The cost of telling the truth

In the aftermath of the murder, a cascade of misinformation and lies from the very top down. From Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair to the trigger-happy plain-clothes shooters identified only as "carrying a long-barrelled weapon", the actions that day have been exposed as a cover-up of the events that resulted in the extra-judicial execution of an innocent man.

The cost of telling the truth

Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

16 May 2006, 20:39 #1

From Media Guardian because this stuff shouldn't be hidden away behind paid for subscriptions.
The cost of telling the truth

Police arrested ITV News producer Neil Garrett after he secured the
sensational leak from the Stockwell shooting inquiry. Cleared earlier
this month, he tells the full story


Monday May 15, 2006
The Guardian

I'm sitting in an interview room in a police station somewhere in
central London. A detective from Leicestershire constabulary's serious
crime unit is handing me pieces of paper. "Have you ever seen these
before?" he asks. "Has anyone ever passed them to you? Have you ever
passed them on to anyone else?" The pieces of paper are copies of
witness and police statements that formed the basis of the ITV News
investigation into the Stockwell shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes.
Of course I've seen them before - I was the producer on the story. The
detective knows I've seen them before, and he knows that I know that
he knows I've seen them before. But, as I have done countless times
that day, I reply in a flat monotone "no comment". The detective
sighs, reaches for another statement and the process continues.

It is October 5 last year, possibly around 7pm - it's hard to tell
without a watch. Earlier, at around 1pm, the police turned up at my
house to arrest me. I was involved in an ITV News investigation
exposing a series of police blunders leading to the shooting on July
22 2005 - the day after the failed London bombings.

Everyone was shocked when news first broke that a suspected terrorist
had been shot on the London underground. Reports claimed he was acting
suspiciously and wearing a bulky jacket. The public was led to believe
he jumped over the ticket barrier at Stockwell tube station and
charged down the escalator in what appeared to be another terrorist
act. Witnesses seemed sure of what they'd seen.

Some reports speculated that perhaps plain clothes police had tried to
stop him and that the Brazilian had panicked and run away - it later
transpired that he had overstayed his visa.

But only a week later it emerged that the truth was far more
disturbing. My girlfriend, Louise, was at a barbecue with a friend who
worked at the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Knowing that I
was a producer for ITV News, the friend, Lana Vandenberghe, told
Louise she had some information about what really happened the day
Jean Charles was shot.

Under surveillance

It took another two weeks to get the full picture - and when the ITV
evening news on August 16 revealed the catastrophic failure of the
surveillance operation it caused an absolute storm.

Police statements and witness accounts - all part of an internal IPCC
investigation into the shooting - proved that Jean Charles was
completely innocent. He had been mistaken for someone else as he left
the block of flats under surveillance that morning. He wore a light
denim jacket and was walking at a normal pace - he even picked up a
Metro newspaper - as he walked into Stockwell station. He used a
ticket to get through the barriers and was clearly unaware he was
being followed. He had already taken a seat on the train when police
officers stormed the carriage, wrestled him to the ground and shot him
eight times.

The story quickly travelled around the world and ITV News was
inundated with calls from newspapers and TV stations wanting to find
out more. It made the front page of almost every British newspaper the
next day.

For me personally, working on a story such as this represented
everything journalism should be about: righting wrongs, exposing lies,
standing up for someone who couldn't speak for himself.

But despite our efforts to protect the source and keep her identity
hidden, it quickly gained currency in the media that the leak had come
from within the IPCC.

Two days later, Lana was suspended. Within a week, her landlady - a
colleague at the IPCC - evicted her.

Things got worse still when the IPCC called the police in to
investigate the leak, and in a dawn raid at her new home on September
21, they arrested Lana on suspicion of theft, misconduct in a public
office and various other misdemeanours.

My girlfriend Louise was next to be arrested, on October 5, in a
second dawn raid by Leicestershire's serious crime unit, and called to
warn me that I'd most likely be next. I wasn't really worried about
that - I had been expecting it. I was more concerned for Louise -
three weeks earlier, on my birthday, we found out that she was
pregnant. Given the stress of the arrest and incarceration, I was
desperately worried for the health of our baby.

A few hours later, I was taken by police to Bishopsgate Police Station
in London. I was put in a cell without any clear idea if anyone knew
exactly where I was. On my way in, I noticed a pair of shoes outside
the cell next to mine. I recognised them - they belonged to Louise.
She had been there for eight hours and I had no way of knowing if she
was OK.

Perhaps three hours passed before I saw my lawyer. In fact, he had
arrived some two hours earlier, but the police said it "hadn't been
convenient" for me to see him then.

A lack of suitable rooms at Bishopsgate meant a drive to another
station for my interview. The detectives wanted to establish the link
between Lana, Louise and me, but my lawyer advised me not to answer
any questions.

The officers were clearly frustrated by this and resorted to a good
cop/bad cop routine. One suggested that if I'd done nothing wrong
there was no reason not to talk to them, the other warned that I was
an accessory to a very serious crime and my silence was making matters
worse.

Bug sweeper

It was late by the time I eventually got home. Tired and angry, I
opened the front door to discover that my flat had been raided and
searched. Laptops, mobile phones, cameras, CD-Roms, even press
cuttings from around the time of the De Menezes reports had been
taken.

The flat was a complete mess, and only the most cursory effort had
been made to put things back. Oddly, a chair from the bedroom had been
left in the bathroom. A carbon copy of a warrant was casually left on
the fridge.

It was the chair that threw me. What was it doing in the bathroom? It
was positioned right under the light fitting and all sorts of
questions went through my head.

Had I been bugged? I decided not to take any chances and went to an
electronics store the next day to buy a bug sweeper, which I ran over
the flat.

I didn't find anything but that did nothing to assuage the feelings of
paranoia, especially after being warned that my landline could well be
tapped and any email accounts almost certainly raided. I even found
myself checking out a white van that had been parked for days across
the road from my flat.

Over the next eight months, Louise, Lana and I would answer bail a
further four times. Each time, police could see Louise's baby bump
getting bigger, but this did not deter them from locking her up in a
cell, sometimes for several hours. Once they offered her a blanket
infested with lice. Another time, they offered her no food or drink
for over five hours, despite the canteen being just minutes away.

Interviews made it clear the police had delved into our bank accounts
and credit records. Text messages retrieved from our phones were read
out to us. Silly everyday emails about money, or the lack of it, were
twisted and interpreted as a financial motive for the alleged crime.

The police were thorough, I'll give them that - but they just could
not seem to countenance the idea that the only motivation was a desire
on the part of our IPCC source to get the truth out. The only solace
was that we hadn't been arrested under the Terrorism Act. One day in a
police cell is bad enough, 28 days must be a nightmare.

The investigation was dropped this month. At the time of writing, no
charges have been brought against any of the officers involved
directly or indirectly in the shooting.

Jean Charles was innocent. But since his death he has been presented
as a terrorist, an illegal immigrant, even a rapist. That this last
allegation was completely untrue barely warranted a mention in most of
the mainstream media. It's quite conceivable no one will ever be held
to account for his death. But his family want, and are entitled to,
justice. If I had to, I would do all this again. I would want someone
to do the same for my child.

Source: Media Guardian
"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

"The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses." -- Malcolm X

"The eternal fight is not many battles fought on one level, but one great battle fought on many different levels." -- The Antagonist

"Truth does not fear investigation." -- Unknown
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Joined: 24 Jan 2006, 22:57

23 Dec 2008, 13:28 #2

From the Radio 4 listings today 9am & 9.30pm, Fergal Keane interviews Lana Vandenberghe, the IPCC worker who leaked details of the Jean Charles de Menezes case to the press:
Taking a Stand
Lana Vandenberghe

Listen:Listen (Duration: 28 mins)
Availability:
7 days left to listen

Last broadcast 23 Dec 2008, 09:00 on BBC Radio 4 (FM only).

Next on:
23 Dec 2008, 21:30 on BBC Radio 4

Synopsis:Fergal Keane talks to people who have taken risks and made sacrifices to stand up for what they believe in. Lana Vandenberghe saw files in her job at the Independent Police Complaints Commission that made her feel that the facts of the Jean Charles de Menezes were being misrepresented to the public. Her decision to take a stand and leak the story to the press would change the course of the investigation and contribute to the pressure on Sir Ian Blair to resign, but it would have huge personal consequences for her.

Broadcasts:
23 Dec 200809:00BBC Radio 4 (FM only)23 Dec 200821:30BBC Radio 4

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00g3336
Available from a Listen Again link for 7 days.
In some ways she was far more acute than Winston, and far less susceptible to Party propaganda. Once when he happened in some connection to mention the war against Eurasia, she startled him by saying casually that in her opinion the war was not happening. The rocket bombs which fell daily on London were probably fired by the Government of Oceania itself, "just to keep the people frightened." -- George Orwell, 1984
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Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

23 Dec 2008, 16:32 #3

^ Feargal Keane comes across as a rather nasty and spiteful piece of work, qualities which demonstrates admirably in the above mentioned radio program. He repeatedly emphasises Vandenberghe's betrayal of her duty to the IPCC, ignoring entirely the small matter of the truth about extra-judicial execution of Jean Charles de Menezes and the ongoing quest for truth and, equally importantly, some sort of justice.
"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

"The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses." -- Malcolm X

"The eternal fight is not many battles fought on one level, but one great battle fought on many different levels." -- The Antagonist

"Truth does not fear investigation." -- Unknown
Reply
Like

Joined: 24 Jan 2006, 22:57

23 Dec 2008, 17:14 #4

The Antagonist @ Dec 23 2008, 04:32 PM wrote: ^ Feargal Keane comes across as a rather nasty and spiteful piece of work, qualities which demonstrates admirably in the above mentioned radio program. He repeatedly emphasises Vandenberghe's betrayal of her duty to the IPCC, ignoring entirely the small matter of the truth about extra-judicial execution of Jean Charles de Menezes and the ongoing quest for truth and, equally importantly, some sort of justice.
What else is to be expected from a 'Special Correspondent for the BBC'
In some ways she was far more acute than Winston, and far less susceptible to Party propaganda. Once when he happened in some connection to mention the war against Eurasia, she startled him by saying casually that in her opinion the war was not happening. The rocket bombs which fell daily on London were probably fired by the Government of Oceania itself, "just to keep the people frightened." -- George Orwell, 1984
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Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

13 May 2009, 12:50 #5

^
BBC Radio 4 left with three golds, including interview of the year for Fergal Keane's talk with Lana Vandenberghe, the Independent Police Complaints Commission officer who leaked documents about the handling of the Jean Charles de Menezes case.
BBC FiveLive triumphs with five gold Sony awards - Press Gazette
"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

"The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses." -- Malcolm X

"The eternal fight is not many battles fought on one level, but one great battle fought on many different levels." -- The Antagonist

"Truth does not fear investigation." -- Unknown
Reply
Like