Whenever something dramatic happens in a country - whether it be an assassination of an important figure, an unexpected war with another nation, or a devastating attack on some treasured symbol - the public expects not only the perpetrators to be punished but also an official explanation of why it happened. It is all very necessary for the public to maintain trust in the officials it has chosen to lead it, and in the very government it has given its allegiance to, and supports with its taxes.
When the Japanese attack on Hawaii on December 7, 1941, for example, occurred, the American people did not expect FDR's government to claim that it was all some terrible mistake which could be resolved by negotiations, or something not worth fighting for. The public anticipated a no-nonsense reply from Washington, and the President did not disappoint it, calling upon a joint session of Congress to declare war on Japan because of its infamy, and appointing Secretary of State Frank Knox to investigate the causes of the terrible tragedy rather than just dismiss it as a ludicrous diversion.
While the Japanese militarists thought that America would throw in the towel when its jewel, the Pacific Fleet, was struck a "mortal blow" while at anchor in Pearl Harbor, Washington behaved in just the manner Japanese fleet commander, Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto, predicted - waking from its slumbers, and initiating a war of revenge no matter what while punishing the commanders on the scene, Vice Admiral Husband Kimmel, and General Walter Short, for their alleged dereliction of duty in allowing it to happen. Roosevelt's government had not taken seriously the possibility of the Japanese, a nation of "little yellow men", starting a war with Washington, but now there would be Hell to pay for their foolishness.
Still, Washingon had time and interest in investigations into the tragedy. While the Knox one was followed by another finely-balanced military one during the war, headed by Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts, and another one right after its end, headed by FDR loyalist and Vice President Alben Barkley, they all come up with the expected whitewash which exonerated the policy-makers in the nation's capital, and tarnished the reputations of the commanders on the scene. Roberts was the judge who changed sides on the constitutionality of FDR's New Deal legislation, especially social security and the National Labor Relations Board, preventing the President from having to pack the Supreme Court with judges of a more liberal stripe.
Kimmel and Short were repeatedly held accountable for the disaster though they had never been clearly informed about its possibility, and their responsibility in preventing it, especially steps which might have minimized its impact. About the intelligence failure, Christopher Andrew wrote in For the President's Eyes Only: "Not a single Japanese decrypt available in Washington pointed to an attack on Pearl Harbor." (p. 120) It took nearly another half-century for the officers to receive some kind of rehabilitation, though they were never granted the court-martials they demanded in order to clear their names.
When President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963, and Jack Ruby conveniently silenced his alleged killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, there was no talk of just moving on since the whole matter had now been resolved. Actually, there were already too many investigations under way with Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade initiating a murder prosecution of the sleazy night club operator, and Texas Attorney General Waggoner Carr opening an inquiry, headed by later Watergate prosecutor Leon Jaworski, into the failure of law-enforcement agencies, especially Hoover's FBI, in preventing it. LBJ appointed the now infamous Warren Commission to clear up the mess - what threatened an international confrontation because of alleged complicity of Moscow and Havana in the murder.
While we all know now that its investigation was a complete fiasco - another whitewash of what had happened - because of the even greater risk of the public learning the truth, the Commission went through the motions of establishing LHO's guilt, while ruling out of hand any other explanations of the assassination for fear that it would lead to the conspiracy in the heart of America's secret government which had assassinated the President. The Commission had to tailor all the evidence to fit the premise the Oswald alone had done it, and, of course, this led to many distortions and omissions which subsequent inquiries, especially the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the late 1970s, have been unable to deal with.
Even when British WMD expert Dr. David Kelly was killed in July 2002, apparently by his own hand, Prime Minister Tony Blair could not treat it merely as a personal matter which could be best resolved by a coroner's inquest, given what the public already knew. It was Kelly's insights into Iraq's WMD - what had become the centerpiece of books that Judith Miller and Thomas Mangold had written on the subject - which had become the hooks that Washington and London had hung their pre-emptive war against Saddam Hussein on. Kelly was certain when they wrote their books that the Iraqi dictator had the missiles and the biological agents, particularly anthrax, to hit Israel within 45 minutes of the opening of any hostilities against his regime.
Thanks to UN Resolution 1441 which forced Iraq to make an accounting of what had happened to its WMD, and to allow its weapons inspectors back into the country to search for any secret stores, Washington and London learned that Iraq no longer had the capability that Kelly was so sure of. Consequently, they had to fix the evidence to justify Saddam's ouster (aka the Downing Street Memo), and fight the war under the pretext that Saddam would launch an WMD attack against Israel. The only trouble with the strategy was that Kelly soon learned of his errors, and started talking to BBC reporters, especially Andrew Gillian, about how he had been fooled.
As soon as the MOD, MI6, and Downing Street learned of Kelly's liberties, thanks to feedback from Judy Miller about his future plans on the matter - they outed him to the public in the hope of at least discrediting him, if not destroying him. Miller was deeply involved in covering up the fixing of intelligence to justify the war, contending in her NYT's columns that Saddam had
destroyed some of his WMD right before the war, shipped the rest to Syria, and had joined Al-Qaeda.
Once the Mossad fourn-man kidon helping MI5 fight Britain's terrorisim, it seems, learned of Kelly's outing, it mounted a boat mission on The Thames near Harrowdown Hill to assassinate Kelly - what was made to look like a suicide while he was taking a walk. The plan was to bushwack him, once he was alone in a secluded area, and stuff him with enough of his wife's pain-killers to render him unconscious, leaving him then to die an apparent natural death.
The only trouble with the plot was that Kelly, most suspicious of threats against him, was not surprised by the kidon. He broke away from it when confronted, and ran through a most wooded area, causing significant bruising and leisons to his legs. When he was finally caught, he still put up a struggle, causing bruises to his chest, scratches on his head, and a welt on his lower lip while the kidon was trying to stuff the pain-killer down his throat - which he continually vomitted back up.
In desperation, and in the dark, the squad finally held the left arm down long enough under a torch to open up the less important artery in his wrist. By this time, Kelly was barely conscious. He was then moved from the scene to where the body was found - and there was no evidence of a struggle - and left to die, after being stuffed with more pain-killer which he still managed to vomit back up.
Of course, the Prime Minister could not allow any coroner's inquest in the case - as it was most likely to come up with a verdict of foul play, or at least an open one - so he had the Lord Chancellor appoint a judicial inquiry, under Lord Hutton, into the death. Hutton was the British equivalent of Justice Roberts - FDR's judge who was just itching for a fight with the Japs when the attacks on Hawaii occurred. Hutton, as Northern Ireland's Attorney General, had made a similar career for himself by bringing its war on terror into line with what policy makers in Whitehall wanted through the establishment of Diplock courts - jury-less trials in which convictions were largely based upon the testimony of informer witnesses and coerced confessions.
Hutton delegated his primary responsibility - determining the cause of Kelly's death - to Professor Keith Hawton, the noted expert on suicide. Hawton had prescribed in writing that 30 tablets of a similar pain-killer would be sufficient to kill a person - advice the kidon had followed to a tee when it stole them from Mrs.Kelly's supply, and stuffed them down Kelly's gullet. In sum, the inquiry's verdict was a foregone conclusion.
It was completely out of character when the 7/7 bombings occurred in London that the Prime Minister dismissed calls for special inquiries into them as a "ludicrous diversion" unless officialdom cannot be helped by any biased investigation of them - what seems to be the case. With the four suicide bombers having pulled off a perfect conspiracy while dying in the process (For more on this, see my articles about Lord Stevens and the actual conspiracy in my archive.), there is little that can be gained by having even a most biased inquiry as there are no easy scapegoats to blame, as what happens with more traditional surprises.
Actually, any investigation would just air all kinds of evidence of official incompetence and
malfeasance in the matter. Ever since MI5 was given primary responsibility in stopping terrorism in October 1992, it has increasingly been expanding its relationships with other agencies, particularly Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Unit aka SO13, the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), and Israel's Mossad, in the hope of taking their measure, particularly the Provisional IRA and Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network. The Security Service - being primarily interested in catching the masterminds of terrorism rather than just its foot soldiers - became increasingly involved in developing double agents within various suspected groups in the hope of achieving results which would satisfy all its associates.
Of course, Britain has long been a sanctuary for terrorists, emigrants, and asylum seekers. During the 19th and 20th centuries, many freedom-fighters - especially of nations under the yoke of the Austrian, Russian, and German empires in Eastern Europe, most notably Hungary's Louis Kossuth and Italy's Guiseppe Mazzini - sought refuge in London. While this process slowly wound down with the collapse of the Cold War and the formation of the European Union, people in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia increasingly joined the ranks of those seeking refuge in Britain, thanks to the collapse of its own empire, Israel's wars of expansion, and Western efforts to control the flow of oil - a process which diluted Britain's social cohesion.
All the politically-involved emigrant groups - except for Irish Republicans, though even they were giving up their strategy of an armed struggle to gain independence of Northern Ireland from Britain - were committed to the so-called "covenant of security" which meant that they would never attack their fellow Britons, though there was little cause for them to do so. Consequently, Muslim groups became ideal recruits for special operations Britain had planned with America and Israel. MI5's T Branch, responsible for combatting domestic terrorism, saw this as an good way of keeping up with G Branch, whose mandate was international terrorism, when it came to funds, personnel, and missions, especially now that PIRA terrorism was drying up.
Little wonder that when Washington was looking for freedom-fighters and moles in the fight against Greater Serbia in Bosnia-Hertzegovina, shoring up Kosovo and Albania, and defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan, MI6 was most eager to oblige, and T Branch did what it could to help out. The center of Britain's recruitment efforts was the Finsbury mosque where the fiery Abu Qatada aka Captain Hook and Omar Uthman Abu Omar held forth on the need of jihadists to combat Western evils, and his assistant Haroon Rashid Awat signed up anyone willing to go. Huge sums were desposited in London banks and elsewhere to help fund the covert activities of his Al-Muhajiroun ('The Emigrants' in arabic) in laying the groundwork for rolling back Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan (Operation Gateway).
All this planning and good work went down the drain, though, when the 9/11 attacks occurred. Instead of Al-Qaeda's hijackers being harmlessly exposed to the world as the CIA and NORAD shut down the hijacked planes without loss - what would constitute an act of war, justifying the end of the Taliban for harboring such terrorists - the hijackers turned out to be suicide bombers, making all-out war with Osama and his supporters inevitable and immediate. Those who were not killed outright in the lightening strike on Afghanistan were killed by the hundreds, or perhaps thousands, in its aftermath. Those who were not killed were then imprisoned indefinitely wherever they could and forced to tell all they knew about the others. Al-Qaeda was like a plague, or a rogue state which had to be eradicated completely.
At first, this meant massive roundups in individual countries, and renditions of more likely middleman to countries like Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Uzbekistan for the full treatment when it came to interrogation. The Coalition, as T Branch had done in Northern Ireland, was looking for supergrasses, coerced informants, who would tell all about the movement. "Christopher Black, the first IRA supergrass," Caroline Kennedy-Pipe wrote in The Origins of the Present Troubles in Northern Ireland, "implicated thirty-eight people in his testimony." (p. 144) With Saddam Hussein's regime already marked out for destruction, it was just a question of time before Osama and his supporters would follow.
When these assumptions started proving unlikely if not impossible despite the roundups and renditions of likely suspects, the Coalition started outing its supergrasses, and implicating their associates in all kinds of terrorism. Abu Omar, the Intelligence and Democratic Security Service's (SISD) supergrass in Italy, became such an attractive source that the CIA kidnapped him in February 2003, and rendered him to Egypt for interrogation because the Agency did not think that SISD was getting everything out of him it could. Anzar's Higher Defense Intelligence Center ((CESID) in Spain locked up Syrian-born Edin Barakat Yarkas aka Abu Dahdah indefinitely on suspicion of his involvement in the 9/11 attacks. And in December 2001 Abu Qatada disappeared from his house in Acton, apparently having become a supergrass for the British security services.
In Britain, Abu Qatada's supergrass efforts turned out worse than those of Black and the Irish National Liberation Army's Henry Kirkpatrick back in Ulster in the 1980s. While convictions, based upon their informer testimony, were increasingly thrown out by the courts, Qatada's efforts resulted in little more than the sending to jail the "Portland Seven" - guys who had been led to Afghanistan by his assistant Aswat after their effort to establish a terrorist training ground in Bly, Oregon had failed. After that, Aswat himself went underground. Then Qatada's testimony that asylum-seeker and psychopath Kamel Bourgoss was establishing a ricin ring in Manchester, despite the roundup of 200 suspect associates, only resulted in the murder of Special Branch detective Stephen Oake when they failed to restrain him after making an arrest.
Still, Qatada was so effective in persuading T Branch that he knew all about what the terrorists at his mosque were planning that it agreed to conduct Operation Crevis in November 2003 to catch them. (For more on this, see my articles about Lord Stevens and the 7/7 bombings in the Trowbridge Archive.) Suicide bombers Asif Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif, member of Qatada's mosque, has just blown up Mike's Bar outside Tel Aviv, and security officials believed that similar terrorists would flock to his calls. MI5, with the help of Canadian counterterrorists, supplied the mastermind and bomb expert Mohammad Monim Khawaja to the false flag operation, and Qatada himself was expected to supply the necessary recruits through his cellphone calls, and what they generated among Britain's increasingly disaffected Muslims.
Well, Operation Crevis was completely upstaged by what Abu Dahdah's followers pulled off in Madrid on 3/11 - what was such a devastating blow to Aznar's government that it not only lost at the polls three days later, but also destroyed all the government's deliberations leading up to and after the attacks, as Socialist Prime Minister José Rodrigues Zapatero recently testified before the parliamentary commission investigating the tragedy. The evidence would show that GCHQ, Britain's signal intelligence system, was so intrigued by the "chatter" that Operation Crevis was creating that it persuaded Spanish counterterrorists that the real threat was in Britain, and that Madrid would only have to worry about a demonstration bombing by ETA, the Basque separatist group - what Aznar persisted in claiming his own counterterrorist people maintained.
MI5 did what it could to cover up the scandal by having its agent 'Gould' flush the young Muslim pasties in Crawley and West London to Pakistan, but they refused to flee. While Scotland Yard, thanks to continuing scare-mongering by its Chief Commissioner, Sir John Stevens, went through the motions of taking 'the plot' seriously, claiming that it had prevented a serious terrorist attack, the whole thing was simply dropped.
As in Northern Ireland, Operation Crevis's use of supergrasses had most unexpected consequences, especially since the wars in Iraq and on terror were simlpy getting worse. While security officials were giving the widest berth possible to all those connected in the slightest way to it, some of them, especially Mohammad Kayoun Khan, became increasingly radicalized by what they had been through, and were now experiencing. He even went to Pakistan and Israel to see what it was all about - what opened his eyes to what the West was really engaged in with its secret operations and lies. He had little trouble recruiting three like-minded Muslims to become martyrs - like what Northern Ireland's hunger strikers within the Maze Prison became, and what Prime Minister Thatcher had approved the use of supergrasses to stop.
While I have little to add to what I have already written about this conspiracy, one should note that the Security Service and Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist-Unit turned a completely blind eye on the whole process - vetting Khan apparently and deciding that he was not a threat. Thanks to Lord Stevens again, the security services were absolutely obsessed with the idea that only a "white convert" - reminiscent of what Washington thought about the Japanese before Pearl Harbor - could supply the needed planning, and bomb-making expertise for a coordinated urban attack. Actually, the bombs were made from readily-available peroxide compounds which anyone reading the internet could put together, and set to explode by synchronized mobile phones, provided they were kept cool until shortly before detonation.
This misconception by the British counterterrorists resulted in the reimprisonment of Shankill Road bomber Sean Kelly back in Northern Ireland in October 1993 four weeks before the July attacks in London in the expectation that this prevented all possibilities of a repeat of what happened in Madrid. In fact, the security services were so confident that they had everything under control that they reduced the threat level from "severe" to "substantial" after Kelly re-entered prison.
When the 7/7 attacks still occurred, the Blair government could not simply do what Aznar's did after 3/11. Instead of scrubbing the record clean - what was bound to leak out, and would certainly end in Blair's political humiliation and ouster - it had to create a new legend which would cover up the first attacks while apparently reassuring the public that everything was essentially okay. Its answer was a replay two weeks later, perhaps put together by "Gould" in order to make amends, in which a "copy-cat" operation had all the desired effects without any casualties. The mission was planned so that the coordinatesd bombs did not explode either because the explosive had become inert or was simply flour.
Then the Brits went hog-wild with their new Security Regiment, built from remnants of the 14 Intelligence Company from Northern Ireland, while one of the pseuo-bombers, Hussain Osman aka Hamdi Isaac, was allowed to escape to Italy. The special team following Jean Charles de Menezes had complete discretion in how to handle his surveillance, and when it became confused, as it had in at least seven or eight other occasions, it shot him dead - not to cover up anything but to establish that the counterterrorists had finally accomplished something. Osman, in Italy, was allowed to sing to the press about the operation not wanting to kill anyone - what so reassured the British public about the possibilities of future 7/7s that Scotland Yard was obliged to deny his claims.
MI5 had even tried to bring Aswat into the picture by having him come to Britain, and call one of the pseudo-bombers the night before the attacks before departing, hoping that this would fit him out as the mastermind of both attacks. Unfortunately, the South African Secret Service had spotted him there on 7/7, and counterterrorist expert John Loftus disclosed to Fox News that Aswat had been an MI6 asset for years.
As this is all slowly played out by Scotland Yard, and in the courts, the public will soon lose interest, and the Prime Minister can rest assured that Aznar's fate does not await him.