I don’t know whether it is a preoccupation with Iraq or a preoccupation with oil or whether there’s a difference, but the US State Department doesn’t seem to have a clue about the Tripoli 6 case. This, is from yesterday’s State Department press briefing, courtesy Declan Butler’s ongoing roster of links to the case (McCormack is the State Department spokesperson):
[Reporter's] QUESTION: There’s a scientific study published in — by a British magazine today that would seem to set a scientific basis that those accused in the Libya HIV trial could not be guilty just because of findings that apparently the HIV infections in Libya began far before they were accused of being involved. Is this something that the United States would commend to the Libyan authorities? There was supposed to be a verdict in the second trial coming up within a matter of days. This would seem to be exonerating information. Is that something you would raise with them?
MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah, I’m not sure. I’m not sure we’d bring it up — bring up a magazine article like that. Look, this is a terrible tragedy in which people — you know, innocent people lost their lives, it really is. It’s just a terrible, terrible thing. It caused a lot of grief and pain. We understand that. That said, we have for some time said that we think it’s important that those nurses and medics be returned to their home country at the earliest possible moment.
A magazine article. Sigh. On the surface the US and the EU are making appropriate sounding noise about the case but the “backstory” seems to be “the backburner.” It doesn’t sound like McCormack has the foggiest idea what this case is all about or that the British “magazine” is one of the world’s most prestigious science journals, but it does sound a lot like Bush saying “he understands” the world is upset about Iraq.
It’s just a terrible, terrible thing. It caused a lot of grief and pain. We understand that. That said, we have for some time said that we think it’s important that those nurses and medics be returned to their home country at the earliest possible moment.
I’m sure our colleagues will be returned to their home countries. The question is, will they be dead or alive?