BLAIR FACED LIES
We demand a full and speedy public inquiry into Jeans
murder. We believe that the web of deceit that was spun by the Metropolitan
Police means that Sir Iain Blairs position is now untenable
and he should resign immediately. Furthermore we believe that it
is inconceivable that the Home Office and government were not aware
of these circumstances. They failed not only to counter the lies
in the public domain but actively counselled against Jean by press
releasing details of his visa status on the day of his funeral
- Justice for Jean campaign
Following leaks from inside the IPCC inquiry the mainstream media
has finally grown suspicious of police actions surrounding the killing
of Jean Charles Menezes on a tube train on July 22nd. Leaks from
the inquiry have provided a picture very different from that initially
provided by police.
Furthermore, it would appear that the Met are actively attempting
to intimidate Menezes family from demanding a public inquiry.
SchNEWS has learned of a campaign of outright obstruction to the
familys involvement in the inquiry, including an attempt to
buy them off.
The leaked witness statements from the inquiry published in the
mainstream press are damning enough. They demonstrate that the Mets
initial reaction was damage limitation and concern for reputation
rather than any attempt to obtain the truth. Ian Blair (Commissioner
of the Met) repeatedly fed the press a diet of outright falsehoods.
We learned that Jean Charles was running, had vaulted a ticket barrier
and refused to stop when challenged. In some news accounts he was
wearing a bulky jacket with wires protruding, and no overt denials
of this were made by police. We now know that he didnt run,
didnt jump the tube, wasnt challenged and was executed
by two officers, while another pinned his arms to his sides. He
was placed under surveillance by an officer who had left the army
a year ago. SchNEWS reckons a year is quite a short time for a beat
bobby to be promoted to an anti-terrorist unit. How many other soldiers
have been fast-tracked into Londons anti-terrorist police
we wonder? These lies were propagated for weeks after the killing,
long after the police must have known they were wrong. Police press
releases peddled lies while the real evidence was suppressed.
In a clear sign of a cover up, Ian Blair delayed the entry of the
Independent Police Complaints Commission into the investigation
for six days. Police obstruction of scrutiny is nothing new. The
years it took the Lawrences, the Stanley family etc etc to gain
even a glimmer of justice are evidence of that. This time however,
the stakes are higher than one familys justice. The shooting
of Jean Charles calls into question how the war on terror
will be fought on the domestic front. Already the right-wing press
is calling for all firearms officers to be exonerated from criminal
charges - i.e State sanctioned death squads. The Menezes case
calls into question not only Operation Kratos and shoot to
kill but the whole raft of anti-terror policies and the current
attack on civil liberties.
The establishment approach to the inquiry has been to sweep the
matter under the carpet and substitute a version of events more
useful to their agenda. The public perception was meant to be that
a regrettable accident had occurred, but perhaps Menezes was in
many ways culpable. That story is now lies shattered.
One major obstacle to their approach has been the public sympathy
for Jean Charles family. There have been solidarity demonstrations
both here and Brazil. A broad swathe of the public can empathise
as easily with a young man gunned down on a tube as they can with
the victims of the 7/7 bombings. Just like terrorists, the police
are now to be feared as the agents of random death. In short the
case has turned into a public relations disaster for the governments
policy on terrorism.
The Justice for Jean campaign still have a number of unanswered
questions and are outraged at the revelations of a cover up. They
are demanding a public inquiry. Among the questions they want answered
- Where did a shoot to kill policy emanate from
and on what claimed legal basis? What public debate and democratic
accountability surrounded the coming into being of that policy?
- Why was the pathologist at the post mortem conducted on July
27th (at which senior investigating police officers were present)
told the following: This mans death occurred as part
of the emergency relating to the planting of bombs on public transport
in London. On the morning of the 22 July 2005 he was pursued by
armed police officers as a result of surveillance. He was followed
into Stockwell Tube Station where he vaulted over the ticket barrier.
He ran downstairs and onto a tube train where it appears that
he stumbled. The officers then immobilised him and a number of
shots were fired. At the present time I am not sure as to any
- What CCTV footage from Stockwell underground station and
the underground train exists? If there is none, why is there none?
The family are also voicing concern about the processes of the
inquiry. They are demanding to know:
- Are police officers, including those who fired the shots, making
statements as witnesses or as potential suspects i.e. are those
interviews being conducted under caution.
- At what levels police officers, including senior police officers,
are being interviewed and whether they are under caution or not.
Who is being interviewed and by whom?
- Do these include senior police, past and present who appeared
to believe, wrongly, that they were entitled to order a blanket
shoot to kill practice.
These and other questions, if asked and answered in public as Jean
Charles family wish, will surely shed light on areas of domestic
policy concerning civil liberties, the militarization of the police
and the war on terror that Blair & Co. would prefer
shrouded. It should come as no surprise then to learn that police
reaction to the families demand to be part of the inquiry into the
death of their brother and son has been unremittingly obstructive.
The polices initial interaction with the family was at the
Brazilian Consulate, on the Monday after the shooting where attempts
were made to get the family to leave Britain with no fuss. A Brazilian
diplomat lobbied by the Met said There has been no human rights
violation, this is not a human rights issue, the police have apologised.
Theyre going to give you compensation, so whats the
SchNEWS has also learned that six representatives of the Metropolitan
Police travelled to the village of Gonzaga in Brazil to offer the
family a substantial sum of money in return for their silence.
After the police seized Jean Charles house for investigation
his family were placed in a hotel in Richmond selected by the police.
Here they were held effectively incommunicado and denied phone calls
Despite this, the Menezes family is determined to seek justice
and have refused to be bought off. The family campaign is several
thousand pounds in debt; all the money thus far has been donated
by a handful of activists and friends. If you can help in any way
please send cheques made payable to Jean Charles de Menezes Family
Campaign, PO Box 273, london, E7 or transfer money to Jean Charles
de Menezes Family Campaign, Account Number: 61455664, sort code:
40-07-12. HSBC bank, 349 Green St, London, E13 PA5. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
07931 337890 or 07956 210332
There will be a protest outside Downing Street - Monday 22nd August
at 6pm called by Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign. More info
contact numbers above.
WORLD WILD WEB
...of direct action. Our international round-up:
USA - Activists in Knoxville, Tennessee recently occupied
an ancient mountain to protest against mining. The action was taken
to protect the Appalachian Mountains from the devastating practices
of top mining. Dedicated citizens blockaded National Coals
strip mine to halt the destruction of Zeb Mountain, chaining themselves
to equipment and using their bodies to create a giant no blast
zone. 10 people have been arrested so far but actions to keep the
mine shut down are continuing. Four of the arrestees have reported
being violently assaulted by mine workers and police, some sustaining
serious injuries - www.mountainjusticesummer.org
ICELAND - 21 international activists taking direct action
against the Alcoa Dam in Iceland (see SchNEWS
487) are under threat of deportation. Activists from Iceland
and around the world set up a direct action camp in Eastern Iceland
in July to stop the construction of the Karahnjukar hydroelectric
mega-dam, which will destroy a large swathe of highland Icelandic
FINLAND - A genetically modified field trial has been destroyed
in Jokioinen, Finland. According to the media the GM potatoes were
ripped out of the ground. Boss of the Boreal company says the damages
are significant and that this will set the GM potato research back
a year. Shame.
NEW ZEALAND (Aotearoa) - Happy Valley is a beautiful area
of native bush, fragile wetlands on the West coast of New Zealand.
Its thriving ecosystem is home to many threatened species including
the Great Spotted Kiwi and the large native Patrickensis land snail...and
its under attack from state-owned Solid Energy who want to
destroy the valley with an open-cast coal mine. People are fighting
back and in a carefully planned protest, three activists locked
on to train tracks preventing coal trains from passing for
nearly 4 hours. Cops were forced to dig up the concrete to remove
INDIA - Around 100 activists marched to Coca-Colas
Plachimada factory in Kerala, southern India, demanding that the
bottling plant be shut down permanently. (The plant that was pressured
to close in March 2004 because it was ruining the local water supply,
see SchNEWS 447) The protesters were stopped
about 100 metres from the gates and the heavy police force resorted
to a violent baton charge, severely injuring four activists who
were hospitalized with severe head injuries. Another 43 people were
held in custody, including a 16 year old girl. In a show of solidarity
with the people of Plachimada, the Kuttiady panchayat (village council)
in Kerala declared the area a Coke-free zone, receiving the support
of shopkeepers as well as political parties. www.IndiaResource.org
SOUTHEND - Southend based road campaigners,
Parklife, this week staged a sit-in and demonstration at the Department
of Transport (DfT) main offices in London against the controversial
F5 road scheme planned for the A127 / A1159, Priory Crescent. The
group opposes plans to build a dual carriageway on top of an East
Saxon kings burial site. The burial was discovered during
preparatory works for the road early in 2004, and has been described
by experts as, a discovery of international importance which
stunningly illuminates the rich and complex world of the so-called
Dark Ages. Speaking from inside the building, campaigner Shaun
Qureshi said, This protest is to draw attention to one of
the most ridiculous road schemes ever devised, to put pressure on
the decision makers to stop funding, and to show that, should the
final go-ahead be given, the people of Southend will take direct
action to stop it. www.savepriorypark.org
** Grassroots Gatherings at the Rossport Solidarity Camp, Eire
27 - 28 www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=70581
PEACED OFF AT EDO
A planned march through Brighton town centre to kickstart a week
of action against local arms dealers EDO MBM ended in a dramatic
high street confrontation and four arrests.
Last Saturdays march and rally in Churchill Square was planned
without seeking police authorisation, a serious matter in Neo-Labour
Britain. One SMASH EDO activist told SchNEWS Theres
no point in negotiating with the police, you get nothing but threats
and obstacles thrown in your way. Their purpose is solely to minimise
the impact of any dissent - if they had their way wed be allowed
ten minutes to walk around an industrial estate in Portslade as
The build up to the march was characterised by mud slinging in
the local press as senior police officers queued up to talk about
the chaos that would be brought to the city centre and the impact
it would have on local shoppers (No mention of course of the forthcoming
Labour party conference which looks set to disrupt the life of large
chunks of Brighton for weeks)
About fifty protesters wanted to march through town to raise awareness
of local bomb makers EDO. Instead they were allowed to walk a short
way down the High St before being diverted into a side street by
over a hundred police, some with dogs. Hundreds of shoppers witnessed
this piece of street theatre, as Sussex Police, with a helicopter
above, demonstrated their tolerance of dissenting opinions. It was
at this point that four arrests were made for our old friend obstructing
the highway. Among those were an eighty year old man and a
sixteen year old girl. All were released on police bail in the early
hours of the morning, Brightons shoppers safely in their beds.
This isnt exactly the first time that SMASH EDO activists
have been given a hard time for daring to stand up and say that
a weapons manufacturer isnt welcome in their town. The injunction
(see SchNEWS 492) is interpreted
by police to mean that all filming at the site is forbidden, allowing
the director of Guardian Guards (EDOs hired goons), Mark Lynch,
to harass and intimidate protestors with impunity.
Campaigners on Mondays Carry on Up the Injunction
mocked Lynch by collectively adopting his trademark shaved head
and toothbrush moustache. So attired, the Lynch
mob goose stepped up and down in front of the armaments factory
issuing spoof injunctions.
Not one to take a joke, Lynch arrived at the Peace Camp the next
day with ten coppers, a helicopter and a park ranger. The police
informed everyone that they had five minutes to leave or theyd
be arrested. A stand-off ensued. Things got a bit strange when they
were asked what law they were using. All eyes turned to Lynch, which
is peculiar because as far as SchNEWS is aware he is neither a copper
nor a council worker. Eventually, following an intervention from
one of Brightons Green councillors, it turned out the council
had no intention of evicting the camp! Red faced police were forced
to withdraw and tried to pretend the whole thing had been a welfare
visit (hence the snarling Alsatians obviously).
Farcical as this affair was, it begs some serious questions such
as: Who is running the show here; Sussex Police, EDO MBM or the
Council? Whose idea was the eviction? How easily can the authority
of the local council be usurped by the employee of a US arms company?
On whose instructions are Sussex Police carrying out this campaign
of intimidation against peace activists?
The peace camp continues til this Friday (19). www.smashedo.org.uk
* DSEi Britains biggest arms fair happens 13-16 September
at the Excel Centre in London Docklands. Theres a Disarm DSEi
direct action training next Sunday (28) @ LARC, 62 Fieldgate St,
Whitechapel, London. www.dsei.org
ANOTHER FINE MASS
In March this year a disabled man was prevented from taking part
in a Critical Mass at the G8 environment ministers meeting in Derby.
Police allowed cyclists but prevented him from joining in on his
wheelchair. He tried sue under the Disability Discrimination Act
but has had to drop his case after he learnt that Derbyshire police
have a get-out clause which says that the act does not apply if
it is protecting national security.
So what was this danger? er, 100 cyclists! This threat to
our very survival required one thousand police from 23 different
counties. Memorials and statues were boarded up, shop windows were
barricaded and a huge area of the Market Place was cordoned off
to keep the childrens face-painting and samba band at bay.
A Derbyshire police spokesman said, without a hint of irony:
disruption to people of Derby and Breadsall was kept to a minimum.
TEXAS SOLD EM
Last week, in a standard display of corporate bullying, British
Airways in-flight meals contractor sacked some 800 workers.
In response, baggage handlers at Heathrow - members of the same
union as the elbowed Gate Gourmet workers - walked out in solidarity.
Within hours, the entire airport was essentially shut down, stranding
thousands of passengers and costing millions.
Sacking so many people required Gate Gourmet bosses (have you ever
had a gourmet meal on a plane?) to make their announcement
by megaphone. Within 3 minutes 800 workers were told that their
jobs would be going, although they could get them back, but on lower
pay! 70% of the workers were Asian women, earning a whopping £6.20
per hour. Gate Gourmet has wide ranging experience in the field
of dismissals, including the United States where it tried to introduce
a new nationwide contract which the Teamsters Union referred to
as being so bad that it served as a good example of the destructive
mindset of so many managers these days.
Responding to Union criticism that no management were up for dismissal,
bosses quickly promoted 147 shop floor workers to management positions
- and then promptly sacked them! Knowing this would cause a problem,
an outside security company was hired in and the police were alerted
before the announcements were made. The solidarity action by BA
workers to come out on strike in support of Gate Gourmet staff was
illegal in the UK. Union bosses rejected it too, despite the fact
that UK legislation flouts the basic standards set by the International
Meanwhile Gate Gourmets holding company, venture capitalists
Texas Pacific Group, is doing a roaring business. It owns a wide
range of food outlets, including Burger King, and compliments its
food investments with a range of biotech companies. So why the sackings?
We should all accept responsibility for demanding cheaper
flights, said one passenger caught up in the delays. This
causes a price war which affects pay and conditions for workers.
£2.50 Easy Jet flight to Spain, anyone?
* Support the sacked workers www.pledgebank.com/Hardship-Fund
Despite the country being on the highest level of anti-terror alert
ever, Sussex police still found forty officers to raid a cannabis
café in Worthing on the 11th of August. SchNEWS wonders if
there was mix up at headquarters and they believed that suicide
bongers were holing up inside. Sussex cops website stated, There
wasnt a fire, just smoke. Rumours that militant Al-Qaeda
cleric Afghan Hashish is being held in custody were still unsubstantiated
SchNEWS warns all readers... No matter what country under the
sun, you cant mete justice from the barrel of a gun.
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