August 26, 2007

Maybe Fred Thompson Will Get To Intervene Twice

Last October Hans Peterson rented a car and drove to Chicago from his home in New York City. He parked in a garage near the lake, took an elevator to the 12th floor of a Michigan Avenue office building, bound and gagged 64-year-old dermatologist Dr. David Cornbleet, and then stabbed the struggling physician more than twenty times until he was dead. The 28-year-old then got back on the elevator, returned to his car and drove home. Peterson has confessed and as far as I know these facts aren't in dispute.

After the jump, I'll describe how he might get away with it.

If you watched Chicago television last fall it was difficult to avoid security camera video of the suspect coming and going from the downtown building where Dr. Cornbleet had his office. The killer took care to cover his face with a bloody sweatshirt on the way out and police begged the public for leads. At least one promising tip didn't pan out, but another to the Cornbleet family's MySpace page led to Hans Peterson's NY apartment where police found DNA that matched DNA at the crime scene.

By then Peterson had fled to the island of St. Martin. Because his mother was French, he held dual US-French citizenship and in May, with American authorities closing in, Peterson, who had lived all his life in the United States, obtained French identification and a French passport. Two weeks ago, he turned himself in, apparently claiming that he killed Cornbleet because five years ago the doctor had prescribed acne medicine that Peterson believed had rendered him impotent.

One presumes that Peterson, who briefly attended law school, was aware that the French do not extradite their citizens in potential capital cases, or even, according to Emmanuel Lanain, the French ambassador who this week made his country's non-cooperation official, in any criminal cases. "It's not a decision by our government, it's just a legal provision in our law," he said. "We can't do it. We've never done it."

When news of Peterson's arrest hit local papers last week, I waited for inevitable details about the killer to emerge, but as the days passed there seemed to be a general lack of journalistic curiosity on the subject. This seemed especially odd given the amount of attention the case had received a year ago, not to mention the savage nature of the murder, the cold calculation of Peterson's self-imposed exile, and the fact that this crime is totally going to be a Law & Order next season. We learned Peterson was a "professional internet gambler" but that was about it. No picture. No biography. Not even an explantion why a New Yorker had sought acne treatment in Chicago when there was already so much bad skin in Manhattan.

I wondered aloud about all this at a blog where I have a timeshare with six other Chicago suspense writers. In the following days I was contacted by multiple people with information about Hans Peterson. Much of what they said was easily confirmed, even for somebody like me whose qualifications as a journalist are about as impressive as Lisa Nowak's credentials as a matchmaker.

Hans Peterson is originally from Eugene, Oregon, where his father is a doctor specializing in sports medicine (Clarification: Hans actually grew up in Roseburg, Oregon, which is about 40 miles south of Eugene. See update below). Hans was described to me as always having been "pretty weird," but he was at least functional enough to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in Economics and Philosophy. He flirted with both the financial industry and law school. About five years ago, around the time he visited Dr. Cornbleet's office as a patient (as opposed to the time he visited as a brutal assassin), he lived for a period in Chicago. At some point he discovered he could make a living playing poker on the internet. (In fact some acquaintances of Peterson assumed he had moved to St. Martin to avoid US anti-gambling laws.)

The Peterson family has been understandably reticent and issued only an anonymous press release to the American media but, perhaps in an effort to influence an overseas (probably Caribbean) trial, Hans's father has been more forthcoming in the French press. In a phone interview with a freelance St. Martin journalist, Dr. Thomas Peterson began to outline what he believes might be the mitigating circumstances of his son's horrible crime:

He claimed his son suffered a “severe and permanent damage to emotional and social parts of his brain, from the drug Accutane which was prescribed to him in 2002 by the dermatologist Dr. David Cornbleet. My son was an intelligent and shy man who led a fairly healthy life but he has never been the same since he took that drug,” said Peterson Senior in an overseas phone interview.

“He doesn’t relate well to people, he has lost all interest in physical activity, he has become a cigarette smoker and a gambler. He is always depressed and there is a sense of terror and turmoil in him since taking that medication.”

Peterson Snr said prior to taking the drug his son did suffer depression at times but not to the extent he could not go to College and pass exams, and have a relatively normal life otherwise.

On the subject of his son’s extradition he said:

“This is a tragedy where this doctor inappropriately prescribed this drug which more or less ruined my son and caused him to kill. He suffered the side effects for five years. I think just punishment would be for him to be in a French mental hospital/prison. The French would probably take better care of him. Even though it was a horrible thing he did, it wasn’t his fault in a way and he has suffered enough in my opinion. I think there are two victims here in this tragedy and the biggest villain is the drug which should be withdrawn. It’s ruined other families.”

Accutane has been controversial in the past. Some parents of teenagers have claimed the drug has caused their children to become depressed, or that it has made their existing depression more acute. The parents of Charles Bishop, the fifteen-year-old who committed suicide by flying his small plane into a Tampa office building just months after 9/11 famously blamed Accutane for their son's death, although they withdrew their lawsuit against the drug company, citing physical and emotional fatigue.

I don't know anything about Accutane, but a lifetime's experience with over-the-counter allergy medicine probably qualifies me to say that you could inject toilet water from a Bangkok heroin den directly into your cornea and it wouldn't cause you to go on a cross-country homicidal rampage five years later. I think even a French court would call that connerie, although I'm sure there's an expert witness somewhere who will testify otherwise. Also, I'm not sure in what system of justice does the father of the accused get to decide when the murderer has "suffered enough." But I've been told by individuals who are not the killer's dad that Peterson, weird and depressed as he may have been, underwent a radical personality change a few years ago. "Seething with rage" is how he was described to me. As someone who speaks with all the authority of a guest blogger, the picture I see is not one in which Accutane turned Hans Peterson into a killer, but one in which Hans Peterson was suffering from severe mental illness and Accutane, whether its side-effects were real or perceived, became the object of his obsession. Accutane became Hans Peterson's Jodie Foster.

Along with Condoleezza Rice, Illinois Senators Barack Obama and Dick Durbin have been lobbying the French government for Peterson's return, to no avail. For reasons that escape me, the French seem to want to prosecute Hans Peterson themselves. An assistant Cook County state's attorney claims the maximum sentence in France is twenty years.

I'm not entirely sure that's true--if it is, someone should call Carlos the Jackal with the good news.

Twenty years would be one for every stab, anyway. But the idea that a crime committed by one American against another, conceived and executed on US soil, might be adjudicated at a Caribbean tourist destination like Guadaloupe just because the suspect has a French mother sounds like the premise of a Pauly Shore movie, except for the brutal murder part. I'm opposed to the death penalty but if that were the only issue here, I'm sure a compromise could be arranged. Illinois still sentences criminals to death row, but they haven't actually executed anyone since Hans Peterson was reading Adam Smith and pounding 50-cent drafts at the Kollege Klub. In any event, the Cornbleet family's right to see justice done in Chicago should trump whatever point another government wants to make about our justice system. And you'd think the French would rather not have a violent nutjob like Peterson make a complete mockery of their laws, especially since they'll most likely be stuck with him and his pharmaceutical bills after he gets out.

I don't know how much the French fear our online petitions, but if you're looking for a futile act to express your frustration, you can sign one asking the French to do the not-entirely-bizarre thing.

Of course, even if he serves twenty years, 50-year-old Hans Peterson would never be able to compete in the World Series of Poker. Whatever Caribbean justice he received wouldn't count toward double jeopardy and there could even be federal charges hanging over his head. If he did try to come back, it's possible that in 2027 Illinois would be executing its cons again.

That, Alanis, really would be ironic.

UPDATE: In the comments of the original Outfit post I've been having a discussion (of sorts) with someone calling him/herself "Accutane Peterson," who claims to be a member of Hans's family. I have no way to verify that, of course, but check it out for another perspective on Hans and for more thoughts on the relevance of the drug Accutane to this case.

UPDATE 2: Today Senators Obama and Durbin sent a letter to the new French Foreign Minister asking for help in Peterson's extradition. The letter contradicts the assertion of French officals last week that the issue was a matter of law and that the French government has no choice but to refuse extradition. A relevant excerpt:

Article 3 of the Extradition Treaty between the United States and France provides in pertinent part that: "There is no obligation upon the Requested State to grant the extradition of a person who is a national of the Requested State." While this article does not require the extradition of a national to a requesting state, it also does not appear to preclude extradition. To the extent there is discretion available in such extradition decisions, we urge the French government to exercise that discretion in favor of extradition.

The letter also contains a minor but interesting detail about the source of the tip that eventually pointed to Peterson:

In May 2007, Mr. Peterson sought and obtained a French passport after Mr. Peterson's American former roommates contacted the Chicago Police Department to report their suspicions that Peterson was involved in Dr. Cornbleet's murder.

Update 3: Jocelyn Cornbleet, Dr. Cornbleet's daughter, is scheduled to appear on Greta Van Susteren's Fox News program On the Record this Monday night at 9 PM Central.

hans.jpgUpdate 4: The News-Review, a newspaper in Hans Peterson's hometown of Roseburg, Oregon, ran a story last week with a few innocuous details from Hans Peterson's high school days. They also include a photo (right) that appears to be from the Roseburg High School yearbook. The article identifies Hans's mother (whose nationality is a primary issue in this case) as a current resident of Roseburg named Jackie Peterson. Finally, the article claims Hans attended Oregon State, which is true, but he transferred to the University of Wisconsin where he received his degree.

Posted by Kevin Guilfoile


How would that be different from extraordinary rendition?

M, are you saying you're in favor of extraordinary rendition and therefore you see no problem with this because it's slightly less extreme? Because otherwise the question is irrelevant. I don't think the French government is pursuing this course of action out of spite or as retaliation for Bush administration policy throughout the world.

But to answer your question the two things are very different. They might be similar if the French had gone to New York and arrested Peterson themselves.

No, actually the opposite. I oppose extraordinary rendition (and I'm presuming most readers of this site do as well), and I was using it as an analogy -- if the French public rejects the death penalty under all circumstances, then it is reasonable for the French to reject extradition to a country where he will be killed. With Ira Einhorn, once Pennsylvania took the death penalty off the table, France readily extradited.

The Einhorn case is a better parallel, although it isn't perfect. Einhorn, for those who don't remember, was a political activist convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend in the late 70s (that is, he murdered in the 70s, was convicted in the 90s). Like Peterson, Einhorn was an American who tried to avoid US prosecution by fleeing the country. He was gone for more than 15 years when he showed up in France living under an assumed name. But to say that France "readily extradited" him when the death penalty was taken off the table isn't so. It took more than four years of high-level negotiations and a change in state law to bring him back. And I don't think the death penalty was so much the issue in the Einhorn case as was a series of complicated, intertwined issues including the fact that Einhorn, before he was a murderer, was something of a left wing folk hero. There were many people in France (and over here, I suppose) who thought his prosecution was politically motivated, even though they found the body in his closet.

Einhorn had lived for quite a time in France before he was discovered, although (someone who knows more about the case should feel free to correct me on this) I don't think he ever became a French citizen.

Still the French did extradite eventually. Under pressure from the US.

As a former accutane (actually the generic form, amnesteem) taker I can tell you that it does dry out your skin to no end and it does cause blistery lips. What it does not do is cause someone to drive 1200 miles to kill someone else. The "accutane defense" has almost become as ubiquitous as the twinkie defense and that's a shame. The drug does a damn good job of clearing acne and I know ten other people who can speak to that measure that also have no side-effects. Yet because people exploit it, it's almost impossible to get anymore in America (of course- there are overseas pharmacies which sell it openly).

This reminds me of another Accutane-based murder and European extradition scandal, that of Ben DiBannana. He fled to Italy, where his case became known as "The Pizza-Face Defense."


Didn't Radosh leave you any instructions?

Something about an anti-caption??

New Yorker magazine?


Didn't Radosh leave you any instructions? Something about an anti-caption??

My God, have you people no souls?

Actually, I think it's coming soon. Use the time to write your Congressman or something.

Ira Einhorn is going to be out of jail before this freakin' anti-caption contest is up.

(Like how I tied it all together there?)

Since I live in America with American news, I can only think of cases such as this: A. kills B. and flees to country C., in which A. holds some form of dual citizenship. Can you recall any situation (pre-extraordinary rendition, if that'll keep the torture politics out of this question) where the U.S. refused to send some murderer back to their home country (especially one with Western laws) for trial?

None of these is a perfect parallel, but the cases of Desmond Mackin/Joseph Doherty (IRA), Warren Anderson (Bhopal) and Henry Kissinger all have some similarities to your scenario.

The PDR has 9 pages of very fine print of the horrors of the side effects of Accutane. Perhaps Cornbleet should have read his PDR (which is in every doctor's office) before he prescribed it for Hans Peterson. Hans Peterson is the victim here of Cornbleet's greed and Roche. Although Roche is at least honest, they published the side effects of Accutane in the PDR for all doctors to read before they prescribe it.

Hmm. Evan, you might be the same individual who claimed to be a member of the Peterson family that I was talking to over here, in which case there remains a question you still haven't answered. But putting aside the fact that your comment is long on assumptions and short on evidence, the amount of hostility in it is really amazing. There's no way you would claim this was justifiable homicide in a post that wasn't anonymous.

Maybe Hans did suffer ill effects from an acne medication and maybe Dr Cornbleet prescribed Accutane improperly (I have no idea). But as big a fan as you seem to be of the strategy Hans employed, I think we can agree that the Peterson family must be wishing right about now that Hans had pursued a malpractice lawsuit instead.

Evan (and any others that are backing Hans Peterson) must be as crazy as he is. No one in their right mind can rationalize a man driving from New York to Chicago to brutally murder a physician over an ill advised prescription medication. First of all, physicians are not mind readers. If Hans did not tell Dr. Cornbleet that he had suffered from depression, or if he did not answer the medical questionnaire completely (and honestly) there is a strong possiblilty that Dr. Cornbleet did not even know of Hans history with depression. For a father (Thomas Peterson) to justify what his son did by blaming Dr. Cornbleet and Accutane is ridiculous. The bottom line is that when a person is prescribed a medication it comes with a complete list of instructions for use as well as a list of contraindications and possible side effects. That ultimately makes Hans or any other person prescribed a medication responsible for their own decisions and actions. Grow up Evan and realize that Hans is not only a psychotic, murdering monster, he is a cowardly, psychotic, murdering, monster. He did not fight Dr. Cornbleet fairly in the court of law the first time by filing a malpractice suit, he chose to brutally murder a man twice his age, and secondly he did not choose to fight Dr. Cornbleet in the court of law by standing in the justice system of the USA and letting a jury of his peers decide his fate on a murder charge. He chose to run off to a French Island and gutlessly hide behind their no-extradition laws. What a spineless creep.

If we can't get Peterson, why should France get Noriega?

It seems that we, as a nation, aren't as good at negotiating for extradition as France. Or maybe we just want to give Noriega another kick in the ribs and don't care about his value as a bargaining chip to get justice for Cornbleet.

Trading Noriega for Peterson makes a lot of sense along a a lot of different axes. We don't want Noriega after his sentence is up and I can't imagine the French want Peterson at all.

But there are probably other concessions the US wants from the French and I assume those will take priority over at the state department. My guess is the French won't get Noriega for nothing and I'm also guessing it won't be Hans Peterson they'll give up.

I'd love to be wrong.

Some pieces of info from a French lawyer:
1. Maximum penalty if the crime is as claimed would be life, no parole for 18 years, possibly 22 years if the court says so.
2. Whatever the extradition convention says ("you may refuse to extradite"), a 1927 statute says France does not extradite its citizens, so unless you can get the French parliament to change the law, no chance of Peterson going anywhere (except to another EU country).
3. Because of 2., the Government has no leeway to negociate anything, whether in relation to Noriega or because Obama is asking nicely. Unless of course Sarkozy goes the rendition way, and that would be highly illegal.
4. We do not really want Noriega, we're doing it as a favour to the US and Panama.
5. We do not want Peterson either, but our laws say we have to take him. Dura lex sed lex.


Your friend is not entirely accurate. True, there was the law of 1927 where France will not extradite it's nationals, however in 2002 a treaty that supersedes the 1927 law was signed and that allows some discretion to this. Also, France is part of the EU and being a part of the EU requires you to extradite your nationals to other European countries.


Thank you for clarifying many of the issues that have puzzled me about this case from the start. I was hoping someone with a knowledge of French law would weigh in here.

I have an angel who sends me things I don't always understand and I think she has just now sent me documents relevant to Jon's comment above. I'd be interested in your take on it.

The document I'm looking at is titled Relations between the Law of 1927 and extradition agreements. I think it might be taken from a textbook or some other scholarly tome. It reads in part:

This law was adopted in 1927 when the Constitution was silent on the superiority of treaties over municipal law. Since 1946, treaties, formally signed and ratified, are superordinate to municipal law. Moreover, extradition agreements now in force sometimes antedate and sometimes post-date the Law of 1927.

I can't tell you the source of that, exactly, but it would seem to open the door to the kind of discretion the US is asking for. It also seems unlikely to me that the French would sign a treaty in 2002 knowing that some of its provisions were superceded by French law, no?

It's certainly hard to imagine any French voter complaining about Hans Peterson being sent on a ferry home. After all, if the French take him now they are pretty much stuck with him, and his psychiatric bills, for the rest of his life, which could be half-century or more. Maybe Hans won't get a true life sentence in France, but the French people would get a lifetime of Hans Peterson as a potential neighbor.

Yes, Dura lex, "the law is hard." But when the law starts making an ass of you, smart politicians go grasping for a loophole like a drowning man pinwheeling toward a dinghy.

(It's been about twenty years since I took Latin, but I'm sure that saying is pithier in the original.)

Both Jon and Kevin are right in that under French law, a treaty supersedes an act of parliament. Judges have to give it priority. However, this only applies when there is a conflict between the treaty and the act.
Not the case here since the treaty specifically makes provision for not extraditing one's citizens (no doubt negotiated by France to take into account its municipal law).

So it's a case of the treaty saying "you have a choice" and the law saying "we choose not to". No conflict between the two. Both apply.

The only solution would be for the French parliament to amend the law. That would work for future cases, maybe even for this one although there could be constitutional issues. Also, given the UK's bad experiences with extradition of its citizens to the US, getting this through parliament would be politically difficult.

Jon is right about the EU. I hinted at it in my previous post, but it is not relevant here (unless the US wants to join ;))


Thanks again, Sylvain. I think perhaps part of this is a difference in American and European attitudes. "There's nothing we can do" is not a phrase anyone in the US takes seriously. There is the assumption here that there is always something that can be done. Especially in an instance like this when nobody wants the French to prosecute Peterson except Peterson.

As for the UK's "bad experiences" are you talking about alleged terror suspects picked up in Afghanistan, or am I forgetting about some other obvious case?


There is a conflict between what is written in the 1927 Act that totally bans extradition of French Nationals and the Treaty of 2002 that the language is loose enough to interpret it either way. It reads that the state is not obligated to extradite. Not obligated does not outright say no. This is where the confusion lays right now and what Obama and Durbin's people are fighting for.

Or, to put it in existentialist terms the French might enjoy:

The more helpful interpretation would be that the law says France cannot choose, whereas the treaty says they can.

Hell is extraditing people.

Holy crap, this Guilfoile guy is a good blogger. Can we fire the regular proprietor and hire him full time instead?

At least let him run the comments.

For what it's worth, I was on Accutane in high school, and I haven't (yet) gone on a killing spree. I'd be curious to know about the incidence of Accutane-induced murders -- I'm gonna guess the odds are about a million to Hans.

The Petersons never sent condolences BTW.From the sounds of it, the father could not accept the reality of his son's mental illness. It may very well be that the father influenced this very unstable son who acted out his rage. He surely shows no remorse and is quick to irrationally blame Cornbleet MD when he couldn't possibly even fathom what information his son gave. ( Most young persons will not divulge a mental health history for fear of being stigmatized even when asked.) More troubling, this father allowed this "psychotically depressed" young person to live as far away as possible. The real question is how much information did the father have and how much did he inflence his failed son to do this heinious acts?

Evan-Get serious-The PDR has nine pages of print on thousands of drugs and BTW-all antidepressants are a risk for outbursts and suicide risks as well.You might as well take nothing including OTC ever if you are afraid of every potential side effect including Tylenol-liver failure,etc.
We also don't know what other drugs Hans was taking-especially at the time of the murder.Compulsive gamblers/persons are ruled by their impulses. Something caused him to act after all that time-especially since he never called Cornbleet to complain or called a lawyer. Also, how do we know he didn't hurt anyone in NY? Something happened.

I am French and quite concerned by this case.
I have presented my condoleances to Dr.Cornbleet family, I feel very sorrow for them.
I think that a Chicago trial will be a common sence and logic.
I also think that only a trial might give Hans what we call "circonstances atténuantes" for ACCUTANE treatment or previous beavior sickness or mind fragility. He also could avoid trial by been considered as mentally insane.
The only problem is French and Europe extradition rules.
If he was an US citizen only extradition will be allowed after the US Federal state & Illinois state will waranty not to give death penalty and this may require 4 years of paper work and court appeals. (see: http://www.peinedemort.org/National/France/extraditionEtats-Unis.php ).
If a plain US citizen ask and get the French nationality but later the government administration happens to discover he had hided his involvement in a heavy crime, then this French nationality may be voided and extradition will follow soon.
But according to the french constitution, because his mother was born french, Hans is also considered as a french national since the day he born, and at any moment he could request his citizenship. Then as any French citizen catched on the French territory he has to be procecuted for any heavy crime he could have commited anywhere on the world. By heavy crimes I mean here only the ones that sent you to a "Cour d'Assise".
French trial may be "delocalisé" from Guadeloupe island to France main territory, possibly for "bad" treatment given by other inmates.
Every countries have their own constitutional laws, by exemple the USA don't accept to extradite any US citizen charged of war crime in another country.
It may sound sad and unfair, but it's the same ways crime and dirty money laundering pass thru offshore paradise banks under the cheating or perverted blessing of the main democratic western states.

Thank you Durand (and Sylvain) for helping us understand the issue from the French side.

As you point out, if the death penalty were the only issue, I think it could be resolved rather easily (at least at the local level). The State of Illinois currently has a moratorium on executions, and although they still sentence convicted murderers to death row on occasion, the moratorium is popular with voters and it doesn't look like Illinois will be executing anybody for the forseeable future. It seems like something the state would be willing to give up.

(Since the planning of this crime seems to have taken place in one state and its execution in another, and since Hans chose to become an international fugitive, the French might require a guarantee that Hans wouldn't face a federal death sentence, which might be more complicated, I don't know.)

But the primary issue is French law, not US law. And clearly the intent of the French law was not to allow an American murderer, who does not even speak the French language, to be tried in French territory for a crime planned and executed in the US against another US citizen.

I think the Cornbleet family and the US officials involved in the case, are suggesting that the extradition treaty provides a loophole to allow the French to protect their own laws against abuse at the hands of Hans Peterson.

I understand that the French might not want to establish a precedent by extraditing a "French national." But if they don't, they establish another precedent for felons and murderers from other countries to seek a kind of asylum in French territory. The French have offered guarantees that justice will be done, but Hans clearly thinks he has a better shot at leniency from a French court.

Perhaps it would take an extraordinary measure, like an act of Parliament, to extradite Hans Peterson. I think the Americans are trying to convince the French that this is a case in which extraordinary measures are appropriate.

"...you could inject toilet water from a Bangkok heroin den directly into your cornea..."
Ooh, that brings me back...

Thank you for your support and spreading the word about the case. As the fight for extradition continues we have set up a new site dedicated to the fight for justice. Please visit www.drcornbleet.com, participate in our polls, read the messages and leave you comments. Thanks again FDDC

I write as a victim of Roaccutane [the name used for "Accutane" in Europe], in response to calls for the extradition of Hans Peterson. I don't want to comment on the rights and wrongs of French extradition policy but thought people might be interested in my experience.

I have suffered terribly, over the last seventeen years, as the result of treatment by an ignorant and appallingly arrogant dermatologist.

Roaccutane's effects can be permanent. Indeed, when I was given the drug, the dermatologist-cum-Roche-salesman boasted that its effects would be permanent!

I hadn't had a day's illness in my life, until I had Chicken Pox, when I was fifteen. I was then packed off to see a dermatologist. I was a schoolkid. There was no Internet. I could only go on what the dermatologist told me. He lied and lied and lied again. He lied, every time I saw him, giving me assurances that he wasn't qualified to give.

I now know that it was all drug company propaganda and he was their puppet. I can't take legal action against him because I've been told by lawyers that doctors (who ALWAYS know everything, when giving out POSITIVE information about drugs) can just plead ignorance, when they get into trouble. The law protects doctors from their patients but it does nothing to protect patients.

Not content with chemically castrating me, shortly after my sixteenth birthday, the same dermatologist, then poisoned me with repeated courses of tetracycline-type antibiotics, which destroyed my digestive system and led to a lupus-like disease, from which I still suffer. The prognosis is not good. I think I'm on my way out, after half a lifetime of unremitting Hell. My nervous system has been shot to pieces and I can't produce enough energy to lead what you could reasonably call a "life". I can show this, objectively.

All I wanted, when I was a teenager, was to be with the girl I loved and maybe have children with her, one day. All these years later, I still dream about her, from time to time. I have never been in physical pain but I can't say the same about the emotional kind. Drug companies and doctors made the normal, happy life I wanted impossible and I was never able to explain anything because I didn't have the information.

I had no history of mental illness, like Peterson. I had an IQ of 170 and had done well at school. I was incredibly fit. Life wasn't a struggle: I could take what it threw at me. I can't help hating the people who destroyed all that: I'm only human. It isn't good enough to say "We didn't know.". At the time, they told me they DID know and that everything was safe. The dermatologist even wrote memos to my General Practitioner, ridiculing the side effects that I was "imagining". Is that sick or what? When I eventually asked for the notes, he "edited" them, to remove anything, which might prove embarrassing. [A local politician, who is on the Health Committee of our provincial legislature, told me that this behaviour is quite common.]

I live in a pretty tight-knit community and all the doctors went to the same medical school. They cover up each others mistakes. I was told, for fifteen years, that I was making everything up. [Where was the evidence for this?] It doesn't help that they're stuck forty years in the past, in terms of knowledge and techniques. Quackery rules supreme!

However, I finally managed to get answers from the States, Germany and London. I wasn't making any of it up. It seems that a chronically ill, brain-damaged patient, who can hardly get out of bed because his joints are so stiff and finds it difficult to remain conscious at times [but has managed to keep working, until recently] and has had no medical training, was able to find out more than dozens of doctors, each with more than twenty years of experience.

The majority of the British and Irish doctors of today are the scum of the Earth; overpaid, pseudo-scientific parasites, who only became physicians to keep "mummy and daddy" happy or to fill their bank accounts to bursting point. How can I respect people, who are the opposite of what they claim to be?

As you might have guessed, I live in the UK, where the drug "regulator" [sic] is controlled and funded by the pharmaceutical industry. The government is run entirely for the benefit of special interest groups, such as drug companies and the medical profession. [The government is terrified that doctors will go on strike, so it continually throws heaps of money at them.] The legal system is only accessible to the rich (and, in increasingly limited circumstances) the homeless.

The United States may be a land of excess and inequality but, at least, there's usually someone fighting it. If some huge corporation has a monopoly, Anti-Trust laws will deal with it. If people can't afford to go to court, a lawyer might agree to take cases, "pro bono publico". Not so, here, where the "Oxbridge" and Public-School [i.e. private-school, in American terms] Old-Boy Networks and the "them-and-us" culture are stronger than ever.

It is assumed that doctors are "decent chaps" because they went to the right schools and universities, wear pin-striped suits and speak with the right accents- just as many Americans assume that someone is trustworthy because he goes to church and calls ladies "Ma'am". What a load of piffle! It's about time you all got real: a person can be good or bad, regardless of his background, choice of attire or occupation.

I can't excuse what Peterson has done but I can explain it. Hoffmann-La Roche are worse than the Nazis. I'm not saying that lightly. I've read a lot about the Doctors' Trial and the Nuremberg Trials. What the SS did now seems tame, compared to the actions of those Swiss-American psychopaths.

It should come as no surprise: Switzerland is the country, which bankrolled Hitler; supplied the Wehrmacht and the Kriegsmarine with drugs and watches; melted down gold teeth from Belsen, Ravensbruck and Auschwitz; and kept the Nazi war machine in Italy well stocked. They probably added eighteen months to the war in Europe.

Today, the biggest political party in Switzerland is best known for trying to chuck all the black people out of the country. It seems to be an ethics-free zone; six million people, in search of a conscience.

The act of murder made Hans Peterson no better than the liars and child murderers of Roche. Tarring and feathering was the punishment, prescribed for collaborators by the Resistance and, as he is half-French, he should have known that. The murder of Dr Cornbleet must have been terrible for his family. Murder cannot be justified. [Although, how many of you are demanding that Peterson be executed? That means you think in the same way that Peterson did!]

I feel sorry for Cornbleets but do they have any sympathy for the babies, born with horrendous deformities; for the mothers, who were forced to have abortions; for the 14 and 15 year-olds, whose brains have been permanently damaged; for the parents of those, who have committed suicide?

If I know doctors, Dr Cornbleet was on the side of the drug companies and not that of the patient. He didn't deserve to die for being the typical doctor but we mustn't portray him as a saint, merely because he is dead. Many people live in a selfish, little, middle-class bubble. To them, what happens to the "average Joe" doesn't matter. Perhaps he was different but he was a very rare exception, if he was.

Doctors, who lied about what Roaccutane is and about its potential side effects, were doing the dirty work of the most evil drug company in history (and the biggest corporate criminal too, according to a leading business magazine). If Roche are latter-day Nazis, then dermatologists have indeed been modern collaborators.

Tens of thousands of victims, across the World, have suffered enormously because doctors lied on behalf of Hoffmann-La Roche and then tried to cover up the side effects. Will you all campaign for THEIR assailant, Roche, to be brought to justice? If you don't care about them, why should they care about you? Pastor Niemuller wrote "When they came for the Communists...". Think on.

The American public have known the truth for only four years. A solitary, ethical employee of Roche, who was sickened by what she discovered, exposed the extent of the scandal. She leaked masses of information to the FDA [including internal e-mails, which laughed at all the side horrific effects the FDA hadn't been able to uncover.]

As a result, "Accutane", as it is known in North America, is now a drug, which only a handful of specialists can prescribe. The mandatory, written warnings, which are given to potential patients, are so terrifying that no sane person would sign the consent form!

The majority of (Ro)accutane victims, around the World, have been denied justice, so now, tragically, Dr Cornbleet's friends and relatives will understand how it feels, when lives are destroyed but the perpetrator gets away with his crime.

Accutane is known for causing depression and other neurological changes that can even result in violent behaviors. But, I don't doubt that Zoloft, an SSRI and known to cause violent and suicidal thoughts and actions, was the eventual culprit. Accutane was responsible for Hans feeling the need for an antidepressant, so it did, indirectly, cause the tragedy. Do some real research on Zoloft and violence or SSRIs and violence and suicides. The FDA now, finally warns about the problem. I've been researching since our own family's tragedy 9 years ago. I've read thousands and thousands of tragic stories. Nobody can ever tell me that a drug can't cause these things to happen, but I'd blame Zoloft because that's what he was on much more recently. It's been in the news a zillion times. Why Hans' father and everyone else doesn't know this, is beyond me. Do some research.

I was a patient of Dr. Cornbleet for 4+ years and I periodically check the Internet to see if there have been any new developments regarding this case. It really bothers me that Hans "claims" Dr. Cornbleet was motivated by greed and did not warn him about the dangers of Accutane. This portrayal of Dr. Cornbleet seems odd to me given my own experience. When I requested that he give me collagen, he would not do so until after he gave me a sensitivity test. As I was annoyed that I would have to wait for the results of this test and come back for the requested procedure, I tried to talk him in to skipping the test and he wouldn’t budge. As for his greedy nature, he did NOT charge me for the test. Also, even more relevant, on one of my first appointments I discussed taking Accutane with Dr. Cornbleet and he told me that my skin condition did not merit my taking a drug with known side effects. He went on to discuss some of the side effects and convinced me that I should not take the drug. Therefore, I find it hard to believe that he would not even discuss the potential side effects with Hans. Whenever I am prescribed a drug, I make some effort to do research on my own regarding known side effects, interaction with other drugs, etc. There is an element of personal responsibility required. Further, why didn’t he talk to his father, who is a doctor, about taking the Accutane? Lastly, if you are obsessed with the side effects of a drug that you believe caused you permanent neurological damage and drastically changed your life for the worse, why would you go after a foot soldier? There are an untold number of doctors prescribing the drug…hence the soldier remark. A decent, honorable person would have spent their time going after the manufacturer and warning others of the potential dangers. Hans was posting on at least one site and perhaps more about his experience with Accutane. Therefore, he had to be aware that the vast majority of people who have taken this drug did not have the same experience as he did. I suspect there are many people who have taken this drug with the only side effect being an improved change in their skin that in turn created positive changes in their life. I am sure Dr. Cornbleet had many such patients. I do not know if Accutane has negative side effects that would warrant the drug being removed from the market. Let us say for the sake of argument that it does. To murder the doctor that prescribed this drug is not logical. To me, Hans seems to be a very troubled man that chose to take out his rage on a doctor who was only trying to help him cure his acne. Having known Dr. Cornbleet for more than 4 years, I am confident he would not have prescribed the medicine to Hans if he had thought that any of the resulting side effects would have occurred. As for the extradition, I feel strongly he should be held accountable in the United States for his crime. This crime was not committed on French soil or against a French citizen and therefore the French judicial system has no business deciding guilt or innocence or in setting any punishment. If it is a matter of French law, then the French need to reexamine a law that would allow somewhat to escape true justice simply because their mother is French. As a U.S. citizen, if someone lived in France all of their life and murdered a French citizen on French soil and then fled to the U.S. to escape punishment, I would be outraged for the victim, the victim’s family and all French people if my government allowed them to do so.

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