View Full Version : UK police defend Menezes shooting tactics

03-08-2006, 12:45 PM
Police defend Menezes shooting tactics
Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/menezes/story/0,,1726195,00.html?gusrc=rss)

Senior police officers today backed controversial police tactics for dealing with suspected suicide bombers.The support came despite the fatal shooting of an innocent man at Stockwell underground station, in south London, in July.

In a review of the anti-suicide bomber plan known as Operation Kratos, created by the Metropolitan police, the Association of Chief Police Officers concluded it was "fit for purpose".

Lawyers acting for the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, who was shot dead at Stockwell after being mistaken for a suspected suicide bomber, criticised the Acpo endorsement.

They reiterated demands for a full, open inquiry into the Brazilian's killing, and said the Acpo report had come before senior officers had been presented with the findings of an Independent Police Complaints Commission inquiry into the death.

Acpo should not "pre-determine" a proper investigation into the 27-year-old's killing before a full inquiry was completed, they said. He was shot in the head seven times by officers at Stockwell on July 22.

The IPCC has completed its investigation into his death and sent its report to the Crown Prosecution Service, which is still considering whether to charge any of the officers involved in the operation.

In a statement, lawyers for the De Menezes family said it was "no coincidence" Acpo had announced its findings ahead of tonight's BBC Panorama programme on the killing.

The programme (http://guardian.co.uk/attackonlondon/story/0,,1725935,00.html) charts the development of Operation Kratos, which involved officers travelling to Israel, Russia and Sri Lanka to learn how those countries dealt with the threat of suicide bombers.

It examines lessons that were not learned and the pressures that faced the police after 52 people were killed by four suicide bombers on three underground trains and a bus in London on July 7.

Barbara Wilding, a senior officer who helped create the plan, tells Panorama there were no tactics for dealing with the type of scenario that led to the death of Mr de Menezes.

Ms Wilding - now the chief constable of South Wales police - says the Kratos tactics dealt with a spontaneous suicide attack when there was no prior intelligence. There was no plan for a "mobile intelligence gathering operation" turning into a live operation targeting a suspected suicide bomber, she says.

Today's Acpo report said Operation Kratos - described by critics as a "shoot to kill" policy - was technically sound.

However, the report added that some areas of the policy could be improved, and an outline of it should be clearly explained in a leaflet available to the public.

Work to standardise firearms training should be sped up and communication and intelligence management could also be improved, it said.

The guidelines for using lethal force under Operation Kratos, which was created in the wake of the September 11 2001 attacks in the US, are confidential.

It is understood, however, that they involve police marksmen shooting suicide bomb suspects in the head with no warning in order to stop them detonating a device.

Police deny the tactics are "shoot to kill", with Scotland Yard describing them as "shoot to incapacitate".

"I am pleased that the existing policy has been deemed fit for purpose, and we now wait any IPCC recommendations," Acpo's president, Sir Chris Fox, said.

"While we await the IPCC findings of their investigation into the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes to decide if the policy needs to be revised further, we felt it necessary to be sure we have tactics available to us that we can use in the face of extreme threat, and this review was therefore undertaken.

"Police officers faced with a threat have to identify and assess the threat and manage it. They must then use only such force as is proportionate in the circumstances."

The statement from the de Menezes family's lawyers added: "Until Jean Charles de Menezes was deliberately killed, no one knew that police in this country had secretly introduced for themselves, without any democratic debate or approval, a shoot to kill policy.

"Now Acpo seeks to reinstate the secret policy publicly before any inquiry into the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes is completed, confident that police can hide behind the claim that a criminal investigation is still under way."

The director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, said the Acpo report was unhelpful and would do nothing to improve public confidence in the policy.

Brazilian officials have criticised the UK authorities over the killing.

The country's president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is currently in London. He is likely to raise the issue of the death of Mr de Menezes when he meets the prime minister, Tony Blair, on the final day of his visit tomorrow.

03-08-2006, 01:23 PM
Excerpts from today's Democracy Now (http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/03/08/1554217) interview with UK tv's ITV News editor:

DEBORAH TURNESS: We found out the truth of this, because we obtained a copy of a leaked report that was done into the shooting. In the U.K., the moment somebody is shot dead by police, the Independent Police Complaints Commission come in immediately, and they start compiling a report. It was only a few day into the compiling of that report that we received the early leak, which actually showed that it was a series of police blunders. They hadn't identified him properly. The man who was supposed to be on is surveillance had gone to take a leak and wasn’t even at his station. There were lots of miscommunications. And so, we put out that story, and in the wake of doing so, we have faced pressure from the police. We have been a subject of an investigation. One of our journalists has been arrested and is facing potential action.

AMY GOODMAN: Arrested on what grounds?

DEBORAH TURNESS: Arrested as part of the investigation over how we came to get hold a copy of the report.

AMY GOODMAN: How did you get it?

DEBORAH TURNESS: I'm not at liberty to talk about that. It’s extremely sensitive at the moment, and I really can’t talk any more about it.

AMY GOODMAN: As we flew through London to come to be Doha, we saw the headlines about a police cover-up. What is that about?

DEBORAH TURNESS: Well, basically, the report, the early copy of which we were leaked, has now been finished and completed and given to various government departments, and that has again been leaked. And it turns out that if the leaks are true, that the officers in charge of surveillance actually falsified the documents in which they recorded their actions of that day. Now, they’re perfectly at liberty to amend documents. At the end of an operation, they go back over it, and they say, ‘Well, we were right/we were wrong,’ but they have to actually note where they’ve added stuff in. But they actually changed the essence of what they did, and in their original draft, they said that they had not identified him as a terrorist, and then later they went back and put it in that they had identified him as a terrorist. And so, it all got a bit messy.

AMY GOODMAN: What is the family demanding now?

DEBORAH TURNESS: The family wants truth and justice. The family wants those who shot dead their son, wrongly, to be brought to book, and they want to see a full legal process take place. They want someone to pay for it.


AMY GOODMAN: I also wanted to ask you about how the British press cooperates with the government. If you could explain, especially to an American audience, this is, I think, probably a new word, the D-Notice.

DEBORAH TURNESS: Yes. There’s a thing that exists and has existed for many, many years in Britain called a “D-Notice.” And the D-Notice is something that is put out to the media when the government would like us to not broadcast or transmit information that would be – would potentially jeopardize national security or the security and safety and lives of individuals. The kinds of places and times when it’s used would be, two weeks ago, there was a story from Russia, alleging that British spies had been spying on Moscow, and they, the Russians, named those individuals, and the British authorities asked us not to use their names, because by exposing them we could be putting their lives in danger.

AMY GOODMAN: But if they were exposed already, what difference would it make if the Russians were already -- that's who would do anything, if anyone would.

DEBORAH TURNESS: Well, because by putting their names out there more into the public domain will be increasing the risk that more people will know who they are and may act, but your point is well made. Yeah, once it’s out in Russia, if they are going to face some kind of jeopardy, then it’s going to be from the people more locally, one would imagine. D-Notices are also used to protect the identity of S.A.S. officers working in the fields. Yeah, the Special Air Service, the boot boys of the British military who go into the most dangerous places, they’re the ones that went in on the Iranian embassy siege. They were active in Afghanistan, and we filmed, in many instances, their faces, and we were asked to blur the faces because it would be a problem to identify them.


AMY GOODMAN: What about on leakers? You’re the ones that are being leaked to, but, for example, Katherine Gunn who leaked a memo, and most recently this whole issue of the new Downing Street memo -- did President Bush say to Blair that Al Jazeera here in Doha should be bombed? -- and now, the British government cracking down and saying any outlet that publishes the actual memo will be punished and, of course, indicting, charging the men involved with the leak of the memo that they say doesn't exist.

DEBORAH TURNESS: Well, you know, my colleagues at Channel 4 News got hold of the Attorney General's advice on the war, whether or not it was legal. It was a document that we were always told we couldn't have access to. We were actually told at one point that it didn't even exist. But I think that if we believe something is in the public interest, we have to publish it. If we know the story to be true, if we know the leak to be correct, if we’re handed a piece of paper or we obtain a piece of paper that tells our audience something they need to know, then I think we have to just go with it.

AMY GOODMAN: And more specifically, the Attorney General's memo, what did it say?

DEBORAH TURNESS: Well, it definitely suggested that he had small qualms about the legal case for war than was previously suggested by Tony Blair and the rest of the government. And therefore, it was incredibly important for people to know about it. And in my view, as I said, today here, there are ethical checks and balances, there are regulations and rules, there are laws, which surround us whichever way we turn, but there is always a way forward. If you’ve got an important story that has to be told, and it’s called public interest, and in the interests of the public, we have to override those rules and laws whenever we see fit, even if it means we or our journalists will face prosecution, because if we know what we are doing to be right, we know we have a legitimate defense. And that's the thing to make sure that your case is solid and that you can defend yourself when you do end up in the dock potentially.

03-08-2006, 04:53 PM
Excellent policy!!!

SHOOT all the motherfuckers you see and chances of making a mistake are ALMOST nil:RedFinger