UK Liberty

Health and Safety 10 – bus users should not get back on the same bus

Posted in de Menezes by ukliberty on October 9, 2007

The BBC:

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.

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  1. […] RSS Feed Health and Safety 15 – de Menezes was identified as not being OsmanHealth and Safety 14 – blame the victim?The Economist on civil libertiesHealth and Safety 13 – operation had “no structure”cradle to grave surveillanceHealth and Safety 12 – more from the surveillance teamHealth and Safety 11 – lethal forceThe Stop the War march went aheadThat settles it!Health and Safety 10 – bus users should not get back on the same bus […]


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