Saturday, December 2, 2006

Double Standards in the Phony War: Small Errors Cost Big Bucks, but Enormous Lies Remain Standing

Here's something you don't see every day!
Papers compensate man wrongly implicated in alleged bomb plot:
A group of national newspapers have paid £170,000 [roughly $330,000] to a man they falsely accused of involvement in the "liquid bomb" plot to blow up planes at Heathrow airport.

Lawyers for Carter Ruck, representing Amjad Sarwar, said he had been paid £170,000 by the publishers of the Guardian, the Observer, the News of the World, the Mirror, the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday, the Evening Standard, the Independent, the Times, the Daily Express and the Daily Star.

Each newspaper has already published a full apology to Mr Sarwar, who lives in High Wycombe, after falsely suggesting that he was suspected of being involved in the alleged plots to blow up a number of British aircraft using "liquid bombs" in August.
Apologies currently online include those from Guardian, the Observer, the Mirror, and the Independent.
"Mr Sarwar has never been arrested, nor questioned, nor detained by the police on suspicion of involvement in the 'liquid bombs' plot or for that matter any other alleged terrorist plots or activities, and there are no grounds for suspecting any such involvement," Mr Sarwar's solicitor, Adam Tudor, said in the high court today before Mr Justice Eady.

"The articles caused Mr Sarwar great distress and embarrassment at a time of particularly heightened sensitivity in relations with the Muslim community, and indeed led Mr Sarwar to fear for his own and his family's safety in light of possible reprisal attacks."

The newspapers apologised to Mr Sarwar and paid his legal costs.
Apart from the quoted report from the Guardian, news of this settlement can currently be found in the Times and some regional papers (here, here, and here).

But the other named papers have been silent on the issue.

I beg you to consider some of the questions raised by this small bit of news:

Why aren't the other papers reporting this? Are they too embarrassed? Was it even their fault?

How did all these newspapers happen to print the same erroneous information at the same time? Did they get bad information from somebody? If so, who gave them the bad information? And why?

Or did they collude in the midst of a national crisis to frame an innocent man? If so, why would they do that? And if not, what else could have happened?

And why don't any of the reports answer any of these questions? Why don't they mention any of this at all?

For that matter, why don't any of the reports mention that the alleged plot was physically and technically beyond the abilities of the so-called plotters to carry it out? Were they colluding to create a national crisis? Or were they getting bad information? And if so, from whom? And why?

Maybe even more to the point, now that the utter infeasibility of the so-called "liquid bombing" plot is well-documented, how can they continue to ignore the facts?

Cui bono? Who benefits?

It just so happens that Amjad Sarwar's brother, Assad Sarwar, was arrested and charged (with "conspiracy to murder") in connection with this alleged plot and is still being held. Was his arrest the source of the confusion?

Assad Sarwar and the other alleged "conspirators to murder" have been told their trial won't begin until 2008, probably not until after Easter. So they'll sit in prison for at least a year and a half before they can even begin to defend themselves against charges of planning to do something impossible. What if they're not guilty? What if they use an insanity defense? They could say, "Anyone who thought this alleged plot was ever going to work would have to be insane!" And they'd be right! How could a jury ever convict them, unless the jury itself were insane?

Will they be found not guily? And if so, will they be compensated for frivolous prosecution? How could (or should) such compensation be measured?

And what about the airlines? What about the passengers? What about the vastly tightened security restrictions? Were they necessary? If the alleged plot that necessitated them were bogus, that would raise questions, would it not?

Much less hypothetically, consider the people who were arrested when this alleged plot was supposedly foiled, and who were released without charges, some after being held for a couple of weeks. By virtue of being released without being charged, they are to be presumed innocent, are they not? And therefore are they not entitled to some compensation? And wouldn't such compensation come from the police this time, not the newspapers?

Are all these questions hypothetical?

Maybe not.

Here's something else you don't see every day!
U.S. To Pay $2M For False Terror Arrest
A lawyer the FBI wrongly arrested after the 2004 Madrid terrorist bombings because of a misidentified fingerprint has settled part of his lawsuit against the U.S. government for $2 million.

Brandon Mayfield, who said he was detained for two weeks in 2004, maintained that he was arrested because of his Muslim faith.

"Not only does my detention as a material witness in the Madrid bombing underscore the fallacy that fingerprint identification is reliable, I hope the public will remember that the U.S. government also targeted me and my family because of our Muslim religion," he said in a news release Wednesday.
There's much more, of course, including this:
Mayfield was arrested in May 2004 on the basis of a fingerprint found on a bag of detonators in Madrid that was mistakenly matched to him after the March 11, 2004 train bombings that killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,500. Mayfield was jailed on a material witness warrant but was released after the FBI acknowledged the fingerprint was not his.

The government acknowledged in the settlement that it "performed covert physical searches of the Mayfield home and law office, and it also conducted electronic surveillance targeting Mr. Mayfield at both his home and law office," according to a news release from Mayfield's attorney, Elden Rosenthal.

The settlement allows Mayfield to continue to pursue his challenge of the USA Patriot Act, Rosenthal said. Mayfield claims the act violates the Fourth Amendment because it allows government searches without probable cause that a crime has been committed.

"The Patriot Act is decidedly not patriotic," Rosenthal said. "We will vigorously pursue this constitutional challenge to the highest courts in the country."
This is welcome news for those who have been following Brandon Mayfield's case, and it leads to even more questions, for instance:

What about the people wrongly imprisoned at Guantanamo and elsewhere -- innocent victims of the so-called War on so-called Terror, detained without charge or trial or hope -- and being routinely tortured for their troubles? Will they each be given a million dollars a week for all the time they've spent in cages? What about their families? Some of them don't even know where their relatives are, or why. Don't they deserve something too? How much suffering should people have to do for free?

What about the families of innocent dead Iraqis, now numbering in the hundreds of thousands? They suffered under Saddam Hussein, now they suffer even more under American occupation. Are they not doubly victims of this so-called "war on terror"?

What about the families of innocent dead Afghanis, now all but forgotten? What happened to them after the so-called president shifted the so-called front in the so-called war? They suffered under the Russians and they suffered under the Taliban and they suffered under a carpet of American bombs and they're suffering still now that the warlords and the druglords are fighting for control once again. And for what reason? Are they not equally victims of this so-called "war on terror"?

When, if ever, will the whole ugly truth come all the way out? When will the lunatic fringe who call themselves "mainstream" realize that the "War on Terror" was a double-barreled lie from the beginning? How much longer will it take them to see that the "War" and the "Terror" are both phony?

And then what?

Who will be held responsible for pretending the "War on Terror" was legitimate?

How much do they owe us?

And how could we ever count it all?


tenth in a series