The UK Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has released the "Stockwell One" report of its investigation into the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes by armed Metropolitan Police officers in 2005. Releasing the report, Nick Hardwick - chairman of the IPCC - made several comments to reporters, giving the IPCC's view of …
"If they thought he might have a bomb, why was he allowed twice to get on a bus and then on the tube?"
"If they thought he didn't have a bomb, why did they shoot him?"
Unpalatable answer: because they wanted revenge for the recent attack and murdered someone they genuinely thought had tried to bomb London. As did many people (consider sun headline: 1 down... But they got the wrong bloke...
Sadly, this was either manslaughter (if they thought he had a bomb), or murder (if they didn't).
"Sir" Ian Blair has blocked investigations, misled the public after the shooting and seems intent on trying to gather more power with less responsibility (extended detention etc). He also seems to have bulletproof Labour credentials making him unsackable. That he has not been resigned is a personal disgrace, and that he has not been fired is a national digrace.
Dead Man's switch
Putting aside for a moment the moral position, and the fact that state-approved execution is still murder by another name, the shoot to kill policy is simply tactically wrong.
Most suicide bombers are competent enough to use a dead man's switch, i.e. a "failsafe" device that will trigger the bomb if they are incapacitated. So, killing a potential bomber is still likely to detonate the device.
Or even a timer
Since you're going on a tube train, you'll know when you get there and as long as you're alive, you can reset.
Or have I now aided and abetted terrorism..?
Thank you Lewis
Lewis, thank you for that précis and analysis. It makes the whole shambles rather clearer:
. The coppers who followed de Menezes, thinking he was a terrorist, were not supposed to act against him - that role belonged to CO19
. The coppers who *were* supposed to act against him were not sent in a suitably expeditious manner.
So the answer to the first question "If they thought he might have a bomb, why was he allowed twice to get on a bus and then on the tube?" is: because they were expecting the cavalry, and were assuming that the buses he got onto were not his intended target. And the answer to the second is: they thought he *did* have a bomb.
As for Commander Dick*, she had to make the call as to whether to instruct SO12 to act beyond their normal remit, or whether to have them hold back until CO19 were in attendance. Was she being told "Oh, CO19 will be there in two minutes", and they kept being "two minutes away"?
Clearly the inexcusable failure is the one which has not been explained: why it took CO19 four hours to attend.
As for the delay in calling in the IPCC, am I correct in assuming that this delay may have allowed all the relevant parties across the different chains of command to "get their stories straight", and thus frustrate the inquiry? If this were Ian Blair's deliberate intent, then clearly he should go. I don't know which is more disgraceful: frustrating an inquiry into the shooting of an innocent man, or frustrating an inquiry into the potential failure to stop a suspected terrorist from reaching his target.
* although Cressida Dick finished at Balliol the summer before I went up, she was a legendary oarswoman, whose name was synonymous with the pinacle of women's rowing.
I've said this before...
... I do wonder quite what the Met have to do wrong in order for Blair to conclude that maybe he should resign. Being responsible for a cluster-fuck which leads to the death of an innocent man doesn't seem to be sufficient. So what is?!
Phew, what a relief
So, no-one was negligent or incompetent ?
Except for a little finger wagging at Blair, everyone behaved properly, if not efficiently.
Thank goodness, I was concerned that there was a problem with the control of law enforcement. Well I think the criticism must stop now, once and for all. They do a difficult job and being held accountable is just not fair on them.
Mister De Menezes obviously had a suspicious face.
I can go about my business confident that proper standards are kept.
If only this bullseye on my forehead didn't itch so much.......
If Blair wasn't such a pompous hubristic pus-bubble, he'd ask for his P45 and fuck off. The buck should stop at the top.
More generally, the summary execution of islamist and other terrorists would be less unacceptable if the executioners could be relied upon always to get the right target.
However, the shameful mismanagement and incompetence revealed in the report shows they can't.
As I've commented under previous El Reg stories about de Menezes, when I'm travelling in London I don't know who to be more frightened of - murderous muslims or the Met.
"Since you're going on a tube train, you'll know when you get there and as long as you're alive, you can reset"
You've not used the Northern Line recently, then?
Ian Bliar was on the haunted fishtank the other night. "I won't resign as long as I have the confidence of my officers", I paraphrased. "What about the confidence of the people your officers are supposed to be protecting, you lying sack of shi*t?" I howled, looking for something to throw at the box.
He is the worst kind of weasel, and should be sacked immediately with no pension.
Maybe I missed this, but...
What happenned to the ACTUAL suspected terrorist? The media has once in a while been known to focus on something less than the entire picture, and I can't say that I have heard anything about him other than the composite picture.
It has long been established that DeMenezez wasn't the man that they were staking out. The composite picture of Demenezez and the actual suspect released recently showed a black man. Did they find / apprehend him, and if they did, did blair have him shot too, to show that he can at least get it right 50 percent of the time, and should therefore not be held responsible for the occasional organizational 'hiccup'?
Re: Thank you Lewis
The bus problem was a consequence of CO19 being assigned to do the stopping under the plan, and Dick's failure to change the plan when it turned out CO19 weren't in place. CO12 could have done the stop after he came out of the flat (this was the plan for ALL people exiting the block), and they could have done it at several points, right up until he went into the station. Dick nearly let them in the last minutes, but then countermanded, as she heard CO19 were arriving. Then they shot him.
The communications systems and structures also contributed, as central control didn't get full information and made decisions based on Chinese whispers. That's a Met issue rather than a Dick one, IMO. A local commander could have reacted tactically, and could have let CO12 act when they realised the plan wasn't working because CO19 wasn't there.
"Police firearms guidance was written, saying: It may not be appropriate to issue a warning, the shot may be to the head to avoid detonating an explosive device."
This conveniently ignores the fact that, if the terrorist is smart, he will have rigged the bomb so as to go off anyway if he is shot.
We discussed the various fusing arrangements for a would-be suicide bomber last time there was a bit DeMenezes case article.
Deadman switches have their own disadvantages, as do timers. And terrorists aren't always the most luminous of intellects, nor do they all posess the technical skills to execute reliable arming/detonating devices, or even explosive payloads (as demonstrated by the failed bombers in London and Glasgow. Let's face it they have to be pretty dim to be prepared to kill themselves on the basis of the specious arguments of the recruiters.
But in the end, are you saying that the Police shouldn't attempt to do anything to a suspect who they honestly believe has a bomb? In case it goes off/is detonated because of the Police's actions? Because that is the logical consequence of your carping: there are, given the technical capabilities, ways of ensuring the bomb goes off either on command at the target, or by default at any point from launch to delivery.
I'm not even going close to the specifics of the case, and *of course* the suspect should be accosted in as uninhabited and open a place as possible, rather than a mass transit blast-amplifier, but if you say "don't interfere because it *might* go off" then you're saying "allow anyone with a bomb to reach their planned high impact target without attempting to stop them."
@ AC; Deadman's switches...
< ""...then you're saying "allow anyone with a bomb to reach their planned high impact target without attempting to stop them."" >
Well, considering that de Menzies *did* reach a high-density target location without an attempted stop... At that point, doing *anything* would be better than noting but frankly, it was a dog's breakfast almost from the word 'Go.'
Intelligence's failure to correctly ID the right man...
Command divorced from the action...
Command dependent upon unreliable information streams...
Command's incompetence in the organizing all required operational elements before-hand...
Command's inability or unwillingness to change the plan when reality intervened...
Officers' incompetence in interpreting de Menzies' actions...
Officers' incompetence in reporting de Menzies' actions...
I could go on, but frankly, the list would get out of control. Commander Dick is incompetent to the responsibility that was assigned her. That's not her fault - mostly - that's her *superiors'* fault. Mind you, she should've known she was in over her head, but that's often a tough analysis when 'on the spot.' Likewise, I'm appalled at the lackadaisical attitude of CO19. Muster up hours late, and then rush to the scene? That's what Keystone Kops do, and not at all what one would expect of trained professionals with the responsibility for life and death in their hands. The supervisors responsible for CO19's response should all be summarily sacked, and all rank-n-file officers in the unit retrained to some more reasonable level of responsibility and urgency.
Blair, though? His scrofulent, feculent behavior demands a highly public sacking and humiliation, if not jail time for obstruction of justice and abuse of office.
IRT Dead-men’s Switches:
It’s not at all uncommon for suicide bombers to have a ‘shadow’ whom is responsible for remotely detonating the bomb if the primary bomber balks, is stopped, or is disabled*. Simply killing the bomber, head shot or otherwise, is unlikely to be a guarantee of anything except the bomber dies first. If the head shots work, great! But don’t count on them being a pancea. Remember that committed suicide bombers are not particularly rational, and will have a bomb of unknown quality, construction, capacity, and detonation mode(s). Going after such is never going to be a ‘cookbook’ operation, though the Met seems to have done exactly that – gone by a cookbook with de Menzies. Even then, they botched the recipe.
*Indeed, some bombers aren’t bombers at all, in their intention. Some are couriers whom think they’re delivering a package for their cell, but the package is lethal. When the courier reaches a suitable location, the shadow detonates the package.
I'll repeat this 'till I'm blue in the face: it was OBVIOUS to anyone that had sight of De Menezes that he was NOT in posession of an explosive device! He should have been apprehended within seconds of leaving the address and "eliminated from enquiries" instead of "eliminated" full-stop.
We've a follow-up piece for publication on Sunday that, among other things, considers the question of how someone obviously not carrying a bomb was not ruled out as a suspect.