Clark Baker: Inspiration to Global Humanitarians

NOTE: In keeping with my series of posts demonstrating Mr. Baker’s penchant for extreme exaggerations, I thought I would re-post this from January 2012. This post demonstrates Mr. Baker’s reckless abandon with the truth and arguably with reality. This is, quite possibly, the Mother-of-all-Exaggerations by Mr. Clark Baker.

Original Post

Clark Baker has made the outrageous claim that the change in policy regarding HIV Criminalization in the U.S. and the world is a direct result of his supposed success in 38 HIV cases since 2009 via his Office of Medical and Scientific Justice:

OMSJ Victories Raise Humanitarian Complaints

Mr. Baker egotistically claims that he started his HIV Innocence Project (now Group) in 2009 and lo and behold in 2010 the rest of the country and the world followed suit.

Despite 25 years of criminal prosecutions against hundreds of factually-innocent men and women, US and UN officials – along with pharmaceutically-funded gay activists – are suddenly calling for the end of all HIV-related criminal prosecutions. Their demands coincidentally began months after OMSJ began to expose HIV experts as incompetent in several prominent criminal trials. (emphasis mine)

Mr. Baker even claims that the Obama Administration announced a major change in its HIV/AIDS policy producing a 60 page document in 2010 called National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States all because of Mr. Baker’s successful track record regarding HIV Criminalization cases since 2009. This track record only consisted of 5 cases when the Obama Administration put out this tome: Oct 2009 to July 2010. I would venture to say that 5 cases is not exactly attention grabbing.

Beginning with the Obama Administration and United Nations in 2010 and members of Congress a year later, lobbyists and activists have suddenly decided that the prosecution of HIV-patients violates basic human rights (emphasis Baker) and should stop immediately…human rights only became an issue after (emphasis Baker) OMSJ began to expose “HIV experts” as unapologetically corrupt or, at best, grossly incompetent.  OMSJ’s success exposes the 30-year hoax and threatens a wave of multistate class-action lawsuits against thousands of incompetent clinicians throughout the US .

Here is the problem with Mr. Baker’s assertions: as usual, he is completely full of shit.

I can justifiably go back to 2002 to prove that Mr. Baker is undeniably wrong by presenting this document from UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS:

Criminal Law, Public Health and HIV Transmission: A Policy Options Paper  Geneva, Switzerland June 2002

Just a sample from the table of contents from this 52 page document shows not only was the U.S. way ahead of Mr. Baker on this issue, but the rest of the world was as well:

Guiding principles
· Best available evidence should be the basis of policy
· Prevention of HIV must be the primary objective of the policy of criminalization
· Policy must respect human rights
· Infringements of human rights must be adequately justified
Broader policy considerations
Difficulties with proof
Possible detrimental effect on public health initiatives
(1) Reinforcing HIV/AIDS-related stigma
(2) Spreading misinformation about HIV/AIDS
(3) Disincentive to HIV testing
(4) Hindering access to counseling and support
(5) Creating a false sense of security
Risk of selective prosecution
Gender inequality and criminalization
Invasions of privacy

There is also this 36 page follow up in 2007:
Summary of main issues and conclusions
International Consultation on the Criminalization of HIV Transmission
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
United Nations Development Programme
31 October – 2 November 2007
Geneva, Switzerland

In 2002, UNAIDS issued a policy options paper on this issue.  In light of renewed calls for the application of criminal law to HIV transmission and concerns raised in this regard by the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Humans Rights and others, UNDP and the UNAIDS Secretariat decided to bring together a number of legal experts and other concerned stakeholders to discuss this issue in the context of an effective human rights and public health response to HIV.

Moving along chronologically is this document distributed in 2008 (researched/data compiled since 2006):

Ten Reasons to Oppose the Criminalization of HIV Exposure or Transmission

Date: December 1, 2008
Open Society Institute
While these issues must be urgently addressed, a closer analysis of the complex issues raised by criminalization of HIV exposure or transmission reveals that criminalization is unlikely to prevent new infections or reduce women’s vulnerability to HIV. In fact, it may harm women rather than assist them, and negatively impact both public health and human rights. This document, co-produced by OSI, provides ten reasons why criminalizing HIV exposure or transmission is generally an unjust and ineffective public policy. It has been endorsed by leading human rights, AIDS, and women’s organizations and networks throughout the world.

All the above information adequately proves that Mr. Baker is completely wrong in his assertion that he is the Supreme Instrument of Change regarding HIV Criminalization in the U.S. and the world.  But let’s look specifically at Mr. Baker’s claim regarding the U.S. and the Obama Administration.   Even though National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States was published in 2010 it was inspired by research from Scott Burris et al published in 2008:   (Under “Legal Events…” go to United States)

In July 2010 the White House announced a major change in its HIV/AIDS policy, a change informed by public health law research carried out by Scott Burris, professor of law at Temple University and the director of the Public Health Law Research program. The official National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States concluded that “the continued existence and enforcement of these types of laws [criminalizing HIV infection] run counter to scientific evidence about routes of HIV transmission and may undermine the public health goals of promoting HIV screening and treatment.”

The administration strategy credits The case against criminalization of HIV transmission”, a piece by Burris and Edwin Cameron, a South African judge, in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2008. They wrote “The use of criminal law to address HIV infection is inappropriate except in rare cases in which a person acts with conscious intent to transmit HIV and does so.”
Professor Burris has produced a prodigious amount of research on this very subject going back to 2002 which the Obama Administration used as a basis for its new policy:

Evaluating the Impact of Criminal Laws on HIV Risk Behavior Scott Burris, JD 2002
Do Criminal Laws Influence HIV Risk Behavior? Scott Burris, JD 2007
The Criminalization of HIV: Time for an Unambiguous Rejection of the Use of Criminal Law to Regulate the Sexual Behavior of Those with and at Risk of HIV Scott Burris, JD 2008
HIV is a Virus, Not a Crime: Ten Reasons Against Criminal Statutes and Criminal Prosecutions Scott Burris, JD 2008
The Case Against Criminalization of HIV Transmission Scott Burris, JD 2008
Ten Reasons to Oppose the Criminalization of HIV Exposure or Transmission Scott Burris, JD 2009

I should also note the existence of an extremely comprehensive blog started by Edwin J. Bernard in 2005 simply titled HIV Criminal Transmission Blog. This blog constitutes specific laws and cases from around the world including the history of HIV Criminalization laws. Edwin J. Bernard also literally wrote the book on this subject, again titled HIV Criminalization and was published in 2007.

Here is a very interesting history of HIV Criminalization by James B. McArthur published in the Cornell Law Review 2009:
As The Tide Turns: The Changing HIV/AIDS Epidemic and the Criminalization of HIV Exposure

Mr. McArthur concludes that making new laws have proven to further stigmatize those with HIV and that current laws should be adequate.  New, HIV specific laws lead to stigma, discrimination and fear as well as serve to deter people from being tested.

All of this information is simply a drop in the ocean regarding the research, discussion and evolution on the topic of HIV Criminalization Policy in the U.S. and the world.  This discussion has been going on for almost as long as the disease has been identified.  For Mr. Baker to claim to be even remotely responsible is egotistical at best and ridiculously delusional at worst. .  My point is further driven home by this very website which meticulously details that Mr. Baker has not even been involved in many of the cases he lists at his OMSJ site.  How can he possibly claim victory for something he has not even been involved with?   I could not have asked for better proof that Mr. Baker is a complete and utter fraud lacking not only an ounce of truth, but a smidgen of integrity or dignity as well.

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