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The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes: Use of Force and Counter-Terrorism Policy. Professor P.A.J. Waddington The University of Reading England. Jean Charles de Menezes. 22 July Jean Charles de Menezes was shot by London police Stockwell Underground station Mistaken for a terrorist

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the shooting of jean charles de menezes use of force and counter terrorism policy

The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes: Use of Force and Counter-Terrorism Policy

Professor P.A.J. Waddington

The University of Reading

England

jean charles de menezes
Jean Charles de Menezes
  • 22 July Jean Charles de Menezes was shot by London police
  • Stockwell Underground station
  • Mistaken for a terrorist
  • Multiple shots to the head
  • Tragedy
jean charles de menezes1
Jean Charles de Menezes
  • This presentation: publicly available information only
  • Official investigation remains confidential
  • No ‘private’ sources
  • Policy issues and implications
context
Context
  • 7 July: suicide bombers—3 trains and one bus bombed in central London—56 dead
  • 21 July: unexploded bombs found on trains and a bus
  • Thwarted attacks awaiting prosecution
  • Jihadist threat:
    • 9/11 (1993 attack)
    • Bali, Casablanca, Madrid, Istanbul
    • Strasburg, Singapore
jihadist threat and the war against terrorism
Jihadist threat and the‘war against terrorism’?
  • 9/11, et al: crimes or war?
  • Not crime:
    • Dedicated, determined, self–sacrificing
    • Motivated by ideals
    • Utterly ruthless
  • Not war:
    • Representing no nation state
    • Signatories to no international treaties
    • No negotiating parties for making peace
irregular war
Irregular war
  • 1st principle of war: attack opponent at weakest point
  • Democratic West invincible on battlefield
  • Weakness of secular liberalism:
    • Individualism: anonymity, freedom of movement—camouflage
    • Rights: surveillance, detention, force
    • Scepticism of the state
intelligence
Intelligence
  • ‘Intelligence’: euphemism for poor information
  • Terrorists strive to remain anonymous
    • ‘Joining up the dots’
    • ‘Needle in a haystack’: problem is the haystack–information overload/joining dots
    • False positives
    • Real time decision–making
22 july intelligence failure
22 July: Intelligence failure
  • Address connected to unexploded bombs
  • Surveillance
  • Poor photograph of bomber, Osman
  • Possible sighting
  • Confirmation on the move
22 july command failure
22 July: command failure?
  • Myth of panoptical command
  • Commanders inevitably operate ‘blind’
  • Inevitably poor information
    • Unstructured
    • Fluid
    • Incomplete
22 july organisational failure
22 July: organisational failure?
  • Surveillance officers not armed
  • Armed officers rendezvous
  • Different radio frequencies
22 july excessive force
22 July: excessive force?
  • ‘Kratos’: overrides presumption of surrender
  • Arrest criminal
  • Ambush combatants
  • Loughgall
  • Suicide bombers detonate explosive
22 july excessive force1
22 July: excessive force?
  • Non-survivable injury: ‘Suniland’ and the ‘empty gun’
  • ‘Catastrophic headshot’: routine option
  • Prevent ‘reaction shot’ = severing brainstem
  • Low velocity weapons
  • Killing is not enough
  • Attack at weakest point: force the state into threateningly forceful response
getting it right
Getting it right
  • Terrorists attack at weakest point: allow their opponent only one successful option
    • Kill armed terrorist in flagrante
  • Other options:
    • Fail to prevent suspected terrorist attack
    • Kill an innocent person
legitimacy
Legitimacy
  • Tilly: state legitimacy is founded on
    • Capacity
    • Trust
  • Capacity to protect homeland from attack, cf. RAF attacks on German cities in 1940
  • Trust that coercive power will not be used against citizens, e.g. safeguards of criminal justice

Terrorism strikes at both

terrorist threat to legitimacy
Terrorist threat to legitimacy
  • Get it wrong:
    • Demonstrate lack of capacity
      • Public criticism of
        • Design of twin towers
        • Readiness/equipment of fire/police departments
        • ‘Intelligence failures’
    • Undermine trust
      • Police brutal
      • Out of control
      • ‘Shoot to kill’, ‘execution’, etc

Attack opponent at weakest point

accidents happen
Accidents happen
  • > 2000 people die annually in NHS hospitals from ‘medical accidents’
  • 30% of those who die in ITU are misdiagnosed in A&E
  • 50% of misdiagnosed could have been saved with correct diagnosis

‘Risk society’: aversion to error

democracy
Democracy
  • Terrorism undermines legitimacy by proxy
  • Anger of victims
  • Campaigners/sympathisers
  • Media
  • Official investigation/revelation

Attack at weakest point

extend capacity engender trust
Extend capacityEngender trust
  • ‘State of Terrorist Emergency’
  • International ratification
  • Legitimate reduction in liberties as proportionate
irremediable intolerance of error
Irremediable intolerance of error
  • ‘Collateral damage’
  • Sacrificing innocent lives
  • War is always barbarous
  • Living with barbarity is illiberal

Attack at weakest point