We are on the eve of the 7th anniversary of the 7/7 terrorist attacks in which 56 people, including the alleged culprits, were killed. In that time, numerous theories have been put forward as to what really happened and who was truly responsible. The official theory, that four young British Muslim men radicalised each other into a fanatic religious rage that they chose to express through the medium of suicide bombing, is perhaps the best known. It is, naturally, a conspiracy theory, though because it is officially sanctioned it does not tend to get given its true name. It claims that the four men conspired, with malice aforethought, to murder over 50 people.
Refuting the official conspiracy theory has been a painstaking process for those sections of the independent research community, but is has been a thoroughly successful one. 7/7 is, at its simplest, a horrible crime. In investigating that crime we can look at it in relatively conventional terms of means, motive and opportunity.
Exactly what means were used to kill the victims of 7/7 has never been established. The official cause of death in each case is ‘injuries suffered in an explosion’, but the actual explosive used has never been determined. At the July 7th inquests into the deaths of the 52 (excluding the alleged bombers), explosives expert Clifford Todd admitted that they found no trace of the main explosive at any of the bomb sites.
This presents several potential scenarios. It is possible that the forensic examiners were utterly useless. The record of such scientists in this country is quite terrible. It is possible that the explosive used was exotic, unknown to the existence investigative science in this area. It is possible that they did figure out what explosive was used and it had nothing to do with the organic peroxide-black pepper/powdered Masala concoction supposedly used by the alleged bombers, and therefore they hushed it up. It is possible that the explosive used was of a very sophisticated kind that left little or no trace, consuming all the explosive substance in the chemical reaction.
In any case, since we don’t know the means that were used to kill those people, asserting that the alleged bombers had that means is absurd.
The supposed motive has never been formally established. No one who knew any of the alleged bombers suspected they would become mass murderers. None were known as being particularly political or religious. None had a serious criminal record. Though rumours of radicalising terrorist masterminds have floated around in the press, these have always been officially denied. Cod psychologists outlining the possible group dynamics of a ‘cell’ of ‘self radicalising terrorists’ remains an unconvincing explanation.
Without formally establishing motive, to talk of the alleged bombers having the motive to carry out such awful crimes is almost meaningless.
The alleged bombers probably did have the opportunity, at least in a generic sense. But in that sense, so did almost every other person in Britain. To make homemade explosives is not that difficult, and if one were so inclined, gaining access to a London underground train and blowing oneself up would not be much of a challenge. The question is, specifically, were the men actually there, blowing themselves up? The only witness who remains at all certain that he saw one of the alleged bombers is Danny Biddle, who remembers an Asian man with a small rucksack on his lap, not a large rucksack on the floor as the official version would have it. All the other witnesses are either vague or simply unreliable and self-contradictory.
None of the alleged bombers were pronounced dead at the bomb sites. The process by which bodies were recovered and identified was ruled beyond the scope of the inquests by the coroner Lady Justice Heather Hallett. As such, we know very little about the way in which the alleged bombers’ remains were found, identified, and concluded to be those of suicide bombers. What we do know is that the descriptions of forensic anthropologist Dr Julie Roberts, who determined that the alleged bombers were close to the bombs at the time of the explosions, do not match the descriptions of the disintegrated pieces of the alleged bombers supposedly found at the scenes.
If the alleged bombers were not on those trains and that bus then they could not have had the opportunity.
A fuller breakdown of the myriad problems with the official account is provided by the July 7th Truth Campaign and my films 7/7: Seeds of Deconstruction and 7/7: Crime and Prejudice. So, to the alternative theories. The most commonly believed alternative theories revolve around Peter Power, former counter-terrorism Met Police officer turned crisis management consultant/pundit. Power went on national radio and television on the day of the attacks to announce that at half past 9 that morning he’d been running an exercise based on a scenario of simultaneous bombs going off at the same railway stations where the real bombings took place.
Unsurprisingly, this has spawned a number of exaggerations, speculations, and entire theories of what happened on 7/7, all based on a few minutes of media interviews. It has been claimed, for example, that Peter Power’s exercise involved 1000 people, on the scale of Operation Osiris II (link) or Operation Horizon (link). What Power actually said is that he was running the exercise ‘for a company of a thousand people’, who we later found was Reed Elsevier. According to Power, the exercise was a glorified powerpoint presentation for a small room of people, where he chose the scenario but the client chose the date and time. The scenario itself, and indeed mock news broadcasts, appear to have been lifted from the notorious 2004 Panorama: London Under Attack programme.
What this has become in the minds of some alternative conspiracy theorists is that Power was actually an integral part of the attacks, and that the alleged bombers were recruited to play the roles of terrorists in his exercise. There is absolutely no evidence substantiating this hypothesis, but the film 7/7 Ripple Effect has popularised it. Indeed, 7/7 Ripple Effect’s hypothesis is that the alleged bombers were lured to London as part of the exercise, and then realised they’d been duped at the last minute and ran off to Canary Wharf, where they were shot by police snipers.
Aside from the inherent implausibility of the police simply shooting the men dead on the street, rather than arresting them and making them disappear some other way, the evidence in favour of this hypothesis is thin. There isn’t a single witness to the presence of police snipers at Canary Wharf, or to shootings, let alone the shootings of the alleged bombers. However, what many fans of 7/7 Ripple Effect are apparently unaware of is that many of the key components of this alternative theory, and indeed several other alternative theories of 7/7, were predicted by mainstream fiction TV shows.
As I explained in two conversations with the incomparable James Corbett, one on 7/7 and one specifically on predictive programming, the BBC programming before 7/7 pre-empted not just the official conspiracy theory, but also many of the alternative conspiracy theories. The first season of Spooks has an episode where Islamic terrorists take control of the Turkish embassy in London, but this is used as a cover by an ex-MI5 agent so he can hack into MI5’s secret bank. This is far from the only example of false flags.
Continuing the theme, in the final episode of season one, MI5 fake a (non-fatal) attack on a train station in London to trick some Irish terrorists they are colluding with into thinking their planned attack has been successful. The Irish terrorists then give up valuable information on some Muslim terrorists who are trying to blow up a nuclear power station. The Muslim terrorists are shot dead.
In the second series, a Muslim suicide bombing is depicted in episode two, but MI5 have a double agent who has infiltrated the group behind the bombing. The double agent fails, and is killed in the explosion. This is, in dramatic form, the official version of 7/7, where intelligence failings lead to a Muslim suicide bombing. That said, the inquests concluded that there was no intelligence failure.
Three episodes later, on July 7th 2003 (exactly two years prior to 7/7), the fifth episode of the series features an MI5 training exercise that coincides with a real major terrorist attack on London. Along very similar lines, the 2004 made-for-TV movie Dirty War begins with a large-scale emergency exercise, and concludes with a real attack that is just like the scenario for that exercise. Predicting the official conspiracy theory of 7/7, the film depicts a team of four Muslim suicide bombers attacking London – two at Liverpool Street tube station, no less. Predicting the alternative Canary Wharf conspiracy theory, the other two are shot dead by police marksmen.
Indeed, all the major components of the popular alternative conspiracy theories, from exercises that go live to Israeli false flags, to bombs planted underneath the trains, were predicted either before 7/7 even happened, or before they became popularised by 7/7 Ripple Effect. Indeed, virtually the entire story imagined by the makers of 7/7 Ripple Effect appears to have been lifted from episodes of Spooks and similar shows. It is entirely possible, if not probable, that the Peter Power exercise theory was fuelled by the predictive programming, and that the whole exercise question is part of a pre-planned disinformation campaign.
That is not to dismiss the relevance of exercises with regards to other attacks, such as 9/11, at least some of the attacks under the Operation Gladio umbrella, and the CIA’s anti-Castro operations in the 1960s such as Zapata and Northwoods. It is simply to raise a distinct interpretation of the Peter Power exercise, one that is valided by a lot more evidence than the interpretation that he recruited the alleged bombers as dummy terrorists.
So where can we turn for a possible alternative explanation for what happened on 7/7? If the Peter Power exercise is a deliberate distraction, a boil in the bag conspiracy theory cooked up by the security services, then we need to go elsewhere. The question remains, if the alleged bombers are innocent then how were they manipulated into doing things that the state has used to make them look like terrorists? After all, Sidique Khan and Shezad Tanweer were the trustees of the Iqra charity bookshop and youth outreach organisation that appears to have been a hub for the distribution of ‘extremist’ Islamic media. Sidique Khan apparently went to a terrorist training camp in Malakand, Pakistan in 2003, and to at least one ‘training camp’ in the Lake District in 2001. Khan and Tanweer were both surveilled repeatedly in contact with convicted terror suspects. Khan is even on tape talking about terrorism over a year before 7/7.
The answer to this question of why the alleged bombers did these things appears to be a network of spies or provocateurs working, we assume, for the British security services. The man running the Iqra bookshop and the Lake District ‘training camps’ was Martin McDaid. He was a former Special Boat Service soldier (or so he said), who had converted or reverted to Islam and become a radical. As revealed by Newsnight, one man who got involved in the activities at Iqra was a youth worker named Mark Hargreaves, who suggested that McDaid might have had a hidden agenda that involved ‘grooming’ young Muslim men.
McDaid was the subject of several security service surveillance operations and investigations, but, at least officially, ‘intelligence failures’ meant that MI5 never discovered his relationship with Sidique Khan. This story is laden with untrue and implausible claims, as I detailed in my presentation to the March 2012 Crimes of the 1% Conference.
The events with McDaid and Iqra bookshop are only half of the story. In the other half there was Operation Crevice, which, on the face of it, was a massive counter-terrorism operation inside the UK. In reality, it was an international sting/entrapment operation extending from Britain to North America and Pakistan.
In Pakistan Crevice centred around Junaid Babar, a Pakistani-American Al Qaeda trainer and facilitator turned FBI co-operator. In Britain, Crevice began as an investigation into ‘Q’, Mohammed Quayyum Khan, an alleged Al Qaeda facilitator in Britain. Unlike Babar, but like McDaid, ‘Q’ was never arrested and never appeared as a trial witness.
Following the 2007 trial (R vs Khyam et al), a lot more information about Operation Crevice became available, including how MI5 came across two of the alleged 7/7 bombers while investigating those around Q and Junaid Babar. This story was summed up, on the evening of the guilty verdict in the trial, by Panorama in an episode called Real Spooks:
That was what was known in 2007, and as you will see from the video even the BBC were suggesting that Q and Babar were spies, working for the security services all along. In Babar’s case this was all but confirmed in a 2012 BBC documentary called Modern Spies, where Babar was described as ‘a human source that intelligence services dream of’, and ‘an individual who had both the access and the capability to get into groups that simply would not have existed without him’.
If Babar was someone who the FBI (and/or CIA and/or MI5) had no relationship with until they approached him outside his NY home in April 2004, and he then became an co-operator, then he didn’t have access to any groups. He was a terrorist facilitator and trainer who turned into a co-operator. This new description very much indicates that he was a spy all along, possibly from as early as him joining Al Muhajiroun in New York in 2000.
As for Q, there is a document strongly suggesting that the British security services had a provocateur within the ‘cell’ being investigated during Crevice. As part of Crevice, an ‘Executive Liaison Group’ was formed. The purpose of the Executive Liaison Group was that officers from MI5 could meet their police counterparts and share information and intelligence on a near-live basis as the operation went on.
In a meeting in mid February 2004, just as Crevice was really hotting up, the security services discussed how the operation was to progress. The minutes of the meeting, which can be downloaded here, say:
We still have no indication of target or timing for any attack, though mid March appears to feature as a significant time period. We should seek to develop the evidence and intelligence, and consider drawing other targets into the conspiracy.
How could they actively seek to draw other targets into the conspiracy unless they had someone in a role of influence inside the conspiracy? This may possibly refer to Omar Khyam, the convicted ringleader of the plot, but it might also refer to Q, the apparent mastermind and overlord of the plot, who never even saw the inside of a police cell (as far as we know).
Connecting the Dots
So what does all this add up to? At every point that the four alleged bombers connected up to something larger, something like Al Qaeda, and therefore at every point they did something that could later be used to make them look like potential terrorists, they connected and acted via and through three probable state agents.
As such, when people came knocking on MI5’s door after 7/7 asking ‘what did you know and why didn’t you stop these guys?’ their answer was ‘well, we knew this, this and this that makes them look like terrorists, which is convenient’. As to why they didn’t stop the men their story has been one of failures to share information, or to realise the significance of information they already had. However, given that they have told at least a dozen different versions of this story, most of which is contradicted by their own records, we have no reason to believe them.
Instead, these ‘failures’ had the effect not just of failing to ‘uncover’ the alleged bombers, but of positively obscuring the connections between them and the three probable intelligence assets. These connections are, as far as we can tell, the reason why the alleged bombers did such things as being trustees of an Islamic charity that apparently spread extremist literature, or going to a terrorism training camp in Pakistan, or repeatedly met with people who would wind up as convicted terrorists.
We need to connect these dots, and with that in mind I have begun working on a linkchart outlining who knew who, who was connected to what and where, and how the three likely provocateurs were involved at critical junctures.
A hi-resolution, annotated version of this linkchart, which is a work in progress, can be downloaded here (PDF, 2.44MB). The likely spies are coloured red, the alleged bombers in dark blue, other significant figures in light blue, possible informants in pink and key locations in yellow. It is, necessarily, an abbreviation of the information available, but viewed alongside the videos available on this page it provides the basic structure of what was going on in the years leading up to 7/7.