Monday, August 22, 2005

The Purloined Footage

Posted by China

As I've been saying, repeatedly, the conflicting stories about the existence of CCTV footage from Stockwell Station is key to the de Menezes scandal. In part this is because, unlike some of the other police mendacities that have emerged, the cops' claim that there's no such footage is nigh-on impossible to spin, even to the most credulous, as 'misunderstanding' or 'terrible tragedy' etc - it's much worse. There was footage that disproved the police story, then the police said there wasn't. Unsurprisingly, there's been considerable confusion over this, and it's often still repeated (even by Galloway, though with admirable suspicion, in his excellent Guardian letter a few days ago), that there were no CCTV pictures. To repeat - the IPCC documents obtained by ITN contain descriptions of such footage. So someone somewhere saw it at some time.

At last the sinister nature of these discrepancies seems to be occurring to the media. Annoyingly they haven't put the story online (what follows is my transcription), but here are some extracts from the current front page of the Evening Standard.

RIDDLE OF LOST CCTV IN TUBE SHOOTING

Cameras with vital evidence "were working"

The row over the death of Jean Charles de Menezes took a dramatic turn today.

Senior tube sources have challenged police claims that there was no video footage of his final moments on the platform at Stockwell station.

They told the Evening Standard that three CCTV cameras trained on the platform were in full working order. ...

The Tube sources spoke out after it emerged that police had returned tapes taken from the cameras saying: "These are no good to us. They are blank."

A station log book which is kept to record events at the station and anything not working has no reported faults concerning the CCTV cameras at the time of the shooting on 22 July. ...

A senior transport union official said: "At least three out of the four cameras were working. ... Sometimes you may have trouble with one camera but staff cannot understand how none of the four recorded anything. It is most unusual to say the least." ...

Station staff were amazed and furious on later being told by the police that the tapes were useless. They feel they are being unjustly blamed for something which was not their fault.

The CCTV system is maintained by Tube Lines, the private sector consortium in charge of maintaining and improving the Northern Line.

A source there said: "The cameras were in working order. We had no reported faults at the time of the incident."'


So, to recap. Someone's seen footage, and described it, and how it undermines the police story, to the IPCC. The station staff have passed over the tapes to the police. Who, some time later, have handed them back and said 'No good, squire, these fell down the stairs... I mean, these are blank.' And the Standard describes this as a 'mystery'. God, yes, it's worthy of Conan Doyle or Poe's detective stories, isn't it? I mean, what can have happened? It's all so mysterious.