Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tiro a matar


That's 'shoot to kill' in Portuguese (or it is, according to one of these online translator thingies which are about as reliable as José da Fonseca's English as she is spoke).

Things get curioser and curioser, according to this report in the Guardian. To summarise the most interesting findings:

  • Jean Charles de Menezes was not wearing a thick padded jacket, but a denim jacket

  • He did not jump the ticket barrier, as he had a travelcard

  • He was in the UK legally

  • Three of the armed officers involved in the shooting have been taken off current duties - one given leave, the other two taken off firearm duties altogether

Moreover, the Times reports that armed officers have come close to shooting seven people dead since 7 July (thanks to Robin for the link). Sir Ian Blair (any relation?) has said he cannot guarantee that more innocent people will not be shot.

Well, I feel safer already. As a white, well-dressed, middle-class Briton there's a good chance I won't be picked out for target practice. Of course, there's always the possibility of being caught in the firing line - but that's OK, because it'll be 'friendly' fire, which will be of great comfort to my bereaved family. (Nevertheless, would it help the police if I painted a target on the front and back of my T-shirt? Just in case, you understand.)

Poll question for you all: would you rather be killed by a suicide bomber or by a police marksman? Let's give you a free choice (which you wouldn't have in reality).

(UPDATE: Lenin's Tomb has received some timely reminders about the legal position of the police in such circumstances.)

(FURTHER UPDATE: The Home Office now claims that de Menezes's student visa had expired and that he was effectively no longer entitled to stay in the UK (they are basically hinting that he forged his passport stamp - yeah, nice move, guys. Tell you what, since he's got no right of reply, why don't you also claim that he was the mastermind behind all the bombs, that he was a paedophile, that he was actually the driver of Diana's car and that his death will have thwarted the Vogons in their attempt to build the intergalactic bypass?).

Meanwhile, eyewitness reports from the scene also claim that de Menezes did have a thick jacket on, that either five or two shots were fired, and that he had a "bomb belt" on. Which just goes to show how unreliable eyewitness accounts can be (Mark Whitby describes de Menezes as being "of Asian or Pakistani appearance" - and, it seems, even the police sometimes don't get this sort of thing right. Mark Whitby strikes me as the "dunno, mate, they all look alike to me" type, mind you).

Personally, I no longer know what to believe, so I shall probably have to fall back on believing nothing that I hear.)


Anonymous Belle said...

As you know, my other half has one of those 'indefinite leave to stay in the UK' stamps in his passport.
When it came through the post, we were both gobsmacked that it was this pathetic little stamp with a scribbled signature written on it. 'Look at that!' we both remarked. 'You could easily forge that!'
When his passport had to be renewed, he sent it off to the office and in the new one they wrote (and I kid you not)
'Indefinite leave stamp in other passport' - then a scribbled signature with it!

I can well believe this guy forged his. It's piss easy.

2:23 pm  
Blogger Oscar Wildebeest said...

Hi, 'Belle' (is that how you're known down there?).

I can believe that he forged his 'leave to stay' stamp. I can believe that everything the police and the Home Office say is true. That doesn't mean it is true. That doesn't mean it's false, either.

When eye witnesses are giving contradictory reports, which are then contradicted by the government, which then goes on to contradict itself, and then everything they say is contradicted by the family, we are left in a situation where 'justice' (whatever that is) will never be done. Which I guess is how the government and the police would like it - "look, we know it's all confusing, but we've got much more experience and knowledge of this sort of thing than you have, so just trust us and don't ask any more questions."

Maybe we can trust the government on this one. Their track record doesn't fill me with confidence, though (David Kelly, anyone?).

12:46 pm  
Anonymous Belle said...

Down where? < scratches head >

5:17 pm  
Blogger Oscar Wildebeest said...

Ah, I see. Forgive me for being so Eurocentric.

(Apologies to all other readers for the in-jokes.)

11:49 am  
Anonymous belle said...

I'm still confused.. If anyone understands, let me know. Thanks.

11:12 am  

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