Thursday, March 24, 2011

7/7: Our Quest

The Inquests into the July 7th 2005 London bombings are drawing to a close, with a verdict due in several weeks, on May 6th. As expected and predicted, very few of the abundant questions about 7/7 have been answered, and plenty of new questions have emerged. It is now clear that an already patchy official narrative has worn away so that there are only a few strands left, and most of them are incidental. The July 7th Truth Campaign, Bridget in particular, have done absolutely sterling work covering the Inquests. Sadly, very few of the most popular independent news outlets have followed suit. The Corbett Report is an exception, and praise must go to it for this. The recent podcast 7/7 Is Still the Issue is a great listen, though I would say that because I'm featured in it.

More analysis and commentary will follow, but for now we should look at the ways in which the evidence presented at the 7/7 Inquests contradicts rather than supports the Home Office narrative. Despite assurances from habitual liar and war criminal Tony Blair that 'people want to know exactly what happened, and we will make sure that they do' the narrative does concede that 'The account is not yet the full picture.' No shit. The first problem concerns the four alleged bombers' movements on the morning of 7/7. With the admission back in 2006 that the account was in error over the Luton train time, this has been a focus of the 7/7 sceptics for a long time. The Inquests haven't helped clear this up.

The original narrative told the story that:

07.15: Lindsay, Hussain, Tanweer and Khan enter Luton station and go through the ticket barriers together. It is not known where they bought their tickets or what sort of tickets they possessed, but they must have had some to get on to the platform.
Before going on to say that:
07.40: The London King’s Cross train leaves Luton station. There are conflicting accounts of their behaviour on the train. Some witnesses report noisy conversations, another believes he saw 2 of them standing silently by a set of train doors. The 4 stood out a bit from usual commuters due to their luggage and casual clothes, but not enough to cause suspicion. This was the beginning of the summer tourist period and Luton Station serves Luton Airport.
At that time, the only CCTV image of the four at Luton was this one:

As anyone can see, this picture shows the men entering the station at just shy of 7:22, not at 7:15 as the narrative originally claimed. We also know that no train left Luton at 7:40 that morning. This led to former Home Secretary John Reid admitting the narrative was in error, and to the goverment publishing an update to the report. If we include the 2008 amendment to the official narrative, the story of the movements of the four alleged bombers at Luton station now reads as follows:

05.07: A red Fiat Brava arrives at Luton station car park. Jermaine Lindsay is alone in this car. During the 90 minutes or so before the others arrive, Lindsay gets out and walks around, enters the station, looks up at the departure board, comes out, moves the car a couple of times. There are a handful of other cars in the car park. A few more arrive during this period.

06.49: The Micra arrives at Luton and parks next to the Brava. The 4 men get out of their respective cars, look in the boots of both, and appear to move items between them. They each put on rucksacks which CCTV shows are large and full. The 4 are described as looking as if
they were going on a camping holiday. One car contained explosive devices of a different and smaller kind from those in the rucksacks. It is not clear what they were for, but they
may have been for self-defence or diversion in case of interception during the journey given their size; that they were in the car rather than the boot; and that they were left behind. Also left in the Micra were other items consistent with the use of explosives. A 9mm handgun was also found in the Brava. The Micra had a day parking ticket in the window, perhaps to avoid attention, the Brava did not.

07.14: Lindsay walks through the entrance foyer of the station, walks to the ticket hall and appears to check the departure board. Lindsay then walks back out of the station to rejoin Tanweer, Khan and Hussain at the rear of their vehicles. The 4 then put on their rucksacks and walk towards the station. They enter Luton station and go through the ticket barriers together. It is not known where they bought their tickets or what sort of tickets they possessed, but they must have had some to get on to the platform.

07.21: The 4 are caught on CCTV together heading to the platform for the King’s Cross Thameslink train. They are casually dressed, apparently relaxed. Tanweer’s posture and the way he pulls the rucksack on to his shoulder as he walks, suggests he finds it heavy. It is estimated that in each rucksack was 2-5 kg of high explosive. Tanweer is now wearing dark tracksuit bottoms. There is no explanation for this change at present.

07.25: The London King’s Cross train leaves Luton station. There are conflicting accounts of their behaviour on the train. Some witnesses report noisy conversations, another believes he saw 2 of them standing silently by a set of train doors. The 4 stood out a bit from usual commuters due to their luggage and casual clothes, but not enough to cause suspicion. This was the beginning of the summer tourist period and Luton Station serves Luton Airport. - Home Office narrative account, amended

The amended narrative doesn't explicitly say when the four entered the station together, thus avoiding the issue. At the trial where the Luton station CCTV footage was first shown the prosecutors explained that the timecodes on the videos were wrong. Taking the time from the original narrative (the four entering at 7:15 when the frame shows nearly 7:22) we get a discrepancy of around 7 minutes, from the amended narrative it is unclear what the discrepancy is. The obvious question is how well does the CCTV match up to this timeline of events? The original version of the Luton CCTV was initially downloadable from the Met Police's website but not anymore, and then it was available to view on Channel 4's website, but not anymore. You can of course view the footage in its entirety via the J7 Truth Campaign on Vimeo, and it isembedded below.

That version has many of the timecodes blurred out whereas the version show at the Inquests shows the timecode of every frame. You can watch the new CCTV below:

Regardless, from all versions of the CCTV it appears that every one of the cameras at Luton station were showing incorrect times. The section showing continuous activity (alleged bombers putting on rucksacks in car park, walking into station, walking to platform and getting on the train) show continuous and consistent timecodes from camera to camera. This would also make sense in a large building with a centralised CCTV system on one recorder which 'stamps' the frames of video with the same timecode. Why a train station, so reliant on accurate timing, would have a CCTV camera system showing a time as much as 7 minutes fast, without correcting it, is a bit of a mystery.

Taking the narrative point by point, at 5:07 Lindsay arrived. Both the old and the new CCTV has a timecode, but the new frames have helpful arrows to ensure you don't miss the riveting action.

The image does show Lindsay arriving at 5:07, but if this camera is on the same system (which it appears to be given the designation 'camera 24') then this timecode is up to 7 minutes fast, so the time could actually be as early as 5:00 a.m. on the hour. The other three alleged bombers, according to the narrative, arrived at 6:49, presumably having left Lindsay sat around for nearly two hours so he could get some last minute praying done, or maybe an early morning crossword. The CCTV from 'camera 26' shows their arrival happening at 6:52, three minutes later than the narrative states. So, is the discrepancy 7 minutes or 3 minutes? Comparing the CCTV timecodes to the original and amended narratives either option is plausible. There has also been some suspiciously heavy handed editing going on. The original CCTV from Luton stops at 6:50:11 and begins again 6:51:39. It also cuts out at 6:52:38 and starts again at 6:53:54. As noted by the July 7th Truth Campaign blog, this rather obvious editing appears to be a means of covering up a suspicious Jaguar in Luton station car park at the same time as the alleged bombers on both 7/7 and on 28/6, during the so called 'dummy run'.

The director's cut shown at the inquests includes these ommissions and also stops at 6:54:17 and begins again at 7:15:40, as though the footage covering those 20 minutes does not exist. Thus, if one were only aware of the evidence presented at the Inquests, the amended section of the narrative describing Lindsey going into the station and looking at the departure board at around 7:14 never actually happened. The original cut of the CCTV does show this, but shows it happening at 7:14, providing no discrepancy with the narrative. How could the cameras be 3 minutes fast and hence show the 6:49 arrival taking place at 6:52, but be on time at 7:14 to show Lindsay entering the station at that time? Did they cut this sequence out of the Inquests CCTV footage to try to cover up the mistake/deceit of saying the timecodes were wrong at the same time as saying the timecodes were right?

The original narrative, in a section unchanged by the amendment, says that at 7:21 the four were 'caught on CCTV together heading to the platform for the King’s Cross Thameslink train.' However, the timecoded frames show them entering the station just before 7:22, and so by the timecode they are not and could not have been pictured walking towards the platform at 7:21. They arrive on the platform at, by the timecode, 7:23:30.

Hence, even if we adjust the timecodes in accordance with previous discrepancies, the four still could not have been pictured heading towards the platform at 7:21. If the clock is three minutes fast then they arrived on the platform by 7:20. If the clock is 7 minutes fast then they arrived on the platform by 7:16. Either way, they could not have got to the platform before being captured heading towards the platform, and so they could not have been heading towards the platform at 7:21.

The CCTV shows the four men then waiting for a few minutes for the train to arrive, which it does so at 7:24:21, before departing at 7:25:36.

This poses huge problems for the narrative, whichever version one reads. Originally the four were said to have taken the 7:40 train, when the police had CCTV showing the four catching a train at 7:24 to 7:25. Then the Home Office published their amendment saying the four caught the 7:25 train, but officials have since claimed that the times on the CCTV at Luton are wrong. Again, if the timecode is 3 minutes fast then the train left at 7:22, and if it is 7 minutes fast then the train left at 7:18. In reality, the train left at 7:25, suggesting that there was in fact no problem with the CCTV timecodes from Luton.

The next major problem is the evidence concerning the four men's presence at the four (admitted) explosion sites. The CCTV at Kings Cross was supposedly not working for the exact 20 minute period when the four should have been moving through the station to catch the tube trains they allegedly bombed. Likewise, though the Inquests showed abundant exterior CCTV footage of the number 91 and number 30 bus Hasib Hussain supposedly caught and bombed, respectively, there was no CCTV from inside either bus. So, there isn't a single image showing the four accused heading towards the trains/bus, getting on the trains/bus, or riding on the trains/bus. We are left with the reports of the physical evidence at the scenes after the explosions had happened.

With regard to this the Home Office narrative says that at 8:50:

CCTV images show the platform at Liverpool Street with the eastbound Circle Line train alongside seconds before it is blown up. Shehzad Tanweer is not visible, but he must have been in the second carriage from the front. The images show commuters rushing to get on the train and a busy platform. Some get on, some just miss it. The train pulls out of the station. Seconds later smoke billows from the tunnel. There is shock and confusion on the platform as people
make for the exits.

Forensic evidence suggests that Tanweer was sitting towards the back of the second carriage with the rucksack next to him on the floor. The blast killed 8 people, including Tanweer, with 171 injured. - Home Office narrative

There are several problems with this. Firstly, the description of where Tanweer was on the train says he was 'sitting towards the back of the second carriage with the rucksack next to him on the floor.' However, when the BBC Conspiracy Files show interviewed a witness from inside the Aldgate train carriage, Bruce Lait, he told them that the hole he saw in the floor of the carriage was in the standing area between rows of seats.

Lait also explicitly said in an interview following 7/7 that he hadn't seen anyone standing where the hole was. Nonetheless, the Inquests did manage to dig up a witness, Michael Henning, who was in the next carriage along, and he remembers someone sitting where the narrative describes Tanweer as sitting. He drew a diagram, marking himself with an X and 'Tanweer' with a circled X.

July 7th Inquest exhibit INQ8352-2

Henning described the man he saw in extremely vague terms, saying:

I couldn't say with great detail his features, etcetera. It's more those soft focus of the people that you normally see on the Tube and haven't paid attention to. - July 7 Inquest transcript, Oct 18th 2010

As noted on the J7 blog, his description of 'Tanweer' did not match the CCTV images purportedly showing Tanweer on 7/7, and in general Henning could hardly be said to have made a positive ID of Tanweer in that location. Still, this is the closest the Inquests got to substantiating the narrative on this particular question.

That said, they did manage to spectacularly contradict the narrative, and to some extent support Bruce Lait's account. The police presented as evidence at the Inquests complex computer generated models showing exactly where everyone was in the affected carriages (though each one says it is 'approximate'). For simplicity's sake I'll use the BBC's dumbed down version, but you can see the Aldgate train diagram presented at the Inquests here. The BBC's version of the diagram is below:

As you can see, 'Tanweer' is located towards the back of the carriage, but he is in the standing area where Bruce Lait identified the hole in the floor, not sitting down. This not only contradicts the narrative, it substantiates a witness who claims that no one was standing there, and that the hole he saw looked like that caused by an explosion coming up through the floor of the train. So, far from supporting the Home Office narrative, the Inquests actually supported one of the witnesses whose account has consistently suggested a very different event.

There are nearly identical issues with the account of the Edgware Road explosion. The Home Office narrative says that:

At Edgware Road, Mohammad Sidique Khan was also in the second carriage from the front, most likely near the standing area by the first set of double doors. He was probably also seated with the bomb next to him on the floor. Shortly before the explosion, Khan was seen fiddling with the top of the rucksack. The explosion killed 7 including Khan, and injured 163 people. - Home Office narrative
Now, this gets a little complicated, because the narrative is (intentionally?) unclear. Khan was supposedly sat down, but sat down near the standing area by the first set of double doors, with his rucksack on the floor. This is indeed how the BBC's diagram portrays the scene:

The problem is that the centre of the explosion would appear to be in the middle of the standing area, where all the people who died are stood. Khan is sat down some distance away. The police diagram makes things even worse:

While Khan is sat down essentially as described in the narrative, the explosion seems to be taking place not on the floor next to him, but around the corner in the standing area. In order to set off the bomb, Khan would have had to be leaning and stretching at an absurd angle, and presumably pushing his rucksack between the legs of person number 9 in the diagram, Jonathan Downey. PC Potter of the British Transport Police attended the scene and drew a sketch portraying the bomb crater even more centrally:

For the bomb to have gone off where this sketch shows, it cannot have been manually detonated by Khan sat where the narrative and the police diagram say he was. So, why did they say Khan was sat there? Because of Danny Biddle, the only person who has consistently claimed that he saw Khan on the Edgware Road train. Biddle, however, is a highly unreliable witness whose account is not confirmed by anyone else. He was severely injured in the explosion, losing an eye and both legs, and was in a coma for weeks after the attacks. It was after recovering from the coma and seeing Khan identified on TV as the bomber that he made his identification. In his Inquest testimony, Biddle claimed that he saw Khan sat down, with a rucksack on his lap, and that he saw Khan pull a cord in the rucksack just before the explosion, rather than stood up, with the rucksack on the floor, as the police descriptions and diagrams have consistently maintained.

This has serious implications, not just for the narrative but for the veracity of what has been presented at the Inquests. The evidence presented by the police fundamentally contradicts the Home Office story, and contradicts Biddle's account. One can only assume they took the risk of allowing him to testify at the Inquests because his account of having seen 'Khan' fiddling with his rucksack just before the explosion was a key part of the Home Office narrative. Not only is it mentioned in the description of the Edgware Road explosion, but is listed as one of only 7 bits of 'key evidence indicating that these were co-ordinated suicide attacks by these 4 men.' The narrative notes that:

Witness accounts suggest 2 of the men were fiddling in their rucksacks shortly before the explosions. - Home Office Narrative
So, in two places the narrative tacitly refers to Biddle's account, making it impossible for the authorities to deny him a voice at the Inquests, no matter how much his version contradicted the evidence. The other witness who apparently saw one of the accused fiddling in his rucksack was Richard Jones, who got off the number 30 bus shortly before it was blown up. In the days immediately after 7/7, Jones was widely interviewed due to this compelling testimony that supported the notion of suicide bombings. The fact that he gave varying description of what he saw 'Hasib Hussain' wearing, and varying accounts of whether he was in a position to identify Hussain, and was sat on the lower deck of the bus when the explosion took place on the upper deck, were all conveniently ignored.

Jones was even selected as one of the BBC's 'victims of conspiracy theories' for their Conspiracy Files episode dedicated to 7/7. Rather than challenging Jones over his wildly conflicting interviews and his helping to advance the official conspiracy theory of 7/7, the BBC chose to refute the poorly-sourced claim that it was he who had bombed the bus. Virtually every independent documentary exploring 7/7 has criticised Jones, as have many of the bloggers, and perhaps it is because of this that the establishment finally admitted defeat and abandoned Jones as a witness. Perhaps this is why they had Biddle testify, because to lose one witness cited as key evidence could be considered unfortunate, but to lose two would look like carelessness.

In his Inquest testimony Jones claimed, ridiculously, that he had never actually claimed to have seen 'the bomber'. Yet the BBC ran his story the day after 7/7 in a piece titled 'Passenger believes he saw bomber' and Jones not only made no objection, he helpfully appeared on a feature-length BBC show about 7/7 a couple of years later. Despite this, the Inquests expressed sympathy for Jones, saying, 'Your statement, I'm afraid, has been open to conjecture and surmise in the way of these things in the public domain.' Reading Jones's testimony, available for handy PDF download here, courtesy of J7, it is unclear what purpose they had in calling him as a witness, except to perform this epic act of revisionism.

As such, the Home Office narrative now reads:

09.00: Hussain goes back into King’s Cross station through Boots and then goes into W H Smith on the station concourse and, it appears, buys a 9v battery. It is possible that a new battery was needed to detonate the device, but this is only speculation at this stage.

09.06: Hussain goes into McDonald’s on Euston Road, leaving about ten minutes later.

09.19: Hussain is seen on Grays Inn Road. Around this time, a man fitting Hussain’s description was seen on the no 91 bus travelling from King’s Cross to Euston Station, looking nervous and pushing past people.

It was almost certainly at Euston that Hussain switched to the no 30 bus travelling eastwards from Marble Arch. The bus was crowded following the closures on the underground. Hussain sat on the upper deck, towards the back. Forensic evidence suggests the bomb was next to him in the aisle or between his feet on the floor. A man fitting Hussain’s description was seen on the lower deck earlier, fiddling repeatedly with his rucksack.

09.47: The bomb goes off, killing 14 people, including Hussain, and injuring over 110. It remains unclear why the bomb did not go off at 08.50am alongside the others. It may be that Hussain was intending to go north from King’s Cross but was frustrated by delays on the Northern Line. Another possibility, as he seems to have bought a new battery, is that he was unable to detonate his device with the original battery. But we have no further evidence on this at this stage. - Home Office Narrative

Though the diagrams and other evidence does essentially confirm the narrative's version of where the explosion took place, there was no evidence that showed that Hasib Hussain was even on the bus, let alone responsible for the bombing.

The final scene is the Kings Cross-Russell Square bombing, supposedly carried out by Jermaine Lindsay. The narrative states that:

On the Piccadilly Line, Jermaine Lindsay was in the first carriage as it travelled between King’s Cross and Russell Square. It is unlikely that he was seated. The train was crowded, with 127 people in the first carriage alone, which makes it difficult to position those involved. Forensic evidence suggests the explosion occurred on or close to the floor of the standing area between the second and third set of seats. The explosion killed 27 people including Lindsay, and injured
over 340. - Home Office Narrative

Again the Inquests served up a pretty diagram, and it does essentially reflect the narrative's claims about the location of the explosion.

According to this, the explosion took place in the standing area by the rear set of double doors. This is reflected in other diagrams, such as this and this. But certain other evidence was not so clear cut. One diagram bears a handwritten note saying that there was another hole in the floor, and one in the roof, right towards the back of the carriage.

Yet another, along with testimony from Detective Inspector Brunsden, shows that Lindsay's body was found some distance away from the explosion, and closer to the holes mentioned in the above diagram. Brunsden explained that in the following image, the bomb crater is noted, the area marked 'Z' is where they found Lindsay's body and a plastic bottle suspected of being part of the bomb, and area 'Y' is where they found identification documents belonging to Lindsay.

As such, the official story of the Piccadilly line explosion is born out by some of the evidence at the Inquests, but not other evidence.

There are numerous other fundamental issues with the evidence presented at the Inquests, including the fact that the neither the detonator nor the main charge of the explosive used has been forensically identified. There is also the question of the pronouncement of 'life extinct' (i.e. the confirmations by a doctor of the number of people who died) either did not take place, or did take place but did not include the alleged bombers. The above is just a quick look at how the narrative has fallen apart in a couple of important places. A fuller analysis is coming in various formats, and one is already available via the J7 blog, but for the time being consider that slap bang in the middle of the 7/7 Inquests the police launched a PR campaign aimed at reminding the public that the terrorist threat is real and very, very scary. A few weeks later, the terrorist threat level for major transport hubs was raised, though as per usual the BBC reported that, 'there is no suggestion of any intelligence of an imminent attack.'


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