The politicians are setting the scene for more "legalised" murder and internment

13 November 2007

There seems to be a consensus between the Labour and Tory parties that no heads should roll over the killing of Jean Charles De Menezes in July 2005. As if it was right for any public organisation, whatever the circumstances, to shoot people. But we are told that the fight against terrorism justifies anything and everything these days.

For instance, now Brown would like the police to keep "terror suspects" in detention without charge for up to 56 days. The existing 28-day limit on holding people is already so much longer than any other "comparable democracy" that it actually bears no comparison! For instance, even in the USA, police cannot hold suspects for more than 48 hours without charging them; in Spain it is 5 days, and in Turkey it is 7 and a half...

After justifying the shooting to death of an unidentified "terror suspect", ministers now seem to have no qualms whatsoever about justifying a sentence of up to 8 weeks of solitary confinement, without access to normal legal protection, for anyone who is alleged (by anyone else) to be a "terrorist" or have links with "terrorism".

So to all intents and purposes, the word "terrorism" has become a pretext to give the police every kind of power and a pretext to deprive their "targets" (it could be any of us) of all rights.

The case of Jean Charles De Menezes is particularly significant, because it shows how far the top spheres of the state will to go, to protect their actions from the control of the population.

The fact is, that the Met Commissioner, Ian Blair, lied to all and sundry after the shooting, claiming that De Menezes was a terrorist. The fact is, that he conspired with the Labour government to stop a public enquiry. And the fact is, that the justice system endorsed this conspiracy, by refusing to blame anyone for the murder of Jean Charles, which is why his family ended up having to go through a ridiculous health and safety trial against the police.

Of course, none of this should come as too much of a surprise: the role of the police has never been to protect the lives of ordinary working people, like Jean Charles De Menezes. Its role is to protect the social interests of the capitalist class against the rest of us. This is why the politicians are so frantically trying to shield Ian Blair and the police force from scrutiny and control, and worse, to extend their blank cheque of shoot-to-kill and imprisonment without charge.