There has been a long gap in any reporting of the London bombings of July 7 2005. One of the reasons for this is the wait for the verdict in another trial which is related to the 7/7 atrocity. The plot was to blow up the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent and the Ministry of Sound nightclub in London (amongst other targets) with ammonium nitrate fertiliser. The plot was foiled in 2004 by the police who had the gang under surveillance.
Five British men with close links to the July 7 bombers were today jailed for life after being found guilty of a plot to set off a wave of fertiliser-based explosions around the country.
The judge, Sir Michael Astill, told the ringleader, Omar Khyam, he would serve a minimum of 20 years in jail. He warned all five they may spend the rest of their lives in prison.
“You have betrayed this country that has given you every opportunity,” he said. “All of you may never be released,” he said, while noting it was not “a foregone conclusion”.
Condemning “preachers of hate who contaminate impressionable young minds”, Sir Michael labelled 25-year-old Khyam, who boasted about links to al-Qaida, “ruthless, devious, artful and dangerous”.
After the verdicts it emerged that police had monitored Khyam repeatedly in the company of two of the July 7 bombers more than a year before the London suicide attacks, but that officers failed to act on the information.
Now that the trial is over some restrictions on reporting have been lifted. What emerges is a recognition that two of the July 7 bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan (the ringleader) and Shehzad Tanweer were linked to the people behind the Fertiliser Bomb Plot. What is also coming out is that the July 7 bombers (like the fertiliser bomb plotters) had been followed, filmed and bugged by the security services in what is known as Operation Crevice , something that many of us have been saying for some time. The surveillance uncovered links between the gang and Islamist militants abroad, including al-Qaida.
MI5 secretly monitored two of the London 7 July bombers four times before the 2005 attacks, it emerged during the fertiliser bomb plot trial.
Details of how much the security services knew about suicide bombers Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer emerged at the trial.
The trial linked the bombers to an international network which was watched a year before the 2005 suicide attacks.
This of course makes a complete mockery of the the statement made by the Home Secretary at the time, Charles Clarke, a day after the London bombings:
“This was a vicious and cynical attack out of the blue in a way that there was no knowledge of beforehand in any respect whatsoever.”
The spinning has now gone up a gear with both MI5 and the Government trying to clarify their positions. MI5 have published their explanation on their website while the government is going out of its way to tell us why we still can’t have a full public inquiry into the atrocity. Instead it is offering us the lame alternative of a parliamentary committee revisiting the case and trying to pass that off as somehow ‘independent’.
This just isn’t good enough. We need a public (or at least independent) inquiry into July 7 if we want to have the best chance of preventing a repeat of that atrocity. Once again I’m calling on everyone to sign this petition calling for such an inquiry. By everyone I mean not just ordinary people but politicians of all parties (the opposition parties are also calling for a public inquiry) and media organisations. If you have a blog, please link to this petition and ask visitors to sign it. Many thanks to those who have already signed. With enough pressure we may eventually be able to force the government to investigate this event properly. As Rachel says:
I do not blame people in the security services for their mistakes and failure to use intelligence. It is failing to admit mistakes and then trying to cover up mistakes which is unforgivable and inexcusable.
Now that the Fertiliser Plot trial is over, the government can no longer hide behind sub judice rules and the excuse that a public or independent inquiry would take up too many resources and prevent further counter-terrorism measures is frankly ludicrous.
Rachel From North London
More as I find it. Previous postings on 7/7 can be found here.
Tags: 7/7, London Bombings, July 7, Terrorism, Fertiliser Bomb Plot