Saturday, August 20, 2005


London police maintain "shoot-to-kill" policy

Reuters "London's police force has reviewed its controversial "shoot-to-kill" policy and left it largely unchanged despite the killing of a Brazilian mistaken for a would-be suicide bomber, Scotland Yard said on Saturday..."

Oh Great.

"Largely unchanged" presumably means that Sir Ian Blair can go on making lying statements to compliant journalists, "Gold Command" can go on giving the order to shoot to kill random passers-by who have not been identified as even "alleged" terrorists (but who may, perhaps have wrong looking eyes), no warning will be given, people may be held around the arms and torso by one plain clothes officer while another shoots them in the head at point blank range... and all this, to make us feel "safer".

Where, oh where, is the democratic opposition to this utterly unbelievable, frightening nonsense?

In his article for Dissident Voice, Mike Whitney writes, " It always astonishes how quickly the demagogues in Washington and London swing into action when there’s a chance to hack away at personal freedom. They seem to operate on the theory that people will only be safe when the country assumes the same standards of justice as, let’s say, Egypt or Saudi Arabia."

He quotes the Prime Minister of Great Britain on the subject of "terrorism"

I don't much like Mike Whitney's overblown rhetoric about Tony Blair. Yet, as day follows day I am myself more and more aware frustrated by the limitations of language when faced with the actions of these hollow men. He calls him
I too am despairing of seeing anything more than self-serving, high-handed vanity and callousness in the actions of the authoritarians we have allowed to rule our lives. The half-way decent ones such as Mo Mowlam and Robin Cook have gone, leaving behind precious few in whom we can have any trust. Reid? Clarke? Byers? Mandelson? Blunkett? Beckett? Blears? Howard and his ilk? Mere partners in a danse macarbre, choreographed elsewhere.

John Pilger writes in similar vein to Mike Whitney, describing a particularly nasty raid on the Iqra Learning Centre and book store near Leeds. The Iqra Trust is a well-known charity that promotes Islam worldwide as "a peaceful religion which covers every walk of life." Pilger, in his New Statesman article, says:

The raid took place on July 15th in LEEDS - a place I have always associated with people like Alan Bennett, northern decency, Wallace and Gromit, and a particular kind of cosiness. Not with English police smashing in doors. If I hadn't been so aware of similarly blank faced arrivals of slaughter teams, often early in the morning, on the farms of people knowledgeable enough to have protested against the foot and mouth slaughter in 2001 -I would have found this hard to believe.

John Pilger's article begins by raising fears of a black list here that will go far beyond terrorism. Thomas Friedman is the New York Times columnist who wants the US State Department to draw up a blacklist of those who make "wrong" political statements - such as those who believe American actions are the root cause of the current terrorism.
Websites such as, make "wrong" political statements every day. They are written by perfectly ordinary people trying to make sense of an increasingly senseless world. Are we also,(in small letters somewhere at the bottom), soon to find ourselves on a blacklist?

Dammit. I shall quote the quintessentially English John Betjeman - whose poem here would no doubt have landed him on Mr Blair's blacklist too - "Come, friendly bombs..."

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