Monday, December 31, 2007

Lies, damn lies, and videotape

From Slate's "Today's Papers column:
Meanwhile, the New York Times all but states that the government is lying about how Bhutto died in order to deflect blame for lax security.
So that's why Musharraf's government is lying? Honestly, I never saw it that way since, whether it was by gunshot, bomb blast, or anything short of a massive heart attack, I knew the Pakiistan government was responsible in some way, shape, or form. The assassination took place in Rawalpindi -- a city less than 10 miles to the south of Islamabad, and the seat of military power in Pakistan. The first thing I read about Rawalpindi, in 2003 after the assassination attempts against Musharraf, is that "even a bird would not remain undetected or unchallenged" in a city with such a military clampdown on it. So to bicker over how Bhutto died is a moot point -- a point that everyone seems to have missed -- given the fact that it happened in Rawalpindi, which instantly makes the government responsible. Period.

But Musharraf's government is learning a lesson on how not to lie in the digital media age where everyone has a video camera in their pockets, and news broadcast in one nation can spread like a virus through the Internet. Fifteen, maybe even ten years ago, government's could participate in the kind of coverup tried by Musharraf's administration and succeed in duping most people, but not anymore. Truth trumps all.

And the truth came out in this video of a UK's Channel 4 news broadcast, which clearly shows the gunman shooting and Bhutto being shot. (Did I mention that it's not a pretty video?) Additionally -- and maybe most importantly -- it shows a lack of security and police around Bhutto's vehicle. The gunman fired at pracitically point blank range.

Dawn, Pakistan's leading English daily paper, published photographs of the gunman and suicide bomber before Channel 4's video came out. After looking at the photos, Dawn proclaims: "The fact that an armed assassin managed to get just a couple of metres away from Ms Bhutto clearly gives the lie to the government claim that she had received a VIP security cover."

So, what does Musharraf have to say now? I imagine he'll speak via actions. After his government's lies being exposed for the frauds they are, and realizing this will play against him in the elections, he'll probably attempt to postpone those elections. I'm sure we'll know what his response is soon.

[Crossposted from Sugar Land is Dreaming]

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