Open letter to apologists

To everyone who implied that Jean Charles de Menezes –

a) deserved to be shot because he was an illegal immigrant; or

b) ran away from the police because he was an illegal immigrant.

He wasn’t an illegal immigrant. But it’s nice to see people’s true colours emerging when they slander the dead based on no evidence…

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23 thoughts on “Open letter to apologists

  1. Just to clarify, while it’s undoubtedly true that he wasn’t an illegal immigrant (and therefore equally true that anyone who uses this case as an excuse to bang on about immigration is a festering pusbag), the jury is still out on whether or not the visa that allowed de Menezes to enter Britain legally was still valid.

    As of now, the security services say it had, his family say it hadn’t, and Jack Straw says he doesn’t know. This is not what I’d call conclusive.

  2. (Sorry, I rewrote the first paragraph without checking the second – by "had/hadn’t" I was referring to the visa having expired)

  3. In the interests of accuracy, rather than as an attempt to justify summary executions, if he were on an expired student visa, as ‘security sources’ have claimed, and he was working (i.e. not studying), surely he became an illegal immigrant?

  4. The post was actually based on Jack Straw’s "understanding that he was here lawfully". I’d accept that if his visa had expired, then he should be counted as an illegal immigrant – but if this were the case, why would Straw suggest he was here legally?

  5. No idea. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say that it’s like the sudden outbreak of must-be-seen-to-have-up-to-date-information syndrome that we’ve seen recently, particularly from the Met Police, which tends to lead to all kinds of wild rumours.

    Or, to put it another way, it’s no worse than Ian Blair claiming that de Menezes was directly linked to the bombers when the first reports of a shooting were coming in.

  6. That’s right, although it appears police sources were. From the S.Times (admittedly not the most trustworthy of news sources).

    "Within hours of the shooting, however, senior officers were saying they were “very confident” the man had been one of the four bombers who attempted to set off explosives in London on Thursday. Then, as it emerged that the Brazilian was not one of the four, officers suggested he was still linked to the bombings."

  7. It’s entirely possible that he was here legally with an expired visa. He may have applied for an extension/renewal/different visa, in which case it’s legal to continue in the country doing what you were doing until the Home Office gets around to processing your application (which can take aaages).

    It’s also legal to work (up to 20 hours/week) on a student visa.

    I’m still waiting on my new visa, which I applied for last September, although my current visa hasn’t expired yet.

  8. Quick – someone call immigration. We’ve got a live one.

    No, he seems OK for now – but as soon as it expires, we’ll have to send in the execution squads. Or have I misinterpreted current policy?

  9. Menezes made too many mistakes in the wrong place at the wrong time. Jumping a turnstile fleeing police? In NYC, at the very least, you’d be arrested for that alone, as a consequence of the Giuliani era. Menezes then jumped on a carriage with …[SURPRISE!!]….PASSENGERS.

    Someone said: ideas have consequences. The many ideas that Menezes had were all wrong, and he paid the penalty. Tears shed: none.

    Next case.

  10. In the UK, fleeing the police != being shot. I know the USA has different standards; this is one of the reasons why I choose not to live there.

  11. I think he ran away because he is Brazilian. Their police have a reputation for shooting first and asking questions later.

    To be fair I think at least some of those claiming he ran because he was illegal are simply trying to understand why he did.

  12. "The many ideas that Menezes had were all wrong, and he paid the penalty."

    Yeah, all those stupid ideas like "hmm, it’s not that warm this morning, I think I’ll wear a coat" and "it’s a bit of a walk to fix this fire alarm. I’ll catch a bus to Stockwell and get a tube." If I’d known those ideas he was having, I’d have got the train down and shot him myself!

  13. Considering how many Brazilians live in Stockwell (for those who don’t know the area, it is packed with Portuguese and Brazilians), I’m surprised it doesn’t seem to have entered the police’s heads that this chap might just possibly have been Brazilian and not an Arab/Pakistani/anti-globalistion protestor.

  14. To all those who are adament that these officers should be thrown to the wolves, I have a question that you need to think about.

    You’re one of the officers chasing this man into a Tube station, where you apprehend him on a platform. You do not know that he is not carrying a bomb – all you have to go on is his behaviour. Furthermore, you are well aware that any actions you take to find out whether he IS carrying a bomb could give him ample opportunity to detonate any such bomb. Don’t answer, ‘well we would have found out later that he was Brazilian’, because you don’t know that.

    Under the circumstances, you might very well be endangering members of the public by doing anything other than what these officers did. Now if you maintain that you would rather ‘find out first’ (how?), or use non-lethal force (such as may be mandated by the Home Office – so this question is not purely academic), that might allow real bombers in the future a shot at blowing up people around them, then I can only conclude that the lives of members of the public does not enter into the equation for you. Which is, frankly, fucking irresponsible.

    So think about the possible consequences that might result from meeting your demands to penalize and discourage action taken to protect people from suicide bombers, eh?

  15. To all those who are adament that these officers should be thrown to the wolves, I have a question that you need to think about.

    "All those" implies more than one – but I’m having trouble coming up with just one, either in this thread or elsewhere.

    On the contrary, it seems to me that even those who are critical of what the police did last Friday have bent over backwards to stress that they don’t think they should be disciplined over this particular case. Criticised, yes – how could any sane person argue otherwise? – but disciplined, no.

  16. I would withhold opinion as to whether the police officers should be disciplined until the results of the inquiry are out. If it turns out that the police had clear rules of engagement telling them how to identify themselves as armed police officers in these cases, and if they failed to follow those rules (both of which propositions I currently regard as indeterminate for lack of evidence) then they would be culpable.

  17. "All those" implies more than one

    Not at all. In my opinion The Happy Rampager’s comment was an honest attempt to communicate with no-one at all.

  18. News just in: de Menezes’ visa expired over two years ago. He also may have had a forged stamp in his passport.

    So it’s beginning to look as though he really was an illegal immigrant (at least to all practical intents and purposes) – which at least explains his behaviour when challenged by police.

    (Obviously, it doesn’t excuse tossers saying "well, he was immigrant scum so it’s a good thing he’s dead", but then again nothing would do that).

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