Updated as shown - latest September 26th 2008

It was right - in fact necessary - to shut down the Underground system this morning. But to shut down London is not on, so we now have to have the Tube and the Buses operating as soon as possible, i.e tonight and tomorrow.

The gridlock that occurs on the roads is due to long term mismanagement of the road and traffic system and today it was so bad ambulances and fire engines could get nowhere fast.

The proper way to run the Congestion Charge is to give registered users cheap alternate days, so that half of these would pay £10 on Mon/Wed/Fri and £5 on Tu/Thur. The other half would have the other days. Of course this would have also alternate every month because of the imparity of 2-3  days, but that is a trivial objection. It would reduce total traffic by a significant total on any day, which is all that is needed to ease the problem. And if people have to travel on the expensive days, that's up to them. It need only apply to registered users whose payment would be calculated automatically, so no mistakes would be made by individual error.

Unless and until this solution is implemented, along with the proper car-share system to make better use of vehicles, things will just get worse, costs will rise, and London's commercial and social needs will not be met. Just putting the charge up does not help drivers to coordinate their share of London road space. There must be stick and carrot to reward sensible behaviour. If everybody knows that by picking the cheaper day they actually guarantee less traffic, it is a win-win solution for them and for London and for traders.

Why anybody is 'shocked' or even remotely surprised at today's events is beyond me. Stopping all movement in London probably causes as many or more deaths (for quite different reasons) as letting all traffic systems that are not actually disabled by attacks continue as best they may, and the economic consequences of stopping them are disastrous.

The emergency services seem to have done a very good job the circumstances, but the circumstances are just barmy.

JULY 10th 2005
The clearing of the centre of Birmingham last night accentuates the point that people must be allowed to make their own decisions about entering risky areas. If the police have to evacuate an area in order to carry out their work, that is one thing. But to assume that because their is a threat of danger all access has to be prevented and all those already there removed is an assumption too far. During WW2, Air Raid Warnings gave people the choice to take cover or carry on with vital journeys. The same must apply now. We must therefore devise a means of alerting people to a threat, and telling them how to find out more details so they can make a choice.

As to the motivation of bombers, Brian Walden said it all this morning. It is a pity there is not a transcript on the BBC site, as it should be required reading around the world.

JULY 12th
Whether the young people who seem to have been the instruments of destruction were self motivated, or the tools of a more sophisticated network who schooled and financed them, and captured their minds in the classic ways that a combination of funds and ideology that flatters the ego has been known to do the world over, now remains to be seen.

Galloway says we are paying the price for removing Saddam. To some extent he is right. We are paying the price for an active foreign policy, for its successes and for its mistakes. But an active foreign policy is our duty, and it will not be error free however hard we try. Galloway's foreign policy of support and even reverence for Saddam would not, however, be a rational alternative. There are many young people today of many different races who are unaware of the threads of which civilisation is woven or those by which it hangs. Unemployed or unhappy in their work, frustrated and angry, they are easily misled into simplistic views. Social problems when mixed with religious intolerance and nationalism can form a context in which those who feel life has not rewarded them with the power and influence they deserve can build a counter culture. There seems to be huge surprise amongst commentators that some young men living in Leeds could form part of such a culture, unknown to the counter terrorist forces, their local community or their family. I cannot share their surprise. If I was an Al Qaida cell master Leeds would be a good place to build the cell, well away from London, and unless it was kept completely secret, how could it survive? Doing it all amongst a crowd of mouthy activists in London would be a total non-starter, would it not?

JULY 13th
The Muslim communities of the UK now need our serious support. There is no doubt that the absurd rhetoric of Georg W Bush has helped the growth of irrational fundamentalism amongst a proportion of Muslim youth. The incredible arrogance of the statement "Those who are not for us are against us" is certainly responsible for alienating half the planet. Who in their right mind could be in favour of George Bush and his approach to policy, diplomacy and how to wield America's great power? We in the west have more sense than to be against him. We try to work with him because we have to, and hope for a president with some education to replace him in due course. We ignore his own religious fundamentalism which appears to be every bit as daft as that of the bombers and some of his own countrymen. We are neither for him or against him. We just try to manage him like everything else. Now there is a great danger that Muslims in the UK will feel insecure, and that needs managing too. They have to straighten out the religious education that their children receive. That's often out of their control.

JULY 15th
The Muslim leaders in the UK are rising to the challenge, starting with unambiguous denunciation of the bombings and of the perversion of Islam. They are to be congratulated and must be supported. The UK security services are in overdrive and getting results. If they failed, it was because we starved them of funds and did not listen to their advice, and it is no good blaming the government either. The buck stops with the public and the media they patronise and are patronised by in turn.

JULY 16th
Let me be clear about the media. The most influential medium is the BBC. Young Muslims have been encouraged by the BBC over their formative years to believe that either the BBC or the British PM is a liar, that the war against Saddam was illegal, that our foreign policy is based on self interest, a continuation of colonialism and our desire to take over the oil reserves of the Middle East..Politicians have been treated with contempt by John Humphrys and others on a daily basis.

A war is legal if the Attorney General, after due progress and full debate, says it is, speaking in his official capacity rather than as an individual. This is the system of parliamentary democracy that we ask people to respect. If our national broadcasting corporation does not respect it, why should young Muslims think they are doing wrong in defending their fellow men against what they are told is a hijacked democracy, whose lying leaders accuse them of hijacking their religion? The open democracy we maintain holds the Attorney General to account by democratic means. We have proper processes to arrive at decisions. Sometimes these processes are not followed, but in this case they certainly were. Yet the BBC, in a spasm of self glorification and independence decided it was above the process.

Oblivious of the effect it was having on the forming minds of the younger generation, it has waded on through its search for popularity amongst both the gullible and those with legitimate grievances. When they are approached by a network claiming to represent a global resistance against capitalist conspirators bent on the destruction of Islam, telling them the same story, backed by correct quotations from Liberal politicians and even the Conservative leader telling them they should not believe a word the Prime Minister says, are we seriously going to blame these people for going off the rails?

A million people joined a march against the war on the grounds that it was illegal. Most people did not march or agree with the marchers. This was not like a Countryside Alliance march where a majority of those affected and knowledgeable were drawing attention to an act of pure negativity based on ignorance, requiring the overruling of the House of Lords to be pushed through Parliament. This was was a march by those who believe peaceful means can always overcome tyranny and do not trust their parliamentary system or its civil service advisors. Fallible though these can be, they are what we expect our citizens to accept will take responsibility for these great decisions. The messsage sent by the marchers is part of the misleading of Muslim youth in this country and worldwide

Channel 4 is far from blameless. It has broadcast so-called documentaries questioning if the Apollo missions ever went to the moon, full of crap science that any schoolboy with a proper education could demolish, put forward as if it was possible. There have since been programmes to correct this, but even they have been tenth rate. It is unacceptable to blame the youth of this country for the mess in their heads when our media put it there daily. And when it comes to political debate Jon Snow has half a brilliant brain, but the missing half is sorely missed.

If anyone wants to know why we have come to the present position, the answer is because of the abuse of freedom and power that we rightly give to our media. The abuse is due to the usual human failings that have been known for thousands of years. I am all for keeping the freedoms, so we must pay the price. Just don't expect to get answers to current questions via the usual masters of ceremonies in our media. They are by definition the prima donnas of the public interpretation of the human condition, with a self-esteem that knows few bounds but whose knowledge is a fraction of what they suppose. They will not ask the questions that might incriminate themselves, and they will not turn on each other unless we get to the edge of an abyss.

JULY 21st
First impression was that today's explosions were a copycat version of 7th July by some enthusiastic amateur Al Qaidists. Then it appeared that the similarities were more than could be expected of an independent armourer. As one who frequently travels by tube with a backpack containing my computer, I will have to find a way of not looking like a bomber. There are ways of checking rucksacks for explosives of course, including some very advanced portable systems which are better than dogs.  It should be possible to pass tube luggage in fromt of these devices, as they respond in 1-2 seconds.  They do cost £30,000 a piece, but these explosions, even dud ones, cost a lot more.  To equip 100 underground stations would cost £3 million. Of course each luggage carrying person would have to pass through a heavily shielded area to pass the test, as if it was negative they would presumably want to blow themselves up right there.

JULY 22nd
Today a man has been shot dead in the tube. He certainly exhibited all the signs of a man entering illegally in a hurry, with a desperation not to get caught, and with the intention of achieving something before he was. He had been tracked from a house under surveillance. That leaves the police with no alternative, though the idea that efforts have to be made to resuscitate him afterwards seem a trifle incongruous. It is, however, the correct procedure once the danger has passed. The action of the anti-terrorist units was up to the threat and the job they are doing is as tough and as difficult as it comes.

It seems that the first impression of yesterday's bombers might yet be right, though if explosives were prepared at the same time, those left on hold for a further 14 days could well have deteriorated to give the results observed.

Sensible info has been published with regard to the possibility of detecting explosives and the immense difficulties of deploying the technology. It has been rightly pointed out that the 'airline' approach is impossible. However this does not mean that technology (and dogs for that matter) cannot be used. It does mean that setting up a fixed detection point for people with luggage is a non-starter. The bombers will strike elsewhere. There are too many entry points and too many hours of the day when they are open. The only solution is to play the same psychological game as the bombers. We never know when or where or how they will strike. They must never know why, where or when the detection is being applied, or is about to be applied, or by what method and to whom. The only way to deter secret plans to avoid detection is to remove the context in which plans can be made.

The 'Beat the Bombers' party at Shepherd's Bush was an inspired idea. Nothing better! on the other hand the refusal of some Underground drivers not to drive is dismal. These dangers are now, for the time being, a simple fact of life. Everything is being done to mitigate it. Drivers who are not up to the job must be replaced by people who are willing to take their place. There will be no shortage of volunteers. It is a job that has to be done or the economy grinds to a halt and unemployment goes off the clock or we go back to subsistance farming on our remaining cultivatable land, so let's not be silly.

JULY 23rd 2005
About the worst outcome imaginable, that the Police may have shot an innocent man yesterday in the Underground, appears to be a possibility. A man running from the law, vaulting the ticket barrier at a time when all London knew they were looking for suicide bombers might seem to be.running such a risk that his fate is not surprising. But hold on a minute - did he know who he was running from? A witness interviewed immediately by the press, shocked, horrified but coherent, described the pursuers immediately as plain clothed police. It seemed obvious to him. But was it obvious to the man being pursued? We need to know a lot more history of the man who has died before it can be estimated if he was running from the law - clearly a very bad idea in the circumstances, or if he was running from people he feared for other reasons.  If for some strange, unforeseen reason it is the latter, it is sad indeed that any individual should think that they could be attacked by civilians in the heart of a Tube station surrounded by the public, ticket inspectors and uniformed police. That does not add up either, unless we accept that the whole idea of a multicultural society has not only failed but is unattainable, a contradiction in terms. In many ways of course we know that it is.

Our laws and modus vivendi are based on the historically evolved culture of these islands. The people who came to live here have always decided NOT to accept the more mediterranean versions of even European culture, including religion. We are Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Norman (Norse Men), and those who come from cultures that are intrinsically opposed have usually come here because they agreed with us, to get away from dogmatism or oppression. That has what has made us a healthy mixture of the like-minded from many cultural roots. Other parts of their culture that concern private beliefs and domestic practice that do not contravene our laws are accommodated without difficulty, providing the education of subsequent generations provides them with the insight into why their forebears came here. Those who came had confidence in our society and its law officers. In the worst case scenario it was the least of other evils. That is why they came to live and work here and join us. But if we now have innocent people who have so little confidence of the support of fellow citizens, in heart of a crowd of travellers and all the trappings of public transport, that they run though they are innocent, then they are indeed strangers in our midst. This cannot continue.

JULY 24th
We are now told the man was Brazilian, and electrician who had been working here legitimately for some years. Who did he think he was running from, and why was he so desperate to escape that he had to leap the barrier into the Underground?

JULY 25th
It has now been made clear that if anyone comes out of a building thought to be occupied by suicide bombers or their associates, dressed in a manner that could conceal explosives, refuses to stop when challenged and runs into an area that is a known target of bombers, ignoring all further legal restrictions, barriers and conventions, they are going to be shot. That is quite a long list of conditions. It is neither exclusive or exhaustive, but nor is it unreasonable.
We can all feel extremely distressed about what happened, but it seems quite clear it could happen again if a similar series of actions refusals and ignorals occur, even without the unfortunate coincidences that form part of this particular case. This is not a 'Shoot to kill' policy so much as a 'Shoot to prevent mass killing' policy. We may have to live with it unless we adopt a policy of just accepting bombing, removing the bodies, repairing the trains, tunnels and buses and asking people to behave with courtesy at all times and respect the signs "Explosives may not be carried on Public Transport".

Revenge for Fallujah
It is being said that the event that has caused the inflammation behind the attacks on London was the assault on Fallujah and the subsequent deaths of civilians, civilians who had not fled before the assault who were effectively unable to leave and whose homes were destroyed. It is said this event passed unremarked in London. It was certainly not unremarked on this web site, and its effects were not unforeseen. This assault was an appalling experience for American ground troops as well as for those on the receiving end - the worst of the war, and it came long after Bush had pronounced the war over. There is not doubt it was a terrifying and brutal operation. There was no alternative in the American's strategy book, however, just as there is no alternative in the insurgent's strategy book to suicide bombers. For a look back, go to postwar.html and search Fallujah in the text.

JULY 26th
Sir Ian Blair, interviewed by Jon Snow on Channel 4, established tonight beyond doubt what I hoped for on 22 July: that at least we have the right man in charge of the Police. One never knows with Jon Snow if he is posing as a member of the public who is clueless and needs info, so that we are all enlightened, or whether he really is clueless, an ideal brilliant but technically empty mind. Either way, he succeeded in giving Sir Ian the chance to explain the facts and why he needs up to 3 months, albeit in chunks of 14 days renewable on demonstrable need, to detain suspects while evidence is examined. I hope Charles Kennedy and Michael Howard were listening, and can leave Sir Ian some time and means to do his job.

The initial reports of the shooting of the man on the tube by police are now being called into question. The person seen vaulting the barrier has not been identified as the victim, so could have been one of his pursuers. The fact that he was challenged and ran has not been verified yet. This looks bad. We shall have to wait and see. It looks like the hand-over from unarmed police to armed police without active video to HQ, via an HQ that had no first hand view or precise identification or the reverse, resulted in armed police arriving late with instructions to stop at all costs. A catch 22 recipe for disaster. The police watching the flats should have been told their ID on exit was crucial.

It seems clear that this shooting was a cock-up, every wrong move hanging on the failure to identify the man leaving the block of flats. The failure to identify and eliminate turned into a suspicion and orders came from a remote HQ deprived of vision to stop him at all costs from boarding the tube. This resulted in other, armed officers arriving too late and taking the ultimate action they believed they were obliged to carry out as a result. So, a classic and tragic cockup under pressure. The pressure was to prevent a lot of deaths, but it resulted mistakenly in causing one  But as for a cover-up, there was never the slightest chance that the truth would not come out and the idea that Ian Blair would have considered it is ridiculous. The delay in correcting the witness reports has upset the poor man's family, but a cover-up was never a possibility. The witness who reported him vaulting the ticket barrier is the critical one, and the inclusion of this in the coroner's report is the item that has to be explained.

OCTOBER 23rd 2005
I have refrained from updating this London Bombing diary until something of note developed. Some people have been arrested in connection with the bombing, most of them bailed. There are now rumours that several police mat be prosecuted in connection with the errors that resulted in the shooting of the wrongly identified target. Indeed the target was NOT identified, due to the fact that the soldier responsible for observing and videoing him directly as he came out of the building was having a piss and failed to do so. This resulted in the scenario I had estimated in the preceding paragraphs where it was supposed that he might well be the bomber, and those receiving the instructions to stop him at all costs from boarding the train assumed that meant stop him terminally if he had already boarded. Today there is news of a further arrest

Sky NewsSunday October 23, 09:57 PM

Police have arrested a man who was reportedly asked to join the London suicide bombers.The capital's Metropolitan Police said anti-terrorist officers took a 27-year-old man into custody in the Dewsbury area of West Yorkshire.A police spokesman said the suspect was arrested on suspicion of the "commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism".

The arrest was in connection with the investigation into the July 7 bombings, that killed 52 commuters and four suicide attackers, and followed a report in the News of the World newspaper.

Officers have searched two addresses in the Dewsbury area, where suspected suicide bomber Mohammed Sidique Khan, 30, had lived.

The newspaper reported that a British Muslim said Khan had asked him to join the bombing mission.

The paper is thought to have passed an interview with the man, said to have had military training in Pakistan, to police.

He allegedly told the newspaper he met the other suicide bombers - Mohammad Sadique Khan, 30, Shehzad Tanweer, 22, Jermaine Lindsay, 19, and Hasib Hussain, 18 - in Dewsbury after he returned to the UK.

JANUARY 30th 2006

Police chief admits Menezes errors

The Press Association Monday January 30, 11:30 AM

Sir Ian Blair, Britain's most senior police chief, has admitted that Scotland Yard made a "serious mistake" in failing to correct misleading stories about the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, whose conduct in the aftermath of the shooting is the subject of an official inquiry, said his force "could have put the record straight" about a number of issues.

It failed to because officers were "transfixed" by the hunt for the four suspects involved in the alleged attempted bombings the previous day.

Early reports suggested that Mr de Menezes had been wearing bulky clothing and that he vaulted a ticket barrier at Stockwell Tube station and ran down an escalator to escape police firearms officers.

These were not contradicted until three weeks later when documents leaked to ITV News revealed that the 27-year-old had walked into the station at a normal pace and even paused to pick up a free newspaper. He was also clad only in a light denim jacket.

The family of the innocent Brazilian later wrote to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to complain that this misinformation had been allowed to circulate after his death. Their letter of complaint also named Sir Ian and accused him of having misled them and the public.

A second IPCC inquiry, known as Stockwell Two, is now examining those allegations, but in an interview Sir Ian acknowledged that Scotland Yard had made a "bad mistake" in not correcting the false reports.

His comments were made in an interview with The Guardian in November, but only published for the first time ahead of the first anniversary of his commissionership later this week.

Sir Ian told the newspaper: "Clearly the Met could have taken the decision on the Saturday when we recognised that we had killed an innocent man, we could have put the record straight. Although we did put the record straight by saying he wasn't connected, we didn't put the record straight about all the issues around him, jumping over barriers and heavy coats and so on...

"In a terrible way, the Met was transfixed on other things. It was transfixed on: where are these bombers? And therefore, in a dreadful way, we didn't see the significance of that. That was our mistake. It was. It was a bad mistake."

MAY 12 2006
The Parliamentary Report today on the 7th July London bomb attacks contains nothing that was not clear soon after the event. The security services were not negligent but they did not have resources to follow all leads. It takes time to build up personnel to cope with an expanding threat and it would have taken exceptional intelligence to discover the aims of the perpetrators when even their own family and friends had not the slightest idea of their plans. So to have a chance of stopping them, these men would have had to be tracked 24/7 simply because they had been identified (or some of them had) . That is not to say there was not a lack of realisation of the effect of the political situation on young Muslims. On the other hand it was and still is true that 'suicide bombing is not the norm in Europe'. But it is the exception, and that makes it if anything more difficult to deal with.

JULY 17th 2006
LONDON (Reuters) - Police officers who shot dead an innocent Brazilian in London last year in the mistaken belief he was a suicide bomber will not face charges, state prosecutors said on Monday.

Instead, in a move described by the victim's family as "shameful," the Metropolitan Police force will be prosecuted under health and safety laws, more usually used to resolve minor incidents in the workplace.

It is not shameful at all. There were mistakes made by at least 3 different people at different times, all of them innocent, though the soldier who went for a pee when he should have been watch with his eyes pealed set the ball rolling.  None of the other errors were a dereliction of duty, or negligence, or overreaching the law. The results were tragic, but bringing criminal charges against three or evn more people would have made sense or had the slightest chance of succeeding. All it would have done would have risked exposing security service methods. So lets have no more hypocritical rubbish from those who pretend they could ever make an innocent mistake that might have tragic consequences. These have happened throughout history and will happen again in the future. The 'Health and Safety' prosecution is in fact apt and can be a forum in which the legitimate concerns of the public about the conflicting needs of public and personal security can be addressed. If the public or the victim's family are too stupid to understand that, bad luck.


Police Deny De Menezes Charge

Sky News Tuesday September 19, 10:56 AM

The Metropolitan Police has pleaded not guilty to charges related to the shooting of a Brazilian man on the Tube. The force is being prosecuted under health and safety laws over the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, who was mistaken for a suicide bomber. The officers who shot the 27-year-old at Stockwell Tube station in south London are not facing charges.

A first hearing last month was adjourned at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court after police lawyers requested extra time.

The family of de Menezes has described the decision to prosecute police under health and safety laws as "ridiculous".

De Menezes was shot seven times in the head after he boarded a London underground train on July 22 last year.

Two weeks earlier, four suicide bombers had killed 52 commuters on three trains and a bus in London.

The Crown Prosecution Service said in July there was insufficient evidence to convict any individual police officer over de Menezes's death.

But it said "operational errors" indicated there had been a breach of duties owed to non-employees under the Health and Safety Act.


Of course the decision to prosecute the police, not individuals, under the Health and Safety laws is the only possible correct one. I am personally not a great supporter of modern helath and safety laws and would abolish many of them. Trade Unions are now an established and accepted way for employees to voluntarilty organise any defence against abuse and agree health and safety in the workplace and, the closed shop being outlawed, abuse of trade unions is greatly reduced. Human beings are delicate and vulnerable compared to alligators or rhinoceroi and quite right too. It encourages us to behave with caution and civility, and exposing our fragility is a mark of civilised society. It has been shown that cyclist's wearing helmets stand a far greater chance of being struck by motorists.
However, a Health and Safety Executive is necessary and some health and safety laws had to be established. In this particular case there needs to be an examination in hindsight to see if the balance was correctly struck between striving to protect the public as a whole and protecting individual members of the public against lethal error in the perfrmance of that duty. What steps were taken to ensure correct identification of any suspect before the point was reached where the decsion to use lethal force to STOP had to be taken? Evidently not enough, and the police service is liable for that, but what are the details and was there really any negligeance - or were the security services running to catch up all the way?

That the family of the deceased find the prosecution under Health & Safety laws 'ridiculous' is evidence of the great gulf between their understanding of civilization and ours in the UK. In their country, the police shoot hundreds every year without proper identification let alone conviction. They badly need some Health and Safety laws that would cover this and many other matters. But hundreds of years of different history in Brazil and Europe, reinforced by current lifetime experience, leave our minds with blocks of 'hard wiring' that simply do not match any more than the legal and financial systems of the UK use the same value systems and units as a Muslim Ayatollah.

Thursday, 19 October 2006, 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK


UK 'number one al-Qaeda target'

 Al-Qaeda has become more organised and sophisticated and has made Britain its top target, counter-terrorism officials have told the BBC.

Security sources say the situation has never been so grim, said BBC home affairs correspondent Margaret Gilmore.

They believe the network is now operating a cell structure in the UK - like the IRA did - and sees the 7 July bomb attacks "as just the beginning".

Each cell has a leader, a quartermaster dealing with weapons, and volunteers.

According to our correspondent, each cell works on separate, different plots, with masterminds controlling several different cells.

Those involved in the cells were often aware they were being followed and so were meeting in public spaces.

In addition, training is taking place in the UK and Pakistan.

"They set up groups a bit like Boy Scouts or Boys' Brigade... totally legitimate"
BBC home affairs correspondent Margaret Gilmore

It was thought that five years ago al-Qaeda was a number of "loosely-connected organisations" with common aims, but it is now more organised, she said.

Security officials are concerned the group is targeting universities and the community, and are "less worried" about mosques, she added.

The network is targeting men in their late teens and early 20s, according to our correspondent.

"They set up groups a bit like Boy Scouts or Boys' Brigade... totally legitimate.

"Those who are particularly interested they start giving religious indoctrination.

"Then those who are very interested they start introducing to political teachings, anti-Western rhetoric.

Bonding sessions

"And those who are still interested they then start giving technical training.

"They also start sending them on bonding sessions to things like white-water rafting.

"You end up with a small team of people - the cell is prepared.

"A lot of this is happening outside London," our correspondent added.

Joint regional offices of MI5 intelligence gatherers and anti-terrorist police officers have been set up in Manchester, Birmingham and Sheffield.

"The leadership of al-Qaeda does appear to ... be more coherent and organised than had been thought in recent years"
Gordon Corera
BBC security correspondent

BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera said the view was Britain was particularly vulnerable because "it may be easier for al-Qaeda to strike the UK than other targets".

He said these views were "based on activity they are actually seeing. Plots they're disrupting, trials which might be coming up soon".

"There is hard evidence behind it, rather than just theories," said our correspondent.

"That's based partly on what they are seeing, in terms of the types of activity, and partly based on the coincidence, that al-Qaeda's leadership is based in the tribal areas of Pakistan where there are links to the UK and flows of people going back and forwards.

"It makes it easier to make the UK a target than the other countries it might wish to target."

The network also appeared to be better organised, he continued.

"The leadership of al-Qaeda does appear to have been re-grouping and to be more coherent and organised than had been thought in recent years.

"The view is it clearly was an organised group before 9/11, but the campaign in Afghanistan disrupted that leadership very heavily.

"It is no longer about looking for a needle in a haystack"
Crispin Black
Security analyst

"But in recent years, particularly in the tribal areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the al-Qaeda leadership has been able to re-group and re-organise itself.

"In doing so it's able to open up channels of communication, contact, recruitment and planning around the world, and operate those in a more coherent fashion than maybe we were seeing three years' ago."

However, intelligence analyst Crispin Black said another attack in the UK "was not inevitable", citing the UK's "considerable successes against the IRA".

"We still have that expertise and training present within our military forces and intelligence," he said.

"It is no longer about looking for a needle in a haystack. We have some pretty good clues and information on where we should be looking."

A Home Office spokeswoman referred to a recent speech by Home Secretary John Reid in which he referred to the now "seamless threat" of radicalisation.

This was a challenge they expected to "last a generation", she said.

APRIL 30th 2007
Five get life over UK bomb plot

Five men have been jailed for life for a UK bomb plot linked to al-Qaeda that could have killed hundreds of people.

Jurors in the year-long Old Bailey trial heard of plans to target a shopping centre, nightclub and the gas network with a giant fertiliser bomb.

The judge, Sir Michael Astill, said the men, all British citizens, had "betrayed their country".

It has also been revealed some of the plotters met two of the 7 July London suicide bombers.

Mohammad Sidique Khan was spotted on four occasions in 2004 with at least one of the fertiliser bomb conspirators. At one point MI5 officers followed Khan back to his home in Leeds but no further action was taken.

In the wake of the convictions both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have both called for an independent inquiry into the 7 July link.

I was requested by Omar Khyam that they wanted to get trained and come back to the UK and do like, you know
Plotter Salahuddin Amin telling police about explosives training Amin speaks of plot

The call for an inquiry was echoed by Graham Foulkes, whose son David died in the 7 July attacks. He said an inquiry was needed so "lessons could be learned".

Later, in the House of Commons, the Home Secretary, John Reid, ruled out an inquiry, saying it would divert the efforts of those in the security services who were so busy countering the terrorist threat.

But he said a committee of MPs would analyse the lessons learned from the fertiliser bomb plot trial.

The new director general of MI5, Jonathan Evans, issued a statement in which he denied being "complacent" and added: "The attack on 7 July in London was a terrible event. The sense of disappointment, felt across the service, at not being able to prevent the attack (despite our efforts to prevent all such atrocities) will always be with us."

He added: "The Security Service will never have the capacity to investigate everyone who appears on the periphery of every operation."

This was not a group of youthful idealists. They were trained, dedicated, ruthless terrorists who were obviously planning to carry out an attack against the British public
Peter Clarke

Britain's top anti-terrorist policeman, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, said: "This was not a group of youthful idealists. They were trained, dedicated, ruthless terrorists who were obviously planning to carry out an attack against the British public."

Police smashed the plot in 2004 after MI5 had watched an Islamist extremist network with links across the world.

The link with 7 July was deliberately kept from the Old Bailey jury for fear of prejudicing their deliberations on the fertiliser bomb plot. The trial was one of the biggest and most expensive in British criminal history.

Al-Qaeda link

The fertiliser bomb plot investigation linked back to senior al-Qaeda figures in Pakistan and Afghanistan, including one who was detained by US forces in Iraq at the weekend.

Omar Khyam, 25, from Crawley, West Sussex, was found guilty of conspiring to cause explosions likely to endanger life between 1 January 2003 and 31 March 2004.

Also convicted were Waheed Mahmood, 34, and Jawad Akbar, 23, also of Crawley; Salahuddin Amin, 31, from Luton, Bedfordshire; Anthony Garcia, 24, of Barkingside, east London.

The judge told them: "You have betrayed this country that has given you every opportunity."

He also warned them: "All of you may never be released. It's not a foregone conclusion."

Two other men, Nabeel Hussain and Shujah Mahmood, were found not guilty.

The Old Bailey heard the plotters had come together over a number of years.

Bluewater shopping centre
Utilities network
Ministry of Sound nightclub
Football stadium

The men had started out sympathetic to Muslim causes around the world - but the key plotters decided that violence was the answer as they came together for secret military training camps in Pakistan.

Back in Britain, they discussed various schemes, including targeting the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent on a busy Saturday or the Ministry of Sound nightclub in central London.

They also talked of attacking the gas or electricity network and Prime Minister's Questions in Parliament.


The group had bought 600kg of ammonium nitrate from an agricultural merchants and kept it at a storage unit in Hanwell, west London.

This fertiliser was to be the key component in the massive bomb - similar to those used in other terrorism attacks around the world.

But unbeknown to the men, some of them were already on MI5's radar while, at the same time, staff at the storage unit tipped off police.

They replaced the ammonium nitrate with a harmless substance and kept the group under surveillance before swooping in a series of raids.

Key witness

The Old Bailey heard the defendants had at least two fellow conspirators.

3,644 witness statements taken
105 prosecution witnesses
Trial lasted for 13 months
Jury was out for record 27 days

One of them, an American called Mohammed Junaid Babar, admitted his role in the plot after being arrested by the FBI and became a vital prosecution witness.

The other was Mohammed Momin Khawaja, awaiting trial in Canada.

The jury deliberated for 27 days, a record in British criminal history.

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said the deal allowing Babar to testify was unprecedented in British courts.

Outside court a solicitor read out a statement on behalf of Nabeel Hussain. He said: " I have always maintained my innocence of the allegations against me. I have never been an extremist or believed in extremism... I am so glad this ordeal is over."

A special edition of Panorama, focusing on the failure of MI5 to follow up on Mohammad Sidique Khan after he was logged during the surveillance operation, will be broadcast at 1900BST on Monday.

The point commentators are missing is this: there are plenty of big fish in the terror war, but the ones who caused  the 7/7 explosions in London were, in my view, and as the security services have implied, insignificant and peripheral. They are sad, lonely, misguided and bumbling losers, as are the ones jailed today. That did not stop them causing devastating damage and that is the lesson we have learned. While watching the key players, we let slip through these sad suicides, the men who are conned into the kamikaze attacks. It could happen again unless we fund and train enough people to staff our security services. There were 2 accused who were found not guilty, and their lawyer Imran Khan should never have been labelled a terrorist, he just got 'caught up' in the affair. The truth is that if he got 'caught up' in the affair he had enough information to go to the police and pre-empt it, so no apology is due. Nor is a public enquiry called for. It would be utterly daft.

Did MI5 miss the London bomber?

By Peter Taylor
BBC Panorama

Britain's biggest terrorism trial has just ended with the conviction of men who conspired to build a massive homemade bomb. But with the lifting of reporting restrictions, Panorama reveals the truth about what MI5 really knew about the July 2005 London bombers.

The public has never been told the full story about the links between the fertiliser bomb plot, known as Operation Crevice, and two of the 7 July suicide bombers.

But was there an opportunity to identify them in advance? Did the security services make a serious mistake and was an opportunity missed? Panorama believes the evidence clearly indicates there was - but that it does not necessarily mean that the attacks could have been prevented.

The missed opportunity happened during an MI5 surveillance operation on 2 and 3 February 2004 - 17 months before the London bombings. The officers were watching Omar Khyam, the ringleader of the fertiliser bomb plot.

1: MI5 team watching Omar Khyam in Crawley spot him in a car with Khan and Shehzad Tanweer.
2: MI5 tails Khan and Tanweer after they leave Crawley. Officers photograph Khan at M1 Toddington Services, Bedfordshire.
3: Khan reaches West Yorkshire. Car seen parking outside family home in Dewsbury. Checks reveal car registered to Khan's wife. No further action taken.
They had been watching him Khyam for almost a year after he had first appeared on their radar in Luton as part of an investigation into suspected Al Qaeda connections in the UK.

By February 2004, they had stepped up their surveillance - but Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch were not yet involved as at the time it was a purely MI5 intelligence gathering operation.

On 2 February, MI5 officers noted two strangers talking to Khyam. They would later turn out to be Mohammed Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer - two of the London suicide bombers.

I have seen MI5's surveillance log - and what it records happened next. The details were never revealed in court because of reporting restrictions. According to the log, a Honda car, registration R480 CCA, was seen in Langley Parade, Crawley. Omar was in the passenger seat and the driver was Khan.

MI5 ran a check on ownership of the vehicle. The name meant nothing at the time. It was registered in the name of Khan's wife.

Although they did not know who he was, the officers followed the car after it left Crawley, not knowing where it was going. After Khyam was dropped off, Khan drove onto the M1 and headed north.

When it stopped for petrol at Toddington services, MI5's log states that photographs were taken of the passengers. MSK was covertly snapped in the vicinity of Burger King at the entrance to the services' refreshment area.

Was the photograph clear enough to identify him? The intelligence services say the quality was very poor. But other sources who have seen it told me that Khan was identifiable. Panorama asked to see the photograph, but the request was refused. We understand that one other photograph, said to be of marginally inferior quality, was subsequently taken of MSK going into an undisclosed internet café.

Followed to Leeds

According to MI5's log, officers followed the Honda for a further 150 miles to Leeds. It notes the addresses and locations where some of the passengers got out.

The Honda, with Khan at the wheel, was eventually seen parking out side his family home in Dewsbury. The log notes the precise address.

Within weeks, the investigation into Khyam had become a major operation, leading to arrests in Canada, the UK and Pakistan.

In June 2004, the intelligence services again checked out the car. This time, they found it had been re-registered in the name of 'Siddeque Khan'. Again, at the time, the name meant nothing.

In their investigation into the background to the 7 July London bombings, Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) gave MI5 a clean bill of health.

It confirmed that Khan and Tanweer had appeared on the radar of an earlier investigation - meaning Operation Crevice. But it concluded: "the decisions not to give greater investigative priority to these two individuals were understandable".

But the ISC was either never given the full details of the 2 February surveillance operation or was informed but chose to omit key facts - details which might have fuelled demands for the public or independent inquiry the government has resisted.

While the ISC's report was crafted to avoid prejudicing the Crevice trial, it could have alluded to the 2 February surveillance operation without linking it to Omar Khyam.

MI5 defence

MI5's position is that neither Khan nor Tanweer were under Security Service or police surveillance.

But Conservative shadow Home Secretary David Davis had a different view - and has called for a full independent inquiry.

"That clearly is not true," he told Panorama. "It's self evidently a surveillance operation. They're being followed, they're keeping somebody under observation, they're making a note of where they're going, they're presumably making a note of the car itself, and the times, and who's there.

"All those things amount to a surveillance operation. They let somebody to go off surveillance who subsequently turned out to be a suicide bomber."

More sightings

The Old Bailey heard that Khan and Tanweer were spotted with Khyam on three more occasions - although both the police and MI5 say they were still not identified by name.

1: 21 February: Khan logged getting into Omar Khyam's bugged car; Khan recorded asking Khyam if he is "a terrorist". Khan joins group discussion at house in Crawley, attended by the alleged detonator designer.
2: 28 February: Khan joins Khyam at 0900 for trip from Crawley to Wellingborough, Northants. Tanweer also in the car. At destination, they use internet café and then drive to Slough by 2300.
3: 23 March: Khan and Tanweer go to Khyam's Slough flat. Bugged conversation on light-hearted themes, but also discussions of fraud.
But the serious mistake that Panorama has identified is that at the time MI5 never informed West Yorkshire Special Branch about the surveillance operation that ended up in its patch.

It never told them about the Honda, its registration number, the name of its owner, the addresses and places where the passengers had got out or its final destination.

Nor did it show them the photograph of the 'stranger' covertly taken at Toddington services.

It never asked local West Yorkshire Police Special Branch officers if they knew anything about the individuals or the addresses and, if they didn't, to try and find out, given concerns about the cell they had been seen associating with.

There is however a tantalising hint of what the ISC knew amongst the conclusions to its report.

"The Security Service and Special Branches [need to] come together in a combined and coherent way to tackle the home grown threat," said its report. "We are concerned that more was not done sooner."

My service has never been complacent - the attack on London was a terrible event ... the sense of disappointment will always be with us.
Jonathan Evans, director general of MI5
The lesson was clearly learned. Today there are new Counter Terrorism Units manned jointly by MI5 and local anti-terrorist and Special Branch officers located in West Yorkshire, Manchester and Birmingham. Luton is expected to have one soon.

So why weren't the leads followed up?

Operation Crevice led to investigations into 55 suspects, with only 15 of them thought to be directly connected to the bomb plot. Khan was not one of these. One bugged conversation focused on fraudulent fund raising, possibly for Al Qaeda's coffers - but there was no indication Khan himself was planning to bomb the UK. The Security Service was looking at up to 50 terrorist networks in the UK.

The most pressing and potentially deadly plot, also uncovered in 2004 amid massive pressures on resources, led to the jailing of Dhiren Barot for 40 years last November for plotting mayhem in the UK.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, National Coordinator for Terrorist Investigations, told Panorama about the logistical challenge of running surveillance - explaining how resources are the crucial factor.

"An average surveillance team is perhaps 15 to 20 people strong," he said. "In order to keep one person under 24 hour surveillance you'll need a minimum two, perhaps three, surveillance teams for each person. Three surveillance teams could be anything up to 60 people."

Today, as the Crevice plotters face prison, it's believed there are over 200 networks still under investigation.

A genuine threat?

However, the agencies say there was another reason why Khan was not a priority target.

When he was subsequently spotted three times in the company of Omar, the bugged conversations indicated they were not talking about attacking the UK but about ripping off banks, companies and financial institutions.

According to Peter Clarke, the money was destined for Al Qaeda's coffers and the conversations indicated that Khan was planning to leave for Pakistan and possibly to fight in Afghanistan.

Indeed, in one conversation Khan, who was expecting to become a father, was worried about saying goodbye to his baby.

Could 7/7 have been stopped? Had MI5 brought West Yorkshire Special Branch into their confidence at the time, MSK could have been identified, watched, followed and fed into the wider intelligence picture over the following seventeen months before he launched the fatal attacks.

West Yorkshire police say the first they knew that MSK was the leader of the London bombers was after 52 people had died.

Panorama reporter: Peter Taylor
Producer: Howard Bradburn
Editor: Sandy Smith

JUNE 29th 2007
I am at a loss to appreciate the point of parking a car suspected of being dangerous in a place that requires the most important artery of central London to be closed while it is examined. Why not take it to the middle of Hyde Park and cordon off that area, leaving Park Lane traffic to circulate as normal? Haymarket could have been opened after that device had been made safe. The tactics being adopted in closing everything down is a huge incentive for people to cause trouble without even bothering to place workable devices in them. London has many areas where vehicles that are suspicious can be examined if they are already being moved or have been disarmed. I assume all this has been already thought of and these complaints dismisssed, but if the government wishes to have support from the public it would help if the policy of closing streets was explained. It is unlikely that such a level of disruption can be reached without causing casualties and probably fatalities as a result. I can't see how finding the person responsible will make the slightest difference unless it leads to the imprisonment of a master terrorist. following which such attacks would diminish. No history of this type of activity that I know of and no mathematical theory leads to such a conclusion being likely. Nevertheless it is an obligation to find out everything it is possible to know about those behind these attacks, so the fullest investigation is warranted if it leads to the identification of any group of people, visually and in any other way that might lead to preventing a future attack.

However, in my view thee two cars were intended to cause costly chaos in London far more than any serious attempt to kill a lot of people. While acknowledging the very great bravery of the men who disarmed these devices they were very poorly contrived and the execution was faulty. They unfortunately may have succeeded completely in their aim to sow chaos and confusion.

JUNE 30th

Brilliant work at Glasgow airport arresting the bombers there, but why then close the airport? The element of surprise there is gone for the bombers, security is at max, so open it up as soon as possible. They have got the culprits, the car could be filled with inert gas and foam and removed to a safe place.

JULY 3rd 2007
We are being told, as usual, that the people who carry out these attempted attacks are evil. It is time we understood that in most cases what we call terrorist attacks are carried out by people who are deeply damaged. Some have admittedly been programmed from birth in certain modes of religious belief which may lead to absolutism, fundamentalism and an inability to accept a diversity of views; but much of the violence that involves suicidal action is also the result of intense psychological injury. People whose friends and families have been eliminated or grievously wounded in Iraq, Palestine or Afghanistan, who have been told that the UK, US, UN and indeed all the Western nations are to blame, can reach a point where alienation is not evidence of evil any more than any living animal that has been tormented beyond endurance can be expected to behave reasonably. There are hundreds of western commentators who assured them before the campaigns to remove the Taliban or Saddam had even started that the motives of the west was based on nothing nothing but greed, the need for oil and opposition to Islam. Unless we get to understand the confusion and damage that invades the minds of those we call terrorists, we will not make much progress. Naturally there are also a great many violent, vain and deluded characters who fan the flames of pain and confusion for their own glorification; that is another, though intimately connected, matter.

JULY 4th 2007   This report from Associated Press gives an excellent summary of the current state of investigations.

UK police hunting more plot suspects

By DAVID RISING, Associated Press Writer 

Investigators worked Wednesday to untangle the ties between the eight suspects arrested in connection to the failed car bombing attacks in Britain and were hunting down others believed involved on the periphery of the plot.

British authorities have refused to release many details on the suspects, including whether they were on any watch lists, but have indicated they believe the plot may have links to al-Qaida.

On Wednesday, though, the Press Association news agency reported that some of the suspects had previously come to the attention of British security agencies.

While the information held on database did not alert authorities to the attacks, it did help police to round up suspects quickly, the agency reported, quoting unidentified government sources.

A senior U.S. counterterrorism official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said Tuesday that none of the eight suspects was on any American lists that identify potential terror suspects.

The eight people held include one doctor from Iraq and two from India. There is a physician from Lebanon and a Jordanian doctor and his medical assistant wife. Another doctor and a medical student are thought to be from the Middle East.

All employees of the United Kingdom's National Health Service, some worked together as colleagues at hospitals in England and Scotland, and experts and officials say the evidence points to the plot being hatched after they met in Britain, rather than overseas.

"To think that these guys were a sleeper cell and somehow were able to plan this operation from the different places they were, and then orchestrate being hired by the NHS so they could get to the UK, then get jobs in the same area — I think that's a planning impossibility," said Bob Ayres, a former U.S. intelligence officer now at London's Chatham House think tank.

"A much more likely scenario is they were here together, they discovered that they shared some common ideology, and then they decided to act on this while here in the UK," he said.

No one has been charged in the plot in which two car bombs failed to explode in central London early Friday and two men rammed a Jeep Cherokee loaded with gas cylinders into the entrance of Glasgow International Airport and set it on fire the following day.

The family of one suspect — Muhammad Haneef, a 27-year-old doctor from India arrested late Monday in Brisbane, Australia — professed his innocence.

"He has been detained unnecessarily. He is innocent," Qurat-ul-ain, Haneef's mother, told The Associated Press in the southern Indian city of Bangalore.

Officials in Australia, where Haneef worked at a hospital, have noted publicly that he had a one-way ticket when he was arrested at the airport.

Sumaiya, Haneef's sister, said Wednesday that he was coming to Bangalore from Australia to see his daughter who was born a week ago. Sumaiya uses one name.

"He called us before leaving (Australia). We came to know about his detention through media," Sumaiya said. "He is a responsible citizen of the country and the Indian government should help us get him back. His aim has been to be a good doctor."

Investigators believe the main plotters have been rounded up, though others involved on the periphery, including at least one British-born suspect, were still being hunted, a British government security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the details.

British-born Muslims behind the bloody 2005 London transit bombings and others in thwarted plots here have been linked to terror training camps and foreign radicals in Pakistan, and the official said Pakistan, India and several other nations were asked to check possible links with the suspects in the latest attacks.

The educational achievements of the suspects in the car bomb attempts is in sharp contrast to the men that carried out the deadly July 7 transit bombings two years ago. The ringleader of that attack, Mohammed Siddique Khan, had a degree in business studies, but with low marks, and his three fellow suicide bombers had little or no higher education.

In the current case, Haneef worked in 2005 at Halton Hospital near Liverpool in northern England, hospital spokesman Mark Shone said.

Another Indian doctor, aged 26, arrested late Saturday in Liverpool, worked at the same hospital, Shone confirmed, but refused to divulge his name.

A third suspect, Mohammed Jamil Asha, a 26-year-old doctor from Jordan of Palestinian heritage, was arrested Saturday with his wife, Marwa Asha, 27, who was identified in British media reports as a medical assistant. He worked at North Staffordshire Hospital, near the Midlands town of Newcastle-under-Lyme.

A doctor at Royal Alexandra Hospital in Glasgow, who refused to give his name, said he recognized Asha as a doctor who kept an office there — the same hospital where another suspect, Bilal Talal Abdul Samad Abdulla, worked.

According to friends of Abdulla's family in Iraq, the 27-year-old doctor came to Britain after graduating from medical school in Baghdad. He was a passenger in the Jeep Cherokee that rammed into the Glasgow airport.

The Jeep's driver — identified by staff at Royal Alexandra Hospital as a Lebanese doctor named Khalid Ahmed — was in critical condition at that hospital from burns suffered in the attack. Police would not confirm his identity.

Investigators believe the same men who parked the explosives-laden cars in London may have also driven the blazing SUV in Glasgow, the British security official said.

The final two suspects, ages 25 and 28, were arrested by police Sunday at Royal Alexandra Hospital. Staff said one was a medical student and the other a junior doctor, without giving their names. British media said they were from Saudi Arabia, but police refused to comment.


Associated Press writers Rob Harris in Runcorn, England; David Stringer in London; Ben McConville, in Glasgow, Scotland; Lara Jakes Jordan in Washington; and Shafika Mattar and Dale Gavlak in Amman, Jordan, contributed to this report.

JULY 09 2007

Three guilty of July 21 2005 bomb plot

ITN - 2pm BST

Three men have been found guilty of a plot to set off bombs on London's transport network on July 21, 2005.

Muktar Said Ibrahim, 29, Yassin Omar, 26, and Ramzi Mohammed, 25, have been convicted of conspiracy to murder.

The jury of nine women and three men at Woolwich Crown Court have yet to reach majority verdicts on the three remaining defendants in the trial.

The six were accused of taking part in the plot to detonate rucksack bombs exactly two weeks after the 7/7 attacks which killed 52 people.

The terror cell attempted to detonate hydrogen peroxide and chapatti flour bombs covered in shrapnel on tube trains and a bus.

Their murderous plan only failed at the last moment because of problems with the home-made explosives, hot weather, or mere "good fortune", Woolwich Crown Court heard.

On trial at Woolwich Crown Court are Ibrahim, of Stoke Newington, north London, Omar, of New Southgate, north London, Hussain Osman, 28, of no fixed address, Mohammed, of North Kensington, west London, Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, 34, of no fixed address, and Adel Yahya, 24, of High Road, Tottenham, north London.

Just three months after being granted a British passport, Ibrahim - the cell's "emir" or leader - travelled to Pakistan in December 2004 to learn how to carry out a terrorist attack.

He was there at exactly the same time as July 7 ring leader Mohammed Siddique Khan and his fellow suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer.

In April 2005, preparations for the July 21 plot began in earnest.

The terror cell began buying the first components of their home-made explosive devices, including 440 litres of hydrogen peroxide purchased at its highest commercially available concentration.

In New Southgate, north London, Omar's one-bedroom flat became the "bomb factory" where the men spent hours boiling the chemical to make it more readily explosive.

On July 21, Ibrahim, Omar and Mohammed met in the early hours at Mohammed's flat where they mixed, by hand, the peroxide with chapatti flour and stuck nuts and screws onto the plastic mixture containers to cause maximum injury.

The devices were rigged-up with a detonator and a battery and the three set out with their lethal load.

AUGUST 02 2007
The UK's top counter-terrorism officer deliberately misled his boss and the public over the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, a report has concluded.

That reads badly, but it is clear to anyone who has analysed the whole event that misinformation had got to the the Met's Commissioner, Sir Iain Blair and to the press by a variety of routes, not all of them either deliberate or accidental from start to finish. As the truth became apparent to Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman, Hayman himself had to establish not only what had gone wrong with the operation but what had gone wrong with the assembly of reports, some from public eyewitnesses and some from those on the job. Until he could do that, he had to leave the report of the 'facts' in their last known stage. Any other approach would have been a piecemeal mess of corrections that would have left the media and Sir Iain in a muddle that would have been impossible to deal with. So yes, Hayman left his boss in the dark, until light and objective facts could be produced. Even though he had discovered the first reports to reach the media were wrong, that did not mean to say he had a correct, coherent version to replace it with and explain the previous errors. Going to see a Chief Commissioner about to go on the air to the world, not just London, without anything coherent to tell him could not have appeared a viable course of action.

So yes, the man is guilty of not coming up with all the answers immediately, and yes, the media and the world would not wait so got the last known version. Welcome to the 21st Century.

NOVEMBER 1st 2007
The prosection under the Health and Safety Act was, as pointed out earlier, inevitable and legally correct.
There were 'catastroiphic errors', but short of having foreseen the operational requirements months and n some cases years earlier and having convinced the government to allocate the funds to recruit the personnel, and to install the necessary equipment, there is no obvious way this tragedy could have been definitely prevented. There is no point the Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, resigning unless there is a successor who can claim he could have done and can do better. There is no point in judging unprecedented events as if they were a routine occurrence that could have been prepared for. To understand this one it is necessary to look at the days, weeks and months leading up to it and the demands made on the police and security services. There were failings. It makes sense to look at them.

Met Police found guilty in Menezes trial

ITN - Thursday, November 1 03:07 pm

The Metropolitan Police has been convicted of breaching health and safety laws over the shooting of innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes.

The force has been fined fined £175,000 and ordered to pay £385,000 costs by trial judge Mr Justice Henriques.

Mr de Menezes, 27, died following a "catastrophic" series of errors in the operation which ended when he was shot seven times by specialist firearms officers at Stockwell Tube station after being mistaken for failed suicide bomber Hussain Osman.

Prosecutors at the Old Bailey set out 19 alleged failings in the police operation in the hours leading up to the shooting on July 22, 2005.

The jury convicted the force on the second day of its deliberations with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair in court to hear the verdict.

The force now faces an unlimited fine but has indicated it will appeal.

In a rider to the verdict, the jury cleared the officer in charge of the operation which led to the shooting, Cressida Dick of personal responsibility.

The foreman told the court: "In reaching this verdict the jury attaches no personal culpability to Commander Dick."

Ronald Thwaites QC, representing the Met, had told the jury Mr de Menezes was acting in an "aggressive and threatening manner" when challenged by officers.

But campaigners reacted angrily to the way police defended the case, accusing them of a "sickening" attempt to blacken Mr de Menezes's name.

There was also a bitter courtroom battle over prosecution claims that a composite image of the Brazilian victim and Osman, produced by the defence, had been doctored to make them look more alike.

The trial and investigation is estimated to have cost around £3.5 million in public money.



NOVEMBER 7th 2007
The calls for the Commissioner, Ian Blair, to resign are truly appalling. The come from the usual crowd of political whores* to whom I must now add David Cameron and Chris Huhne. In fact Cameron is coming over more and more as a quick thinking, fast talking salesman who hasn't a clue or a scruple in his makeup. I thought he was a nice guy, but if he is, he sure is a moron.

* I don't wish to insult whores, they have troubles enough of their own.

NOVEMBER 22nd 2007

I should bloody well hope so. It's a pity the 7 who voted against can't be sacked straight away, but don't you just love democracy...

Met chief survives confidence vote

Press Assoc.

Commissioner Sir Ian Blair has won a vote of confidence at a meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority.

The vote followed three turbulent weeks for the UK's most senior officer after his force was found guilty of health and safety failures at the Old Bailey.

The Metropolitan Police has been criticised for endangering the public after innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by armed officers in July 2005.

In the vote, 15 members supported Sir Ian, seven members voted against him and one person abstained.

Moments before the vote, Sir Ian insisted he was a "man of honour" and would have resigned if he believed it was necessary.

He said: "Although it has not been an easy experience, I welcome the fact we have had this motion and to my surprise I welcome the fact we have had it in public.

"I am grateful for what has been said. I have not enjoyed hearing all of it but what I hope now is that it ends months of speculation."

Speaking about recent newspaper coverage, he added: "I am a man of honour. If I believed what had happened in this case was appropriate for the resignation of the Commissioner, I would have done. I would not have offered my resignation. I would have just resigned.

"At the end of this, I am not a lame duck commissioner. I am not in the position of being in office but not in power.

"I'm in office, I will be in power with your help and what I really would hope is that all members of all parties will now seek ways to ensure we can work together as a service and an authority."

DECEMBER 11th 2007
Met chooses new anti-terror chief
The man who launched the surveillance operation that led to Jean Charles de Menezes's death has been appointed to the UK's top counter-terrorist role.

Cdr John McDowall will take over from Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke as national co-ordinator of terrorist investigations.

He will also lead the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism unit SO15.

Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said the £125,000-a-year job "was one of the most demanding posts in UK policing".

Sir Ian said the job was "hugely challenging", but Londoners should be "reassured" that Cdr McDowall had the knowledge and experience needed to do it.

Met Police Authority chair Len Duvall said Cdr McDowall was chosen for "his display of operation leadership".

Born in 1957, Cdr McDowall joined the Met in 1980. He has served as deputy to the national co-ordinator of terrorist investigations since January 2005.

He told the recent health and safety trial into Mr de Menezes death that he still thinks every day about what could have been done differently in that case.

DECEMBER 24th 2007
There cannot possibly be an argument, now that all the facts have been revealed, for pinning the failures in the case of Charles de Menezes on any one senior officer; so the complaint of the Brazilian government is absurd, as is that of the Menezes family in the same vein. It was a tragic accident, but compensation is the most that is in order.

Brazil unhappy at Menezes ruling
Brazil's government has expressed its "unhappiness" that no senior police officers involved in Jean Charles de Menezes's shooting will be disciplined.

The Brazilian electrician was shot dead in 2005 by police who mistook him for a terrorist after the London bombings.

The independent police watchdog had cleared 11 of the 15 officers involved, and has now ruled the other four senior officers will face no further action.

They included commanding officer Deputy Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick.

A Brazilian government statement said: "The foreign ministry expresses its unhappiness with the decision of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) which absolves four senior officers involved in the death of the Brazilian citizen Jean Charles de Menezes."

Sadly we have come to expect this from the IPCC - they have done nothing to hold the police to account for the killing of an innocent man
Vivian Figuierdo

BBC correspondent Tim Hirsch in Sao Paulo said the statement went on to say that the government would continue to support Mr de Menezes's family, and to offer them every conceivable assistance.

Mr de Menezes, 27, was shot seven times in the head in Stockwell Tube underground station in London, two weeks after the London bombings in July 2005 that killed 52 people.

Mr de Menezes's cousin said the IPCC decision was "a scandal" and should have been delayed until after the inquest.

Vivian Figuierdo said: "It is entirely premature for the IPCC to do this before an inquest where vital evidence about the actions of these officers could come to light.

"Sadly we have come to expect this from the IPCC - they have done nothing to hold the police to account for the killing of an innocent man."

'No personal culpability'

Ms Dick was the commanding officer on 22 July 2005 when Mr de Menezes was killed.

The three other senior officers were identified as Silver, Trojan 84 and Trojan 80.

In November, the Met Police force was found guilty of breaching health and safety laws over the shooting.

But the Old Bailey jury added a rider to its verdict to say that Ms Dick bore "no personal culpability" for what went wrong.

The IPCC considered whether she was responsible for failures in the planning or management of the operation that amounted to a disciplinary offence, but decided she was not.

In a statement, it said: "The IPCC cannot foresee any circumstances in which new evidence might emerge which would cause any disciplinary tribunal to disregard the jury's rider."

The watchdog said that as the responsibilities of Ms Dick and the other three officers were "intertwined", it could not see how a tribunal could attach personal blame to them but not to her.

A Met Police spokesman said the shooting was "a matter of deep regret", but added: "We are pleased by this move forward and for these officers and their families who have faced much uncertainty."

MARCH 6th 2008
The July 21 bombings led to the conviction of four men. Important evidence came from a late confession by one of the accused.
The others are appealing. If as they claim their bombings were a hoax, they deserve a different conviction but hardly a lesser sentence. In any case they will have difficulty in rebutting the other evidence leading to the original verdict. If there are technical flaws in the trial I suppose it may lead to another.

21 July bomb plotters seek appeal
Four men found guilty of planning the failed 21 July bombings in London are seeking permission to appeal against their convictions.

Muktar Said Ibrahim, Yassin Omar, Ramzi Mohammed and Hussain Osman will give evidence via video link from prison.

They are serving sentences of at least 40 years each for conspiracy to murder.

The men tried to detonate explosives on three Tube trains and a bus, two weeks after 52 people were killed in similar attacks. But the bombs did not go off.

The case, which is expected to last two days, is being heard by Sir Igor Judge, Mr Justice Forbes and Mr Justice Mackay at the Court of Appeal's criminal division.

'Elaborate hoax'

George Carter-Stephenson QC, for Ibrahim - who was said to be the ringleader of the conspiracy, said there were two grounds for appeal.

He said the trial judge had "erred in law" with regard to Ibrahim's right to legal advice and representation in his "safety" interviews with police - emergency interviews conducted on the grounds of public safety.

He also argued the judge "erred in law" when he ruled Ibrahim's lawyer could not ask questions or call evidence about a late confession from his co-accused Hussain Omar.

Mr Carter-Stephenson said the four men had maintained the 21 July events were "an elaborate hoax designed to protest against and draw attention to Britain's role in the attack upon and occupation of Iraq".

He said Ibrahim argued the explosive devices, which were carried in rucksacks, had been made to look realistic, but had flaws deliberately built into them "to ensure that the main charge of each of those devices would not detonate".

On 21 July 2005, the four men tried to detonate rucksacks carrying explosives on three London Underground trains at Shepherd's Bush, Oval and Warren Street station - as well as a bus in Hackney Road. None of the devices exploded.

It came two weeks after the 7 July bombings on three Tube trains and a bus which killed 52 people and injured more than 770. The four bombers were also killed.

A fifth man, Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, who admitted conspiracy to cause explosions and was jailed in November for 33 years, will seek permission to appeal against his sentence. His case is expected to be heard on Thursday.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/03/05 13:16:28 GMT

SEPTEMBER 26th 2008
The inquest into the Menezes shooting is now underway. It is easy to forget the speed of events at the time, which may explain why all surveillance officers did not have the best available picture of the real suspect he was mistaken for.

Menezes officers 'had no photo'

Some of the police staking out the home of Jean Charles de Menezes did not have a picture of the real suspect they were looking for, an inquest has heard.

Several surveillance officers watching Mr de Menezes' London flat saw only a poor image of would-be bomber Hussain Osman at a briefing, jurors were told.

Michael Mansfield QC said better images existed but had not been used.

Mr de Menezes, 27, was shot dead in July 2005 by police in London who mistook him for Osman.

Mr Mansfield, who represents the de Menezes family, told the hearing how surveillance officers were shown a passport-style picture of Osman recovered from a gym card found in his unexploded rucksack after the 21 July attempted suicide bombings.

Three other torn-up images of Osman and his wife were also found, he said.


Mr de Menezes was killed when he boarded a train at Stockwell Tube station in south London after firearms officers mistook him for Osman the day after Osman and three other men had failed in their bombing attempts.

Mr Mansfield went on to question deputy assistant commissioner John McDowall, who was responsible for developing the strategy to capture the men behind the attempted 21 July attacks.


"Were you aware that, in fact, some of them were out and about on patrol as it were, as surveillance, without a photograph at all. Do you know that?"

Mr McDowall replied: "No, I was not aware of that."

Mr Mansfield continued: "I mean, that does not help does it, when you know about the difficulties of positive identification, if you do not even have a copy of the photograph with you and you have only seen it back at a briefing?

"That is not exactly best practice, is it?"

Mr McDowall replied: "No, sir, no."


Mr Mansfield went on to accuse Mr McDowell of a series of failings, including taking strategic decisions "in a vacuum" without considering what could be achieved by firearms and surveillance colleagues.

He also said officers watching the Scotia Road flats had not been told clearly what do do if anyone emerged.

I think, there probably are things that I could have done but for whatever reason at that time I did not think of it
John McDowall Met Police deputy assistant commissioner

Mr Mansfield asked: "Has that ever occurred to you that, in fact, there are omissions by you that really, had you followed up - and a large number of things - the whole scenario might have been different?"

Mr McDowall responded: "I do not accept that. I think that, with benefit of hindsight, one does look back at what one has or has not done and, clearly, I think, there probably are things that I could have done but for whatever reason at that time I did not think of it."

But he said there were "certain aspects" that could have been done differently when preparing the manhunt strategy.

'Split-second decision'

Mr McDowall went on to tell the courtroom at the Oval cricket ground that while he hoped it would not happen again, it was "entirely feasible" a similar tragedy could occur "just with the way circumstances unravel themselves".

On Monday - the first day of the 12-week inquest into Mr de Menezes' death - jurors were told firearms officers made a split-second decision to kill him.

The two firearms officers - identified only as Charlie Two and Charlie 12 - will give evidence in public for the first time later in the inquest.

The jury will consider whether or not Mr de Menezes was unlawfully killed.

There have been five inquiries relating to the death and its aftermath, including a criminal trial.

In 2007, an Old Bailey jury found the Metropolitan Police guilty of breaching health and safety laws, after hearing about the events leading up to Mr de Menezes being shot.

MAY 6th 2011
The 7/7 Bombing Inquest is completed.

I don't quite agree with all the conclusions
Here are the facts, contrary (in places) to the findings of Lady Justice Hallett.

1. MI5 screwed up. You win some, you lose some. They lost that one and it was their fault. They have to be allowed some, as pussy-footing around in a multicultural society where you have to use double-agents is incompatible with effective security in a liberal democracy. They will make more mistakes because of this but, as the lady says, they are doing their best.

2. The emergency services were of the standard to be expected at the time: i.e. pretty well incapable of doing more than they did. of overcoming the traffic and communication problems which were perfectly obvious but had no 'supremo' capable of getting them up to date, for the usual reason that prevent the UK from doing anything that could be done in e.g. France.

3. Yes, there were some lives that could have been 'saved' if help had got to them earlier, but there is no point in attributing blame. Any individuals who performed in a second-rate manner will be well aware and that will be their own punishment. Those without the wits or initiative to have done any better are best left alone too. The heroes have been praised. Enough said.

4. The people who lost 'loved ones' (what an appalling phrase that is) should just get over it. We live in a dangerous world. There is no other possible kind world, though the dangers change. It also has many other wonderful attributes, which we should try to foster and enhance. It was good to see the woman being interviewed who lost her child was not rejoicing in Bin Laden's death, but realised he got what was coming to him. Of course he should have been arrested by Pakistan and sent for trial, but since that was never going to happen, the social contract was enforced by another power. The important thing was that it was enforced. Had it not been, the painful history of our planet would have been tending toward the meaningless.