Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Legal Challenge to Government as Pressure Grows for Independent 7/7 Inquiry

Today I will go to the Home Office at noon with a small but representative group of bereaved families and survivors of 7/7 and serve the Home Secretary a legal letter. It is a letter before action. It outlines the legal case for an inquiry under the European Convention on Human Rights article 2, and states that we are prepared to go to a Judicial Review to challenge the Government on their continuing failure to hold an inquiry. We have been immeasurably helped by Oury Clark solicitors acting pro-bono, and by Edward Fitzgerald QC. We have given up many hours over many months to work towards this point, and it has been exhausting and painful work.

We are not asking for money, we are not ''suing'' the Government for damages, we are not vindictively trying to apportion blame, or make people lose their jobs. We are simply doing what we have always done since the bombs went off; flagging up that we believe such an inquiry is essential to save lives and spare suffering in the future and to restore public trust, and to show that lessons have been learned, particularly with regard to communication between agencies and identification of threats, that will help thousands of people be safer in future.

The London Assembly will soon release a report following the 7 July Review at the London Assembly, which looked at the response AFTER the bombings. Much good work has been done to learn lessons after the GLA scrutiny, whuich remains the only public investigation of some of the facts pertaining to the bombs and used testimony of many people involved and affected by the aftermath of 7/7. Richard Barnes, who chaired the 7 July Review Committee backs our calls for an inquiry, and has always said it was never intended to be a subsitute for an independent inquiry. The calls for an inquiry have also been backed by the Tories and the Lib Dems in Parliament.


Now we, whose lives were so affected by 7/7, want to someone independent to look at what happened BEFORE the bombs exploded. Someone with the power to compel witnesses and examine evidence and make recommendations.We particularly want to know what was known about the 4 bombers and their behaviour and associates in the months and years leading up to the blasts.


We know that the ISC is neither independent, being appointed by the PM, nor does it even have an independent investigator anymore.


We know the report they made is full of ommissions and inaccuracies - and that's being charitable. The Official Narrative, the account of the bombs, is also full of inaccuracies. The recent Operation Crevice trial showed us some of the extent to which the authorities knew about the 7/7 bombers, bugging and taping two of them having 4 meetings with men who were soon to be arrested for their plot to blow up the UK public with a giant fertiliser bomb - and later jailed for life. .

To state[carefully, oh, so carefully], as the ISC do

'' We have been told in evidence that none of the individuals involved inthe 7 July attacks had been identified, ( that is, named and listed) as potential terrorist threats prior to July...''

is ridiculous.The lead 7/7 bomber, Siddique Khan, was followed to his own house, in his own car! He and his main accomplice were photographed chatting about jihad with watched terrorists, and their movements here and abroad were known. As soon as the lead bomber's ID was found, deliberately left at 3 of the sites on 7/7, as his calling card, and run through the police database, he was ''found to have links to international terrorism'', we were told at a private meeting with the police. That link was made on 8th July 2005, for heaven's sake. 24 hours after the bombs went off. How can the ISC conduct a second report into their own failures? That is not an independent investigation, nor an impartial one.

Not everyone who is a Claimant on the letter before action wanted their name released to the public, because of the attention this brings, which can be difficult to deal with. However, the following have released their names and some of them have released details of how they were affected on 7/7/05

Danny Biddle, survivor, Edgware Rd. Lost both legs, eye, spleen
Nader Mozzaka, bereaved. Nader's wife, Nazy, died at Kings Cross
Graham Foulkes, bereaved. Graham's son, David, died at Edgware Rd
Rob Webb, bereaved. Rob's sister, laura, died at Edgware Rd
Paul Mitchell, survivor. Paul lost part of his leg and had serious hearing injuries at Kings Cross
Thelma Stober, survivor. Thelma lost her left leg and had other serious back injuries at Aldgate
Kirsty Morrison, survivor, King's Cross. Kirsty developed debililtating PTSD.
Elizabeth Alderton, survivor, Aldgate
Jacqui Putnam, survivor, Edgware Rd
Ros Morley, bereaved. Ros's husband Colin died at Edgware Rd
Lesley Ratcliff, survivor, King's Cross
Michael Henning, survivor, Aldgate. Michael had facial injuries and developed PTSD
Judy Mallinson. Judy's husband, Ross, suffered serious head injuries.
John Tulloch, survivor, Edgware Rd. John suffered severe head injuries
Ema Plunkett, survivor, Tavistock Square
Elizabeth Kenworthy, Aldgate. Survivor and first responder
David Gould, bereaved. David's step-daughter, Helen, died at King's Cross
Angela Iouannou, survivor, King's Cross
Fiona Crosbie, survivor, King's Cross
Mark Elding, survivor, Tavistock Square
Andy Brown, survivor, Aldgate. Andy lost both legs in the explosion.
Janine Mitchell. Janine's husband Paul was seriously injured at King's Cross
Janne Palthe, survivor, Edgware Rd
Thomas Ikemi, bereaved. Thomas cousin, Anthony, was killed in Tavistock Sq
Ross Mallinson, survivor. Ross suffered serious head injuries at Aldgate
Sarah Stow, survivor, Tavistock Sq
Tim Coulson, survivor, Edgware Rd
Rachel North, survivor, King's Cross


Graham Foulkes, whose son David Foulkes, 22, was murdered at Edgware Rd said:

"We were very disappointed that the Government rejected our call for an independent enquiry. We believe that our country can only benefit from an independent investigation into the largest ever terrorist attack on mainland Britain."

He continued:

"There have been reports into the bombings. None of these have been independent. And as time has gone on it has become obvious that much of what we were told was untrue. For instance, we have gone from being told that the bombers were unknown to the authorities ("clean skins", as Charles Clarke, the then Home Secretary said in the wake of the bombings) to finding out through the "Crevice" trial that at least two of the bombers were known prior to July 7 th 2005 and that one of them, Mohammed Siddique Khan (the Edgware Road bomber) had been followed home by the authorities."

This concern has been supported by the Greater London Assembly who, on May 28 th 2007, passed a motion calling for an independent inquiry following the conviction of the Crevice Defendants "given the conflicting accounts of what happened in the months leading up to 7th July 2005".

The legal case for an enquiry rests on Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This requires the state to protect life and to undertake an independent and effective investigation of the issue if the article is breached. Even if the requirement to protect life was not breached, the Article allows for an enquiry because of the obvious need for public protection.
Rob Webb, whose sister Laura Webb, 29 was murdered at Edgware Rd said:

"The drip feed of information since the attacks probably doesn't give the whole story. But it is now clear that the security services knew far more about the bombers and the possibility of an attack than we had originally been led to believe. So the state looks to have breached its duty to protect life. We all – Government, Security Services, survivors, bereaved and of course the public at large, who remain at risk of terrorist plots, need to learn all we can about the 7/7 attacks. We need to know what could have been done to help prevent them and so help prevent innocent people from suffering the fate of all those who were caught up in the awful events of that day in July 2005."

Should the Government once again turn down the request for an independent investigation, the signatories of the letter will seek a Judicial Review into the decision.

Rob concluded:

"We don't wish to take our Government to Court. But we need to ensure that everything is done to prevent further attacks. We believe that an Independent investigation will help do that, which is why we are prepared to go to Court to ensure that one happens."

Petition for an inquiry here .
Write to your MP

Graham and Rob and others will be our spokesmen today. I am proud to stand silently with them, and the others in the group, and would like to thank everyone who has helped for their invaluable support.

One last thing. The Inquiries Act 2005. Despite provocation, I have not commented on this before now because it was strategically unwise to do so. It is my personal opinion (and the opinion of some others in the group, as well as many members of the Judiciary and Amnesty International), that this pernicious piece of legislation will make it very difficult to have a truly independent inquiry. But we will cross that bridge when we come to it; at the moment, we just want a proper response from the new Government, whom we are hopeful will listen to us, look at our case and do the right thing, after two long and painful years.

Wish us luck; we need it.

UPDATE:
Coverage: Lead story on BBC Breakfast London news, Graham and other spokespeople have just done BBC London radio, Sky, BBC News, BBC News 24, C4 lunchtime news, also Top story in Mirror, Reuters, South Wales Echo
Bloggers: Chicken Yogurt, Bloggerheads, Prisoner'sVoice , Ministry of Truth , Netherworld,
SepticIsle , Blairwatch
Thanks guys.

more soon...

late at night: Guardian website and a load of stuff via Press Association that I can't link tonight as my net connection is d-e-a-d s-l-o-w. But I know we were in Japan, Croatia, Australia and the Washingdon Post, & more.

Thursday: Guardian newspaper page 6 today, The Lawyer, Gulf News
C4 News website, Metro

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16 Comments:

Blogger Payasoru said...

I certainly wish you every success in this effort. I suspect though that where 7/7 is concerned we may find that things have not changed as much post-Blair as we would have hoped.

August 15, 2007 9:44 am  
Blogger Graham the Funky Aardvark said...

I wish you all good luck, and strong hearts and minds

August 15, 2007 9:52 am  
Blogger The Poet Laura-eate said...

May you achieve your aims!

I think lessons should always be learned from major tragedies and happenings if at all possible.

Even more importantly lessons should be remembered after learning, with whatever reasonable preventative measures implemented.

Not that I see our environmental agency in much hurry to get the river dredgers out after the recent flooding!

August 15, 2007 11:49 am  
Blogger Helen G said...

Hoping for the best...
Thinking of you all
love
Helen

August 15, 2007 11:50 am  
Blogger Kris said...

it sounds like your QC has an interesting argument. Please let us know when the JR will be heard.

August 15, 2007 12:18 pm  
Blogger Buenaventura Durruti said...

Good luck!

August 15, 2007 1:02 pm  
Blogger CuriousHamster said...

It is a disgrace that the government's refusal to order a proper independent inquiry has meant that you needed to take this step. It is clearly essential to yourselves and to the country at large that we achieve as full an understanding of these attacks as is possible.

Good luck. I wish you all every success in this effort.

August 15, 2007 1:34 pm  
Blogger Brennig said...

Luck!

Lots and lots of it.

The logic in what you seek is as blindingly obvious to me as it appears not to be to the last government. I only hope the new government see things with clearer vision.

p.s. am reading your book and will shortly write a review.

August 15, 2007 2:30 pm  
Blogger TheTruthMan said...

I send you and your fellow signatories my very best wishes in your endeavours.

Good luck!

August 15, 2007 5:31 pm  
Blogger Holly Finch said...

great work guys...well done...and THANK YOU!
hx

August 15, 2007 7:55 pm  
Blogger Davide Simonetti said...

Hi Rachel,

very interesting news. I'll post something on this tonight.

Best of luck with this legal challenge. I hope it makes a difference.

August 15, 2007 7:57 pm  
Blogger Bridget Dunne said...

On the issue of a Public Inquiry into 7/7 under the terms of the Inquiries Act 2005:

Channel 4: 7/7 and the Public Inquiry dilemma

August 16, 2007 1:29 pm  
Blogger Cranky said...

I know the sister-in-law of one of the women who pushed for the 9/11 Commission. I think it is the right idea.

I am wondering if there is a way to conduct the inquiry in such a fashion to avoid the lying, stonewalling and just plain b.s. that went on over here. Too bad you can't hook them up to lie detectors during testimony. How about lie detectors that deliver a mild electric shock each time you lie under oath (OK, OK, I'm getting carried away now - it's a lovely thought though).

Anyway, good luck and give 'em hell.

August 16, 2007 3:50 pm  
Blogger Josephine said...

Very best of luck with this Rachel. Applaud your determination. Keep on keeping on honey :-)

August 16, 2007 11:44 pm  
Blogger Jason said...

I've never believed you were part of a shadowy conspiracy, Rachel, but were set upon by persons involved in a disinformation campaign to smear anyone who has gotten too close to the truth. They do the same thing in America regarding 9/11, acting like neanderthals at ground zero on the anniversary of our "attacks" to make the Truth Movement look bad.

Two things for small consideration:
1... Peter Power - Managing Director of Visor Consultants ( a private security firm which ran the simultanious drills which occured at the exact same time/place as your tragic J7 "attacks") - in an interview with Radio 5 said:

"...at half-past nine this morning we were actually running an exercise for, er, over, a company of over a thousand people in London based on simultaneous bombs going off precisely at the railway stations where it happened this morning, so I still have the hairs on the back of my neck standing upright!"

2... On the bus attack, photographs clearly show a Kingstar van astride the Route 30 bus (rerouted through Tavistock Sq.). A quick Google search ... http://www.kingstar.co.uk/index.html ... shows that Kingstar specializes in controlled demolitions.

That is quite unique considering the Tavistock Institute has been involved in nearly - if not more - dodgy behaviour than our own CIA...

That said, I'm sorry all of you had to go through such a terrible ordeal. Anyone with a modicrum of sense wouldn't believe you were involved... I believe you were attacked by bad folks who are trying to make the rest of us look bad, thereby deserving no attention and complete dismissal.


I applaud your efforts, just remember, like they say, "Don't believe everything you read." Best of luck!

August 19, 2007 5:05 am  
Anonymous ftfgm said...

An inquiry would be a waste of time, money and vital resources. I believe you are doing this for the right reasons but I firmly believe you to be wrong.

August 20, 2007 8:18 pm  

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