the Disillusioned kid: The Terrors of Counter-Terrorism, Part 2.
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Monday, July 25, 2005

The Terrors of Counter-Terrorism, Part 2.

"I guess the lesson of the week is, Don't run away from an English cop in the London Underground, or anywhere else, particularly if you're brown or black. This means, don't run for a train or a bus, particularly with a bag in your hand. If you want to run, or even surrender to the cops, take all your clothes off and put all your hands up, as Eldridge Cleaver recommended in Soul on Ice. One in every ten of these London cops is heavily armed and will kill you without compunction."
-- Andrew Cockburn

"The rush by leading London and national politicians, and by most sections of the media, to support the police action was breath taking. In a democratic society, the first response when a member of the public is killed by the police should be to suspend the officers involved and to announce an independent inquiry. There are circumstances, obviously, when an inquiry might conclude that the only thing that the police could have done, to protect the public or themselves, was to kill. But the gravity of that conclusion is such that it should only be reached after independent scrutiny of all the circumstances, not as a knee-jerk reaction on the day. Instead, politician after politician queued up to explain that shoot-to-kill is now necessary."

-- Liz Davies

"In a clear indication of how terrorism not only destroys bodies but contaminates perceptions, fellow travellers say they saw an 'Asian man' with 'a bomb belt and wires coming out'. What they actually saw was a young Brazilian in a Puffa jacket. The police saw a threat. To them De Menezes looked like another 'clean skin' (a perpetrator with no history of previous terrorist involvement or affiliation) on the run and possibly about to act. Having cornered him and pinned him to the ground they pumped five bullets into his head at close range.

"In a world where every brown skin is little more than a 'clean-skin' waiting to happen, stop and search will inevitably become stop and shoot. The dominant mood that we are better safe than sorry is understandable. But after Friday's incident we are left with one man dead, nobody safe and everybody sorry. If there's one thing we've learned over the past two years, it's that a pre-emptive strike with no evidence causes more problems than it solves."

-- Gary Younge

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