Thursday, July 06, 2006

Dodgy Al Qaeda Tape off the Internet of the week

So, another 7/7 confession tape has ‘emerged’ from cyberspace

This time starring Shehzad Tanweer

And what an impressive example of the fine art of the Dodgy Al Qaeda Confession Tape Off The Internet it is:

  • Asian Bloke – tick
  • …with beard – tick
  • Promises of more attacks to come – tick
  • bigger attacks - tick
  • Images of brown people fiddling with test tubes – tick
  • Shot of bin Laden – tick
  • Clip of crazy 'towel heads' dancing around shooting off AKs – tick
  • Unknown man ominously circling London landmarks on a map - tick
  • Conveniently timed to shore up government agenda - tick

There's no way that I can honestly be sure if the tape is real or a fake

Hardcore sceptics will suspect some kind of manipulation behind its production. There certainly has been enough time. And its content and timing are almost entirely ‘on message’ from our government’s point of view. Well, except for the reference to Iraq and Afghanistan but, arguably, that adds a nice little touch of authenticity to the entire exercise.

On the other hand, the majority of people would presumably disregard the tape’s dodgy provenance and exceptionally War on Terror friendly content and ask 'what more evidence do the sceptics need?'

(That’s a question I ask myself a lot by the way)

Personally, I still can’t shake the sense that there is something seriously wrong about the entire 7/7 business. I could rattle off a list of outstanding issues but the folks at July 7th Truth have already done a pretty good job of that.

But, putting all that to the side for a moment, even if I had 100% faith in the official narrative of 7/7 I’d still have a major issue with how our government, police and media are behaving. And it all boils down to a straightforward line of questioning…

What are the people behind this tape, and all the other tapes, looking to achieve? How do they expect us to react? Are we playing their game? And if we are playing their game is that a particularly clever thing to be doing?


Bridget Dunne said...

Just about sums it up Stef.

I hadn't realised that Al'Q had a media & marketing manager. American name of Adam Gadahn, also known as Azzam al-Amriki. Gadahn is believed by US authorities to be running al-Qaeda's propaganda operation. He also appears in this video.

Not another of these 'white converts to Islam' that keep popping up?

FBI's Most Wanted

Postman said...

UNdeniably these vieos are of Khan and Tanweer, but why, where, when, how is another game to play - to me the absence of the usual icons of sloganised headbands, flags, guns (Al Zwahiri has one behind him) suggest to me that they were somehow duoed - let's imagine we play the role of ...

the dullness and lowered eyelids of guys whose other pictures they look expressive and jokey (and indeed were said to be) suggests psycho active drugs.

One has to ask Where McDaid, Riaz et all fit in.

Frank O'Dwyer said...

I just read that list of "mind the gaps" really seems to me that these people lack a bullshit filter and the 'gaps' are all over the place in terms of quality.

For example what exactly is the point of this "impossible train" scenario? That the bombers didn't actually do it, even though the explosions happened, the 4 of them are missing, and bits of them have been found at the explosion sites along with ID??

Even at that it begins from "impossible" and soon reduces to 'the bombers would have had to move at a fast pace'. LOL! That or a few wrong clocks or garbled news reports account for it.

Then there is the dark insinuations about the death of oates-whitehead. For flip's sake. When they chuck in dismal stuff like this they are all too easily dismissed as nutters.

Stef said...


re. the impossible train scenario

One thing to bear in mind is that those four blokes were supposedly carrying rucksacks filled with TATP. TATP is rather, er, unstable so I doubt they would have had much appetite for moving at a face pace anywhere.

re. the ID

ID/ posssesions from one of the bombers was found at three of the bomb sites. So that kind of puts the kibosh on reading too much significance in their discovery.

I agree with the oates-whitehead comment. Personally, I'd chuck it.

Stef said...

re. what is the point of the impossible train scenario?

The point is, I think, that there is an unresolved anomaly here

Now it could very well be that the clocks were stuffed.

That could be easily resolved by the police making the Kings Cross CCTV tapes available from the other end of the alleged bombers' journey.

And that gets to one of the key reasons why I can't shake my doubts about 7/7 - the dearth of hard evidence put into the public domain by attributable sources.

There hasn't been a single arrest made in the context of 7/7. Not one. And therefore no trials and therefore no presentation or critical scrutiny of the evidence we have been told exists.

So then, faith in the official account of 7/7 boils down to whether you trust the word of the likes of Sir Ian Blair, Tony Blair and past and present Home Secretaries.

Given their past record on dodgy dossiers, dead Brazilians and the like you'd have to be a nutter to do that

Numeral said...

Richmal reported a controlled explosion at Tavistock Square. See J7 forum

Gruff said...

That website you cite seems to be run by people who are unable to do proper research to bear out they hypothesis.

On the day in question the trains were screwed. Timetables meant nothing. I seem to remember that overhead powerline failure was the problem.

In that scenario you catch whatever you can and the times trains arrive at bears no relation to the display screens at the station let alone the timetable.

So the train scehduled to be the 7.20 might depart Luton at 7.48. Do you then call it the 7.20 or the 7.48? It doesn't really matter.

Anyone who travels regualrly on that line (as I have for 5 years) would view the 'missing train' theory with derision.

numeral said...

For the thousand and oneth time the site uses the actual running times of the trains as supplied by Thameslink. It states exactly how late the trains ran. Never mind. Keep trying. You could even try finding out a fact for yourself, if that is not too shocking a thought.

Kier said...


"That website you cite seems to be run by people who are unable to do proper research to bear out they hypothesis."

I would be interested, in the light if this comment, to hear exactly what our 'hypothesis' is. We have no hypothesis, so I always find such accusations incredibly confusing.

The reason that the issue of Richmal Marie Oates-Whitehead was included was, as Numeral points out, that she reported a second, controlled explosion on the No.30 bus. This was denied by the authorities at the time, yet as can be seen in the section where she is mentioned, there were other witness reports which backed up her testimony.

There is no "dark insinuation" into her death. I can't see why this would be necessary. The point was, after she died, the press spent an inordinate amount of time and energy discrediting her and digging up various episodes in her life where it was claimed that she had told lies. It was even stated that she had lied about being a doctor - yet she was a doctor.

This is not necessarily suspicious, but it is odd. It's hardly a respectful thing to do to a young woman who had just died, especially one who had been involved in a medical operation on that day.

Regarding this comment:

"Timetables meant nothing. I seem to remember that overhead powerline failure was the problem."

To reiterate what Numeral said, we did not obtain the information about the cancelled train from a train timetable. The Communications Manager for Thameslink Rail at Luton supplied the actual times the trains ran, the original email can be seen here.

There has been plenty of research carried out, not to "bear out [a] hypothesis" but to try and clarify some of the glaring errors in the story. For instance, the narrative stated that Germaine Lindsay's car was towed away from Luton station car park for not having a ticket. This is hard to understand, since I personally went to Luton station to look at the terms and conditions of the car park, which I photographed and can be found on the site. At no point does it state that towing away is the penalty for an unticketed vehicle. Especially on the same day that it's discovered, as reported here. What actually happens is that a fixed penalty notice is attached to the vehicle to be paid by the owner. Evidence of a 'conspiracy'? No. Simply one of many examples of where the narrative cannot be giving a factual account. If people want to call us pedantic, so be it - but we can't be accused of sitting at computers picking holes in the media story and doing little more than consulting train timetables when we are actively trying to get these 'gaps' exposed and eventually explained.

Kier said...

Just to clarify, as it seems that people are misunderstanding the reasons for the site...

We did not set up the site to promote some kind of alternative scenario or theory, or to prove that the Official Account is a lie. We are campaigning for the truth, so proposing speculative theories of our own would clearly negate such a campaign. We have outlined all the main theories that have been proposed at various times by various sources, including the most widely accepted theory. We examine the reasoning behind each, we do not subscribe to any of them.

The information on the site is presented with the concerns and the reasons for raising each anomaly or error made clear.

The purpose for raising the anomalies and checking the details of the Official Account and other reports is not to provide evidence of a 'conspiracy' but to provide a case for an inquiry, which is urgently needed. We are asking for an inquiry which is not conducted under the 2005 Inquiries Act. This legislation renders all public inquiries subject to state approval and would therefore be unlikely to tell us anything we haven't already heard.

If the public is not to be given an inquiry then we are simply asking for the evidence which corroborates the Official Account as produced by the Home Office. On this basis, we need to know why the Official Account states that the men caught a train that they could not possibly have caught.

To some people, as implied here by some commenters, this issue is irrelevant since they 'must' have been in London on the basis that the four men went missing and their ID was found at blast sites. But these factors alone do not prove that these men actually committed the attacks.

As previously pointed out, the finding of the ID is in itself riddled with oddities; not just the fact that it all survived the blasts intact (which is possible but not altogether likely) but that one man's ID was found in three locations with no explanation as to how. Are we to assume that two other men carried his ID along with their own, when they surely would have been aware that it would by no means be a guaranteed way of making their presence known, if this was the idea behind it, as some have suggested?

There is actually no verified DNA evidence of the men themselves at the blast sites and the families of the men have never been allowed to identify them.

There are no reliable witnesses who saw the men on the trains and bus and no CCTV evidence shown of them at King's Cross station (Thameslink or mainline), the tube platforms or the bus.

We are told they took a train they could not have taken. There is no concrete, conclusive evidence that they caused the explosions, even if their property was found close by. This would not be enough to convict them in a court of law. We're told these men acted alone yet another 'al-Qa'ida' tape appears yesterday. These tapes are presumably designed to prove 'intent' yet neither Khan nor Tanweer (what you actually get to hear Tanweer say) state their specific intention to carry out the attacks that occurred a year ago today. If you listen to what they say it is actually very ambiguous - and again, would not constitute 'proof'. It might make culpability seem more likely, but people should only be convicted when their guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt, not because they seemed more likely than anyone else to perpetrate a crime. In the wider context of who these men actually were, their places within society, their family backgrounds and situations - it is not likely at all that they would have elected to commit such atrocities. Until there is proof, their guilt should not simply be assumed. Particularly on the basis of an account which is so full of flaws.

Sorry for the typo in my previous post.

Frank O'Dwyer said...

The problem is that the facts used to prove the anomolies are the same ones used (by the govt) to prove the "narrative".

Most of the anomolies can be resolved simply by assuming that news reports are garbled.

Also, the best of your offerings are totally overstated. For example the "impossible train"...

We are told they took a train they could not have taken.

...after much ado about train times, gets to the punchline:

On this basis, the earliest train alleged sucide bombers could have caught would have been the train that left Luton at 7.25am. This train arrived at King's Cross Thameslink at 8.23am.

The Government narrative of the London Bombings states that the accused caught the non-existent 0740 train and that it arrived at Thameslink at 8.23am. other words they could have got a train that arrived at 8.23am.

I'm having difficulty seeing how this supports the phrase "could not have taken".

And yes, I know that you then segue into questioning how they could have caught the tubes from there...but that is a different matter to the "impossible train", which by your own arguments was in fact possible.

I will read your stuff again, but you actually do come across as having a particular theory - in particular your site is all about disproving "the official narrative". To claim that you do not support any hypothesis is disingenuous. You come over more like an ABU (anyone but united) in football terms. You're ABGs - anyone's theory but the government's. You do not bring the same scepticism to any 'fact' contrary to the 'official narrative' as you do to others.

Finally, what is the proof that oates-whitehead was a doctor? As I recall I clicked on the link that was supposed to prove that and something awfully flimsy looking came up.

Kier said...

Frank O'Dwyer, thanks for taking the time to visit the site.

The narrative stated that the men caught the 0740 train which did not run. It then went on to state the arrival time of this non-existent train arrived as the same time the 0725 arrived at Thameslink. We are not stating that they couldn't have taken the 0725 train, we are saying they could not have taken the train the official account says that they took and that if they did take the 0725, this is the one that the narrative should have stated they took. This is an easily verifiable issue, there should be CCTV of them on the Luton station platform (as indeed media reports claimed) and on the train.
Yes, that section does go into the incongruent activities of the men once at King's Cross, but the real issue is that if the narrative places them on a train they couldn't have taken, how can it then say they were even there? It is, you must see, hard to have faith in such an account - and this is only one of many anomalies contained within it.

You state:

"but you actually do come across as having a particular theory - in particular your site is all about disproving "the official narrative". To claim that you do not support any hypothesis is disingenuous."

Our site is about campaigning for the truth about 7/7 - of course this includes challenging the Official Account, and rightly so since it is so full of ridiculous errors and speculation when it should be giving facts. I am not being disingenuous; I support no hypothesis. Nor does the JulySeventh site.
To point out the inaccuracies in the official account is not equal to presenting an alternative scenario of our own. If I do have a "particular theory" it is only that the "particular theory" which is currently widely accepted as being a fact should not be, when there is so little evidence at present to back it up.

You say that when you clicked on the link to verify that Ms. Oates-Whitehead was a doctor, you found something "awfully flimsy". What you would have come to was an NHS direct site page, giving a brief profile of Ms. Oates-Whitehead's and clearly stating that she was a doctor. This further link confirms (Page 9) that she was an Epidemiologist, as stated on the NHS direct page. This document states that she had a PhD (Page 28). She is described again here as an Epidemiologist. I hope these are less flimsy.

Kier said...

Please excuse the grammatical errors in the post above; it's been a long week...

Frank O'Dwyer said...

The narrative stated that the men caught the 0740 train which did not run. It then went on to state the arrival time of this non-existent train arrived as the same time the 0725 arrived at Thameslink. We are not stating that they couldn't have taken the 0725 train, we are saying they could not have taken the train the official account says that they took and that if they did take the 0725, this is the one that the narrative should have stated they took.

As I said, the problem is overstatement. The whole implication and nuance of the argument given is that it is not possible for the men to have arrived by train at 8.23 as stated in the "narrative" (and I have to say I find that term grating too, sorry). But actually the facts you've researched show that it is possible.

Certainly you have a point about the labelling of this train as the 0740 - but it is a very minor point. Much more minor than an "impossible train journey". By overselling in this way you harm your credibility I'm afraid.

As far as oates-whitehead, the link is to a dodgy looking site which is one of the reasons I said "flimsy". It looks like a google cache snapshot (and probably is) but in fact it's hosted somewhere else.

Here's a better and far more credible link to the same thing:*/

However, I'm willing to bet a small sum of money she wrote that entry herself - the explanatory phrase "epidemiologist (a doctor who..)" is rather odd. There are other entries for epidemiologists on that site and they do not say this. Not only that, but an epidemioligist is not usually a medical doctor. If anything this could support the opposite conclusion, she wasn't a doctor but she liked to say she was. Not that it should matter if you have independent accounts, so why mention it?

The other references do not seem to support her being an M.D. at all.

I think your site would be much improved if you attacked your own conclusions with the same vigour as you attack the "narrative", and were equally sceptical of your favorite facts as the ones of the 'narrative'.

In passing, another thing I found bizarre is the mention of the TASE in the "prior warning" piece. It seems utterly irrelevant and is impressive mainly for its incongruity. Why mention it?

Frank O'Dwyer said...

re oates-whitehead, perhaps it would be clearer and summarise my problem with the site if I say it this way:

I come away with the strong impression that had the "official narrative" relied on the 'fact' that she was a doctor, you could, and (it seems to me) probably would, use all the same references to cast doubt on the fact.

I'm sorry, but this is how it comes over. Just to be clear, I don't mean to be insulting and I happen to agree that there should be an inquiry, just for different reasons I guess.

Numeral said...

Richmal reported a controlled explosion at Tavistock Square.

Frank O'Dwyer said...

So what?

Stef said...


Thanks for the interesting and, as far as I can tell at his early hour, grown up exchange of views

and it's far too early an hour for me to chuck my penny's worth in...

Kier said...

Frank O'Dwyer thanks so much for you contributions.

I will try and address your points in the order that you made them.

Regarding the train journey, I am not sure if I have made this clear enough so I will and restate it another way: Regardless of the arrival time stated by the narrative, it stated that they took the 0740 train, a train which did not run. In this respect, it is reasonable to say that the train journey was impossible.

Your statement here is inaccurate:

"The whole implication and nuance of the argument given is that it is not possible for the men to have arrived by train at 8.23 as stated in the "narrative""

The whole 'implication and nuance' of the argument (although I would say it was actually less an argument than the simple statement that a factual error has been made) was that they could not have got to London in the way the Official Account says they did. On this basis, we didn't even need to mention anything they did once in London! If the Official Account is telling you that they took a train they could not possibly have caught, then this does render the train journey impossible, and that is why the section was so named.

It's not a "minor point" and we did not label the train the 0740 - I cannot imagine where you have got this impression. The Official Account states:

"07.40: The London King’s Cross train leaves Luton station. There are conflicting accounts of their behaviour on the train."

It is not us who say they caught this train it is the Official Account, please can everybody be aware of this rather fundamental detail before challenging what we say about it.

You say:

"I think your site would be much improved if you attacked your own conclusions with the same vigour as you attack the "narrative", and were equally sceptical of your favorite facts as the ones of the 'narrative'."

'Conclusions' have only been drawn according to what the Official Account has stated when compared to what was stated to have happened by the authorities or compared to pictoral evidence or witness testimony. We are drawing no conclusions regarding how these attacks were carried out and by whom.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'favourite' facts, especially since the main purpose of the site is to show how little facts there are. We are reluctant to call any aspect of this event a 'fact' because, as we repeatedly state, there is hardly any concrete evidence in the public domain.

Regarding Ms. Oates-Whitehead, I don't think it would be purposeful to enter into a debate as to whether she wrote her own NHS profile, or if she made up her job in the first place. I have provided documents which state that she must have had considerable medical knowledge in the area the profile states. On this basis we could argue that Tony Blair might not actually be the Prime Minister because he might have made up the election results - how would we know either way?! The point about Ms. Oates-Whitehead, which I shall make once more, is that she reported that a controlled explosion was carried out on the bus. This was flatly denied by the authorities. There then emerged some reports which backed up what she said. This is the first point we were trying to make. She was basically called a liar when there was later evidence to back up what she said.

Secondly, when she died, instead of reporting her death in the usual way, the media reported her death in such a way as to make the reader unavoidably aware that she was a liar, given to fantasies. You do not often see this in reports of unexpected deaths, unless for example, the death had been known to be this case the coroner ruled she had died of natural causes so there was no need for the media to make any implications about her, they were just not relevant. I am drawing no conclusions from this, I am stating exactly what happened and putting it there for people to see. We are not attempting to 'connect the dots' with our site. If you think there was more that could have been said about Ms. Oates-Whitehead, I would be interested to hear it, but simply reporting what she said, and the strange way in which her death was reported seemed quite enough.

It seems quite clear from what you say that you don't accept that we really are just trying to highlight the errors and oddities in the Official Account and other aspects of July 7th, such as witness testimony and lack of evidence etc. We want to know what happened; we are not trying to push an agenda or theory of our own. If this was the case, we would surely be content to simply sit and pick over a flawed account and make up theories based on it; we would not be asking for the inquiry which does not invoke the 2005 Inquiries Act, so that we can be sure of finding out as much as possible - which is what we are actually doing.

It is quite tiring having to try and prove to people what there is no sinister agenda here, and that people can challenge an account without being obliged to offer one of their own. I am willing to believe it all happened in the way we have been told - as long as there is evidence to back it up, which at present there is not. This needs to be accepted, and people need to actually read what we are saying rather than inferring we have made certain things up ourselves, such as the comment that we ourselves labelled the train as the 0740, when this was done by the Official Account, and, long before this, the media.

The salient point is that if the Official Account is to be believed, they took a train they couldn't have taken. If it can't get that right, what does that tell people about how far we can rely on it to give us the truth about what happened that day?

Frank O'Dwyer said...


Just to to respond to some of your points:

Regardless of the arrival time stated by the narrative, it stated that they took the 0740 train, a train which did not run. In this respect, it is reasonable to say that the train journey was impossible.

My issue is here is mainly with the heading of "the impossible train journey", and phrasing similar to this in the story. This implies that it is not possible for the four to have arrived in London from Luton by train. But in fact your research (which is good on this) supports that they could have.

Yes, accounts that quote an impossible departure time exist. But this would be better and less misleadingly summarised as "discrepancies in the details of the Luton to London train journey" (which is a form of heading you use elsewhere).

And yes that is a "minor point", compared to the implication (say) that they didn't take any train at all, or weren't even in london that day (which would require addressing multiple pieces of evidence).

I did not at all mean to imply that you had labelled the departure time as 0740, by the way. That was just sloppy phrasing on my part.

On this particular point your "how to be good FAQ" is far better and the majority of it comes over much more balanced and restrained. However you should IMO also mention supporting evidence for the stated arrival time.

More generally, I think you need to decide whether you are disputing 'official accounts' (police or government statements) or media accounts. Right now you conflate the two in my eyes. If it is just official account(s), for example, then there is no need to mention the media accounts regarding Richmal Oates-Whitehead. Media reports are simply not relevant unless they support or contradict the official accounts - or if they are part of it (claims of police sources, etc). Even then you always have to deal with the known fact that media reports on almost anything often contradict each other, and are often misleading (as anyone who's ever seen a report of something they personally experienced will know).

Once again, my central point is that if you're going to be neutral and sceptical, then you must be sceptical even of the facts that you like the most - the ones that contradict official accounts. You have to ask yourself every time - what would I say about this if it supported the official account? See what I mean here?

Also I may have missed it on your site but where do you state "the official account" (and does one even exist?). Surely it would be a better starting point to state that, and list such issues as you have with each point made in it.

Kier said...

Hi again

'The impossible train journey' was the title used simply because the Official Account states that they took a train which would have been impossible for them to take. I thought I had already made this clear but am happy to reiterate.

Since you have stated that you are unaware that an 'Official Account' exists, I must point out that what I am referring to is The Report of The Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July 2005, as produced by the Home Office, also referred to as the narrative, which can be downloaded from our site.

We are not simply relying on this cancelled train to make a point; the rest of the journey, as documented in the Official Account is also incongruent. We would like to see the CCTV footage that shows the men at King's Cross. The Official Account states they were there from 8.30am. The train which Germaine Lindsay is alleged to have bombed left King's Cross at 8.48, yet there is no CCTV or witness sightings of him, despite him hanging around for almost 20 minutes. I'm not trying to prove he wasn't there, I'm asking why there is no proof that he was. Surely this distinction can be seen.

I am unhappy that you keep referring to our 'favourite' or 'facts [we] like the most'. There are virtually no facts, this is what we are highlighting. I must have said this more than once in this comment thread alone. This still indicates that you are taking the view that we are not interested in the truth of July 7th, but that we are trying to prove some other alternative scenario occurred. Until you can accept that this is not the case then I don't think anything useful is going to be achieved by our discussing it. I am happy that you've taken the time to visit the site. I am also happy to hear constructive criticism of the site. For example, if you had said "In section X, it actually looks like you're not being objective because you say 'this', 'this' or 'this'". this would be useful, instead of questioning why an entire section has been included. It's not for us to pick and choose what is a relevant detail of that day and what isn't, which is why we've tried to include as many as we can.

You were not aware that there is an Official Account, which was supposed to give us a definite account of what happened in London that day, yet is full of contradictions, errors and speculation. The whole purpose of 'Mind the Gaps' was to point these out. We are not 'conflating' media & police accounts, we are comparing them to show the inconsistencies as I stated earlier. Therefore, when you have a witness (Oates-Whitehead) saying one thing, the authorities saying that she's wrong, and the police officers who arrived on the scene backing up her testimony, this is worth noting.

We have put the information on our site for people to make up their own minds. On the basis of the Official Account, and the conflicting testimony, other reports and lack of CCTV evidence, we are saying that it could not have happened in the way we have been told. If you go to our site and disagree with what we say, that is entirely up to you. I'm not trying to 'convert' you here; if you've read all the information on the site and still have the idea that we're pushing some sort of agenda, then there is nothing more I can say. I have tried in many different ways here to explain our position. I have questioned myself on this every single day. I have tried to put myself into the mindset of somebody who desperately wants to believe that four disaffected young Muslims bombed London on July 7th 2005, yet I know I would still be very unhappy with the Official Account, because it is actually not conclusively backing up that story.

You have suggested that we go through the Official Account bit by bit and list the issues we have with each point. This was what 'Mind the Gaps' is attempting to do, and also drawing in comparisons with other accounts, and other strange anomalies regarding the event. The Official Account is a large document and perhaps one day we will get the chance to go through absolutely everything it says, such as its ridiculous suggestion that the four men were 'conspiracy theorists'; saying "at least some of the bombers seem to have expressed the view that the 9/11 attacks were a plot by the US". In that case does it really make sense that they would then decide to do what they didn't believe the 9/11 hijackers had done, and try to reinforce an ideology that they themselves apparently believed had been contrived by the US! They were either committed jihadists or 'conspiracy theorists' and the Official Account offers no evidence for either.

It seems to me that just by us questioning the Official Account of the London bombings this automatically equates with us having some kind of anti-Government agenda. I am quite tired of having to try and prove that we don't. We are seeking the truth - whatever the truth actually turns out to be.

Kier said...

Frank O'Dwyer, I just want to make it clear that I do appreciate you offering your criticism of certain aspects of the site. All I can tell you is that we have tried to stay as neutral as possible in the face of a great deal of impatience and frustration at the extremely inadequate narrative and the fact that the account doesn't stand up to analysis. It tells us that the men entered Luton station and walked through the ticket barriers 7 minutes before they were photographed outside the station. It tells us that the men took a train which didn't run. It tells us that they took a route from Thameslink to King's Cross that doesn't make sense. It cites testimony from unreliable witnesses such as Richard Jones. It offers no evidence that the men met with known terrorists when abroad, only speculation. It states that it is not known what explosives were used, even though swabs were taken from victims and survivors on the day and supposedly sophisticated equipment was used to detect bomb fragments in the wreckage. I could go on and on! If the public had been given a truly independent inquiry, like the kind we are asking for, there would be no need for any of this. The media reports were contradictory enough, but this is just inexcusable.

Frank O'Dwyer said...


To give an example of what I'm talking about, in the 'mind the gap' about 'the impossible train journey', it says this:

"It was also reported that the accused had taken the later 0748 train, but with reference to the actual Thameslink train times on July 7th, it was found that this scenario could not be correct either."

This report is irrelevant, since it doesn't appear in the government document. It simply does not matter if other reports are wrong, if the topic is the govt document.

I'd expect a restrained and skeptical criticism of the government document to be far clearer that (a) there was a government document, (b) consist exclusively of quotes from that document on matters of fact, (c) only document matters of fact that contradict these points.

It's not that you do not do this, it's that you mix in all sorts of other stuff with it and take detours into rebutting media reports as well. At the same time you simultanously accept other media reports that contradict the 'narrative'.

Your last response to me sketches an approach that is much better than the actual list of gaps that you have on the site. I would be more impressed with a list along those lines, to be honest.

To be clear, it's not that you do not have some very valid points. You do. You just need some more ruthless quality control to avoid overstating them, and not to take the force out of your own argument by failing to distinguish between solid points and weaker or even irrelevant points.

Kier said...

I can see the point you're making. 'Mind the Gaps' focusses on the narrative, or Official Account, but we did feel it was relevant to bring in other relevant 'gaps' that still have not been clarified. This included "taking detours and rubutting media reports" also, because many of these have been repeated without being clarified, either by the narrative or some other authority.

We have assumed that people who come to the site and read 'Mind the Gaps' are already aware of the government document, or narrative. It's mentioned on our front page.

You say:

"Your last response to me sketches an approach that is much better than the actual list of gaps that you have on the site. I would be more impressed with a list along those lines, to be honest."

Fair point. I think I will show this comment thread to the rest of the editorial team and see what they think.

I also take on board your final point, but when it comes to distinguishing between what you call "solid points and weaker or even irrelevant points." it's hard for anybody to make a judgement as to how to place a point into such categories. People are going to disagree as to what a relevant point is, which is why it seems important to include all points, even the unconfirmed reports of that day. If we just present the points, then we can leave it to the reader to make up their minds as to whether they are relevant or not.

On that point, the reason we included the reporting of the 0748 train was that this was the one as widely reported as being the train the men took as the 0740 prior to the release of the narrative. Therefore, there would be many people believing this was the train taken. This train time was stated in the BBC's "Horizon" programme about the bombings and also in the book "7/7: The London Bombings" by Milan Rai. This is why we also felt it important to clarify, in case perhaps a reader would think "Well, okay, so they couldn't have taken the 0740, but I'd heard they took the 0748 anyway."

I can see you seem to think that doing this confuses the issue, but it was actually intended to make it seem clearer.

Frank O'Dwyer said...


We have assumed that people who come to the site and read 'Mind the Gaps' are already aware of the government document, or narrative. It's mentioned on our front page.

Not a good assumption. I came to the site from Stef's link so I didn't come through the front page. And I thought from reading the list of gaps that the 'official account' referred to media reports of police and govt statements and the like. Now I know there is a report on the home office site and have read some of it.

Granted I was reading the list of gaps at about 1am or something after a very long day at the end of a very long week :-)

I also take on board your final point, but when it comes to distinguishing between what you call "solid points and weaker or even irrelevant points." it's hard for anybody to make a judgement as to how to place a point into such categories

I understand, but it should be possible to create a rough hierarchy, e.g.:

- objective evidence contradicting matters of fact stated in the report (example: train running times).

- objective internal contradictions in the report (if any - not sure)

- subjective internal contradictions in the report (for example your point that they didn't believe 9/11 was perpetrated by Muslims, and that they were supposed to be Muslim suicide bombers themselves - I had noticed this myself on reading the report).

- matters of fact stated in the report which are not supported by credible or objective evidence in the public domain, *and* which contradict credible media reports or other witness statements

- matters of fact stated in the report which are not supported by evidence in the public domain, but not contradicted by such either.


It would not be necessary to rebut each and every point in the report - even a fisking of that report linking off to obvious and non-controversial contradictions could be a good start.

Anyway this is just a sketch, but I would also guess that where you have disagreement among yourselves about a particular issue's relevance then this in itself would suggest it is more subjective - i.e. if there were was objective evidence (like the train times) then you wouldn't have such a discussion.

Your response here has been pretty level-headed and impressive by the way. So this is just meant to be constructive criticism.

Kier said...

I do appreciate the criticism. 'Mind the Gaps' was started before the narrative was released and then rewritten to incorporate the 'gaps' in the narrative. I take your points on board. The site is a work in progress, especially as new information comes to light all the time.

I was wondering if it would perhaps make a difference if there is an introduction to 'Mind the Gaps' to explain exactly what it is attempting to do, to avoid the confusion you feel it conveys at the moment? There is a link to the narrative document on the right hand side of 'Mind the Gaps' but I understand that this would not be immediately obvious, especially, as you say, it was late. It's not easy to gauge the audience for the site, and to know if things should be written with the assumption that people are unaware of the Official Account and the errors in it, or if we should presume some awareness.

I do think it's important to include the media reports, especially in the instances such as the changing type of explosive used. The narrative barely gives any reference to this issue, apart from to say it is not known what they were, yet authorities were stating the explosives were of 'military origin' for a week after the bombings, until some TATP was found in a bath in a flat in Leeds, whereupon the reports changed to 'home-made explosives'. If there was evidence at the time that the explosives were of military origin, which it seems clear that there was (this is explored in some detail in Nafeez Ahmed's book on 7/7) why was this discounted upon the discovery in Leeds? The media reports varied from 'traces of TATP' to a 'bath filled with TATP'. If there were 'traces' of an explosive, this is obviously quite different to a 'bath full' of explosive. I understand the need for sensationalism in the media, but 'traces' could mean little other than a bottle of nail-polish remover. On this basis, I have 'traces of explosive' in my bathroom, too. I take your earlier point about garbled media reports, but this is an important issue and needs to be clarified.

The testimony of survivors, and the effects of the explosives on them physically does not support the idea that the bombs were made from TATP. Furthermore, TATP is extremely unstable and virtually impossible to transport in the quantity that would have been required that day. All we have to go on with this issue are the media reports, now that the narrative has disregarded it. Therefore, when writing about this issue, or 'gap', the media reports have to be used to illustrate the anomalies rather than the narrative.

I'm not sure about the idea of one list of media/ police 'gaps' and another of narrative 'gaps', as I think you were suggesting earlier? We've had some criticism for picking over the media reports - but since these are what the majority of the public would have read, rather than the narrative, it did seem important to include them. At present, they are used within the context of listing all anomalies; if we were to do a separate list, I wonder if this would just invite more accusations of picking at a "multi-sourced, rolling news story". I am totally aware that there will be inconsistences in the media reports, but like I've illustrated above, some of them urgently need to be clarified. The narrative hasn't done it, so we need to flag them up as something that an inquiry should address. Another example is the 'mastermind', the media were full of this issue for weeks, even months; proposing names and likely candidates. One rather prominent name was mooted for weeks until he was revealed, in the media, to have been an MI6 asset. As soon as this happened there was no further mention of this individual in connection with the London bombings. Even looking at the situation objectively, this is strange! This man was alleged to have had telephone contact with the men almost until the attacks happened. Then all of a sudden, with no explanation, the police say they have no interest in interviewing him in connection with the event. Even if it is not true that he had contact with the men, the police would surely have needed to interview him to have established that. Again, this whole issue is disregarded by the narrative.

There hasn't been any disagreement between the team who edit the J7 site as to what should constitute a 'gap', I'm not sure where that impression has come from. We are all in agreement that if there is any kind of inconsistency, anomaly, error or incongruent detail then it needs to be raised.