Saturday, September 30, 2006

Dimitar Stoyanov, the child prodigy of the Ataka party

The Ataka party is the newest jewel in the crown of the Bulgarian democracy. I have devoted an earlier post to it and its fuhrer Volen Siderov (
The youngest member of the parliamentary group of the Ataka party is the student Dimitar Stoyanov. He is grandson of the late satirical writer Radoi Ralin, whose short poems mocking the Communist reality had made him a legend. He is also an informal stepson of Volen Siderov. (Stoyanov's mother has divorced his father, Radoi Ralin's son, and is now living with Siderov). You guess that with such relations, the young man's personal qualities were hardly decisive for his political career.
Last year, the election campaign in my district, Zaharna fabrika, was shaped by an ugly crime. A crowd of Gipsies attacked partying Bulgarians and beat to death one of them. Then, Ataka made a series of rallies in the district, gathering Bulgarian audience and supplying anti-Gipsy talk to it. Of course I didn't take part in these rallies, neither did my husband, but my mother in-law attended most of them. I know from her that Stoyanov was a regular speaker and was "talking very well". Indeed, she added, there was another student who was talking equally well, if not better, yet the party didn't include him in its parliamentary group. I commented that the other student had no famous grandfather and no mother sleeping with Volen Siderov, so his rhetorical abilities weren't enough to catapult him into the Parliament.
Later, Stoyanov was sent to the European Parliament as an observer. And here comes the present scandal. You can read a short version in English at However, the report at (in Bulgarian, but look at it anyway to see Stoyanov's photo) is much more juicy, so I'm translating below.

"Two days after the EU decided about Bulgarian membership, Ataka MP Dimitar Stoyanov managed to create a racist scandal in the European Parliament... Invited to support the nomination of Hungarian member of Parliament of Roma origin Livia Jaroka for a human rights award, Stoyanov sent to his colleagues an e-mail to explain why he was against it.
Here is the text of the e-mail: "In my country, there are tens of thousands of Gipsy girls, much more beautiful than this respectable lady. In fact, if you are at the right place in the right time, you can even buy one (aged 12-13) to make her your loving wife. The best of them are very expensive - up to EUR 5000... Let's return to Miss Laroka's nomination. Believe me, I've seen many Gipsy women, but all of them at her age were much leaner. Doesn't she share the terrible suffering Roma people throughout Europe have to endure, the poverty, miserable conditions and unemployment?..."
...The mailbox of the Bulgarian observers was flooded by dozens of angry e-mails... In response, Siderov's stepson sent out a second e-mail presumed to be an apology. However, the scandal's author added to his apology accusation to the members of the European Parliament. Here is the text: "In the 21st century, to accuse somebody in racism is the gravest insult. According to Bulgarian law, if somebody is insulted and replies with an insult, charges against both can be dropped. I think this is what happened. Once again, I offer my sincere apology to Miss Livia Laroka... But I also feel insulted because I am not a racist, I am proud to be a Bulgarian, a member of Parliament and observer...""

No comment needed, I think.
By the way, my mother in-law first heard the story from me. Her reaction: "Unfortunately, this isn't very surprising. There are even rumours he is taking drugs."
It seems to be true that you cannot deceive people indefinitely!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pinocchio, Tom Sawyer convert to Islam

How much do I hate being right. Didn't I write only days ago that there are "signs that Turkey is finally succumbing to Islamism" (
Eh well, yesterday Netinfo's Web news started with a report about Pinocchio converting to Islam in Turkey. I cannot give this link (Bulgarian Web pages for news have short life span), but it was easy to find the same information in English. It will also spare me the need to translate. Below, I'm pasting from Telegraph's report Pinocchio and friends converted to Islam ( by Malcolm Moore. It is in fact nearly a month old.

"Pinocchio, Tom Sawyer and other characters have been converted to Islam in new versions of 100 classic stories on the Turkish school curriculum.
"Give me some bread, for Allah's sake," Pinocchio says to Geppetto, his maker, in a book stamped with the crest of the ministry of education...
In The Three Musketeers, D'Artagnan is told that he cannot visit Aramis. The reason would surprise the author, Alexandre Dumas. An old woman explains: "He is surrounded by men of religion. He converted to Islam after his illness."
Tom Sawyer may always have shirked his homework, but he is more conscientious in learning his Islamic prayers. He is given a "special treat" for learning the Arabic words."

What would you say if you open a new edition of the Arabian Nights and read how Ali Baba, while hiding from the forty thieves, prays to Jesus Christ his Savior?
I wonder, has the copyright protection of all these classics expired? And once a text is in the public domain, does it mean that every idiot can prey on it and do with it whatever he wishes? Somebody must have the mandate to do something in such a situation.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The HIV trial in Libya, part 2: The victims

(This is coutinued from Part 1, which is at
From now on, the story may be wrong in some details because it will rely only on occasional official and unofficial Bulgarian and Libyan sources, which are not very trustworthy (esp. the official ones). Corrections are welcome. However, I believe the picture as a whole is fairly accurate.
An author of detective stories once said that the victim of a crime usually has some characheristics that have led to him/her becoming a victim. In this story, we have two groups of victims: the infected little patients of Benghazi and the accused medics. Let's consider them, the children first.
Why Benghazi
In a recent comment, I called the Iranian opposition "better and stronger" than the Libyan one, implying that the latter, apart from being weak (no wonder - Qaddafi is not the ruler to tolerate alive opposition), doesn't appeal very much to me. It is because, while Iranian opposition is generally pro-Western, opposition-minded Libyans (those who live in Libya and still make their voices heard) are Islamists. In other words, they rebel against the Q-man not because he is an incompetent ruler, liar, oppressor, terrorist and mass murderer, but because they think he isn't Islamist enough. And the center of this opposition is the city of Benghazi. Here, I expect the reader to remember that exactly this city was the center of Libyan February cartoon riots, when at least 11 people laid down their lives (at the same time, residents of Tripoli were reluctant to take part even in an official peaceful demonstration - testimony of Khadija-Teri). Hanu thought that the Benghazi protests were orchestrated by government. I would rather suppose they were provoked by government agents but the ordinary participants were quite sincere. So, the residents of Benghazi must have (on average) more courage than any other group of Libyans but, unfortunately, the same cannot be said about their intellect. The Q-man knows this, understands their way of thinking very well and although they hate him, he can most of the time manipulate them as he wishes.
In 1986, a group of Benghazi residents killed a high-ranking Libyan official. Nine were sentenced and hanged (; warning: graphic photos). I've read (though can't give a link) that the plot was not just secret work of a few people but had wide popular support. Some Bulgarian journalists wrote that, after crushing the rebels, Qaddafi decided to punish the entire city by sharply reducing its funds. Such measures are used in many countries by the central governments against regions expressing dissent (in dictatorships) or just voting for the other party (in semi-democracies). Of course most severely affected are the industries most dependent on subsidies, such as health care.
In the following years, as admitted by a former Libyan health care minister, hospitals throughout Libya were poorly supplied with even the most basic consumatives and medications. This was conveniently blamed on the sanctions and may indeed have been partly due to them. However, in Benghazi the situation was worse than in other places. A Bulgarian nurse who worked for some time at the El Fateh Children's hospital later said, "The senior nurse every morning distributed syringes - 5 for each nurse. No more, no matter how many patients would come."
Another Bulgarian nurse, when beginning work at the same hospital in early 1998, said, "Upon arrival, I was immediately warned by an Egyptian doctor to be very careful, because there was an ongoing AIDS epidemic in the hospital." But nobody warned the patients and the community of Benghazi. Parents continued to bring their little ones to the hospital, thinking they were doing the best for them.
Later in 1998, another Bulgarian nurse - Nasya Nenova, was assigned to work at the same hospital, at a department newly formed especially for the children with AIDS. She wrote to her family: "I am of course very afraid that I may get infected, I work with two pairs of rubber gloves... Some of the children are already in very grave condition. One died last night. At least I hadn't to watch him die, a Philippino nurse was on duty then."
In the following years, dozens more children would die.
Why Bulgarians
As anger accumulated in Benghazi, the regime had to find a way out of the crisis. Of course the truth - that the epidemics was due to the punitive starvation funding of the city, plus shocking incompetence of the hospital's most responsible people - would do little to calm down the spirits. But if the virus was distributed intentionally, then the Q-man and his officials would deserve no blame. So scapegoats were needed. And because the goal was to pacify the Libyans, foreigners would make the best scapegoats.
The regime had plenty of them. Highlander once wrote, "in Libya we have thousands of foreign guest workers in the health sector for whom I am grateful as they make up the deficit." As I wrote before, I'm not sure she should be grateful. Even when they are good and caring professionals, they take positions that would otherwise be occupied by Libyans. To keep the status quo, "they enjoy an enormously better salary than the locals" (same Highlander's post). So they, together with the numerous guest workers in other industries, allow the regime to minimize the number of educated and skilled workers-citizens who are the brain and backbone of any society and in dictatorships often form dangerous opposition. Ottoman Turks made their best to keep the Libyans uneducated and unqualified, and I think Qaddafi today is following their example. Of course the guest workers themselves don't realize this (I haven't seen such a discussion in Bulgarian media, and what isn't in the media doesn't exist for the public). Nor do they realize that one of the reason they are hired is to serve as scapegoats if something goes wrong.
The first scapegoat was Ashraf al Hajuj, a doctor of Palestinian origin. I know little about him; he had lived in Libya since early childhood (probably born there) but, according to the good Arab tradition, was regarded as a Palestinian and not a naturalized Libyan. He was engaged to a Libyan girl who supported him during the following 5 years, but then left him, exhausted to be a fiance of an inmate on death row. After the arrest, al Hajuj was tortured until he was ready to confess anything that was wanted from him.
It is easy to figure out why he was taken. Much later, he said, "The interrogators were telling me that there was nobody to entreat for me because I (as a Palestinian) had no state. I am sure that, hadn't Bulgaria taken me under its protection together with the nurses, I would be now rotting in some mass grave." (I think that if Palestinians had common sense, the name and fate of al Hajuj would be known in every Palestinian house as an illustration of how much their Arab "allies" care for them. If I had such friends, I'd try to strike an immediate deal with my enemy! But of course if Palestinians had common sense, the world would be another and much better place. Mention also that he said "mass grave", not just "grave".)
However, al Hajuj alone was not enough. Non-Arab infidels would make far better villains in the eyes of Benghazeeans, so numerous guest workers were arrested - not only from Bulgaria but also from the Philippines, Poland and other countries. At this stage, there were only two Bulgarian detainees - nurses Snezhana Dimitrova and Sevda Yablanska.
I believe that Libyan authorities made these wide and apparently random arrests to probe which country was least able and willing to protect its nationals. (This protection, I think, contradicts to the very idea of justice, but unfortunately seems needed in today's imperfect world where so many countries are eager to put foreigners to cangaroo courts.) The guest worker communities of Poles and Philippinos, but NOT Bulgarians, swiftly organized and threatened that they would all abandon their contracts and leave Libya immediately if their fellow countrymen were not released. Also, the diplomatic missions of these countries made some unknown to me but apparently effective moves. The Bulgarian embassy also took measures, if you read the official Bulgarian site. However, the unofficial story is different. When a nurse informed the Embassy that two her colleagues were arrested, she obtained the answer, "Let the whores save themselves". So the Bulgarian tradition to fill the diplomatic missions with arrogant, incompetent and lazy people who care neither for the Bulgarian state nor for its nationals brought disastrous results.
There were also other reasons making Bulgaria a good target. It was a small poor coutry outside the mighty Western alliances: we were only applying for NATO, and the EU membership was behind mountains. At the same time, the Bulgarian government in 1992 had condemned Libya as a atate sponsor of terror. Significantly, this government "forgot" to inform its people about this, so Bulgarians going to Libya didn't know that Qaddafi had a reason to regard them as citizens of a hostile state. Next door in Serbia, the next Yugoslavian war was about to burst out (it would be the last one, but nobody knew it at the time). And finally, Libya had a debt to Bulgaria and Qaddafi hoped, with good reason, to get rid of that debt and even to extort additional money.
So the first group of arrested foreign nationals were released, but then 17 Bulgarians were detained. Nurse Nelia Zhdereva said, "They had come for me also, but I didn't open the door. I just stayed quiet, pretending not to be at the quarter." After this, she returned to Bulgaria within days and nobody tried to apprehend her. Those who have read Gulag Archipelago will remember quite similar cases in Stalin's Soviet Union when the security forces, unable to find immediately their intended targets, arrested other people instead. This is to be expected when a certain number of detainees is planned, but their personalities are not very important because they have actually done no crime and the police know this better than anyone else.
Most of the arrested Bulgarians were soon released (some after being tortured), but six were kept. Of the original two detainees, Snezhana Dimitrova was rearrested. Three other nurses working at the El Fateh hospital were also arrested: Valentina Siropulo, Valya Chervenyashka and the above mentioned Nasya Nenova. Another arrested nurse, Kristiana Valcheva, had never been in the hospital in question. She was working at another hospital hundreds of kilometers away from Benghazi, so she couldn't be accused of infecting kids. Her alleged crime was that she collaborated with Hajuj and obtained the virus from the CIA/Mossad agents "John the Englishman" and "Adel the Egyptian" and handed it to the other nurses to inject the children. Kristiana's husband, Dr. Zdravko Georgiev, was working away from both Benghazi and his wife's workplace. Hearing that his wife had disappeared, he tried to find out what had happened and how to help her. He was arrested also, finishing the list of the accused.
The six Bulgarians were tortured in order to confess. Some of them showed remarkable courage. Valya Chervenyashka later said, "I never considered it possible to help them, to confess the nonsense they wanted from me. I was just awaiting my death." However, she was middle-aged and with kidney and heart problems (her heart stopped twice during the interrogations), so her torturers were aware she could die if they pushed her too hard - and this was not what they wanted.
Kristiana Valcheva and Nasya Nenova were younger and healthier and were pushed harder. Kristiana confessed, but this was not found enough. The investigation brought also evidence - blood banks with HIV found in her quarter. Just don't ask why the banks were found during the 4th search of the quarter, how the virus remained detectable in dried droplets after weeks at room temperature and what methods were used to detect it.
Nasya Nenova, when threatened to be injected with HIV, said, "Well, inject me, so please don't beat me more!" (This is the same nurse who had worked with double rubber gloves to avoid HIV infection.) The worst torturer was Juma Misheri. At one point, he left the city for a couple of days; when Nasya heard he had returned, she attempted suicide. Finally, she was so broken that she confessed three times and now is in a worse situation that even Kristiana.
Juma Misheri was later accused of having used torture but of course was acquitted. He is hailed as a popular hero because he has made the "witches" confess. Oh sancta simplicitas! Don't the people of Benghazi ever ask how many of THEM have been tortured by him?

UPDATE: Today (Sept. 26) I received an e-mail from Dr. Declan Butler, a senior reporter at the top science journal Nature. He is currently trying to use the opportunities of the blogosphere to help the accused medics in Libya. Here is a citation from his Sept. 20 post "Can the blogosphere help free the Tripoli six? — innocent medics risking execution in Libya" (
"“Imagine that five American nurses and a British doctor have been detained and tortured in a Libyan prison since 1999, and that a Libyan prosecutor called at the end of August for their execution… on trumped-up charges of deliberately contaminating more than 400 children with HIV in 1998. Meanwhile, the international community and its leaders sit by, spectators of a farce of a trial, leaving a handful of dedicated volunteer humanitarian lawyers and scientists to try to secure their release.
Implausible? That scenario, with the medics enduring prison conditions reminiscent of the film Midnight Express, is currently playing out in a Tripoli court, except that the nationalities of the medics are different. The nurses are from Bulgaria and the doctor is Palestinian.”
These are the opening paragraphs of an unusually strongly-worded editorial — ‘Libya’s travesty‘ – published in tomorrow’s issue of Nature. It is accompanied by a news story over two pages — ‘Lawyers call for science to clear AIDS nurses in Libya‘ — explaining the case. (Both articles are on free access; to access free articles on Nature you just need to register once, and it is free.)"
At, Dr. Butler has listed the blog posts since on the Libya HIV affair.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

An update on our Islamist students, or how to study medicine without a brain

I’ve posted earlier about our Islamist students from Turkey who were outraged by Darwinism and kept missing classes on Fridays in order to attend prayers in the mosque ( At that time, they were in their preparatory year, learning Bulgarian and some secondary-school-level biology. To become full-right freshmen, they had to do a multiple choice test of biology in Bulgarian in the summer. This test is a joke; it serves just to fulfill the requirement of our law that nobody becomes a university student without an entry exam. However, the Islamist girls failed it. Is it surprising? Even from purely physiological point of view, such a result could be expected. A huge and hard-working brain generates a lot of heat which could easily damage it. The need to efficiently cool the brain has shaped the evolution of head circulation (see e.g. What could you expect if you wrap your head in a piece of cloth and stay so all day at Celsium 30? I think that the brain will either be damaged by overheating or, to prevent damage, will switch off from intensive work and stay in a kind of safe mode, showing just a little of what it originally could do.
Yesterday, a colleague came to me to complain. She was furious, and for a good reason.
“The headscarves have come to one of my groups,” she said. “What are they doing there? As far as I know, they failed the examination. However, one of them gave her faculty number, this means she is a student, doesn’t it? It will be a scandal if the administration has enlisted them as 1st year students anyway. I gave them student files to fill. (The files are sheets where students write their names and faculty numbers and then the teacher marks their attendance and performance – M.M.) They couldn’t write their names, asked their Bulgarian colleagues to help. I am here to teach medical students, not mentally retarded people! Our University administration is making fools of us, forcing us to teach such retards!”
I think she is right. Bulgarian language is written in a Cyrillic alphabet with 30 letters, some of which are the same as in Latin and all have a fixed way of pronunciation. I think that every adult with average IQ and familiar with the Latin alphabet needs 2 to 3 days to learn our alphabet so that to be able to write his (her) name with the Cyrillic letters. If the person’s intellect is clearly sub-average but still in the normal range, the task could take a week or two. What should we think if a young person has spent a year learning Bulgarian and still cannot write her name in Bulgarian letters? Mental retardation seems a good explanation. So Turks should be careful when their fellow countrymen come from Bulgaria with a doctor’s diploma and want to treat them, because we here teach medicine to anybody who walks through the door.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Muslims outraged, again

When I started this blog, I didn't mean it to be a war blog. It happened spontaneously. Time and again, something appears that I feel I cannot simply let pass with dignified silence.
Now, pious Muslims are outraged again, this time by the Pope. Last week, he delivered a speech criticizing Islam. It contained a citation from a 14th century Byzantine emperor: "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."
Predictably, Muslim anger accumulated and bursted out. Protests mounted in various Muslim countries, the Web was filled with threats. A representative photo is shown by Leilouta at In her post, she gives a recipe for Muslim anger and adds: "This delicious dish will give the eater the strength and courage to burn flags, destroy property, and kill 70 year old women who spend their life in the service of God."
The murdered old lady was an Italian Catholic nun in Mogadishu, Somalia. She and her bodyguard were shot dead inside a children's hospital. Tell me, if the Pope and that Byzantine emperor were so wrong, why did she need in the first place a bodyguard while visiting a hospital?
Meanwhile, Benedict XVI expressed deep regrets that his words had elicited so much anger in the Muslim world and said he wanted to invite Muslims to a sincere dialogue. However, Muslim leaders don't find this regret enough, they demand a clear apology instead ( I hope to be wrong, but I expect more people to be killed. As for myself, I am unhappy that the Pope expressed regret at all.
A link from Hyscience has just brought me to a blog with a delighting motto: "Civilization, in every generation, must be defended from barbarians. The barbarians outside the gate, the barbarians inside the gate, and the barbarian in the mirror." Its author Matteo gave to his post the following long title: "Are Unreasonable Bloodthirsty Savages Preparing To Rampage In Response To Pope Saying That Being An Unreasonable Bloodthirsty Savage Is Unreasonable?". Read the entire post at
Iranian expatriate Winston is even sharper: "Well, idiot muslims are mad again about what Pope said about their crazy prophet. He was damn right and nailed it on point. And it is also my question: What else the crazy prophet of Islam has brought us except war, craziness, rage, torture and murder?" ( If you think that Winston is too insensitive to people's feelings, remember that his beloved country was brought to its current miserable state by Islam and that many of his fellow countrymen were murdered in the name of Islam.
And finally, let me quote an old Nadz's post from the time of the cartoon crisis: "Religion is fair game. It may be a sacred subject for you, but for others who don't follow your particular deity and holy man, it is a fit subject for ridicule and scrutiny. We will respect your right to follow your own religion if you respect our right to not believe and criticize it. Do these nuts fail to see the irony of their violent rampages? How dare you denounce our religion as irrational and violent? Because of this, I'll go on an irrational and violent rampage! Hand me the molotov!" (
UPDATE: For more representative photos and a humorous comment on the event, see Shlemazl's post at
Big Pharaoh's post ( is also worth seeing. Alas, it serves well to illustrate that even the best moderate Muslims are not to be relied as our allies, because in the decisive moment they choose to be in the same boat as the radicals. But Big Pharaoh has good audience - the comments show it.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five years since September 11, 2001

Here is the World Trade Center, as I photographed it during my visit to the USA in 1997. I admit I didn't appreciate very much the Twin Towers while they were still standing. Now, in retrospect, the old Manhattan skyline in the golden mist of the sunset seems to me a picture of a blessed realm too beautiful to exist in this world - not for long at least. It represents a lost paradise.
September 11, 2001 became one of the most important events in my life. It changed my view on the world. Before it, I worried whether and when my country would fully join the civilization. After it, I realized that the entire civilization was at stake, brought by its prosperity to a comfortable nap, having neglected the power of barbarism for too long and now attacked by the 7th century Barbarians at its heart.
At the fifth anniversary of the tragedy, I have to say with regret that I am less optimistic than I was at Sept. 12, 2001. Then, I hoped that the Western world would awaken to defend its values with unity and resolve, while many millions of Muslims, disgusted by this mass murder, would be driven by their conscience to either reform their faith or leave it. Neither did happen.
One of the best songs of Bee Gees is New York Mining Disaster 1941. Although commemorating a much earlier event unknown to me, it is strikingly coherent with my feelings about Sept. 11. Here are the first three couplets of the lyrics (copied from; the other couplets repeat the first two):

In the event of something happening to me,
there is something I would like you all to see.
It's just a photograph of someone that I new.

Have you seen my wife, Mr. Jones?
Do you know what it's like on the outside?
Don't go talking too loud, you'll cause a landslide, Mr. Jones.

I keep straining my ears to hear a sound.
Maybe someone is digging underground,
or have they given up and all gone home to bed,
thinking those who once existed must be dead.

In memory of the Sept. 11 victims, I translated the lyrics to Bulgarian:

Понеже нещо може да се случи с мен,
моля, всички погледнете за момент -
това е снимката на скъп за мен човек.

Да сте виждали моята жена?
Знаете ли навън какво става?
Тихо, че ще се срути от гласа ви някой пласт.

Все наострям уши да чуя звук -
дали някой за нас копае тук,
или спасителният отряд се е прибрал,
мислейки, че няма никой оцелял.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The HIV trial in Libya, part 1: The infection and the charges

I have intended to write about the HIV trial in Libya ever since I begun this blog. I have mentioned this trial in two earlier posts, here and in a here. These days Libyan-American blogger Suliman expressed wish to put a comment about this trial on my blog, so I am providing an appropriate post. I warn from the beginning that I won't try to be "objective" and when writing of what evil and crazy people did, will use the adjectives that seem appropriate to me.
To my surprise, the trial has its own page in Wikipedia at A chronology of the events by the Bulgarian news agency BTA can be found at However, it reflects exclusively what official Bulgarian institutions say.
Because the text will be too long, I'll divide it into more than one post.
The infection
The core of the story are the numerous cases of HIV-infected children among those treated in the El-Fateh Children's Hospital in Benghazi, Libya. It is difficult to say when the infections began, given the various and often long incubation periods of the disease, the tendency of the Libyan authorities to lie even when the dates of infections are known in order to dismiss the possibility that some occured before the defendants began work in the hospital, and the wish of the same authorities to put under the common denominator all childhood HIV infections in Libya. According to two Western scientists who later became defense witnesses, the epidemic began in 1997. The official number of the infected children is 426.
At any rate, in 1998 it became evident that there was a real AIDS epidemic among children in Benghazi and that at least for some of them the only possible infection source was the El-Fateh Children's Hospital. At first, the reaction of the authorities was to try to cover up the problem. A Libyan, when later asked by the Bulgarian journalist Nina Spasova why such an important event wasn't widely discussed in public space, answered by asking, "In 1986, was there much public talk about Chernobyl in Bulgaria?".
However, the three-digit number of infected children made silence impossible. The story was made public by the Libyan magazine La in an article including interviews with victims' parents and linking the infection to the particular hospital. Years ago, I read an English translation of this article at the Libya Our Home site. Unfortunately, I cannot find it now. The article was published without (and as it turned out, against) the authorities' approval. For that reason, the journal was closed. I don't know what happened to the journalists; I hope they just lost their jobs and didn't suffer further consequences.
To prove how unobjective I am, I'll state right now what my opinion is: the infection was due to poor hygiene and violation of safety rules in the hospital. This was clear to all people with common sense right from the beginning. Later the above mentioned scientists, Luc Montagnier (co-discoverer of HIV) and Vittorio Colizzi, wrote a report coming to the same conclusion. However, the official Libyan opinion was different.
The charges
Libyan authorities finally reacted to the scandal by arresting dozens of foreign medics-guest workers from various countries. Most foreigners were soon released but another wave of arrests followed, smaller and targetting exclusively Bulgarians. So in early 1999 the list of the defendants "crystallized", including 6 Bulgarians (5 nurses and a doctor), a Palestinian doctor and 9 Libyan doctors holding high positions at the El-Fateh hospital. The foreigners were accused of INTENTIONALLY infecting the children, while the Libyans were accused only of carelessly letting the satanic foreign plot unveil under their very noses. At least some of these Libyan defendants later, speaking before the court, supported the official version of intentional infection and so tried to save their asses by sacrificing their colleagues. They were acquitted, so the only court they may have problems with is that of their conscience. (By the way, not all Western media kept silence about these defendants, as seemed to Highlander; e.g. San Francisco Chronicle mentions them at
The alleged motivation of this monstrous alleged crime? I'll cite a BBC report: "At one point, the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, had accused the health workers of acting on orders from the CIA and the Israeli secret service, Mossad. Libya later rowed back on this allegation." ( I know from the media (unfortunately, I cannot find a link) that currently the Libyan prosecution says the accused were performing an illegal trial of anti-HIV vaccine developed by a Western company. They allegedly injected the children first with the vaccine and then with the actual virus to see whether the vaccine works (and it evidently didn't).
Should I discuss the original charge, after it is so absurd that even its authors couldn't maintain it after the case received international publicity? It seems to me that to duscuss it, means to offend the intellectual capacity of my readers. However, I cannot skip it because, according to opinion polls and my personal observation, many Muslims either believe it or for some reason find it necessary to claim that they believe it. I won't state that Bulgarians are not so blood-thirsty and it is virtually impossible to find not one or two but six Bulgarian psychopaths to realize such a plan. This would be akin to the statements of many Arabs and Muslims that Arabs and Muslims are good people and would never crash kidnapped planes into buildings. Nobody buys such arguments, and with good reason.
However, each crime (unless done by absolutely insane people) has its motivation and purpose. Why would CIA and/or Mossad attack Libyan children? Both secret services have had enough experience with totalitarian regimes to know that a regime like Qaddafi's one cannot be harmed by terror against civilians. It is democratic governments that are vulnerable to terror. So why waste the virus? I can imagine CIA encouraging some top Libyan officials to overthrow Mr. Qaddafi, but not to supply virus for Libyan children. As for Mossad, they lack even the motivation. As far as I know, the Q-man doesn't do much harm to Israel. Well, he brainwashes his people with anti-Semitism, but who doesn't do this? If Mossad wanted to fight their Arab enemies by infecting children, wouldn't you rather expect Palestinian children to be infected?
Besides, both secret services would have enormous problems with the law and the public opinion once the operation comes to light. Remember what problems Sharon had with the Sabra and Shatila massacre, although it was done by Israel's Lebanese allies and not by Israelis themselves. As for the USA, they are still in shock because years ago the penises of suspected criminals and terrorists were photographed in Abu Ghraib.
Also, when one is considering a current event, it is often helpful (though no proof) to compare it to similar earlier events. I know of two accusations of deliberately causing epidemics in order to hurt a regime or a community: against the medieval Jews (e.g. and against Jewish doctors at the end of Stalin's rule (e.g. It is now evident that both were phony: in the first case, the Jews couldn't have the necessary knowledge of plague epidemiology needed to use it as a bio-weapon, nor could they have any means to protect themselves; in the second case, there was simply no epidemic at all. On the other hand, known iatrogenic (i.e. caused by medical procedures) AIDS epidemics have been found to be due to "incompetence, greed, bribery, denial, and conflict of interest" - but not to malicious intent (see e.g. and for cases of children's infections, and
Let's now consider the current charge that the children were infected in order to perform an illegal vaccine trial. At least, this is not a thing unheard of in history: Edward Jenner did exactly this, vaccinating with cowpox and then innoculating with smallpox first his baby son and then another 8-year-old boy. However, his vaccine worked and so he is remembered as a hero, not as a villain. Of course today it is absolutely unthinkable to innoculate a pathogen in order to test a vaccine's efficiency. You have to recruit a large group of volunteers, inject half of them with the vaccine (of which you believe that it is at least safe) and the others with a placebo, then let them live their lives and check how many will catch the infection naturally. If you do the things like Jenner did, you not only risk to find yourself behind bars, but you cannot publish the results in any scientific journals and hence cannot make money from your vaccine. So why make an illegal trial, after you have to make a legal one anyway to obtain publishable results? Why do the work twice?
"But the illegal trial will show you whether the vaccine works or not, and if it doesn't work, you needn't perform a legal trial and will save money and time," somebody might say.
No, the illegal trial will show nothing. You need to recruit some idiots to do it and smuggle first the vaccine, then the actual virus. If the injected children remain healthy, this means either that the vaccine works or that the virus has lost its virulence because of the non-standard conditions of the trial (e.g. overheated during the smuggling or improperly manipulated by the idiots). If the children become infected, this means either that the vaccine doesn't work or that it has lost its activity, as was just described for the virus. At the end of the day, you know nothing. No one pharmaceutical company operating this way would survive in business for more than three days. So, I think that the vaccine trial hypothesis also doesn't hold water.
Anyway, at some time the epidemics was halted. Not immediately after the arrests, but some time after them the young patients of the El Fateh hospital stopped being infected. To my opinion, this shows that while the professional torturers were weaving fairy tales about CIA and Mossad, another team of professionals was sent to the hospital to find out what was wrong and fix it. However, these men and women remain unknown to us because any acknowledgement of their work would blow up the official conspiracy theory. So they haven't received and are unlikely ever to receive the gratitudes of the Benghazi parents whose kids would otherwise also be infected and the whole Libyan society. But, as Walter Scott once wrote, people who fulfil their duty are rarely rewarded by the world, their reward is a sense of internal satisfaction which the world could neither give nor take away.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Nothing new in Libya

On Aug. 29, the Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor accused in intentionally infecting Libyan children with HIV appeared before the court for Nth time. The prosecutor said that evidence and confessions were present and demanded death sentences, again. No one of the witnesses called by the defense was present. It turned out that at least some of them were not subpoenated by the prosecutor and this made their presence optional (source, in Bulgarian:
So, if you are a defendant in Libya, you'll have in court witnesses whose testimony could prove your innocence only if there is goodwill in the prosecutor, i.e. the person who wants you either in jail with maximum term or at the gallows.
I guess, possibly some defense witnesses would still appear and speak if the defendants were their fellow Libyans. But now they think, "It may be my duty to speak, because I know these people are innocent. But I don't feel like getting into trouble for them. Unlike me, they had the luck to be free and what did they do? They came here to work for one of the nastiest dictators on Earth because he offered them higher salaries. No, I prefer not to risk my ass."
Two days later, Qaddafi, the Q-man, called in another blog "the man with 72 name spellings who has ruled for 36 years" ( gave a speech to mark his 37th year in power. Its most important moments are summarized at Qaddafi said those who hope for political change in Libya see its people as "ignorant and immature." "Our enemies have been crushed inside Libya and you have to be ready to kill them if they emerge anew," he said. Qaddafi also advised poor Libyans how to improve their well-being: by setting up oil services companies to replace foreign firms in the country.
The same source says, "Opponents abroad had said they hoped that Gaddafi might hint at political change in Thursday's speech. His influential son Saif al-Islam recently told Libyans their country was in a political impasse and needed reforms to free it from what he called the grip of "Libyan mafia" which monopolizes power and wealth." Personally, I have never been impressed by Saif al-Islam's reformist-like talk. The game of bad cop, good cop is too transparent.
Qaddafi was briefly shown on our TV delivering his speech and I said to my husband that I cannot decide whether this man is really mad or just pretending to be mad. He replied, "Of course he is mad. Just look at his hair. Any sane person would pass a comb through it before appearing in public."
So Libyans have the task to keep watch and if their (i.e. Qaddafi's) enemies emerge anew, to kill them. The method of recognizing the enemies and the procedure of killing remain unspecified.