BEN TERRALL: When Ike Hit Haiti "The Damage is Immense"

As the death toll from Hurricane Ike was over 70 in the U.S., but the storm’s aftermath in Haiti was much worse. Four tropical storms in a month killed between 500 and 1,000 Haitians, and left hundreds of thousands homeless. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), up to 800,000 people – almost 10 percent of Haiti’s population – are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

President Rene Préval told The Miami Herald, “This is Katrina in the entire country, but without the means that Louisiana had.”

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Sameh Habeeb – The Children of Gaza: Weaned on Fear and Trauma

otp-child.jpgGaza Strip, Palestine – Severe terror and traumas are de facto storms for children in the occupied territories, especially those who exist in the Gaza Strip.

The ongoing Israeli military operations and violent retaliation induce psychological maladies and wretched conditions. The recent CEASEFIRE in Gaza allows a temporary rest but not the cure for their fears and nightmares.

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Justice 4 Jean Statement at the end of week four of the inquest

MenezesDM.jpgDear Friends

Hope this finds you well. Below is our statement from the end of the fourth week of the inquest

Also, just to let you know, on Saturday 25th October, the Menezes family will be attending the 10th annual United Friends and Families Campaign (UFFC) Procession in London. The UFFC is London based coalition of campaigns by the friends and the families of people who have died in police custody, prisons and psychiatric hospitals. More information about this event will be issued next week. We hope supporters can join us

The procession will be setting off at 1pm from Trafalgar Square and moving to Parliament Square. We will send out more information about the event this week but meanwhile you can find out more at the facebook event page
www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=36651826065&ref=ts

All the best

Yasmin
J4J Campaign

JEAN CHARLES DE MENEZES FAMILY CAMPAIGN STATEMENT AT END OF WEEK FOUR OF THE INQUEST

This week the inquest heard from three of the most senior police officers involved in the operation – Trojan 80, Trojan 84 and the Silver Command for the operation, DSI Percer. None of these officers had given evidence at the Health and Safety trial. Together with Cressida Dick, these officers made up the four senior officers the Independent Police Complaints Commission was seriously investigating for disciplinary action.

Flawed firearms strategy
Taken collectively the evidence of these officers paints a disturbing picture of the firearms strategy employed by the Metropolitan police on 22 July 2005. Their evidence revealed more flaws in the strategy and policy that led to Jean’s killing. Like much of the evidence heard at the inquest, their evidence has raised more questions that it has answered.

The firearms strategy seems to have been misunderstood by different sections of the Met on the day. Time and again, police witnesses at the inquest have expressed confusion over when the operation that led to Jean’s killing moved from being an intelligence gathering one, to a Clydesdale one (where a pre-planned event or place may attract a suicide bomber), to a Kratos one (where there is a spontaneous threat)– or indeed, if it was any of the above.

An impossible situation?
Most worryingly of all this week were Trojan 84’s comments about the ‘impossible situation’ that the firearms officers were in. One could infer from this that given the training they had had, and strategy they thought they were following, that the firearms officers were always going to shoot Jean dead in the circumstances in which they were called in. This is a frightening situation which we hope will be explored further in the inquest. It is one thing sending in armed officers to do an intervention after a partial or full identification, but why was it necessary or proportionate for the armed officers to use lethal force and shoot Jean Charles seven times in the head?

Threshold for identification
DCI Percer’s evidence was also illuminating when he said it was still unclear today in the Metropolitan Police what the proportionate threshold of identification was for a Kratos situation. We find it shocking that there appears to be no shared understanding of the threshold for positive identification in such cases or when an intervention by a firearms team should be necessary. This almost paves the way for a similar tragedy to happen again.

Cover up
All of this is made even more difficult to comprehend with the evidence provided by ‘Owen’ (Deputy Surveillance Co-ordinator) regarding the removal of key information from his notes which quoted Cressida Dick’s as saying Jean could “run onto tube, he’s not carrying anything”. His actions were condemned this week by the Menezes family: ‘This latest cover-up only increases suspicion about what officers were doing that day and whether they are telling the truth.’

The inquest has been taking its toil on the Menezes family who have found the week exhausting, emotional and at times quite distressing. But they are finding the process useful and informative, despite the painful memories it is bringing up of the loss of their loved one. They now await with anticipation the evidence of the firearms officers next week.