"the best post on the subject [of the Stockwell shooting] so far and I agree. A must read." - Tim Worstall, August 21, 2005

"Chris at Optimus In Omnis wrote a thoughtful post in July...his more recent post describes the edginess many Londoners feel" - BBC News Online, August 22, 2005

Monday, August 22, 2005

Clutching at the flag of a nation that killed her son

With £1.20 in his pocket, on his way to help a friend fix a lightbulb, Jean Charles de Menezes was shot down by armed officers on July 22. The furore which has erupted following the shooting of an innocent man is possibly even more shocking than the cold execution itself.

The harrowing footage of Maria de Menezes, clutching at a Union Jack while trying to stave off tears, shown tonight on ITV News, will forever be imprinted in the minds of anyone who viewed it. In this age of orbiting satellites, where 30-second flashes of video can be sent worldwide in an instant, this is the picture that will define a generation - will define a change in the mentality of a nation, and, more importantly, will define the future of the de Menezes family.

That very same Union Jack that Maria de Menezes held to tightly onto was paid for out of the pocket of a man scrimping enough money to return to his homeland so that he could provide for his family. To lose a son is a bad enough experience; to lose a son to a catastrophic mistake which was only the beginning of a farcical cover-up by the British police state is yet more disturbing.

Metropolitan Police officals are adamant that there was no CCTV footage to try and acertain exactly what happened, and to confirm the witness reports leaked last week. London Underground workers beg to differ.

Quite who is telling the truth is not obvious, but one thing is for sure: this is the absolute last thing that is needed for a police force who have lied to a nation, have been accused of a cover-up in an attempt to downplay their blunders, and have confirmed that they have offered anywhere from £15,000 to £50,000 in what the de Menezes family called "blood money."

It would be a godsend for Sir Ian Blair if the CCTV footage does exist, not because it will put his officers in the clear, but because it will provide definitive information about the events of July 22. For Maria de Menezes, it would provide one last view of her son, before he was so brutally killed.

Two Brazilian investigators arrived at Heathrow today to launch their own inquiry. One can only hope they don't fall into the same traps our investigators have.

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