Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Dead in a denim jacket

On 22 July 2005, a Brazilian immigrant, 27-year-old Jean-Charles de Menezes, was shot dead by a member of SO19, Scotland Yard's specialist firearms unit, at Stockwell tube station in south London.

Mark Whitby, who was on the train and witnessed Jean-Charles' death, said:

"As the man got on the train I looked at his face. He looked like a cornered rabbit. He looked absolutely petrified."
Mark then said that Jean Charles was pushed down, whereupon:

"One of the police officers was holding a black automatic pistol in his left hand. They held it down to him and unloaded five shots into him."
Actually, it turned out that five shots wasn't enough for this particular lawman. He 'unloaded' seven shots into Jean-Charles' head and one into his shoulder. He also missed the target three times.

The murder was officially sanctioned by Sir Ian Blair, the Chief of the Metropolitan Police, who, as soon as it became known that one of his pet psychos had made mincemeat out of an unarmed Brazilian, said that the dead man was 'directly linked' to anti-terror operations.

Initial statements from other police sources said that they were 'very confident' that Jean-Charles was one of the four bombers who attempted to set off explosives the previous day. However, a little while later, a further statement admitted:

"We are now satisfied that he was not connected with the incidents of Thursday, July 21, 2005. For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan police service regrets."
At this point, Sir Ian Blair began to describe the shoot to kill policy as a 'shoot to protect' policy.

Writing in The News of the World, Lord Stevens, the former Metropolitan police commissioner, said that in a 'time of unique evil, the principle (of shoot to kill) is right despite the chance, tragically, of error.'

A Downing Street spokesman said:

"The prime minister has said all along he supports all the efforts of police and law enforcement agencies."
Khalid Mahmood, the New Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Bar, said, helpfully:

"If a suspect ignores a command to stop and is deemed to be jeopardising the lives of others, shooting to kill is justified."
Jean Charles' body was identified by his cousin, Alex Alves Pereira, who said:

"What can the police say? They will try to justify this but there's no way. My cousin's body had his head blown apart with bullets in the back of the head... Apologies are not enough. I believe my cousin's death was result of police incompetence... He was a victim of government's mistakes...

He does not have a past that would make him run from police... they are going to kill many people, they are going to kill thousands of people. They just kill the first person they see, that's what they did. They killed my cousin, they could kill anyone."
Another cousin, Maria do Socorro, said:

"I think they acted incompetently, like amateurs... they are panicking and seeing everyone as a suspect. If you are going to have a war on terror, you have got to use brains to fight it not just brute force."
Jean Charles' grandmother said:

"There was no reason to think he was a terrorist."
The police, whose original statements regarding Jean Charles movements on the day he died, insisted that he had walked to the underground station, later admitted that this was not true. He had, in fact, taken a bus from his home in Tulse Hill to the tube. Which means, not only did they have plenty of time to pick him up before he got to Stockwell, but also, one hopes, that they didn't think the risk to the passengers on the bus was all that substantial.

Just after Jean Charles death, we were led to believe that he had been shot for a variety of reasons. These were:

i) He was wearing a 'padded' jacket on a warm day and might, therefore, have a bomb secreted about his person.

A fortnight or so after the killing, after it had become known that Jean-Charles had been wearing a light denim jacket, the police began to insist that it wasn't them who had disseminated the padded jacket story. However, a Scotland Yard spokesman did say that his 'clothing and behaviour' had added to their suspicions.

What is certain is this: the police made no effort to correct the impression that Jean Charles was wearing suspicious clothing until well after the event.

ii) 'Intelligence.' Documents found in a rucksack abandoned by one of the previous day's unsuccessful suicide bombers, allegedly, led to the address where he was living. However, Jean-Charles' home was known to be a 'multi-occupancy' residence, where it would have been certain that almost all of those living there had no terrorist links.

Late in the day, the Met also admitted that the bloke who was supposed to have been keeping an eye on the 'multi-occupancy' residence was urinating at the time Jean-Charles emerged from the building and was, thus, unable to verify that he was a suspect. The actual words he used were:

"I checked the photographs."
He then said that he thought it was 'worth someone else having a look.' It also transpired that this chap was not a police officer. He was, in fact, a soldier on detachment to the Met.

Thus, right at the start of the process that led to Jean Charles' death, The 'intelligence' was, already, flawed and incomplete to a pathological degree. To whit:

"Hey, a slightly tinted chap has just left the building. I got caught short and didn't get a good look at him but he's got that suicide bomber kind of aura about him. Let him get on the bus, wearing that suspicious-looking light denim jacket, and then, when he gets to the tube, blow his head off just to be on the safe side".
I don't think so.

iii) Jean-Charles ran away from the police when 'challenged.'

He had, in their words, 'refused to obey police instructions' and 'vaulted' over the ticket barrier to escape. This description of events also proved to be wildly inaccurate. (A lie) In fact, CCTV footage shows Jean-Charles walking at normal pace into the station, picking up a copy of a free newspaper and using his card to pass through the barriers before descending the escalator to the platform and running to a stationary train, which he boarded and sat down casually within.

Once again, late in the day, after allowing the impression to take root in the public's consciousness, the police insisted that they had never said that Jean-Charles had vaulted the barrier whilst trying to escape from police officers. However, someone within the Met also believed that this is what happened because the pathologist was informed thus:

"He was followed into Stockwell Tube station where he vaulted over the ticket barrier. He ran downstairs and onto a Tube train where it appears that he stumbled. The officers then immobilised him and a number of shots were fired."
Sir Ian Blair said this after the shooting:

"As I understand the situation the man was challenged and refused to obey police instructions."
Leaked documents inform us that after Jean-Charles sat down, armed officers were 'provided with positive identification.' Following shouts including the word 'police,' Jean-Charles got up and advanced towards the CO19 officers, a surveillance officer said. He added:

"I grabbed the male in the denim jacket by wrapping both my arms around his torso, pinning his arms to his side. I then pushed him back on to the seat where he had been previously sitting... I then heard a gun shot very close to my left ear and was dragged away on to the floor of the carriage."
According to this version of events, at no point had Jean-Charles 'refused to obey police instructions,' before he was shot, as Ian Blair had said.

Of course, we can't be sure how accurate the information provided by the surveillance officer is. What you can be reasonably certain of is this: this man will not exaggerate the murderous role of the shootist. He will, if anything, sugar-coat the behaviour of the brother officer who killed an innocent man.

Jean-Charles was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder, according to the post-mortem examination. Three other bullets missed their target. Three bullets missed their target. Such information bespeaks an out-of-control automaton to me.

After the first of the discrepancies in the original received wisdom began to emerge, Ian Blair said this:

"Whatever else they were doing, they clearly thought they were faced with a suicide bomber and they were running towards him. That is cold courage of an extraordinary sort."
Courage? What kind of courage does it take for a bunch of bloodthirsty wildboys, all armed to the teeth and raring to go, to shoot dead an unarmed innocent, reading a newspaper, who had no idea that a murderously terminal assault was about to be launched against him? It takes none at all.

One more thing, after two bullets in the nut at a distance of six long inches, you're dead. Stone cold. You are dead, dead, dead.

What do you think the cowboy who fired eleven bullets at Jean-Charles, missing the target three times from the closest of close range, was doing after the first couple of shots? Either he was in the midst of stark, raving bonker moment or something, much, much worse.

He was enjoying himself.

And do you know what I think Sir Ian and St. Tony were doing when they sent forth such a fun-loving psychopath to wreak havoc upon the London commuter? Sending the rest of us a message.

On 25 July 2005, security sources stated that Jean-Charles had been in the UK on an out-of-date student visa. I reckon they did this to reassure the rest of us that the naughty Brazilian deserved to die.

When Jean Charles looked up from his paper that day, I wonder if he thought that the men with murder in their eyes were there to send him home for overstaying his welcome. I hope he didn't have time to figure out that the global village's most fervent cheer-leader, the World Order wagtail in Downing Street who enticed him here in the first place, would let loose a head-hunting terminator with instructions to send him home in a box.

On the same day that some were suggesting that Jean Charles might have been here illegally, Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, and the man ultimately responsible for the situation in Britain at this time, finally deferred his plans to take a family holiday.

It took him three days to figure out that it wouldn't look too good if he was seen to be sunning it large in faraway climes, when an innocent man had just been shot dead by the Met.

At this time our glorious leader chipped in with a helpful comment of his own.

"I personally think it's sensible for people to take the holiday they should have."
On 4 August 2005, it became clear why our dear leader thought summer holidays away from it all were a wonderful thing.

On that day, Tony, Cherie and the chicks arrived in Barbados for some good, clean Christian fun in the sea, sand, sun and surf with Sir Cliff Richard at his well-fortified Caribbean hideaway.

In an interview on Radio 4's Talking Politics show, Sir Ian Blair put it like this:

"Tragic as the death of Mr. Menezes is... it is one death out of 57."
So that's alright, then.

Which one of the following would you buy a used car from? Tony Blair? Ian Blair? Charles Clarke? Jean-Charles de Menezez?

P.S. In September 2004, an Israeli security firm was chosen to provide security for London's Underground train network. Metronet Rail selected VERINT Systems 'to enhance security of the London Underground.'

To the relief of some, the company 'lost' the CCTV footage of a plain clothes Metropolitan Police officer executing Jean-Charles de Menezez.

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