Time for an Inquiry into 7/7?

April 29, 2009

The acquittal of three men accused of helping the 7/7 attackers has produced an instant reaction from relatives of those killed in the bombings, leading to calls for a public inquiry. This has long been a goal for anyone who has looked deeply into the events of 7 July – and I urge you to have a look around the material collected at the July7th Truth Campaign if you are lacking in background.

There are, of course, a variety of conspiracy theories. There are, however, also many questions about what the intelligence services knew about the attackers before they struck, and these are far from outlandish.

The collapse of the trial of those who the authorities had (presumably) believed to have been accomplices of the attackers shows that the police investigation has been a complete failure. Given that a series of trials have spotlighted the role of terrorist organizers such as “Q” (Mohammed Quayyum Khan) questions should be raised about why he has never been questioned or brought to trial.

You could hardly blame people for believing that our esteemed intelligence services are shielding certain people from scrutiny.

Now, calls for an inquiry are multiplying.  Graham Foulkes, whose son died in 7/7, has said that “For almost four years we have been asking for an inquiry” and that, while “We are not looking for people to blame…we also know we have not been told the whole truth.”

The Mirror, which spoke to Foulkes, commented that “Campaigners have already highlighted that an earlier report said the bombers were “not named or listed” as potential terrorists. This statement was made despite the fact that MI5 watched, photographed and recorded the bombers as they met other violent extremists.”

This much was made clear during the trial of the “fertiliser bomb plotters” which laid bare Operation Crevice, a police and intelligence investigation which surveilled both the fertiliser plotters and the 7/7 attackers well before 7 July 2005.

It will probably be backed up by the release of a report from the Intelligence and Security Committee of the House of Commons, which has been embargoed during the trial of the 7/7 accomplices.

As the Times’ Sean O’Neil reports, “The ISC’s initial account of the events of 7/7 was deeply flawed. It concluded that the decision not to follow Khan was “understandable” and reached that conclusion without questioning police in Leeds.”

This second report should be interesting. O’Neil doesn’t think that an inquiry would be worthwhile, offering the lame excuses that it would be expensive and, in previous cases, hasn’t actually got to the bottom of the subject at hand.

This is nonsense.  It isn’t possible to put a price on justice, which is what the families want. And it isn’t possible to have a working democracy unless the intelligence services and police are accountable to elected officials. Verbiage about “national security” won’t wash.

Clearly MI5 was not acting in the interests of Britain’s national security in 2004 and 2005 as the agency utterly failed to prevent an utterly avoidable terrorist atrocity. If the agency is incompetent, then only external intervention can remedy it. If not, then its bungling or, what’s worse, manipulation of terrorist investigations, will get worse.

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