Wednesday, August 17, 2005

In unhelpful ways


After the London Metropolitan Police shot the Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes to death July 22, everything they said to justify the shooting was, it turns out, a lie. He did not run or jump a turnstile. He was not wearing a bulky jacket. Not only did he not refuse orders to halt, but he was already under restraint when they shot him in the head, seven times. This was an extra-judicial execution. And the reason they thought he was a terrorist at all was because the cop who was supposed to have identified the people who left his apartment building was, um, busy relieving himself instead. No information has been released on whether it was onesies or twosies, but I expect them to lie about that as well. Details in any British newspaper, and Lenin’s Tomb is all over it too. It’s not just that they lied, but that they knew that at least some of those lies would inevitably be exposed. They decided, in a move we Americans know all too well, to lie in order to survive the initial news cycle of the story. After that, the damage would be less, and the public is used to be being lied to. I’ll be interested to see if Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair is hounded from public life as he deserves.

It’s been fun watching the Bushies, who cared so much more about getting an Iraqi constitution by the 15th than about getting it right, spin the postponement. Ambassador Khalizad said not to “take seriously the posturing that goes on outside”. Condescend much? Those are the Madisons and Jeffersons of Iraq, you know. And Condi says there is “considerable momentum.” Suddenly I’m reminded of “Joementum.”

Rumsfeld accuses Cuba and Venezuela of involving themselves in Bolivian politics “in unhelpful ways,” without elucidating or offering any proof. They never do. He also insisted that South America’s problems “don’t lend themselves to single-nation solutions.” In other words those countries require somebody – but who, oh who? – to become involved in their politics in, you know, helpful ways.


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