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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.

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Presentation on theme: "The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes: Use of Force and Counter-Terrorism Policy Professor P.A.J. Waddington The University of Reading England."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes: Use of Force and Counter-Terrorism Policy Professor P.A.J. Waddington The University of Reading England

2 Jean Charles de Menezes 22 July Jean Charles de Menezes was shot by London police22 July Jean Charles de Menezes was shot by London police Stockwell Underground stationStockwell Underground station Mistaken for a terroristMistaken for a terrorist Multiple shots to the headMultiple shots to the head TragedyTragedy

3 Jean Charles de Menezes This presentation: publicly available information onlyThis presentation: publicly available information only Official investigation remains confidentialOfficial investigation remains confidential No ‘private’ sourcesNo ‘private’ sources Policy issues and implicationsPolicy issues and implications

4 Context 7 July: suicide bombers—3 trains and one bus bombed in central London—56 dead7 July: suicide bombers—3 trains and one bus bombed in central London—56 dead 21 July: unexploded bombs found on trains and a bus21 July: unexploded bombs found on trains and a bus Thwarted attacks awaiting prosecutionThwarted attacks awaiting prosecution Jihadist threat:Jihadist threat: –9/11 (1993 attack) –Bali, Casablanca, Madrid, Istanbul –Strasburg, Singapore

5 Jihadist threat and the ‘war against terrorism’? 9/11, et al: crimes or war?9/11, et al: crimes or war? Not crime:Not crime: –Dedicated, determined, self–sacrificing –Motivated by ideals –Utterly ruthless Not war:Not war: –Representing no nation state –Signatories to no international treaties –No negotiating parties for making peace

6 Irregular war 1 st principle of war: attack opponent at weakest point1 st principle of war: attack opponent at weakest point Democratic West invincible on battlefieldDemocratic West invincible on battlefield Weakness of secular liberalism:Weakness of secular liberalism: –Individualism: anonymity, freedom of movement—camouflage –Rights: surveillance, detention, force –Scepticism of the state

7 Intelligence ‘Intelligence’: euphemism for poor information‘Intelligence’: euphemism for poor information Terrorists strive to remain anonymousTerrorists 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

8 22 July: Intelligence failure Address connected to unexploded bombsAddress connected to unexploded bombs SurveillanceSurveillance Poor photograph of bomber, OsmanPoor photograph of bomber, Osman Possible sightingPossible sighting Confirmation on the moveConfirmation on the move

9 22 July: command failure? Myth of panoptical commandMyth of panoptical command Commanders inevitably operate ‘blind’Commanders inevitably operate ‘blind’ Inevitably poor informationInevitably poor information –Unstructured –Fluid –Incomplete

10 22 July: organisational failure? Surveillance officers not armedSurveillance officers not armed Armed officers rendezvousArmed officers rendezvous Different radio frequenciesDifferent radio frequencies

11 22 July: excessive force? ‘Kratos’: overrides presumption of surrender‘Kratos’: overrides presumption of surrender Arrest criminalArrest criminal Ambush combatantsAmbush combatants LoughgallLoughgall Suicide bombers detonate explosiveSuicide bombers detonate explosive

12 22 July: excessive force? Non-survivable injury: ‘Suniland’ and the ‘empty gun’Non-survivable injury: ‘Suniland’ and the ‘empty gun’ ‘Catastrophic headshot’: routine option‘Catastrophic headshot’: routine option Prevent ‘reaction shot’ = severing brainstemPrevent ‘reaction shot’ = severing brainstem Low velocity weaponsLow velocity weapons Killing is not enoughKilling is not enough Attack at weakest point: force the state into threateningly forceful responseAttack at weakest point: force the state into threateningly forceful response

13 Getting it right Terrorists attack at weakest point: allow their opponent only one successful optionTerrorists attack at weakest point: allow their opponent only one successful option –Kill armed terrorist in flagrante Other options:Other options: –Fail to prevent suspected terrorist attack –Kill an innocent person

14 Legitimacy Tilly: state legitimacy is founded onTilly: state legitimacy is founded on –Capacity –Trust Capacity to protect homeland from attack, cf. RAF attacks on German cities in 1940Capacity 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 justiceTrust that coercive power will not be used against citizens, e.g. safeguards of criminal justice Terrorism strikes at both

15 Terrorist threat to legitimacy Get it wrong:Get it wrong: –Demonstrate lack of capacity Public criticism ofPublic criticism of –Design of twin towers –Readiness/equipment of fire/police departments –‘Intelligence failures’ –Undermine trust Police brutalPolice brutal Out of controlOut of control ‘Shoot to kill’, ‘execution’, etc‘Shoot to kill’, ‘execution’, etc Attack opponent at weakest point

16 Accidents happen > 2000 people die annually in NHS hospitals from ‘medical accidents’> 2000 people die annually in NHS hospitals from ‘medical accidents’ 30% of those who die in ITU are misdiagnosed in A&E30% of those who die in ITU are misdiagnosed in A&E 50% of misdiagnosed could have been saved with correct diagnosis50% of misdiagnosed could have been saved with correct diagnosis ‘Risk society’: aversion to error

17 Democracy Terrorism undermines legitimacy by proxyTerrorism undermines legitimacy by proxy Anger of victimsAnger of victims Campaigners/sympathisersCampaigners/sympathisers MediaMedia Official investigation/revelationOfficial investigation/revelation Attack at weakest point

18 Extend capacity Engender trust ‘ State of Terrorist Emergency’‘ State of Terrorist Emergency’ International ratificationInternational ratification Legitimate reduction in liberties as proportionateLegitimate reduction in liberties as proportionate

19 Irremediable intolerance of error Collateral damage’‘Collateral damage’ Sacrificing innocent livesSacrificing innocent lives War is always barbarousWar is always barbarous Living with barbarity is illiberalLiving with barbarity is illiberal Attack at weakest point


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