July 7th Alternative Hypotheses
3. Homegrown and autonomous action by four British Muslims with no mastermind.
On August 13th 2005, the cover story of The Independent suggested that the media had moved on from the idea of a 'mastermind' and also from the notion that the July 7th and July 21st attacks were connected. In January 2006, an investigation by the BBC World Service concluded that the London bombings had cost just a few hundred pounds to execute and had been principally funded by Mohammad Sidique Khan. The report of the investigation also stated that this cost was significantly lower than the cost of financing other similar terrorist attacks across the world. The Official Report into the attacks, published four months later, gave a rather different estimate of cost:
Current indications are that the group was self-financed. There is no evidence of external sources of income. Our best estimate is that the overall cost is less than £8,000. The overseas trips, bomb making equipment, rent, car hire and UK travel being the main cost elements.
The group appears to have raised the necessary cash by methods that would be extremely difficult to identify as related to terrorism or other serious criminality.
Khan appears to have provided most of the funding. Having been in full-time employment for 3 years since University, he had a reasonable credit rating, multiple bank accounts (each with just a small sum deposited for a protracted period), credit cards and a £10,000 personal loan. He had 2 periods of intensive activity – firstly in October 2004 and then from March 2005 onwards. He defaulted on his personal loan repayments and was overdrawn on his accounts. Jermaine Lindsay made a number of purchases with cheques (which subsequently bounced) in the weeks before 7 July. Bank investigators visited his house on the day after the bombings.
The Official Report will have taken its figures from the National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit (NTFIU) at New Scotland Yard, who were responsible for producing the report on the costing and financing of the July 7th attacks. The NTFIU broke down the costs as follows:
Construction and Deployment of devices £4,600 (of which actual materials = £2,500)
International Travel £1,810
Training Weekends £ 825
TOTAL £7,235 approximately
The charging of three men accused of conspiring with the deceased July 7th suspects, of course, casts some doubt on the notion that the four men acted completely autonomously. During their trial in April 2008, it was claimed by the prosecution:
Tanweer opened a trade account with a £7,000 credit limit and also applied for finance to buy a car. Mr Ali opened an account at a builders’ merchants. Khan was approved for a credit card and obtained a £10,000 loan, which he defaulted on.
Mr Ali is standing trial with Mohammed Shakil, 31, and Sadeer Saleem, 27, from Beeston, Leeds. They are accused of conspiring with Khan, Tanweer, Jermaine Lindsay, Hasib Hussain and others unknown to cause explosions between November 17, 2004 and July 8, 2005. They deny the charge.
Source: The Times
It is interesting to note that the Official Report mentions bank investigators visiting Lindsay's house on the day after the bombings. This was also raised in a media report just a few days after Lindsay had been identified as 'the fourth bomber'. The Mirror alleged that Lindsay had spent £900 on perfume in the days before the explosions, suggesting that these purchases were due to the requirement of alcohol in the creation of explosive devices; an extremely expensive way of obtaining such a generally cheap component. The article claimed:
Lindsay's spending patterns had already aroused the suspicion of his bank who brought in private detectives.
Noel Hogan, of investigators Hogan and Co International, said last night: "We were aware of this man's movements in the immediate run-up to the London bombing.
"As soon as we became aware of his involvement we contacted the Anti- Terrorist Branch. We have passed them our full records. I can say no more."
Source: The Mirror
Non-committally, the July 7th Official Report report also claims that,
Expert examination continues but it appears the bombs were homemade, and that the ingredients used were all readily commercially available and not particularly expensive.....No great expertise is required to assemble a device of this kind. It is possible that the know-how necessary could be obtained from open sources, but more likely that the group would have had advice from someone with previous experience given the careful handling required to ensure safety during the bomb making process and to get the manufacturing process right. Materials consistent with these processes were discovered at Alexandra Grove.
“Alexandra Grove” is the road in which it is claimed the accused men were renting a flat, number 18, which had been sublet to them by Magdi el-Nashar, one of the reported “masterminds” of the July 7th bombings who was later cleared of any involvement (See Hypothesis 1).
It was not until April 2008, at the trial of the three men accused of assisting the deceased July 7th suspects, that it was revealed that there had been more than one 'bomb factory'. Another property; 111 Chapeltown Road, Leeds, was also alleged to have been used for the creation of explosive devices; reports, however, referred to 18 Alexandra Grove as the "main" bomb factory.
Further to what the Official Report states above, a witness for the prosecution in the trial, explosives expert Clifford Todd, said that the explosive devices used on July 7th 2005 were highly unusual (a claim he also made regarding the devices used on 21st July 2005, which were reportedly made from different components).
Clifford Todd, a senior forensic investigator at Fort Halstead forensic explosives laboratory, said the devices were "unique in the UK and possibly the whole world" and it was unlikely the bombers worked alone.
"Although the information is available on the internet, I seriously doubt that this could have been done in complete isolation. They would have to do a lot of testing and it is very unlikely they would get it right first time. I suggest someone somewhere had information or advice."
Source: The Telegraph
Note that despite being an 'expert' witness, Todd, somewhat notably, does not actually state what explosives were used, suggesting that – incredibly - this is either still unknown, or known but the specifics of which may jeopardise the official conspiracy theory [PDF].
Proponents of this theory often credit Mohammad Sidique Khan with being the sole 'mastermind' or ringleader of the operation, in addition to the claims of the Official Report that he was the main financier. In June 2007, journalist Shiv Malik interviewed Khan's brother, Gultasab. Gultasab Khan spoke of his brother's gradual change from a carefree teenager to a more devout Muslim, practicing Wahhabism – which Malik describes as 'fundamentalism'. Malik was also the journalist working with Hassan Butt on a book about his experiences as an 'al-Qa'ida recruiter' – which presumably will contain rather different content since Butt admitted his claims were all carefully fabricated lies, as mentioned in Hypothesis 1.
During his 2008 trial, Waheed Ali, one of three men accused of assisting Khan and the three other deceased men spoke of a trip he took to Afghanistan with Mohammad Sidique Khan in 2001, during which they were taught how to handle guns. He explained that he had been open about his reasons for going; to assist his Muslim brothers and sisters against oppression. In the end, due to severe illness, Ali did not fight although he said that Khan visited the frontline 'a few times'. Additionally, Mohammed Junaid Babar also claimed during the trial that he met Mohammed Shakil, another defendant, with Khan at a weapons training camp in Afghanistan. Such trips strongly suggest a devotion to Islam and the brotherhood – and an acceptance of the use of violence to achieve peace and end oppression. Does this equal terrorist intent? It is worth noting that going abroad to fight on behalf of the oppressed was once a noble and celebrated cause.
The reports cited in Hypothesis 1 contradict this theory to a large extent. Christophe Chaboud's remarks, along with the statement made by Brian Paddick and other British and European “counterterrorism officials” who also indicated that the explosive used was of 'military quality' or at least 'technically advanced' did not appear to have been plucked out of thin air. However, all such reports rapidly crossed the event horizon when British police raided several properties in Leeds; it was claimed that they had found traces of TATP and announced that the bombs on July 7th were comprised of peroxide-based explosives made by hand. As time went on, it was reported that the explosive components also included flour and black pepper. In fact, the constituent elements of the explosives used on July 7th 2005 have been so varied according to different sources that, at the time of writing some four years after the event, it is impossible to know their composition.
In January 2007, it was reported in the UK media that the New York Police Department had “painstakingly re-created” the Alexandra Grove flat and that it had been “reconstructed exactly as it was found by police” . The flat was described thus:
Empty bottles of hydrogen peroxide and packets of flour - crude ingredients for making explosives - are strewn around a scruffy bedroom along with a protective suit, gloves, shower cap and masks to shield the killers from the effects of the toxic fumes.
Inside a large ice bath stand four glass containers to hold the deadly concoctions the four cowardly terrorists carried with them to the capital in rucksacks to blow up three Tube trains and a bus, killing 52 innocent people and injuring more than 700 others.
Chemicals and flour are scattered on the side of a filthy double sink in a kitchen next to mixing jars. Fluid is splattered all over the walls - hidden from prying eyes by a grimy white sheet pinned to the window.
Source: The Mirror
However, when the 'bomb factory' was described, along with photographs, to the jury in the trial of the three men accused of helping the deceased July 7th suspects, it was related quite differently,
Chemical residues, bulbs, wires, batteries and traces of high explosives were said to have been discovered in a flat in Leeds where the four devices were prepared.
The photographs were taken inside 18 Alexandra Grove, the "principal" site for the construction of the bombs, a court was told.
Containers of a mixture of black pepper and hydrogen peroxide, used as the main charge, were allegedly found in the bath, with traces of the high explosive HMTD on a cooker in the kitchen.
Source: The Telegraph
A New York newspaper had carried the story of the reconstruction of the flat many months before, in May 2006. Adding to the general confusion regarding exactly what explosives were used, the Mirror report above and the NY Daily News reported that the men had been making TATP – not HMTD:
The London bombers, who had been making TATP, were careless with the results. Investigators found a quarter-size wad of the explosive under a mat near the kitchen sink.
"Some 6-foot-4, 250-pound cop in combat boots comes into an apartment like this and steps on this? Not good," another counterterrorism cop said, noting that a man's weight could set off the explosive.
Source: New York Daily News
An FOI request submitted by J7 in May 2007 asked if the report from the Forensic Explosives Laboratory had been completed. The response was that the information would be put into the public domain following the 2008 trial. To date, this information is still not in the public domain. During the trial, it was claimed by the prosecution that a “mystery man” had ordered 50 litres of liquid oxygen from a shop in Kirklees. It was also claimed that phone calls between the defendants and the deceased July 7th suspects provided “a clear indication” that this was linked to their “activities” – however, that seems an odd claim to make in the light of the non-establishment of who the “mystery man” actually was. Especially as he never even returned to collect his order.
Regarding the investigation into Jermaine Lindsay at the instigation of his bank, this is very strange. Unless it is common practice for banks to employ private investigators each time a client spends a large amount of money or whose account becomes overdrawn, why should Lindsay's bank have taken such covert action? If the spending was only occurring just weeks – or according to the Mirror report, days before the London bombings, it is rather inexplicable that Lindsay was being investigated in this manner; privately and at the instigation of a financial institution rather than the police. Another possibility worth considering is that Lindsay himself had been a victim of credit card fraud, of which unusual spending patterns are a common indication.
The prosecution in the trial alleged that all three defendants had been present at both 'bomb factories' (although they were not accused of helping to make or transport the bombs) - despite the DNA of the men only being found on items in the Alexandra Grove property such as clothing and an asthma inhaler, that could easily have been brought to the property from elsewhere and do not indicate a definite presence of the men in the property, and the fingerprints of only one of the men, Waheed Ali plus one of the deceased accused, Hasib Hussain on one single item of furniture in the Chapeltown Road property. In addition, a key that "could have" come from the car of one of the three defendants, Mohammed Shakil – or according to another report, a key for a car "like one" belonging to Shakil - is repeatedly stated in reports to have actually been Mohammed Shakil's own car key, something which was in fact never established in the trial, despite the fact that the police could easily have confirmed this through the DVLA.
None of the three defendants have ever denied knowing, or being friends with, the men accused of causing the explosions in London on July 7th 2005. All three defendants in the trial also had links to the Iqra bookshop in Beeston. However, the claims of Martin Gilbertson in 2006, suggest that there were others above Khan – implying these others were also involved through the Iqra:
On reflection, I don't know which way round it was. Whether the people at Iqra were putting Khan up to it, or whether Khan was using them. The path of least resistance is to say that the people at Iqra were creating the atmosphere in which Khan worked. Khan was taking advantage of the atmosphere they were creating, but what I don't know is to what extent the others were aware of what he was doing. I see it as series of pyramids: at the top, the official Muslim community leaders; below that, the pyramid I was working for at Iqra and Hamara YAP, with Khan as a hinge between this and a third tier of pyramids: one of which was the footsoldiers, the bombers.
Source: The Guardian
Interestingly, Gilbertson claims that one of the more vociferous and proactive men working out of the Iqra was ex-anti terror operative Martin McDaid, who converted to Islam in 2000. It was McDaid, alleged Gilbertson, who “did most of the talking, most of the ranting and raving; and as an ex-Marine, he knew about matters military.”
Gilbertson also said “I became aware of Sidique Khan, the man the newspapers and authorities call the bombers' 'ringleader'. To be honest, he wasn't the one who stood out.” When Gilbertson's testimony is relied upon so heavily by the media and authorities, why has McDaid – who according to Gilbertson was far more of a 'ringleader' – never been questioned regarding his time at the Iqra, or his connection to those accused of perpetrating the events of 7th July 2005?
Khan himself had apparently inspired such good community relations that many were left reeling at the reports of his involvement in the bombings. As mentioned in Hypothesis 2, during the trial of the three men accused of conspiring with the deceased suspected bombers, some home video footage made by Mohammad Sidique Khan was played to the jury. One short film made by Khan talking to his baby daughter and wife before leaving for a trip to Pakistan in 2004 was clearly intended by the prosecution as evidence of terrorist intent. Indeed the media referred to the film as a "farewell video", suggesting that Khan was saying a final goodbye - despite that fact that Khan at no point indicated that he would not be returning. Oddly, one section of the film was not played to the jury; instead the prosecuting barrister read out a transcript of what it is claimed Khan said to his daughter in the video. One can only wonder why this section, in which it is claimed Khan 'groomed' his daughter for terrorism simply by telling her that “fighting is good” was not played along with the rest of the film. There is still no evidence of anything Khan did on this trip, on which he was accompanied by Shehzad Tanweer – despite the lurid tabloid allegations.
The suggestions that Khan's devotion to Islam – and Wahhabism in particular – made him more likely to have been not only a terrorist but a Jihadist recruiter seem to have been dampened by a new MI5 report which states that terrorists are not likely to be religious – or radicalised by extremists.
Note: Despite subjecting Ali, Shakil and Saleem to two separate trials, during which previously unreleased CCTV footage and other exhibits related to 7th July 2005 were shown, the State failed to make a convincing or compelling case. The jury in the first trial failed to reach a verdict and the jury in the second prosecution attempt -- which Andrew Hall QC, representing Sadeer Saleem, described as 'utterly implausible', and 'a conspiracy theory that the prosecution have been prepared to pursue to the bitter end' -- found the three men not guilty.
It is also worth noting that reports stated "detectives found up to 10 sets of unidentified fingerprints in bomb factories used by Sidique Khan". It is unknown whether efforts are being made to identify the hitherto unidentified fingerprints.
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
3. Homegrown and autonomous action by four British Muslims with no mastermind.
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.