Terror on the Tube – reviewed
Published by Progressive Press, ISBN 1-61577-007-0 (paperback) 289pp. Available from ProgressivePress.com or from P.O. Box 126, Joshua Tree, California, 92252 for $17.95 or at www.amazon.co.uk for £17.77
As this issue of H&D went to press, the Inner West London Coroner’s Court was at last hearing the inquest into the July 7th 2005 London bombings – the worst terrorist atrocity on British soil – which killed 52 civilians in four separate attacks. On that morning, more than five years ago, three bombs exploded on London Underground trains, with a fourth on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square. The explosions have been officially blamed on four suicide bombers. Three were Pakistanis living in Yorkshire; the fourth was a 19 year old Jamaican living in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, about fifty miles north of London.
A senior judge (Lady Justice Hallett) has been appointed as an assistant deputy coroner specifically for this inquest – similar to the procedure followed for other controversial deaths, including the Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed inquest conducted by Lord Justice Scott Baker in 2007-8. Fears that this might entail an establishment cover-up were partly dispelled in November 2010 when the Home Office and MI5 failed to secure secret hearings from which even the families of the victims would be excluded. The only previous official investigations of 7/7, by the Intelligence and Security Committee of the House of Commons, were largely based on secret hearings.
Why should there be any question of a cover-up? Are there any serious reasons for suspicion that the events of 7/7 were not quite so straightforward as the accepted narrative would suggest? Dr Nick Kollerstrom’s new book presents disturbing evidence that we have not been told anything like the whole truth.
The official version insists that the 7/7 explosions came as a complete surprise to the authorities, and that they were caused by four young Muslims who were what then Home Secretary Charles Clarke described as “clean skins” – individuals who had never previously come to the attention of the police or the security services. The implication was obvious and disturbing – that among the millions of Muslims in the UK there might be countless numbers of potential suicide bombers who had not so far appeared to be dangerously radical, and that therefore the authorities might need extensive new powers.
In fact there is evidence that the explosions did not come as a complete surprise. An Israeli Foreign Ministry official gave an anonymous briefing to journalists saying that the Israelis had received a warning from British police on the morning of 7/7 about an imminent terrorist attack. Mossad chief Meir Dagan told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that his agency’s London office was informed six minutes before the first explosion. He also indicated that the bombs were made from an unusual explosive substance “much more lethal than plastic explosives” and manufactured in China. Mossad analysts had found evidence of this explosive after the bombing of Mike’s Place, a Tel Aviv pub targeted in April 2003, fifteen months before 7/7.
Official British investigators have so far insisted that the 7/7 bombs were home made and constructed from readily available and relatively cheap commercial ingredients. The total cost of the entire operation has been estimated at only £8,000, including the rental of a flat at 18 Alexandra Grove, Leeds, which was supposedly used by the terrorists as a ‘Bomb Factory’ between May and July 2005.
The inquest will need at the very least to come up with a credible explanation of exactly how the bombs were constructed. Dr Kollerstrom details the contradictory versions that have been given so far. In the days following 7/7 several authorities, including former CIA terror expert Vincent Cannistraro, claimed that timing devices had been used, similar to the Madrid train bombs in March 2004. French anti-terrorist chief Christophe Chaboud told The Times: “The nature of the explosives appears to be military, which is very worrying.” After about a week of such reports, the story changed. Instead of a high grade military explosive detonated by timers, it now appeared that 7/7 involved amateur suicide bombers who had put together chemicals in a bath to manufacture triacetonetriperoxide (TATP). So far no evidence has been published showing that TATP was present on the Tavistock Square bus or at any of the three Underground explosions – the only evidence is the TATP discovered in the bath at the Alexandra Grove flat.
It turned out that this flat had been rented to the alleged bombers by a chemistry lecturer at Leeds University, Dr Magdi al-Nashar, who travelled to Egypt at the start of July 2005. Dr al-Nashar was arrested in Cairo but later released without charge.
Lt. Col. Nigel Wylde (an explosives expert and decorated veteran of the British Army’s anti-terrorist war in Ulster) is quoted by Dr Kollerstrom as raising serious questions about TATP:
“Whatever the nature of the primary explosive materials, even if it was home-made TATP, the detonator that must be used to trigger an explosion is an extremely dangerous device to make, requiring a high level of expertise that cannot be simply self-taught or picked up over the internet.”
Perhaps the inquest will explain whether TATP was actually used on 7/7, and if so how the authorities failed to discover any evidence at the scene of the crime.
Murder investigations traditionally involve three aspects: means, motive and opportunity. So far there has not been adequate explanation of “means”, i.e. what caused the explosions. Dr Kollerstrom goes into some detail of eyewitness statements which indicate the possibility of explosive devices having been planted underneath the train carriages. He also draws attention to the mysterious unavailability of CCTV footage from the Tavistock Square bus.
“Motive” might seem fairly obvious. Two years before the events of 7/7 Britain had allied with the United States in an aggressive and illegal invasion of Iraq. The ensuing saga of death and destruction enraged Muslims worldwide. Yet at first there appeared to be no evidence that any of the four “suicide bombers” had been militant Islamists. Ten days after the bombings police raided the Iqra Learning Centre, an Islamic bookshop in the Leeds suburb of Beeston where two of the four had worked as volunteers a few years earlier. Tabloid newspapers obediently dubbed this the “bookshop of hate”, yet even here the material seized consisted only of anti-war books and other such material that many H&D readers would find uncontroversial!
More than three years before 7/7 the police and MI5 – and even journalists on The Sunday Times – were warned about the extremism of Martin McDaid, a veteran of the Royal Marines and Special Boat Service who had converted to Islam and ran the Iqra bookshop. During 2004 Mohammed Siddique Khan, the 30-year-old primary school teacher who was the alleged ringleader of the bombers, briefly came to MI5’s attention during a broader anti-terrorist operation (‘Operation Crevice’) which later led to the secret trial of five African immigrants. Another character who figured in some media accounts as an alleged “mastermind” of the terror plot was Haroon Rashid Aswat, a radical Muslim who lived in Dewsbury, home town of two of the supposed suicide bombers. Police sources initially briefed the press that about twenty mobile phone calls had been made between the bombers and Aswat, but this was later discounted.
Broadly there appear to be two possibilities. Either there was serious incompetence within the police and MI5, allowing at least two of the bombers to slip off their radar during 2004-5 and actually downgrading their state of terror alert in the weeks before 7/7, or there was something worse than incompetence. Dr Kollerstrom clearly believes that Khan and his colleagues were nothing more than patsies, that they were not even radical Islamists, and that they were enticed to London on 7/7 to take the blame for a “false flag” terror attack.
The strongest sections of this book deal with the third facet of any murder investigation: “opportunity”. Dr Kollerstrom had one of the greatest individual successes ever achieved by any “revisionist” researcher when he forced then Home Secretary John Reid to retract a key element of the official narrative. A Metropolitan Police statement (repeated numerous times by government spokesmen and their media mouthpieces) claimed that the bombers had travelled to London on the 7.40am Thameslink train from Luton to King’s Cross. CCTV images released to the press appeared to show the bombers entering Luton station at 7.22am and on the concourse of King’s Cross station at 8.26am.
The problem is that as Dr Kollerstrom discovered, the 7.40 was cancelled that day and the next service ran 22 minutes late, making it impossible for the four men to have reached King’s Cross in time to appear on the supposed CCTV image. They would also have been too late to catch two of the three Underground trains that subsequently blew up. As a result of Dr Kollerstrom’s researches, John Reid had to tell the House of Commons that all previous official statements had been wrong. Even now it is difficult to see how the train times add up. Further contradictions appear when Dr Kollerstrom examines the story of the bus that exploded in Tavistock Square.
Perhaps the most peculiar aspect of 7/7 is that a security exercise was being carried out on the same day “simulating” terrorist attacks at the precise London Underground locations which were hit by real attacks. This exercise was being run by Visor Consultants, a “crisis management” company set up by former Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist expert Peter Power. Perhaps the inquest will look into this coincidence.
Dr Kollerstrom’s book contains more questions than answers, which is entirely proper as neither he nor anyone else is in a position to provide a definitive account of what happened on 7/7. The most detailed explanation, which is given in an appendix to this book, suggests that the four “bombers” had been told they were taking part in the terrorist simulation exercise mentioned above. They were told to arrive in London in time to catch particular Tube trains and buses, but apart from the “bus bomber” Hasib Hussain they were unable to complete their task, due to delays and cancellations to their London-bound train.
According to this conjecture the other three “train bombers” heard about the explosions, realised they had been set up, and tried to head for newspaper offices in Canary Wharf, East London, to tell their story. At 10.30 that morning three supposed “suicide bombers” were reported to have been shot dead by police at Canary Wharf – a story that surfaced in a few news reports but then disappeared. The theory would be that these shootings were in fact the executions of the three patsies, who had to be got rid of because they had not been on the exploding Tube trains according to plan.
All of this may seem fantastical, and Dr Kollerstrom doesn’t help his case by printing one serious inaccuracy – an implication that the Bologna train station bombing in 1980 was blamed on the left. As many H&D readers will know, Bologna was indeed an Italian secret state operation, but was blamed on the right! However Dr Kollerstrom’s core point remains valid. The 1970s and 1980s saw a series of “false flag” terror attacks, mostly in Italy, as an offshoot of a NATO operation codenamed ‘Gladio’.
The Piazza Fontana bombing in 1969 killed seventeen people at a Milan bank – this really was blamed on the left and formed the basis of Dario Fo’s satirical play Accidental Death of an Anarchist. Three policemen were killed in a 1972 bombing at Peteano, in the Friuli region of North-East Italy. Again this bombing was blamed on the left, but was actually carried out by “neo-fascist” paramilitaries who in turn were manipulated by the Italian secret service. A year later a supposed anarchist (who was actually an undercover police informant) bombed a police headquarters in Milan, killing four. In 1974 twelve people were killed when the Rome-Munich express train was bombed by “neo-fascists” linked to the secret service. In 1978 the Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro was kidnapped and murdered by Red Brigade terrorists, in circumstances that remain mysterious. These were just a few highlights of what Italians call the “years of lead” (anni di piombo) – culminating in the Bologna bombing which at the time was Europe’s worst terrorist atrocity, killing 85. These events have moved from the realms of conspiracy theory into the sphere of accepted historical fact, following the string of revelations about Operation Gladio and the P2 Masonic lodge which overturned the Italian political system during the 1990s.
Anyone tempted to dismiss Dr Kollerstrom and other 7/7 and 9/11 researchers as conspiracy cranks should bear in mind the history of Gladio, and cast their mind back to other proven ‘false flag’ terrorist operations such as the ‘Lavon Affair’ in 1954, when Israeli agents planted bombs at various targets in Egypt, aiming to blame local Muslims. The surviving Israeli agents were officially honoured by their President in 2005.
H&D readers wishing to follow the 7/7 inquest, and unravel the many contradictions of the official narrative, would be well advised to purchase Dr Kollerstrom’s book.
Reviewed by Peter Rushton, Manchester, England
This review first appeared in the January-March 2010 issue of Heritage and Destiny (issue 43). You can buy single back issues of H&D for £4.00, while an annual subscription (six issues) costs just £20.00. Visit the Heritage and Destiny page for more details or place your order online via paypal in our online shop.