Youth in Vietnam Ignored by PEPFAR


Bush's announcement last week to double the funding for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to $30 billion was nothing less than political brilliance on his part. I mean that genuinely. It was a preemptive strike to once again claim empathetic superiority in an area once reserved for well-meaning progressives. Yes, it was also timed to provide cover for Bush's anti-environmentalism in advance of the G8 Summit, but here at home, it had the added utility of once again using an abundance of funding to disguise underlying policy flaws—deliberate and favored—that are hampering a good program from being a great one.

Already, some rumblings suggest that Democrats might be throwing up their hands in the face of Bush's suggestion of fiscal largess. If that happens, prevention policies will continue to undermine attempts to curb HIV transmission via commercial sex work by retaining the anti-prostitution pledge, and countries like Uganda will continue to see early successes unravel as comprehensive programs disappear in favor of abstinence and marriage promotion. But, more importantly, the same Bush ideological kin will continue to reap huge windfalls that in the long run serve only to undermine sexual and reproductive health and rights globally.

The debate on PEPFAR's future, at present on but a slow simmer, is likely to hit the front burner after the summer months. While Bush throws cash to distract, our goal as advocates must be continued vigilance in shining a light on PEPFAR's policies that are undermining prevention.

To this end, today SIECUS has released a special report on PEPFAR prevention policies and how they are affecting efforts in Vietnam (PDF), one of the 15 PEPFAR focus countries and the only one in Asia. In 2006, SIECUS and colleagues from Population Action International (PAI) conducted an investigative research trip to Vietnam. (PAI's own earlier report can be found here.) SIECUS' report is particularly focused on the impact of PEPFAR's prevention efforts on youth in Vietnam.

In 1992, Vietnam had no reported cases of HIV among youth. Less than ten years later, young people under age 19 made up 10% of all cases. Greater emphasis on testing accounts for part of this, but given that more than half of Vietnam's 84 million people are under age 24, this trend nonetheless presents a particular challenge.

PEPFAR is the largest HIV/AIDS donor in Vietnam, providing $17 million in Fiscal Year 2004 and an additional $25 million in Fiscal Year 2005. For Fiscal Year 2006, Vietnam applied for and received a waiver from the requirement that 1/3 of all prevention funding go to abstinence-until-marriage programs. This makes good sense given that commercial sex work and injection drug use are the main culprits behind Vietnam's epidemic. Yet, despite the waiver on paper, the U.S. Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) has continued to ask Vietnam to focus on abstinence and marriage promotion/faithfulness programming. This pressure from Vietnam's largest HIV/AIDS donor continues to result in a ramping up of abstinence-until-marriage programming. The funding for these types of programs has nearly doubled from $1.2 million in 2005 to $2 million allocated for 2006.

Additionally, the majority of PEPFAR's prevention funding for condom promotion in Vietnam is reserved for MARPS, or most-at-risk populations, and exclude youth more generally. To address the inability to use U.S. funds to educate youth about things other than abstinence and marriage promotion, Vietnam has secured two additional donors, the European Union and the Asia Development Bank to fund more comprehensive programs that give youth the full and complete information they need to protect themselves from HIV.

PEPFAR's splintering policies impede collaboration and the resulting lack of coordination with other donors in Vietnam is wasting both human and fiscal resources. This was documented in a 2006 report by the Center for Strategic & International Studies and corroborated in our in-country interviews with key players.

Moving forward, our report views Vietnam as yet another example of why PEPFAR's ideological shenanigans—namely the anti-prostitution pledge and the abstinence-until-marriage earmark—must be abandoned. Our research also shows that the lack of coordination by OGAC continues to be a major flaw. This lack of coordination applies both within the PEPFAR triad of treatment, care, and prevention itself, but also in how it interacts with the many other donors in the country. Bush's press to double funding before the kinks are worked out should give Congress even greater emphasis to force OGAC to solve the coordination conundrum that has become a hallmark of PEPFAR.

Will Congress heed the lessons of PEPFAR before it is reauthorized? We should be hopeful, but at the same time, recognize that it is our additional duty to leave as little wiggle room as possible. Then the Democrats can claim to have made a good program a great one and Bush's cynical support for nonsense can once again occupy the maniacal rantings of Focus on the Family instead of official U.S. international development policy.

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  • http://truthtellingforum.com/ourblogs/?cat=3 invalid-0

    Corruption Gone Wild
    Friday, June 8th, 2007
    Private contracts are handed out by the federal government in droves these days. The industrial company Northrop Grumman, which manufactures the stealth bomber, has been granted a number of lucrative contracts despite past lawsuits filed against the company.
    Named the company of the year by Forbes in 2002, and ranked number 67 on Forbes 2006 Fortune 500 list, the Los Angeles based Northrop is the third largest defense contractor in the U.S.
    Bruenn v. Northrop
    Vaughn Bruenn worked as a cost analyst for Northrop until being fired after he sought treatment for Hepatitis C. Bruenn filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against the company. “Bruenn’s due process rights were violated when the trial judge failed to remove an incompetent juror,” states a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.
    The judge also refused to admit evidence of discriminatory remarks made by one of Bruenn’s supervisors. The supervisor mistakenly accused Bruenn of being a homosexual with AIDS. The Supreme Court refused to re-hear the case.
    Bruenn remarked, “Can you image the torment I’ve endured, reading 45 days after my appeal to US Supreme Court for unlawful termination from Northrop after treatment for Hep C and Depression, the implication I was a homosexual and had AIDS by a manager and co-worker.”
    Northrop Awarded USAID/PEPFAR Contracts
    The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) established the Partnership for Supply Chain Management (the Partnership) in 2005, a multi-billion dollar contract with 15 private sector institutions, including Northrop. The Partnership strengthens “the lifeline of essential drugs and supplies for people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases in developing countries,” according to PEPFAR. President Bush created PEPFAR in 2003, through the U.S. Agency for International Development.
    The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded Northrop a $4 billion dollar grant in May 2006, shared with four other companies, to provide services in the information technology platform and infrastructure services. Months later, in August 2006, USAID picked Northrop, along with three other companies, to compete for awards totaling $300 billion.
    Political Connections and Contributions
    According to the website OpenSecrets.org, Northrop maintains connections in the federal government. Several former Bush administration officials had ties to the company. Disgraced former Chief to the President, Lewis Libby served as a consultant to Northrop. Douglas J. Feith, former Under-Secretary for Policy, is the managing partner of a law firm whose clients include Northrop. Paul Wolfowitz, former World Bank president, also served as a consultant to Northrop. The current Under Secretary for the Comptroller Dov Zakheim is on Northrop’s paid advisory board.
    Lobbying in Washington, D.C. is a multi-billion dollar industry. In 2000 Northrop gave lobbyists a total of $6,882,720, and $1,181,280 in 2001 and 2002. Northrop gave contributions to several members of Congress including $20,000 to Senator Trent Lott (R) and $17,000 to Rep. Ike Shelton (D).
    Current Northrop CEO Ron Sugar makes political contributions to both sides of the aisle. California Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) received a $900 campaign contribution in June 2006. George Allen (R) of Virginia, the incumbent senator defeated by Senator Jim Webb, received $1,000.
    http://truthtellingforum.com/ourblogs/?cat=3
    http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_gina_mar_070611_corruption_gone_wild.htm
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roy-sekoff/randall-tobias-another-g_b_47130.html
    Do you believe me now?
    Please take action I need the investigation to step up and the retribution phase to begin ASAP, so such a major fraud can never happen again.
    Thanks,
    Vaughn Bruenn
    626-622-6597
    Vaughn Bruenn
    16317 E. Lemongrass Ct
    Valinfa, CA 91744?2348
    April 10, 2007
    Commissioner Mark W. Everson
    1111 Constitution Ave., N.W.
    Washington, DC 20224
    Re: $10.7M PEPFAR supply grant, fraudulently awarded to Northrop by Dir. Randal Tobias
    Dear Commissioner Everson:
    The fraudulent $10.7M supply grant to Northrop for HIV/Hepatitis logistics, while the same Northrop unlawfully terminated me after contracting Hepatitis C. Pure fraud!

    USAID’s Dir. Randal Tobias wasted no time in awarding Northrop $10.7 M, just 45 days after the US Supreme Court Denied Rehearing. In the end, USAID must take responsibility and act fast. Certainly USAID must march to the drummer?

    On numerous occasions I’ve attempted to contact USAID OIG via email and mail, never a reply? Burrowing themselves under the ground, has been very agonizing for as many unanswered questions continue to linger.

    Those few public servants who risked all, did so as to not pass judgment, only advise, e.g. if they were me, the would contact this other person at this other agency etc.. The time to take action is now, USAID is found to be unable to police themselves, as far back as Oct 12 2004, real concerns existed: Defense Contractors To Apply for $7B PEPFAR Grant (see link pasted below).

    I would appreciate your sincere investigation.

    Thanks,

    Vaughn H. Bruenn
    626?622?6597
    http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?hint=1&DR_ID=26226
    Dear Mr. Bruenn,
    Thank you for your correspondence. I am orwarding your message to our Inspector General’s Office for their action, as appropriate.
    Regards,
    Wade Warren
    Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator
    USAID Bureau for Africa
    202?712?5665
    wwarren@usaid.gov

    “Fraud, FCPA” wrote:
    Dear Mr. Bruenn

    This office handles allegations that a company has bribed officials of foreign governments, and thus we are not in a position to assist you.
    If you believe that Northrop Grumman has engaged in misconduct in the awarding of a contract by USAID, I would recommend that you contact USAID’s Office of the Inspector General’s hotline, by phone at
    1?800?230?6539 or 202?712?1023, email ig.hotline@usaid.gov, or by mail
    to the US Agency for International Development, Office of Inspector
    General Investigations (USAID/OIG/I), P.O. Box 657, Washington, DC
    20044?0657. You may request confidentiality when using telephone or
    U.S. mail. Sincerely, Kathleen M Hamann Trial Attorney Fraud Section,
    Criminal Division U.S. Department of Justice
    From: vaughn bruenn
    [mailto:v_bruenn@yahoo.com] Sent: Friday, March 23, 2007 12:30 AM To:
    Fraud, FCPA; stopmedicalfraud@dhs.ca.gov; Fraud, Prevent;
    USTP.Bankruptcy.Fraud@UST.DOJ.GOV Subject: Fwd: Re: Bruenn v. Northrop
    Grumman involving unlawful termonation, need assist i.e. press for
    criminal charges

    Honorable Investigators, seek assistance as the GAO Office of Inspector General has regrettably ignored their obligation to investigate fraud associated with the awarding of Northrop a $10.7M USAID contract in direct violation of the USAID charter of excess awards in excessive of $500M, require a survey, which was USAID waived fraudulently.

    Seek your immediate assistance.

    Sincerely

    Vaughn Breunn
    626?622?6597
    Arkansas Democrat?Gazette,AR Jun 30, 2006
    been awarded a 10.7 million contract to continue to provide Northrop Grumman Corp. patients with chronic needs for conditions such as cancer, hepatitis, the HIV.

    I am writing to urge you to take immediate action, my Petition For Rehearing Docket No. 05?901 to the US Supreme Court was DENIED May 15.
    http://www.supremecourtus.gov/docket/05?901.htm

    With the US Supreme Court’s denial for Rehearing, is turning a blind eye to hate crimes and human rights violations, has encouraged the growth of extreme hepatitis C xenophobia and abuse in the country.

    Sincerely,

    Vaughn Bruenn

    No. 05?901

    IN THE
    Supreme Court of the United States

    VAUGHN H. BRUENN,
    Petitioner,
    v.
    NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORPORATION,
    KENNETH MARKS, AND DOES 1?10,
    Respondents.

    April 18, 2006

    PETITION FOR REHEARING
    Bruenn’s chief argument for certiorari is that the decision below conflicts with those of other courts of appeals and most importantly, with a previous United States Supreme Court ruling relating to right to fair, impartial and competent jury trials. Pet. at 3?4. Bruenn’s secondary argument relates to the improper exclusion of relevant evidence prior to trial. Pet. at 3?4. Respondent does nothing to rebut this ontention. Instead, respondent misleads the Court with misquotes and misapplication of law, arguing that the state court never considered nor was there any issue involving federal law or protections. Opp. at 3?4.
    However; even state courts must always comply with the United States Constitution and the fundamental protections granted thereby.
    Petitioner points out that the lower courts and the United States Supreme Court are divided as to whether the right to a jury trial is a fundamental right protected under the Seventh Amendment of the United States constitution.
    Article I, Section 16 of the California Constitution mirrors the Seventh Amendment of the United States Constitution. The California Supreme Court created a legal fiction that the presumption of prejudice can be rebutted by the trier of fact, sua sponte, thus permitting the trier of fact to bypass the need to conduct a hearing on juror incompetence. This is not a matter where a litigant is denied a jury trial through waiver or arbitration as Respondent argues. The significance being that since California has incorporated the language and intent of the Seventh Amendment into its constitution, and has formulated identical court rules, the impingement of the right to a fair, impartial and competent jury properly and justifiably transforms this issue into a federal law issue by virtue of the fact that Article I, Section 16 of the California Constitution is, in essence, the Seventh Amendment of the United States Constitution. The issue of juror misconduct here relates to juror incompetence due to limited English proficiency, preventing the juror from performing his duties under California Civil Procedure (C.C.P.) 203(a)(6), thus rendering him unqualified to participate in deliberations. This right to a fair and impartial jury implies the right to a mentally competent jury. McIlwain v. United States, 464 U.S. 972, 975 (1983) (citing Jordan v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 225 U.S. 167, 176 1912. This Court dealt with the broader view of juror misconduct and held that due process implies a tribunal both impartial and mentally competent to afford a hearing. Tanner v. United States, 483 U.S. 107, 126 (1987) citing Jordan, supra, at 176. Unfortunately, the Tanner court stopped short of validating post verdict investigation into juror misconduct, fearing investigations would tarnish the process and reduce the effectiveness of the jury system, notwithstanding irresponsible or improper juror behavior. Tanner, at 142.
    This ruling is clear in purpose and intent. Nonetheless, the Tanner ruling was vague as to its application, and thus served as the stimulus for the lower courts to disregard and misinterpret the right to a fair, impartial and incompetent jury. In the instant case, the trial court judge received a note from the jury foreperson stating that one of the
    jurors was having trouble speaking English. The note read: One of our jurors, while understanding the testimony, is finding it difficult to understand the liberations sic. English is his second language. We all feel this may jeopardize our deliberations. He says he needs a translator. Pet. at 26a (Appendix D). The facts are clear and unambiguous; the juror in question was going to be just as incompetent on Monday as he was on the previous Friday because he could not understand the testimony at trial. Since the state law merges with federal law as regards the right to a fair, impartial and competent jury trial, the matter now becomes an issue of federal law adaptation and application. The hybrid nature of the California law with regards to the Seventh Amendment right to jury trial mandates further review by this Court. A leading Ninth Circuit case has spoken on the matter by holding that a presumption of prejudice arises from any juror misconduct or incompetence. Hasson v. Ford Co, 32 Cal.3d 388, 416; 650 P.2d 1171; 185 Cal. Rptr. 654 (1982).
    The Hasson court logically reasoned that civil litigants, like criminal defendants, have a constitutionally protected right to the complete consideration of their case by an impartial panel of jurors. U.S. Const, 7th Amend; Cal. Const, art. I, 16 Hasson, at 416 citing Andrews v.County of Orange, 130 Cal.App.3d 944, 953 182 Cal.Rptr. 176 (1982); People v. Honeycutt, 20 Cal.3d 150, 156, 141 Cal.Rptr. 698, 570, P.2d 1050 (1977).
    In the instant case, there was clear evidence of prejudice by the juror’s incompetence based on his/her limited English proficiency. But the California Supreme Court ignored and completely bypassed the presumption of prejudice rule and failed to give any weight to constitutional ramifications when it received the juror note and failed to investigate. The note offered proof of the offending juror’s inability to perform his/her duties. Each juror must be able to actively participate in the deliberation process; to exchange ideas and offer different viewpoints in essence, to have meaningful discourse, to listen and present their own analysis. Were the rule otherwise, litigants could be deprived of the complete, thoughtful consideration of the merits of their cases to which they are constitutionally entitled. (U.S. Const.,7th Amend; Cal. Const, art. I, 16.) Hasson, at 416. The Seventh Amendment and Article I, Section 16 (California) right to jury trial thus become meaningless if the lower courts are permitted to franchise their own misguided interpretation of federal law, ignoring the essence and spirit of the law. This Court issued its ruling in Tanner, but the ruling was ambiguous at best
    Sincerely,
    Vaughn Bruenn
    626?622?6597

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    Forwarded Message [ Download File | Save to Yahoo! Briefcase ]
    Subject: RE: Re: Bruenn v. Northrop Grumman – involving unlawfultermonation, need assist i.e. press for criminal charges
    Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 08:42:43 -0400
    From: “Fraud, FCPA”
    To: “vaughn bruenn”
    HTML Attachment [ Scan and Save to Computer | Save to Yahoo! Briefcase ]
    Dear Mr. Bruenn –

    This office handles allegations that a company has bribed officials of foreign governments, and thus we are not in a position to assist you. If you believe that Northrop Grumman has engaged in misconduct in the awarding of a contract by USAID, I would recommend that you contact USAID’s Office of the Inspector General’s hotline, by phone at 1-800-230-6539 or 202-712-1023, email ig.hotline@usaid.gov, or by mail to the US Agency for International Development, Office of Inspector General Investigations (USAID/OIG/I), P.O. Box 657, Washington, DC 20044-0657. You may request confidentiality when using telephone or U.S. mail.
    Sincerely,
    Kathleen M Hamann
    Trial Attorney
    Fraud Section, Criminal Division
    U.S. Department of Justice

    From: vaughn bruenn [mailto:v_bruenn@yahoo.com]
    Sent: Friday, March 23, 2007 12:30 AM
    To: Fraud, FCPA; stopmedicalfraud@dhs.ca.gov; Fraud, Prevent; USTP.Bankruptcy.Fraud@UST.DOJ.GOV
    Subject: Fwd: Re: Bruenn v. Northrop Grumman – involving unlawfultermonation, need assist i.e. press for criminal charges

    Honorable Investigators, seek assistance as the GAO Office of Inspector General has regrettably ignored their obligation to investigate fraud associated with the awarding of Northrop a $10.7M USAID contract in direct violation of the USAID charter of excess awards in excessive of $500M, require a survey, which was USAID waived fraudulently.

    Seek your immediate assistance.

    Sincerely

    Vaughn Breunn
    626-622-6597