Wednesday, May 4, 2011

To the victor go the spoils

Brian Tannebaum writes today about the shifting sands of truth regarding the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Was the intent of the mission to capture Bin Laden or was it to kill him? Was Bin Laden armed or wasn't he? Did he resist or not?

The more the government says about the operation, the less clear it becomes what really happened. What ever happened to just telling the truth? If you don't know the answer to a question, just say "I don't know" or "I don't recall." People get tripped up all the time trying to keep their lies straight.

Of course it's not just our clients who get tripped up. We've all read offense reports in which it's abundantly clear that the officer is lying fabricating a scenario by which he gets to stop the driver or search the car. And everyone consents to any request by a police officer to search their car or home. Right.

Just remember that history tends to be written by the victors. The textbooks will never mention that Bin Laden was unarmed at the time he was shot and killed. That will only appear in an "alternative" history that will be discredited because the "losing side" has an ax to grind.

After all, why would an officer just lie and say that someone was resisting if they weren't? Why would an officer claim that a suspect attacked him if he didn't? The officer's account is swallowed hook, line and sinker by prosecutors and (most) judges and the defendant's account of the incident is ignored because he has a motive to lie.

Scott Greenfield wrote about the case of Richard Rosario - a man convicted of a murder in the Bronx back in 1996. The damning evidence that led to Mr. Rosario's conviction was the testimony of two witnesses who picked Mr. Rosario's photo out of a police book. In a state habeas proceeding, the court found that two alibi witnesses who could testify that Mr. Rosario was in Florida at the time of the murder were "questionable" and "not persuasive."

But the state's witnesses? They were strong. The state's case was unimpeachable.

What makes either set of witnesses any more reliable than the other? Two people testified they saw a man who looked like a dude in a book of photos while two other people testified that Mr. Rosario was with them in Florida when the cops say he was in the Bronx.

But we know who writes the history.

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