18/11/2007

SUICIDE EPIDEMIC AMONG US VETERANS



One story making the international news at the moment is that relating to the Pentagon’s concealment of the number of US troops that have committed suicide since the war with Iraq. According to the CBS Investigative Unit, the true figure for US troops killed since the invasion of Iraq - their new suicide figures added - is now above 15,000 – far in excess of US troops officially reported killed since the US hostilities with Iraq began.

Apparently CBS applied to the Dept, of Defence under the Freedom of Information Act, in an attempt to ascertain the true military suicide figure. The DoD responded by supplying grossly erroneous data, suggesting here had been 2,200 suicides among "active duty" soldiers in the past two years.

Unhappy with the figure, CBS then began investigating suicide data state by state. They requested data from 50 states and 45 responded. The findings revealed that in 2005 alone there had been 6,256 Iraq War veteran suicides – 120 per week. Who the hell needs the Iraqi resistance!

The story unfolds at CBS here.

These figures are not unique, nor is the story new. While 58,000 US troops were killed in the Vietnam War, it has been estimated that 700,000 of the soldiers who served in that war have since suffered from some form of mental disorder. According to figures published by the Washington State Department for Veteran Affairs, over 100,000 of these soldiers have committed suicide since returning from Vietnam.

Even a ‘small-scale’ war like the Falklands revealed a post-conflict suicide epidemic. The number of British troops killed defending that tiny rock in the south Atlantic was 255. Since then 264 have committed suicide. The current Argentine suicide toll is 454, according to an Argentine film (Iluminados por el fuego by Trist├ín Bauer, 2006) about the suicide of a Falklands veteran.

But war does not only result in the death of the combatants and the civilians caught up in the killing game – as I write an estimated 1,112,000 deaths are attributed to the Iraq War – the madness continues long after hostilities cease, affecting the mental health of hundreds of thousands of ex-military personnel, blighting the lives of tens of millions of families for many years. Add to this the unnecessary production given over to the global war machine (in Britain alone it involves 100,000), the destruction of endless resources, the trillions of wasted hours of human labour power (i.e. bridges, roads, airports, power stations indeed entire cities) and vast areas made uninhabitable, unable to support fauna or flora (the jungles of Vietnam come to mind, sprayed by the toxic defoliant Agent Orange).

You could cite to the masters of war all the statistics you want, but still they would beat their drums to summon the next generation to the battlefield, their appetite for blood never satiated, ever regurgitating their hackneyed cant that it is noble and fitting to die for one’s country, never letting on that the cause of conflict has nothing to do with the peace and freedom and democracy they cite, but in reality the trade routes, foreign markets and areas of influence they wish to monopolise and the oil and mineral wealth they hanker after,

And Bush wants a war with Iran? What the acceptable death toll from that coming conflict? What the true cost to humanity?


A few poignant quotes on war:


“I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, ‘Mother, what was war?"’” - Eve Merriam

“Give me the money that has been spent in war and I will clothe every man, woman, and child in an attire of which kings and queens will be proud. I will build a schoolhouse in every valley over the whole earth. I will crown every hillside with a place of worship consecrated to peace.” - Charles Sumner

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower, in speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, 16 April 1953

“If we let people see that kind of thing, there would never again be any war.” -Pentagon official explaining why the U.S. military censored graphic footage from the Gulf War.

14/11/2007

Commemorating William Jobling, the last man to be gibbeted in England

Many in the labour movement will be able to tell you about the Tolpuddle Martyrs. There is even an annual two-day event in Dorset to commemorate them and indeed the wider struggle of the labour movement. How many, I wonder, could mention the case of Will Jobling (commemorated left - Vince Rea with Jobling's gibbet at South Shields Museum), a miner from Jarrow who was gibbeted at about the same time as the men from Tolpuddle were being sent to Australia, or indeed of seven men from Jarrow who were likewise deported for their union activity?

Jobling is at last to be commemorated in Jarrow, the town in which he lived.

The BBC’s online coverage of the story is here.

The local Gazette’s coverage is here.

Debate has focused on such a commemoration for a long time. Indeed I myself waded into it 18 years ago. On February 14th 1989 the Shields Gazette gave me the entirety of their letters page and published the following letter and poem (in classical iambic pentameter) I had written in an evening and sent them along with accompanying notes (which I have since updated). I dug the paper clipping out this morning and retyped it:

From the Shields Gazette, 14/2/89

“In response to HRD’s letter of February 10, in which he opposes the erection of a memorial to Will Jobling, who was gibbeted back in the 1830s for a crime he did not commit, I’d be obliged if you could find space to publish the enclosed poem about Jobling and the Binding Strike of 1831. That way he might see why one is needed – it’s not so much a monument to Jobling, but a monument to the working class.”

SLAUGHTER PIT

A While ago, down Jarrow’s Slaughter Pit, (1)
Though nothing nowadays remains of it,
A hundred hardened miners set their sights
On such a thing as basic human rights,
And thinking if they only formed a band
Of honest, daring men, they’d make a stand
Against atrocities way down a mine
Whose seams ran deep beneath the River Tyne.


For many years, on Binding Day, they’d signed
A bond, which stated that they were inclined
To bide by all the owners’ rules and laws,
And frequently some new oppressive clause,
As in the Binding Strike of eighteen-ten,
When those who could not read nor work a pen
Had realised they’d work a longer day,
Wherein the keeker fixed the rate of pay; (2)
But miners found that strike to no avail
Once rotting in an episcopal jail. (3)


Again, above their heads the binding loomed
Like blackened clouds. Again the men felt domed
And shuddered at the all too chilling choice –
To work like rats or rise in common voice,
Defying all the threats the owners made:
The sackings and the burly bailiff raid,
The stays in jail, the tread mill and huge fines.
The miners wanted standards in the mines!
Take once! The owners thought the miners daft:
“Of all the nerve; a ventilation shaft?
Why, Humphrey Davy has discovered laws
Which prove that gas can’t pass through metal gauze.
In fact, he’s made for you a safety lamp
To help combat that treach’rous fire damp.”
To put their selfish theory to the test,
The owners of the gassy pits thought best,
The Davy’s debut should be Hebburn Pit. (4)
“Just think – the money we will save with it.
We’ll never need a ventilation shaft.
Why pay so high a price for just a draft?”


Enough! With courage born of facing death
And Tommy Hepburn’s all-inspiring breath, (5)
In eighteen-thirty-one, on Binding Day,
Some twenty-thousand miners made their way
To North Tyne Moor, to talk and reason how
To lead a peaceful strike, and make a vow
That in their struggle non would raise a hand;
That this would be a non-aggressive stand.
But those who owned the pits had other thoughts.
They sought to crush the strike in local courts.
They brought in yeomanry to guard the mines,
Evicted thousands crippled them with fines.
Then turned their furniture to firewood
And mocked as children died for want of food,
Because the Tommy Shops had stopped all sales.
They even tried to bring in scab from Wales,
But sighed to find the Welsh were just as proud
And obstinate as Tyneside’s silent crowd.


The strike of thirty-one is strewn with tales
Of hardened men who’d sooner rot in jails
Than sign a bond which bound them for a spell
Deep down inside the gaping wounds of hell.
If, friend, you’re e fired by these foul crimes, then read
Some more about a further ghastly deed.
I
n June, next year, two striking miners walked (6)
South Shields road. Halfway, they stopped and talked
With Fairless, sat astride his gallant steed. (7)
What Fairless said, the two had not agreed,
For Armstrong, with new courage found
Knocked Fairless from his horse and to the ground,
And left him there, eyes closed with gaping head.
The trembling miners, fearing Fairless dead,
Made off. Armstrong was never seen again,
But Jobling, never fearing mortal pain,
Returned to find that just before he died
The falling Fairless had in fact denied
That Jobling struck a blow. Instead his fault
Was that he had not helped prevent assault.


With Jobling seized, a trail began on August first.
The foreman of the Jury with a thirst (8)
For sweet revenge, within a hour saw fit (9)
That as a grim example to a pit
On strike, in days to come the man should swing.
Then, smiling, Justice Parke thought up a sting: (10)
To re-enact some medieval mode,
Just passed in some new legislative code,
They’d pitch and gibbet Jobling and, to make
Their case, exhibit him on Jarrow slake.


On August, third, before Will Jobling died,
Amidst his audience somebody cried
A last “farewell”, and turning to that well-
Acquainted voice, unlucky Jobling fell. (11)
Poor Jobling, now deprived of sacred ground,
And blackened in a metal gibbet, found
His empty shell was guarded night and day,
In case his comrades carried him away
With martyrs songs to keep alive the cause.
Weeks past and when no soldier dared to pause
By rotting Jobling, fearing some disease,
They left. One night, as silent as a breeze
Some came and stole the grizzly sight away,
And there ends Jobling’s tale unto this day.


That tale is only one that illustrates
The fury of the local magistrates
At their own inability to end
A costly strike, and consequently send
The miners back to work and thus restore
The status quo. But there again, there’s more!
Think of the seventeen that Parke had tried
Before the Jobling case, and three who cried
On hearing that they’d hang because they’d dared
To hit a scab! And those a jury spared – (12)
The “Seven Lads” they sent across the sea (13)
On jumped up charges of conspiracy!


At length, the hardened Jarrow men, who’d swore
They’d fight until the end, could take no more.
With sickness sweeping through their weakened rank
And file the saddened miners spirits sank
To lower depths. For want of warmth and food,
The men of Slaughter pit, who’d boldly stood
A long defiant year, began to yearn
For life’s necessities. The right to earn
A decent wage, to arbitrate their pay,
The right to choose the hours they worked each day,
In slaughter-free and ventilated seams,
Became the fragments of their shattered dreams
In August, eighteen-thirty-two, the cage
At Slaughter Pit once more began to gauge
The gaping wounds of hell. The strike was crushed.
Why, even Tommy Hepburn’s voice was hushed! (14)


Notes:


1) Slaughter Pit was the name given to Jarrow Colliery after explosions in 1826 and 1830 claimed 79 lives.

2) The “keeker” fined miners for underweight corves (7.5 cwt baskets of coal). Pay was deducted if a corve was only 2lb underweight. Often the keeker purposely made them underweight as his own pay depended upon it. Hardly difficult to imagine why they were so unpopular and why many got their heads kicked in down a back alley at night.

3) The Bishop of Durham kindly loaned his stables to the authorities to accommodate the overspill of miners from prisons.

4) Davy’s safety lamp was first tested in Hebburn Colliery in January 1816. Capitalists, being the greedy bastards that they are, quickly found the lamp was a timely alternative to the cost of sinking expensive ventilation shafts.

5) Tommy Hepburn was a miners' leader. His non-violent policy prevented many miners attacking soldiers and consequently facing the death penalty.

6) Ralph Armstrong and Will Jobling

7) Fairles was a stern local magistrate. I’ve added an extra “s” to his name, not least to give me the extra syllable which helps with the rhyme structure.

8) The foreman of the jury was actually a colliery owner.

9) Jobling was found guilty within 15 minutes.

10) Justice Parke, presiding at Durham assizes. In his summing up he lambasted the unions as "Combinations which are alike injurious to the public interest and to the interests of those persons concerned in them...I trust that death will deter them following your example". The sentence was that Jobling be publicly executed and his body be then tarred and hung from a gibbet to be erected in Jarrow Slake, near the scene of the attack. The judge continued: "I trust that the sight of that will have some effect upon those, who are to a certain extent, your companions in guilt and your companions in these ‘illegal proceedings’ which have disgraced the county. May they take warning by your fate". Jobling was the last man gibbeted in England..

11) Legend has it that Armstrong himself shouted “farewell”. As Jobling turned, he dislodged the noose and died an agonising death.

12) Seventeen tried on strike-related charges, including two men and a woman who were hanged for assaulting a black-leg.

13) “The case of the Seven Lads of Jarrow” – seven young men who were sentenced to death for being union members. Their sentences were finally commuted to transportation to Australia.

14) With the strike crushed, Hepburn was blacklisted at every pit along the Tyne. To make a living he began selling tea, until coal owners threatened anyone buying from him with instant dismissal. He eventually secured work at Felling Colliery on condition he ceased all union activity. He is buried at the cemetery at Heworth (which The Swan public house backs on to- and where the SPGB’s NE Branch held meetings for 10 years).









William Jobling

10/11/2007

Near Kandahar The Poppies Blow

Near Kandahar the poppies blow,
A US-sanctioned flower show,
That contradicts the war you wage
That ridicules your broadcast rage.
That funds your celebrated foe.


Each poppy marks an Afghan dead,
An Afghan maimed, an Afghan bled.
Where now your pledge of lasting calm?
Where now your soothing western balm?
Where now the warlords once thought fled
From
Kandahar?


The Taliban you once expelled
Have now returned; their ranks have swelled,
And now endorse the poppy fields,
And profit from its record yields.
What of this trade you boasted quelled
Near
Kandahar?


The poem above I penned earlier today. It is purely pastiche, and recalls the famous poem by John McCrae, entitled In Flanders Fields, written in May 1915 and which I re-read this morning, and which will be read no doubt at many war memorials and cenotaphs across the country tomorrow - Remembrance Day. It just seems ironic that 89 years after the “war to end all wars” was concluded humanity has learned nothing. Remembrance Day! The idea of remembering something is that you bloodywell learn from it. Yes, you remember the countless millions of workers who were conned into giving up their lives in wars they fought in the interests of their damned exploiters, but if that’s all it is meant to signify the event is a sham.

At the moment 30 conflicts are ongoing; the most covered being those in Afghanistan and Iraq. Another seems on the cards in Iran . So it looks like we’ll continue to have war dead to remember for some time to come. Workers we see joining armies today are the bearers of names we’ll see carved into war memorials of the future.

I saw TV images of NATO troops patrolling Helmand the other night. Helmand Province, where British soldiers are fighting the Taliban, is now the largest single heroin crop-producing area in the world, recording a 48 per cent increase in opium production this year. Afghanistan's poppy production has risen up to 15 percent since 2006 and the country is now the source for 95 percent of the world's heroin. The trade finances the very Taliban forces British troops are fighting, in a country from which President Bush told us the Taliban had been evicted; a country in which, as Bush told us , some time ago, peace had been restored and a country in which we were told poppy production would be quickly eradicated

One of the aforementioned troops was British. He wore a pinned-on poppy, the irony of which was hard to miss and I wondered if we would be called upon to remember him at next year’s Remembrance Day Parade.

08/11/2007

The Vatican meets the House of Saud

Back in September of last year Pope Benedict really angered the Islamic world, and at a time when Islam had just about had a bellyful of the west. During his speech in Regensburg, Germany, he cited a 14th-century Byzantine emperor who called Islam ''evil and inhuman.'' It was an off-the-cuff remark that led to widespread riots and many Islamic states pulled their ambassadors from the Vatican. Fire bombers attacked Catholic churches in the West Bank and Gaza, an Italian nun was shot dead in Somalia, and the pope’s life was threatened. Naturally, the Vatican was quick to apologise, insisting the remark was misinterpreted.

The photo above, taken Tuesday gone, suggests Ben has been forgiven, for here we have the head of the Roman Catholic Church chumming it with King Abdullah, a man entrusted to protect Mecca, the birthplace of Muhammad and the centre of the Islamic world.

Bosom pals, the pope gave the king a 16th-century engraving of the Vatican and a gold medal with his papal seal and in return the king gave the pope a sword, commenting it was ''made of gold and precious stones'', as well as a gold and silver statue of a palm tree and man riding a camel.

So King Abdullah, one of the richest men in the world, gets a gold medal as a gift, as if he hasn’t enough riches, and in return the pope gets a gold and silver statue. Doesn’t Abdullah know there are hundreds of tons of similar stuff buried deep within the Vatican’s catacombs, which never sees the light of day, the spoils of centuries of pillage in holy wars and in the name of Christianity, and fair bit of it, I bet, plundered from Islamic countries?

The king also give Ben a…well…a sword! Yup, a sword, and only a year ago he was pissed off coz Ben said Islam was violent and now he comes bearing bejewelled militaria! Sheesh.!

And other than both agreeing that the Israeli-Palestine conflict was a headache and needed a “just solution” all they really talked about during their half-hour meeting was the need to be nice to Catholics who are forbidden from practicing their faith in Saudi Arabia? What about the beheading of adulteresses and gays in Saudi Arabia, the lack of union rights? Not a mention. All Ben was bothered about was the million or so migrant Catholic working in Saudi Arabia, and whom he patronisingly referred to as “good workers”. Here’s the pope, Christ’s representative on earth - or so it is claimed - the supposed incarnation of peace, love and humility and charged with spreading the same on earth and he has in his presence a man who fronts one of the most repressive regimes on the planet, notorious for its human rights abuses, and he doesn’t vent his papal spleen? There again, which European leader or monarch will cry foul?

The visit was just another stop of in the House of Saud’s PR Tour of Europe – the tee shirts will be on sale soon - and all that European heads of state have been doing is sucking up big time, lending the regime legitimacy, turning a blind eye to the reality of life in Saudi Arabia, which is a virtual prison for millions, and for no other reason than Saudi Arabia has oil – a big enough reason no doubt when, as president or prime minister, your charged with promoting the interests of your capitalist class - but do principles count for nowt? Any other leader of a repressive regime would be shunned – consider the reception President (Mad Bob) Mugabe of Zimbabwe would get if he turned up in St Peter’s Square or on Horse Guards Parade! If Mugabe had oil he’d get the red carpet treatment and Gordon Brown, the pope and every other head of state knows it. What a load of bollocks!

Countdown gets radical (3)



07/11/2007

Give us yer right honourable pinkie!

Fingerprint scanners - good enough for the toiling masses, but not an overpaid, self-seeking bunch of cretins in Parliament!


I’m crediting Jimmy over at Patience and Perseverance for alerting me to this story – Jeez, I almost missed this gem.

Whilst Gordon Brown is keen as hell to create a police state, outdoing his predecessor on the issue of law and order and national security and Britishness and all that rot, it seems he and his ilk are not that happy about the idea of having state-of-the-art surveillance devices watching them – namely a hi-tech finger print scanner in the House of Commons.

Apparently, steps to use fingerprint scanners to control entry to the Commons have been dumped because of the suggestion that terrorists might pounce on an MP, cut off his finger and use it to gain access to the House of Commons. I ask you!!

Seemingly the Commons security specialists also said the available technology was also untrustworthy because it could not cope with dirty or sweaty hands. This is a bloody cop out – what the hell do MPs ever do to get dirty and sweaty hands?

As a spokesman for the No2ID protest group rightly said: "If they don't think fingerprint scanners will work for 650-odd MPs, how do they think they will cope with 60 million of us?" Indeed!

The idea now is that parliamentary pass-holders will instead have to type in a cash-machine -style PIN code. Yeah? Has nobody envisaged an MP getting mugged or kidnapped by a terrorist – who we are informed will do anything to get into Parliament – and who will scream at their trembling victim: ”right, give us yer fuggin’ pin number or we’re slitting you’re throat.” It’s a scenario every bit as valid as the “amputated finger” excuse they are using now.

Meanwhile, at my son’s comprehensive school there is a similar fingerprint scanner in place in the dinner canteen and the poor kids, who have had their fingerprints taken without parental consent, must have their dabs scanned before they get any grub. And there was no objection, when this was installed, about the scanner not being able to read the prints of 1,500 pubescent kids with visibly grubby and sweaty hands at meal time, or some hungry truant from the local catholic school lopping off one of their pinkies to get a free tuna salad and chips.

BIO-FUELING A NEW GLOBAL CRISIS

I’ve written several times over the years on the insanity of a system that forces underdeveloped countries to grow cash crops – for instance coffee and cocoa beans – for export to the west while millions starve.

George Monbiot in Tuesday’s Guardian writes a timely piece on the matter, focusing on how our “appetite for biofuels is causing starvation in the poor world.”

Swaziland is a prime example of the problem. Here, 40% of its population is facing hunger, while the country’s staple crop – cassava – is being grown with the intention of producing ethanol for export to the west. Elsewhere, rainforests, the lungs of the earth, are being cleared for the production of biofuel crops.

At a time when the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization is reporting that global food stocks are the lowest in a quarter of a century, the biofuel problem just makes you want to wretch.

The current problem is not helped by the rising price of oil (as I write it is nearing $100 a barrel), growing populations, extreme weather and ecological problems. Last week the UN Environment Programme announced that the planet’s water, land, air, plants, animals and fish stocks were all in "inexorable decline". Fifty seven countries, including 29 in Africa, have been hit by floods and crops have been wiped out by drought and heatwaves in Asia, Europe, China, Sudan, Mozambique and Uruguay.

All of which means the laws of supply and demand become more pronounced. John Vidal wrote in Saturday's Guardian:

“Record world prices for most staple foods have led to 18% food price inflation in China, 13% in Indonesia and Pakistan, and 10% or more in Latin America, Russia and India, according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). Wheat has doubled in price, maize [the US produces 70% of the world Maize crop, a staple diet in many countries. Last year 20% of the maize yield was given over to the production of ethanol] is nearly 50% higher than a year ago and rice is 20% more expensive, says the UN.

Lester Brown, the president of the Worldwatch Institute said: "The competition for grain between the world's 800 million motorists, who want to maintain their mobility, and its 2 billion poorest people, who are simply trying to survive, is emerging as an epic issue."

Says Josette Sheeran, director of the UN’s World Food Programme, "There are 854 million hungry people in the world and 4 million more join their ranks every year. We are facing the tightest food supplies in recent history. For the world's most vulnerable, food is simply being priced out of their reach."

Meanwhile the EU has set itself targets that directly impact on the world’s starving millions: 5.75 per cent of transport fuel must come from biofuels by 2010, and 10 per cent by 2020. This is all to do with reducing the European carbon footprint. But this switch to biofuels hardly helps matters as Monbiot observes:

“In principle, burning biofuels merely releases the carbon the crops accumulated when growing. Even when you take into account the energy costs of harvesting, refining and transporting the fuel, they produce less net carbon than petroleum products…..If you count only the immediate carbon costs of planting and processing biofuels, they appear to reduce greenhouse gases. When you look at the total impacts, you find they cause more warming than petroleum.

“A recent study by the Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen shows that the official estimates have ignored the contribution of nitrogen fertilisers. They generate a greenhouse gas - nitrous oxide - that is 296 times as powerful as CO2. These emissions alone ensure that ethanol from maize causes between 0.9 and 1.5 times as much warming as petrol, while rapeseed oil (the source of more than 80% of the world's biodiesel) generates 1-1.7 times the impact of diesel. This is before you account for the changes in land use.”

Monbiot finishes with a warning:

“If the governments promoting biofuels do not reverse their policies, the humanitarian impact will be greater than that of the Iraq war. Millions will be displaced, hundreds of millions more could go hungry. This crime against humanity is a complex one, but that neither lessens nor excuses it. If people starve because of biofuels, Ruth Kelly [Secretary of State for Transport] and her peers will have killed them. Like all such crimes, it is perpetrated by cowards, attacking the weak to avoid confronting the strong.”

While I welcome Monbiot’s criticism of this issue, It is not so much the “strong”, the oil and biofuel, the transport and food production industries that need confronting. it is more a case that the damned system that allows them to operate as they do, that allows them to put profits before human and environmental interests, needs to be abolished

Countdown gets radical (2)

Says Carol: "Aaw, come on, Des. Twice in a week? You boys
backstage
taking the piss?

05/11/2007

MET FOUND GUILTY


Almost every newspaper in the country gave front page coverage to the story. An Old Bailey jury found the Metropolitan Police guilty of breaking health and safety law back in July 2005 when they killed, with seven dumb-dumb bullets to the head, at point blank range, the Brazilian electrician Charles de Menezes

Were it not bad enough that it has taken more than two years to get the de Menezes case before a judge and jury, the case could only be pursued via prosecution under health and safety legislation.!! Eh?

But, what the hell. I’m not gonna diss the verdict – it’s better than nowt – and not least because it contradicts the groundless claim by the government that in its “war on terror” there are instances when it can flick the Vs to civil liberties to protect innocent lives. So fuck you too, Brown. And don’t forget that notwithstanding two investigations by the IPCC, there had been no criminal prosecution against any leading police officers who were implicated, neither Sir Ian Blair nor Commander Cressida Dick, who was in charge of operations that day.

And let’s not ignore the narrow provisos of the trial - that there would be no deliberation on the actual legality of the murder and that those cops who actually blasted de Menezes to pieces would not be giving evidence and that members of the public who witnessed the execution would not be called to testify. All that was at issue here was the chain of command and decision-making procedures that day

Hopefully now this case will lay the path for real charges to be levelled against the actual cold-blooded killers and the higher-ups they took their orders from. For this was cold-blooded killing. This was a state execution.

In his defence, Ian Blair claimed that there was no evidence of 'systemic failure' on the day in question, and he’s adamant he will not resign, despite many of his own rank-and-file believing he should throw the towel in, and despite the fact that every national newspaper is calling for his head as well as the leadership of the opposition parties. Blair’s lingering supporters insist that he should stay for the simple reason that the person who supervised the tragedy is the best placed to learn from its. Christ, howz that for reasoning? It’s like putting a captain who has just sunk an ocean liner with the loss of all passengers and crew back in charge of a similar ship on the grounds that he won’t make the same mistake twice.

Both the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister Gordon Brown have said they have confidence in Sir Ian – well they have to; they depend on his boys for their security. And as for the Mayor of London? “In a situation like this,” said Red Ken Livingstone, “mistakes are just going to happen.” ‘Mistakes’, you gloopy bastard!?

To be sure, at a time when Met should have been functioning at the peak of its proficiency it quite clearly fucked up and big time – not that this is a first, for they fuck up helluva lot. Summing up, the judge cited a catalogue of the most atrocious blunders and ruled that some were “simply beyond explanation”. The jury heard of no fewer that 19 mammoth gaffes, a far cry from the case the Met presented of a couple of armed cops making a mistake that anyone could make in a similar situation.. Indeed, such was the size of the blunder that at one stage cops very nearly shot one their own, which I reckon most people would have found more acceptable – at least it could have been put down to “friendly fire”.

So I’m hoping this case is investigated further and that the arrogance and corruption in the Met is exposed and its hierarchy really called to account. The gall of Blair and his clique is unbelievable. From day one there was an attempt at a bloody cover up, a white wash, for Christ’s sake. On the very day of the execution Blair wrote to Sir John Gieve, the senior civil servant in the Home Office, arguing that any investigation should be carried out by the Met itself. He said that the IPCC should be “given no access to the scene at the present time.” What was he afraid they would uncover? A state-sanctioned assassination?

From day one the police stooped to all manner of lies in attempt to hide what they had done. We were told de Menezes had ran away from them and jumped over the turnstiles, ran down the escalator and onto the train, all of which proved to be damned lies. They then claimed that he wore a bulky jacket - again, another crock of shit. Even the mainstream media, the BBC especially, supported the same pack of lies in attempt to cover the actions of a hit squad, even allowing witnesses to speak on TV and whose imaginings, in hindsight, are unbelievable. One witness even claimed he saw de Mendez carrying a bag with wires protruding. Where are these same witnesses now?

Even as the trial continued, there were the ongoing attempts to exonerate the officers involved. Lawyer for the police, Ronald Thwaites, informed the jury that de Menezes was shot because of his suspicious behaviour, “because when he was challenged by police he did not comply with them but reacted precisely as they had been briefed a suicide bomber might react at the point of detonating his bomb." When he was challenged? Like when a cop pins you down and another rams a gun into your temple? Like there’s a way you should react in such circumstances when you’re innocent? Like someone has actually sat next to a suicide bomber and watched his reactions before he detonated the bomb

The establishment now fears that the demand by the de Menezes family and many others will result in a full public inquiry. Not only do they fear that the truth will arise out of such an inquiry, the shockwave of which will reverberate far and wide, but that the arguments for the government’s war on terror will also be challenged head on.

Well, here’s one writer who will welcome any move that will expose the deceit and hypocrisy of a corrupt system that will stoop to anything to protect its own interests. I’m eagerly awaiting a fuller independent inquiry.

One parting shot. Let’s get one thing straight. A lot more people are killed at the hands of the police than by terrorists.

Between 1997 and 2002, the first five years of New Labour rule, a total of 328 people died as a result of police action. Of these deaths, almost half -158 - happened while the victim was in, or had just left, police custody.

Labour's first year in power saw 69 deaths, including 11 during or following police pursuits and 40 in or following police custody.


During the following year, the figure fell slightly to 67, of which four were in pursuits and 41 in custody. In 1999-2000, 70 people died, including 19 in pursuits and 30 in custody.

In 2001-02, 70 people died during or following police action: 31 of these deaths occurred in pursuits and 22 in police custody

In 2003 A record 104 people died while in police custody or in accidents involving police cars.

From 2005-06 118 died as a result of contact with the police.