Effect Measure

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?

Comments

  1. #1 tan06
    December 8, 2006

    I wish those Tripoli six could know how there are people in the world trying to get them released and are very angry about their fate. Is the Red Cross getting access to them and can they talk about the publications and reactions worldwide? Does anyone know?

  2. #2 revere
    December 8, 2006

    tan06: They have capable defense counsel from Lawyers without Borders who keep them informed. I know it is some comfort to them that there is worldwide support, but the uncertainty must be terrible.

  3. #3 M. Randolph Kruger
    December 8, 2006

    The acknowledgement that they are there publicly is a large start. So far the USGOVT officially has been hands off. Now they speak about them. Thats going to start to give them some cover. Once they lose their political value, they will be sent home but I doubt seriously that they are going to be hung now. Time to manuever. Frists office sent a letter to the embassy but he is leaving the Senate. Dems try Pelosi, Republicans try everyone. Keep putting the heat on the electeds here and in your various countries. I dont know a doctor or nurse on this planet that wasnt born to help people and this is a travesty.

    They kill them then they wheel people like me out… and I definitely know how to break things and not put them back together.

  4. #4 RPM
    December 8, 2006

    All those jokes about Science and Nature being magazines (for the terse nature of the articles) don’t seem quite as funny.

  5. #5 bc
    December 14, 2006

    Note New England Journal of Medicine “Perspective” article on this topic:

    “HIV Injustice in Libya � Scapegoating Foreign Medical Professionals”
    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/355/24/2505

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