108 international AIDS conference participants were on plane shot down over Ukraine

UPDATE: The Australian press is saying that over 100 people heading to the AIDS conference were on board the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight that was shot down over eastern Ukraine, possibly by Russian-created and run rebels

MORE than 100 AIDS activists, researchers and health workers bound for a major conference in Melbourne were on the Malaysia Airlines flight downed in the Ukraine.

It is believed that delegates to the 20th International AIDS Conference, due to begin on Sunday, will be informed today that 108 of their colleagues and family members died on MH17.

Among the casualties:

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 7.15.02 PMScreen Shot 2014-07-17 at 7.15.09 PM

Dutch media is saying that Pim de Kuijer, a young activist with Stop AIDS Now and AIDS Fund Netherlands, also died on the flight.

Screen-Shot-2014-07-17-at-7.16.29-PM

Buzzfeed has found a few more.

Here’s a statement posted by the AIDS conference on its home page:

aid-conference-ukraine


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Don Chandler

    So Russia gave it’s sophisticated anti-aircraft weaponry to a bunch of yahoos…highly unlikely. Russia has been involved in systematic psychological warfare with Ukraine. Putin is not a nice person.

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  • The_Fixer

    Good point. If the Ukrainian government can’t adequately protect the weapons it has, such as in this case, things could get dicey.

    According to Wikipedia , the nuclear weapons are gone. However, several leaders now view giving them up as a mistake, especially in light of the Russian invasion of Crimea. I beg to differ; although it’s up to debate, the separatists could very well have been bold enough to gain control of them. I know that there are safeguards in place so that they can’t be easily fired, but with the disarray that the country is in, I wonder if they would have been effective.

    But there are still plenty of other weapons that they might have access to and the Russian government is looking pretty suspicious in this whole affair.

  • The_Fixer

    I am referring to the yahoos that procured the missile, and gave the command to take down the plane. Yes, it takes training to operate those things, but it takes no skill or training to say “Fire”.

  • FLL

    It’s true that the investigators have not yet done there work. However, I would use a word other than “mystery” to describe the situation only because there are some important things that are already public record:

    (1) Internet text on VK.com and Twitter in which Igor Girkin and other leaders of the Russian-backed separatists acknowledge downing the plane.

    (2) Audio recordings of conversations with similar content.

    (3) Eyewitness reports by Associated Press reporters confirming the same, etc.

    I certainly want to hear what investigators from all sides have to say, but the word “mystery” seems out of place here.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Indeed. The idea that Ukraine’s interests are better served with Russia than the EU is patently absurd. Even if the EU is a essentially a Franco-German operation that imposes untold hardship on the economies of its “weaker” members. It’s still a far cry from Putin’s attempt at quasi-Stalinism, especially in the field of human rights.

  • FLL

    It is ironic that all of these former Eastern Bloc countries that are in the European Union have at least the equivalent of a nationwide ENDA. I say ironic because anti-gay prejudice throughout the population is greater in many of these countries than it is in the United States, which does not yet have a nationwide ENDA. Popular culture in the Czech Republic and Hungary is fairly enlightened, but in the other countries, not as much. However, simply being in an economic union with Western Europe—and especially having open borders—moves the population of the Eastern European members of the EU in a more tolerant direction.

    The main point I was making in my comment above is that there is no comparison between the newer Eastern European members of the EU and hellholes like Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. I ask you to try to understand my disdain toward those few Americablog commenters who have consistently supported Putin’s economic union and suggested the wisdom of Ukraine aligning with that block of countries. I resent the attitude of those commenters, and I don’t think their comments are cute or clever, just trollish.

  • Butch1

    I understand the rebels have hold of the black-boxes as well. This is NOT good. At least they should hand them over and do the right thing after murdering all of those lives.

  • Butch1

    This is such a huge loss to the scientific AIDS research community. It is my hope that the Russian agent who gave the order to bring down this passenger airline is arrested and brought to justice along with the others responsible for this tragedy. I think it has set the research community back and it is no telling just how far.

    It is also too late for Putin to pretend he had nothing to do with this; he cannot wash the blood stains off of his hands. Now it is up to the U.N. to grow a backbone and do something about this.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    While true, the EU charter requires all member nations have legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, the actual reality in those nations is still a far cry from their western European counterparts. Many have passed statutes, but expressly refused to amend constitutional protections. Adoption is still difficult if not impossible, and issues like marriage equality still poll at less than 20%. Definitely better than what they get from Putin… but the old prejudices die hard, and sometimes it’s hard to tell whether their laws are truly an effort at being progressive, or only passed as a window dressing to maintain their economic status with the EU. I’m thinking we need some kind of Kinsey Scale for countries, to rank them as to how close to equal rights they are.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I rather doubt it was mere yahoos. It takes more than yahoo-level expertise to use a missile launcher of the type capable of reaching a passenger airliner at cruising altitude.

  • jomicur

    My first thought was that there are far worse weapons than this floating around. It’s only a matter of time before clowns this incompetent, or this evil, get their hands on one. If they haven’t already.

  • nicho

    Apparently, you’ve solved the mystery. Please call the investigators and turn over all your evidence to them. It will save them the time of actually seeking the cause of this.

  • http://heimaey.us/ heimaey

    He’s a coward, he won’t own anything but yes he should. This is on him.

  • bkmn

    Putin owns this. He riled these people up and armed them. All so he could pump up his ego by trying to reinvent the former Soviet Union.

    He has to own this.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Not implausible, last month the separatists shot down a Ukrainian military IL-76 cargo transport as it was on approach to Lugansk airport, about 50 miles northeast of where this airliner came down.

  • FLL

    Which former East Bloc countries that are now in the European Union have anti-discrimination laws that cover gay people? Every last one of them. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and look it up: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia. Which countries have no legal protections for gay people and are some of the most dangerous places on earth to be gay? The Russian-dominated Eurasian Economic Union: Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Ukraine has a long way to go concerning civil rights, but it will get there just as sure as every other former Eastern Bloc country in the European Union has. To the Americablog commenters who have been relentless cheerleaders for Ukraine to align with Putin’s geopolitical sphere: kindly shove off.

  • The_Fixer

    As though that would have excused them.

  • The_Fixer

    What a sad, sad thing to happen. All because some yahoos got a hold of a missle and decided that they’d shoot down a plane, even if they didn’t know exactly what kind of plane it was.

    Nice people, huh?

  • Ryan

    I’d guess they mistook the plane for a Ukrainian military cargo plane.

  • Silver_Witch

    No probably not the motive – however, now that they have found it out I am sure they will make a big deal of how they just “saved the world” from evil AIDs workers.

  • WilmRoget

    Could this be the motive?

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