Monday, February 23, 2009
Prison Break - take two
Whenever I hear the authorities express shock or outrage about some police gaff or prison foul up like the one we say yesterday in which the same two prisoners escaped the the same jail in exactly the same way then I can't but be reminded of Casablanca, the scene in which Captain Renault the corrupt Vichy French official suddenly "discovers" that Rick's Cafe is also a casino and has it closed down.
Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.
Captain Renault: Everybody out at once!
Or in the case of the Greek Minister for Justice, Nikos Dendias, quoted in CNN;
"I will not tolerate this embarrassment and all necessary measures will be taken, no matter how stringent they may be."
The problem is that the government said exactly the same thing in 2006 when the Paleokostas and Razai escaped by helicopter for the first time, then promptly ignored all problems once the media spotlight went somewhere else.
In the meantime the prison system has been widely condemned by outsiders for its violence, corruption and lack of oversight by a number of organisations such as the CPT (European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment)in 2005 and 2007. Yet the government has done virtually nothing to address the problems, hoping that spin is always much cheaper and effective than policy
Once you turn a blind eye to such behaviour you are just asking for trouble as those involved in a rotten system start to believe that have been given carte blanche to act in any way they see fit.