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If the cops say it, it must be so

By Michael J. Smith on Sunday May 18, 2008 02:44 PM

The New York Times (and, to be fair, every other aptly-named media "outlet" I've seen) has swallowed whole, and reported as Gospel truth, a patent, glaring lie from Interpol about the computer equipment Colombia seized from FARC last March.

The actual Interpol report, a monstrous indigestible bolus of bureaucratic memo-graphy, contains, when you boil it down, two consequential statements:

1) "Interpol said its forensic experts had found no signs that Colombia had altered files" on the seized equipment;

2) "Interpol’s experts verified that the [Colombian military's handling of the equipment] had not altered the content of the archives."

The first of these statements can legitimately be made and supported by a computer-forensic investigation; the second cannot. Tampering with data on a computer disk or "thumb drive" may leave traces, and if so a competent forensic investigation will find them. But it is also possible, even for a person of modest technical skill, to tamper with such devices in a way that leaves no trace at all. (I make part of my modest living doing this stuff, so I know.)

Interpol's confident -- and unjustifiable -- claim to know definitely that the Colombian military "had not altered" the data appears to be a case of telling the customer what he wants to hear.

Neither the Times nor any other media organization appears to have asked any independent expert for an assessment of what Interpol said. Surprise, surprise.

Hugo Chavez' characterization of Interpol chief Ronald Noble as a "gringo policeman" and a "clown" is, as usual for Chavez, right on target.

Noble is a Clinton protege, though he made his earlier Justice Department career in the previous two administrations. He has a long history of, shall we say, political sensitivity. My favorite example:

In 2003, Noble sounded a warning about fake consumer goods after an Interpol investigation linked them to shadowy political organizations such as Al Qaeda. He called the illegal trade in counterfeit designer wear such as shoes and purses "the preferred method of funding for a number of terrorist groups," according to an International Herald Tribune article by David Johnston.
So if you buy that fake Gucci handbag from the sidewalk vendor, then you're supporting terrorism. More thorough intellectual-property enforcement will make the world a safer place for all of us.

Comments (3)

Tim D:

according to palast, it was all bullshit to begin with:


i love barack obama's one size fits all foreign policy line though:

"[insert here given u.s. ally violating international law] has the right to defend itself!"


speaking of the farc

have you soul mates
noticed a recent unsightly surge
in the repeat of this tag line:

"dat farc iz
a degenerate bunch
of drug thugzzz "

especially among uz
well meaning pwogs ???


Wait just a goddamn' minute, here.

Y'mean, there really is an Interpol??! It's not just some kind of made-up, fictitious organization, created for an old '60s TV show or movie, like In Like Flint, or The Man From U.N.C.L.E., or some shit?

Fuck, man. Get outta here. Interpol. Whoa.


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