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Old 12-10-2010, 12:23 PM   #261
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Criminals on both sides: Pfizer vs. corrupt Nigerian govt


1. (C) Summary. In an April 2 meeting with the Ambassador, Pfizer lawyers Joe Petrosinelli and Atiba Adams reported that Pfizer and the Kano State government had reached a preliminary settlement on lawsuits arising from medical tests conducted with Trovan (oral antibiotic) on children living in Kano during a meningitis epidemic in 1996. Petrosinelli said Pfizer has agreed to the Kano State Attorney General’s (AG) settlement offer of $75 million, including a $10 million payment for legal fees, $30 million to the Kano State government, and $35 million for the participants and families. According to Adams, several final details need to be worked out on the mechanism for payment. Pfizer strongly recommends setting up a $35 million trust fund for the participants to be administered by a neutral third party and for the $30 million for the Kano State government to be used for improving health care in the state. Pfizer underscored that the Nigerian representatives wanted lump sum checks and that Pfizer is concerned with potential transparency issues. The next step is a meeting between high-level Pfizer officials and Nigerian side at a neutral location to work out the final details. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On April 2 Pfizer lawyers Joe Petrosinelli and Atiba Adams and Pfizer Nigeria Country Director Enrico Liggeri met with the Ambassador and EconDep to discuss the status of settlement negotiations. Four lawsuits were brought against Pfizer stemming from medical tests with the oral antibiotic Trovan conducted on children living in Kano during a meningitis epidemic in 1996. In Kano State Court there is one civil suit and one criminal case and in the Federal High Court there is one civil suit and one criminal case. Since 2006, Petrosinelli and Adams have been briefing the Mission on the status of the cases.

Settlement Reached
------------------
3. (C) Petrosinelli reported that Pfizer had tentatively reached “an agreement in principle” on the Kano AG’s settlement offer of $75 million. Adams explained that the parties agreed that the $75 million would be broken down as follows - a $10 million payment for legal fees; $30 million to the Kano State government; and $35 million to participants and families. Petrosinelli noted, that Pfizer has worked closely with former Nigerian Head of State Yakubu Gowon and that he has played a positive mediation role with Kano State and the federal government. Petrosinelli said Gowon also spoke with Kano State Governor Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, who directed the Kano AG to reduce the settlement demand from $150 million to $75 million. Adams reported that Gowon met with President Yar’Adua and convinced him to drop the two federal high court cases against Pfizer. (Comment: In 1966 Gowon became the head of state following a military coup that deposed Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi who had come to power via an earlier military coup. He was head of state from 1966 to 1975. He now plays an elder statesman role in Nigerian politics. End Comment.)

More Discussions Needed
-----------------------
4. (C) According to Adams, details need to be worked out on the mechanism for payments to the Kano State government and participants because Pfizer is unwilling to give a lump sum payment. Pfizer is concerned with transparency issues and is pushing for a $35 million trust fund for the participants to be administered by a neutral third party and the remaining $30 million to be used for improving health care in Kano state. Pfizer underscored that the Nigerian representatives were pushing for lump sum checks and Pfizer will not agree to that. Pfizer is considering rebuilding Kano’s Infectious Disease Hospital where the trial was conducted and working with health care nongovernmental organizations. Adams suggested that the trust fund for participants be administered by a neutral third party because he expects “additional” participants to come forward after they hear about the settlement. The Ambassador suggested Pfizer work with NGOs already working in Kano State and for Pfizer to consider working with local NGO implementing partners that the USG has used because of their transparency record.

EconDep provided Pfizer a copy of the U.S.-Nigeria Framework for Partnership document as a guide for existing projects and partners in Kano. Petrosinelli explained that the next step was a meeting at a neutral location between high-level Pfizer officials and the Nigerian side to work out final details and conclude the settlement.

Pfizer Exposes Attorney General
-------------------------------
5. (C) In follow up to the April 2 meeting, EconDep met with Pfizer Country Manager Enrico Liggeri in Lagos on April 9. (Note: Liggeri has years of experience in Nigeria because his family operated a business in Lagos from the early 1960s to the late 1980s. He spent most of his childhood in Lagos. End Note.) Liggeri said Pfizer was not happy settling the case, but had come to the conclusion that the $75 million figure was reasonable because the suits had been ongoing for many years costing Pfizer more than $15 million a year in legal and investigative fees. According to Liggeri, Pfizer had hired investigators to uncover corruption links to Federal Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa to expose him and put pressure on him to drop the federal cases. He said Pfizer’s investigators were passing this information to local media, XXXXXXXXXXXX. A series of damaging articles detailing Aondoakaa’s “alleged” corruption ties were published in February and March. Liggeri contended that Pfizer had much more damaging information on Aondoakaa and that Aondoakaa’s cronies were pressuring him to drop the suit for fear of further negative articles.

6. (C) Liggeri commented that the lawsuits were wholly political in nature because the NGO Doctors Without Borders administered Trovan to other children during the 1996 meningitis epidemic and the Nigerian government has taken no action. He underscored that the suit has had a “chilling effect” on international pharmaceutical companies because companies are no longer willing to conduct clinical testing in Nigeria. Liggeri opined that when another outbreak occurs no company will come to Nigeria’s aid.

7. (C) Comment: Pfizer’s image in Nigeria has been damaged due to this ongoing case. Pfizer’s management considers Nigeria a major growth market for its products and having this case behind it will help in efforts to rebuild its image here. Final discussions on the $30 million and $35 million are likely to be tricky because the Nigerian side wants to control who gets the money, not Pfizer. The U.S. Mission will continue to advocate for transparency in settling the case and also note to GON authorities that Pfizer must abide by the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and cannot simple hand over large sums of money to state and local officials. Petrosinelli and Adams will get back to the Mission on what further assistance may be needed.
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Old 12-10-2010, 05:32 PM   #262
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Pakistani newspapers carried a series of scoops yesterday sourced to the WikiLeaks document dump of US diplomatic correspondence that would seem to have contained all that an India-hater--no shortage of those in Pakistan--could hope for. One US diplomat is alleged to have determined India was carrying out "genocide" in Kashmir and called in his cable for the US to cut off military exercises with India--an important part of the two countries' deepening strategic relationship--as a sign of displeasure. Another cable is said to have a US diplomat reporting that senior Indian generals are working with Hindu extremists to carry out terror attacks against Muslims living both in India and Pakistan. A third implies that a Pakistani policeman who was planning to blow the whistle on a senior officer's involvement with Hindu militants was assassinated as a consequence. Yet more contained US praise for the head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence--an organization that many US officials believe supports Taliban attacks on US troops in Afghanistan--and over-the-top criticisms of senior Indian officers as vain incompetents.

There was only one problem. The cables don't exist, according to Britain's Guardian newspaper, one of a handful of news agencies that has access to the whole WikiLeaks dump of more than 250,000 State Department cables. "An extensive search of the WikiLeaks database by the Guardian by date, name and keyword failed to locate any of the incendiary allegations," the paper wrote. Instead what appears to have happened is the first deliberate misinformation campaign built around the WikiLeaks cables, something sure to happen again as the ever-swelling release of documents provides cover for those who have forged documents to peddle.

A number of papers including the Daily Mail and The News of Pakistan carried these reports, which were not signed. The source of the information? A Pakistani news wire called Online News that appears to be closely tied to the government. The News, in apologizing to readers today, leaves the strong impression that the bogus reports were part of a government misinformation campaign.
The paper writes that the Mohsin Baig, the head of Online News, said "he had just returned from Turkey where he had accompanied the prime minister on his official visit and was therefore in the dark about how the story was released."

Another editor at Online News said he didn't know the source of the fake cables and refused to contact an employee who might know the answer. Eventually The News "learnt from our sources that the story was dubious and may have been planted" and said the story first appeared in two local papers "known for their close connections with certain intelligence agencies."

In Pakistan, coverage of the military and intelligence services is tightly controlled by the state. Most Pakistani papers have said little concerning the real cables released by WikiLeaks that contain assessments of Pakistan's military.
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Old 12-10-2010, 10:18 PM   #263
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Criminals on both sides: Pfizer vs. corrupt Nigerian govt


1. (C) Summary. In an April 2 meeting with the Ambassador, Pfizer lawyers Joe Petrosinelli and Atiba Adams reported that Pfizer and the Kano State government had reached a preliminary settlement on lawsuits arising from medical tests conducted with Trovan (oral antibiotic) on children living in Kano during a meningitis epidemic in 1996. Petrosinelli said Pfizer has agreed to the Kano State Attorney General’s (AG) settlement offer of $75 million, including a $10 million payment for legal fees, $30 million to the Kano State government, and $35 million for the participants and families. According to Adams, several final details need to be worked out on the mechanism for payment. Pfizer strongly recommends setting up a $35 million trust fund for the participants to be administered by a neutral third party and for the $30 million for the Kano State government to be used for improving health care in the state. Pfizer underscored that the Nigerian representatives wanted lump sum checks and that Pfizer is concerned with potential transparency issues. The next step is a meeting between high-level Pfizer officials and Nigerian side at a neutral location to work out the final details. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On April 2 Pfizer lawyers Joe Petrosinelli and Atiba Adams and Pfizer Nigeria Country Director Enrico Liggeri met with the Ambassador and EconDep to discuss the status of settlement negotiations. Four lawsuits were brought against Pfizer stemming from medical tests with the oral antibiotic Trovan conducted on children living in Kano during a meningitis epidemic in 1996. In Kano State Court there is one civil suit and one criminal case and in the Federal High Court there is one civil suit and one criminal case. Since 2006, Petrosinelli and Adams have been briefing the Mission on the status of the cases.

Settlement Reached
------------------
3. (C) Petrosinelli reported that Pfizer had tentatively reached “an agreement in principle” on the Kano AG’s settlement offer of $75 million. Adams explained that the parties agreed that the $75 million would be broken down as follows - a $10 million payment for legal fees; $30 million to the Kano State government; and $35 million to participants and families. Petrosinelli noted, that Pfizer has worked closely with former Nigerian Head of State Yakubu Gowon and that he has played a positive mediation role with Kano State and the federal government. Petrosinelli said Gowon also spoke with Kano State Governor Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, who directed the Kano AG to reduce the settlement demand from $150 million to $75 million. Adams reported that Gowon met with President Yar’Adua and convinced him to drop the two federal high court cases against Pfizer. (Comment: In 1966 Gowon became the head of state following a military coup that deposed Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi who had come to power via an earlier military coup. He was head of state from 1966 to 1975. He now plays an elder statesman role in Nigerian politics. End Comment.)

More Discussions Needed
-----------------------
4. (C) According to Adams, details need to be worked out on the mechanism for payments to the Kano State government and participants because Pfizer is unwilling to give a lump sum payment. Pfizer is concerned with transparency issues and is pushing for a $35 million trust fund for the participants to be administered by a neutral third party and the remaining $30 million to be used for improving health care in Kano state. Pfizer underscored that the Nigerian representatives were pushing for lump sum checks and Pfizer will not agree to that. Pfizer is considering rebuilding Kano’s Infectious Disease Hospital where the trial was conducted and working with health care nongovernmental organizations. Adams suggested that the trust fund for participants be administered by a neutral third party because he expects “additional” participants to come forward after they hear about the settlement. The Ambassador suggested Pfizer work with NGOs already working in Kano State and for Pfizer to consider working with local NGO implementing partners that the USG has used because of their transparency record.

EconDep provided Pfizer a copy of the U.S.-Nigeria Framework for Partnership document as a guide for existing projects and partners in Kano. Petrosinelli explained that the next step was a meeting at a neutral location between high-level Pfizer officials and the Nigerian side to work out final details and conclude the settlement.

Pfizer Exposes Attorney General
-------------------------------
5. (C) In follow up to the April 2 meeting, EconDep met with Pfizer Country Manager Enrico Liggeri in Lagos on April 9. (Note: Liggeri has years of experience in Nigeria because his family operated a business in Lagos from the early 1960s to the late 1980s. He spent most of his childhood in Lagos. End Note.) Liggeri said Pfizer was not happy settling the case, but had come to the conclusion that the $75 million figure was reasonable because the suits had been ongoing for many years costing Pfizer more than $15 million a year in legal and investigative fees. According to Liggeri, Pfizer had hired investigators to uncover corruption links to Federal Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa to expose him and put pressure on him to drop the federal cases. He said Pfizer’s investigators were passing this information to local media, XXXXXXXXXXXX. A series of damaging articles detailing Aondoakaa’s “alleged” corruption ties were published in February and March. Liggeri contended that Pfizer had much more damaging information on Aondoakaa and that Aondoakaa’s cronies were pressuring him to drop the suit for fear of further negative articles.

6. (C) Liggeri commented that the lawsuits were wholly political in nature because the NGO Doctors Without Borders administered Trovan to other children during the 1996 meningitis epidemic and the Nigerian government has taken no action. He underscored that the suit has had a “chilling effect” on international pharmaceutical companies because companies are no longer willing to conduct clinical testing in Nigeria. Liggeri opined that when another outbreak occurs no company will come to Nigeria’s aid.

7. (C) Comment: Pfizer’s image in Nigeria has been damaged due to this ongoing case. Pfizer’s management considers Nigeria a major growth market for its products and having this case behind it will help in efforts to rebuild its image here. Final discussions on the $30 million and $35 million are likely to be tricky because the Nigerian side wants to control who gets the money, not Pfizer. The U.S. Mission will continue to advocate for transparency in settling the case and also note to GON authorities that Pfizer must abide by the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and cannot simple hand over large sums of money to state and local officials. Petrosinelli and Adams will get back to the Mission on what further assistance may be needed.
Pfizer should be extremely proud of the great work they are doing to help poor people in Africa. This one company has done hundreds times more for Africa than any amount of leftist handwringing, faux sanctimonious Christian charity or hectoring Geldof concerts ever will in a million years.

They are a great example of free market capitalism in action - innovative, entrepreneurial, future guided and research oriented - seriously, more power to 'em.

What we in the West would describe as 'bribes' paid to officials in Nigeria are simply a cost of doing business in that country - no more, no less. It is important to respect different cultures in the business world.
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Old 12-11-2010, 03:39 AM   #264
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Pfizer should be extremely proud of the great work they are doing to help poor people in Africa. This one company has done hundreds times more for Africa than any amount of leftist handwringing, faux sanctimonious Christian charity or hectoring Geldof concerts ever will in a million years.

They are a great example of free market capitalism in action - innovative, entrepreneurial, future guided and research oriented - seriously, more power to 'em.

What we in the West would describe as 'bribes' paid to officials in Nigeria are simply a cost of doing business in that country - no more, no less. It is important to respect different cultures in the business world.
The effects of leftist handwringing and Geldof concerts are debatable, agreed. Anyway, I´d like to hear from you what it is Pfizer is doing so great. The company tested the untested medication Trovan with 100 children and used Ceftriaxone with another 100 children. 6 out of 100 children died on Trovan, 5 children with Ceftriaxone. Dozens of children were left disabled, with brain damage or paralyzed. Pfizer did not ask the parents of the children before testing, they did not have any approval from parents or Nigerian authorities.

All that apart what makes the Kano incident very serious is that the test was carried out even when animal testing had indicated that Trovan might cause significant side effects in children such as joint disease abnormal cartilage growth a disease resulting in bone deformation and liver damage.

Trovan went on the market in 1998 and quickly became one of the most prescribed antibiotics in the United States, selling more than $160 million the first year. But there were soon reports of liver damage, and the F.D.A. recommended in 1999 that Trovan be used only for severely ill patients in institutional settings. Use on children has not been approved.

Did Pfizer have good enough clinical evidence that Trovan is safe and effective in children with meningitis? No. They were gambling with lives, and that’s inherently unethical.

Did Pfizer inform the patients and the parents of children that Trovan was not fully approved? No. They violated laws regarding experimental drugs.

As to the $75million, the original sum was $2billion.

Do you know anyone working in the pharma industry, financeguy? I do.

I´d like to know what case you make for Pfizer - feel free to add examples what oh so great Pfizer has done to help poor people in Africa.

The contrary is the case: patent laws have to be broken to transport AZT and 3TC from Brazil to South Africa, while the original drugs by GlaxoSmithKline and Boehringer Ingelheim cost more than the double.
HTB – South African treatment activists defy patent laws to import generic antiretrovirals from Brazil - one could argue that breaking patent law is a great example for "free market capitalism in action", not the other way round.
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Old 12-11-2010, 12:35 PM   #265
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The company tested the untested medication Trovan with 100 children and used Ceftriaxone with another 100 children. 6 out of 100 children died on Trovan, 5 children with Ceftriaxone. Dozens of children were left disabled, with brain damage or paralyzed. Pfizer did not ask the parents of the children before testing, they did not have any approval from parents or Nigerian authorities.
it was the other way round hiphop, 5 children died with Trovan, and 6 with ceftriaxone (which was the best drug available for meningitis at the time)... the sequelae are those commonly seen with meningitis and are not necessarily attributed to the drugs, and are sadly often just the effects of the illness itself... the main issue with Pfizer was the whole ethical thing re. consent/approval it seems...
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Old 12-11-2010, 02:47 PM   #266
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it was the other way round hiphop, 5 children died with Trovan, and 6 with ceftriaxone (which was the best drug available for meningitis at the time)... the sequelae are those commonly seen with meningitis and are not necessarily attributed to the drugs, and are sadly often just the effects of the illness itself... the main issue with Pfizer was the whole ethical thing re. consent/approval it seems...
Of course the illness is severe. So what. If you had children who were ill, would you like a pharma monster to test new drugs on them without your knowledge? Does that make it any better?

Here are some more news - a fine documentary.






The crimes that U.S. soldiers commit in the war they are fighting make me sick. After seeing this, I can´t help but thinking, fuck the United States, go to hell everyone defending this war and your fucking secret services and bastard soldiers who torture and shoot children as part of a computer game.

You know, this makes it pretty obvious why some people burn U.S. flags. I believe in peace, and I won´t engage in any of this behavior. But hey, the fucking U.S. army is a disgrace and shame.

Flame me all you want now, you bastards working in the military & arms industry, believing you are honorable persons defending your fucked up values, which in reality are nothing but torture and killing. I spit on your values and you should be nothing but ashamed to be part of this.
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Old 12-11-2010, 03:21 PM   #267
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The crimes that U.S. soldiers commit in the war they are fighting make me sick. After seeing this, I can´t help but thinking, fuck the United States, go to hell everyone defending this war and your fucking secret services and bastard soldiers who torture and shoot children as part of a computer game.

You know, this makes it pretty obvious why some people burn U.S. flags. I believe in peace, and I won´t engage in any of this behavior. But hey, the fucking U.S. army is a disgrace and shame.

Flame me all you want now, you bastards working in the military & arms industry, believing you are honorable persons defending your fucked up values, which in reality are nothing but torture and killing. I spit on your values and you should be nothing but ashamed to be part of this.
Oh shut up, you ignorant little shit.

I've agreed with some of the things you've said in here regarding Wikileaks, but this is way out of line. You're defining an entire group of people by the very worst examples, which is the worst kind of logical fallacy. Are there terrible people and terrible actions in the United States Army? Absolutely. It's undeniable. But that's a minority, which is also undeniable. People joining the Army for good reasons are people who want these behaviors flushed out.

This is akin to saying all Americans are racist, homophobic, Bible beating attention seekers because the Phelps family is in the news a lot. It's idiotic, irresponsible, and offensive.
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Old 12-11-2010, 04:01 PM   #268
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Oh shut up, you ignorant little shit.

I've agreed with some of the things you've said in here regarding Wikileaks, but this is way out of line. You're defining an entire group of people by the very worst examples, which is the worst kind of logical fallacy. Are there terrible people and terrible actions in the United States Army? Absolutely. It's undeniable. But that's a minority, which is also undeniable. People joining the Army for good reasons are people who want these behaviors flushed out.

This is akin to saying all Americans are racist, homophobic, Bible beating attention seekers because the Phelps family is in the news a lot. It's idiotic, irresponsible, and offensive.
I could give a flying fuck about your idiotic comment. A minority!! That´s surely why 100.000 civilians were killed in Iraq, yeah? If there is anything WAY out of line, it´s your comment. Undeniable, it must have been a minority while the majority of the brave soldiers join the army to defend American soil which never was attacked, and to spread democracy throughout the world, by killing journalists and torturing children on their way to democracy!! Undeniable!!

Go on defending the U.S. army, Putzy. Just do me the favor and open your own thread.
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Old 12-11-2010, 04:39 PM   #269
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Another Wikileaks bombshell.
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Old 12-11-2010, 04:54 PM   #270
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Pfan and hiphop, you are both out of line, and your response to pfan's is waaay out of line, hiphop. If you can't make your point without slinging insults, them you should probably just not post. Or wait until you can without the personal attacks.

That being said, the gist of pfan's post is very valid, hiphop. You're painting an entire group as evil because of the actions of the minority. It is exactly akin to calling all Muslims terrorists because of the actions of a few extremists.
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Old 12-11-2010, 05:09 PM   #271
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Of course the illness is severe. So what. If you had children who were ill, would you like a pharma monster to test new drugs on them without your knowledge? Does that make it any better?
of course not! read my post - i said there were "ethical issues with consent/approval" didn't i ffs?! i wasn't defending Pfizer! however, the after-effects you specifically mentioned are sadly very common effects which are caused by the illness! did you know that more than 12000 people lost their lives in that meningitis epidemic? and yes i think it's disgusting if Pfizer capitalised on that crisis to hurry their R&D thru! no need to be so patronising... jeesus
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Old 12-11-2010, 05:19 PM   #272
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Wow. Sounds like there's been quite a lot of misinformation about the allegations-slash-potential-charges against Assange.

AOL News at the center of “sex by surprise” lie in Assange’s rape case | Jessica Valenti

The allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are pretty straightforward in terms of Swedish law: he’s been accused of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. The charges allege that Assange held one woman down using his body weight to sexually assault her and that he raped another woman while she was sleeping.

Yet the media – everyone from Naomi Wolf and Glenn Beck to bloggers across the internet – is reporting that Assange is being charged with “sex by surprise,” or some bizarre Swedish law having to do with a condom breaking, not rape. Multiple reports also characterize the sex as consensual.

The truth? There’s nothing in Swedish law about “sex by surprise” or broken condoms.
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Old 12-11-2010, 05:35 PM   #273
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Wow. Sounds like there's been quite a lot of misinformation about the charges against Assange.

AOL News at the center of “sex by surprise” lie in Assange’s rape case | Jessica Valenti

The allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are pretty straightforward in terms of Swedish law: he’s been accused of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. The charges allege that Assange held one woman down using his body weight to sexually assault her and that he raped another woman while she was sleeping.

Yet the media – everyone from Naomi Wolf and Glenn Beck to bloggers across the internet – is reporting that Assange is being charged with “sex by surprise,” or some bizarre Swedish law having to do with a condom breaking, not rape. Multiple reports also characterize the sex as consensual.

The truth? There’s nothing in Swedish law about “sex by surprise” or broken condoms.
Assange hasn't actually been charged with anything yet Corianderstem... it's still just allegations for the moment...

i just read this article and thought it was interesting...

Quote:
Why did I back Julian Assange? It's about justice and fairness
Even my mother asked why I would stand surety for an alleged rapist. I was there because I believe this is about censorship

Jemima Khan
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 11 December 2010 21.30 GMT


Why did I offer to provide surety for an alleged rapist, a man I have never met? That's the question even my mother asked me after I appeared in court for Julian Assange.

That morning I had sent a spur-of-the-moment message of support by email to Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens, when I read of his arrest. He immediately responded and asked if I would be prepared to come to court in the next hour to act as a surety for Assange. I was nervous about the inevitable media circus, but felt that it was the right thing to do after being convinced by Stephens that it could help.

Assange has not even been charged, let alone convicted. Swedish prosecutors do not have to produce any evidence that he committed the alleged sexual offences to justify the warrant. On the basis of the allegations that I heard read out in court, the evidence seems feeble, but I concede that I don't know the full facts. Neither does Assange. Stockholm's chief prosecutor, Eva Finne, who heard the evidence against Assange in August, threw the case out of court, saying: "I don't think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape."

That is not the reason I was there. I was there because I believe that this is about censorship and intimidation. The timing of these rehashed allegations is highly suspicious, coinciding with the recent WikiLeaks revelations and reinvigorated by a rightwing Swedish politician. There are credible rumours that this is a holding charge while an indictment is being sought in secret for his arrest and extradition to the US. An accusation of rape is the ultimate gag. Until proved otherwise, Assange has done nothing illegal, yet he is behind bars.

There is a fundamental injustice here. There are calls for the punishment (execution even) of the man who has reported war crimes, but not for those that perpetrated or sanctioned them.

On the one hand, the US is proud of its First Amendment and its long-standing commitment to the freedom of speech. It was announced last week that the US is to host next year's Unesco World Press Freedom Day event, which champions in particular "the free flow of information in this digital age".

On the other hand, it is examining ways to take legal action against Assange, who is in effect editor of the world's first stateless (non-profit) media organisation. It has blocked access to the WikiLeaks website and denied its citizens the ability to register protest through donations, all without a warrant. It has also successfully pressured Amazon, Visa, Mastercard and PayPal to withdraw their services from WikiLeaks, as well as the Swiss bank PostFinance, to close Assange's account.

WikiLeaks offers a new type of investigative journalism. I have my doubts about whether some cables should have been leaked – for example, the list of infrastructure sites vital to national security – and I share the concern that diplomacy could suffer as a result of others. But I feel passionately that democracy needs a strong and free media. It is the only way to ensure governments are honest and remain accountable.

WikiLeaks has revealed that we have been told a great many lies about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and that there has been little accountability. How are the recent revelations regarding America's secret war in Yemen not in the public interest? Don't American citizens have the right to know that, contrary to official denials, they have paid for cruise missile attacks on Yemen, which have accidentally killed 200 civilians?

I have a personal interest in the revelations about Pakistan, which highlight what many of us have long feared: that contrary to assurances from Pakistan's leaders, the US is fully ensconced, with bases and special forces, that there have been unreported civilian deaths and that the unwinnable war in Afghanistan is spilling over the border into its weak, corrupt and nuclear neighbour. The best justification governments can find to shut down information is that lives are at risk. In fact, lives have been at risk as a result of the silences and lies revealed in these leaks.

Exposés have always been initiated by leaks. As Assange himself has said: "If journalism is good, it's controversial." Without illicit information President Nixon would not have been forced to resign, we would never have known about the abuse of detainees by US personnel at Abu Ghraib, nor that US intelligence was phone-tapping and looking at emails without warrants. Daniel Ellsberg has said that when he released the Pentagon papers during the Vietnam war he suffered similar attacks. He was put on trial for theft and conspiracy and stolen medical files were used to discredit him. Now he's viewed as a journalistic hero.

If WikiLeaks is a terrorist organisation, as New York congressman Pete King stated, and if its founder, Julian Assange, is prosecuted for espionage, the future of investigative journalism everywhere is in jeopardy, as is our right as citizens to be told the truth.
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Old 12-11-2010, 05:39 PM   #274
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Assange hasn't actually been charged with anything yet Corianderstem... it's still just allegations for the moment...
Oh, okay. Thanks for correcting me - I'll edit. I hadn't realized he hadn't yet been charged. Is "pending charges" an accurate way to state it?

I thought it was interesting more to the point of how the story had been misrepresented in the media, how there were debates about condoms breaking and "sex by surprise," and how that immediately made the conversation turn towards the accusers, which is kind of par for the course anyway with many rape accusations.

I don't have an opinion about Assange himself, as obviously I don't have all the facts. But I found it very telling about the story so far and what I had just read and linked to.
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Old 12-11-2010, 05:39 PM   #275
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“sex by surprise”

should be illegal,
a 'surprise' gift should be for the benefit of the receiver, not the giver.
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Old 12-11-2010, 05:56 PM   #276
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Oh, okay. Thanks for correcting me - I'll edit. I hadn't realized he hadn't yet been charged. Is "pending charges" an accurate way to state it?

I thought it was interesting more to the point of how the story had been misrepresented in the media, how there were debates about condoms breaking and "sex by surprise," and how that immediately made the conversation turn towards the accusers, which is kind of par for the course anyway with many rape accusations.

I don't have an opinion about Assange himself, as obviously I don't have all the facts. But I found it very telling about the story so far and what I had just read and linked to.
i don't know if "pending charges" is accurate or not... from what i've read, the Swedish prosecutors just want to "interview" him about the allegations...

i kind of feel wikileaks and these allegations should be two separate issues, but obviously the whole media/governmental circus is blurring the boundaries... the allegations seem to be being used to detract and distract from the central issues at stake really... there are rumours of conspiracy theories and honeytraps, or maybe it is coincidence, but it is being used as a smear campaign against him and wikileaks... and i think one of the greatest concerns is that the US is apparently looking into ways of indicting Assange - he's now conveniently behind bars remanded in British custody having been refused bail, and if he is extradited to Sweden there are fears that he could then be extradited to the US, where people are literally baying for his blood...

it worries me that, out of this whole thing, the only two people behind bars right now are Assange and a 16-year-old hacker involved with the Operation Payback defending wikileaks... which is kind of crazy i feel... guilty until proven innocent it seems...

it's kind of startling because "less severe or low level rape", as they put it, would not normally warrant the "international manhunt" type of attention this case has been getting, plus the backlash the women involved are facing is pretty scary to say the least...
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Old 12-11-2010, 05:57 PM   #277
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"allegations-slash-potential-charges"

There. That oughta cover it.
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Old 12-11-2010, 06:07 PM   #278
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"allegations-slash-potential-charges"

There. That oughta cover it.
lmfao!!!
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Old 12-11-2010, 06:59 PM   #279
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Hip Hop, are you drunk?
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Old 12-11-2010, 08:13 PM   #280
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The effects of leftist handwringing and Geldof concerts are debatable, agreed. Anyway, I´d like to hear from you what it is Pfizer is doing so great.

Pfizer's pain can be your gain - MSN Money

A Prescription For Doing Good – Pfizer’s New Ethonomic Treatment Plan | Fast Company


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The company tested the untested medication Trovan with 100 children and used Ceftriaxone with another 100 children. 6 out of 100 children died on Trovan, 5 children with Ceftriaxone. Dozens of children were left disabled, with brain damage or paralyzed. Pfizer did not ask the parents of the children before testing, they did not have any approval from parents or Nigerian authorities.


Anti-smoking drugs that have not only been tested on adults, mainly in the west, but are available from any pharmacist on prescription, have been found to have serious side effects, including inducing suicidal ideation, among a minority of people that take them. The intentions of 'Big Pharma' in both cases, however, are surely basically good ones - curing smokers of their terrible addiction, or finding a cure for the very dangerous illness and life threatening illness of meningitis. Without wanting to slam Geldof or Bono too much, they have probably done less for the third world than scientists working their ass off to find cures for Aids, for example.

However, back to the Nigerian case - if the parents were not asked to give consent, I fully agree that this is utterly wrong and I condemn it without reservation.

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Do you know anyone working in the pharma industry, financeguy? I do.
I do know two scientists working in the Irish branch of Pfizer, but not well enough to have had in-depth conversations about their work or, for that matter, their views on the ethics of their employer, whether positive or negative. I have no direct personal connection with the pharma industry, and have never worked in the industry myself. It is possible that my opinions are biased towards Pfizer because the two individuals I happen to know that work there seem to me to be well-adjusted, responsible and talented people.

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The contrary is the case: patent laws have to be broken to transport AZT and 3TC from Brazil to South Africa, while the original drugs by GlaxoSmithKline and Boehringer Ingelheim cost more than the double.
HTB – South African treatment activists defy patent laws to import generic antiretrovirals from Brazil - one could argue that breaking patent law is a great example for "free market capitalism in action", not the other way round.
There needs to be tough anti-trust regulations to circumvent this predator behaviour. One of the problems of the neo-liberal era is abuses due to lack of proper enforcement. I would never argue for regulations to be thrown out the window, Adam Smith warned us two hundred years ago of the dangers of this and of oligopolistic behavior.
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