Monday, February 28, 2011

Tenofovir Gel Provides High Level of Protection Against HIV in Rectal Tissue

via Microbicide Trials Network

[The abstract, RMP-02/MTN-006: A Phase I Placebo Controlled Trial of Rectally Applied 1% Vaginal Tenofovir Gel with Comparison to Oral Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate, is being presented at a scientific session at CROI 2011



Strongest effect seen in tissue taken from participants after one week of use

BOSTON, Feb. 28, 2011 – A gel developed to protect against HIV during vaginal sex produced a strong antiviral effect when used in the rectum, according to an early-phase study presented today at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI). The results, based on rectal tissue biopsies sampled from HIV-negative men and women who used the product daily for one week, provide the first-ever evidence that tenofovir gel could help reduce the risk of HIV from anal sex, even though the vaginal gel formulation may not be optimal for rectal use.

Tenofovir gel was not especially well-liked by a majority of men and women in the study, yet most reported they would be likely to use the gel if it became available in the future as a method for preventing HIV. Although the study found use of the gel generally safe, side effects were problematic to a few study participants. In hopes of making tenofovir gel more acceptable for rectal use, researchers have since modified the gel and are now testing it in another study.

“We are very encouraged about these findings that indicate applying tenofovir gel topically to the rectum could be a promising approach to HIV prevention,” said Peter Anton, M.D., professor of medicine and director of the Center for Prevention Research at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), who led the study with Ian McGowan, M.D., Ph.D., co-principal investigator of the Microbicide Trials Network (MTN) and professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.

“These are early results, but help set the stage for current and future trials of rectal microbicides and the development of a rectal-specific formulation of tenofovir gel,” added Dr. McGowan, who is leading the second study of the new gel formulation.

Microbicides, products applied on the inside of the rectum or vagina, are being designed and tested to help prevent or reduce the sexual transmission of HIV or other sexually transmitted infections. The majority of microbicide research thus far has focused on products to prevent HIV during vaginal sex. Yet, the risk of becoming infected with HIV from unprotected anal sex may be at least 20 times greater than unprotected vaginal sex, in part because the rectal lining is only one-cell thick compared to the vagina’s multiple layers, making it easier for the virus to reach cells to infect.

The study, known as RMP-02/MTN-006, is the first clinical trial of tenofovir gel for rectal use. Last year, tenofovir gel was shown in a trial called CAPRISA 004 to reduce the risk of HIV infection in women who used it before and after vaginal sex.

Conducted at UCLA and the University of Pittsburgh, RMP-02/MTN-006 tested two products – tenofovir gel and oral tenofovir – in 18 sexually abstinent, HIV-negative men and women. Oral tenofovir, an antiretroviral (ARV) tablet commonly used to treat people with HIV in combination with other ARVs, is being explored as a means to prevent infection in people who are HIV-negative through an approach called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

The trial directly compared the anti-HIV activity of a single dose of oral tenofovir to a single dose of rectally-applied tenofovir gel. This was followed by six days of at-home dosing of tenofovir gel or a placebo gel, with the last and seventh dose given in the clinic. A novel approach was used to determine whether any actual protection was provided by the drug given in the different regimens – single oral, single gel and seven-day gel (or placebo) – in which small biopsies were taken from the rectal lining of the participants using a standard clinical procedure called sigmoidoscopy. The tissue samples were then sent directly to the laboratory where they were exposed to HIV to determine how well study products protected the tissue from infection.

The researchers found that HIV was significantly inhibited in tissue samples from participants who used tenofovir gel daily for one week compared to tissue from participants who used the placebo gel. While a slight anti-viral effect was noted in tissue from participants who received a single dose of tenofovir gel, the finding was not statistically significant. The single dose of oral tenofovir did not provide any protection against HIV in rectal tissue samples.

“These kinds of efforts early in the development phase of rectal microbicides can give us insight into a particular product’s potential efficacy, which enables us to better design and hasten the pace of future clinical trials,” said Dr. Anton.

According to self-reports, only 25 percent of men and women who had used the tenofovir gel said they liked it. However, when asked whether they would consider using the product in the future, 75 percent of these participants reported a high likelihood of future use. Two of the 12 participants who received tenofovir gel reported severe gastrointestinal side effects, including diarrhea and lower abdominal cramps.

“These results tell us that tenofovir gel was relatively safe to use in the rectum for most participants, but we need to address side effects to make it more acceptable to use,” said Dr. Anton, who reported the findings at CROI. “Even though three-quarters of the participants reported they didn’t like the gel, we are very encouraged that the majority would consider using such a product in the future.”

Another study, MTN-007, now underway is using a formulation of tenofovir gel with less glycerin, a common additive found in many gel-like products, in the hope that this will make it better tolerated when used in the rectum. Laboratory tests of the reformulated gel suggest it is just as effective as the original formulation but less irritating to the epithelium – the layer of cells that serves as a protective barrier inside the rectum. The study began in October 2010 and is enrolling 60 men and women at three sites – University of Pittsburgh, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Fenway Health in Boston.

In addition to Drs. Anton and McGowan, other authors of RMP-02/MTN-006 are Ross Cranston, M.D., University of Pittsburgh; Alex Carballo-Dieguez, Ph.D., Columbia University; Angela Kashuba, PharmD, University of North Carolina; Elena Khanukhova, UCLA; Julie Elliott, UCLA; Laura Janocko, Ph.D., MTN and Magee-Womens Research Institute; William Cumberland, Ph.D., UCLA; and Christine Mauck, M.D., M.P.H., CONRAD.

RMP-02/MTN-006 was a collaboration between the Microbicide Development Program at UCLA and the MTN. UCLA’s Microbicide Development Program is funded by the Division of AIDS Integrated Preclinical/Clinical Program for HIV Topical Microbicides at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The study products were developed by Gilead Sciences, Inc., of Foster City, Calif., which assigned the rights for tenofovir gel to the International Partnership for Microbicides of Silver Spring, Md., and CONRAD, of Arlington, Va., in December 2006. Gilead Sciences and CONRAD provided the study products free of charge.

# # #

Additional information about the study and rectal microbicides is available here.

The Microbicide Trials Network (MTN) is an HIV/AIDS clinical trials network established in 2006 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases with co-funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Mental Health, all components of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Based at Magee-Womens Research Institute and the University of Pittsburgh, the MTN brings together international investigators and community and industry partners who are devoted to preventing or reducing the sexual transmission of HIV through the development and evaluation of products applied topically to mucosal surfaces or administered orally.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dr. Donna Hope-Marquis’ Examining masculinities in dancehall via "Man Vibes" book

Clyde McKenzie from the famous article where he asked for a truce between dancehall and the gay activists: see the poignant piece here from GLBTQ Jamaica he is also the head of Shocking Vibes Entertainment the former home of Beenieman

Donna Hope-Marquis one of Buju Banton's ardent supporters and a scholar documenting several aspects of Dancehall over the years.

Clyde McKenzie speaks to Donna Hope-Marquis’analytical work
BY BASIL WALTERS


UNLIKE its predecessors, dancehall attracts the most analytical discourse in popular Jamaican music. And for at least one good reason. It is the longest surviving genre since ska eclipsed mento to herald in our nationhood almost 50 years ago. Dancehall has been around for three of those five decades.
Its analysis continues with the coming of Dr Donna Hope-Marquis' second book, Man Vibes: Masculinities in the Jamaican Dancehall. "A piece of scholarship that is relevant, entertaining and provocative," was how guest speaker Clyde McKenzie described the book at its launch at the Undercroft, UWI, Mona.

McKenzie offered his perspective on aspects of the dancehall covered in the newly published work by Dr Hope-Marquis. These include the badman image, aggression, fashion and homophobia.
He contextualised his discourse by noting that notions of masculinity in the dancehall have been affected by an increasing tendency towards what he would describe as the feminisation of commerce in mainstream cultures.

The music industry insider observed that historically, there has been the use of the feminine form to sell everything from food to fantasy. Against that background, he advanced the view that convinced of the awesome commercial power of the feminine essence, and pressed by the need to expand their product lines and profitability, marketers have moved decisively to induce men to exercise cosmetic choices which would have traditionally been the preserve of women. Hence the rise of the metrosexual — a person (usually male) of indeterminate sexuality whose cosmetic choices approximates those of his opposite sex.
"Yet I submit," McKenzie argued, "that there might be other forces at play in the feminising of the dancehall some of which might seem counter intuitive. As we noted earlier the image of the bad man occupies an exalted space in the dancehall cosmology. One of the features
of traditional hegemonic masculinity and its expression in the dancehall is aggression. In fact so entrenched is the perceptual association of aggression and masculinity that violence was often considered primarily a male prerogative."
The well known guest speaker went on to articulate the point that we have not only witnessed the masculinisation of criminality, but have also seen the companion phenomenon which is the criminilisation of masculinity.

"It is no secret that in many innercity communities one seems marked for death for carrying the Y chromosome. The natural assumption is that to be a young male in the inner city is to be criminal. This begs the question whether the increasing examples of feminised men in the dancehall is an example of camouflage. Are these men in the dancehall subconsciously assuming more effeminate appearances in order to forestall the violence being visited upon them by the police and thugs who sometimes cannot be properly differentiated."
As he continue his indepth examination of the dancehall, he arrived at the position that informs that both men and women now have greater freedom to do and say what they wish with the growing recession of moral absolutes.
"No book examining attitudes in the dancehall would be complete without the issue of homosexuality which perhaps more than any other issue has managed to place the dancehall community at odds with mainstream society.

"The lyrical posture of dancehall has been strident in its condemnation of homosexual and transgendered forms of behavioural expressions. This stance has struck many outsiders as strange given what appears to be the increasing feminisation of the dress codes in the dancehall as Hope informs her readers. Yet while the dancehall might not be deemed a homosocial space there are indications to suggest that the charges of homophobia being levelled against its adherents might be overblown."
McKenzie then went on to suggest that there is a growing level of tolerance within the dancehall space for homosexuals. And that much of the negating rhetoric from the dancehall is perhaps diversionary, a tactic to allow dancehall adherents to continue their lyrical forays into delicate feminine spaces without being charged with being morally bankrupt and close-minded.

"Holding the conservative line might well be an attempt to be exonerated from charges of immorality particularly in the face of what many would consider patently offensive examples of lyrical creativity in the dancehall," he added.
"However," McKenzie asserted, "no account of the issues addressed in Man Vibes would be faithful to its contents without paying some attention to the vagina, that site of nativity and frequent metaphorical excursions. As (Dr) Hope points out this area of the female anatomy is possesses mystical properties that is both loved and feared.
"(Dr) Hope points to what can be described as the celebration of the mother and the denigration of the babymother in the dancehall. This placement of these two important players of the feminine in opposition to each other is perhaps a scheme in the grand power design of hegemonic masculinity to neutralise the perceived power of womanhood. After all it is often the mother who has the spiritual antidote to neutralise the the spiritual venom of the baby mother.
"It should be noted that the denigration of the babymother is often a defence mechanism employed by putative fathers to deny maintenance to their children.
Hope speaks of the promiscuity which is rampant in the dancehall and which is epitomised by the old dawg mentality. She adduces a number of reasons for what many would consider irresponsible behaviour. She also lists the penchant for pavanage which is characteristic of many of the more financially stable members of the dancehall who seek to flaunt their new found wealth, imagined or real."

But what was the thinking that inspired the author to write Man Vibes. "Who is a Jamaican man? Who is this person that we talk about, who is a real Jamaican man...Who are the men that I met in my life and who influenced me significantly. ...Man Vibes is dedicated to particular men in my life who impacted on me up to that time in my journey. The memories of my father Lloyd, my grandfather Wilbert, my mentor Rupert Lewis (I call him Sir Lewis...), my brother Trevor who is here, my son Kirkland and my friend, partner and husband Mr Marquis... And these men for me at that time, represented my man vibes in a very important way," revealed Dr Hope-Marquis

Friday, February 25, 2011

Barbara Gloudon: "It isn't the gays who've sent him to prison, despite all the Boom-Bye-Bye controversy. It wasn't because he's a black man from Ja"

Tenky Barbara Tenky at least the sensible folks who watched the trial and observed the real issues are speaking out, here is Playright, one time actress, journalist and Radio Jamaica's Hotline Program Host Barbara Gloudon saying it as it is.
For the folks looking for someone to blame then blame Buju himself, he messed up indeed, read the transcript as his own words defiled him.

As taken from the transcripts themselves in the conversation between himself and the informant (Buju didn't know it at the time) he seems clearly interested in doing business, get the full 62 paged document here: http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2010/PDFs/banton.pdf he referred to snitches and that he didn't event trust the privacy of the very conversation he was having then with the man named CS.

Miss Gloudon says:


Buju must face the music

YOUR FAVOURITE Buju song? Mine is Sudan. No other artiste has sung with so much feeling of a country's pain. Today, who will sing for Buju? There's been almost a child-like belief by supporters here and in the diaspora who convinced themselves that he would've been acquitted to return home to a hero's welcome and to live happily ever after.

If the story had gone that way, I would have been as delighted as every Jamaican who has revelled in his awesome talent - the sensitivity of his lyrics and his ability to hold the audience with riveting performances... but life doesn't always go the way we want. Buju might be one of our beloved icons, but in the eyes of the American legal system, cocaine talk ain't funny. He messed up and when you mess up in their jurisdiction, you pay for it.

I don't know how deep ran the cool and controlled exterior which "the Gargamel" exhibited after the announcement of the guilty verdict on Tuesday afternoon. There was a classiness in the wording of his statement (here abbreviated). "Our life and our destiny are sometimes pre-destined... I fought the good fight..." The cold fact, however, is that, despite his fight, our hero is likely to do time, unless some really cataclysmic upset occurs at the sentencing.

All things equal, he has more years ahead of him. He is now 37 years old. In another era, he'd be well on the way to middle age. Today, even while extreme youth is revered, at 37 he is not over the hill yet. What must be in the minds of those who now contemplate his future? How will he survive those years, and is this the end of him, as far as a career goes? What a cruel twist of fate to get the Grammy and not be on the outside to reap the rewards!

On Tuesday night, I went home from a very long day's demands to find on the TV a programme produced by National Geographic and presented on HBO, highlighting life in America's prisons. "It is not an easy road", Buju sang in another time, and prison is not easy, no matter how clean and shining everything appears from the outside looking in.

Floors were scrubbed and highly polished, walls were clean, prisoners wore uniforms which seemed to be in good condition. The meals, it was said, wouldn't rate high in nutritional content, but at least they were regular. Beyond the neat and tidy fa├žade, however, there were the stories of fear and intimidation, injury and even violent death, despite the watchfulness of correctional officers. The worst thing about "doing time", it was admitted, is the mind-numbing dreariness of the daily routine and how easy it is to lose one's humanity. Buju will live to regret the silliness of his defence that his conversations about drug-dealing were all a joke. Pity he couldn't have remembered the hometown saying: "What is joke to you is death to me."

It was in that context that I thought of what could lie ahead for this talented son of ours who, in all probability, will become yet another statistic, another caged bird with no occasion to sing. Some will try to tame that jaunty Jamaican walk. It's nothing to joke about. It is too late to contemplate the alternative: "Guilty, with explanation."

The outpourings of heartfelt wishes, the prayers from home and abroad for miraculous deliverance from the likely darkness ahead are well-placed, but reality has to be faced. Time to stop the delusion. It isn't the gays who've sent him to prison, despite all the Boom-Bye-Bye controversy. It wasn't because he's a black man from Jamaica. The sad truth is - our beloved hero messed up. We all wish it wasn't so.

The article continues HERE
gloudonb@yahoo.com

meanwhile here is a short precise letter to the hypocrisy effect in the Jamaica Observer as well:

Editor,

I cannot understand why so many people continue to display such blatant hypocrisy in their continued support for Buju. Most of those who support him continue to think that he was set up by certain interest groups. Few consider the possibility that he is actually guilty.

Many say that he was tricked into committing a crime. This is total rubbish. Buju himself admitted that he was stupid for allowing himself to get involved in this drug deal. Too bad for him - that is no excuse for committing a crime. Now he is going to do the time. What's wrong with that?

Unlike Jamaica, the American justice system, with all of its imperfections, does work. We need to grow up. Justice must be for all, including reggae stars like Buju.

Michael A Dingwall
Kingston

michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com

So it go

Peace and tolerance

H

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Petition to Include Sexual Orientation based Discrimination in the Charter of Fundamental Rights & Freedoms ... you know what to do


Target: Jamaican Parliament

Region: Jamaica

Background (Preamble):

Respect and tolerance is fundamental to enabling individuals, regardless of religion, gender, socio-economic status or sexual orientation, to claim and enjoy their human rights.

J-FLAG continues to observe and articulate the implications of the absence of a specific legal instrument to protect and promote the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jamaicans. While the enactment of laws alone will not change the engrained discrimination within our society, the presence of discriminatory laws coupled with the lack of specific protections continue to contribute to the high incidences of stigma, discrimination, harassment and other forms of abuse as well as death of Jamaicans who are, and in some cases perceived to be gay or lesbian.

In 2010, J-FLAG received and documented over forty incidences of human rights abuses meted out to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Jamaica. For example, there were two mob invasions of the homes of men suspected to be gay in February. On separate occasions, two females were raped by men who attempted to sexually cleanse them and make them heterosexual women. Additionally, two gay men were violently murdered including a cross-dresser known as “Charm” in December 2010, because they identify as gay.


In the majority of cases, there have been little or no thorough investigation and/or prosecutions for such inhumane acts unless the case has been labeled ‘high profile’. Jamaica’s adoption of the OAS Resolutions 2435 and 2504 on ‘Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity’ in 2008 and 2009 is in keeping with the United Nations Resolution on Extrajudicial Killings which binds Jamaica “to investigate promptly and thoroughly all killings, including… all killings committed for any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation”. These resolutions symbolize a commitment by the Government of Jamaica to protect persons on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity from human rights abuses.

Petition:

Since Jamaica gained Independence from Britain in 1962, parliamentarians have continued to ignore the rampant breach of rights meted out to all persons, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Jamaicans. Sexuality-based oppression in Jamaica is also enforced by many entertainers, religious leaders, educators, police officers, doctors and nurses.

Since January 2007, J-FLAG recorded the homophobic murder of eight men and more than one-hundred persons who have been victim of incidents ranging from bribery to serious bodily harm. Countless others have been stigmatized and discriminated against, beaten or forced to leave their communities because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The discriminatory laws in Sections 76 and 77 referring to “Unnatural Crime” and 79 – “Outrages on Decency” of the Offences Against the Person Act that remain on the books as relics of our British colonial past are often used by persons to silence, suppress and intimidate gay Jamaicans or those offering much needed services and support.

Despite the acknowledgement that gay Jamaicans are vulnerable to stigma, discrimination and violence, this has had no effect on Jamaica.

We urge parliamentarians to recognise the effect these discriminatory laws have on our society. We urge them to remove these laws which can hinder our goal to become the place to live, work, raise families and do business.

We the undersign believe that an important step to begin this process in the proposed Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms which in its current state does not prohibit discrimination on the grounds of gender and sexual orientation.


You know what to do also please see the Charter of Rights tab below this post to follow previous entries on the debate, the involvement of the Lawyer's Christian Fellowship, the theocratic arguments used to swindle us out of the original clause that was removed from the 2006 draft.

Play your part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.

Let us not forget these damning words from the Prime Minister on the Charter of Rights Debate in effect denying our rights in the precinct of our Parliament:

".....those values from time to time as humanity proceeds will be placed under stress and there is the pressure for change as indeed there is now, a society must determine the changes it will embrace and the changes it will reject and defy. We are determined to resist the pressure to recognise homosexuality as an acceptable form of relationship between human beings.

Do we run risks in doing so Mr. Speaker? Yes we do, Have attempts been made to discourage tourists and investors from coming to Jamaica? Yes, not once not twice several times and quite recent times, the gay rights lobby is international it is strong it is aggressive, it wheels significant influence and have conquered important councils of power and authority with which we have to interact but we remain steadfast in our determination that the values and culture must be protected and preserved. Other countries are free to make their choices, we must be free to make our own."


Prime Minister Bruce Golding Jamaica, October 13, 2009,
Charter of Rights Debate, Gordon House.

Also see posts on the subject from my sister blog GLBTQJamaica on Charter of Rights


Peace and tolerance

H

Breathing ...... Open Mic ...... Black History



Every now and again we find ways of breathing in the midst of all the madness that is our national homophobia and other societal phobias affecting us, last evening February 23rd was one such time when a deep breath was taken. Couture Elements a fresh new entity in the GLBTQ entertainment offerings locally hosted one of its mid week Open Mic series at its home The Couture Oasis. As Black History Month draws to a close they organizers decided to host a reflective session calling on older statesmen and women from the community and activities past to as far back as the 1960s and 70s for sharing some of those experiences.

CE logo
LEVEL UP the Lifestyle, Entertainment and Fashion
coutureelements@gmail.com

Though short the time for the night sessions and the lateness of most of the attendees proceedings went ahead as planned touching on everything from the early days of entertainment to exploring the early days of Jamaica's raw homophobia and its possible origins. Most of the attendees though in their early twenties were transfixed to the discussion which to me shows that there is indeed some desire to know about our early experiences from older living stalwarts and ordinary experienced persons. Revelations as to the early days of downtown and the missing violent streak that now obtains brought smiles to many one could almost see a kind of wishing I was around look in many of the patrons listening intently.

Statesmen "Mr. Marshall" accompanied by his longtime sidekick "John" arrived as usual late of course making an entrance as is typical of them both went straight into the meat of the matter(s) while I was in the hot seat in a wonderful exchange with a attentive audience. He reminded older folks like myself of the early problems in the community some of which are still with us such as homelessness and gay on gay violence, his reputation though as a club promoter though was the main matter of the evening. He recalled the early days of police harrassment of his establishment and the tabloid press's hounding and putting out stories casting a cloud on his activities. He remained resolute in carrying on business as he was determined to see his patrons happy at best while making that needed pink dollar.
There were other party promoters but without the rivalry that now exists with disastrous results and he expressed his concerns about the happenings briefly. He also touched briefly on the other communities such as the lesbian and bisexual communities.


All in all the evening went well with occasional humorous outbursts as persons reminisced on days gone by, a piece presented on early Jamaican life by a younger male member of the community was well received harking to the days of Horlicks (food drink for kids), Andrews salts advertisements, JBC and Dennis Hall hosted School Challenge Quiz, black and white television, early gay typed characters in roots plays, old time nine nights, jonkanoo, and other culinary references. The joke segments also were very funny and interesting here is one that was burrowed from a friend's Facebook profile:

"4 POLICE WERE TALKING WEN ONE OF DEM ANNOUNCED 'MAN I HAD A BAD DREAM LAST NITE . ME DREAM SEH TEN BATTY MAN FUCK MI OFF' ONE OF D NEX POLICE REPLIED SHUT U RAAS U NJOY IT CAUSE FROM D FUS ONE TOUCH U U SHOULDA WAKE UP !"

Healthy exchange and hopes

I hope that this kind of forumatic activity continues in allowing us to breathe especially when presented to a larger mixed audience not to bore people to death but carefully and creatively have a solid exchange with a view to have a lasting impression for positive results for the new generation, they are the ones who are going to have carry on the oral and written histories, the fight and the legacy. What is also wonderful about this activity is that it is a conversation between speaker(s) and the audience not just a presenter unloading onto zoned out persons. Another suggestion is the changing of the day to a weekend such as Fridays as many working class persons may have some difficulty attending regularly or staying the late hours as persons often time arrive late or maybe the CE can have the sessions twice weekly.

Breathe, talk, learn, share, respects, Level Up! Couture Elements ..... a wonderful experience.

They recently introduced a membership system but non members can attend for a small contribution of $500.

Peace and tolerance

H

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Buju Banton Found Guilty in Florida Court .... comeuppance ??



Jamaica's reggae superstar Buju Banton, real name Mark Myrie, has been found guilty of three cocaine related charges.

A 12 member jury today February 21st around minutes after 2pm delivered the verdict in the Sam M Gibbons building in Tampa which houses the United States Middle District Court, Florida Division.
Buju was found guilty on conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine.
He was also found guilty for attempting to possess five kilograms or more of cocaine.

He was found guilty for aiding and abetting others in using a communication facility in the commission of a felony.

He was found not guilty for knowingly and intentionally possessing a firearm in furtherance of and during the course of a drug-trafficking crime.

Buju was tried last week (the week before the 21st) on four charges.

Buju throughout the maintained he is innocent of the charges saying he play no part in any conspiracy to possess cocaine.

In denying the claims against him, Buju, though his attorney David Oscar Markus, argued that the artiste never became a willing participant of the cocaine conspiracy charged in the superseding indictment.

The defence said tasting the cocaine, talking about cocaine and simply being present at the warehouse is not sufficient to find Buju guilty of the crimes charged.

This trial, which began on February 14, was the second attempt of the US government to convict the Jamaican artiste. A first trial last year was declared a mistrial after jurors failed to arrive at a unanimous position.
Buju was arrested on December 10, 2009.

His long-time friend Ian Thomas and a James Mack were arrested the same day when they attempted to by cocaine from undercover detectives in a Florida warehouse. Thomas and Mack pleaded guilty but Buju denied the charges. He said he decided to fight in federal court because he knows he is innocent.
ENDS


Notes:
Even after all the evidence presented and the clear cut case of his involvement in drug activity persons still believe the gay community had something to do with Mark Myrie's woes. It's just beyond me sometimes how we love to find someone to blame for things even when the reasons are staring you in the face. Some persons went as far as to call the judge and jurors faggots because the ruling didn't come out in their favour. There are those sensible amongst us though who warn other artists not to get into questionable dealings with people you can't verify or who are shady. The Drug Enforcement Agency as far as I am concerned like many other American law enforcement arms cannot be twisted like our systems here, no fiasco, no payola, no taking sides just straight justice. Interesting play on words given the circumstances.

The big question for me out of all this is why was Buju Banton even having a conversation with a virtual stranger? a man or men you never met before and all of a sudden you happen to see them on a flight and develop such a chummy link in such a short time? I didn't buy it then and I don't buy it now, furthermore Rastafarians are not to be even seen having or even dealing with the "white lady"/cocaine let alone tasting it as was alleged by the Drug Enforcement Agency that they have Buju Banton on tape sampling the stash.

This is a sad day in our entertainment industry though despite his "change" to the Rastafarian faith it seems there were dark things going on under the guise of that change and it has come to haunt him. There are many in the gay community who are rejoicing for a different reason as we may know the whole "Boom Bye Bye" message and what it has come to mean these years. Many say he deserves his comeuppance as he refused to withdraw the offending song even after strong pressure from the american gay rights activists and the Stop Murder Music campaign and that meeting in San Francisco while he was on tour turned out to be a public relations stunt. More here as well.

I think we have to be on the look out for the crack pots who have been duped into believing it was the LGBT community who set him up referring to some invisible Babylon system that is oppressive to black people, The United States legal system is not as screwed up as ours so one doesn't just squirm your way through thinking celebrity will save you worse yet when you are not a citizen. I am also sure the apologists are going to go on some campaign now to prove these unfounded allegations.

Buju Banton got himself in his own mess, one should also take note not once was there any gay activist protest, public rant or any such thing by or near the courthouse to make him out to be evil, we all waited and the verdict is in. If the activists were after him they would have targeted his every move within the United States as unlike Jamaica freedom of speech and assembly are utilized to their fullest with effective results. I strongly suspect that he was being watched by the authorities from the moment he delivered that song "Driver", could it be a case of cock mouth ketch cock?

In a Gleaner report on February 16th it was clear to many that Buju Banton was up to the game as on the day when he was arrested on December 8th he was said to have thanked the informant (he didn't know yet) for presenting the deal to him: "On the way to the warehouse on December 8, two days before Buju was arrested, the superstar thanked the informer for setting up the deal.

"You have given me the opportunity to make myself again," Buju said to Johnson in an audio recording.

He complained to the informant that he did not make any money on his last tour and that gay-rights organisation, The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, "is trying to run me under".

As taken from the transcripts themselves in the conversation between himself and the informant (Buju didn't know at the time) he seems clearly interested in doing business, get the full 62 paged document here: http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2010/PDFs/banton.pdf he referred to snitches and that he didn't event trust the privacy of the very conversation he was having then with the man named CS.

Peace and tolerance

H

EXtrazzzzz: here is a parody video of some of his songs put in the form of him coming out, al least there is some humour in all this tragedy.

The Line in the sand for the JLP part6

Poll on the Jamaica Herald as at this post was at Yes - 58.3% and No - 41.7%




With the ongoing Manatt Phelps and Phillips commission of Enquiry which amounts to both political parties flexing their muscles through eloquent lawyers providing much entertainment for some, damage to the Jamaica Labour Party's image as to the requisition requests and related matters for the extradition of Christopher Dudus Coke one wonders if the line is now being finally etched permanently for them to be a one term government. Although the enquiry is about finding truth what has played out since is making Prime Minister Bruce Golding to be a liar as depicted in a recent Gleaner newspaper cartoon shown above and many persons have already formed their own opinions in a similar vein.


Dr Peter Phillips (right), supported by his son Mikael Phillips (centre), looks on as Jamaica Labour Party lawyer Frank Phipps returns to his seat after a break during yesterday's sitting of the <span class=




Dr Peter Phillips (right), supported by his son Mikael Phillips (centre), looks on as Jamaica Labour Party lawyer Frank Phipps returns to his seat after a break during a sitting of the Manatt-Dudus commission of enquiry at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer


The whole mess as to the sequence of the secret Memorandum of Understanding and who actually authorized former Minister of National Security Peter Phillips to sign them without cabinet's approval or consultation was a golden opportunity JLP to redeem themselves but as usual the PNP being the spin doctors that they are in public relations and with lawyers on board such as the sometimes course K. D Knight they regained their command at the proceedings. The major twist was whether the MOUs trampled on the rights of Jamaicans? Phillips said no.


Dr Peter Phillips (left), chairman of the of the People's National Party's communication commission, speaks with Karl <span class=




Dr Peter Phillips (left), chairman of the of the People's National Party's communication commission, speaks with Karl Samuda, former Jamaica Labour Party general secretary, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston during a sitting - Ricardo Makyn/


The other Commission of Enquiry on the FINSAC Financial Sector Adjustment Company of the nineties has been pushed under the rug for now bearing in mind it too was to find the truth as to how the entity operated in the fallout under the previous People's National Party administration, PNP.


One of the major squabbles between former Finance Minister from the PNP Omar Davies was that Jamaica could not get cheap money on the international markets but present Minister Audley Shaw has proven otherwise and has been riding a wave of success somewhat from the Debt Exchange Program he spearheaded with financial institutions. Audley Shaw maybe one of the two better performing ministers in the Jamaica Labour Party administration apart from Agriculture Minister Christopher Tufton (former National Democratic Movement stalwart) his "Eat What You Grow" drive has been doing well but the fallout from the farmers' market episode in Portmore and elsewhere recently coupled with serious concerns about pending sharp rises in food prices may just stop his positive streak. Sections of the public are complaining about the lack of improvements or substance in their lifestyles and pocket as many feel we are not moving or growing as a country. The opposition PNP has stalled in its recent strides it made in a popularity poll and question marks surround its leader Portia Simpson Miller as to her fortunes to take them into a victory at the next polls. That might just be the saving grace to keep the JLP from either losing in a major landslide or just barely making it in for a second term, then again new governments first term in office is usually clouded with bumps.


Meanwhile the JLP may just face another one of those bumps which may turn out to be a bigger obstacle with the possible legal troubles of South West St. Andrew caretaker Garnett Reid (photo above) who was referred to on February 20th as a person of interest by the police for a sexual crime. He turned himself in on February 21 accompanied by his lawyer Valerie Neita Robinson according to the Gleaner. Usually when we hear designations of such eloquent wording leveled at officials or someone designated of good repute we can guess it has something of a same sex tinge to it and so we thought so it is. Allegations are so far as we know suggest he was involved in a sexual assault with another male of a young man from rural Jamaica some time last week, reports suggest Thursday February 17th. If this one gets out there in a big way it could mean the end of the Jamaica Labour Party or at best serious damage to the JLP I fear as Prime Minister Bruce Golding's early pronouncements on the Hardtalk Program on the BBC of "Not in My Cabinet" is fresh in the minds of many gay or straight alike. From what we were able to gather the young man was introduced to the caretaker who was captured by his look and wanted a sexual liaison to take place, however the young man did not reciprocate the affection and he was allegedly held by both Reid and another friend and acts performed on him on the faithful day, this is after spending several days at his home. It is further alleged that the young man wanted a sizable sum of money not to pursue the matter but when the demanded sum was not produced the matter was reported to the police who have since questioned Mr. Reid.


The Jamaica Labour Party is said to be deeply disturbed by the allegations (maybe not as outlined above) but to have one of their own with such a cloud of same sex assault hanging over his head given the fact that it is the opposition that the public perception is strongest of having homosexuals in its midst then could that be a nail in the coffin for the JLP to aspire for a second term, I am sure they are doing their best to keep this one down as much as possible.
With a disgruntled lgbtq community when it comes to the JLP they most certainly won't get a lot of pink votes. Several social network sites dedicated to removing the JLP and heavily criticizing the Prime Minister's tenure over the years are up and running full steam.


Interesting times ahead.


Peace and tolerance.


H

Review condom policy for prisoners .........

A discussion that has been looked at on this blog and a few others has finally made it to mainstream media again on the question of condoms in prisons, sadly it is only the legal aspects that are pushed by the pundits involved on the back drop of buggery often times and grouping or giving the impression that men who fuck or have sexual contact in prisons are somehow gay or bisexual which is not necessarily so. Often times the discourse though important lacks the psycho social reasons for such sexual activities to take place and often times leave out the non penetrative or outer course aspects of the contact in maximum security prisons and jails across this island, such as oral sex for a bar of soap or other items which are considered precious in a confined space so bartering comes in. Sexual contact in prisons or confined areas often times are not consensual and rings more on control and power differentials than anything else.


I have tried to present some of the other issues in layman's terms of course on here to explore at best how or why sex happens in prisons hence the other tab/labels such as substitutional sex, Metrosexualism, down low issues, Heaviots (local jargon for hyper masculine gay/bi thugs), situational homosexuality. The discussion must include the other factors I feel if we are to not only have a basic grasp as to why sex happens in prisons, boys homes and other "confined spaces" which may not be just physical but mental as well but could also help to explain the reasons for internalized homophobia and the farce or hypocrisy that surrounds our intermittent "public homophobic outbursts" attached to down low living.

Here is a letter from attorney-at-law and activist from Montego Bay Maurice Tomlinson who is also a consultant to AIDSFREEWORLD. He takes a more HIV response and legal look on the matter but this may be precisely the problem as the prison authorities have contended some who are calling for condoms in prison are trying to sneak Male homosexuality through the back door under the guise of HIV?AIDS interventions.

The Letter reads:

Dear Editor,


The HIV prevalence rate among Jamaican prisoners is twice the national average. As far back as the 1990s, Dr Raymoth Notice, former prison doctor in Spanish Town, and later mayor of that town, responded to the growing HIV epidemic by recommending the distribution of condoms to inmates. He was supported by then Commissioner of Corrections Colonel John Prescod who in 1997 quietly ordered the issuing of condoms to prisoners.

Colonel John Prescod and Dr Raymoth Notice


Whether out of desperation or desire, the fact is men have sex with each other in prison, usually without protection. Upon their release, many of these men take HIV back to their (often multiple) female partners. Colonel Prescod's enlightened approach was met with a prison riot in which 17 persons were killed, including warders. As a result, there was a quick policy reversal on the guise that by distributing condoms to inmates, prison officials were aiding and abetting a criminal offence, namely buggery.


In a recent discussion with a prison warder I was advised that condoms remain contraband in prisons, but some warders make a tidy profit trading in them. For inmates who can't afford to pay they resort to the use of plastic "scandal" bags. Jamaican supermarkets are now going green and will soon cease the distribution of this major prophylaxis used by prisoners - plastic bags. It is therefore time to review the policy and the law which prevents the distribution of condoms to prisoners. Otherwise we can expect an increased HIV prevalence among inmates and their partners.


Maurice Tomlinson
Montego Bay, St James
maurice_tomlinson@yahoo.com
LETTER ENDS

Often times these letters do not categorically state that the issue of HIV in prisons is directly related to the threat of the virus reaching the general populations, given how often some Jamaican brothers make the trip to the slammer and back out again.

In a previous post on the subject it was mentioned how some in the prison system reacted such as Lambert Brown the UAWU's the then first vice-president, had said that although he was still opposed to condom distribution in prisons, he had nothing against the other recommendations made.
"The fight against AIDS is not based solely on condom distribution," Mr. Brown said. "Those who are promoting condoms in prison are using the back door to promote homosexuality which is illegal." here suggesting fear.
The gentlemen in the photo above were in the system .... In 1997, Lieutenant Colonel John Prescod, then Commissioner of Corrections, suggested that condoms be distributed in the prisons as a means of stopping the spread of HIV. The suggestion sparked a riot that claimed the lives of 16 prisoners, some of whom were accused of being homosexuals and as it turns out many who died weren't actually gay but prior rivalry and a golden opportunity for a disturbance led the way to the attacks. The National AIDS Committee had recommended again in 2000 to the then Peoples National Party administration launch Mandatory medical examinations for all inmates, segregation of HIV positive inmates, legal conjugal visits, a health education programme for the prison, and permission for terminally ill patients to be allowed to die at home, were also among the recommendations made to the Government which were ignored.
Dr. Raymoth Notice medical expert in the penal system had said at the time, "...We recognise that the incidence of HIV is increasing in the general population and not only that, studies have shown that the incidence of AIDS in prison is six to 10 times greater in prisons than in the general population," also he continued "the level of homophobia and ignorance as well as the lack of resources have hampered the education process a whole lot. Before we even get to the condom issue it is important first and foremost to educate the population about AIDS. But everyone has been too afraid to do anything since the riots. There is no analysis being done, no reliable data, inmates are leaving with the disease and taking it back to their communities."

We all remembered what happened the last time they tried to introduce condoms and the riots which left persons dead as hinted in Mr. Tomlinson's letter but many of who died as it turns out were not gay but were just murdered due to internal rivalry and a perfect opportunity in the form of a riot for enemies to exact revenge.

What you think?

Peace and tolerance

H

Extras:



here is a take on it from up north in a seven part documentary on Sexual Assault Behind Bars, maybe this can give us some insight on the local front.






Monday, February 21, 2011

Male Sexual Assault Myths ...... "Cries of Men" 6th Anniversary


Cries of Men by Jamaican born author O'Brien Dennis is in it's 6th year or publication books bought from his site will see part proceeds going towards his foundation.



The widespread assumption in society is that men are not as affected by rape and/or rape does not really happen to men. To some extent this myth has received some support in the literature. Research on the socialization of men has shown that this “non-reaction” to abuse is an effort to appear masculine rather than a true depiction that men are not as affected by rape as women. Male victims of sexual assault are an often forgotten population–unseen, neglected, and underserved. The following information has been put together so that this population of victims can be better understood and supported.

Social perceptions towards male victims of sexual abuse are coupled with various stereotypes and myths that impact male victims’ ability to face their sexual assault. These include:

· Men are immune to victimization.

· Most rapists are strangers.

· Men cannot be sexually assaulted by women.

· Most sexual abuse of boys is perpetrated by homosexual males.

· Men should be able to fight off attacks.

· Men shouldn’t express emotion.

· Men enjoy all sex, so they must have enjoyed the assault.

· Erection or ejaculation during sexual assault means you “really wanted it”.

· Male survivors are more likely to become sexual predators.

· Male survivors are more likely to become homosexuals.

· Only gay men are sexually assaulted.

· Only gay men sexually assault other men.

The reality that boys are sexually abused by women is not widely accepted. Some people view it as an impossible act – that a male can’t be sexually assaulted by a female – and others view it as sexually titillating. The existence of female perpetrators and male victims confronts many of our most firmly held beliefs about women, men, sexuality, power, and sexual assault. It challenges our very notions about what sex is (Kali Munro, M.Ed., Psychotherapist, 2002). There is also a popular notion that the majority of sexual abuse happens within an institutional setting ironically most victims know their perpetrators. The psychological impact of male sexual assault victims is as daunting as women victims.

Some psychological effects of male sexual abuse:

· Anger

· Betrayal and Fear

· Exaggerated Self blame

· Sexual difficulties

· Self-destructive behavior (drinking, drugs, aggression)

· Dramatic loss of self-esteem and belief in their masculinity

· Feelings of shame/humiliation, guilt, anger

· Feelings of powerlessness, apprehension, withdrawal, and embarrassment

· Fears that they won’t be able to protect and support their families

· Helplessness, Isolation and Alienation

· Homosexuality Issues (mostly for men abused by men)

· Legitimacy (being able to take the abuse and its effects seriously)

· Masculinity Issues (feeling okay about being male)

· Negative Childhood Peer Relations

· Negative Schemas about People (difficulty trusting others)

· Negative Schemas about the Self (feeling bad about one’s self)

· Problems with Sexuality

Sex in prisons: Bad for the fight against HIV in Guyana says health minister

By Elan Era John

Panos Global AIDS Programme Georgetown, Guyana It has been reported ad nauseum in the media over the years that Guyana 's prisons are overcrowded and that this not only threatens security, law and order, but also the health of prison populations and by extension the general public. This is multiplied when there is sex in prison — consensual or not.

The Georgetown Prison, Guyana

The Georgetown Prison, Guyana

The Georgetown Prison, Guyana 's main prison, was built to accommodate just over 1,000 inmates. But it now accommodates over 2,000 inmates comprising persons who have been sentenced and those awaiting trial on remand. The propensity of magistrates to remand persons charged with various criminal offences, some of them minor, has been blamed for the overcrowding of Guyana 's prison system.

There is a large number of remand prisoners — about 800 — in the Georgetown Prison.

Chaplain of the Guyana Prison Service Reverend Faye Clarke said that there are many programmes to address HIV in the prisons. "We have VCT (voluntary counseling and testing) sites at the Georgetown Prison and at all other locations. We have had ongoing programmes since 1999 and these are being continuously expanded," she said.

Reverend Clarke said that an area in the Lusignan Prison on the East Coast of Demerara has been funded through the World Bank to address the care of HIV positive inmates and for the supply of supplemental dietary items.

Guyana's National HIV/AIDS Strategy 2007 – 2011 called prisoners one of the marginalized sub-groups, along with men who have sex with men (MSM) and commercial sex workers (CSWs). This strategy said that for the fight to be effective, recognition must be given to the special needs of these groups as part of the guiding principles of a multisector response.

Evidenced-based

Leslie Ramsammy, Minister of Health, Guyana

Leslie Ramsammy, Minister of Health, Guyana

Speaking to Panos, Health Minister of Guyana Dr. Leslie Ramsammy said that Guyana recognizes the science and the evidence that suggests that the prevalence rate of the prison population is generally higher than the mainstream population.

"Whatever we do in Guyana is evidence-based and this is not just us pulling things out of the air. If you look at any country where studies have been done, in Africa, in Asia, in Latin America, in the Caribbean, we see that populations in prisons have an HIV prevalence that is higher than the prevalence in the general population," said the minister.

"And when you look at the situation in Guyana we see the same thing…this is not about hearsay or speculation. We have done the study," he said. According to Biological and Behavioural Surveillance Survey in 2007, the prevalence rate among prisoners in Guyana was 5.24 percent.

He said that while in many other countries the rate of infection among the prison population is about four times higher than that of the general population, the rate is about two times higher for Guyana 's prison population.

"This being the case, it would be morally irresponsible on our part [to not address health in prisons] since the vast majority of these prisoners are going to come out and return to the society," he said.

He said that the programme for the prisons is a comprehensive one that includes prevention — the foundation of which is education and awareness — regular testing and counseling. "As part of the prevention programme we recognize that drugs and alcohol represent a major risk and for that reason we have introduced, in all but one prison, a substance abuse programme," the minister said.

Minister Ramsammy said that treatment in prison is available as well so there are prisoners today that are getting anti-retroviral drugs. "So when it comes to HIV services, no prisoner is denied, so when we talk about universal access for prevention, treatment care and support, it extends to behind the bars," he said.

Condom distribution against regulations

Speaking on the cooperation between the health ministry and the various agencies that are responsible for the prison system, the minister said that the prison authorities proactively seek out the support of the health ministry.

"We have social workers, counselors and testers, and that requires an extensive amount of facilitation and the authorities have been extremely supportive," he said.

But on the darker side of the prison system, he said that there are some aspects of the programme that are not yet in place. For example, the distribution of condoms, which is against the regulations. He said however this does not mean that condoms do not make their way in the prisons.

"At this time, Guyana does not have an official policy on the distribution of condoms in prisons. Though I am sure they are there, how they get there I don't know," Ramsammy said.

On sex, he said that the evidence suggests that this occurs in prisons, and here he spoke of both consensual and non-consensual. "The evidence around the world suggests that [there is sex in prisons].

The extent to which it occurs in Guyana, I don't know. No studies have been done. I don't know what would make Guyana's prisons different from the prisons in any other jurisdiction," he said. "But like most prisons in the world we do not permit sex in our prisons. Non-consensual sex is a crime anywhere in the world and that should not be permitted in our prisons."

The minister said that all of the talks and other methods of educating prisoners about risky behaviours and the risks of contracting infections would only work in the case of consensual sex and not cases of rape. "But we have to continue to work to reduce the possibility of sex in prisons," he said.

Other health risks

He added that there is a need to also address tuberculosis and other infectious diseases while in prison so that inmates do not become a risk to others when they are eventually released.

With regard to the health risks posed to healthy prisoners, the minister said that the prison authorities and the Ministry of Home Affairs are doing everything they can to prevent sex in prisons — consensual and non-consensual.

"We are convinced that prisoners need to be given access to the means of protecting themselves and reducing their risks, like any other citizen. And therefore the prevention of risky sex in any setting, whether in our homes, in our clubs, in our workplaces, at our prisons must be promoted. What we can do, outside of what the prison authorities are doing to promote safe sex, is that we can educate people."

On the issue of tattoos, the minister said that the authorities have recognized the health risk that this practice poses and have responded through programmes in the prisons.

Panos Caribbean