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The Funeral of Jean Charles de Menezes (Updated)

by suskind Sat Jul 30th, 2005 at 09:31:25 PM EST

An innocent man was murdered in England by a Special Unit of the Metropolitan Police. His body was shipped home and buried yesterday in Gonzaga, Brazil.  Ten thousand people payed respect to Jean Charles de Menezes.  "Jean was very well-loved in Gonzaga," said Pedro Zacharias, a friend who works as a lawyer in the town hall.  "He was a kind, gentle and very decent person who only wanted to help his family."


He was executed, says Jean's cousin.  This was no terrorist on his way to explode a train - this was an electrician on his way to work.  This was not a "Muslim extremist."  This was a Brazilian national, a Christian, a Catholic.  And at the center of the Catholic religion is an innocent man who was publicly executed by the corrupt political powers of that time.  This is a huge public relations problem.  And all the newspapers have to talk about in the UK is maybe his visa did not have the correct stamp?  There is no way to cover up the truth.  This was a decent, extraordinary, ordinary man.   This was some mother's son.  He was one of us.

The Special Police Unit who killed Jean Charles de Menezes have left a lesson for all non-whites... for all immigrants, and for all ordinary working people... the "good guys" are out of control.  They have guns but no understanding, no intelligence, no common sense.  They have training, but no comprehension.  They do not know who the enemy is.  The "good guys" are dangerous to the citizens they are meant to protect.

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone attempted to exonerate the government and the police for Menezes' killing, stating, "This tragedy has added another victim to the toll of deaths for which the terrorists bear responsibility."  No, Mayor, the terrorist acts are evil.  But responsibility must also rest with those who initiated a war without moral legitimacy - and in total disregard for the world community, the UN and international law.  Evil has met evil and it's become increasingly difficult for the government to balance its rhetorical juggling act in the face of Mr. Menezes' murder.  

The spin wars are on:  Thou shalt not relate terrorist bombings to the illegal war in Iraq.  Not even if the Chatham House report makes this connection.  Suicide bombers are insane evil criminals... but the illegal war in Iraq is government sanctioned, controlled, managed and sponsored evil on a scale that seeks to make itself legitmate - and it does so largely through controlling the people through fear, and through disinformation in the media.

At this point, I suppose all good Christians are supposed to say, "Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do."  Well, I am not a good Christian.  I do not forgive them for this, or for the 128,000 civilian deaths in Iraq.  And I do not forgive those who try to excuse the men who shot Jean Charles de Menezes, that "they were only doing their job."  And I do not forgive those in the media who try to excuse this murder by trying to suggest that he was an illegal alien...   I like to remember a song during the Civil Rights era, "Which side are you on?"  

Mr. de Menezes has become a martyr - a symbol of racial profiling, police brutality and the increasing erosion of civil and human rights during these times of terror.  Jean Charles de Menezes has paid the ultimate price for their learning curve: as when the Special Police Units located the actual bombers, they did not kill them, but stunned them with tazer guns and brought them in to custody.

”There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. ….. and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream." Martin Luther King, 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C

The unfortunate reality is that Menezes was not a victim of the terrorists who have attacked London, but the state-sponsored executioners who are the specially trained police squads -- squads who received their training on the Israeli model.  They are trained to shoot to kill on suspicion that someone might be a suicide bomber.  Did anyone notice that?  That the war on Iraq was launched on suspicion that Iraq possessed the weapons of mass destruction?  Suspicion without information plus deadly force equals death of the innocents.  Mr. de Menezes is just one more.

Jean Charles de Menezes' family can be contacted through his friend:
Pedro Zacharias, Town Hall, Gonzaga, Brazil.  
The Embassy of Brazil in London:
32 Green Street, Mayfair, London W1Y 4AT.
Tel: (020) 7499 0877 -- Fax: (020) 7493 5105

de Menezes Family Legal Defense Fund

De Menezes's cousin, Alex Alves Pereira, confirmed to the Sunday Herald that the family would be working with Gareth Peirce, the British human rights lawyer. According to Pereira, Peirce has even offered to send money to help de Menezes's London-based family support themselves while they are in Brazil.

Gareth Peirce, British human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, of Birnberg Peirce & Co. Solicitors, has a distinguished track record defending victims of miscarriages of justice, represents people detained without charge under "anti-terrorism” legislation.

Contact: Address to:

de Menezes Family Legal Defense Fund
c/o Ms Gareth Peirce,
Birnberg Peirce & Co., Solicitors,
14 INVERNESS STREET,
LONDON NW1 7HJ, ENGLAND
DX: 57059 CAMDEN TOWN
tel: 020 7911 0166 fax: 020 7911 0170

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'
For coverage, perspective and excellent diary!

  • UK Faces Terror Risk Because of US Alliance ¶ Chatham House Report

    ~~~

  • by Oui on Sun Jul 31st, 2005 at 03:50:26 AM EST
    What's the feel in the UK press about this? They've come up with a lot of embarrassing (for the police)  information on this execution, nut is there outrage? What's the popular mind, as far as you can tell? Is it "sad, he's really a victim of terrorism" or "are we fucking losing our minds (and our rights) here?"

    In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
    by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jul 31st, 2005 at 05:00:17 AM EST
    Shoot to kill without warning

    Senior police sources have confirmed that the officers involved in the operation that led to the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, the innocent Brazilian would not have needed to shout a warning before firing.

    Relatives mourning at de Menezes's funeral on Friday complained that he had been "exterminated" without any chance to surrender. One sign at his funeral in his home town of Gonzaga read "Jean, martyr of British terrorism".
    Gareth Peirce, one of Britain's most prominent defence lawyers, is representing the family of de Menezes against the police. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is studying CCTV footage that caught de Menezes's last moments. What is already clear is that the initial accounts of his death on July 22 were wrong.

    He was not wearing what witnesses called a "black bomber jacket", but a denim jacket. It was about 17C and his clothing would not have been out of the ordinary.
    He did not vault a ticket barrier, as claimed. He used a travelcard to pass through the station in the normal way. His family believes that he may have started to run simply because he heard the train pulling in -- something Londoners do every day. Indeed, a train was at the platform when he got there.

    Why was de Menezes allowed to board a bus in Tulse Hill and travel to Stockwell, if officers thought that his body might be rigged with explosives? It also raises questions about the new shoot-to-kill protocol. The protocol -- which is specific to individual targets -- can be put into force only when police have reason to believe that a suspect may be carrying a bomb. The order can be issued only by a "gold commander" at Scotland Yard.

    The order, once given, clears officers to shoot the suspect in the head if they believe that he is about to activate the bomb. The idea is to give the individual no time to react. Police do not have to shout a warning before they act: to do so would negate the effect of the head shot.

    Lee Ruston, 32, was at the bottom of the escalator that de Menezes ran down. He believes that he heard every word said by officers.
    According to him, officers did not say the word "police" or offer de Menezes the prospect of arrest. "I heard a voice shouting `get on the floor, just get on the floor'. Another voice said the same, `get on the floor'. I then heard the crack of gunshots," he said.

    And Blair is praising the bravery of the men who shot him.  (At least one of whom is on holiday)

    But stay tuned to the Times On Line.  Tony Blair is going to have one of the worst days of his life today.  Whitehall is trying to supress a biography that gives further details about the lead-up to the war on Iraq and the double bombing campaign.... more and more ministers and advisors are giving evidence and naming names.... and dates....

    But one of them who says she expressed her doubts about the war's legality is Lady Sally Morgan.... and this is really fishy since she co-wrote the final opinion that the illegal war would be legal under existing UN Resolutions......

    D-Day for Tony Blair, Part 2.  And not looking good at all for George Bush, either.

    Ron Suskind is a great writer. I am not him.

    by suskind (m.suskindathotmail) on Sun Jul 31st, 2005 at 05:16:03 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    The information is coming out, and i am grateful to you for updating us, but my question was on the political fallout. Is there a nasty political row on this? popular reactions one way or another? Or is it just the papers trying to score a few political points with little impact in practice?

    In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
    by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jul 31st, 2005 at 05:35:58 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Just where are the powers-that-be intending to take Britain next? Already, the police have reaffirmed their policy of shoot-to-kill, with Blair's backing. For good reason, many are querying in the wake of Menezes' shooting whether anyone can be considered a legitimate target, just so much "collateral damage" in the so-called "war against terror."

    ...At the same time, Britain and the US are being turned into virtual police dictatorships, in which civilians can be snatched from the streets and held without charge, and death squads can roam the streets in broad daylight, killing with apparent impunity.

    In the weeks to come, Blair and his apologists will continue to utilise the threat of terrorism to avoid any accounting for his war policy and justify its continuation, along with ever more massive attacks on democratic rights.

    Meanwhile, Blair is continuing to praise the police who shot de Menezes for their bravery.

    I think the most significant thing is that the family of Jean Charles de Menezes has engaged a high powered solicitor:

    Gareth Peirce, one of Britain's most prominent defence lawyers, is representing the family of de Menezes against the police. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is studying CCTV footage that caught de Menezes's last moments. What is already clear is that the initial accounts of his death on July 22 were wrong.....

    De Menezes's cousin, Alex Alves Pereira, confirmed to the Sunday Herald that the family would be working with Gareth Peirce, the British human rights lawyer. According to Pereira, Peirce has even offered to send money to help de Menezes's London-based family support themselves while they are in Brazil.....Pereira added: "I'd like to thank her team for everything they have done for us. We trust her completely and hope justice will be done. It's a beautiful team."

    Ron Suskind is a great writer. I am not him.

    by suskind (m.suskindathotmail) on Sun Jul 31st, 2005 at 06:32:06 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    .
    The British politics are locked up in a pro-US and pro-Iraq War stance. The Conservatives are a lame party, hold the same position on major foreign issues as the Labor Party.

    The only opposition comes from the Left-Wing segment of Blair's own party. Thus, no alternative and Blair can go ahead with impunity.

  • UK Faces Terror Risk Because of US Alliance ¶ Chatham House Report

    ~~~

  • by Oui on Sun Jul 31st, 2005 at 07:53:17 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I would just like to point out a logical inconsistency in the article you quoted. If, as I have given extensive reasons for and the article supports, a warning was given at the area immediately beyond the ticket barriers at the top of the two escalator shafts (whether ignored, unheard, misheard or misinterpreted by Menezes) and a train was pulling in causing Menezes to run, the witness Ruston could not have heard the warning.

    The train approaching would have both been noisy and would have created an up-draught, both drowning out anything heard coming down the escalator shaft. That is quite apart from the escaltor noise and the acoustics of a ticket hall that is open to the outside in one direction and splits into two on the train side.

    The orders may well be flawed however again I would like to point out an inconsistency. The idea of not giving a warning would be to stop any attempt to immediately detonate a bomb. How come warnings were heard both by Ruston and the witnesses in the train and on the platform itself for the bystanders to take cover?  

    These are observations based on a passing knowledge of the station, reinforced by the diagrams published and based on a dispassionate analysis. Speculation based on the statements of a few witnesses who could not have heard a warning shouted in the ticket hall and constructing accusations from them in the absence of the whole picture are both counter-productinve and a legal minefield. There is speculation that any trial of the arrested bomb suspects is already predjudiced by the reporting of their cases in the tabloid press.

    If the shooting is a tragic series of errors on the part of the police, the profound apologies and the cash compensation already being discussed with the family can, I am afraid, be thier only comfort. If, on the other hand, the police acted illegally, the possibility of them getting a fair trial is negated by the continued speculation and accusations in the press. Like the bomb suspects, their trials would be impossible and the judge would have to throw the case out. You, suskind, for example, could not sit on any jury considering their case in view of the wording of this diary as you have clearly pre-judged the case.

    by Londonbear on Mon Aug 1st, 2005 at 06:14:58 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Now before suskind, you accuse me of seeking to exonerate the police automatically, I am not. I am mere presenting alternatives to your pre-conceptions and automatic assumptions. In all of the continued postings you have made about the Menezes case, you are missing the use the whole bombing incidents have had.

    Have you, for example, picked up the comments by Geoff Hoon concerning the way a suspect was missed in the border checks at the Waterloo International Station? He has claimed the mistake would not have happened if the scheme for Identity Cards had been in place. The "it will defeat terrorism" argument had been trashed, now here he is resurrecting it in a "told you so" sneering tone.

    Generally the party political response has been mooted and concentrating on getting a consensus around new legislation to deal with potential attacks. The admission of telephone intercepts during court cases for example is a start if it is in place of the secret trials and detention without trial that Blair has attemped to introduce. Both the main opposition parties recognise the need to have the Independent Police Complaints Commission investigate throughly and, if possible, speedily. Discussions of the police's policy and training are going on but none of these are being used to accuse individual police officers of murder.

    If you are going down that track, can you explain why none of the bombing suspects were killed rather than being arrested?

    by Londonbear on Mon Aug 1st, 2005 at 06:36:10 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    On Bullshit
    by Harry G. Frankfurt

    "One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit," Harry G. Frankfurt writes, in what must surely be the most eyebrow-raising opener in modern philosophical prose. "Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted." This compact little book, as pungent as the phenomenon it explores, attempts to articulate a theory of this contemporary scourge--what it is, what it does, and why there's so much of it. The result is entertaining and enlightening in almost equal measure. It can't be denied; part of the book's charm is the puerile pleasure of reading classic academic discourse punctuated at regular intervals by the word "bullshit." More pertinent is Frankfurt's focus on intentions--the practice of bullshit, rather than its end result. Bullshitting, as he notes, is not exactly lying, and bullshit remains bullshit whether it's true or false. The difference lies in the bullshitter's complete disregard for whether what he's saying corresponds to facts in the physical world: he "does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are."


    This may sound all too familiar to those of use who still live in the "reality-based community" and must deal with a world convulsed by those who do not. But Frankfurt leaves such political implications to his readers. Instead, he points to one source of bullshit's unprecedented expansion in recent years, the postmodern skepticism of objective truth in favor of sincerity, or as he defines it, staying true to subjective experience. But what makes us think that anything in our nature is more stable or inherent than what lies outside it? Thus, Frankfurt concludes, with an observation as tiny and perfect as the rest of this exquisite book, "sincerity itself is bullshit." --Mary Park


    Ron Suskind is a great writer. I am not him.

    by suskind (m.suskindathotmail) on Mon Aug 1st, 2005 at 06:53:29 AM EST
    [ Parent ]


    Ron Suskind is a great writer. I am not him.
    by suskind (m.suskindathotmail) on Mon Aug 1st, 2005 at 07:26:25 AM EST
    " They are trained to shoot to kill on suspicion that someone might be a suicide bomber. Did anyone notice that? That the war on Iraq was launched on suspicion that Iraq possessed the weapons of mass destruction? Suspicion without information plus deadly force equals death of the innocents." Reallly sums it up nicely. Suspiciious Minds and back stabbers. People are held at Guantanmo largely because they are suspected to be.....
    by Stu Piddy on Mon Aug 1st, 2005 at 11:45:27 AM EST
    Where's your next diary.... what, are you taking the day off??  

    If so, come on over to the Froggy Bottom Cafe where we're drinking Pernod.... hmmm....

    Ron Suskind is a great writer. I am not him.

    by suskind (m.suskindathotmail) on Mon Aug 1st, 2005 at 12:10:25 PM EST
    [ Parent ]


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