Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Incandescent With Rage

I posted last month about the Stockwell shootings. In one of those two posts, I included the following sentences:

The caveat, is, of course, that the information we were given is true. There's already been a large amount of positive disinformation that has been given out regarding the terrorist incidents, starting from the immediate news of the bombings themselves.

Now, it seems, there is even more to add to our list of police lies. We know the explosions weren't caused by a power surge, as we were first told. We know that they were suicide bombers, despite police press conferences explicitly denying this. Although I suspect the two terror cells involved in bombing the Tube were linked, intimations that the bombs were made by the same bombmaker, from the same batch of explosives, are more questionable in the light of more recent information (especially relating to the specific design of the bombs). And now we know that almost everything that justified the shooting of a suspect was completely false.

Words can scarcely describe how incandescent with rage I am about this. I previously wrote "this is all grist to the mill of conspiracy theorists". Whilst I now hope that the police weren't just bloodthirsty, I cannot now be sure. The police concerned seem to have abandoned all thinking skills. As Edward at a Fistful of Euros said,

It is extremely important for the effective conduct of the UK anti terrorism policy that we all have the highest possible confidence in the veracity and efficacy of the police services.

No-one who follows the news can believe in the veracity and efficacy of the police services. Officers of the law have a very simple prescription for their job - to uphold the law. If they fail to do that, inquiries must be held and action must be taken. Of course, upholding the law is hardly a simple task; it requires in no small part help from the public. The public will only be conducive to giving this assistance if they have confidence in the law services themselves. When we are lied to on a systematic basis, something is badly wrong.

It is bad enough when the government chases headlines and cynically covers up the facts. At least we can vote them out come a general election. We have no such fortune with the police service - by and large, we are stuck with the structure. I am not advocating an elected police force, for this would only serve to make the desire to chase headlines and subvert the due process of law yet further. What is manifestly true, however, is that lying and covering up mistakes as part of a cynical self-interest operation means that the public cannot have confidence in the operation of the police service. What else are they covering up?

As things stand, the most certain way of dealing with the uncertainty of the London bombings is to listen to what the police say. And then assume the absolute opposite.