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More bad news from London

July 24th, 2005

The news that the man shot dead by police in a London station was not connected with the terror attacks is very disturbing to me. It’s too early to draw any conclusions about whether the police acted properly, but there’s no doubt that, however it happened, this was a win for the terrorists, who have claimed another innocent victim. As the name implies, the main point of terrorism is to create fear, and a situation where people are afraid of the police who are supposed to be protecting them is far worse than anything that can be created by the small risk of being in the wrong place when a bomb goes off.

Terrorism is essentially a criminal activity, and the only way to beat it in the long run is through effective police work. The terrorists of the radical left and right who operated in the 1970s and 1980s were beaten in the end, and the same will be true of the jihadists. But so far at least, the response to the London attacks seems to have more failures than successes. Let’s hope there’s better news soon.

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  1. Elizabeth
    July 24th, 2005 at 15:11 | #1

    Completely agree with the opening post to this thread.

    But accroding to the BBC at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4711639.stm this was the sequence of events.

    Why then did he vault the ticket barriers? Why did he run from the Police? Why did he not stop when ordered/requested. (He lived in Englnad for three years, so even basic English he should have understood). Why did he wear such a bog, winter coat in the middle of summer? Given the hysteria about the Tube being a target for suicide bombers, why did he run down there, and try and jump onto a tube train?

    All very odd.

    1: Witnesses report seeing up to 20 plain clothes police officers chase a man into Stockwell Tube station from the street
    2: One person says the man vaulted the automatic ticket barriers as he made his way to the platforms
    3: The most direct route is via this escalator or the staircase that sits alongside it
    4: Police challenge the man but he apparently refuses to obey instructions and after running onto a northbound Northern line train, he is shot dead

  2. July 24th, 2005 at 15:22 | #2

    From what I understand so far, I would have shot him myself.

    How tragic, wonder why he behaved in such a fashion?

  3. brian
    July 24th, 2005 at 16:46 | #3

    According to a witness I heard interviewed on the BBC,the police running wildly around the station were all in plain clothes,and she herself ran to escape them fearing they were terrorists. These terrible events are all the products of the terrible policies followed by Blair and his various accomplices. In the US Crai Paul Roberts, a former Asst-Tresurer in Reagan’s cabinet,wrote a few days ago,that as well as withdrawing from Iraq,where clearly the war is lost,Bush and Blair should be put on trial for War Crimes. Not much chance of that,but that a Republican stalwart like Roberts is saying things like that shows how public opinion is changing. even in the USA. In Britain Friday’s poll in The Guardian shows 32% felt Blair was largely the blame tfor the disasters they have follwed the Iraq war,and 32% felt he was partly to blame,so British public oponion is very clearly moving against Blair on a range of issue. In the midst of all this ,The Iraqi P>M> has spent the week in Tehran,meeting his fellow Shiites,and laying a wreath on the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeni…What does Bush make of all that I wonder ?

  4. jquiggin
    July 24th, 2005 at 17:08 | #4

    It certainly appears from the stories I’ve read that all or most of the police were plainclothes officers, which makes “refusing to obey instructions” less clear than it would otherwise be. But there’s not enough info for a clear judgement yet.

  5. July 24th, 2005 at 17:10 | #5

    Everything beyond the 3rd line of your posting is unrelated ranting Brian, stick to the topic: Citizen minding own business is shot dead by police.

  6. Elizabeth
    July 24th, 2005 at 17:56 | #6

    “the police were plainclothes officers”

    And so? Is the expectation that police can only arrest someone, if they change into uniforms?

  7. Geoff Honnor
    July 24th, 2005 at 18:15 | #7

    “And so? Is the expectation that police can only arrest someone, if they change into uniforms?”

    I think it’s more the point that if someone didn’t know that a bunch of unknown guys chasing him were police, he might think it expedient to flee..particularly given the current environment in London.

    On the other hand, I acknowledge entirely that had this unfortunate man actually been a suicide bomber we would be hailing police initiative in preventing mass death.

    brian, I think Washington would regard the Iraqi PM laying a wreath on Khomeini’s tomb as smart politics, all things considered…

  8. July 24th, 2005 at 18:43 | #8

    It amazes me the capacity some have to side instinctively with authority no matter how troubling the circumstances. From disbelief that anybody would ever run from a crew of thugs to the expectation that the police were doing the reasonable thing.

  9. July 24th, 2005 at 19:33 | #9

    Whether the guy was a bomber is irrelevat to whether the police action was justifiable – which it was. If did have a bomb, the people on the train may have died if they hadnt followed that course of action. Its a sad occurance, but the police did the right thing and thats all there is to it.

  10. petero
    July 24th, 2005 at 20:01 | #10

    Yes, the news that they were plainclothes is pretty disturbing. A bunch of big tough guys yelling out identifying themselves in cockney accents and then running at a man to whom English isn’t a first language is a worry. What I mean is he might just think he’s being chased by hoods.

    Very sad all round.

  11. Elizabeth
    July 24th, 2005 at 20:17 | #11

    Where is it reported the Police had ‘cockney’ accents Petero. Seems an odd reference.

    The Telegraph in London is reporting that the young man was working illegally in London, and hence why he panicked.

  12. July 24th, 2005 at 21:11 | #12

    It’s just too tragic to say anything at all.

  13. July 24th, 2005 at 23:53 | #13

    What we can say it has very serious implications if policemen can kill a person in public without charges of murder or at least manslaughter brought against the perpetrator, who of course was acting on orders. This is a description of police state.

    If the police had the property under surveilance: Why did they not cover the exit routes, and why did they let a potential suicide bomber run into a railway station and board a train. Why did he run, because he was frightened. Why frighten him in the first place?

  14. petero
    July 25th, 2005 at 00:31 | #14

    I was trying to imagine the situation Elizabeth. If there really are people like you who think the fact that he ran makes it ok to shoot him, then I suggest we as a society are getting into deep trouble.

  15. kyangadac
    July 25th, 2005 at 00:48 | #15

    quote “the guy fell or tripped onto the trasin and then the police unloaded 5 shots into him.” This is from an eyewitness and has been shown repeatedly on the news. So wearing a coat now is enough to get you shot just in case you twitch and it explodes.

    Or perhaps it was the cop who twitched. Perhaps the real problem is that the cop couldn’t tell the difference between a brazilian and a pakistani (since it was pakistanis that they were chasing on that day). Damn! All dem darkies look da same! We’ll have to shoot the lot of them just to keep England safe.

  16. July 25th, 2005 at 01:02 | #16

    I would have shot him myself Petero. Not for running per se, but for declining to stop, after having come from a premises thought to be bristling with possible suicide bombers, entering a tube station on the run, & dashing onto a train. All the while wearing a bulky coat in summer. If he dashed onto you train in such circumstances, would you remain on the carriage? Or bolt for the stairs up to the street?

    Kyangadac, your posting is trite.

  17. July 25th, 2005 at 01:31 | #17

    According to the Sunday Times, the police have changed their story as to the events involving Mr Menezes. The articles says:
    “Originally, police had said the man walked from a property in Stockwell to the local Tube station. But later the statement was changed to say he had been under surveillance during a three-mile bus journey from his home to the station.”
    While inconsistent, the sequence of events does clear so far.

  18. July 25th, 2005 at 01:56 | #18

    My initial reaction was anger, then resignation when I read that he’d been followed from a house that was connected to the bombings. But then I realised that they’d let him catch the bus without intervening. What the heck was going on? Why was he no threat on the bus, but a threat on the tube?

  19. July 25th, 2005 at 05:37 | #19

    Nic, It was not justifiable. We have the rule of law, and the innocent until guilty for a reason; it is to protect us from arbitrary action from government and their policing arms. If our governments and police forces are not going to follow those basic dictums of civilised society then they should just resign and flip burgers, because they are unfit for anything else.

  20. July 25th, 2005 at 08:26 | #20

    It certainly appears from the stories I’ve read that all or most of the police were plainclothes officers, which makes “refusing to obey instructions� less clear than it would otherwise be.

    Yes. But even if they had been in uniform, the fact that the man has been proved innocent nullifies the “if he was innocent why did he run� argument.
    He did, and he was.

    Summary execution on the streets by death squads now an acceptable part of British justice? Some of you surprise me.

  21. Ros
    July 25th, 2005 at 08:28 | #21

    I note that the “Moderate Muslims” in the UK have gone from saying when this man was shot that this was an attack on Muslims to the police must have a right to shoot to kill. Then that may be the way the BBC reports things.
    What is it about human beings that makes them go ape over the wrong thing. This is very sad for this man, but to use terminology that excites, he is collateral damage. The issue is that loose in London (and protected and hidden by an even larger group) is a network of Muslim bastards whose intention is to kill as many as they can. The police as it turns out made the wrong call. Now the smart thing to do is to condemn them into inaction!
    Always like spectators at a football match we could have played or umpired better from the safety of the stands. And with that greatest of human skills, with hindsight we know what the decision should have been. Combined with that other great skill of humanity, retrospective coherence, we can analyse every random bit of information and put together the perfect approach which the police in the UK have proved to the satisfaction of some, are incapable.

    Ah well, if it was Australia Kruddy could be demanding a Royal Commission and the resignation of Ellis and Ruddock and the senior police.
    Cameron is already requiring that their be a full investigation and court case before any action may be taken. I am trying not to imagine the smile on the bombers face as he pushes the button while the policeman says, you have the right to remain silent..Boom.

  22. Katz
    July 25th, 2005 at 09:27 | #22

    Clearly Sr Menezes was guilty of swarthiness.

    The plain clothes cops who chased and shot him were acting on information that had been passed on to them by surveillance police and were therefore doing their duty. The blame for this botch goes further up the line and is likely to end with reference to the culture of pervasive racism of the British Police.

    More generally, there are at least two conditions for terrorist success.

    1. The subjects of terrorist violence get disheartened and retreat. The COW leaders are doing a lot of tough self-talk to dissuade their electorate from demanding that course of action from their leaders. “Staying the course” “staying until the job is done” are the slogans of this policy.

    2. The authorities overreact and create unnecessary enemies. The history of the troubles in Ireland is telling in this regard. When the IRA reformed in the 1970s in the wake of Bloody Sunday and other examples of police and Army terrorism, the majority of the Catholic population supported the moderate Social Democratic Labour Party. In the succeeding 30 years the IRA provoked an overreaction from British authorities. In response, Catholic voters in Ulster have thrown their support behind Sinn Fein. The SDLP has more or less disappeared as an effective political force. This is precisely the opposite of what British authorities wanted to happen.

    Now the outcome in Ulster will be determined by the “Battle of the Prams”. Catholics are breeding voters faster than Protestants. And many, if not most, Catholics are implacably opposed to current arrangements in Ulster.

    Over-zealous use of police power runs the risk of alienating moderate minorities. The death of Sr Menezes may demonstrate to many that Britain isn’t quite as multi-cultural as it would like to make itself out to be.

    The last thing that Britain wants is for British identity to be dictated by the outcome of the “Battle of the Prams”.

    Of course there is another solution. Idi Amin in the 1970s expelled thousands of East Indians from Uganda.

    Is Idi Amin to be the Poster Boy for the current generation of the “Tough on Terrorism” brigade?

  23. Petero
    July 25th, 2005 at 09:41 | #23

    “I would have shot himself.” Bruce Willis, watch your back! Steve, you’re either too young to be at the pub or a worry as a human being. Either way, you remind me of why I stay away from blog commentary. What a way to start the day!

    Yukk.

    Adieu

  24. July 25th, 2005 at 10:03 | #24

    Just to point to this important insight:

    “Shami Chakrabarti, a human rights lawyer and director of Liberty, the civil rights group, said: “Our hearts go out to the family of the dead man and to the officers involved in this incident.

    “No one should rush to judgement. In any case of this kind – especially at a time of heightened tension – there must be a prompt, comprehensive and independent investigation into what happened and it must cover the guidelines and the training of officers.”

    But she said that the shoot-to-kill policy was acceptable in exceptional situations. “If the action is carried out by properly trained officers and the authority is given, based on a proper assessment of the risk that innocent people could die, then in those circumstances it could be justified,” Ms Chakrabarti said.

    see the following link for the full story

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/muslims-leaders-say-police-shootings-can-be-justified/2005/07/24/1122143730016.htmlhttp://www.smh.com.au/news/world/muslims-leaders-say-police-shootings-can-be-justified/2005/07/24/1122143730016.html

  25. Ros
    July 25th, 2005 at 10:18 | #25

    Retreat from what Katz?

    The Muslim community in the UK also took swarthiness to mean Muslim. I don’t recall the police claiming Menezes was Muslim

    Overreact and create unnecessary enemies. Who are they. More bombers you reckon. Or the Muslim community that is co-operating so well currently. Unless these bastards are the greatest salesmen in history, some of those they seek to enlist must say no. Are they sharing that with the authorities. The lack of any prior information this time would make the answer no. If they are volunteering how do they know who to volunteer to. The information must be out there. The Muslim community is sharing it with the police? Again these circumstances would suggest no.

    I find it hard to accept that these tight knit communities don’t have some idea of who is up to what. Maybe it is fear that holds them back from helping, and hiding these bastards. But if they can be forgiven for their fear so may the police and the British public. And the notion that the way to respond to those who despise you as sewer scum is to doff your cap is ridiculous.

    Unfortunately the battle of the prams is paying off pretty well for the Muslim adherents as well.

    Over zealous use of police power. That is the explanation for the death of Mr Menezes? The obvious is that the police in the UK are racist? Not as shaken and frightened as the general public in the UK. Not making a bad call because of the monstrous level of tension and obligation they have. And damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    But I guess such thoughts just makes me an admirer of Idi. Interestingly I heard on the BBC that the East Indians from Uganda integrated well into Britian. No bombers from there. An explanation given was that they came from a culture where they were a minority and not top dog. Unfortunately these young Pakistanis come from a culture where they are top dog and they return to it on a regular basis. They send their daughters back at thirteen to marry, the British authorities turned a blind eye. They murder their sisters for fighting it. Again the British authorities have been turning a blind eye. They deny their daughters education.

    I have no interest in feeling sorry for these arrogant vicious individuals. And I am losing interest in the immediate call, people will be nasty to us, because they are British and intolerant. And listen to a number of these old boys, it is you, not “us”, yours not “ours”. If they don’t think they are part of Britian then why should they stay. Even bugged a BBC reporter.

    No way I feel like being nice. And the families of the hundred thousand Aussies in London are probable less empathetic than they used to be.

  26. Dave Ricardo
    July 25th, 2005 at 10:39 | #26

    It was just tough titties for Mr Menezes that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Also the wrong colour.

    As Lang Hancock said of the men who had contracted mesothelioma while working in his mines, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

  27. July 25th, 2005 at 10:40 | #27

    This is very sad for this man, but to use terminology that excites, he is collateral damage.

    And I hope when it’s your son or daughter, you’ll display the same dispassionate view.

  28. derrida derider
    July 25th, 2005 at 10:43 | #28

    It’s about accountability, folks. This *may* be a tragic case where the coppers did everything right. Or it *may* be outright criminal behaviour by racist cops. More likely, based on eyewitness accounts, it is bungling that rises to the level of negligence needed for manslaughter charges. If so, and those charges are never brought, we are going to see this happening again in the future.

    But we don’t really know, and given the way official commisions in the UK – and in Australia too – tend to see their job as being to prevent official embarrassment (Guildford Four, anyone? Bloody Sunday? WMDs?) I don’t expect we’ll ever know.

    The irony of cover-ups aimed at preventing official embarrassment, of course, is that over time they *discredit* the authorities in most peoples’ eyes because they sow the seeds of future scandals. Of course, there will always be the faithul who’ve been brought up to believe what authority figures tell them – no amount of mere experience will teach them.

  29. ml
    July 25th, 2005 at 12:49 | #29

    Scanning the above, can’t help noticing the amount of framing of the event/selective quotation to suit pre-ordained ideological positions. Just as it ever was…

  30. Katz
    July 25th, 2005 at 13:11 | #30

    Scanning the above, can’t help noticing the amount of framing of the event/selective quotation to suit pre-ordained ideological positions. Just as it ever was…”

    The world holds its breath in expectation of ML’s godlike perspective on these events.

  31. July 25th, 2005 at 14:36 | #31

    “And I hope when it’s your son or daughter, you’ll display the same dispassionate view.”

    Why exactly is that relevant?

  32. July 25th, 2005 at 14:40 | #32

    Cameron, if the police did that all the time, there would be a lot more people dead from terrorist attacks than there are now. Their number one priority is to stop terrorists in that kind of situation, and if that involves taking no chances with someone who appeared to be a bomber, so be it. You just seem to be spouting rhetoric here.

  33. Ros
    July 25th, 2005 at 14:43 | #33

    My daughter is there. People she knows have both died and been in carriages with expolding detonators. it is frightening her and making her weep.

    She has to ride that underground everyday. Do not come that with me. I might ask you to explain to those whose loved ones have died how it is that your compassion empathy sympathy and understanding for brutal vicious murderers excites you more than the brutal murder of their loved ones.

    That poor man is dead because there are a mob of nasty vicious thugs constructing a sense of greatness for themselves out of killing their fellow citizens. Their is nothing noble or righteous or right about those pricks. As there is nothing worthwhile about the sneers and pontifications of my fellow Australians who support them. And support them you do. A policeman has to put his life on hold when behaviour saying danger occurs in a time of national emergency. He must choose to surrender his life and the lives of those he/she is charged to protect. So my fellow Australians can feel good about something.

    I wouldn’t mind it so much if it was those who reckon that those charged with protecting us must always surrender their lives if a choice has to be made, were the ones offering their lives. Of course they never are.

    Always the argument don’t upset them. Well just once think about the consequences of upsetting us.

  34. Katz
    July 25th, 2005 at 15:06 | #34

    Get a grip Ros. None of the posts in this thread have expressed any sympathy for the London terrorists. The argument is about how best to eradicate this threat.

    Essentially there are three arguments.

    1. The terrorists are isolated maniacs who pose no realistic threat in stimulating popular support in Britain.

    2. The terrorists are capable of arousing significant popular support in Britain if the threat they pose is handled clumsily and/or brutally.

    3. The terrorists already have significant popular support in Britain who thus pose a difficult and long term threat.

    (FWIW, believe that option 2 is the most accurate statement and that careful handling is required to prevent the situation from becoming more like option 3.)

  35. Ros
    July 25th, 2005 at 16:29 | #35

    So Katz, first I would if I wanted to reassure my daughter share JQ’s gem with her.

    “As the name implies, the main point of terrorism is to create fear, and a situation where people are afraid of the police who are supposed to be protecting them is far worse than anything that can be created by the small risk of being in the wrong place when a bomb goes off.�

    Blond bimbo thinks it is terrorists that she has to worry about.

    Only we have two slight problems with that position. My can’t get a grip husband said, when the UK cops shoot her in the head (which will happen on a regular basis!) she can at least think as she goes, beats being blown to bits or waking up with no face and no legs. And consider the number of Australians who were killed and injured in relation to the number of us there are. And as I said silly girl made the mistake of knowing people who were victims.

    Importantly I will also make the point to her that
    “The terrorists are capable of arousing significant popular support in Britain if the threat they pose is handled clumsily and/or brutally.�

    And you are right. The conversation on this thread is covert rather than overt. It was probably a John Howard plant who proffered this on a previous thread. Didn’t see your rebuttal, sorry.

    “If we look at the recent acts of terror: World Trade centre,The Pentagon, the Bali bombing, Madrid & London. Though not of the conventional type, these appear to me to be well targeted acts of war. To label them something else might have some strategic advantage, but in reality they are still acts of war by peoples that have major grievances. If we want to make progress against this threat of terror we need to look at the root of these grievances and try address them, as well as “increasing our resourcing of police.�
    Oppressed people fight against their oppression. If I was oppressed I would fight. The oppression in this case is as usual economic.
    It is my supposition that their motivation was based on grievances connected with the poverty and inequality inflicted on countries like Pakistan by the exploitative western powers
    This is a war against the first world or people who are benefiting from first world affluence, by people who are being ripped off by the first world
    Intellectuals in the wealthy world are moral, honest, and want to alleviate poverty. But they have never been taught how the impoverished world was kept dependent and thus they cannot honestly address those causes. Only by this full understanding of economic history can the impoverished world gain their freedom. Wealthy world intellectuals would not push their nonsense when they know that their audience knows a lot better.�

    Selfish bitch, she and those she knows who have been directly in the firing line are guilty because of the beneficence they have had. In passing she and her husband were vigorously opposed to the invasion of Iraq. But the idiots think that the people responsible for killing their fellow Londoners are the 15 seconds of glory and then sitting next to God bastards.

    Get a grip! there is a religious group from a particular culture who has a problem with us and will kill us until we kill them.

    Again, withdraw from what?

    Thanks again Helen. That my daughter has been close to being it, and as she and her husband insist on staying, if she gets it I will apologise to you for my crass immoral perspective. When I fail to be dispassionate.

    I am angry and I suspect I am not the only one. Each incident generates many phone calls re the “my daughter the oppressor” and left or right, they don’t tell me that it is John Howard’s fault. 100,000 Aussies in London. Right or wrong their families will all be guilty of not getting a grip and failing to understand who they should be compassionate for.

  36. Elizabeth
    July 25th, 2005 at 17:49 | #36

    I have just undertaken some research on a Mr Amir, a melbourne based Muslim wirter/thinker. The link to the full article follows these two paragraphs. He clearly makes the point that (as far as he is concerned) Democracy and related values are an anethema is Islam, and that as per below the must maligned clash of civilisations these does hold true after all!

    “The problem that America faces is that the Iraqi project is predicated on the idea that, if given the opportunity, Arabs and Muslims would embrace secularism, democracy, and social liberalism as enthusiastically as a starving man would embrace food. One need only examine America’s forays into “public diplomacy” to understand the cultural hubris that lies at the heart of current White House thinking. Radio Sawa broadcasts American music into Arab homes and Hi Magazine is a lifestyle magazine typical of the sort consumed by youth in the West; marketing Western pop stars, Western fashions and decidedly Western cultural and social attitudes to intrinsically conservative Muslim societies.

    Unfortunately, the imposition of American culture and values are not seen by Muslims as being the solution but rather this is the very core of the problem. The campaign to bring secular democracy and Western values to the Muslim world is not preventing the clash of civilizations, because this is the clash of civilizations itself. ”

    Quite worrying.

    The rest of the article can be found at http://www.atrueword.com/index.php/article/articleview/77/1/1/

  37. July 25th, 2005 at 18:17 | #37

    Hehe, Petero, Bruce Willis has no need to watch his back, as I don’t swing that way. Sorry to disappoint.

    Being prepared to shoot a possible suicide bomber rather than go up with him, (a trait I share with the London Police, & I imagine with every tube & bus rider in London) does not make one a “worry” of a human being.

    From your post I deduce that you would not be prepared to shoot such a person. With self preservation instincts like that Petero old chap, your genes will be out of the human pool quicksmart. Adieu indeed!! Heh heh heh

  38. Katz
    July 25th, 2005 at 18:31 | #38

    Ros, the option of “retreat” in the context of my first post was in the context of the British in Ireland. However, the principle can be generalised to other contexts.

    Thus,

    Up to the 1990s the British Government was committed to;

    a. Maintaining the gerrymander in Ireland that gave Protestants a disproportionate share of power in local government.

    b. Refusing to reinstitute provincial government in Ulster.

    c. Denying the right of the Republic of Ireland to have any say in the future of Ulster.

    The IRA program of terrorism has assisted in persuading Britain from RETREATING from all those positions. However, this RETREAT has not, so far, persuaded Ulster Catholics to withdraw their support from Sinn Fein. It may be argued that, from a British perspective, their RETREAT was too little, too late. However, it is also true to say that these concessions have resulted in a steep fall in the number of terrorist attacks by the IRA.

    A case of post hoc, ergo propter hoc? Perhaps, but I don’t think so. The IRA is now “on the nose” in Nationalist circles in Ulster. The folk of Ulster have withdrawn much popular support from the IRA.

    Is there a lesson to be learned here in regard to Islamist terrorists resident in Britain? Perhaps. But on the other hand, perhaps the cost of concession is too great. Too early to tell yet.

  39. Elizabeth
    July 25th, 2005 at 20:27 | #39

    Dear Katz, the BBC World Service ran a story last night interviewing and taking comment from a range of people about Iraq. Some comments are at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/4700577.stm, but I highlight just the one response/email from an Iraqis in Iraq:

    “Quite obviously, the vast majority of your contributors have little to no idea of what they are talking about. Believe me, the situation on the ground is completely different to that portrayed in the media.”
    ASB, Basra, Iraq

  40. July 25th, 2005 at 21:37 | #40

    Terrorism is essentially a criminal activity, and the only way to beat it in the long run is through effective police work.

    It is true that the methods of terrorism are criminal. But it is not true that terrorism is “essentially criminal” since there is an irreducibly political element in both the source and goals of terrorist activity. The only way to counter terrorist politics is to neutralise it: by reforming sectarian terrorist cultures overseas or by preventing the development of sectarian terrorist cultures at home.

    The “overseas reform” method is being tried by evolution and revolution in the ME. The “domestic prevention” method requires a change in state policy, both criminal and civil. We should use criminal law to repress terrorist militants and civil law to integrate sectarian civilians.

  41. SJ
    July 25th, 2005 at 21:52 | #41

    “We should use criminal law to repress terrorist militants”.

    This is a bit of a give away, isn’t it?

    I’m sure you meant that criminal law should be used to punish the guilty. Where’d this “repression” thing come from?

  42. Ros
    July 25th, 2005 at 21:56 | #42

    The subjects of terrorist violence get disheartened and retreat. Ok even though your comment was followed by the COW. An unknown term in relation to Ireland. I did suspect you were suggesting that a retreat from Iraq was the option.

    We can argue about who or what in a complex system was the cause of the outcome of global terrorism and murder. We may never know which factor brought us to this horrible place. As you say Katz “Is there a lesson to be learned here in regard to Islamist terrorists resident in Britain? Perhaps. But on the other hand, perhaps the cost of concession is too great. Too early to tell yet.” But,

    What I do understand is that Iraq was in great part due to the anger of the US at the murder of 3000 of their citizens. The inability of some in the west to understand this makes the eventual price for those pre modern men awful. They have believed those who have told them we will compromise. Wrong, we will be at war with Islam if they don’t stop killing us. It doesn’t matter that there are those in the west that argue that we deserve it. It doesn’t matter that there are those in the world of Islam that say that it is unfair to blame us.

    It seems to me that there are many in the west also that underestimate the totality of the response of the west when it is sufficiently aroused. As was said at the time of Sep 11, the sleeping elephant has been aroused. As will the rest of the west become aroused as this attack escalates.

    They have believed those who say we have changed, that we no longer fight to the death. We do. We will still fight total war. I don’t like the, look at this war and how it happened. But we did fight the second world war, total destruction, despite the fact that we had paid such a high price for the first. Why tell them that we no longer do that.

    They have to know how dangerous we are. That to hide the mad and bad will have a terrible price for those who do.

  43. SJ
    July 25th, 2005 at 22:13 | #43

    “They have to know how dangerous we are. That to hide the mad and bad will have a terrible price for those who do.”

    I think that they already know how dangerous we are. And that we are mad and bad.

    The post Sep 11 sleeping elephant was aroused and did what? Acceded to Bin Laden’s demand to withdraw troops from Saudi Arabia, let Bin Laden escape, and then invaded a country that we know had no involvement.

    Duh.

  44. July 25th, 2005 at 22:23 | #44

    Nic, That is a strawman. Arguing that if the police didnt act this way and get it wrong occasionly (through killing an innocent) to stop terrorist attacks is not a valid argument that can refute the value of the rule of law, and innocent until proven guilty. Arbitrary action is the enemy of liberal democracy.

  45. July 25th, 2005 at 23:16 | #45

    Cam, we’re going to have to agree to disagree, because I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think “arbitrary action”, as you call it, is sometimes necessary. This was one of those times.

  46. kyangadac
    July 26th, 2005 at 00:45 | #46

    Gotta say Roz I admire your rhetoric, respect your passion and sympathize with your personal concerns – but your dead wrong. The real problem with the shooting in London is not that he was the wrong man but that it took nearly 48 hours for the police to admit it. As a correspondent on ‘Life matters’ said this morning, ‘it left people thinking that they were being kept in the dark and not told all the story’. This is the basis of JQ and others concern about the action. It was denied. Read the Guardians account today, the police new they had the wrong man within two hours.

    Your not the only person who is angry about the fact that we are engaged in war without boundaries being prosecuted by fools and gluttons who care only for their own profit or aggrandizement and not a fig for the consequences of their actions to the world at large. And if there is collateral damage because the rules of engagement were not agreed upon – who is to blame the glutton who turns Iraq into a country not disimilar to Cambodia at Year Zero because the oil was a prize more important than a jihadist. The fools, who believed that Musharraf and ISI were not half as important as another colonial adventure in Afghanistan, where they could play with their latest toys and make not one whit of difference.

    This particular “mob of nasty vicious thugs” have been shown the ‘collateral damage’ of our foolish and gluttonous rulers in Afghanistan and Iraq again and again on the daily news – there’s no need for a madrassas education. It is not difficult to see how they justified their actions to themselves.

    The real kicker though is the perceived threat to their manhood that feminism represents. Western culture is equated with feminism in just the same way that the Catholic church and other patriarchal insitutions equated feminism with immorality 50 years ago. Even though this is real and not just my idea, it still a pathetic excuse.

    Remember the men in our culture had to go through exactly the same thing 40 or 50 years ago, they too felt threatened and aggrieved, many still do, some joined the catholic church and became serial child molesters. Most of us realized that free women were not a threat but a delight.

    Of course, these people are “a mob of nasty vicious thugs” but they seem to be the only one around that your willing to see. Open your eyes.

    The problem with a war on terrorism is that with an undefined enemy and an undefined victory the war never ends. The only reason for prosecuting such a war is the maintenance of a police state(vale George O.). If we dare to define our enemy then we are left with Katz’s options (above).

  47. Katz
    July 26th, 2005 at 08:34 | #47

    “The subjects of terrorist violence get disheartened and retreat. Ok even though your comment was followed by the COW. An unknown term in relation to Ireland. I did suspect you were suggesting that a retreat from Iraq was the option.”

    Ros, when are you going to start readin for meaning?

    Here is what I said that you find objectionable:

    “More generally, there are at least two conditions for terrorist success.

    1. The subjects of terrorist violence get disheartened and retreat. The COW leaders are doing a lot of tough self-talk to dissuade their electorate from demanding that course of action from their leaders. “Staying the courseâ€? “staying until the job is doneâ€? are the slogans of this policy.”

    Please note that the context was “conditions for terrorist success”. Please note that I wasn’t recommending the course of action that entails retreat. But you must realise that even the most powerful states run out of resources and support for hardline policies that seem to fail to produce favourable outcomes. Simply “staying the course” will be unsuccessful in the long run if that course is perceived to lead nowhere.

    In short, my argument was: being tough is not enough.

    I hope you can see that you waste your time when you knock down straw men of your own creation.

  48. Katz
    July 26th, 2005 at 08:49 | #48

    “Dear Katz, the BBC World Service ran a story last night interviewing and taking comment from a range of people about Iraq. Some comments are at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/4700577.stm, but I highlight just the one response/email from an Iraqis in Iraq:”

    Elizabeth,

    Yes, you have stumbled on a fascinating range of opinion on the likelhood of civil war in Iraq expressed by people with access to the internet. As you may imagine, when it comes to Iraqis, that represents a fairly small and not necessarily representative sample of Iraqi opinion. I’m not questioning their sincerity, nor their bona fides.

    Just one question Elizabeth.

    How on earth does this vox pop material relate to the topic of this thread: how to deal with domestic British terrorism?

  49. July 26th, 2005 at 08:55 | #49

    Katz, it relates to the thread, because the British terrorists (at least the cowards that made the claim) stated that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan were the cause. Unless I have missed something, the War(s) have been the root cause of terrorist activty, even though Bali and 9/11 occured before Iraq.

    The other point is that it is interesting that the view of the Iraqi was ‘hey guys, settle down, things are not as bad as they make out.” Rather, it was (predominently, western liberals) aseertively suggesting that the ‘world was coming to an end’.

  50. Katz
    July 26th, 2005 at 09:52 | #50

    “Katz, it relates to the thread, because the British terrorists (at least the cowards that made the claim) stated that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan were the cause. Unless I have missed something, the War(s) have been the root cause of terrorist activty, even though Bali and 9/11 occured before Iraq.”

    But Elizabeth, John Howard, loyal sidekick of the COW superheroes, has struck a defiant pose several times and outright denied this assertion.

    In fact he lambasted Keelty of the Federal Police for daring to say such a thing.

    Two points Elizabeth:

    1. If you want to be a Howard apologist, at least take a look at his hymn sheet.

    2. If you disagree with the Howard line, have the courage to say so outright. And recognise that Howard has misidentified the enemy.

    And then perhaps you’ll be part of an effort to demand truth and reason in government.

  51. July 26th, 2005 at 09:53 | #51

    I wouldn’t mind it so much if it was those who reckon that those charged with protecting us must always surrender their lives if a choice has to be made, were the ones offering their lives. Of course they never are.

    I wouldn’t mind people dismissing the deaths of strangers as “collateral damage” so much if they were willing to think of the sacrifice of one of their own family in such an insouciant way. Of course they never do.

  52. July 26th, 2005 at 11:19 | #52

    As far as I can tell, the only claim that Menendez was an illegal immigrant came in one account from the Telegraph. So that probably doesn’t explain his behaviour.

    I wouldn’t be too hasty about blaming him for running.

    It does seem he was followed around for some time, even onto a bus, by plainclothes police who think he hadn’t noticed them. He stopped to buy a ticket, was frightened by something, and vaulted the barrier..

    I think if I realised I was being followed around for some time by large people, I might get spooked too. And if I came from a South American country run by drug barons where the police do behave like an invading army, I might get spooked even faster.

    It fits a standard explanation, after all, in the way migrant communities in Australia deal with the police. They see the interaction through their own experience of a police state.

    It is also pretty common for people from tropical countries to wear more clothes in a temperate climate than the average European.

    The shooting is apparently standard Israeli practice – five bullets to the head, as fast as possible. So the policeman was not out of control.

  53. July 26th, 2005 at 11:52 | #53

    Katz, in another post you chide Ros by stating: “Ros, when are you going to start readin (sic) for meaning?”

    Glass houses sunshine!

    I never brought Howard into the debate you did!

    For the record, (not that it matters a great deal), I am not a Howard apologist. What does that mean anyway?

  54. Katz
    July 26th, 2005 at 12:05 | #54

    But Elizabeth. Howard represents our nation in the affairs of the world.

    For better or for worse our interests are bound up in how he chooses to represent us.

    I am interested (genuinely interested) in how a supporter of an interventionist policy in Iraq and elsewhere in pursuit of the GWOT distinguishes her rationale for doing so from the official interventionist policy of her government.

    Just trying to turn a lot of heat into a bit of light, Elizabeth.

  55. July 26th, 2005 at 12:10 | #55

    I slipped a gear for a moment on my South American countries – I was thinking of Colombia when I talked about drug barons, and Menezes is Brazilian. General point still holds though.

  56. July 26th, 2005 at 12:14 | #56

    SJ Says: July 25th, 2005 at 9:52 pm

    I’m sure you meant that criminal law should be used to punish the guilty. Where’d this “repression� thing come from?

    The official repression of terrorist organizations is already law of the land. The US State Department and DFAT maintain an index of proscribed terrorist organizations, of which Al Quaeda heads the list. These martial-political organizations are officially repressed by the state, whatever actions their members undertake. That is what I mean by “political repression” of terrorism.

    Criminal law is used to constrain crime which means deterring the potentially guilty and punish the actually guilty. Overt terrorist activity is political crime so it should be constrained by either criminal or martial means – whatever works best.

    Islamic sectarianism is fundamentally a political problem – the inablility of Islamic political agents to achieve nation state citizenship – either collectively in their native homeland or individually in their adoptive emigre land.

    Western foreign policy can promote civlity in unsettled Islamic polities seeking nation statehood of their own, as done by multilateral democracy promotion by Rubin-Howard in INDON. And Western cultural policy can promote civility in unsettled Islamic persons seeking residency in our nation, as occurred during the integrationist phase of migrant settlement policy (1966-74).

    Unfortunately Hawks have stuffed up a civilizing foreign policy with their unilateral militancy and Wets have stuffed up a civilizing cultural policy with their multicultural seperatism.

    Pr Q’s circumspection of anti-terrorist actions to purely police work is far too narrow. This implies that military counter-espionage and counter-terrorist organizations have no formal role to play is suppressing or repressing terrorist activity.

    This would lay the state and civil society open to attack from terrorist cells operating outside the sovereign borders of AUS, in failed or rogue states. Thus, under Pr Q’s ordinance, Western military forces – misiles and commandos – would have been forbidden to attack Al Quaeda operatives in Afghanistan (1998) and Yemen (2002).

    These organizations and their personnel would then have been been freer to carry on their planning and training of mass casualty atrocities unmolested by those military forces most capable of destroying or disabling them. That is clearly unacceptable, especially in an age of cheap, potent and portable WMDs which could incinerate or contaminate whole cities.

  57. Katz
    July 26th, 2005 at 12:31 | #57

    “Unfortunately Hawks have stuffed up a civilizing foreign policy with their unilateral militancy and Wets have stuffed up a civilizing cultural policy with their multicultural seperatism.”

    This is a very fair summary of the situation.

    It is important to note as an extension of this insight, that the largest and most expensive military adventure in prosecution of the so-called GWOT has happened in Iraq. The day “shock and awe” was unleashed over Baghdad, Iraq was secular tyranny which persecuted Islamism.

  58. July 26th, 2005 at 12:52 | #58

    Katz Says: July 25th, 2005 at 3:06 pm

    The argument is about how best to eradicate this threat…(FWIW, believe that option 2 is the most accurate statement and that careful handling is required to prevent the situation from becoming more like option 3.)

    2. The terrorists are capable of arousing significant popular support in Britain if the threat they pose is handled clumsily and/or brutally.

    3. The terrorists already have significant popular support in Britain who thus pose a difficult and long term threat.

    Can any sane Wet (or just sane person) explain to this little black duck how Islamic persons immigrating to Western states have, over the past few years, become an actual or potental terrorist threat akin to a fifth column?

    According the theory of multiculturalism these people should have been especially happy to be in their new land since they could enjoy their ancient theology whilst exploiting our modern technology. Whilst we would be especially happy with their settlement as we would enjoy their multi-cultural diversity whilst exploiting their cheap labour.

    Something seems to have gone wrong with the settlement plan if whole ethnic groups are now under suspicion and being treated with extreme caution as if they were volatile explosives (actually this metaphor is a little to close to the literal truth!). It cannot be, pace Robert Pape, that the West has invaded their homeland since their homeland is now the West.

    How can it be that terrorists “already have significant popular support” or are capable of “arousing significant popular support” in the West “if the threat they pose is handled clumsily and/or brutally”. Citizens, whether native or adoptive, should be automaticly loyal to the nation state and its democraticly validated laws.

    Why do we need to treat terrorist criminals and their sectarian enablers with kid gloves in order to appease a special class of the very citizens who they are threatening? The Wets have some serious explaining to do.

  59. Katz
    July 26th, 2005 at 13:35 | #59

    Jack, you seem to be subject to some weird fixations.

    One them is that I am one of your dreaded “Wets”

    FWIW I would describe myself as a left libertarian.

    I believe in secularism, free speech, freedom of association, minimal government.

    I don’t believe in affirmative action, quotas, special laws for minority groups, any impediment to freedom of expression such as laws against racial or religious vilification.

    Recently I misrepresented your position on an issue. I retracted.

    Still more recently, I demonstrated that you misrepresented me on an issue. I’m still waiting for a retraction. But I can live without it.

    To the issue of your most recent post.

    I too believe that care should be taken in the issue of the way in which immigrant groups relate to their host cultures. This issue has been mishandled in many western societies. And now we have to deal with the consequences.

    To recognise difficulties, contrary to your implication, is not the same as endorsing them. As you say:

    “Citizens, whether native or adoptive, should be automaticly loyal to the nation state and its democraticly validated laws.”

    This would be a welcome state of affairs. And it still may happen. But there is often an enormous gulf between “should” and “could”. Stupid policy, as you say in an earlier post, can make that gulf wider.

    And to put the current potential problem in Britain in context, there are about as many Muslims in Britain as there are Catholics in Northern Ireland. And the figure is growing rapidly owing to high birth rates.

    This situation calls for intelligence and caution.

  60. July 26th, 2005 at 13:56 | #60

    Pr Q writes:

    As the name implies, the main point of terrorism is to create fear, and a situation where people are afraid of the police who are supposed to be protecting them is far worse than anything that can be created by the small risk of being in the wrong place when a bomb goes off.

    It is implausible that the current risk of security overkill harming Anglosphere-domiciled Muslims is “far worse” than the real possibility that security underkill has increased the risk of an Anglosphere citizen being killed by Islamist terrorists. Anglsphere-domiciled Muslim people can have very little to complain about the Global War on Terrorism, as it has been waged on Western soil, so far as respect for their own persons is concerned.

    The 911 atrocities were made easier to commit by ineffective and politically constrained policing, since Republicans were courting the Arab vote in the US. Thus do ethnic lobbies constantly get up to mischief behind the populuses back.

    I would like to see Pr Q’s “back of the envelope calculations” for his gob-smacking surmise of this risk management problem. My envelope’s backside reveals a quite different result.

    Since the beginning of this decade Islamist terrrorists, whether homegrown or foreign sourced, have murdered or severely injured ~4,000 persons in Anglosphere states. That is, Anglospheric natives have a ~1 per 1 million chance per decade (projected out of a population of ~400 million held constant over the decade) of being a murdered or killed by Islamist terrorists.

    On the other side of the equation it is evident that a very small proportion of Anglosphere-domiciled Muslims have been subject to any outrages by our states. I estimate that about ~25 Anglsosphere-domiciled Muslims have been the victim of proven cases of security malfeasance – mostly troublemakers, like Habib, experiencing a bit of gratuitous argy-bargy in Gitmo. That is, Anglsosphere-domiciled Muslims have a ~1 per 1 million chance per decade (projected out of a total population of ~5 million held constant over the decade) of being unfairly and brutally treated by our state security.

    Thus the the odds of an Islamist militant murdering an innocent Western civilian are about the same as the odds of an innocent Muslim denominee in the West being hurt by a malovolent Western security agency. That is still too much security malfeasance, since we should have much better standards than terrorists.

    The risk of security agencies inflicting collateral damage on Anglosphere domiciled Muslims would, of course, be far less if the Wets had not encouraged multicultural seperatism over the past generation. It appears that this generations Anglosphere Muslim residents are more radical than the past generation.

  61. Katz
    July 26th, 2005 at 14:58 | #61

    I’ve checked my facts on population figures.

    The following is more accurate than I estimated above:

    500,000 Catholics in Northern Ireland.

    2,000,000 Muslims in Britain.

  62. Katz
    July 29th, 2005 at 08:28 | #62

    In the light of the declaration of the IRA to abandon armed struggle, I wish to resurrect this post to suggest that it is important to recognise that the use of terrorist tactics isn’t in itself an indication of nihilism or irrationality. As I suggested above:

    “2. [In Northern Ireland] [t]he [British] authorities overreact and create unnecessary enemies. The history of the troubles in Ireland is telling in this regard. When the IRA reformed in the 1970s in the wake of Bloody Sunday and other examples of police and Army terrorism, the majority of the Catholic population supported the moderate Social Democratic Labour Party. In the succeeding 30 years the IRA provoked an overreaction from British authorities. In response, Catholic voters in Ulster have thrown their support behind Sinn Fein. The SDLP has more or less disappeared as an effective political force. This is precisely the opposite of what British authorities wanted to happen.”

    The IRA has succeeded in politicising a large part of the Ulster Catholic community. Now their work is done and politics can go on by other means toward a future that was unimaginable in 1968 when the troubles started.

  63. jquiggin
    July 29th, 2005 at 08:35 | #63

    I disagree, at least with your last sentence Katz. Nothing has been achieved now, that could not have been obtained from the Sunningdale agreement in 1973. Both sides suffered from their excessive willingness to resort to force.

  64. Katz
    July 29th, 2005 at 08:50 | #64

    Sinn Fein was a marginalised political force in 1973. The SDLP had no ambitions for breaking up Great Britain. Sin Fein does.

  65. Katz
    July 29th, 2005 at 08:51 | #65

    Sinn Fein was a marginalised political force in 1973 in Ulster. The SDLP had no ambitions for breaking up Great Britain. Sinn Fein does.

    Perhaps something like Sinn Fein may have arisen out of Sunningdale. Now we’ll never know.

  66. Katz
    July 29th, 2005 at 08:52 | #66

    [Sorry about that double post.]

  67. jquiggin
    July 29th, 2005 at 10:41 | #67

    ‘The SDLP had no ambitions for breaking up Great Britain. Sinn Fein does.”

    This is incorrect. The SDLP is a nationalist party supporting peaceful reunification, which appears to be the position Sinn Fein has now adopted.

  68. Katz
    July 29th, 2005 at 10:54 | #68

    Partly a semantic issue JQ.

    The Mensheviks had hopes for communism in Russia.

    The Bolsheviks had ambitions for communism in Russia.

    The SDLP are the Mensheviks of Ulster. Sinn Fein are the Bolsheviks.

    The Sunningdale Agreement was destroyed by communal obstructionism. The IRA contributed to the violence that ended it.

    But IRA violence gained political credibility in Catholic Ulster when Nationalists perceived that the British authorities were, in effect, conspiring with Unionist forces.

  69. Dave Ricardo
    July 29th, 2005 at 11:59 | #69

    Back to London – the commissioner of the metropolitan police, Sir Ian Blair, has condemned the west midlands police for using a stun gun to subdue the (probable) terrorist they arrested the other day. According to Sir Ian, they should have killed him.

    It must be embarrassing for the metropolitan police when they put seven bullets into the head of a man who had no connection whatever with terrorism and who was just innocently going to work, when their colleagues in Birmingham manage to apprehend an actual terrorist without causing him any physical harm (or not much anyway).

  70. July 29th, 2005 at 12:15 | #70

    Dave Ricardo Says:

    July 29th, 2005 at 11:59 am
    Back to London – the commissioner of the metropolitan police, Sir Ian Blair, has condemned the west midlands police for using a stun gun to subdue the (probable) terrorist they arrested the other day. According to Sir Ian, they should have killed him.

    perhaps, since this character will probably soon be surrounded by opportunistic (ambulance chasers) and other victim industry consultants claiming profusely that by using the electric constraint it was barbaric and state sponsored torture.

  71. derrida derider
    July 29th, 2005 at 14:24 | #71

    Some people just horrify me – Ian Blair is clearly one of them. Elizabeth is another. Tell me, Elizabeth, if the suspected terrorist turns out to be innocent will you still think it better he had been shot? And how do you know he isn’t innocent? And, BTW, if the man is guilty and had been shot out of hand, how do you think the next terrorist cornered by the police is going to act?

    Those ‘victim industry consultants’ are absolutely necessary to deter people like Blair.

    As dsquared pointed out, given that real terrorists are such a tiny proportion of possible suspects then simple Bayesian reasoning suggests a shoot-to-kill policy is going to kill more innocents than terrorists, even if the error rate by the police is low.

  72. July 29th, 2005 at 14:46 | #72

    Derrida – the point is that the police must operate on a balance of probabilities concerning terrrorists and their intentions.

    Take the scenario of the police being confronted in a packed tube station, with a suicide bomber, fully armed and set to ‘pop’.

    Do you imagine the terrorist will think: “oh blimey! I’m nicked. I will just surrender without detonating my nail bombs!”

    Derrida, naive people like you scare me!

  73. what the
    July 29th, 2005 at 15:35 | #73

    i thought the criticism from the police chief had been that an electrical impulse from the taser might set off a bomb, not that he ought to have been killed with a different weapon.

  74. Dave Ricardo
    July 29th, 2005 at 16:14 | #74

    The policy of the London police is that suspected suicide bombers must be killed by shooting them in the head, lest they let off the bomb. (If you shoot them in the legs, they could detomate the bomb. If you shoot them in the chest, the bullet could detonate the bomb.) They have apparently learnt this from the Israeli authorities, who are very experienced at dealing with suicide bombers.

    This was why the police pumped seven bullets from point blank range into the head of Mr De Menezes, even though he was on the ground, facing down with his arms speadeagled and with a policeman on his back.

    So , yes, the taser might have set off a bomb. Perhaps the west midlands police figured that even terrorists don’t go walking around at home with bombs strapped to their chests. Mind you, even the terrorists who did let the bombs off didn’t have them strapped to their chests. They had them in their bags.

  75. July 30th, 2005 at 18:08 | #75

    .

  76. Katz
    August 19th, 2005 at 11:55 | #76

    Official update on Sr Menezes:

    The police now claim that Sr Menezes was fired at 11 times. Three bullet missed. Go figure.

    The police now admit that he wasn’t running away. He was sitting in a seat. And the police now acknowledge that he didn’t wear a dangerous suicide-bomber-style puffy jacket.

    However, they refuse to resile from the fact that Sr Menezes was swarthy.

  77. August 19th, 2005 at 14:19 | #77

    If you shoot a hand gun that many times in rapid sequence, it is quite likely to miss a few times because the gun will pull. Whether it is sound advice to fire that often or not depends on a number of things; in general, it increases the odds of a rapid kill (what counts is the number of hits, not misses).

    But it quite clearly endangered the life of the policeman who was pinioning the victim at the time. This should have been taken into consideration.

    As for swarthiness, it is quite clear that, while wilfully being a foreigner might not seem grounds for immediate violent steps, nevertheless it does show that the vast majority would not have been at any risk from the police in similar circumstances.

    By the way, how many people not only recognise irony, but also recognise that – like much humour – it rests on a strong basis in actual fact?

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