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Monday, January 30, 2006 

de Menezes: The 'complete and utter fuck-up' gets even more sinister.

Extraordinary allegations that Special Branch officers deliberately falsified vital evidence to hide mistakes which led to the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes at a south London Underground station were made last night.

According to claims in the News of the World, police altered the contents of a logbook, which detailed the Brazilian electrician's final movements, in a bid to cover up their blunders.

Specific words were understood to have been changed to cover up the fact that surveillance officers had wrongly identified Mr de Menezes as terror suspect Hussein Osman.

Alterations were hastily made to amend the wording of the official log once the shocking truth emerged that the dead man was not, in fact, the extremist wanted in connection with the failed 21 July Tube bombings.

This was in a bid to pass the blame for the shooting on to the firearms officers who actually shot the electrician and on to senior officers at Scotland Yard who were in charge of the operation.

These revelations are reportedly contained in the report of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

However, sources quoted by the News of the World allege that the IPCC report reveals that the log was altered from "it was Osman" to read instead "and it was not Osman".

The alteration should have been signed but was not. This was regarded as a clumsy error by the IPCC investigators. Their report says: "This looks like an attempt to try to distance Special Branch from the decision [to shoot de Menezes].

Bit by bit, the truth is coming out. With this leak, hopefully it won't be too long before the whole report is obtained by a newspaper so we can read its conclusions in full. This revelation however is damning: Special Branch wrongly identified de Menezes as the suspect they were meant to be monitoring, then an officer or officers changed the log once the mistake had been noticed. This still doesn't discount the theory that de Menezes was shot to show that the police were brutally cracking down, and to prove to the tabloids and to the government that they were doing something about the apparent security threat. Why else would they let a man they regarded as a suicide bomber get on a bus, then get off and get back on without apprehending him? Why did they let him enter a tube station when only the day before this man apparently tried to blow himself up on a tube train/bus? The whole operation was an absolute shambles. When they realised their horrible mistake, they either planted witnesses which lied to the media, or paid them off.

Which brings us, once again, to Sir Ian Blair. The above does somewhat clear him of being involved in what now appears to be a cover-up, and a source has told the Guardian that the IPCC does not believe there was a cover-up instigated from up high. That seems increasingly unlikely, as it appears it was the lower-level officers themselves that did, and didn't bother informing the Met's chief. The highest ranking officer involved could therefore be Cressida Dick, who was in charge of the whole operation. However, "Sir" Ian Blair is by no means out of the dock yet. His explanation, given to the Guardian, that the Met was "transfixed" on finding the four failed suicide bombers stopped them from correcting the lies told to the media is bullshit:

"Clearly the Met could have taken the decision on the Saturday when we recognised that we had killed an innocent man, we could have put the record straight," Sir Ian said in one of a series of interviews with the Guardian during his first year as commissioner. "In a terrible way, the Met was transfixed on other things. It was transfixed on: where are these bombers? And therefore, in a dreadful way, we did not see the significance of that."

Yet the Met was able to announce that it had made a terrible mistake on the Saturday. It would have obviously have known then that de Menezes neither had a bomb belt, nor was he wearing a heavy jacket. It can be excused knowing that it was an actually an officer jumping the barrier and not de Menezes, but for not correcting the first two mistakes at the same time is inexcusable, fixated on catching the suicide bombs suspects or not. It would have taken exactly a minute extra. When apologising for making a terrible mistake which cost a life and correcting misinformation which would have taken a minute extra is stopped by a fixation that other officers were handling, something is badly wrong.

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