The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

British Police Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

Aug 1, 2005

The day after the failed second bombing attempt in London, police shot Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian electrician, to death on a subway train. The police say they were carrying out surveillance at his apartment building, and followed him from his apartment building to the train station.

The cops first tried to claim that Menezes was a terror suspect. Later they were forced to admit that they shot an innocent man. The cops say Menezes ran from them. If he ran, it’s not hard to imagine why. The cops who chased him were in plainclothes, and four of them surrounded him. The cops had Menezes down on the ground when they shot him seven times in the head. They claim he looked suspicious because he was wearing a "thick" coat in warm weather. It turns out the thick coat was a jean jacket.

Obviously, after failing to prevent the first terror attacks, and after two weeks of not producing any results in their investigations of the bombings, they were looking to get anyone they could and they shot a man for wearing a jean jacket on his way to work.

After the shooting there was a big outcry against the cops shoot-to-kill tactics. Many people in Britain have begun to say that the terror attacks were the "fruit of Blair’s war" in Iraq.

It’s obviously what’s behind the sudden flurry of activity by the British police. It’s part of a campaign aimed at public opinion to show they can handle terrorism.

So far they have detained thirty people, sixteen of whom they already released. Every time they arrest somebody, they make a big fanfare that they have caught someone really important to the case. When they release someone, on the other hand, you never hear a word.

If the British police can so blatantly shoot someone down in public like this, one can imagine what they are doing to people they have detained behind closed doors. They’ll take a confession any way they can get one.

They say they have the whole bombing "network" in custody. Anyone who’s read a John LeCarré novel knows how ridiculous that is. If it were so easy to track down terrorist networks, the U.S. would have already tracked down everyone involved in the 9/11 bombings and all the bombings in Iraq.

Terrorism is an outrage, no matter who carries it out. Those who carried out the London bombings did not take the side of the oppressed. Rather, oppressed people were their victims.

But no one should believe that the U.S. and British governments are opposed to terrorism either. It’s their terrorism, like the shooting by the British police, with all the power of the state behind them, that produces terrorism in the first place.