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British regime still refuses inquiry into 7/7 bombings after more MI5 claims proved false



Blair rejects 7/7 inquiry calls

Tony Blair has again rejected calls for a fresh inquiry into the 7/7 attacks, saying it would undermine the security services.

The prime minister repeatedly dismissed Tory leader David Cameron's demands for a "proper independent inquiry".

He also told MPs at Commons question time that it would divert resources from the fight against terrorism.

Survivors of the 2005 attack renewed their calls for an inquiry on Monday after the fertiliser bomb plot trial.

It emerged at the end of the year-long court case that MI5 had watched and followed two of the 7 July bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, a year before the attacks as part of their surveillance of the fertiliser bomb plotters.

Calls for a fresh inquiry into the 7/7 attacks grew after it emerged that MPs and peers on the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) were not shown photographs linking Khan to known militants.

Security sources say MI5 said it did not reveal the images to the parliamentary committee because they were taken by police officers not MI5 operatives.

[This claim is not an explanation, it an entirely hollow and meaningless distraction, typical of government media management, simply making an irrelevent comment rather than answering the question. It makes no difference who took the photos, even if it was the fire brigade! The fact remains, MI5 said they had supplied all of the evidence in their possession, and we now know that this was not the case, which raises questions about what else they might not have revealed.]

Mr Blair has asked the ISC to consider why the 7 July bombers were not picked up.

Fighting terrorism

In the Commons, Mr Cameron dismissed the ISC inquiry, saying a full independent inquiry was needed because the committee had limited powers of investigation.

He said people wanted such an inquiry because of "the scale" of what happened in London on July 7 when 52 people were killed.

"The reason people want a full inquiry is to get to the truth," said Mr Cameron.

But Mr Blair said that although the ISC's first inquiry received the "vast bulk" of the information and went into "immense detail", it had to be "cryptic" because the fertiliser bomb trial had not been concluded.

The prime minister said the new ISC inquiry was "perfectly entitled to call for anything else" it needed.

He told MPs: "I don't think it would be responsible for us...to have a full, independent, further inquiry, which would simply have the security service and the police and others diverted from the task of fighting terrorism."

The committee is expected to examine claims that West Yorkshire Police special branch was not told about the MI5 surveillance operation.

However, ISC chairman Paul Murphy MP had previously indicated that police were informed.

Some of those affected by the 2005 attacks delivered a letter to the Home Office on Tuesday requesting an "impartial public inquiry".

They said the government's latest comments reinforced their belief that the ISC was not the appropriate body to conduct an inquiry.

Jacqui Putnam, who survived the Edgware Road bomb, said: "I am left wondering what else MI5 failed to tell the ISC...the committee cannot possibly carry out an effective, independent or impartial 're-inquiry' - it now has a position to defend."

Janine Mitchell, whose husband Paul was seriously injured in the attacks, added: "We have already had an ISC inquiry and it produced a report containing inaccurate and misleading information, based on evidence which was incomplete and as a consequence both the inquiry and its report were fundamentally flawed."

By June 2004 MI5 had part of Khan's name on file twice, a family address and various pictures of him.

The ISC committee investigating 7/7 only ever saw one MI5 photograph of Khan. It did not see other photographs obtained by the BBC. A senior Whitehall source has told the BBC that the committee were aware other pictures existed and could have seen them if they had been requested.

On Monday, five men were given life sentences for a foiled plot to build a huge fertiliser bomb for a UK attack.


SOURCE

BBC News, "Blair rejects 7/7 inquiry calls", 2 May 2007.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6615387.stm


FURTHER READING

BBC News, "Pressure grows for a 7/7 inquiry", 1 May 2007.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6610209.stm
    Survivors and relatives of victims of the 7 July attacks are stepping up the pressure for a public inquiry into MI5's handling of intelligence.
    On Monday it emerged at the end of a year-long terror trial that MI5 had two of the 7 July bombers under surveillance a year before the attacks.
    Ministers are opposed to an inquiry but a parliamentary committee will consider why the bombers were not picked up.
    Those affected by the 2005 attacks have delivered a letter to the Home Office.
    The document, requesting an "impartial public inquiry", was handed to an official from the department.
    [In other words, if the government genuinely wanted to prevent the same thing from happening again, they would hold an inquiry to ensure that the problems have been correctly identified and addressed.
    ...
    In response, the Home Office released a statement saying the home secretary would "give very careful consideration" to the letter. [In other words, "don't call us, we'll call you".]
    The statement added: "However, as we have consistently maintained, experience has shown that a fuller public inquiry can take years and divert huge resources."
    ...


The Sun, "Suspect 'saved people on 21/7'", 18 April 2007.
http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2007170740,00.html
    AN alleged 21/7 bomber SAVED lives by dismantling two devices meant to slaughter people, it was claimed yesterday.
    Manfu Asiedu, 28, was stunned to be recruited into the gang on the morning of the London attacks, Woolwich Crown Court heard.
    ...
    So he made safe his device and dumped it in West London, said barrister Stephen Kamlish.
    Asiedu then went to a tower block in New Southgate, North London, where he suspected the gang had left a bomb.
    He found the device and dismantled it, the court heard.
    Mr Kamlish said: “He potentially saved Curtis House and its occupants.”
    Coming to England was a “dream” for Asiedu, who was born in Ghana.
    Days after arriving he tried joining the ARMY — but was told it was “not appropriate”.
    Asiedu is in solitary at Belmarsh prison after turning against his fellow defendants.
    The court heard he was offered a bribe to say the plot was a hoax. He says it was real.
    ...
    [A Muslim who may be the mastermind of a terrorist plot which did not succeed, who was desperate to stay in the UK, applied to join the armed forces, associated with other Muslims who were under surveilance, disarmed bombs planted by his fellow Muslim brothers in arms, and turned against them during the trial. All of this is consistent with the profile of a fake terrorist working for MI5 or MI6, and potentially somebody who has been recruited to set-up other individuals to put them behind bars and/or create more headlines about terrorist plots.]


BACKGROUND INFORMATION

BBC News, "Anger over MI5 attempt to recruit cleric", 20 August 1999.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/425512.stm
    The leader of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain, Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, has written to the Home Secretary expressing concern over MI5 attempts to recruit a Muslim cleric as an agent.
    The revelation came at a special immigration hearing into the case of 28-year-old Shafiq ur Rehman.
    The Home Office claims the Oldham cleric has been recruiting and training British Muslims to fight for an independent Kashmir, and wants to deport him as a terrorist.
    But at a hearing in London, MI5 and Special Branch officers admitted they had tried to recruit him as an informant.
    The leader of the Muslim parliament, Dr Siddiqui, has demanded an assurance from the Home Secretary Jack Straw, that the practice will stop immediately.
    Dr Siddiqui described it as a sacrilege and said that he believed other Muslim clerics could be working for MI5
    Exportation hearing
    The deportation hearing will end on Friday with an oral judgement being given to the Home Office only.
    ...


The Times, "MI5 ‘tried to recruit’ Guantanamo Britons", 4 April 2007.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1611093.ece
    Two British residents held in Guantanamo Bay for more than four years were detained by the CIA after MI5 failed to recruit them as paid informants, according to documents released in the United States.
    The extent of MI5’s involvement with Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil el-Banna — including offers of new lives and new identities financed by the British taxpayer — is detailed in papers released under United States freedom of information laws.
    British intelligence sent telegrams to the American authorities, alerting them to the travel plans of Mr al-Rawi, 39, and Mr el-Banna, 44, on the day that they were detained in November 2002. Both men were picked up on arrival in The Gambia, taken to Afghanistan and then put on a secret CIA flight to the Guantanamo Bay internment camp in Cuba.
    Mr al-Rawi, 39, was released last weekend and returned to Britain without being arrested or questioned by police. But Mr el-Banna, 43, remains incarcerated at Camp Delta.
    ...

The Guardian, "MI5 tried to recruit founder of bookshop", 1 February 2007.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,,2003163,00.html
    Maktabah al-Ansar, one of two specialist Islamic bookshops raided yesterday by counter-terrorism officers, sells extremist materials online and MI5 once attempted to recruit its founder.
    The business, in Sparkhill, has come to the attention of security services more than once. During a raid on the premises in 2000, Moazzam Begg, who at that time worked in the bookshop, was arrested under anti-terrorism laws. Mr Begg, who was detained in Pakistan in 2002 and subsequently held in Guantánamo Bay for three years, was later released without charge.
    MI5 is understood to have made several attempts to recruit the founder of Maktabah, Imran Khan, a local entrepreneur. He is now understood to live in Pakistan and no longer runs the shop.
    ...


The Observer, "MI6 looks to recruit from minorities", 7 October 2001.
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/waronterrorism/story/0,,564706,00.html
    ...
    Above all, MI6 needed people from culturally diverse backgrounds, and a substantial influx from ethnic minorities, especially those who had been brought up as Muslims: 'We need to be in the back streets of Bradford, looking for bright people and asking them "Do you want a job?"'
    Unlike MI5, the Security Service, which combats terrorism within the UK, MI6 does not advertise or try to attract recruits through a website.
    ...
    Whitehall sources disclosed that MI5 had already been making strenuous efforts to recruit Muslims and members of other minorities: 'This isn't a question of trying to train people who can melt back into their own communities. It's about developing a better understanding of the threat.'
    ...


BBC News, "MI5 expands to meet terror threat", 22 February 2004.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3510611.stm
    ...
    Previously focused largely on Cold War and IRA suspects, the move highlights MI5's shift to recruit many more Arabic speakers and focus on the threat from al-Qaeda.
    ...
    Surveillance officer job requirements
    * Able to blend in, average height, build and appearance
    * Able to remain alert during periods of inactivity
    * Flexible and able to cope with frequent disruption
    ...

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