Saturday, December 10, 2005

truth, justice and the Ausmerican way

As some of the visitors to this blog wonderfully attest, in this post 9/11 age there are justifications for throwing basic human rights out the window. The merest thought that someone may be a terrorist (and lets not forget terrorism is not a 21st century invention) means that we can ditch:
Presumption of innocence
Right to a fair trial
And even the right to a trial at all (habeas corpus)

Throw in deception, deliberate or unintentional, by the media and you have a potent combination.

For almost a month the media generated belief that Britain’s first “shoot to kill” victim of this period, Jean Charles De Menezes, acted suspiciously went uncorrected by the British police. Although, shortly after he was shot it became clear that he was a victim of mistaken identity the action by the powers that be was legitimised by the misinformation that he had dressed inappropriately, ran away when called to stop, jumped the barrier and generally acted guilty in the eyes of both the public and intelligence officers. In mid August ITV published a report of the police enquiry which told another story. As you may now remember Menezes did not have a bulky jacket or a backpack, he entered the underground with a season ticket and only hurried when approaching the platform in order to catch his train. Special officers did not alert him to their presence (in case he activated the nonexistent bomb in the nonexistent backpack?), they grabbed him and instead of cuffing him (video shows he was clearly immobilised at this point) proceeded to fire off numerous shots into his body, deliberately killing him.

So is this guy in Miami any different? At this point do we know if he actually had, as alleged once again, a backpack? Did he really say he had a bomb? (Possibly). Did his wife say loud enough for the marshals to hear, that her husband had a mental illness? If reports to date are true, remember he had got off the plane when the shooting took place, thus not really endangering all those lives and potentially igniting the fuel. (Maybe).

We don’t know. We may never know the truth. But for now what we do know is that these first two shoot to kill events, on both sides of the Atlantic, have so far murdered innocent people in the name of counter terrorism.

Let’s add to the mix – Guantanamo Bay, the civilian body count in Iraq, maiming by white phosphorous, depleted uranium and assorted other weapons of mass destruction, extraordinary-rendition and goodness knows what else we are yet to learn of. By now those 2948 victims of September 11 have been avenged many times over (and that’s not even getting into the ‘who started it anyway?” argument). We know now what many of us had always suspected, the grounds for invading err, liberating, Iraq were fictitious and that it was our proud ally, the USA who had the WMDs all along. We also know that many men in the upper echelon of the US government have profited obscenely from civilian commercial ventures that gained official tenders in Iraq unfairly. And then there is the oil.

All I want to know is when is the craziness going to end? In this time of our new Counter Terrorism laws is it safe to run for trains, carry a backpack or criticise the government? When will our allies stop killing in the name of democracy? How many more innocent (and even guilty) people need to die before we come to our senses?

This doesn’t feel like freedom to me.


Anonymous Jehovah said...

Tyrany is freedom you stupid girl. And who cares what you think anyway. All we need to do to ensure the second coming of Jesus and an empire of light is support the good old USA, my new chosen people.

5:37 pm  
Blogger DC said...

Recently I read a scary thoug about the anti-terror laws, and our newly revised sedition laws.

It was about how terms may change to describe people who stand up to oppression. These changes were:

Environmentalist = eco-terrorist
Unionist = industrial terrorist

I didn't think it was too big a stretch of the imagination to see this change of terms happen in certain sections of the media.


Man these are tough times we're going through. May they pass quickly, so we can put things right again.

7:49 am  
Blogger brokenleg said...

how about pro-choice=embryo terrorist?

12:01 pm  
Blogger flying kiwi said...

I didn't know about the outcome of the Menezes enquiry. I'm not surprised, but it is extremely disturbing.

With the Miami one, what really amused me was that the very first reports were "plane from Colombia" - turned out it wasn't where the guy was from, had flown from or anything, just the plane had originated in Medellin. But it sounds much more sensational to throw the word "Colombia" in there.

10:51 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

broken leg: I'd laugh, if i didn't think that some right wing politician was jotting down that phrase as we speak.

Kiwi - yes as you know Columbia is a wild dangerous place, unlike peace loving Miami :)

6:24 pm  

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