Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Carl-Fear and Loathing in Bioethics
A passage from Fred Alford’s excellent book, Whistleblowers: Broken Lives and Organizational Power:
“Usually the whistleblower is not fired outright. The organization’s goal is to disconnect the act of whistleblowing from the act of retaliation, which is why so much legislation to protect the whistleblower is practically irrelevant. The usual practice is to demoralize and humiliate the whistleblower, putting him or her under such psychological stress that it becomes difficult to do a good job. If the whistleblower is under enough stress, he or she is likely to make a bad decision, justifying disciplinary actions. A surprising number of whistleblowers have been given closets for offices. One was ordered to go into his closet at nine and not come out until five. A few whistleblowers have been transferred to positions for which they lacked the requisite skills, virtually guaranteeing that they would fail. A series of bad efficiency reports would follow, along with psychological evaluations. Only then was the whistleblower dismissed.”
“The Stasi perfected the technique of psychological harassment of perceived enemies known as Zersetzung – a term borrowed from chemistry which literally means “corrosion” or “undermining”.
By the 1970s, the Stasi had decided that methods of overt persecution which had been employed up to that time, such as arrest and torture, were too crude and obvious. It was realised that psychological harassment was far less likely to be recognised for what it was, so its victims, and their supporters, were less likely to be provoked into active resistance, given that they would often not be aware of the source of their problems, or even its exact nature. Zersetzung was designed to side-track and “switch off” perceived enemies so that they would lose the will to continue any “inappropriate” activities.
Tactics employed under Zersetzung generally involved the disruption of the victim’s private or family life. This often included breaking into homes and messing with the contents – moving furniture, altering the timing of an alarm, removing pictures from walls or replacing one variety of tea with another. Other practices included smear campaigns, denunciation, provocation, psychological warfare, psychological subversion, wiretapping, bugging, mysterious phone calls or unnecessary deliveries, even including sending a vibrator to a target’s wife. Usually victims had no idea the Stasi were responsible. Many thought they were losing their minds, and mental breakdowns and suicide could result.
One great advantage of the harassment perpetrated under Zersetzung was that its subtle nature meant that it was able to be denied. That was important given that the GDR was trying to improve its international standing during the 1970s and 80s.
Zersetzung techniques have since been adopted by other security agencies, particularly the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).”
“Community Engagement” (prenup OK?)
“Research means a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. Activities which meet this definition constitute research for purposes of this policy, whether or not they are conducted or supported under a program which is considered research for other purposes. For example, some demonstration and service programs may include research activities.”
“Intervention includes both physical procedures by which data are gathered (for example, venipuncture) and manipulations of the subject or the subject’s environment that are performed for research purposes. Interaction includes communication or interpersonal contact between investigator and subject. Private information includes information about behavior that occurs in a context in which an individual can reasonably expect that no observation or recording is taking place, and information which has been provided for specific purposes by an individual and which the individual can reasonably expect will not be made public (for example, a medical record). Private information must be individually identifiable (i.e., the identity of the subject is or may readily be ascertained by the investigator or associated with the information) in order for obtaining the information to constitute research involving human subjects.
Institution is defined in 45 CFR 46.102(b) as any public or private entity or agency (including federal, state, and other agencies).
For purposes of this document, an institution’s employees or agents refers to individuals who: (1) act on behalf of the institution; (2) exercise institutional authority or responsibility; or (3) perform institutionally designated activities. “Employees and agents” can include staff, students, contractors, and volunteers, among others, regardless of whether the individual is receiving compensation.”
Research with impunity-
“Certificates and Assurances of Confidentiality”
“Extent and Limitations of Coverage
Certificates can be used for biomedical, behavioral, clinical or other types of research that is sensitive. Research data is sensitive when disclosure of identifying information could have adverse consequences for subjects or damage their financial standing, employability, insurability, or reputation.
Examples of sensitive research activities include but are not limited to the following:
* Collecting genetic information;
* Collecting information on psychological well-being of subjects;
* Collecting information on subjects’ sexual attitudes, preferences or practices;
* Collecting data on substance abuse or other illegal risk behaviors;
* Studies where subjects may be involved in litigation related to exposures under study (e.g., environmental or occupational exposures).
In general, certificates are issued for single, well-defined research projects rather than groups or classes of projects.
A Certificate of Confidentiality protects personally identifiable information about subjects in the research project while the Certificate is in effect. Generally, Certificates are effective on the date of issuance or upon commencement of the research project if that occurs after the date of issuance. The expiration date should correspond to the completion of the study. The Certificate will state the date upon which it becomes effective and the date upon which it expires. A Certificate of Confidentiality protects all information identifiable to any individual who participates as a research subject (i.e., about whom the investigator maintains identifying information) during any time the Certificate is in effect. An extension of coverage must be requested if the research extends beyond the expiration date of the original Certificate. However, the protection afforded by the Certificate is permanent. All personally identifiable information maintained about participants in the project while the Certificate is in effect is protected in perpetuity. Some projects are ineligible for a Certificate of Confidentiality. To be eligible for a CDC Certificate, a project must be: (1) research, (2) funded by CDC, (3) collecting personally identifiable information that is sensitive and, if disclosed, could significantly harm or damage the participant, and (4) reviewed and approved by IRB(s). “
“Russian spy agency targeting western diplomats
FSB using psychological techniques developed by KGB to intimidate and demoralise diplomatic staff, activists and journalists”
# The Guardian, Friday 23 September 2011 11.09 EDT
“British sources admit they have files “five or six inches thick” detailing FSB break-ins and other incidents of harassment against Moscow embassy staff. “Generally we don’t make a fuss about it,” one said. So pervasive is the FSB’s campaign that the British government is unable to staff fully its Moscow embassy. The intrusions are designed to “short-tour” diplomats so they leave their posts early, the source said.
Despite a recent improvement in US-Russian relations, the FSB has also targeted US diplomats and their families. In a 2009 confidential diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks, the US ambassador in Moscow, John Beyrle, complains that the FSB’s aggressive measures have reached unprecedented levels.”
This could have been backlash against Pharma clinical trials in Russia.
“Pharmaceutical Companies Test Opportunities in Russia”
By Kathlyn Stone, About.com Guide