Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Questions still remain about 7/7...
False Flags a Fluttering: The History of Deception and the London 7/7 Bombings
The Conjunction of Disinformation and Violence
by Tom Secker
The London 7/7 Bombings
On the morning of July 7th, at around 10:45, BBC Radio reported that security service officials had told correspondent Frank Gardner that they believed the mornings attacks ‘bore all the hallmarks of Al Qaeda’. This was at a point where it wasn’t even clear what had happened, with the mainstream media having reported for the previous couple of hours that the explosions on the underground trains were caused by electrical power surges, and anywhere from six to ten tube stations were said to have suffered explosions. This story then became one of only three explosions on the underground system (and one on a bus), caused by suicide bombers using homemade explosives. Al Qaeda were mostly dropped from the story, and those responsible were described as ‘self radicalised’ ‘homegrown terrorists’ and ‘clean skins’, i.e. a small group of individuals working entirely on their own who were unknown to the security services.
By 2008 this story had evolved into one of the four alleged suicide bombers being one part of a wider jihadi network, with MI5 saying that the four weren’t picked up because of a lack of resources. This new story came out as three men were put on trial for a conspiracy, largely on the evidence that they knew Mohammed Siddique Khan, the supposed ringleader of the plot, and had been to London in the months before the attacks. However, when the men were initially charged the conspiracy they were alleged to have been involved in did not include what happened on 7/7. A Metropolitan Police press release stated that they ‘maliciously conspired’ with the four supposed suicide bombers between 1 November 2004 and 29 June 2005, a time period that falls short of the 7th July 2005.(7) Though these dates were subsequently changed to include 7/7, no one in the mainstream media picked up on this question, and they unanimously presented the three men as 7/7 accomplices. Though the trio faced two juries, the first couldn’t come to a decision and the second acquitted them, and so to date not a single person has been convicted in connection with the London Bombings.
So, why the ever-changing story? If 7/7 was a covert operation of some kind then we can understand the multiple stories in that context. The initial story of ‘homegrown’ ‘clean skins’ was reported in the media for over a year after the attacks, and was detailed in the two official 7/7 reports published in May 2006. The four alleged bombers were said to have been motivated by revenge for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, thereby associating opposition to those wars with terrorism. This story and implicit premise was advanced in a period when opposition to the Iraq war was at a peak. In part this opposition was due to the publication of the now infamous Downing Street Memo in May 2005, only days before the UK General Election, and only two months before the 7/7 bombings. The memo detailed a meeting between British officials in July 2002 to discuss the policy of war with Iraq. The memo demonstrated that the policy was already well under way in the summer of 2002, well before Colin Powell’s widely criticised appearance before the UN Security Council in February 2003. It also included the assessment of ‘C’, then head of MI6 Richard Dearlove, that the ‘the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy’.(8) The presentation of the 2005 bombings as being caused by people opposed the Iraq War helped muddy the waters of the debate, seeking to make people less ardent in their opposition lest they be labelled as extremists. That the Iraq War still goes on five years later shows how ineffective the opposition to that war has been.
Other dimensions of the official story were also very useful. That the alleged bombers were said to be homegrown helped advance the agenda for increased powers for police and security services in the name of counter-terrorism. Despite this help, in November 2005 the Labour government suffered a historic defeat when MPs in the House of Commons rejected legislation that allowed the police to hold terrorism suspects for 90 days without charge. While in reality some suspects are thrown in the hole for far longer without ever getting any sort of hearing, this was the first time the Blair government had lost a vote in the Commons. It is also the only postwar defeat regarding security policy. That said, the rest of the ‘anti-terror’ legislation passed smoothly, and became law the following year. Among the new criminal charges created by the 2006 Terrorism Act were ‘disseminating terrorist publications’ ‘preparation of terrorist acts’ ‘training for terrorism’ and ‘encouragement of terrorism’. These rather ambiguous phrases have enabled the security services, police, and Crown Prosecution Service to bring far more terrorism cases before the courts, and to charge far more people with terrorism-related offences. Between 9/11 and the end of 2004 701 arrests under the terrorism act had yielded only seventeen successful convictions for terrorism offences. Only three of those convicted were Muslims.(9) By April 2008 this was up to 102 convictions from 1,471 arrests, a considerable increase. Put against that, only six people had actually been held for 28 days under the provisions of the 2006 legislation, three of which had been released without charge.(10) So much for the great terror threat that necessitated the 90 days.
Once the initial story of 7/7 had been accepted and the anti-terror legislation had passed, the authorities started the trial of the suspects from the Operation Crevice investigation, commonly referred to in the media as the Fertiliser Bomb Plotters. Eight men had been arrested in March 2004, only weeks after the Madrid train bombings, but didn’t go on trial until two years later. Of the seven that went on trial in Britain, five were convicted, and two found innocent. Testimony at the trial revealed that the group had been under surveillance for some time, and had been bugged, recorded and videotaped by MI5. This included footage of them meeting with Mohammed Siddique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, two of the alleged 7/7 suicide bombers. Once this evidence had been admitted at trial it was no longer possible for the security services to maintain their original story of four men working alone who were completely unknown to MI5. They weren’t unknown, and they had connections to other supposed terrorists. The official account needed to be adapted. However, the authorities needed time to change their story.
In March 2007, while the jury was still considering its verdict in the Fertiliser Plot trial, the three alleged 7/7 co-conspirators were arrested. Though these three men were put through two trials, they were eventually acquitted in April 2009. This provided an appropriate excuse for the government to delay any further publication of information or evidence. The excuse held good until over two years after the Fertiliser Plot trial where the original story was shown to be untrue. Shortly after the conclusion of the second alleged co-conspirators trial the government published a new report through the Intelligence and Security Committee, titled ‘Could 7/7 Have Been Prevented?’(11) As the title suggests, the scope of the report was limited to asking whether MI5 had enough intelligence prior to 7/7 to have stopped the attacks, i.e. whether 7/7 was the result of an ‘intelligence failure’. Though the story of who the alleged bombers were and what was known about them was systematically changed, there was no consideration whatsoever of the suggestion that they might not have been responsible, or might have been duped into being responsible.
The other function of the arrest and subsequent trials of the trio of alleged co-conspirators was to delay the inquests, which finally resumed in October 2010, more than five years after the bombings. For those five years the families of the victims, the survivors, and the British public have been told an ever-shifting story of what happened. Despite this, the authorities and mainstream media ridicule anyone who dares to ask whether the fundamentally unchanged part of the story, i.e. that suicide bombers were responsible, might also be subject to revision. Given that the inquests have not yet reached a verdict, it is possible (though unlikely) that they will find that some or all of the victims did not die in intentional suicide attacks, and at this stage it has not been legally proven that this is what happened.
We know from history that there is a wide range of possible deceptions taking place about what happened on 7/7. In the absence of forensic evidence of precisely what happened and why, we are left with an ever-shifting story that conveniently fits the policy of the ongoing War on Terror. However, just because some terrorist attacks are inside jobs does not necessarily mean that 7/7 was an inside job, even though the event has been used to suit a manipulating agenda. It is entirely possible that 7/7 was a false flag operation, but it is also entirely possible that the way in which it has been used as a psychological warfare operation is merely exploitative after the fact. The only way we can ever truly know is through the disclosure of evidence and information pertaining to what happened, something that has been jealously guarded by the authorities since day one.