Shoot to Kill and News Management 689


I did not believe the official story of Hasna Ait Buolacehn the moment I saw it. The official line was that she was a suicide bomber who blew herself up when the police stormed the apartment in St Denis where the alleged terrorist ringleader was hiding out. But that story seemed to me completely incompatible with the recordings on which she could plainly be heard screaming “He is not my boyfriend! He is not my boyfriend” immediately before the explosion. She sounded like a terrified woman trying to disassociate herself from the alleged terrorist. It was a strange battle cry for someone who believed themselves on the verge of paradise.

Then yesterday the truth emerged from forensics that she was indeed not a suicide bomber. None of the mainstream media appeared to find this in any way troubling. And just in case anybody did, the BBC (and I assume all the French and major international media) then immediately did an interview with an anonymous member of the French Police attacking squad, who stated that Hasna was:

“trying to say she was not linked to the terrorists, that she had nothing to do with them and wanted to surrender”.
But he said that due to prior intelligence, “we knew that she was trying to manipulate us”.

Unfortunately this would have been a very great deal more convincing had it been stated 48 hours earlier, rather than only after the original reports that she was a suicide bomber had been corrected on forensic examination. As it is, it looks very much like a post facto justification, a new story to cover the new facts.

Besides, it is very difficult indeed to see what prior intelligence could explain if someone was genuinely trying to surrender or not. There appears to be no information available to the public that gives the slightest indication that Hasna was an extreme Islamist; what public information there is paints the opposite picture. The best the media have been able to dredge up are quotes from friends saying “if she was, then she must have been drugged or brainwashed”. Google it yourself.

But even were she an extreme Islamist, that does not mean she was not attempting to surrender. All of which is a bit nugatory if she were then killed by an explosion triggered by the terrorists themselves. But the changing story about Hasna makes me less than confident that is what actually happened.

I have no difficulty with the principle that the police should shoot people who are shooting at them. I outraged many friends on the left for example by not joining in the criticism of the police for killing Mr Duggan. People who choose to carry guns in my view run a legitimate risk of being shot by the police, it is as simple as that. Jean Charles De Menezes was a totally different case and his murder by police completely unjustifiable. In Paris it appears plain that the police were in a situation of confrontation with armed suspects.

There are severe intelligence disadvantages to killing people with profound knowledge of terrorist organisations. It also cheats the justice system. Nevertheless I can conceive of situations where simply taking out by an explosion a terrorist cell might be justified. But only if you are quite certain of the situation. The case of Hasna is to me troublingly reminiscent of the case of Jean Charles De Menezes, in that it became obvious in the days after his death that everything the police and establishment had leaked to the media about him (leaping over barriers, running through the tunnels, heavy jacket, wires protruding) was a complete, utter and quite deliberate lie.

The media could help if they were in any way rational and dispassionate, or ever questioned an official narrative. It is an urgent and irrepressible question as to why the BBC journalist did not ask the French policeman “and why did you not say this 48 hours ago when you were content to allow the story to run that she was a suicide bomber?”

Similar media manipulation is at use here by the Guardian in telling us the police stormed a “terrorist apartment”. What is a “terrorist apartment”? Are the walls made of semtex? The intent of course is to assure us everybody inside was a terrorist. It is not just the Guardian. The phrase is all over the media. Again, google it.

I am worried in case Hollande’s Rambo impersonation is steamrollering justice. It may well be that Hasna was a dreadful and bloodthirsty terrorist. I do not know. It may well be she was killed by the terrorists not the police. All we know at the moment is she was in an apartment with people who allegedly were terrorists, and died in the “battle”. But I do not trust the changing stories of the authorities.


689 thoughts on “Shoot to Kill and News Management

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  • Resident Dissident

    Of course some other things are not mentioned in this example of news management from Craig – like there was a gun battle involving both sides for an hour, or that the suspects lobbed grenades at the police, or that a number of suspects were taken alive rather than killed (please feel free to dispute this if you wish). So hardly the one sided indiscriminate attack that Craig is trying to portray. Sure news organisations don’t get everything right at the first attempt, which given the events is perhaps understandable, but that is not a valid excuse for this attempt to create an alternative narrative.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Craig

    You have made some interesting points but I’m not quite sure why you appear to be focussing exclusively on the woman. I believe other (male) persons were killed in the apartment, including an Islamist from Brussels who had gained a certain notoriety in recent months. Do you have anything to say about them?

  • Resident Dissident

    2 were killed and 7 were arrested at the St Denis shootout – so it is pretty clear to any reasonable person that the police policy was not to shoot to kill or that they were not very good at implementing their policy.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    I also think that there is a tendency to be a little harsh with the BBC and other MSM. After all, they are not detectives and have as little chance of finding out, immediately on the spot, what is actually going on or what has just gone on as the man in the street. In effect – as Resident Dissident indicates – they are, at least at the first stages of an event like this, almost entirely dependent on the information received from the competent authorities. I am not convinced, either, that the BBC’s job is to immediately and automatically query the elements put out by the competent authorities; that appears to be the prerogative (and pleasure) of people like some of the regular commenters on here.

  • craig Post author

    Habbabkuk

    I think I made very plain that I had no major problem with the killing of those who were shooting at the police. I am worried about how the death occurred of a woman who was attempting to surrender, when a completely false narrative about how she died was run in all international media.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    The first four polite and reasoned responses to Craig’s latest post having come from Resident Dissident and myself I have little doubt that insults from the Eminences and Original Trolls will not be late in arriving. To be followed in short order by a new batch of lunatic accusations of conspiracies and cover-ups.

  • craig Post author

    In a situation where the competent authorities kill people, it is your automatic duty to query them on it. The answers may be perfectly acceptable, but they should always be tested.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Belgian news media report that the threat level has been increased to Level 4 (the maximum) in Brussels with all metro stations closed, numerous public events (eg football matches and concerts) cancelled and – most unusual of all – shops in the downtown and uptown closing down at noon/13h00 and tomorrow’s (Sunday’s) well-known and almost “iconic” Marché du Midi cancelled.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Craig

    “In a situation where the competent authorities kill people, it is your automatic duty to query them on it. The answers may be perfectly acceptable, but they should always be tested.”
    ___________________

    I agree. But is it (for example) the BBC, on the spot, which should be doing the querying?

    Moreover, even if you think the answer to the above is “yes”, given the practical difficulties on the spot, would querying on the spot by the BBC (for example) have any greater value than querying on your blog by the likes of Fedup, or Giyane, or Trowbridge (as examples)?

  • craig Post author

    Querying by the BBC would certainly have a very great advantage over querying by me, in that several million more people would see it.

    I am just troubled that the Rambo atmosphere leads us to lose sight of the fact that every human life has value.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Point d’information: I’m happy to accept that the woman did not blow herself up if that’s what the evidence shows/has already shown. But there was a big explosion at the apartment (film has shown this). Does anyone know what the cause was?

  • Ken2

    If people don’t have a reason to exist, they will find one and they will not be afraid of dying. Nothing to lost.

  • craig Post author

    The claim is it was another, male terrorist blowing themselves up. That is what I am doubting; peculiar thing to do when the police are not in the apartment.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Craig

    Thank you for your replies. I’ve no wish to monopolise your attention (and I’m sure I shan’t 🙂 ), but still:

    “Querying by the BBC would certainly have a very great advantage over querying by me, in that several million more people would see it.”
    ______________________

    That is of course true but the size of the audience has no bearing on the quality and fiabilité of the querying.

  • Resident Dissident

    “That is what I am doubting; peculiar thing to do when the police are not in the apartment.”

    Not so peculiar when the police are outside and if you don’t want to be captured alive and belong to an organisation that doesn’t exactly value human life and considers suicide a valid weapon.

  • Ken2

    France has been indiscriminately killing people illegally in the Middle East for years for Oil. Total. Hollande Poirot. There is inequality among French citizens. Migrants from the French colonies have been discriminated against, leading to uprest. Racism. The French Police/Military can be heavy handed. They take no prisoners. Even in the 60’s/80’s unrest with French students and the government. Racism/Revolts. War in Algeria. The Algerians tried to get control of their assets. De Gaulle Mr Non. The French Foreign Legion.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    My own view is that part of the problem – which, inter alia, gives rise to often deserved criticism of the BBC and other MSM – lies in the wall-to-wall, 24 hour news cycle.

    There is too much news, in the sense that there is no time for some reflection, investigation and careful consideration of arising events before writing about them and also in the sense that today’s news is rapidly overtaken and forgotten in the deluge of new news when it perhaps shouldn’t be.

    Personally I should welcome a return to the news and TV/radio landscape of several decades ago – even if that would mean that a considerable number of graduates (not least those from our two most venerable seats of learning) would have to look for gainful employment elsewhere.

  • Resident Dissident

    “France has been indiscriminately killing people illegally in the Middle East for years for Oil.”

    That must be why 7 out of the 9 were arrested then – don’t let the facts get in the way of your prejudices.

  • Mary

    12.10pm
    ‘I’ve no wish to monopolise your attention…’ LOL very loudly.

    8/20 so far with RD bringing up the rear.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Mary

    “12.10pm
    ‘I’ve no wish to monopolise your attention…’ LOL very loudly.

    8/20 so far with RD bringing up the rear.”
    _________________

    Could you spell out the nature of the problem, Mary?

    Thanks.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    We realise that your post was just a placeholder (Craig will know what that means!) until you find a suitable pretext for working Israel/Palestine into the thread. Watch this space!

  • Mary

    Extra judicial killing contd.

    I know nothing about placeholders. Are they the little metal things that denote the seating arrangements at dinner? I remember them at one or two foreign embassy dinners I attended.

    There is also Captain Placeholder http://wowwiki.wikia.com/wiki/Captain_Placeholder

    and this lady who brings the OT into her piece.

    http://susancorso.com/seedsforsanctuary/2013/04/placeholder/

    Nothing much else on Google images.

    PS Israel does go in for extra judicial killing of Palestinians. I did not need reminding of that.

  • glenn_uk

    Habbabkuk: “The first four polite and reasoned responses to Craig’s latest post…

    Well you would say that, might one not say? The first eight responses having come from a tag-team of yourself, and a reliable Establishment stooge who happens to agree with you 100%.

    RD – as usual – presents his usual smug yet empty restatement of the official line, while tossing in a few sneers along the way. No, not polite, and not reasoned.

    You say the news organisations are “… at the first stages of an event like this, almost entirely dependent on the information received from the competent authorities…”, which invariably turn out to be slanted, self-serving if not entirely untrue. Given the long record on this, it’s entirely their job to be questioning and hesitant about these reports. Instead, they confidently declare it as the absolute truth.

  • craig Post author

    I have no objection at all to Habbakuk’s questions. But my final rejoinder is this.

    A young lady was stigmatised as a suicide bomber. It turns out she was not one. There is no allegation she had a gun, and we now know she did not have a bomb. The police themselves say she was trying to surrender and dissociate herself from the terrorists, but prior intelligence led them not to believe her. She ended up dead. There is apparently a universal acceptance that she was a terrorist, but a dearth of evidence.

    Res Dis you are as so frequently quite wrong. You are positing a suicide that did not kill any “enemy”. Suicide itself is not prized at all by extreme Islamists, quite the opposite in fact. Killing of others involving suicide is prized, but you are positing a totally different scenario.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Mary

    “I know nothing about placeholders. Are they the little metal things that denote the seating arrangements at dinner?”

    No.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “I remember them at one or two foreign embassy dinners I attended.”
    ________________

    North Korea and the German Democratic Republic?

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