Saturday, June 24, 2006

The information storm

Every time I say I am going to park it for a bit, for the sake of my health and personal life, the whole damn 7/7 thing, I remember why I can't, and won't, stop campaigning for a proper independent inquiry into 7/7; there is so still much to come out. And now it is coming out. And more will come out soon. It won't stop. We won't stop.

It is an information storm, and amidst the headlines and the theories, there is truth and there is speculation and there is falsehood. And we desperately need a proper independent inquiry to sort out the muddle. Because it becomes clearer and clearer that the bombings that killed 52 and injured 700 last summer could have been stopped, and that the lessons that need to be learned are not being publicly shown to be learned, and that the official accounts are inconsistent and contradictory.

And to me, an insult and a whitewash.

So...we have the Times claim's earlier this week, that the US issued warnings about Khan, lead 7/7 bomber in 2003, which are later refuted as being ''the wrong Khan'' by the Guardian. Then today in the Times 'US police claim terror leaders Sidique Khan was in their sights two years before 7/7'.

This week I was sent a review copy of The London Bombings An Independent Inquiry by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, reviewed here with other 7/7 books in the Sunday Times, (and which will be reviewed by me shortly, when I have finished it.) Broadly Nafeez argues that there are clear signs of co-operation between Britain and the US and Islamist groups in Central Asia, that there are links between UK intelligemce and terrorist based in Britain, and that the attacks in New York and in London were widely predicted consequences of the West's global strategy.

Now, today's Guardian. An IT expert tells of how he tried to warn of the religious racism, the calls for jihad against the West, the embracing of conspiracy theories and anti- Western propoganda, how he warned police, and provided evidence in 2003 of activity amongst Muslim youths he found sickening. The calls for ''death to those who insult Islam''. It is explosive stuff.

UPDATE: BBC on this story. David Davis, Shadow Home Secretary reiterates calls for a proper independent inquiry. Well, quite.

I can hear the voices starting up already. ''Ah, you wishy washy liberals, now you will see the true extent of the threat. This is why we are in a new war in a new world, and this is why we must have new laws, biometric ID cards, detention without charge, new powers of arrest and surveillance...''

No. Making political capital out of terror is not a good thing. Terror is about just that, instilling terror and fear, and whilst I expect terrorists to try to attack my civil liberties, I do not expect my democratically-elected government to do the same. Not whilst there are already perfectly serviceable laws to protect us from terrorism and to arrest and charge those who plot murder and mayhem and treason and fraud and spread hate-filled propoganda. (Terrorism Act 2000). We just need the police and the security services to act on them properly.

Under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 the UK government has detained more than 7000 people. Most have been released without charge. Civil liberties group Liberty has said that ''Current anti- terror laws are being used to quell peaceful protest, to detain foreign nationals without trial, and are fostering discrimination against the Muslim community in Britain.

''Meanwhile, unscruplous operatives with documented and often admitted, even widely broadcast connections to al-Qaeda, who certainly do fall under UK anti-terror legislation have been permitted to continue their actions unsanctioned'' argues Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, The London Bombings An Indepenedent Inquiry, p.93. And it seems that he is right.

There has been a catastrophic failure of intelligence, and that is clear. The Intelligence and Security Committee report and the Narrative leave too many questions unanswered. Let's look at just one point to illustrate this.

It seems that the security services were practically blind to the prospect of suicide bombings on UK soil. Hello? The police have had Operation Kratos shoot-to-kill policy running for some years - it is specifically to deal with the situation of officers confronting suicide bombers in urban areas. Simultaneous attacks on London's transport system had been anticipated: re-read London Mayor Ken Livingstone's speech on 7th July.

Ken's speech...

''This was a cowardly attack, which has resulted in injury and loss of life. Our thoughts are with everyone who has been injured, or lost loved ones. I want to thank the emergency services for the way they have responded. Following the al-Qaeda attacks on September 11 in America we conducted a series of exercises in London in order to be prepared for just such an attack. One of the exercises undertaken by the government, my office and the emergency and security services was based on the possibility of multiple explosions on the transport system during the Friday rush hour. The plan that came out of that exercise is being executed today, with remarkable efficiency and courage, and I praise those staff who are involved...''

The ISC report says ''Although improved, collaboration between agencies such as MI5, MI6 and the police must improve further.''

You don't flipping well say, sheesh.

The more we find out, about how the security services let home-grown terrorism with links to international terrorism flourish with impunity on our soil, despite the warnings, and the more we find out about the disconnect between the police and the security services, meaning warnings such as those described as having been given by the computer technician in today's Guardian are ignored and not followed up, the arrogance that assumed suicide terrorism was something that happened in other lands, the more I and others will bang on and on and on about getting a proper independent inquiry, not this insulting narrative and don't-worry-your-little-heads-about it-we're not-to-blame-just-give-us-more resources report from the unaccountable security services.

The security services are already compromised by the clear politicisation of intelligence, as we found out through the ''dodgy dossier'' and the ''sexing-up'' of intelligence to justify the war in Iraq. Now we wonder what the hell else they are trying to conceal.

There is not, I think, a conspiracy. But there are cock-ups and cover-ups and political games being played at the highest level, and it is not tolerable when there are lives at stake.

Tomorrow, and on Monday, you will read in the papers of how one of the victims of 7th July is still in hospital, and of his fight for compensation and for an proper inquiry. Against this backdrop of obfuscation and cover-up, of blame-shifting, and refusal to face up to lessons that urgently must be learned, since the answers are written in the blood of innocents, the refusal to hold a proper inquiry shames the government, shames the security services, and shames us all, while we let it continue. Tomorrow and next week, you will read and see more news on the emerging picture of police missing clues, agencies not communicating with each other, and the calls from the public for a proper inquiry will grow louder and louder.

This is not about 'closure' or' therapy': it is not in fact helping me 'get over' 7th July. Do me a favour. This is not about politics or blame either, if those who made mistakes are the best placed to put them right, let them stay and do so, I say. This is simply about learning lessons, sparing suffering, saving lives. I could not stop the bombers hurting and killing people a year ago. I can do what I can to stop them now. I ask you to join me, and others, who ask for a proper inquiry. If many speak, then they will have to listen.

Petition here, write to your MP here.
Thank you.


UPDATE: Davide ( a blog well worth subscribing to, if you haven't already)


Blogger Davide Simonetti said...

Hi Rachel,

I just read the Guardian article, and went through a range of emotions from curiosity to shock and now anger. How dare the ISC say "there were no culpable failures by the security and intelligence Agencies". I shall be writing a post on this as soon as I have calmed down a bit.

BTW your post on this is excellent.


June 24, 2006 1:27 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thanks Davide.

Wait for tomorrow...

and next week, it is only going to get worse.

June 24, 2006 1:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But you can never have a "public" enquiry into secret service matters. And if you have part of it 'in camera' and the subsequent report states that by and large all is well, no one will believe *that*, either.

June 24, 2006 3:15 pm  
Blogger Davide Simonetti said...

Thanks for the link :)

June 24, 2006 7:23 pm  
Blogger septicisle said...

There's another article in the Guardian again today with the FBI dismissing the "ban" on Siddique Khan.,,1804981,00.html

June 24, 2006 8:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Have a look at Northern Ireland.

Recent revalations suggest that every single Loyalist paramilitary outfit was ridded with people claiming to be working for MI5 et al. McGuiness is suspected of being an agent.

British Intelligence has a long history of taking on just about anyone as an agent - and then kidding themselves that they are truly working for them.

My guess is that they thought that a) that's how these people talk (liberal racism), b) it isn't serious and c) we have lots of agents listening to all of this.

Including, my guess is, Capt. Hook himself.

The anon

June 25, 2006 5:59 pm  

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