What the fuck just happened in Libya?

From the story here.

So the 5 foreign nurses and a doctor who were tortured into confessing and sentenced to death in a sham trial for infecting hundreds of children with AIDS are being released after the families of victims were compensated by France and the EU to the tune of 400 million dollars? What the fuck?

Does this reek of anything but extortion and appeasement?

Is this going to hurt Gaddafi’s image in the West or actually improve it?

Improve it.

Background story, as I understand it, is that the Libyan public really believes in the guilt of these workers.

Just releasing them would not have sold in their eyes. Releasing tham with appearences of the West of taking responsibility, that more nearly sells locally and still saves the lives of the workers, which gives Gaddafi credit in the Western POV.

Gaddafi is probably no going to be affected by this in either way.

He had rather little to do with it, from what I have (so far) seen. Rather, he allowed public pressure to move this through the courts as his government medical adminstration simply ducked their responsibility. Once push came to shove, he then probably “encouraged” the Libyan courts to make some better choices.

There is a huge popular sentiment in Libya that this had to have been a deliberate act by outsiders. For him to have simply shuffled them out of the country might have led to rioting (or, more importantly to him, probably, challenges to his rule).

This way, the medical team gets to go home (years late) instead of being executed. The mob gets the satisfaction of knowing that their legal system prosecuted the nasty foreigners. Gaddafi gets to stay in power. And some money gets set aside to help the kids who were harmed by the idiotic and unhygenic medical practices of the Libyan hospital (which has, reportedly, cleaned up its act).

What is it about AIDS that makes everybody eager to blame it on somebody else?

According to your cite, France and the EU deny paying compensation. Libya says they did, my guess is that Libya is lying to make it look like Europe has admitted the doctors were culpable and to provide political cover to release the doctors, which as others have mentioned, is probably what Quaddafi wanted to do in the first place so he can continue his program of normalization with the West.

A good thing, though eight years too late, and I doubt that Libya is going to get a lot of foreign aid workers to agree to come to that country in the near future.

Libyan public nothing. I spent an entire hour trying to convince an idiot classmate of mine (from Jordan, if you’re curious) that no, six doctors who had agreed to travel to a country with poor facilities and equipment to do aid-work, even for pay, were probably not all going to randomly turn into serial killers, and that convicting them when a number of Western experts said that AIDS was already present before their arrival is probably not justice. He said that the Western experts were clearly lying for political reasons. :smack: Then again, he thinks that the DPRK’s human rights violations as recorded by Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch are simply American propaganda, so there’s really no hope for the boy anyway.

You underestimate the gullibilty of people who have been raised to make no value judgements between systems of government and take no account of the social milieu under which they will work. To them, the pay offer will be the only thing taken into account.

There will be other cases like this. The brain dead and morally vacuous “leaders” of European countries will “negotiate” for maybe five or ten years and eventually end up agreeing to pay the tribute extorted, just as they used to pay the pirate regimes of the Maghreb less than two centuries ago.

If they try it on us let’s send a flotilla to the Barbary Coast and remind Qadhafi that the USMC still sings about its first visit to “the shores of Tripoli.” Argh! :wink:

Sarkozy to boost EU-Libya links

Gaddafi used the medics as pawns to get something out of the EU – debt erasure, immigration facilitation, some better diplomacy through “respect because you’re nuts”… and the respect of the Libya as a whole (ish).

Win-win for Gaddafi.

I’m glad the medics were released, though I’m sure it’s going to be years of PTSD ahead for them… what a world we live in. What a world indeed.

The masses of people in Africa who suffer from it are largely uneducated, and because of this, they’ll believe the explanation that “outsiders” did it. As for why that explanation is being given in the first place, simple scapegoating. They blamed the Black Plague on the Jews, if I remember correctly. It’s easier to keep an uneducated and oppressed people in line if they think that their problems are coming from someone other than their government’s poor leadership.

If, on the other hand, the masses are fairly well-educated, you end up with a less-than 30% approval rating but you still get to keep your job.

I’m kind of interested to see what the impact of it all will be for Bulgaria, actually, and its new position in the EU… with the lifting of the “debt”, all of that jazz. I really wonder how much these medics were used as pawns in the name of diplomacy and just how many countries’ purposes it served…

It’s not limited to ignorant Third-Worlders, though. In the U.S. there’s a widespread perception that AIDS is a problem the gays and junkies, through their excesses, inflicted on the rest of us (in one version of the theory, by calling down God’s wrath). Others, mostly African-Americans, think the government cooked up AIDS in labs, to eliminate undesirables and decimate the population of Africa.

“Everybody thinks somebody else is to blame for life’s little problems.”

– Robert Anton Wilson

Pretend you’re guilty and get released, or insist you’re innocent and rot until you’re executed?
It was a sticking point in the normilization of relations. In the big picture, it’s trivial once you get past it. Now that’s over the two sides can continue with the real negotiations.
Yes it’s appeasemnt in the face of delusions of grandeur, but it’s not like it’s handing over the whole of Czechoslovakia.

While I fully support your quoting of Pope Bob, I must point out to you that it WAS promiscuous junkies who spread AIDS throughout the populace. See, AIDS is spread through bodily fluid transmission. The most common methods of spread are sexual penetration, and junkies sharing needles. If people were not engaging in such behavior then AIDS would not have spread like it did. Come hang out in New York sometime, go take a trip down memory lane with someone who was big up in the club scene in the 80s, they’ll tell you about how many of their friends up and died due to the promiscuity that was rampant at the time.

The likelihood of a chaste couple who saved themselves for marriage getting AIDS is almost 0.

In this case, it’s simply a fact.

Don’t be so open-minded that your brain falls out. :wink: As my conservative friends like to tell me.

All true, but the place where the AIDS epidemic is far away the worst is Africa – where the incidence of promiscuous homosexuality and IV drug use is no higher than anywhere else in the Third World, AFAIK. Presumably it has spread primarily through heterosexual fornication/adultery/prostitution. It’s worse there than anywhere else because it started there and has had the most time to spread. The human immonodeficiency virus is believed to be a mutation of the less-deadly simian immunodeficiency virus, which has long been established among chimpanzees. How it crossed from one species to the other is a mystery I would prefer not to ponder.

Of course, the more widespread HIV is among the human population, the greater the chances it will one day mutate again, as viruses tend to do – perhaps into a form that can be transmitted via a sneeze.

So it really is everybody’s problem, including the chaste and moral.

BrainGlutton I don’t think we can really go with the notion that it ‘might’ mutate into an airborne version. That’s not a workable call to arms.

Regardless, it is spread in Africa mainly through, ‘immoral’ behavior, whether that is heterosexual promiscuity or rape. The conservative moralistas are correct here. As far as I know however, one of the most prominent groups doing work for AIDS victims in Africa is Christian missionaries.

I’m merely ignorant about what you say. Can you give me a reliable cite/site that shows this?

This is an honest question related to samclem’s call for a cite. Would AIDS be an epidemic if everyone had only one sexual partner in their life?
Too much of a hijack?