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Tuesday, May 09, 2006 

de Menezes: Whistleblower goes public.

The IPCC worker who leaked the truth about the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes has gone public. Her story ties in with the line that the police have done everything in their power to intimidate and cover-up what actually happened on that day.

Lana Vandenberghe, who worked for the Independent Police Complaints Commission, said that ten officers broke down her front door in a dawn raid. She was placed in a cell without food or access to a lawyer for eight hours by bullying officers who told her that she would go to prison.

Despite the ordeal, Ms Vandenberghe, who lost her home, her job as an administration secretary and was treated for depression after being arrested, said that she would do it all again to expose the deliberate police “cover up”. Ms Vandenberghe, 44, leaked details from the IPCC inquiry into the fatal shooting of Mr de Menezes, 27, at Stockwell Tube station in South London on the day after the July 21 bombings. The information contradicted the Metropolitan Police’s initial version of events. It had said that the Brazilian had vaulted the station ticket barrier and run down an escalator to escape firearms officers who were following him. Officers said that he was wearing a bulky coat that could have concealed explosives. But evidence collated by Ms Vandenberghe for the IPCC revealed that he was wearing a light denim jacket and had walked calmly into the station, picked up a free newspaper and then walked down the escalator.

After he boarded a train, officers shot him seven times in the head.

Ms Vandenberghe said, in an interview to be broadcast on ITV News tonight, that she leaked the evidence in August to show that the police were “lying”.

and in that interview she said:

"He wasn't a terrorist at all, he was just a normal guy, wearing normal jeans and a jacket, going to work.

"And when I saw the videos, then I saw the state after he was shot, my heart ... I just thought, 'oh my God, this could be my daughter'."

"I knew from what I read and from what I learnt that it was a lie, and it appalled me that the police or the Met were not coming to light and saying we were wrong, this was a mistake."

It therefore seems likely that the IPCC had full CCTV footage of what happened - footage that initially seemed to be "lost".

Without Vandenberghe's leak, we may have only had the word of de Menezes's family against the police. The only thing the Met bothered to inform of us was that an innocent man had been shot. We still had the accounts of those such as Mark Whitby, who had said that de Menezes had been wearing a heavy coat, and the even more risible claim by one witness that he had seen a belt with wires coming from it, which was taken to be a suicide bomber's explosives belt. As of yet, we still don't have any indication of whether officers are going to be charged. The Sun a month or so ago seemed to have information that no officers were going to be charged, and seeing the Sun is the favourite paper of plods to both read and leak to, that may well be accurate.

What we have instead is a woman who lost her job for daring to leak what really happened, another ITN journalist who also had the same treatment meted out to her, and Brian Paddick likely to be retired for suggesting that those inside Ian Blair's office (not neccessarily Blair himself) had known that an innocent man had been killed. de Menezes himself has been accused of rape (later cleared), been accused of being in the country illegally and of acting suspiciously, meaning it was all his fault. Nothing to do with what one police officer described as a "complete and utter fuck-up", nothing to do with a media howling for police and government to take action, nothing to do with a policy which was put into operation with no parliamentary debate, based on an Israeli shoot-to-kill agreement which has far more checks and balances. All this just underlines how badly we need to be given the full IPCC report as soon as possible.

Related post: Police intimidated whistleblower.

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