Sun, 24 Dec 2006

A level of unparalleled threat

Last August, Paul Stephenson, Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: ‘This was intended to be mass murder on an unimaginable scale’ while John Reid, the Home Secretary, exclaimed that ‘loss of life would have been on an unprecedented scale’.

Fast forward to December, and Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner says on a Radio 4 (well worth listening to the whole 16 minutes of the interview):
‘We have no specific intelligence [...] The level of threat against the United Kingdom is of an unparalleled nature and growing. [...] Unparalleled in terms of operational threat since the second World War. Far graver threat in terms of civilians than probably during the second World War or the Cold War; that's it.’
So on one hand Sir Ian Blair says he doesn't have any specific intelligence, and on the other that the threat is greater than during WW2 when tens of thousands of people were killed in London. This is irresponsible propaganda.

During the same interview, Sir Ian Blair said: ‘I'd say this: I, for my own part, I am quite confident that I will not face any kind of misconduct... in relation to Stockwell. [...] I'll just say that I'm confident, shall we leave it at that?’ This follows the news the previous week that the High Court of England and Wales dismissed the legal challenge brought by the family of Jean Charles de Menezes against the prosecuting authorities' decision not to bring criminal charges against any individuals in connection with his killing in London in July 2005.

Consequences of shooting Jean Charles de Menezes: a dirty campaign (he was wrongly accused of wearing a too warm jacket, of being illegally in the UK, even of having raped a woman - all this eventually disproved by the family), no individual officer involved to be charged (and one of the officers killed another man since), a promotion for the officer in charge, and possibly a Health and Safety charge for the Police (of which the fine would then have to be paid by taxpayers).

In times of perceived unparalleled threat, one is concerned as well by the uncontrollable actions of a Police so confident in its power over the law.

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