Monday, July 12, 2004

Doubts About the Swastika Attack

The press is reporting doubts about the veracity of the Swastika attack. CNN says:

But doubts began to surface about the truth of the attack report that stunned France. A 23-year-old mother told police that she was robbed by a knife-wielding gang of six young men while riding a train with her infant on Friday morning, then mistreated after being mistaken for a Jew. None of some 20 witnesses came to her rescue, she told police.

Investigators trying to track down the culprits had almost no clues to guide them. Surveillance cameras at the station where the culprits reportedly left the train showed no young men running from the scene, and no witnesses have come forward despite repeated calls from officials and promises of anonymity.

Both France-Info radio and the television station LCI reported that the young woman had filed several complaints for violence and aggression in the past. Neither provided sources, but LCI said she had filed six such complaints in the past. That information could not be immediately confirmed.

It has been said that the worst way to defend a good a point is with a bad argument. If the woman's story turned out to be fabricated, it would be difficult to grant instant credibility to any such accusation in the future. We'll just have to wait and see on this one. There are a few obstacles to regarding the story as fictive: such as whether the woman cut her own hair, clothes and slashed her pram on a train with knife, and inscribed Swastikas on her stomach with a marker, which should have been observed. The absence of witnesses cuts both ways. Nor is the lack of "young men running" all that convincing. The perps were not described as running from the train. The point telling most heavily against the women, if true, is the six prior complaints. While there is certainly anti-Semitism in France, the odds that one person would be attacked six times is statistically unlikely. If true. We'll just have to watch and weigh.