Judge Dredd has a Typewriter
21st November 2015
The civil war being waged in the Labour Party this week looks like the carnage of a Hieronymus Bosch painting. The abuse Corbyn is taking as the Blair Toddlers throw the dummy out the pram is astonishing. Those who have spent the week mewing about the need for a Shoot to Kill policy and berating him for not wanting to invade Syria, have been emboldened by the cascade of stupidity spewing out of the right-wing commentariat. From our local STV scribe advocating torture, to Iain Martin, John Rentoul and a gang more. The race to pronounce has been relentlessly macho and astonishingly forgetful. The rush to suggest ever wilder responses suggests a rootless media class, with pundits tumbling over themselves to prove their wild-eyed bravery. These are dangerous times where the failure of the corporate media become painfully obvious.
This isn’t a petty new media v old media debate. In desperate times some leadership is required. As political discourse becomes unhinged and people fearful, commentators have a responsibility. As Gary Younge points out (‘Shoot-to-kill won’t make us safe from terror – just sorry’): “Fascism is once again a mainstream ideology in Europe, and Muslims are among its principal targets”.
A media with better recall would reflect on the awful brutality of Jean Charles de Menezes state murder, the keystone cops futility of Harry Stanley’s death and the entire lesson of the John Stalker Affair. For those who are tempted to imbibe such drivel as Daisley & co pump out, here’s a quick reminder of Britain’s dreadful record.
As Gabrielle Cox wrote in 1988:
“John Stalker had been Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police for only two months when he was asked to conduct an investigation into matters arising out of three incidents in Northern Ireland, where Royal Ulster Constabulary officers had shot and killed six men, five of whom were undoubtedly unarmed. The incidents, happening as they did within the space of a month, led to widespread concern that the RUC was operating a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy. In two of the cases police officers were charged with murder, though in one case Sir John Hermon, Chief Constable of the RUC, had personally thrown out the recommendation of the investigating officer that a murder charge should be brought. It was pressure from Sir Barry Shaw, Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland, which brought the cases to court. In the course of the two murder trials and the trial of a survivor of the third incident, it emerged that in each case the police officers involved had been instructed by senior officers to conceal the true nature of the operations on which they had been engaged. They were given cover stories which made it look as if they were on routine patrols when in fact they were all on special operations mounted as a result of tip-offs by two informers. These stories were apparently intended to protect the informers, whose lives were deemed to be at risk. All the police officers charged with murder were acquitted.”
John Stalker was ordered to investigate the circumstances surrounding the cover stories and the way in which the CID had conducted their investigations; and to look into the way in which RUC officers had crossed the border into the Republic. His findings took him to the heart of the British State. He was sacked and smeared for seeking the truth. When it was established that a tape had been made of one of the shootings, via a bugging device, the Chief Constable began a long-winded, devious attempt to prevent John Stalker hearing the tape.
Britain had a shoot-to-kill policy for years. It was a disaster they were so ashamed of they had to smear one of their own top policemen.
Neither is the conduct of the armed police force something to be proud of. Watch the award-winning film The Strange Death of Harry Stanley for an overview of this tragedy below and read his Inquest Report here (PDF):
For those castigating Jeremy Corbyn for not embracing their reactionary knee-jerk solutions for want of exercising a bloodlust: a war that could engage Russia, a policing policy that’s proven disastrous, and a foreign policy built on rubble and dead civilians, they should think again.The moral sewer that is the Westminster polity is not the right place for sanctifying extra judicial killings. The crisis of the terrorist threat is multi-layered and complex. It deserves a better response than the macho posturing of a few Judge Dredd with typewriters and a Labour Old Guard with a generational failure of imagination.