Sunday, July 24, 2005

Capital crimes: misdemeanors

/ police state / building /
Now pay attention to this fact from the BBC:
"The police deployment of firearms is governed by a manual published by the Association of Police Officers, last revised in February 2005.

It is not true to say that police officers must identify themselves or shout a warning when confronting a suspect believed to pose a grave and imminent threat.

The manual says that that procedure 'should be considered' but recognises that the key aim of an operation is to 'identify, locate, contain and neutralise' the threat posed."

The story of how the Brazilian citizen was publicly executed by a group of armed plainclothes policemen is still somewhat hazy, yet as evidence gathers two things seem certain:
1. de Menezes, the Brazilian victim had nothing to do with islamists, suicide bombers or anything else.
2. The police followed the new procedure: they shot at will when they saw someone suspicious. The problem isn't with the policemen themselves (mainly). It's with their orders.

Now all this was done under Operation Kratos (Kratos meaning State in Greek, how's that for an ominous name?) according to the Guardian:
A senior Metropolitan police source with knowledge of firearms procedures said of the shooting at Stockwell: "This was an intelligence led operation, within the parameters of Kratos." Officially the Met will not talk about Kratos, but the tactics have been in place for a year and were developed after British officers learnt from their Israeli counterparts how best to tackle suicide bombers.

So these were plans that were being prepared a year ago and are based on Israeli tactics, I guess that's because the IDF's methods have proved so bleeding efficient and are exemplary in their consideration of civil liberties.

As I mentioned over at MeFi, there's a very simple problem with the idea of the police shooting anyone who looks suspicious with no warning at all: there are vastly more suspicious looking people everyday in the tube than there are suicide bombers. So it's fair to surmise that a rather longish trail of dead innocents will be accumulate before a single suicide bomber is brought down, especially given the fact that, come winter, a vest loaded with explosives can be fashionably and inconspicuously worn by a suicide bomber under, say, a business suit and a trenchcoat, while various sartorially challenged passersby are mowed down all around him.

Thus, eventually, the real danger for tube passengers would come from trigger-happy cops much more than from suicide bombers.

Anyway the fact that the current British government has pursued policies (under Blunkett) that seem to want to establish a surveillance dystopia, with very limited civil rights and an all powerful police, along with the fact that the bloody bastards were preparing this already a year ago, makes me very skeptical as to whether these measures' primary goal is to protect Londoners form suicide bombers (which is rather unlikely BTW) or to establish the foundations of a police state - a model to be exported to the continent I'm afraid. Needless to say that a state in which the police officers have a license to kill based on their mere suspicion (thus becoming judge, jury and executioners) should be described as a very problematic sort of democracy.

On the other hand one could also argue that putting a whole community's lives under the discretion of the police, is a sure way to make recruiting for Al Qaeda easier. Which apparently is quite OK, since it's becoming more and more obvious that the terrorists are exactly what the doctor ordered to implement the remilitarization of foreign policy and give an alibi to the new imperial grab.


kkk said...

I would like to know a little more about the circumstances of the actual shooting.

However (surprise,surprise) they appear to be somewhat scarce at the moment. I heard somewhere that the guy tripped and fell, and that he was held down and executed point blank (five shots from one weapon), but I do not know if this is true.

I was really surprised to hear he was not Asiatic. It just doesn't make sense, so it could be that all the Police Chief's bravado and all the rest of the "we'll have to shoot many more innocents" twaddle is covering up a huge cock-up.

Louis said...

'Kratos' means power... just a little clear up ^_^

talos said...

louis: a semantic mixup: being Greek, "Greek" means modern Greek to me, while the language they spoke around these parts 2500 years ago is "Ancient Greek".
Outside Greece, frequently "Greek" is used to mean Ancient Greek and the modern language is the one specified as "Modern Greek".

Anyway, yes, kratos meant power, strength, might, power over in Ancient Greek, but it does mean State, in Modern Greek - the etymological path being obvious (actually I'm pretty sure it has been used with the modern meaning since Byzantine times at least).