Roger Whittaker

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London bombs (28)

Monday 15th May 2006

Rachel North is not the only one who is "shaking with anger".

The report in the Sunday Times yesterday is very interesting.

MI5 is being accused of a cover-up for failing to disclose to a parliamentary watchdog that it bugged the leader of the July 7 suicide bombers discussing the building of a bomb months before the London attacks.

MI5 had secret tape recordings of Mohammad Sidique Khan, the gang leader, talking about how to build the device and then leave the country because there would be a lot of police activity.

However, despite the recordings, MI5 allowed him to escape the net. Transcripts of the tapes were never shown to the parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC), which investigated the attacks.

The disclosures prompted allegations of a "whitewash" from politicians and victims of the attacks this weekend.


A committee member, who asked not to be named, admitted that it had not seen transcripts of MI5's recordings of Khan. Instead, it had taken evidence from senior security officials and accepted their judgment that there was no reason to regard Khan as a serious threat.

The MP said that if the transcripts showed Khan had been involved in discussions about bomb-making and another possible attack, the committee had been seriously misled. "If that is the case, it amounts to a scandal," said the source. "I would be outraged."

Then we have another extraordinary report, obviously placed as a response to the above, about MI5 being infiltrated by al-Qaeda.

Bosses at M15 believe they unwittingly recruited the Muslim extremists after the July 7 suicide bombings in London last year which killed 52 people.

They were signed up as part of a drive to find more Muslims and Arabic speakers to work as spies to help prevent future attacks by Osama bin Laden fantatics.

Spymasters found some of the agents in Britain's universities and colleges and persuaded them to pass on information about suspected terrorists.

But a senior ministerial source has told the Sunday Mirror: "The truth is that it has now been discovered that some of those people have strong links with al-Qaeda.

There was always a risk that with such a speedy and widespread recruitment some would turn out to be bad eggs."

I'm afraid it's becoming very hard for any reasonable and well-informed person to accept the "incompetence theory" which is being offered.

I have a feeling that even a person like Rachel North, a victim of the bombings, who has been strongly advocating a public enquiry, but has also been totally resistant to any kind of "conspiracy theory" might begin to see that this all looks at least like a LIHOP, and probably worse.

There comes a moment when "scales fall from the eyes" and one suddenly sees the world differently, as Thomas Kuhn famously described in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions".

In matters like this one, that's not a comfortable moment, because it is also a revelation of extraordinary wickedness on the part of persons known or unknown, but perhaps previously trusted.