London 7/7: How to Be Good FAQ
Frequently asked questions about How to Be Good in connection with July 7th. If you have no idea what this refers to, read this first, and read this too. Please distribute this important information about July 7th freely.
What's all the fuss about?
Since the events of July 7th 2005 the media has consistently reported factually inaccurate information about the movements of the alleged suicide bombers and the movements of the Thameslink trains from Luton.
How can this be?
The story starts with a CCTV image. Since July 7th, only one image has ever been released that purports to show all four alleged suicide bombers together. The image is said to be a frame of CCTV footage which shows the accused outside Luton Station, some 30 miles from the scene of the incidents. The image is timestamped a few seconds before 7:22am and only one of the faces in the picture is even vaguely identifiable. It looks like the photo below.
In a press conference in the days after July 7th the Metropolitan Police stated that the alleged suicide bombers caught the 7.40am Thameslink train from Luton to King's Cross. Subsequent media reports have claimed that they caught either the 7.40 train or, oddly enough given the police statement, the 7.48 train. Both of these statements are false. Here's why; On the morning of July 7th the 7.40 Thameslink train from Luton to King's Cross was cancelled and the 7.48 train left at 7.56, only to arrive at King's Cross Thameslink Station at 8.42am, not at 8:20am as per the scheduled timetable and as reported across the media.
King's Cross underground station is several minutes walk away from the Thameslink station. By 8.42am that morning, two of the affected trains had already left King's Cross underground station. Both the information about the actual operating schedule of the Luton to King's Cross Thameslink trains and departure times from King's Cross of the affected Underground trains have been confirmed by independent public researchers, a fact-checking exercise that no mainstream source appears to have bothered with.
Well, according to Sir Ian Blair, July 7th was the start of the 'largest criminal inquiry in English history' yet, to date, the police and media versions of events rely on stories that have the alleged suicide bombers catching a train from Luton that:
a) Was cancelled and did not run on July 7th, or
b) A train that arrived in London too late to catch the affected Underground trains.
Why is any of this important?
Quite simply, it means that the original police story of what happened on July 7th has the alleged suicide bombers on a train to London that did not run. Are the British Police so incompetent that they wouldn't think to verify whether or not the train ran that they were alleging the alleged suicide bombers caught? Or, alternatively, if the police story places the alleged bombers on a train that did not run then perhaps we should assume that all the stories about these four young men are as credible as the one that has them catching a train that didn't run? Alternatively, there's the media story of how the alleged bombers rode from Luton to London on a train that arrived too late for them to catch the affected Underground trains as they left King's Cross.
Wow! They're lying to us about the day the bombs came to London! Is there anything I can do about it?
Yes, they are lying to you about the day the bombs came to London and, yes, there is lots you can do about it. All media stories that refer to the alleged suicide bombers catching either the 7.40 or the 7.48 train from Luton to King's Cross are factually incorrect and you have a right to complain to the editor of the offending publication and the Press Complaints Commission.
Luckily, in the United Kingdom, there are certain obligations on the media to correctly report the facts and, in instances where it can be shown they have incorrectly reported the facts, there is an obligation on the publisher to acknowledge the error, to correct it once it has been recognised and, where appropriate, issue an apology for their error.
OK, so who do I get in touch with?
As well as directly getting in touch with the editors and journalists of offending publications, there are a number of other organisations with whom you can get in touch.
The Press Complaints Commission
Complaints about incorrectly reported facts in the press should go to the Press Complaints Commission. The PCC is funded by the industry and allows members of the public to complain about articles in local, regional and national newspapers and magazines. It is recommended that complainants make an initial approach to the editor of the offending publication but there is no obligation to have done so.
In some cases however, in order to comply with PCC guidelines, it may be beneficial to complain directly to the editor of the offending publication. Complaints must be lodged within two months of the article appearing OR the last letter received from the editor, hence why it may be useful to complain directly to the editor in the first instance.
The PCC also expects you to specify which clauses in the industry's Code of Practice have been breached and how, and to provide evidence to support the complaint. The Press Complaints Commission Code of Practice states:
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.
ii) A significant inaccuracy, mis-leading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - an apology published.
iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
All reports that refer to the alleged suicide bombers catching either the 7.40am or 7.48am Thameslink trains from Luton to King's Cross on the morning of July 7th are factually incorrect and you have a right – nay, a personal public duty - to report that inaccuracy to the Press Complaints Commission and to demand that the factual errors be acknowledged and corrected with due prominence. Where appropriate, an apology should also be issued for not bothering to check such a simple fact before going to print. Reports which state that the alleged bombers arrived at King's Cross in line with mistakenly reported departure times are also incorrect and can be challenged on the basis of their inaccuracy.
There is an online version of the Press Complaints Commission complaints form here:
You can also write to the Press Complaints Commission at the following address:
Press Complaints Commission
20/23 High Holborn
London, EC1N 2JD
Helpline: 0845 600 2757
Telephone: 020 7831 0022
Facsimile: 020 7831 0025
Textphone: 020 7831 0123
In instances where a complaint is past the two month deadline imposed by the PCC, write directly to the editor of the offending publication with your complaint. Upon receipt of a response from the editor, you can then lodge a complaint with the PCC within two months of response from the offending editor.
The PCC will be then send your complaint to the editor of the offending publication for comment, you are then given a chance to respond, and the editor is then asked to comment further. If a resolution is not reached, the Commission will then makes its own judgement. If you are unsatisfied, you can demand that the matter be reconsidered with the ultimate decision being the sole domain of the PCC.
Complaining to the BBC
The BBC have been rather good at getting the train times wrong and have done so in BBC2's flagship science and documentary programme, Horizon. On 27th October 2005, the Horizon programme subtitled "The 7/7 Bombers – A Psychological Investigation: What makes someone want to blow themselves – and others – up?", the BBC employed the services of Mark Sageman, an ex-CIA case officer and forensic psychiatrist, 'to look beyond the individual', professing to offer an unsuspecting and unwitting British public an explanation of what might drive four young, British, Muslim men to commit the atrocities of July 7th.
Apparently "new evidence from Marc Sageman show[ed] that extremist cells can form spontaneously, without any connections to established organisations." Sageman refers to this as his 'bunch of guys' theory. Armed with this 'bunch of guys' theory and no-doubt a fat cheque from the BBC, Dr Andrew Silke set about reconstructing the journeys of the alleged suicide bombers on the morning of July 7th. In the programme Silk apparently caught the same 7.48 train from Luton to King's Cross that the accused did on July 7th which, as we already know, they didn't. Silke also told us that the train arrived into King's Cross at 0826, which it didn't. So great is Mark Sageman 'bunch of guys' theory that not only do bombers no longer need any formal connections to established organisations, they can also catch a trains that don't run, or trains that arrive to late to place them at the scene of the crime.
Unfortunately, the BBC is the only avenue of complaint for a factual inaccuracy in their broadcast content. Anyone who seeks a resolution to why one of the BBC's flagship science and documentary programmes are giving out factually incorrect information and reporting it as 'fact' have no recourse to the likes of Ofcom who appear to take no interest in whether the BBC's content is factually accurate or not.
From the BBC complaint guidelines:
Can I complain to an outside body?
Yes. You can complain to Ofcom about all issues except impartiality, inaccuracy and some commercial issues. These remain the responsibility of the BBC Governors under the Communications Act 2003.
For those that missed the programme, you can download the offending sections of Horizon which show the incorrect departure and arrival times of the Thameslink trains from here:
Lodging a complaint with the BBC
The rules for complaints to the BBC can be found here:
The BBC's online complaints form is here:
To check the BBC's responses to complaints, go here:
You can also contact the BBC by phone on 08700 100 222* to make your complaint.
(*calls may be monitored for training. Textphone on 08700 100 212.)
What else can I do?
Write to your member of parliament, journalists, editors, magazines, council members, union representatives of the train drivers and underground staff affected and let them know your concerns about the factual inaccuracies in the stories so far. While you're at it, you could also ask quite when one low-quality image allegedly showing the accused some 30 miles from the scene of ANY crime has ever constituted sufficient evidence to act as judge, jury and executioner for anyone, much less innocent commuters in London.
For additional information and assistance about lodging complaints against the media, the MediaWise organisation exist to provide assistance with ensuring ethical and legal standards of conduct by the media:
Good luck and be sure to let us know how you get on!
J7: The July 7th Truth Campaign