctor a “uterus collector”:
Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy—just about everybody. He’s even taken out the wrong ovary on a young lady [detained immigrant woman]. She was supposed to get her left ovary removed because it had a cyst on the left ovary; 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.
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 uteruses out or he’s taken their tubes out. What in the world.
The complaint also alleges that the women in custody aren’t getting clear communication about what procedure is about to be done on them, with some medical staff in the facility allegedly using Google to translate things from English to Spanish before surgery. Some women were told conflicting things about why they needed to have hysterectomies, like one woman who was given three very different reasons
ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday morning, but sent out a statement to several news outlets insisting that, “in general, anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics, should be treated with the appropriate skepticism they deserve.” Notably, that’s not a flat denial of the allegations. And DHS restricts access to the facilities to such a degree that journalists have previously tried to use drones just to get a look inside. Even members of Congress have struggled to get an unfiltered look at what’s happening in these facilities.
ICE and its parent agency, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, have a history of outright lies and running interference for objectively racist policies. The former head of DHS, Kirstjen Nielsen, lied to Congress on multiple occasions, claiming that the Trump regime did not have a policy of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border. That was flatly wrong and Nielsen has never been held accountable for the lies, let alone the atrocities she committed against countless asylum seekers. The current head of DHS, Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, has never been confirmed by the Senate and the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found last month that he was illegally appointed to his position in late 2019. Wolf is still the head of DHS.