Thursday, 2 August 2007

IPCC: De Menezes never had a chance to surrender

The British Police generally do a difficult job fairly well. They put their own hides between the rest of us and danger. Every now and then a police officer will pay the price for that, with their health or their life.

The average citizen of the UK would probably not want to swap them for any other nation’s police forces.

That is why it is so appalling that they appear to have fallen down so very badly in the case of poor Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician, who had apparently over stayed his visa.

According to the Independent Police Complaints Commission the Metropolitan Police released, what was described as, "incorrect information" - saying Mr de Menezes had been challenged and "refused to obey" and kept claiming he had been wearing suspicious bulky clothing when he had not.

The report said:

"The IPCC investigation team understands that Mr de Menezes did not refuse to obey a challenge prior to being shot and was not wearing any clothing that could be classed as suspicious.”

"However there is no suggestion that the challenge is one that an innocent man would have understood, or that Mr de Menezes was given instructions that he could have chosen to obey."

On the face of it, but for the grace of God, it could have been any of us. Well any youngish male who had a bit of a tan and dark hair, one suspects, based on the profiling.

What were they playing at? By the sound of the IPCC report he was not carrying a rucksack, or wearing clothing that could have concealed a bomb. By the sound of it he was never given a realistic opportunity to ‘come quietly’.

One worries that even if he had put his hands in the air and said ‘I surrender’ he would not have survived his encounter with the Met.

Obama threatens Pakistan over al-Qaeda

It seems Barack Obama is getting overly feisty in his efforts to get himself the Democrat ticket.

Talking about possible terrorist targets in Pakistan he said: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will,"

Nice to know how concerned he is over national sovereignty. He’ll play along giving it lip service - as long as he can get his own way. But if he is baulked then an act of war is presumably not out of the question.

Pakistan’s President Musharraf has certain difficulties dealing with al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in areas bordering Afghanistan. They are wild and in many respects virtually autonomous, controlled by tribes.

I hope Mr Obama is only trying to sound tough and hoping this will play to the domestic hawks, but the fact is President Musharraf has been a key US ally in it’s ‘war on terror’ since 9/11 and this is the thanks he gets.

Obama’s grandstanding makes him look pretty feeble to his own people and doesn’t seem likely to exactly strengthen his hand domestically.

It is also enough to make everyone else think twice. On the face of it Obama seems to think, if the rest of the world doesn’t jump when he says frog then some ass kicking ‘military intervention’ may be in order.