The Terrorists Have Already Won

Well, no, they haven’t. But this is a fucking lame effort on the police’s part. A suggestion: policemen should stop worrying about trainspotters taking photos of them, and focus more on not shooting innocent people in the head (as the writer says, it’s lucky she wasn’t wearing a coat or carrying a rucksack…)

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Changing the narrative

Metropolitan police commissioner Ian Blair is almost as good at steering the media as his namesake used to be. His epic quote that the police are "racing against time" to catch the attempted terrorists from last week has successfully captured the media’s attention.

Never mind that those particular clowns have conclusively proved that they couldn’t blow up a balloon, let alone the Underground… the important thing is that it gets his own and his officers’ appalling lack of judgement in the shoot-to-kill case off the front pages. Which is his job, after all.

(side note: anyone who uses the phrase ‘shoot to kill to protect‘ in this context should be shot to be killed to protect me from an outbreak of nausea. It’s almost as bad as ‘homicide bomber’, as well as being factually inaccurate in the de Menezes example…)

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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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Pure, distilled evil

This is genuinely the most stupid, hateful article on terror that I’ve ever read. The writer, Michael Ledeen, has even managed to treat Tony Blair unfairly badly (a challenge at the best of times).

To start with, Mr Ledeen lies that London is the centre of a "vast terrorist network". No, it isn’t: we have some silly religous people here who make silly speeches. None are linked to Islamist terrorism. If they were, they’d be in jail. They aren’t in jail, because there isn’t any evidence that they’re terrorists. This is called ‘the rule of law’.

He then goes on to suggest that the British hate the Jews, and that this is evidenced by the fact that the British press has the American Enterprise Institute (which is renowned for its embrace of useless hacks more than its religious values…) and assorted prominent neoconservatives. He then claims we also hate the Iraqis, because they’re a bit like the Jews (yes, this step makes literally no sense).

This man, and those who think like him, are at least as insane and poisonous as Hizb ut-Tahrir. Probably worse, since the latter are a niche bunch of loonies with fuck all chance of ever affecting anything. However, Mr Ledeen, Daniel Pipes and the rest of the Muslim-hating Europe-hating American right actually seem to have some kind of real-world political influence…

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Irony, nostalgia and patriotism

I wasn’t particularly impressed with the Spectator cover article on how The Left are ashamed of everything Britain stands for, and that this is destroying British culture.

Third Avenue hits on its most important flaw with surgical precision: its writer doesn’t actually like anything about Britain. He likes things about how Britain was (or ‘is now imagined to have been’) in The Mythical Golden Age.

It’s odd that many of loudest lamenters of British people’s lack of pride in their culture also oppose the things (pop culture leadership, universal irreverence, successful multiculturalism, brutal and usually honest media, knowledge-based economy, for starters) that are actually good about Britain today…

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Decent left update

This blog is no longer linked by Decent Left rallying point Harry’s Place, presumably because they consider it to be Objectively Pro Fascist (it’s fascist to oppose extra-judicial executions and preemptive war these days. Didn’t you get the memo?). Instead, they now link to USS Neverdock, which consists exclusively of race hate propaganda and outright lies.

Fair enough. If my position on every major political issue had become clearly and completely indefensible, I’d probably start enlisting those few demented extremists who still supported my cause too…

Update: some of the above may be a little unfair: HP has come out firmly against extra-judicial executions.

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Brazil, world centre of terrorism

Main take-home from the weekend’s revelations: if you give the police carte blanche to shoot people on suspicion, then innocent people will get shot by the police.

This isn’t the fault of individual policemen, relatively few of whom are particularly bad people; it’s just what happens when you allow inexperienced individuals to make life-or-death judgements on the basis of not-a-lot. At war against another army, you can safely make everyone adopt a ‘shoot the enemy unless they’re clearly surrendering’ rule. Peacekeeping in a warzone is more judgement-based, which is why US troops keep wiping out innocent Iraqi families.

Oddly enough, I don’t want the police in the city where I live to behave like US soldiers in Iraq. I want the police to be told that they bloody well shouldn’t shoot anyone unless they have the go-ahead from senior officers, and I don’t want this to be forthcoming unless the whole operation is backed by real intelligence (by which I don’t mean ‘someone we think is dodgy lives in the same block of flats, and the chap you’re targeting looks like he might be an Arab’). Any policeman who’s thinking of shooting people should be fully uniformed, and should make his police status known before he starts brandishing firearms.

And anyone who automatically assumes the authorities are Acting In Good Faith and/or Doing The Right Thing should probably question their judgement right about now.

Relatedly, Tim Hames is a good man, and Ken Livingstone is disappointingly not. And trying to shoot the poor bugger who was driving the train seems, err, mentalist. Oh, and Lord Stevens is still a cunt.

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Wish me luck

I’m about to carry a rucksack from Finsbury Park to King’s Cross on the Tube. Assuming the SAS don’t shoot me, I’ll then go to Scotland for the weekend to watch people burning a wicker man. Have fun without me…

Update: my apologies to the SAS. It is, of course, the Metropolitan Police who shoot innocent rucksack-wearers.

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A statement from the Metropolitan Police

"We’ve got big guns, and we like to shoot people. It was rubbish when the government made peace with the IRA, because afterwards we got into trouble if we shot suspicious-looking chaps.

"But thanks to Tony Blair and his War on Terror, we can now shoot suspicious-looking chaps all over again. We just have to bear in mind that ‘suspicious’ now means Muslim-looking rather than Irish-looking."

The BBC has this quote on the same incident: "One of [the policemen] was carrying a black handgun – it looked like an automatic – they pushed [the suspect] to the floor, bundled on top of him and unloaded five shots into him". If true, that doesn’t sound entirely like reasonable force.

Oh, and obviously the police ought to shoot people if they reasonably believe that the alternative is that they’ll blow themselves up. I hope that when the facts of this case become clearer, they’ll show that this is what happened.

Update: sadly, no.

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