There has been (relatively!) lots of interest in a previous post on how the Met had banned this, using some obscure law.
Well, it went ahead regardless – whether or not you support their cause, it seems good to support their right to march about it.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Our aim is to balance the right of the Stop the War Coalition to freedom of protest whilst maintaining the right of MPs and peers to conduct the business of either House whilst they are sitting.”
Which is why Scotland Yard said they wouldn’t be allowed to march within a mile – yes, a mile – of Parliament.
Indeed, protestors can march wherever they wish so long as we don’t have to see them. Does that sum it up fairly?
Sir Ian [Blair, Met Police chief] conceded that there have been no cases so far where detention beyond 28 days had been needed …
The government’s independent reviewer of terrorism laws, Lord Carlile, agreed there was no evidence of a case so far in which it could be shown that detention beyond 28 days would have made a significant difference.
If you don’t need it you can’t have it.
If you want it you can bloody well prove you need it.
Shadow home secretary David Davis said: “We have the longest period of detention without trial in the democratic world.
“Any increase needs to be based on evidence – not guesswork – that it is needed to protect the public.”
And Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg said: “In the absence of any compelling evidence it is a mystery why Sir Ian Blair, Gordon Brown and [home secretary] Jacqui Smith seem so determined to reopen this debate.”
It isn’t a mystery at all – it’s all about political expediency, not justice, but buying votes with people’s lives.
Labour is attempting to look “tough on terrorism”, attempting to outflank the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats on law and order issues.
Don’t fall for it.
Police following Jean Charles de Menezes may have suspected he was using counter-surveillance techniques before he was shot dead, a court has heard.
Did they suspect he was using such techniques or not?
The Brazilian, wrongly suspected as a suicide bomber, left a bus and then got back on minutes before being killed in a London Tube station on 22 July 2005.
Counsel for the Met Police told the Old Bailey surveillance teams could regard those movements as a criminal tactic.
Or rather, a tactic used by criminals.
On the other hand, a ‘tactic’ used by many Londoners every day.
Ivor, an undercover officer who held Mr de Menezes as he was shot in the head, told the court how he had earlier seen the Brazilian get off a bus in Brixton town centre – and then very quickly rejoin it.
Mr de Menezes had got off the bus and began walking towards the Brixton Underground Station – but after 20 metres turned back when he saw the station was temporarily closed.
Ivor had been on the same bus watching the target – but did not rejoin it out of fear of compromising the surveillance.
However, he reported Mr de Menezes’s movements on his radio, but had not seen the Tube station was closed.
Ronald Thwaites QC, defending, told the court that given the officers did not know Brixton station was closed, it would have been “obvious” to suspect the suspect was using counter-surveillance tactics to lose a tail.
Only if you assume the conclusion – that the person you are tailing is a terrorist. If you keep an open mind, he may be using counter-surveillance tactics – then again, he may just be doing something ordinary Londoners do every day.
“All I can reaffirm is what I saw and what I transmitted on my radio,” said Ivor, denying that he had made such a suggestion to colleagues or Scotland Yard commanders. “It may have had any number of innocent explanations.”
Such as a station being closed, or thinking you might be able to catch an alternative bus that was behind (but then whizzes by). Or maybe, god forbid, thinking “who’s this wierdo following me, let’s see if he follows me off the bus and then back on it.”
“If people deploy anti-surveillance methods it’s usually because they are up to no good, isn’t it?” asked Mr Thwaites.
“Criminals employ anti-surveillance techniques,” said Ivor.
“And you were feeding back what you saw, knowing that people hearing these things would draw their own conclusions.”
“I was simply transmitting what I saw. I can’t comment on the mindset of other officers who were monitoring my communications,” replied the policeman.
Indeed! It looks like Ivor simply reported that the suspect had got back on the bus. Then his superiors, who now look like they already ‘knew’ he must be a terrorist, now had that knowledge confirmed.
The case continues.
That doesn’t sound like a good idea when you have firearms officers chasing a suspected attempted suicide bomber who attempted to detonate a rucksack only the day before.
But it’s easy to be critical in hindsight.
Pausing to warn family members of the evidence he was about to give, Ivor said he saw Mr Menezes stand and advance.
He judged that he could have been a suicide bomber preparing to detonate a device – and that he needed to restrain him.
“I grabbed Mr Menezes by wrapping both my arms around his torso, pinning his arms against his sides,” he said.
“The right side of my head was against his torso, pushing him back into his seat. He appeared to stiffen up and he was not in a natural sitting position.
“I felt his head turn towards me and I was aware of a CO19 [firearms] officer kneeling on the seat to my left.
“I heard a gunshot very close to my left ear. I was hit by the shockwave of a firearm being discharged.”
Ivor told the court how he was then dragged away by one of the armed officers.
Within seconds he had a long-barrelled gun “levelled against my chest” and a pistol against his head, he said.
“I held out my hands and shouted ‘police’,” said the covert officer.
“It’s worthy of note that I was dressed virtually identically to Mr Menezes. Denim jacket, denim jeans.”
The officer said he was also carrying a rucksack, unlike Mr Menezes who only had a newspaper.
Only when he had been dragged against the platform wall and was able to produce his chequered police cap did the danger to him pass, he said.
Have I got this right? That if you’re a wannabe suicide bomber, and you are about to be shot by armed police, restrain a fellow tube passenger, shout “he’s here!”, then when that person is shot, hold out your hands and say “police!”
More coverage and detail in the Manchester Evening News, including Ivor’s claim that,
“I requested via my radio whether or not Mr de Menezes should be detained. I received the reply that I should wait. I was certainly in a position to effect some sort of detention of Mr de Menezes.”
The case continues.