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UK's shoot-to-kill policy #LAST UPDATED 19/09/05

socialist | 20.10.2005 11:40

Analysis and commentary on the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes and subsequent events.

The author is experiencing difficulties [censorship] posting to usenet although this article has been posted previously.


UK's shoot-to-kill policy #LAST UPDATED 19/09/05

UK's shoot-to-kill policy

Twenty-seven year-old Jean Charles de Menezes was killed by
plain-clothed armed officers at Stockell tube station, south London
at 10.00 a.m. on Friday 22 July, 2005. Mr. de Menezes was shot seven
times in the head and once in the shoulder while a further three
shots missed.

de Menezes's violent death brought out the fact that UK police were
operating a "shoot-to-kill" policy. It was claimed that certain,
instantaneous death was necessary to "protect" the public.

On the day of the killing, there were many reports from eyewitnesses
giving the impression that de Menezes (although at that time he was
unnamed) had intended to detonate a suicide bomb. The reports claimed
de Menezes was wearing a heavy jacket that could hide a suicide-belt
of explosives, had run from the police, had jumped over the ticket
turnstile and had run onto a tube train before he was killed. There
were also reports that he was actually wearing a suicide-belt and
had wires coming from his clothing.

Jean Charles de Menezes was an innocent bystander, killed without
any involvement with the exposions that had taken place fifteen-days
and one-day before in London. It was not until the following evening
that Ian Blair [boss of the Metropolitan Police] announced that the
police had shot an innocent man. There are racist overtones to Jean
Charles de Menezes's killing e.g. surveillence reporting that de
Menezies had "Mongolian eyes". [e.g. see a "Mongolian eyes" reference

It is difficult to accept that the police did not realise until the
following evening that they had killed an innocent bystander. He was
apparently carrying identification when he was killed and they should
have learnt soon enough that he was Brazilian and Catholic instead
of Muslim.

It appears that the Metropolitan Police attempted to 'spin' and
take advantage of the earlier witness statements that had been
published. They claimed that de Menezes "clothing and behaviour"
added to their suspicions. [Scotland Yard releases a statement which
includes the line: "His clothing and his behaviour at the station
added to their suspicions."]

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigates
deaths by police shooting. Ian Blair [boss of Metropolitan Police]
tried to have the death investigated by his own force instead of
the IPCC. The IPCC investigation was delayed by Ian Blair and the
Metropolitan Police.

Details of the IPCC investigation was
revealed by ITN News, including a photograph

The IPCC report reveals many differences to the impression that
had been formed through media reports. He didn't run away from
police, he didn't jump over the ticket turnstile, he didn't
refuse to follow police orders, he was detained before he was
shot. [ Police shooting -
the discrepancies]

It is clear from the photograph that, contrary to reports, de Menezes
was not wearing a heavy jacket and was instead wearing a light denim
jacket. Although it's not absolutely clear, it looks as though the
jacket is not fastened at it's front. It is claimed that rucksacks
were used in the London explosions. Yet de Menezes did not have a
bag of any sort.

de Menezes had sat down on the tube before he was shot. Wearing such
a light jacket, it should have been obvious that he was not wearing a
suicide-belt of explosives especially if it was open at the front. He
didn't have a bag of any sort. If the police were scared that he might
have exploded a suicide bomb, then where was the bomb supposed to
be? It is claimed that earlier bombs contained 5.5 kg of explosives
in huge plastic storage containers. So where was de Menezes supposed
to have a bomb?,16132,1550565,00.html

The police were on a high state of alert because of the July 7 and
July 21 bombings, and had been briefed that they may be called upon
to carry out new tactics - shooting dead suspected suicide bombers
in order to avoid another atrocity.

The IPCC investigation report states that the firearms unit had
been told that "unusual tactics" might be required and if they
"were deployed to intercept a subject and there was an opportunity
to challenge, but if the subject was non-compliant, a critical shot
may be taken

Note that this is not a shoot-to-kill to disarm suspected suicide
bombers policy. It is a shoot-to-kill people who do not comply with
demands from the police policy. The de Menezes killing seems to have
been executed even outside these Fascist 'kill them if they don't
do as you say' orders. According to the IPCC report de Menezes was
co-operating with the police.
Last Updated: Friday, 22 July 2005, 21:25 GMT 22:25 UK [The day of
the killing]

"Police have said they shot a man dead at Stockwell Tube station in
south London after he was challenged and refused to obey an order.


Sir Ian [Blair] told a press conference: "I need to make clear that
any death is deeply regrettable but as I understand the situation
the man was challenged and refused to obey police instructions."

It looks like Blair is saying this in all seriousness. Doesn't
he realise that he can't kill people simply because they do not
jump to do as he commands? There is a serious issue here. The
most powerful policeman in Britain thinks that it is acceptable to
kill people that do not do as he says. We must obey the police or
get shot? Seems more like shot-to-kill-to-enforce-state-power or
we-can-kill-civilians-at-will than shoot-to-kill-to-protect.

Ian Blair is closely-associated with New Labour - he is widely
recognised as "New Labour's favourite policeman" and controlled by
what appears to be a New Labour dominated police authority. He enjoys
New Labour support.

Prime Minister backs beleaguered Met chief
By Nigel Morris. Home Affairs Correspondent
Published: 22 August 2005

"Tony Blair and John Prescott gave their full backing to Sir Ian
Blair as the pressure built on the embattled Metropolitan Police
Commissioner over the shooting of a Brazilian electrician.


Downing Street indicated that the Prime Minister, who has been
briefed on holiday on the controversy, gave unqualified backing
to Sir Ian. Asked if he had full confidence in the commissioner,
a spokeswoman replied: "Yes."


Asked on BBC's News 24's Sunday programme if Sir Ian enjoyed his
"full and unqualified" confidence, Mr Prescott also replied: "Yes."

UPDATE 29 Aug 2005

Following the first publication of this article many commentators
claimed that the Jean Charles de Menezes campaign had been hijacked by
extremists or Marxists. While media commentators concentrated on George
Galloway's press secretary, it is suspected that the real target was
this author and that censorship prevents the media reporting this fact.

This group of International Socialists supports and shows solidarity
with the Jean Charles de Menezes campaign. The killing of Jean Charles
de Menezes raises serious concerns regarding the Metropolitan Police's
'Operation Kratos' shoot-to-kill policy.

It is this article which exposed the media lie that the Metropolitan
Police had merely not corrected media reports and that they had in
fact issued an untrue and misleading statement. It is this article
that suggested that the rules of engagement are that police can kill
when individuals do not respond to challenges regardless of whether
they are armed. That is martial law. It is this article that claims
that police shot Jean Charles de Menezes knowing full well that he
was not a potential suicide bomber since it was clear that he was not
carrying a bomb. The corporate media failed to adequately inform on
all these issues.

We will continue to show support and solidarity with the de
Menezes family and campaign and we will continue to oppose the UK's
shoot-to-kill policy.

#UPDATE 19/09/05

Blair & BLunkett were consulted over shoot-to-kill-to-protect policy
Posted by: bedblogger on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 01:29 PM

Very interesting interview
with Lord John Stevens, on Radio 4 Today programe.
It emerged that although the change to the shoot-to-kill-to-protect
policy was "only" a Police operational issue, Tony Blair and David
Blunkett were involved in the decision to send gung ho armed police
on the streets.

It puts a different slant on how the shoot-to-kill-to-protect came
to our streets. Here is the transcript of John Humphries and Lord
John Stevens (11.45 minutes in on Listen Again):

JH: We did not know the policy had been changed. The politicians
apparently did not know the policy had been changed, certainly some
politicians did not know the poilicy had been changed.

JS: Well I think some did.

JH: Some did?

JS: Mmm

JH: But it was not discussed in Cabinet. It was not discussed with
the MPA, as far as we know.

JS: No, it wasn't discussed with the MPA as it was a change of
operational direction really, that's right.

JH: Is that right? Is that how it should have been?

JS: Maybe we should have discussed it, but I think at the end of
the day we have to keep some things quiet(his strike) secret about
because in fact if people know what we are doing then obviously they
can take action to stop it.

JH: So who did...? Well, precisely, that's what democracy is all
about - if people are concerned about something then they can do ...

JS: Indeed

John Humphries: Who did know? You knew it was your suggestion. Who
did know?

John Stevens: Well there was a Working Party on this...

JH: The Home Sec?

JS: Oh, certain Senior politicians, of course they knew. Yes

JH: So the Home Sec knew, without any question. Tony Blair would have
known then, without any question?

JS: Politicians, of course they know and they... these things are
discussed because we have to find the right ways of ······dealing
with them.

JH: But those specifically, the home sec and PM would have known?

JS: In terms of what the operational decisions, yes indeed.


So who else was in the loop? Who was consulted? Who was on the
"Working Party and does this form part of the IPPC'c inquiry into
Menezes murder?

How can it "only" be a Police operations issue, when the only logical
end point of shoot-to-kill-to-protect policy is the death of someone,
be they a prospective suicide bomber or an innocent Brazillian
electrician going about his day, and thus the killing needs to be
"legal" under UK law as it stands?

Blair and Blunkett and those in the Working Party decided to quietly
hide this important change of policy from Cabinet, Parliament, the
MET Police Authority and the public.

When innocents are killed "by mistake", will only the coppers take
any responsability in the courts? Or because the PM and Home secretary
kept a policy that was always going to be highly controvertial quiet,
not wanting to draw attention to it by drafting new legislation,
could this mean they have left themselves wide open to a conspiracy
to murder rap? [ QUOTE ENDS]

Menezes death 'a state execution'

The shooting dead of Jean Charles de Menezes during a hunt for
terrorists amounted to "a state execution", a leading Liberal Democrat
has said.

Matthew Taylor, the party's former chairman, said the "fundamentals
of civil liberties" were under threat from government-led anti-terror

Mr Menezes was shot dead at Stockwell tube station the day after
the failed 21 July bombings in London.

Mr Taylor said the government should not "surrender" the rule of law.

'Not convinced'

He told a fringe meeting at the Lib Dem conference in Blackpool:
"I'm not prepared to stand by in a country that takes the decision
to allow state execution on the basis of suspicion - even suspicion
of mass terrorism."

Mr Taylor said: "I would not be convinced if there were five dead
terrorists and one innocent man dead.

"We cannot defend the principles of this democracy and rule of law
and liberty on the basis that we surrender them - even in the case
of terrorist threats."
[QUOTE ENDS, article continues],15935,1573412,00.html

Met chief faces inquiry over statement on De Menezes shooting

Vikram Dodd
Monday September 19, 2005
The Guardian

Britain's most senior police officer is to face an official
investigation into whether he told the truth about the shooting dead
of an innocent man who was mistaken for a terrorist, the Guardian
has learned.

Witnesses have told the Independent Police Complaints Commission about
events inside the Metropolitan police on July 22, the day Jean Charles
de Menezes was killed at Stockwell tube station. It is believed their
testimony raises questions about a claim by Sir Ian Blair, the Met
police commissioner, that he did not know that the wrong man had been
killed until 24 hours after the shooting.

The Guardian has learned that a senior Met officer has told the
IPCC of his concerns that senior colleagues knew or suspected
on the afternoon of July 22 that the wrong person had been
shot. Investigators have also received the names of other officers
at the top of the Met who by the afternoon of the shooting feared
the force had made a mistake.QUOTE ENDS, ARTICLE CONTINUES

There is a serious problem with the notion that they did not know for
24 hours that Jean Charles de Menezes was not a suicide bomber. It is
that he was not a suicide bomber since he did not have a suicide bomb.

Ian Blair seems to be suggesting that it is acceptable to murder
suspected suicide bombers who do not have suicide bombs. Isn't
that the only conclusion? How can you be a suicide bomber without a
suicide bomb?

Jean Charles de Menezes was carrying identification in the form of
his Metro card which must be registered and which he had used to
enter the station. Is Blair seriously suggesting that they did not
identify a man they had just slaughtered - knowing that he was not
a suicide bomber - for 24 hours?



Display the following 7 comments

  1. Not News — Objector!
  2. Fuck off objector — Objector's an idiot
  3. A recently adopted semi-secret shoot to kill policy — weegee
  4. When the murder of one presages the murder of billions — twilight
  5. A Challenge — Observer
  6. They don't shoot politicians, do they? — Snitch
  7. Previous Post — Trainee Teacher