Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Tripoli Six Need Your Voice

Via just about every blog in the blogosphere, including Amused Muse, Aetiology (previous day's post about it HERE), Pharyngula, A Blog Around The Clock, The Questionable Authority, and a boatload of others, comes the story of six medical professionals falsly accused, unjustly imprisoned, viciously tortured, and facing death by firing squad in Libya. They stand accused of infecting over 400 children with HIV even though scientific analysis has proven that many of the children were already infected before the health care workers even entered the country.

From Nature:

During the first trial, the Libyan government did ask Luc Montagnier, whose group at the Pasteur Institute in Paris discovered HIV, and Vittorio Colizzi, an AIDS researcher at Rome's Tor Vergata University, to examine the scientific evidence. The researchers carried out a genetic analysis of viruses from the infected children, and concluded that many of them were infected long before the medics set foot in Libya in March 1998. Many of the children were also infected with hepatitis B and C, suggesting that the infections were spread by poor hospital hygiene. The infections were caused by subtypes of A/G HIV-1 — a recombinant strain common in central and west Africa, known to be highly infectious.

But the court threw out the report, arguing that an investigation by Libyan doctors had reached the opposite conclusion. Montagnier believes the judgement was based at least partly on mistranslation from English to Arabic of the term 'recombinant' — instead of referring to natural recombination of wild viruses, as intended, it was interpreted to mean genetically modified, implying human manipulation.

According to Alexiev, the decision to throw out the report removed all scientific content from the case, leaving a series of prejudgements, and confessions extracted under torture. "It's scandalous," he says. "This is a complex scientific affair, and it is impossible to judge it without a scientific basis."

The full Nature journal article (free access on this one), with the details can be found at

Scientific ignorance is not just amusing, it's not just dangerous, it's deadly. This is a prime example of what sorts of things happen when people who ignore science to promote an agenda gain power. This is exactly why we need to fight so hard to keep religious fundamentalists and other scientifically ignorant scumbag whack jobs from gaining control, in the political forum or the educational one.

I'd like to take a moment to encourage you all to lend your blogging voices to the global chorus which calls for the immediate release of these folks.

The diplomats of the U.S. and the E.U. have done pretty much nothing for these people. Libya has oil, and who cares if the current dictator executes a few Bulgarians and Palestinians if we can get some oil out of him, right?

We lend our voices to the chorus. Free them NOW!

3 Eloquent Orations:

On 9/24/2006 08:28:00 AM, Blogger Lifewish waxed damned near poetic whilst opining...

Make sure you contact your congresscritter, member of parliament, or leader of the New World Order as well. Lots of noise in the blogosphere doesn't necessarily translate into lots of awareness on the part of those in power.


On 9/24/2006 03:46:00 PM, Blogger breakerslion waxed damned near poetic whilst opining...

Copy of letter to my Congressman and Senator:

Dear Senator Sununu and Congressman Bass,

There is a travesty of Justice taking place in Lybia right now. On the one hand, no good deed goes unpunished, and such travesties take place on a daily basis. On the other hand, it is a healthy thing for the entire world when someone shines the light of public scrutiny into these dark and insipid corners.

A good synopsis of this situation appears on this blog, among many others:

I am sure that Amnesty International could give you several dozen situations equally deserving of your consideration, but this one has been brought to my attention. Now, I am asking you as a constituent, to use whatever connections and influence you might have to raise awareness of this situation. Please urge the International diplomatic community to take whatever action they can to voice their condemnation of this sham trial and create meaningful consequences for this disgusting act.

Thank you for your time.


PS: I'd love to be a fly on the wall when they get an eyefull of your graphics. ;)


On 9/25/2006 06:58:00 AM, Blogger JanieBelle waxed damned near poetic whilst opining...

Quite right, Lifewish!

Why, thanks for the mention, Breakerslion! We'd love to be co-flies on the wall, too!

Well worded letter.

For those of you who may not have written your letters yet, one word...

Write what you feel. A great big pile of form letters all cut and pasted probably won't have nearly the impact on your representatives as a great big pile of passionate outcry.

Good job BL!


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