A response to Texas' charge of 'intimidation' against
Thu Mar 29, 2012 14:06
A response to Texas' charge of 'intimidation' against Reprieve Texas' justice department, stung by revelations of the execution drug trade, accuses us of 'harassment'. Mirror, mirror … • Clive Stafford Smith • guardian.co.uk, Thursday 29 March 2012 18.10 BST
The Guardian has reported an extraordinary attack on Reprieve by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). Reprieve is accused of "'intimidation and commercial harassment' of manufacturers of medical drugs used in lethal injections". We are "authoritarian ideologues who menace and harass private citizens who decline to submit to Reprieve's opinion on the morality of capital punishment by lethal injection." The Guardian is correct that this is "astonishingly vivid language"; it is also defamatory nonsense, and I would like to set the record straight.
This week, I was in Copenhagen, meeting with the Ulf Wiinberg, the CEO of Lundbeck, a Danish pharmaceutical company. Unbeknown to Wiinberg, some months back, the TDCJ had got its hands on a drug manufactured by Lundbeck, pentobarbital, and wanted to use it to kill people. Wiinberg and his colleagues had been horrified to learn of this. Their corporate emblem is a starfish, and he elaborated to me on the ancient Chinese tale behind it: an old man, picking up starfish and tossing them back into the sea, was confronted by a cynic: "Why bother? There are thousands, and many will die." He replied: "To this single starfish, it is the difference between life and death."
Lundbeck's corporate purpose is to help the starfish into the water – to promote health, and save lives. The TDCJ would rather snatch a healthy starfish from the sea and put it on dry land to die. There is the difference. It is not Reprieve that "intimidates" Lundbeck; it is the TDCJ that wishes to use Lundbeck's drug in a manner antithetical to its purpose, without the basic good manners that might have prompted a call to Wiinberg to forewarn him, or ask for consent.
Indeed, the TDCJ is not just rude; it is itself a major actor in a broader pattern of illegality and harassment. The TDCJ suggests that Reprieve has somehow acted improperly with respect to Dream Pharma, the UK drug company that surreptitiously exported sodium thiopental to the US for executions from its office in a driving school in Acton. Yet, by a convenient coincidence, this Tuesday, federal district judge Richard Leon issued an order against the US Food and Drug Administration, ruling that it was the US government – not Reprieve – that had acted illegally in that case.
I have appeared before Judge Leon several times, and he has a reputation as a conservative jurist. He wrote in his judgment:
"In the final analysis, the FDA appears to be simply wrapping itself in the flag of law enforcement discretion to justify its authority and masquerade an otherwise seemingly callous indifference to the health consequences of those imminently facing the executioner's needle. How utterly disappointing!"
It does not end there. Nebraska recently wanted to import drugs from India to kill people. An employee of the state's department of corrections felt – correctly, as Judge Leon later underlined – that this would be illegal. She was fired for standing up for what is right and proper, and has now sued for wrongful dismissal.
Yes, there has been "intimidation"; yes, indeed, there are "authoritarian ideologues who menace and harass private citizens who decline to submit to [their] opinion on the morality of capital punishment by lethal injection". Those who wrote these words for the TDCJ will see their reflection in the mirror before them.
26 March 2012 New campaign urges pharma firms to sign anti-execution ‘Hippocratic oath’ Legal action charity Reprieve has today launched a campaign calling on pharmaceutical companies to sign a... more
08 May 2012 US hospitals face medicine shortages as crucial supplies diverted to executions US hospitals are facing shortages of a key medicine used in surgical anaesthesia as death rows stockpile... more
Tuesday, April 3, 2012 | Lincoln Journal Star Editorial: Suspend search for execution drug Nebraska and other states already have stretched ethical boundaries in trying to find a supply of sodium... more
http://www.omaha.com/article/20120418/NEWS01/704199965 Thursday April 19, 2012 State asked to return death drug By Paul Hammel WORLD-HERALD BUREAU LINCOLN — The State of Nebraska has been asked to... more
Time has come to repeal death penalty in Nebraska March 21, 2013 BY ERIC BERGER The Nebraska Legislature’s proposed bill to abolish the death penalty invites all Nebraskans to reconsider the wisdom... more
Nevada Department of Corrections lacks plan for executions due to prison closure, drug shortage May. 9, 2012 Written by Martha Bellisle Four months after shutting down Nevada State Prison in Carson... more
Deadly Blow to Death Penalty Drugs by Pratap Chatterjee, CorpWatch Blog March 28th, 2012 U.S. imports of sodium thiopental - often called the “truth serum” – have been banned by a judge because of... more
Texas intimidated.....ha ha ha stop it... We all know what's wrong with Texas, its getting difficult to get the killer drug and its those pesky activists who made it hard for them..... Three cheers... more
Friday, March 30, 2012 Prison system appears to have bought $50,000 in execution drug last year By Mike Ward | AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF A year ago, facing a possible shortage of key drugs needed to... more
March 29, 2012 Federal judge blocks imports of lethal-injection drug sodium thiopental By Crimesider Staff . (CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - A federal judge has blocked the importation of the drug sodium... more
These prisons think the laws of the land don't apply to them so three cheers for judge Leon, about time someone had the backbone to stop them using these inferior drugs in executions! Those awaiting... more
Ruling on execution drugs will have echo in India NARAYAN LAKSHMAN March 28, 2012 In a landmark ruling, a U.S. judge has ordered the Food and Drug Administration regulator to immediately notify state ... more
A response to Texas' charge of 'intimidation' against Petra.,Thu Mar 29 14:06
Legally Killing People Has Gotten A Lot More Expensive The Huffington Post | By Khadeeja Safdar Posted: 03/30/2012 6:17 pm Updated: 03/30/2012 8:14 pm The price of execution drugs is now 15 times... more
03/29/2012 Permalink Sodium Thiopenta Foreign Lethal Injection Drugs Must Meet FDA Standards Posted by Brian Stull, Capital Punishment Project at 12:28pm The courts of the U.S. have long held that... more
Judge to rule on Ohio lethal injection process By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, The Associated Press 2:21 PM Thursday, March 29, 2012 COLUMBUS, Ohio — A federal judge will determine whether Ohio has proper... more