YESTERDAY, Lord Stevens, the ex-Metropolitan Police commissioner, urged that there should be no change in the policy of the state, after a completely innocent unarmed Brazilian, Jean Charles Menezes, was shot to death, murdered by a gang of police killers at Stockwell Tube last Friday.
Lord Stevens claims to have brought in the ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy against ‘suspected’ suicide bombers, and insisted that the principle was right despite the chance ‘tragically of error’.
In fact, ‘shoot to kill’ is a long-standing policy of the British state, much used in the north of Ireland by RUC shoot-to-kill squads, and also by state-organised loyalist death squads, who had lists of those to be murdered handed to them by British agents.
The tactic has also been used outside the jurisdiction of the UK by the British capitalist state. In the late 1980s three unarmed IRA volunteers were executed with shots to the head by British state gunmen in Gibraltar.
Now the death squads, trained to kill a suspect by destroying his or her brain ‘instantly’, with a series of shots to the head, are being let loose on the streets of Britain.
Two things are for sure. The perpetrators of the murder of Jean Menezes will not be punished – the death squads will have immunity from prosecution – and the policy, which has served British imperialism well throughout its history, will not be changed.
In fact, those who drew up the policy, knew in advance that if you give the police the right to shoot suspects, then people who have been wrongly suspected will be executed by police officers carrying out the orders of the state.
The reason for such a murderous policy is that the ruling class is determined to carry on with its imperialist wars to seize control of the vital strategic oil and gas-bearing regions of Arabia and central Asia.
It recognises that there will be a reaction by those who are opposed to these areas being looted, and that some of it will take the form of terrorist attacks.
The perpetrators of British foreign and home policy, the Prime Minister and the Police commissioners, do not use the tube or the buses.
They consider that it is the duty of the London workers to take their chances of being bombed on the tube or the buses or shot to death by the police, for the good of the British capitalists and bankers.
In the meantime, they are taking the opportunity that the terrorist attacks give them to bring in legislation to abolish democratic freedoms and rights and to try to get the public used to seeing state gunmen on the streets, establishing that the state has the right to kill innocents for the benefit of the bosses.
In fact, the British ruling class is only too conscious of the fact that its main enemy is the working class at home, and that it now has to, because of the world capitalist crisis, aim body blows at the British working class.
Millions of jobs are being exported, education and the health service are being privatised, final salary pensions are being abolished – except for the rich and powerful, and their state and judicial officials, the judges and police chiefs – while the housing market is heading for a crash that will ruin a middle class which is already up to its neck in over £1 trillion in domestic debt.
In this critical situation, both at home and abroad, the state needs to demonstrate its power, its ruthlessness, and its intention to crush all those who oppose it.
The introduction of death squads onto the streets is not just to kill terrorist suspects but also to try to cow the entire population, by showing it that its lives are expendable.
The News Line demands that the trade unions take action to secure the immediate disbandment of the armed police gangs, and that they change British foreign and home policy by bringing down the Blair government.
Only the bringing down of the Blair government and its replacement by a workers’ government that will withdraw all troops from Iraq and smash the British capitalist state can bring peace, end terrorism and create the conditions for advancing to socialism.