Friday, 12 December 2008

Jean Charles de Menezes

It is worth mentioning the news today, the jury in the Jean de Menezes inquest has returned verdicts which are quite damning for the police.

For some reason that I don't understand, the coroner refused to allow the jury to consider a verdict of "unlawful killing", which to be honest stinks big time. So, faced with returning either a rather weak "open" verdict or one of "lawful killing", the jury not only returned the "open" verdict, but on a dozen specific points (again, questions directed by the coroner) were as critical as it was possible to be toward the police.

I suppose my first reaction should be relief. Had the shooting been categorised as lawful, then the precedent has been set. It is then Ok for a policeman to walk up to any of us and not just to pull the trigger, but to execute any of us in a cold and calculated way. We can't forget that the people who shot Menezes didn't just fire a shot in the heat of the moment, but pumped him full of seven bullets over the course of a minute or so. A cold-blooded execution.

But it is more than relief. For a long time now I have thought I have been in a very small minority of people who have grave reservations about this so-called war on terror, about the fact that our liberties are being eroded in the name of our security (if anything I feel less secure, not more), and yes, about the fact that the police can target people and snuff out their lives on a whim. But now I know that there are people out there who agree. And even though the coroner prevented the jury from looking into the possibility that the police acted illegally, they still went as far as they possibly could within the constraints of "the system".

It is comforting that there are other people out there, who when the police and the politicians say "Trust us", will turn around and smell the bullshit.

Of course we should now be asking how the police witnesses came up with such a common story, which they failed to sell to the jury. Collusion? Perjury? I wonder how far they'll take that one? No, I think I can guess.... Shades of Hutton, I think.

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