SEVENTH ANNIVERSARY: London Bombings & Tony Blair's 'Ludicrous Diversion'

by rahnuma ahmed

It was seven years ago this July 7th, but deep suspicions still remain.  That, the public have not been told as to what really occurred on that day when 56 people were killed and several hundred injured in four bombings, three on London underground trains before 9 am, and the fourth, an hour later, on a bus.
Initial media reports, as Tom Secker — British writer, researcher and filmmaker who specialises in terrorism, the security services and declassified history — points out, were “extremely confused.” Eight explosions had occurred on the underground, these were blamed on electrical power surges. Another three explosions were reported to have occurred, on buses. These initial reports later evolved “somehow” into a story of four explosions caused by suicide bombers (see Secker’s seven minute documentary released this July, “7/7 in 7 Minutes: Unanswered Questions“, available on YouTube).
Other skeptics point fingers at the government’s reluctance to conduct a public inquiry into the events. Strange, they say, given that disasters such as train accidents are investigated (as they should be), while the bombings, despite having been one of the “worst terrorist attacks” in Britain’s history, was not considered to be worthy of a public inquiry.
It would “prejudice the current investigation.” It would “prevent the police and government from focusing on future attacks.” It would “take too much time, cost too much money, and divert resources away from the War on Terrorism.” Voiced on different occassions by various government spokespersons, these foot dragging articulations took their cue apparently from the-then prime minister Tony Blair’s  assertion, voiced almost immediately after the incident:  a public inquiry would be “a ludicrous diversion” (July 11, 2005). Leading one of the first documentaries which raised suspicions about the government’s reluctance to be titled, “Ludicrous Diversion” (released September 2006, also available on YouTube). To point out that similar criteria were not applied by the Blair government when it decided to illegally invade Iraq.
Blair rejected calls for an inquiry. No intelligence could have aided the security services and the police force (who “do a heroic job”) from preventing the attacks. Instead, he said, anti-terror laws scheduled for passage next year, would be “accelerated” if the police and intelligence agencies needed extra powers to combat terrorism (July 11, 2005).
The opposition leader Michael Howard, who’d initially asked “whether anything more could have been done to prevent the bombings” scaled down his doubts in less than a week. A “limited inquiry…[ held] in due course” would suffice.
The police wasn’t sure who was responsible for the attacks, but the Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was. They bore “the hallmarks of al-Qaeda,” he claimed (Bloomberg, July 11, 2005).
In December 2005, Blair admitted in the House of Commons, “I do accept that the people want to know exactly what happened — and we will make sure that they do.” We will publish a full account of all the information we have, he said, adding, “We will bring together all the evidence we have and publish it so that the people, the victims, and others can see exactly what happened.”
On May 11, 2006, the British government published the “Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July 2005.” A parallel report was published in  the same month, the Intelligence and Security Committee’s “Report into the London Terrorist Attacks on 7 July 2005”; however, not all information was included as the investigation was continuing. It would be sub judice, said the report.
The official inquiries by the Intelligence and Security Committee, says Secker, were a farce. “During their first inquiry, they were not shown photos and video surveillance footage of the alleged bombers taken before 7/7. During the second inquiry MI5 gave an inaccurate timeline of what they knew and when. The fact is that MI5 knew a lot more about the alleged bombers than they told the ISC.” The ISC concluded that MI5 and the police cannot be criticised for the actions and decisions they took in 2004 and 2005 even if there were, with hindsight, “missed opportunities.” The victims families say the report is a “whitewash.” Some sensitive material is censored. The breakdown in communication between MI5 and the police is not properly dealt with, and the claim that the Saudis warned the UK in advance of 7/7 is completely redacted. The latter indicates that Blair’s assertion — no intelligence could have aided the security services and the police force (who “do a heroic job”)  from preventing the attacks — is a lie.
The makers of Ludicrous Diversion list the many unexplained incongruencies in the official narrative: the identifying documentation for Mohammad Sidique Khan (one of the alleged suicide bombers) was, for some reason, found at three of the four bomb sites. A fake al-Qaeda confession was released on the internet a few hours after the attacks through a server in Texas. Training exercises took place in London the same day based on the scenario of bombs going off at the same time and in exactly the same stations where the attacks occurred. Huge amounts of money was made in speculation over the rise and fall of the sterling, it spoke of extraordinary foreknowledge of the event. Haroon Aswad, who was arrested, was widely reported in the UK media as being “the mastermind behind the attacks” but the US media reported him as being “an agent for MI5.” There was a strange mistake regarding the time of the train taken by all four men, who’d travelled from Luton (Bedfordshire) by car, then to London by train that morning; according to the official narrative, regurgitated by the press, the men took the 7:40am train from Luton to King’s Cross,  but as discovered by bloggers in the alternative media, there was no 7:40 train. It had been cancelled. No CCTV footage was released to the public (not even now), only three still images. The men should have been filmed by CCTV cameras all along the whole route (the UK is the “most surveilled country” compared to other industrialised Western states). Andy Hayman, assistant comissioner of police had said, “the bombers are all certain to have been caught on many cameras during their journey…we will end up with very good pictures that will identify them.” But apparently all those cameras weren’t working that day. The car in  which the men travelled to Luton had reportedly contained explosive devices, begging the question, why would men embarking on a suicide mission leave them in the car? The devices were reportedly destroyed in controlled explosions but photos of the devices appeared on ABC News in America. For some reason, they were never released in the UK.
The only thing that we can be sure of, writes Secker in a recent article, is that 56 people, including the alleged culprits, were killed on July 7th (7/7 Conspiracy Theories and Connecting the Dots, July 6, 2012). But we can not be sure of the motive, nor of the opportunity — conventional questions which need to be answered in cases where a crime has been committed.
The initial decision against holding an independent public inquest was later reversed. Full  public inquests on 7/7 began in October 2010, more than five years later, with Lady Justice Heather Hallett as the coroner.
The official cause of death in each case is said to be “injuries suffered in an explosion” but, says Secker, we do not know the actual explosive used. It has never been established or determined. Explosives expert Clifford Todd told the inquest no trace of the main explosive was found at any of the bomb sites. This can mean several things: that the forensic examiners were utterly useless. Or, that the explosive used was exotic, unknown. Or, that forensic experts had figured out the explosive used but “it had nothing to do with the organic peroxide-black pepper/powdered Masala concoction supposedly used by the alleged bombers” and was, therefore, hushed up. Or, that the explosive used was of “a very sophisticated kind.” One which didn’t leave behind any traces.
Whatever may be the reason, writes Secker, since we do not know what was used to kill the London victims,  for the government to assert that the “alleged bombers had that means is absurd.”
The “motives” have not been established either. People who knew the alleged bombers
— Mohammad Sidique Khan (30), Shehzad Tanweer (22), Germaine Lindsay (19), Hasib Hussain (18) — had no reason to think they’d become mass murderers. They weren’t known to be particularly religious or political, nor did any of them have a criminal record. Contrived explanations by psychologists of “possible group dynamics of a ‘cell’ of ‘self radicalising terrorists'” is unconvincing. Since a motive has not been formally established, to claim that the alleged bombers had the motive to carry out the crime is “meaningless.”
As for “opportunity”, writes Secker, while it is true that the alleged bombers had the opportunity, but so does nearly everyone else in Britain since making homemade explosives and getting on an underground train and blowing oneself up — is not very difficult. The crucial question is whether the four alleged bombers were there, whether they did blow themselves up. Only one witness, Danny Biddle says he saw an Asian man with a small rucksack on his lap but this is contrary to the official version which says the rucksacks were large, had been placed on the floor. All other witnesses, writes Secker, are “either vague or simply unreliable and self-contradictory.”
None of the four alleged bombers were pronounced dead at the bomb sites. The coroner declared that the process through which the bodies had been recovered and identified was outside the scope of the inquest. But this hadn’t held her back from naming the four accused as being the “perpetrators” despite there being legal constraints on coroners to do so. Despite there being constraints on the ability of coroners to declare who is guilty.
As J7, the group demanding an independent public inquiry into 7/7, points out, since the alleged four men were not represented at the inquest by their families (the Legal Services Commission refused to grant legal aid to the families of the four accused despite they being equally “bereaved“), it has meant that the evidence presented went unchallenged. It has meant that there was no cross-examination. They also point out that despite inquests needing to be held in case of suspected suicides — if clear proof of intent is absent, the verdict is unlikely to be suicide but ‘death by misadventure,’ or ‘accidental death’ or an ‘open verdict’ — the coroner declared that an inquest into the four men’s death wouldn’t be held.
But to get back to the remains of the alleged bombers, little is known about how their bodies were “found, identified and concluded” to be their bodies (Secker). What is known however is that the descriptions of forensic anthropologist Dr Julie Roberts does “not match the descriptions of the disintegrated pieces of the alleged bombers supposedly found at the scenes.” Hence, Secker concludes, if the alleged bombers were not on the respective underground trains and the bus, “they could not have had the opportunity” to commit the crime.
And therefore, the most basic questions still remain unanswered on the bombings 7th anniversary:
–      What caused the explosions?
–      Who carried them out and how?
–      Why did these terrorists attack the British public?
–      Why has the government been so resistant to releasing the evidence that could prove whether their story is true?
–      What are they hiding?
The British police’s past record in catching and honestly convicting real perpetrators of bombings in the UK is appalling, point out the makers of Ludicrous Diversion. In numerous cases, the police has deliberately tampered with evidence, forced confessions out of suspects, and withheld information that would clear them — the Birmingham 6 (16 years), the Guildford Four (15 years), Anne Maguire of the Maguire Seven (15 years), Judith Ward (18 years), Danny McNamee (11 years). Added to this list of police ‘crimes’ is the terrible killing of 27-year old Brazilian Jean Charles de  Menezes, shot seven times in the head at Stockwell Tube station, two weeks after the London bombings. Despite inquest findings that “catastrophic failures” had led to his death, no police officers involved in the shooting were disciplined, let alone be charged with murder. Family members and friends who campaigned for justice for de Menezes allege that many of the officers involved received promotions (The Telegraph, October 2, 2009).
The makers of Ludicrous Diversion  point out that the British media — The Observer, The Guardian, Daily Mail, BBC, BBC World, ITN, Channel 4 — have not addressed the verifiable mistruths which they themselves put out about the attacks. They failed to point out obvious discrepancies in the official narrative. They actively supported the government over the public. They actively suppressed information or, much worse, released disinformation.
They are skeptical as well about the usefulness of a public inquiry because the parliament passed the Inquiries Act 2005, a month before the July 7 bombings, which decrees that any inquiry will be controlled by the relevant government minister who is empowered to block public scrutiny of state actions. It’s been dubbed the Public Inquiries Cover-up Bill because the minister — the actions of whose ministry is to be reviewed by the public inquiry — now has the authority to thwart inquiry efforts at every step. In other words, even if a full public inquiry into the London bombings were to take place, it’d be obstructed from the beginning. It’d be controlled, no proper investigation would be conducted. It would not consider the possibility that the four men labelled suicide bombers could possibly be innocent, or question the lack of evidence against them.
This is why J7 insists that a public inquiry into the London bombings should be held outside the limiting remit of the Inquiries Act 2005. That, judges, the bereaved and the injured should refuse to participate in any inquiry proposed under the terms of the 2005 act.
For those among you dear readers, who might have thought as you read along hmm, happening in Britain, so far away, I’d like to remind you of Jamil Rahman, a former civil servant from south Wales, who settled in Bangladesh in 2005, was picked up police personnel in December 2005 who were accompanied by two men wearing balaclava  masks towering a head above our police, taken to DGFI (Directorate General of Forces Intelligence) headquarters in Dhaka, stripped naked, beaten, told his wife would be raped and murdered, her body burned. Rahman alleges that two well-spoken Britons who said they were MI5 officers would be present during the interrogations, only to leave the room when he was tortured. A Bangladeshi intelligence officer reportedly told Rahman, we are “only doing this for the British” (On Forced Marriage, and Insourced Torture, New Age, July 20, 2009).
Rahman agreed to confess to being the mastermind of the July 2005 London bombings.
Shouldn’t we insist that a judicial inquiry be conducted here as well, at our end, on Rahman’s insourced torture? Or, would Sheikh Hasina’s government, its ruling allies, its tongue-wagging media and servile caste of intellectuals, regard that to be a “ludicrous diversion”?
Published in New Age, Monday, July 30, 2012

Author: Shahidul Alam

Time Magazine Person of the Year 2018. A photographer, writer, curator and activist, Shahidul Alam obtained a PhD in chemistry before switching to photography. His seminal work “The Struggle for Democracy” contributed to the removal of General Ershad. Former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society, Alam set up the Drik agency, Chobi Mela festival and Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute, considered one of the finest schools of photography in the world. Shown in MOMA New York, Centre Georges Pompidou, Royal Albert Hall and Tate Modern, Alam has been guest curator of Whitechapel Gallery, Winterthur Gallery and Musee de Quai Branly. His awards include Mother Jones, Shilpakala Award and Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dali International Festival of Photography. Speaker at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Oxford and Cambridge universities, TEDx, POPTech and National Geographic, Alam chaired the international jury of the prestigious World Press Photo contest. Honorary Fellow of Royal Photographic Society, Alam is visiting professor of Sunderland University in UK and advisory board member of National Geographic Society. John Morris, the former picture editor of Life Magazine describes his book “My journey as a witness”, (listed in “Best Photo Books of 2011” by American Photo), as “The most important book ever written by a photographer.”

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