July 7th Alternative Hypotheses
1. al-Qa'ida mastermind recruited British Muslims as suicide bombers
Mustafa Nasar, the suspected 'mastermind' behind the Madrid bombings was one of the first names suggested. This appears to be based upon documents found in a Madrid apartment which Spanish investigators alleged showed that Nasar had “ordered” the accused perpetrators of the Madrid bombings of 2004, to attack Britain. This led 'security sources' to believe an attack was likely in the run up to the May 2005 general election. Nasar's name dropped off the radar when a young British man named Haroon Rashid Aswat became the next in line for the title of “mastermind”. It was claimed that Aswat had entered the UK from abroad two weeks before the attacks, leaving the country again on July 6th 2005, and had been in contact via mobile phone with the July 7th accused.
Others accused of being a “mastermind” of the July 7th bombings include Magdi el-Nashar, who was arrested in Egypt a week after the bombings. It was claimed that not only had Mr. el-Nashar provided a 'bomb factory' for the accused men, but he had also helped build the bombs. This version of the story conveniently ignores that el-Nashar was a biochemist, rather than a chemist.
Yet another “mastermind” was Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, an accusation made in the British media in April 2007. In a 2007 report, the New York Police Department claimed,
In late November 2004, Mohammed Siddique Khan and Shezhad Tanweer traveled to Karachi, Pakistan and met Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, a former major in Saddam Hussein’s army, who was regarded as one of al-Qaeda’s most experienced, intelligent and ruthless commanders.
Moreover, The Bombay News alleged in April 2008, when reporting on his death from hepatitis, that Abu Obaidah al-Masri had recruited and trained the July 7th accused. The AFP simply described him as “An al-Qaeda figure who helped plan the 2005 subway and bus bombings in London and a plot to blow up airliners over the Atlantic”. Such accusations were not mentioned in the vast majority of British media reports of his death, apart from on some internet based news sites. Previously, similar reports of the death of Abu Obaidah al-Masri had appeared in January 2006, when it was claimed he had been killed in an air strike in Afghanistan. (The Times report uses an alternate spelling of al-Masri's name).
Numerous reports in mid July 2005 suggested that a Moroccan man, Mohamed al-Guerbouzi, was a suspect, reportedly also having played a role in the Madrid train bombings. It was additionally claimed (despite al-Guerbouzi's strenuous denials) that he had been convicted in absentia in Morocco for terrorist offences and Moroccan authorities had been unsuccessfully attempting to extradite him from his 'hiding place' in North London.
The Times reported an 'influential' mystery figure who accompanied Khan, Tanweer and their youth group on a white water rafting trip; “Police have never believed that the four British-born bombers were acting alone and wonder if the mystery Pakistani man was sent to help the group to finalise their plans.” In addition, The Mirror spoke of a “mystery man” - this time of “Mediterranean” appearance who, they claimed, had made the bombs used in the attacks.
Azahari Husin, suspected 'mastermind' behind the 2002 Bali bombings, implicated in two bomb attacks in Jakarta in 2003 and 2004 and the Bali bombings of 2005 - along with another Malaysian national, Noordin Mohammed Top, has also been accused of masterminding the London attacks. It was claimed that Husin had met with Mohammad Sidique Khan in late 2001 in the Philippines.
Meir Dagan, the head of the Mossad, apparently also tells MI5 that Husin helped plan and recruit volunteers for the bombings. The Mossad claims that Husin may have been in London at the time of the bombings, and then fled to al-Qaeda’s main safe haven in the tribal area of Pakistan, where he sometimes hides after bombings.
Source: History Commons
Top is currently on the FBI's Most Wanted List and Husin was killed in 2005 in a raid by Indonesian police.
In January 2009, a “top Al Qaeda operative”, Zabi ul Taifi, was arrested in Pakistan and accused by security sources in Islamabad of planning the London bombings. In April 2009, the Daily Express claimed that Rashid Rauf, implicated in the so-called 'Airline Terror Plot' of 2006, was yet another mastermind. Two months after this, shortly before the fourth anniversary of the atrocities, another man, Jamil Rahman, who had initiated legal action against MI5 for colluding in torture, stated that security officers had accused him of being one in a long line of “masterminds” behind the attacks.
The 'mastermind' theory was given credence by Christophe Chaboud, head of the French Anti-Terrorism Co-ordination Unit, who told Le Monde newspaper that the explosives used in the London bombings were of "military origin". Two days on from 7th July and the Independent reported that "two of the underground bombs consisted of high-grade explosives packed into receptacles, probably briefcases". Brian Paddick told a news conference four days after the attacks “All we are saying is that it is high explosives.....that would tend to suggest that it is not home-made explosive”. In 2005, it had been reported that the explosives found were also variously HMTD, C4, CK123 and RDX - all of which are allegedly commonly employed by al-Qa'ida.
In 2005, speculation was rife in the media regarding the explosives/bombs that police state they found in a car at Luton station, which reportedly indicated the involvement of a fifth or even sixth 'accomplice'. Some reports also stated that the bombs that exploded on the tube trains had been detonated by timers, clearly giving rise to the suggestion that others may be involved in the operation.
In September 2005 a video was broadcast on the al-Jazeera channel of Mohammad Sidique Khan wearing a kefiyah and making a strongly worded statement containing no specific threat or “confession” but making the oft-reported utterance “We are at war and I'm a soldier”. The video was inter spliced with footage of Ayman al-Zawahri, the so-called “al-Qa'ida No.2”, which certainly gave the impression that the video was an al-Qa'ida production. However, the two men only ever appear separately and in separate locations in the video. It is not known where or when the video was made, but the Report of the Official Account of the bombings in London on 7th July 2005 speculates that the video may have been made during a trip to Pakistan made by Khan and Shehzad Tanweer from November 2004 to February 2005. The Guardian claimed – albeit in a somewhat error strewn report - that Tanweer had met with “senior militant” Osama Nazir during a previous trip to Pakistan in 2003, although the Pakistan Education Minister stated that Tanweer had visited no madrassas whilst in the country (despite numerous reports to the contrary in the British media) and there is no evidence of any interactions with 'militants' or terror suspects during the 2004 trip. The Telegraph claimed that the pair had met with an “al-Qaeda recruiter” in London. In July 2006, on the eve of the first anniversary of the attacks, a similar video was released, this time of Shehzad Tanweer.
The July 7th accused have also been linked to al-Qa'ida through the now infamous supergrass Mohammed Junaid Babar, who has testified against an ever increasing number of terror suspects in return for his own reduced sentence. His efforts have not gone unrewarded and Babar is likely to end up serving only five years out of a seventy year sentence.
Babar, after being arrested, charged and tried in secret in April 2004, inexplicably avoiding spending any time at all in Guantanamo Bay, reportedly claimed a week after the 2005 bombings that he had met Mohammad Sidique Khan (although apparently not Shehzad Tanweer) in Pakistan and accompanied him to a “jihad training camp”. In February 2006, this story was recycled in the British media, with the claim that Babar had warned the FBI specifically about Khan, but the tip-off was "too vague". It seems astonishing in the light of this, that Khan was never apprehended - especially when taking into account that he, Tanweer and Mohammed Junaid Babar were also linked through Operation Crevice.
Whatever else forms the substance of Babar's claims, that of a 'mastermind' doesn't appear to be an element. The media noted in July 2005 an alleged connection between al-Qa'ida and the July 7th accused through Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, who was arrested in 2004. Around the same time, a similar connection was claimed between the July 7th accused and Zeeshan Siddiqui, a British national it was claimed had met Shehzad Tanweer in Pakistan. Siddiqui was also implicated by Mohammed Junaid Babar in the Crevice plot, which he strenuously denied, writing a letter to a British newspaper to say so. Siddiqui was acquitted of all terrorism-related charges against him in Pakistan in December 2005, although he was still deported back to Britain.
The problems with this hypothesis are manifold. al-Qa'ida, as an organisation or entity consisting of commanders, soldiers, masterminds and cells was ably demonstrated by the BBC series “The Power of Nightmares” to be nothing more than a myth employed by Western governments as a useful tool for war. In 2004, Pravda claimed, “The basic truth is that Al Qaeda does not exist and never has. Al Qaeda is a manufactured enemy who was created by the Bush Administration in order to have an excuse to wage a war for the control of the world’s oil resources.” In fact, there is a general consensus on this issue, except among those with imperialist, warmongering agendas. Indeed, on July 15th 2005, even the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair admitted “Al Qaeda is not an organization. Al Qaeda is a way of working.” Sir Ian Blair's services as Metropolitan Police Commissioner have since been done away with, after London Mayor Boris Johnson dictatorially seized power over the Metropolitan Police Authority.
On the 8th July 2005, the day after the events that have come to be known in the rhyming terrorist tradition as London 7/7, sitting right alongside the rhyming couplets of incidents in New York on 9/11 and Madrid on 3/11, Labour MP Robin Cook was to tell us a little more about the al-Qa'ida network and its leader Osama bin Laden:
Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally "the database", was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians.
Source: The Guardian
If only investigators had known what Robin Cook knew, they could have looked up on the CIA database the names and addresses of all the terrorists they had armed and funded with their Saudi cohorts. Such a simple gesture would have avoided the millions of deaths of Iraqis and Afghanis, although in the west "we don't do body counts" and Iraqis and Afghanis are not meant to count or be counted.
In July 2005, Matthew Parris, demonstrating how the reported details of the attacks had constantly changed without explanation, wrote in The Times:
There is an unwitting conspiracy between four separate powers to represent the worldwide al-Qaeda network as fiendishly clever, powerfully effective and deeply involved in the London bombings.
Source: The Times
By August 2005, it was reported that the investigation into the bombings had found no evidence of any al-Qa'ida "mastermind" or senior organiser.
Regarding specific 'mastermind' claims, there are several question marks. For instance, detailed reports appeared in the media of Haroon Aswat's alleged arrest in Pakistan, a story which later turned out to be completely incorrect, and the arrested man alleged to be Aswat was a London salesman with the same name.
Aswat was in fact arrested in Zambia on July 20th 2005 under immigration laws. He was deported to the UK to face an extradition request from the USA, regarding alleged terrorism-related activity in Seattle in the late 1990s. He has never been arrested or charged in relation to the July 7th attacks, and Scotland Yard were uninterested in questioning him when he arrived in Britain. It had been reported that Aswat and the July 7th accused had been in contact via mobile phone, in the days and hours leading up to the attacks, but not only did later reports caution that “the calls may have been made to a phone linked to Aswat, rather than the man himself” but that the phone in question was stolen - and in Pakistan, where we know that Aswat was not.
Since Aswat's identity has variously been confused with a dead Taliban soldier, a ceramics salesman from London, a car mechanic from Colorado and potentially other men with identical names in Pakistan, the claims of John Loftus, one of a myriad of pundits who make their living from speculating about the global “terror threat”, on Fox News on July 29th 2005 that Aswat was an MI6 asset must also be called into question. Loftus' claims relied on false information and information with counter explanations, such as Aswat being in London and Pakistan, when he was actually in South Africa. The man who “slipped into” London and left again on July 6th 2005, was an innocent Pakistani national with - yet again - a similar name to Aswat.
Loftus stated that it was not he who was claiming that Aswat was working for British intelligence, but that Omar Bakri Mohammed had stated it: “On October 16, 2001, he gave a detailed interview with al-Sharq al-Aswat, an Arabic newspaper in London, describing the relationship between British intelligence and the operations in Kosovo and Al-Muhajiroun. So that's how we get all these guys connected. It started in Kosovo, Haroon was 31 years old, he came on about 1995.”
The error in this claim is that in 1995, Haroon Aswat was 21 - not 31 – years old. One csannot help but wonder, with the previous mistakes in mind, if his identity had once again been confused with that of someone else. If there was proof that Haroon Aswat was connected to al-Qa'ida, then one would expect him to have been charged on this basis. Loftus correctly pointed out that the US Justice Department blocked attempts by Seattle prosecutors to charge him in relation to suspected 'terrorist activity' in Oregon in 2002, concluding that this would be because Aswat was protected by British intelligence. However, the fact that the US are not only attempting to extradite Aswat now on these same charges, but also attempted to render him to a third, undisclosed country, rather than directly to the US from Africa, suggests that this was not a very likely scenario. If Aswat was working for British intelligence, and was being protected, this renders his present situation rather incongruous. Nonetheless, the claims regarding Aswat were used as rationale for theories regarding security services' involvement in the July 7th bombings. (See Hypothesis 8.)
The claims referred to earlier, regarding Azahari Husin, could have confused him with Aswat, since it was also suggested that Husin had been in London and then left at the time of the attacks. In respect of the specific claim that Mohammad Sidique Khan and Husin had met in the Phillippines, the Home Office report rubbished these, stating, “There were media reports soon after the attacks that Khan had visited Malaysia and the Philippines to meet Al Qaida operatives. These stories were investigated and found to have no basis.” The chances of a so-called 'key-figure' like Husin being able to easily enter and leave the UK without some complicity or assistance from the authorities seem remote. In addition, the report also asserted, “The press reported later that a known extremist figure and possible mastermind left the UK shortly before the bombings. There is no evidence that this individual was involved.” Given that the media have never named Husin in connection with the events of 7 July 2005, this paragraph can only be referring to Aswat as not being involved with the attacks.
Magdi El-Nashar, later turned out to be nothing more sinister than a lecturer at the University of Leeds with a doctorate in biochemistry who had rented – and subsequently sublet - the flat in Alexandra Grove, Leeds, now almost universally referred to as the 'bomb factory', where it is alleged the explosives used on July 7th 2005 were created. Much of the media conjecture had hinged on Mr. el-Nashar being a “chemist” – until it became clear that he was a biochemist who worked on enzymes. By July 19th 2005, Mr. El-Nashar had been cleared of any involvement. All other proposed “masterminds” have never been proven to have had any involvement with either the July 7th accused or the bombings.
The media was forced to issue apologies to Mohamed al-Guerbouzi for not only the suggestions that he was a suspect in the London bombings, but claiming that he had any terrorist involvement at all – he did not; the stories linking him to Madrid and terrorist activity in Morocco were all false.
On the day of the attacks, a group named The Secret Organisation Group of al-Qaeda of Jihad Organisation in Europe published a statement on a website claiming responsibility for the attacks. Reports regarding the claim carried on for several days before disappearing. The Official Report into the bombings responded to this by saying, “Investigations have found no evidence to verify this or any subsequent internet claim of responsibility.” Regarding a video of Ayman al-Zawahri broadcast a few weeks after the Khan video in September 2005, the report vaguely states, “There is as yet no firm evidence to corroborate this claim or the nature of Al Qaida support, if there was any. But, the target and mode of attack of the 7 July bombings are typical of Al Qaida and those inspired by its ideologies.”
In respect of the videos of two of the alleged perpetrators, Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, there are several question marks. Firstly, as previously noted, the only connection to al-Qa'ida in the video is the edited presence of al-Zawahri, which is no proof at all that Khan had either met or consorted with al-Zawahri himself or any other alleged al-Qa'ida operative. Friends of Khan noted at the time of the video's release that he looked “significantly different” in the broadcast. Some even believed that the video was faked, so different was the 'Khan' who appeared on tape in comparison to the man they knew and observations were made about the out of sync audio, which could well be a result of breaks and possible splicing by a third party – something which has been found to have occurred on an audio used as evidence in the Crevice trial. Past 'al-Qa'ida' videos have been shown to be demonstrably doctored.
The video of Shehzad Tanweer was produced by Adam Gadahn, an 'al-Qa'ida operative' with a highly incongruous and questionable background. It is also odd that no al-Qa'ida-endorsed 'suicide message' has ever surfaced either from Jermaine Lindsay or Hasib Hussain.
The July 7th Official Report plays down al-Qa'ida links throughout. It dismisses media claims that Khan had been engaged in terrorist activity in the Philippines and Malaysia, makes only assumptions about “operatives” Khan and Tanweer may or may not have met in Pakistan and generally concludes that the entire operation was self-financed. A few days before the report itself was released, The Guardian noted “Far from being the work of an international terror network, as originally suspected, the attack was carried out by four men who had scoured terror sites on the internet.” (See Hypothesis 3)
Regarding claims by Ron Suskind in his 2006 book “The One Percent Doctrine”, that the US authorities were aware of alleged plans by Khan to commit acts of terrorism on the east coast of the USA in 2003, these turned out to be in respect of an entirely different Mohammed Khan. Despite the 'emphatic denial' of police and FBI agents who worked on the investigation that there had been any confusion between two men with the same surname, as suggested by British authorities, in fact Mohammad Sidique Khan had been confused with Mohammed Ajmal Khan.
The only aspect that gives rise to the notion that the attacks were planned, financed and overseen by a more sophisticated organisation is the early reports of commercial and military explosives which were later squashed flat in the media. Despite prominent media coverage of 'recruiters' such as Hassan Butt, a close acquaintance of Mohammed Junaid Babar, (also mentioned in Hypotheses 3 and 5) and stories warning of 'radicalisation' occurring on university campuses - although Muslim university students were just as likely to have been approached on campus by recruiters for the security services (more on this in Hypothesis 4) - there is simply no conclusive evidence that any of the July 7th accused were recruited or 'radicalised', either by a mythical international terrorism network or otherwise. Allegations which surfaced during the 2007 trial of the Operation Crevice suspects, that both the Crevice 'ringleader' Omar Khyam and Mohammad Sidique Khan were recruited by so-called “al-Qa'ida leader” Mohammed Quayyum Khan – also known as 'Q' - are surrounded by tough questions, not least of which is why 'Q' has never been apprehended for this. The police simply claim a “lack of evidence”. Mohammed Quayyum Khan is mentioned further in Hypothesis 4.
Hassan Butt claims to have met Mohammad Sidique Khan on two occasions. The first in Pakistan, through Mohammed Junaid Babar (more detail on this in Hypothesis 2) and the second time a chance meeting which led Khan to invite Butt into his house in Batley with Babar.
However, Butt exposed himself as a liar and fantasist when he confessed in 2008 that he had totally fabricated his claims,
On May 21, 2008, the Greater Manchester Police presented to the High Court the transcript of their recent interviews with Hassan Butt since he was arrested in which he, for the first time, admitted that he had ‘made up’ all the stories of his al-Qa’ida involvement: “I’ve never met anyone from al-Qaida or anyone who claimed to be from al-Qaida in my entire life...I actually arranged for myself to be stabbed in the shoulder, sorry, in my arm and in my back because I knew if I said I had been attacked Shiv was going to ask for some proof so basically I stabbed myself...you know, it was just part of the whole scam.”
Butt also admitted that contrary to his past statements, he had never met, let alone had tea with the ringleader of the 7/7 attacks, Mohammed Siddique Khan.
Source: Muslim News
In addition to Butt's eventual admittance that he could not possibly have 'recruited' Mohammad Sidique Khan, there is no evidence to suggest that anybody else did so either. Butt's confession also, of course, casts a shadow over the claims of Babar. Moreover, Khan himself appears to make a reference to characters such as Butt during a bugged conversation between himself and Omar Khyam in 2004:
Mohammed Siddique Khan: What kind of difference would that make, though. There are so many strong youths out there who could rise up and speak to the scholars.
Then we wouldn't be like this. There would be a real buzz in the air, much more acceptable. We would not be running and ducking and diving from our families from our communities about this and the issues we face.
Unidentified male 2: The thing about this is, Khan, our worst enemy to a certain degree. It is not the enemy it's our own people.
Mohammed Siddique Khan: Do the job for them don't they?
Source: Channel 4 News
The fact that almost every proposed 'mastermind' has later been found to have no connection to both the accused men or the atrocities, suggests most strongly that there simply was no al-Qa'ida mastermind and this was a story largely manufactured by and reliant upon media propaganda.
Note: All comments on the J7 Alternative Hypotheses articles will be added to a single comment thread. When commenting, please specify the hypothesis to which you are referring.
Alternative Hypotheses Navigation
1. al-Qa'ida mastermind recruited British Muslims as suicide bombers
5. The men thought they were going to strike a blow for Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc and go to Heaven as 'martyrs' because they had been groomed and encouraged and equipped by an al-Qa'ida mastermind who was actually working for one of the State agencies or a rogue network straddling one or more of them with their own agenda.
6. The four men thought they were going to be delivering drugs or money to various locations round London, but were deceived, set up and murdered along with the others on their tubes and bus when their back packs exploded.