Is This Britain's Biggest Liar?

By Fintan Dunne, 19th August, 2005
'Eyewitness' Mark Whitby
It is now over three weeks since we asked if British police concocted an elaborate tale to cover the killing of Brazillian, Jean Charles de Menezes. Official police lies were bolstered by an outrageous television performance by claimed eyewitness Mark Whitby, who has now retracted his claims.

Earlier this week Britian's ITV reported that Menezes entered the Stockwell subway station at a normal walking pace --even stopping to pick up a newspaper before boarding a train and taking a seat-- and was wearing a light denim jacket when he was shot eight times in the head and once in the shoulder.

ITV News reported a quote from leaked secret documents by a member of the surveillance team. He said: "I grabbed the male in the denim jacket by wrapping both my arms around his torso, pinning his arms to his side. I then pushed him back on to the seat where he had been previously sitting."

Compare that account, to this BBC interview with Mark Whitby, just after the shooting:
"He had a baseball cap on and quite a sort of thickish coat - it was a coat you'd wear in winter, sort of like a padded jacket. He might have had something concealed under there, I don't know. But it looked sort of out of place with the sort of weather we've been having, the sort of hot humid weather.

"Basically looked like a cornered rabbit, a cornered fox. He looked absolutely petrified and then he sort of tripped, but they were hotly pursuing him, [they] couldn't have been any more than two or three feet behind him at this time and he half tripped and was half pushed to the floor and the policeman nearest to me had the black automatic pistol in his left hand. [Source] [Source] [Source] [View Video]
That tale is a tapestry of lies. Police were not hotly pursuing Menezes -who was wearing a lightweight denim jacket. It was not "padded"; "thickish"; "might have had something concealed"; "looked sort of out of place." Is Whitby laboring the point, or what?

And why mention which hand the policeman was holding the gun in? That's the sort of detail often drawn out in court testimony and usually missing from impromptu eyewitness statements.


So it comes as little surprise that in an interview today on South London News, Mark Whitby says his account of events was mistaken:
"I think the guy I saw being bundled out of the way might have been a surveillance officer who was following him... There was a mass of bodies and I saw a gun being lowered and I heard the shots... Mr de Menezes must have been ahead of the officers. The guy in the thick coat can't have been him."
But, what about Whitby's claims of hot pursuit of a man who looked "absolutely petrified" or like a "cornered rabbit". As his retraction shows, it is Whitby who is now a "cornered" liar.

The question is... what kind of liar? Was Whitby working to a security services agenda on a speedy damage limitation exercise? A fake 'eyewitness' wheeled out to feature on national televisionso as to generate a 'terrorist' spin to steer the immediate public reaction. Was he an intelligence operative?

His widely-reported, early account colored perceptions of what had happened in Stockwell tube station. As did the contemporaneous police insistence that Mr. Menezes was a person of interest to them before being killed.

As we asked weeks ago, what if the police's interest in Menezes, only arose after they realized they had just killed an entirely innocent Brazilian, and needed to quickly come up with some plausible justification to prevent a public relations meltdown for the 'War on Terror'?


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