Thursday, January 19, 2006

Let him have it, Chris

So, the IPCC report on the shooting in Stockwell station last year is almost complete.

And the leaking and spinning has got going again.

My favourite chunk of hot steamy spin so far was this line from an article in the Scotsman

A Sunday newspaper, citing unidentified sources, said surveillance officers following de Menezes sent a message to armed colleagues at the subway station that "this is the man". They meant he was the man they were following, but firearms officers understood it to mean he was a suicide bomber, the paper said

Nice one. Being a bit of history buff I think the parallels with the infamous Derek ‘let him have it’ Bentley Case are a nice touch.

It would, of course, be useful to hear a recording of the communications between the police prior to the shooting but, lordy lordy, the kit wasn't working at the time. Now there's a surprise.

This is looking pretty bad isn’t it? The media is already basically reporting that the shooting was the result of a series of unfortunate errors. It is also regurgitating all sorts of irrelevant information and confusing detail about what happened that day without actually addressing the outstanding questions (cf. Chewbacca Defense). Questions like:

  • Why was the soldier observing de Menezes flat on his own?
  • Why did the soldier go off and take a leak without leaving his camera running?
  • If no one observed de Menezes leaving his flat how did the execution team pick up his trail?
  • Why did the execution team allow a suspected suicide bomber to enter the tube system?
  • Why execute a man carrying no baggage and wearing a thin jacket on the supposed basis that he might be a suicide bomber?
  • What’s the deal with the widely reported eye witness accounts that bore absolutely no resemblance to what actually happened?
  • Why did the head of the Metropolitan Police state that de Menezes was a terrorist hours after the killing?
  • What happened to the CCTV footage from Stockwell Station? London Underground staff were on the record saying that the CCTV was working fine

There is no evidence that police really did tail the guy from his flat and absolutely fuck all reason to believe they thought, mistakenly or otherwise, that they were executing a potential bomber. Weaving alternate scenarios, as others have done, is a mug’s game but as things stand the story being shoved down our throats by a compliant press stinks.

And once again Joe Public is faced with the question ‘are our leaders wicked or are they stupid?’ and, once again, people will settle for stupid.

My biggest regret is that I didn’t find some way to brand or trademark the expression ‘A tragic failure of intelligence’ ages ago. Maybe there’s still time


Bridget Dunne said...

We remember Jean Charles de Menezes
7th January 1978 - 22 July 2005

Justice for Jean
Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign

Six months o­n, we still remember
No More Cover up
We demand Justice

Commemoration of the 6 month anniversary
of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes
Sunday 22nd January, 1pm
Stockwell Tube Station

Frank O'Dwyer said...

I'd forgotten about the 'chewbacca defense'. Excellent stuff.

Totally unrelated, but the pseudodictionary entry for chewbacca is also excellent:

chewbacca - Chewbacca in "Star Wars" always had to walk behind Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. To be "chewbaccaed": when the third person in a group is forced to walk behind the other two, who are walking shoulder-to-shoulder.

e.g., Walking behind two friends: "Why do I have to be chewbaccaed?"