The 7/7 London Bombings and MI5′s “Stepford Four” Operation: How the 2005 London Bombings Turned every Muslim into a “Terror Suspect”
This article is dedicated to former South Yorkshire terror analyst Tony Farrell who lost his job but kept his integrity, and with thanks to the documentation provided by the July 7th Truth Campaign
“:One intriguing aspect of the London Bombing report is the fact that the MI5 codename for the event is “Stepford”. The four “bombers” are referred to as the “Stepford four”.
Why is this the case? … the MI5 codename is very revealing in that it suggests the operation was a carefully coordinated and controlled one with four compliant and malleable patsies following direct orders.
Now if MI5 has no idea who was behind the operation or whether there were any orders coming from a mastermind, why would they give the event the codename “Stepford”? ” (Steve Watson, January 30, 2006 Prison Planet)
The word was out that there was easy money to be made by Muslims taking part in an emergency- preparedness operation. Mohammad Sidique Khan — better known by his western nickname “Sid” – had been approached by his contact, probably Haroon Rashid Aswat who was in town, about a big emergency preparedness operation that was looking for local Pakistanis who might take the part of pretend “suicide bombers” for the enactment. The call was somewhat unusual: not just anyone was to be asked. The people running this wanted “young men who were conservatively and cleanly dressed and probably had some higher education”. It looked as if it might be one of the ones related to Visor Consultants, which had a history of holding such events. Sid’s wife, Hasina Patel, had been experiencing complications in her second pregnancy; he wondered if she might be better off getting help through expensive, private doctors. He agreed to take part in it and to recruit others.
Did he smell a rat? Khan asked only men of Pakistani descent who were single. His friend and younger sidekick Shezad Tanweer, who had just graduated from university, agreed. He had just racked up a big car repair bill on his beloved red Mercedes and could use the money. Eighteen-year old Hasib Hussain was a good guy who was awaiting his exams for entry into Leeds University that September; he could use the money for a car he had been looking at for the commute. Ejaz Fiaz, who was known for sometimes dyeing his hair blonde for parties, also agreed. He was a bit flakey but he seemed to fit the bill. Khan gave their names as volunteers.
What could go wrong? Aswat was well connected with British security and had to be reliable. But he had felt somewhat compromised by his and Tanweer’s work with security people the previous year. No one was more patriotic than he and Tanweer. They loved their country and wanted to help their government in any way. They had allowed themselves to be taped in 2004, but he didn’t feel good about it. He and Tanweer had been acting in good faith in getting other Muslims, like Omar Khyam, to talk on tape, but he started to realize that security people were basically trying to find Muslims to set up for their “War on Terror.” It had become dangerous for Muslims, even for patriots like him and Tanweer. He wondered whether the work they did for security had made them safer or put them in a more precarious position. Tapes the two of them had made for security guys the year before bothered him, tapes that had made them look like some kind of crazy terrorists, dressed up half like pirates and half like Palestinians, with red kifieh’s wrapped around their heads. They had been talked into being photographed like that against his better judgement — of course, they had also gotten paid for it. He hoped that those tapes were lying somewhere, forgotten.
But what could anyone do to him? Everybody knew him; his reputation was such that he had to be untouchable. He had been featured in a Sunday Times educational supplement for his excellent work in counseling children of immigrants; he was known for fixing dangerous situations, including conflict resolution with troubled teenagers, and he had even been able to help get kids off drugs. Kids knew he cared about their problems when he talked to them. He also knew important people and was even a friend of his Member of Parliament. His mother-in-law knew the Queen and had special recognition for her progressive work with Muslim women. If there was anyone in the Muslim community who had to be beyond any suspicion for any funny business, it had to be him.
Still, it would be naive to think that there were no risks at all involved. It chilled him, wondering why an emergency preparedness operation really needed fake “suicide bombers”. Khan got the word out that he and Hasina had separated. He didn’t want her harassed if anything went wrong and he was being set up.
Fiaz, the party guy, ended up cancelling out in the end, so Khan contacted Jamal (or, using his non-Muslim name, Germaine) Lindsay, a burly, black bodybuilder who had been born in Jamaica, to take Fiaz’s place. He wasn’t of Pakistani origin, but he was Muslim, anyway. His wife Samantha Lewthwaite was about to deliver their second child, so Lindsay was happy to get extra money.
All of the guys volunteering knew the security contacts; it looked as if it might be fun while they were helping out and making a bit of extra money.
Thursday, July 7th, 2005, is a day people still talk about in London, England. A meeting of the G8 had started in Gleneagles and London had just been named as the city for the next summer Olympics. It was all good.
At about 8:50 am, Scotland Yard’s office put a call through to their Mossad contacts at the Israeli embassy. (Sheva, 2005) Benjamin Netanyahu, then serving as Israel’s Finance Minister, was in London to address a conference near Liverpool Station. They warned the Israeli officials that explosions were about to happen. Netanyahu remained in his room that morning.
London’s commuters weren’t as lucky. About five minutes later, explosions started to rip through London Transport subway cars and busses. At around 9 a.m., London Transport put out the word that there seemed to be a “power surge” problem. The Gold Team of London’s Metropolitan police (the “Met”) shut down the mobile phone system for at least an hour in central London — which they initially denied.
At 9:47 a.m., an explosion ripped through a No. 30 bus in Tavistock Square, near the office of the British Medical Association and also the offices of various security operations. Featuring a giant ad for a terror film, the bus seemed to be the only one that had strayed off of its normal route that day. The driver had just stuck his neck out to ask directions, when the back of the upper deck exploded. Photographs of the bus show it with varying degrees of damage. (Antagonist, 2005)
Soon after the Bus No. 30 explosion, the public was notified about that as well as about explosions on subways over the past 50 minutes; the entire London Transport system would be shut down
There had been reports of explosions in three busses and at least six subway cars. The subway explosions seemed to be on trains which could have started from King’s Cross station, although that would not be clear, given witness accounts, with some travelling in opposite directions or even on different subway lines. In addition, the FBI’s Vincent Cannistraro would report the further discovery of two unexploded bombs as well as mechanical timing devices. (Muir et al, 2005)
At 11 a.m. there were reports about police marksmen having killed from 1-4 “suicide bombers” at Canary Wharf, a media center. (Shortnews, 2005) The story made it to numerous international newspapers, including Toronto’s Globe & Mail. (Rook, 2005) The New Zealand Herald also reported that Canary Wharf workers were told to remain away from windows for six hours. (N Z Herald, 2005)
- Police Commissioner Ian Blair noted that there had been “about six” explosions and people were asked to stay out of London.
- Also around noon, police inexplicably moved Lindsay’s parked car, with a valid parking ticket on it, from Luton’s commuter parking lot to a restricted parking lot at Leighton Buzzard.
- And around that time, “Sid” Khan’s wife Hasina Patel called the police Missing Persons hotline to report her husband missing; she had lost the baby;
- Some hours later, Hasib Hussain’s mother joined 115,000 frantic hotline callers to report Hasib missing.
Later that afternoon, the head of the security-related Visor Consultants, Peter Power, spoke on radio and TV. Incredibly, his company had been commissioned to carry out an emergency preparedness operation for simultaneous bombings at 9 a.m. at the very stations that were affected by the blasts: Edgware, Aldgate and Piccadilly. (Statisticians have noted that the probability of that being a coincidence are close to zero.) Power, it turned out, had practice making this announcement. He had been part of a mock exercise in April 2004 with the same bombing scenario of three subways and a bus that had been featured on a BBC Panorama program. He had also taken part in joint US/UK London emergency preparedness operations as recently as two months before. (Chossudovsky, 8/8 2005) Power was a veteran of British intelligence until his founding of Visor Consultants in 1995.
Everyone “knew” it was Al Qaeda
By the end of the day, the government claimed that “Islamic extremists” were responsible for four explosions in London that morning. ” Prime Minister Tony Blair was “incensed” at the suggestion by the head of the Opposition that an independent investigation might be appropriate. Since “everyone” knew that the Muslims had done it, it would be an insult to the security services, as well as a waste of time and money. Besides, one month before, The Inquiries Act became law, giving the Prime Minister full control of all inquiries; a truly independent inquiry would not be possible.
The London explosions — which Scotland Yard claimed it had had no advance notice of — was claimed to have killed 52 commuters and injured 700 — 300 of them seriously. The death toll from the bus was initially declared to be two but mysteriously increased to “13 or 14″; Ian Blair called it a complicated situation — without further elaboration. It took several hours for some of the injured to receive help, a possible factor in the death toll that would be investigated at the 2010 Hallett Inquest. The government had not only rejected any inquiry, they were also busy destroying evidence. The bombed vehicles were immediately taken off and disposed of — apparently sent out of Britain to be sold as scrap — without any photographs or documentation of the damage. There were no autopsies of the dead, and no records collected of the survivors’ injuries for forensic purposes.
The day after the explosions, Friday July 8th, Scotland Yard sent off its voluminous “Operation Crevice” files on Omar Khyam and his group, which included information on Khan and Tanweer, to the RCMP in Canada for the Khawaja trial; not long after that, police removed an electronic monitoring device from Khan’s car; Hasib Hussain’s exam results arrived; he had scored high marks in four out of the five exams;
There was a big police operation in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Lindsay’s home:
Chief Superintendent Simon Chesterman, the most senior police officer in Bucks, arrived at his office at Aylesbury Police Station [on Friday, July 8th] to be confronted by Scotland Yard’s counter terrorism unit. Detectives believed that Lindsay, the Kings Cross bomber who killed 26 people, was, in fact, a fifth bomber, was still alive and posed an immediate threat to public safety. Officers had discovered the car of Germaine Lindsay, who lived in Northern Road, abandoned at Luton train station, where he travelled to London with three other bombers. What followed, said Chief Supt Chesterman, was the biggest police operation he had ever witnessed in 22 years on the force.” (Bucks Herald, 2005)
Christophe Chaboud, a French anti-terrorism expert called in to help with the investigation, quickly noted the expertise of the London bombs. He reported that the bombmaker was sophisticated and the explosives high-grade, and specifically not homemade. That evaluation was shared by other explosives experts and confirmed with the identification of an unusual variant of the military plastic explosive C4 at all four bomb sites. The remains of timing devices were also found at the subway blast sites, which meant that no one had to die in those explosions.
Identifying the accused
On Monday, July 11th, 800 detectives gathered to watch 5,000 Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) tapes to see if they could spot something suspicious: people walking in with large bags and walking out — perhaps at another station — without them. The exercise, which looked like mission impossible, was expected to take a couple of weeks. That night, however, they claimed they were lucky; they spotted four to five men of Asian descent — four with identical backpacks — (similar to those used by the British military) at Luton Station on their way to King’s Cross, which they took to be the origin point of the subway bombings.
Police claimed they had a “lucky break” with Hussain’s mother’s call, which put a name to one of the four men shown in the footage, (which they refused to show to the public.) Police claimed that they then found the identity cards of three of the men, which they could connect to the various blasts: a Mohammad Sidique Khan at Edgware, a Shezad Tanweer at Aldgate, and Hasib Hussain, on the bus. Police claimed that all were “clean skins” or, unknown to the police. (Scotland Yard was embarrassed when Nicholas Sarkozy, then French Minister of the Interior, publicly reminded them that Khan and Tanweer had been known through their “Operation Crevice”.) After the announcement, police noted that Khan’s body was not to be found at the Edgware Road site where he was supposed to have died. (BBC, 7, 2005) Only his ID, which was subsequently found on the bus and, reportedly also at Aldgate. Tanweer’s ID, was not only found at Aldgate, but also on the bus, which exploded almost an hour after he was supposed to have died. Police did not bother with ID cards of others also found at the sites.
The Piccadilly site’s “fourth bomber”
At first, the identity of the fourth bomber was a mystery. One paper named Ejaz Fiaz as the fourth bomber, but noted that the name had not been confirmed. Police claimed that the body of the fourth “suicide bomber” had been so “shredded” at the Piccadilly blast that his identity required DNA analysis. The DNA sample was reportedly taken from the parking stub from the car the police had towed on July 7th (J7 Profile: Lindsay)
The next morning, Wed., July 13th, The Independent published a stunning article that challenged the previous day’s DNA claim. “The suicide plot hatched in Yorkshire” quoted Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist branch:
“The investigation is moving at great speed. “We are trying to establish the movements of the suspects in the run-up to last week’s attack and specifically to establish whether they all died in the explosions.” The article noted: “The four young British men, all thought to be of Pakistani origin, are believed to have blown themselves up with rucksack bombs” … [the body of the fourth bomber] “is thought to be among the remains in the wreckage on the Piccadilly line…” (Bennetto, Herbert, 2005) (emphasis added)
On July 12th, police did not appear to have a body to do DNA testing on! People were wondering why it was taking British police so long to identify the London bombing victims. While the 190 victims of the Madrid bombings had been identified within 24 hours, it would take almost another week, until July 19th, for police to identify the 52 victims of the London bombings. Was it because British police could not find bodies they were looking for?
On Tuesday, July 12th, Lindsay’s wife Samantha Lewthwaite had called police to report her husband Germaine (“Jamal”) missing. Police searched their home immediately. The next day, on July 14th, police announced that they had Lindsay’s ID and he was the fourth bomber. Lewthwaite was incredulous and refused to believe the accusation without DNA proof. The police identification was stunning because they had been claiming that all of the suspects looked Pakistani; there was no way anyone could mistake the big, black Lindsay for an Asian. What had police been looking at?
After Lindsay’s identification was “confirmed”, police provided Lewthwaite with “protection,” presumably monitoring those who tried to contact her. They also arrested Naveed Fiaz, Ejaz’s brother. He was held for one week before being released with no charges.
The Fallout from “Homegrown suicide bombers”
The British public was incensed at the news that British-born citizens could have turned on them; one Muslim man was kicked to death soon after that announcement. The public abuse of Pakistani- British was so ugly that within two months, two thirds of them considered leaving the UK.
Tony Blair, on the other hand, was riding high. The headlines up to July 7th described the political “humiliation” Blair faced from his “anti-terror” (and anti-civil-liberties) legislation. Civil libertarians had been amassing a public war chest of one million pounds Sterling to fight his new legislation. Suddenly, he found the vast majority of the public behind him. Buoyed by the polls, he made vicious comments about Islam and described further legislation he would like: criminalizing speech describing why those under occupation might want to kill themselves; criminalizing the word “martyr”; criminalizing “extremism” — which seemed to mean only “anti-Israeli”. “The game has changed,” Blair declared, and he started to produce legislation that would jettison Britain’s obligations under international humanitarian law.
Identifications of the accused “confirmed”
The fast identification of the accused seemed to be confirmed by the police identification of two cars connected to the accused, one in Luton car park reportedly with “home made” explosives in the trunk, the other parked in Leighton Buzzard. Police had also raided what they claimed was the “bomb factory” — a bathtub filled with what they also claimed was “explosives” in an apartment in Alexandra Grove, Leeds. While Police Commissioner Ian Blair quickly backed off the identification of the explosives that police claimed they had found in the Luton car and Leeds’ bathtub, the story of the London bombs nevertheless changed to “homemade” — bombs which would have left a TATP residue. Despite the fact that TATP residue was not identified, the previous identification of C4 was buried.
The Alexandra Grove apartment with the “bomb factory” bathtub was found to belong to Magdy al-Nashar, an Egyptian who had just received his PhD in biochemistry from Leeds University and was on the list of Leeds’ faculty. He had been forced to leave Britain because of a visa problem the previous month, but was trying to return to resume his job. His apartment had been vacant for about a month. Banner headlines throughout the media claimed that al-Nashar would demonstrate the al Quada link. It fizzled when he was immediately exonerated, and his name was forgotten. While the fingerprints of the accused were identified at their friend al-Nashar’s apartment, they were not found on any containers of chemicals or “explosives.” (Investigating the terror, 2012)
Police came out with further confirmation of the identity of the accused; they claimed that they had both CCTV footage as well as eyewitness confirmation that the accused caught either the 7:40 a.m. or 7:48 a.m. Luton commuter trains to King’s Cross on the morning of July 7th. People wondered why police refused to show any footage that showed any of the men in London that day. The reason became apparent when commuters claimed that those trains had not been running on schedule (if at all) that morning! If the men had expected to catch those particular trains, they could not have made it onto the exploding subway cars. The police refusal to show their footage publicly was becoming increasingly clear: they couldn’t have been looking at CCTV footage! And their earlier claim that the CCTV footage only showed suspicious Asians was confirmation of that fact.
Hasib Hussain and the No. 30 bus
Witnesses claimed that the bus explosion seemed to come from under a seat, possibly from a backpack lying on the ground. The coroner examining the bodies from the No. 30 bus noted that two bodies were particularly badly damaged; either one of them might have been responsible for bringing a bomb. People remarked that a terrorist trying to inflict maximum damage would have chosen to bomb the front bottom of a bus, not the rear top; this placement did not made sense. When Hasib Hussain was named as the bus bomber, witnesses came forward with descriptions: Hussain was either clean shaven or had stubble; he had a huge bag or a small bag; he was wearing a dark suit or a flashy top; he was either fidgeting with his bag or something exploded when he sat down. It became clear that the most publicized witness, a Richard Jones, could not have seen Hussain on the bus.
The bus should have had four CCTV cameras operating; police claimed that they had no footage from any of them, so there was no proof that Hussain had been on the bus and there was no indication of what had caused the explosion.
Because the bus explosion came about 50 minutes after the subway explosions, Hussain became separated from Khan, Tanweer and Lindsay. According to phone records, Hussain tried repeatedly to call the three of them around 9 a.m. — after the explosions – without success, with the phone system shut down. He clearly assumed they were all alive and wondered what was going on. Hussain’s actions between 9 a.m. and the No. 30 explosion at 10:47 a.m. should have been picked up by dozens if not hundreds of CCTV cameras. Although many witnesses claim they saw Hussain at 9 a.m., the July 7th pictures of Hussain appear to have all been “photo-shopped”– digitally created or altered. No one knows what actually happened to Hussain. (Kollerstrom, pp. 57, 64)
Hasib Hussain’s family and friends found the accusation against him unbelievable; his family insists that he will be shown to be innocent when further information comes out.
The events of July 21st
On Thursday, July 21st, two weeks after the London bombings, Police Commissioner Ian Blair met with Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss an urgent matter of business. A situation needed to be dealt with. Police had to be sure that their officers would be fully protected legally from killing what might be described as “suspected suicide bombers.” Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigators, mandated by law to investigate police killings — had to be blocked from the scene of such a killing. The meeting went smoothly.
At around noon that day, four North African immigrants tried to blow up three London subways and a bus. These bombs were laughable duds; they made a popping sound like champagne being opened then started oozing like wet bread dough. They had been made with chapati flour. The men scattered when they realized that the bombs didn’t work. One donned a burqa and fled to Birmingham. But on that day, all of the CCTVs were working and produced 18,000 hours of footage. All of the men were quickly picked up with the exception of Hussein Osman, who reached Italy.
Although the official police story was that they had no foreknowledge about the attempted bombings, The Mirror’s July 22, 2005 edition showed detailed foreknowledge demonstrated by the British government. Nafeez Ahmed quotes the article,
“Despite the government’s official insistence that it had no prior knowledge of the attacks of 21 July 2005, anonymous British security sources revealed that Scotland Yard had obtained precise advanced warning of replica bomb attacks on the Tube network that would almost certainly be executed on Thursday of that week. . . Indeed, only two hours before the terrorist strikes, Home Secretary Charles Clarke ‘warned senior cabinet colleagues the capital could face another terror onslaught’ in a confidential briefing. … Most surprisingly, the Home Secretary had specifically ‘hinted at fears there could be copycat attacks in the wake of the July 7 atrocities’…. Indeed, police were racing on the morning of the 21 to locate at least one of the bomber suspects, several hours before the detonations … .’ At 9:29 a.m. an armed unit raced to Farrington station as they closed in on the suspected bomber — but narrowly missed him.’
The incident indicates the extent of the detail apparently available to the police. How did they know that a suspect would pass through Farrington? If they had information of such precision, did it extend to other elements of the plot?’” (Ahmed, pp. 103,104)
The grooming of the would-be “copycat” bombers
Before Hussein Osman was extradited from Italy, he gave interviews which provided some insights into the operation. He claimed that he, along with four others were fed for “some weeks”– a steady diet of graphic films that portrayed mutilated Iraqi victims of American and British military actions. The men were instructed not to tell anyone about these mysterious films, which reportedly came from the banned al Mouhajiroun, a group that many believe was linked to British intelligence. By July 21, four of the men were prepared to act in unison to protest the atrocities that the US and UK were committing in Iraq. Although Osman claimed that he only intended to scare people and not cause actual damage, at least some of the men did expect to die: Ramzi Mohammed wrote a suicide note to his girlfriend and the mother of his children.
A report by Italian judges authorising Osman’s extradition to Britain confirmed that the devices, ” which were created with flour, hair lotion, nails, nuts and bolts, and attached to a primitive device with a battery and unidentified powder which could be used as a detonator when attached manually to electrical wires – contained no chemical explosive material.” This description missed a key ingredient: hydrogen peroxide.
The explosive link between the London bombings and the “copycat”
The most interesting part of this story is the recipe for the dud bombs: the only time such a recipe had ever been seen before was the “explosive” found in the Luton car and Leeds’ bathtub. This recipe turned out to a unique use of hydrogen peroxide that explosives experts had never seen before. The discovery that the unique explosive connected to both the July 7th and the July 21st operations was known only to “government scientists” (Casciani,2007) indicates the role of the British government in both operations, and contradicts the British government’s claim that laymen concocted this recipe.
The other significant part of the “copycat bombings” was the police cover story of Hussein Osman’s gym bag that he left behind. According to police, they didn’t get to examine Osman’s gym bag until 4 a.m. the next day, at which time they found a gym membership card belonging to Osman’s friend Abdi Omar. According to some sources, there was no such card in his bag. Also, the two men were members of the same gym club and would not have needed to share cards. In any case, police claimed that Abdi Omar lived at 21 Scotia Road, and they wanted to stake out his apartment in order to question him about Hussein Osman.
The July 22 stakeout at 21 Scotia Road “for Abdi Omar”
By 6 a.m. the morning of Friday, July 22, several of Britain’s most elite intelligence units were operating around 21 Scotia Road. A surveillance unit had a video feed to the Metropolitan Police’s Gold Team unit with Designated Service Officer (DSO) Cressida Dick in charge. While they were supposedly on the lookout for the North African man, Dick activated the tracking units — one on foot, the other by car — when a man described as a “Northern European” white male exited the building around 9:30 am. The targeted man, who would later be identified as a freelance Brazilian electrician, Jean Charles de Menezes, strolled to a nearby bus stop and took a bus to a subway station. The subway station was closed “for security reasons”, so he called his uncle to tell him he would be delayed, then retraced his steps to get back on the next bus to reach the next subway. By the time he reached the Stockwell subway station, it had taken him about half an hour.
He might have noticed a police car parked in front of the station; a marksman was awaiting his arrival. Suspecting nothing, he picked up a free newspaper, showed his identifying “Oyster” subway card at the ticket office and strolled to the subway platform. The subway car seemed to be parked there, so he made a quick call on his mobile before taking his seat in the car and settling in with his newspaper. The subway driver had arrived at 10 a.m. to find the light red, so he wasn’t moving. The light remained red until the 10:06 killing.
The killing of Jean Charles de Menezes
There were about 17 other passengers in the subway car. One witness, Anna Dunwoodie, noticed a jumpy, frightened-looking man sitting near her. When what looked like a bunch of rowdies approached their car, he jumped up and pointed de Menezes out to them. Without a word, they surrounded de Menezes, who looked up at them calmly questioningly. He was suddenly pinned down and the shots started. The “rowdies” pumped eleven dumdum bullets into de Menezes, with at least five hitting his head. According to an eye witness who had to insist that her testimony be included in the IPCC report, the shots came at about three-second intervals and lasted for 30 seconds.
The other passengers ran for their lives. One of the police killers chased the terrified subway driver into the tunnel, where he ran across live subway wires and the paths of oncoming trains to escape the “terrorists”.
Pathologist Dr. Kenneth Shorrock was called to look at de Menezes’ body when it was still on the train floor. He claimed that the police officers at the scene — including the senior investigation officer — lied to him about the circumstances of de Menezes’ death (Morgan, Davis, 2008) claiming that de Menezes had been running away from them. When he looked at the contents of Jean Charles’ pockets, only his passport and loose change remained; police had taken De Menezes’ cell phone.
There was a sign at the scene of the murder which read: ‘Directed by Detective Superintendent Wolfenden not to allow access to the IPCC, authority of commissioner and prime minister.” (Percival, 11/2008). Chief Inspector Stephen Costello claimed that the Prime Minister was consulted over a decision to bar to IPCC from entering Stockwell subway station after the shooting and issued a directive. In fact, the police not only banned the IPCC from the site of the execution, but they also refused to turn over their internal documents, as required by law. (Mitchell, 2007)
The police killers, meanwhile, headed for a lawyer’s office to come up with a story that would protect them all. They had been assured before the operation that whatever happened they would be protected legally. Their story — repeated subsequently under oath by all of them — was that they had called out that they were “police” to de Menezes but that he then reacted in a threatening way which led them to make the decision to kill him. That they had been fitted out with the banned dum dum bullets, used for lethal encounters, was overlooked.
Abdi Omar, the supposed target of the stakeout at 21 Scotia Road, had been out of the UK on business for the past week. A swat team knew where his wife and children were, however, and paid them a visit later that day, putting the mother-in-law in hospital with a heart attack. Omar returned some days later and asked police if they wanted to speak with him; they didn’t.
Police realized at some point that they had a problem: Abdi Omar had only been wanted for questioning and had not been a suicide bombing suspect. For their legal protection — their “get out of jail free card” – they had to have been chasing Hussein Osman, who had made it to Italy. Luckily, their last names both started with “O”. There was disappointingly little notice taken when police changed the name of their supposed target from “Omar ” to “Osman”.
The evening of the killing, a retired Scotland Yard officer on BBC News challenged the government’s claim that the killing had been done by a Scotland Yard officer and there would be no investigation. Impossible, he said; if the killing had been done by a Yard officer, there would automatically be an investigation. Evidence began to indicate that at least two elite British intelligence units had been involved in the murder, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) which specializes in surveillance and “false flag operations” and the newly-formed police marksmen’s unit, C019 (or referred to as S019), trained by the elite SAS. The weapons pictured on the agents as well as the manner of the killing pointed to British special forces carrying out the de Menezes’ execution. (Norton-Taylor, 8/2005)
When people heard about the public police killing of a suspected terrorist, they assumed that the victim had to be black and Muslim. A self-proclaimed eyewitness quickly came forward to say that the targeted man was wearing a “puffy jacket with wires hanging out” and had been chased by police into the Stockwell Subway station, a chase that sounded no more than a few minutes. Police claimed that the CCTV cameras were not operating. Unfortunately for them, this time they were.
There was shock as the news dribbled out that the victim had been a young white man who had been followed by elite units for half an hour, allegedly mistaking him for a North African. Police tried to smear him: he was an illegal; he looked suspicious. One after another, they turned out to be lies. A whistleblower released a photo of the dead De Menezes; he had been wearing a light denim jacket — not any “puffy jacket” with wires. She was quickly fired and harassed. The CCTVs showed him strolling leisurely into the subway; it had been the police leaping over barriers, not de Menezes. The police version was that an interminable number of miscommunications had occurred leading to the deadly mistake. If one believed that the Gold Team had been as incompetent as they claimed, the person in charge would have faced a career disaster. Instead, Cressida Dick was promoted to Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police; her associate was also rewarded with a promotion. No one was to be held accountable in any way for Jean Charles’ murder.
Slowly, over a period of years, the police lies were exposed despite their refusal to give their information to the IPCC. The truth came out as easily as the pulling of police teeth, painfully with small parts of the story being extracted with the various official inquiries. The most dramatic would be the 2008 inquest into Jean Charles de Menezes’ death, the first time witnesses would be heard.
Meanwhile, what had happened to the bodies of the accused?
By August, people started to ask questions about what had happened to the bodies of the accused. None of the families had been allowed to identify them; they had not even been given the bodies for burial. Khan’s family, suspicious, asked for an independent autopsy to be performed; it was not done. On August 24th, when the corpses would have been over six weeks old, The Guardian reported that the Metropolitan police claimed that they were holding the bodies of the accused to reassemble their body parts to analyse their positions on the bombs’ detonations. It would not be until the 2010 Hallett inquest that the shocking details would come out.
Of the accused, only Tanweer and Hussain had family burials. In both cases, the burials were accompanied by security personnel.
- At the end of October 2005, Tanweer’s body was taken to Pakistan for interment in a family grave; security personnel accompanied the body to Pakistan and guarded the site for days after the interment. The family never saw the remains.
- Six police oversaw the funeral of Hasib Hussain, “ensuring the service remained private.”
The Khan Tape (Sept. 1, 2005)
British newspapers had been slowly coming out with stories that questioned whether the accused men thought they were going to die. All of the men had round-trip tickets and they had paid for their cars to be parked for the day. There were no suicide notes and their families all expected them home. And then there was the question of motive: there was none. The men were known to be secular and even apolitical. Khan and Tanweer were both known to be particularly patriotic; all were peace-loving.
Khan’s wife Hasina Patel said she had never heard “Sid” criticize the actions of the British government or its role in world events. In excerpts from an interview with Sky news, Patel said “… I kept thinking that something was wrong, I don’t know, that maybe it was a set up, … I didn’t even have any inkling towards his views even going in that direction … I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams, never.” (Sky, 2007)
On September 1st a short video surfaced showing Khan dressed up in red Palestinian-like scarf used as a head bandana. A crude, hand-woven rug was in the background and he was stabbing the air with a pen, complaining about British crimes towards Muslims. There was no mention of any action that would be taken. The tape, which included an edited-in clip of Al Qaeda’s al Zwahiri, was not shown in its entirety.
It was obvious that at least in some sections, Khan’s words did not match his lip movements. His friends noticed that judging by Khan’s appearance, the tape had to have been made in 2004, the year Khan and Tanweer were taped by police. They also claimed that the tape didn’t sound like Khan and was a fraud.
The government responses
The government claimed that the four accused had worked alone, with Khan as the “ringleader”, and that the tape showed that Khan’s motive was to martyr himself for Islam. They also claimed that a tape of Tanweer existed. Their claims that the accused worked alone begged the question of who released the tape of Khan, how they knew of Tanweer’s tape and who controlled it.
The following May, two government reports confirmed their official version of the July 7th bombings and recommend a higher security budget.
The Tanweer tape (July 6, 2006)
On July 5, 2006, a U.S. broadcaster with a reputation for security links claimed that a tape of Shezad Tanweer was expected to be shown the next day on Al Jazeera.
On July 6, 2006, the eve of the anniversary of the London bombings, al Jazeera showed part of a video of Tanweer. The shots, also taken in 2004, are strikingly similar to the one released the previous year of “Sid” Khan; Tanweer is wearing the identical Palestinian-like red scarf around his head, with the identical background rug and making the same strange stabbing movements with a pen. The video includes edited-in clips of the al Qaeda leader al Zwahiri as well as a self-proclaimed American member of al Qaeda, Adam Gadahn. (While Gadahn is also known to the FBI as “Abu Suhayb Al-Amriki, Abu Suhayb, Yihya Majadin Adams and Yayah”, he was born Adam Pearlman.) There were also silly shots meant to appear ominous such as a disembodied hand on maps, etc. Again, words do not match the lip movements. Shezad Tanweer’s family has not publicly commented on it.
Both the Khan and Tanweer tapes were released at politically opportune times for the British government. So while the tapes supposedly show Khan and Tanweer’s support for Al Qaeda, and perhaps Palestinians, the tapes’ origins and releases both implicate British security services.
The 2008 De Menezes’ inquest
The De Menezes’ family had kept up their pressure on the government for an inquest into their son’s murder; finally, in September, 2008, the inquest opened. The purpose of this inquest, presided over by Coroner Sir Michael Wright, was to allow jurors to decide whether or not the police had killed Jean Charles de Menezes lawfully. Previous inquests had established that no one, including DSO Cressida Dick, would be held personally responsible for Jean Charles’ death.
Sir Ian Blair, who had been hanging onto his job as Police Commissioner, toughing out troubling challenges to his integrity on this issue, finally quit at the start of that inquiry. He must have figured that the jig would be up when certain information came out — information that included his meeting with Tony Blair to give police legal protection for a killing, police perjury, police manipulation of events around the death and tampering with police records. It would be the first time that eye witnesses to this event were allowed to testify. Over fifty agents were given identity protection for testifying and the identity-protected killers were not allowed to be either seen or photographed at the site.
Despite the profoundly shocking information that came out at this inquest, Sir Michael Wright did his best to ensure jurors gave the police a favorable ruling. His actions included:
informing jurors that they would only be allowed to return a verdict either of lawful killing or an “open” verdict: they were not permitted to rule against the police;
warning jurors that they were not to attach criminal or civil fault to responsible individuals such as DSO Cressida Dick;
giving the jury secret advice and suggesting that police perjury might have been committed for selfless motives.
The De Menezes’ inquest results
The jury returned an “open” verdict, much to the relief of the police. Given the evidence, they had been prepared for an “unlawful” verdict, despite the Coroner’s charge to the jury. Despite the agents’ perjury and admitted destruction of evidence, they will not face charges.
The De Menezes’ family finally gave up their fight for justice on November 23, 2009 with a settlement with the Metropolitan police for one hundred thousand pounds plus legal expenses.
The Jean Charles de Menezes inquiry exposed the government betrayal of the public through manipulation of the police, of the justice system and the media:
The media obediently played along as the facts came out. While they did report the stories that showed that de Menezes had been the real target, that police perjured themselves, and that Tony Blair had apparently played a role, each article ended with the mantra that De Menezes’ killing had merely been the result of unfortunate mistakes. The story that the most elite security teams in Britain claimed that they thought a “North European” white male was a North African after a half hour surveillance was not challenged.
The papers never asked why Jean Charles had been targeted. Could a recent job have related to the July 7th “power surges”? No one knew where he had been working. The Guardian approached that subject obliquely in December, 2008, noting that de Menezes’ friends were “terrified”; they understood that the public killing of their friend was a warning not to talk.
The 2010 Hallett Inquest into the security services
In May 2010, Lady Justice Hallett called for an inquest into the activities of the British security services the year prior to the July 7th bombings. The inquest, which the security services warned would “encourage terrorists,” was held in the fall of 2010; the hearings were public but there was no jury. The families of 52 of the victims were allowed to take part; the families of the accused were barred from participating, and so unable to challenge any witnesses. Lady Hallett said she might consider a future inquest to include them. Lady Justice Hallett and QC Hugo Keith controlled the proceedings.
The inquest was expected to answer questions on the timing, the location and the makeup of the bombs; instead, it raised even more questions:
Since the discovery of the “homemade explosive”, the government had claimed that the London bombs had been homemade; in fact, the traces of TATP that should have been found if they had been homemade were not identified at the blast sites;
While the government produced some new CCTV evidence, investigators noticed suspicious cuts at key parts of much of it, especially when the accused were meeting other people;
The scope of the missing CCTV evidence was staggering, with none of dozens (if not hundreds!) of CCTV cameras allegedly functioning at any of the affected subway stations until after the bombings were over;
The government’s destruction of evidence and lack of documentation made it impossible to resolve discrepancies between the government’s claims of damage and witnesses’ accounts.
The absence of autopsies and documentation of injury made it difficult to confirm eyewitness accounts that the train explosions originated under the floors.
One investigator noticed that the Metropolitan Police diagrams reconstructing the subway explosions did not match the official Home Office description of those killed and injured. Taking the Liverpool/ Aldgate explosion as an example, he noted that the Met diagram only showed a total of 43 people in the carriage while the Home Office narrative claimed that “the blast killed 8 people, including Tanweer, with 171 injured.” According to the police diagram, the two standing on either side of Tanweer survived, one with only minor injuries. The investigator noted that if the blast killed 8 of the 43, that left only 35 potentially- injured in that carriage. The implication is that the other 136 injured at that site must have been occupants of another three cars in that train with a similar occupancy. “ (Investigating the terror, 2012)
Evidence pointed to more than three damaged subway cars; Did the government reduce the number of events to correspond to the number of Muslims that volunteered for this event?
While this inquest did produce stunning information about the death counts and the state of the corpses of some accused, it specifically excluded how police came to identify the accused.
On Hasib Hussain and the No. 30 bus
The inquest was shown photos which were claimed to be of Hussain’s body separated from other bodies and under a blue blanket. No one knew who had identified him, who placed him there, or who put the special blanket on him. Or if his body was, in fact, under it.
Lisa French, a witness seated no further than five seats in front of the explosion, testified that when she was getting off the bus, police discouraged her from helping a “pile” of people, indicating that they were already dead. (Addley, 2011) Could these have been the extra bodies?
At the 2010 inquest, it was discovered that another Asian youth had been sitting at the back of the top deck at the time of the explosion.
On Khan and Tanweer
Witnesses testified that the initial death counts at the Edgware and Aldgate sites included only commuters, not the bodies of “suicide bombers”. Police added one to each of these tallies later that day so that the accused would be included in the count. A day or two after the bombings, body parts of the accused would be located at the private, off-limit subway sites.
“Sid” Khan’s remains at Edgware:
A large part of Khan’s corpse –without hands, head, or even teeth– was found on 6 am July 8th; police turned over the remains at an unspecified date, identifying it when presented to the Home Office Forensic Science Service as belonging to Mohammed Sidique Khan, with a request to confirm the identification through DNA links his parents. (Police apparently were not aware that Khan’s father had married a woman with the same name as Khan’s biological mother.) The identification was not done using DNA known to be Khan’s. (J7 blogspot: Khan)
The Edgware death count confirms what had been published. Police had identified Khan as a “suicide bomber” on Tuesday, July 12 even though police then acknowledged that Khan’s body was missing from the Edgware site. (BBC, 7,2005)
Khan’s intact ID papers were apparently planted at Edgware, Aldgate and on the bus.
Shazad Tanweer’s remains at Aldgate:
On Saturday, July 9th, only a 1.8 Kg spinal fragment allegedly belonging to Tanweer was found on the train; the DNA lab work, dated July 13 to 28th, included no indication of how police had already identified the remains as belonging to Tanweer; (J7 blogspot: Tanweer)
Note that Tanweer’s identification cards – found at both Aldgate and the No. 30 bus — survived the virtually total disintegration of his body.
The damage to Khan’s and Tanweer’s bodies was not consistent with the state of the other corpses. Despite the fact that others – the dead as well as survivors — had been close to the sources of the explosions, the bodies of all other victims had remained basically intact and easily identifiable. It was ironic that the police had initially implied that the bodies of Khan and Tanweer were easy to identify and did not require the assistance of DNA analysis. Could the state of their corpses be explained as efforts to hide bullet wounds the men might have sustained at Canary Wharf?
On Germaine/”Jamal” Lindsay
Interestingly, there was reportedly no “life extinct” count at Piccadilly taken on July 7th as there had been at the other sites; there had to have been a count of the dead at some point, why did it not made it to this inquest?
According to the original police story, the identification of Lindsay required DNA analysis. Although his wife understood that this analysis had confirmed Lindsay’s participation in the events of July 7th, a BBC article on July 14th, 2005, “Fourth bomber’s name disclosed” implied that police might not have had the DNA results that Samantha Lewthwaite thought they did.
The absence of similar DNA information that was provided for Khan and Tanweer appears to be significant, particularly because police admitted that they did not possess Lindsay’s body on July 12th (Bennetto, Herbert, 2005); and that police believed that Lindsay survived July 7th (Jones, 2005) and (Bucks Herald, 2005). Were police marksmen at Canary Wharf looking only for Pakistanis?
The Hallett verdict and outcomes
In May 2011 the Hallett Inquest determined that 52 of the 56 London deaths had been “unlawful”, the fault only of the “bombers” rather than of the hours-long medical response time or a lack of diligence of the security services. Hallett refused to hold any investigation for the families of the accused.
The Hallett Inquiry ultimately demonstrated pervasive government manipulation and/or mistreatment of the evidence. On August 2, 2011 a legal challenge by victims’ families to force the British government to hold a public inquiry into the July 7 attacks was abandoned “acknowledging that the proceedings would likely be unsuccessful.”
In 2012-2013, Jamal Lindsay’s wife Samantha Lewthwaite, now remarried and the mother of three (the father of her third child, born in 2009, was not identified), is described in the media as a major terrorist living in East Africa and is reportedly hunted – to be killed on sight — by dozens of MI5 and MI6, the CIA, police from Kenya and detectives from South Africa! This hunt appears to relate to the 7/7 bombings: police claim they found “key chemicals” [sic] related to the London bombings such as “acetone and hydrogen peroxide” at a raid on her home. Does she possess information that makes such a hunt worth the cost?
The evidence of responsibility points to the British government
There was a history of government-run terror exercises in London, including ones that closely mirrored the London bombings’ scenario;
There was extensive evidence of police foreknowledge, including Scotland Yard’s warning to the Israeli embassy before the blasts; the police allowed the London bombings to happen;
It was only “government scientists” that knew the recipe of the “unique” hydrogen-peroxide based “explosives” that were in the Luton car, the Leeds bathtub and the “copycat” “bombs;”
The government removed, destroyed and neglected to keep important evidence; evidence shown to the public has been shown to be falsified or tampered with;
The government has refused to hold any independent, public investigation into the bombings;
The government labelling of the London bombings as “suicide bombings” (and the accused, “homegrown suicide bombers”) with no evidence that there had been suicide bombs demonstrated the agenda that allowed Tony Blair to then follow through with his “anti-terror” legislation:
As a result of the July 7th London bombings, the British government eliminated traditional civil liberties and expanded its security services.
In 2007, the July 7th Truth Campaign described the post-7/7 state of British freedoms in “Capitalising on Terror”: In less than two years the UK has descended into a police state. Taking photographs of landmarks is now classified as ‘terrorist reconnaisance’, being caught in possession of a map has been prosecuted as ‘having information likely to be useful to a terrorist’. Protesting outside the people’s Parliament is now a crime unless the state has first granted permission and you can be arrested for wearing a t-shirt a policeman doesn’t like. Your DNA and fingerprints will be taken and stored indefinitely. Everyone from young children to old age pensioners are actively being targeted under anti-terrorist legislation and this legislation is being used to suppress dissent and opposition to the government, its policies and the way it enforces them. Blair has talked of implementing private police forces and police powers have been given to thousands of non-police entities including amongst others traffic wardens, landlords and council officials. …
Recently the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, suggested that modern day Britain is comparable to Idi Amin’s regime in Uganda. Around the same time the leader of Birmingham Central Mosque, Dr Mohammed Naseem, compared life for Muslims in the UK to that of the life of Jews in Nazi Germany. In among the furore that ensued among the liberal intelligentsia, the leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, gently reminded everyone that the laws don’t just apply to Muslims, or terrorists, the laws apply to everyone. If you are reading this in Britain, that means you. (J7,2007)
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Karin Brothers is a freelance writer who was in England throughout the events related to the London bombings.