Wednesday, 14 February 2007

" A failure of intelligence".

30 armed police officers, with another 220 in reserve, raid two family homes in Forest Gate, East London at 4am. One man is shot, two held on suspicion of terrorist offences and later released without any charge. Eight months later, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has told the Metropolitan Police to apologise. It also described the whole affair as:" A failure of intelligence".

I should say so. Hopefully this is a euphemism for "plain fucking stupid". But I suspect that they mean to imply that the information on which the raid was based was questionable. A bit like the 'intelligence" that led to the fatal shooting of Brazilian electrician Charles de Menzes. Still on the bright side maybe lessons were learnt from this and the police are getting better; at least this time they got a Muslim bloke - one with a funny beard and everything.

Let's face it the police force is not exactly full of Inspector Morse types. I suspect that very few will have read Malatesta's theoretical writings on terrorism or 'propaganda by deed'. He describes how a small group can build mass support amongst an aggrieved population by provoking state forces into over-reacting to random acts with disproportionate repression. It's a tactic that's been very successfully employed by the IRA, the Viet Cong, etc etc...

Actually though, to be a bit smarter, the police don't need to study political science - they could just try reducing their levels of testosterone a bit.

I live in a part of London still best known to most people for anti-police riots over twenty years ago. 50% of the borough's population come from ethnic minorities as opposed to 4% of the police. And every time there is an incident seemingly however minor, be it shoplifting from a newsagent's or a scuffle in a pub, there appears to be a police all-out call that results in never less than a couple of patrol cars and a riot van. It's the same operational culture that requires 250 officers to raid two family homes.

Visitors from out of town comment how we take no notice of the constant wailing of emergency sirens. Add to this the ethnic imbalance between police and community, and you come away with the impression that we are living in a battle zone, or more precisely a colonial occupation.

Thatcher spoke about denying terrorists the 'oxygen of publicity' by refusing to broadcast the voices of Sinn Fein spokesmen. Actually the 'oxygen' that will breed support for terrorism, amongst young British Muslims is the stupidity and insensitivity of the police. And more 'failed intelligence'.

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