Accused 7/7 Co-Conspirators Acquitted
Three men - Mohammed Shakil, Sadeer Saleem and Waheed Ali - have been cleared of helping the July 7 bombers plan their attacks. The three men, all from Beeston in Leeds, who have been acquitted by a jury, were the only people ever to be charged in relation to the bombings of July 2005.
There seems to be little doubt that they are terrorist sleazeballs:
All three had also been on training camps in Pakistan with Mohammed Sidique Khan, the leader of the bombers, the last just months before the attacks.
Two of the men, Waheed Ali and Mohammed Shakil, were convicted of conspiracy to attend a place used for terrorist training after they were arrested on their way to Manchester airport in 2007.
The question was whether an earlier trip to London was a reconnaissance mission as the Crown claimed, or simply an unconnected outing to the big city.
As always when reading about the 7/7 tube bombings, my next visit was to Rachel North's blog. Rachel was on one of the bombed subway trains that terrible morning, so she's always on top of this story:
I respect the jury's decision, and having watched much of this trial the first time around, it was clear that this was always a circumstantial case and a hard one to build. The police have done an enormous amount of work in investigating this matter, for which they are to be congratulated and it was only during this trial that some of their work could be shown in public for the first time. I am sure many police have felt just as frustrated as I have, knowing that much of their discoveries could not be shown until this trial was over.
But she is scathing as she talks about what the government did or should have known about people like Mohammed Siddique Khan, the ringleader of the attacks:
We now know that the lead bomber, Mohammed Siddique Khan, was followed home by M15 in a car registered to his wife, to his home, where he lived, at least twice. He was filmed and photographed on several other occasions, taped talking about jihad, his plans for 'ripping the country apart economically as well', before going on a 'one-way' mission. He was caught talking about jihad, having meetings with terrorists weeks away from planning to detonate a huge fertiliser bomb. he was known to have committed a GBP 20, ooo fraud against Jewsons, a British company. He was no unknown: he should have been flagging code red, with his history of attending terrorist training camps, his terrorist friends, his plans for economic criminality and one-way tickets to jihadi missions. Especially as by then, it was known that UK men were training abroad and then going on suicide missions, and that some UK men, trained abroad, were returning to their homeland and planning to bomb the UK. They knew all that, the security service. The police had even undergone Operation Kratos training to kill suicide bombers on the UK's streets. So yes, whether MSK could have been arrested prior to 7/7 is painful to contemplate.
Rachel closes with a call for an independent investigation of the bombings:
An inquiry independent of the government and the security services and the police, with the power to compel and cross examine witnesses, go through evidence in detail, and write a report and recommendations which will be acted upon and so, we hope, save lives and spare suffering in future. This is what we have asked for, for over three years now. We have been prevented from having one because of the legal processes - the trials that have followed 7/7, as a result of which some men have been jailed for planning terror offences and others have been acquitted. Now those trials are completed, we are still waiting.
My attitude may surprise some of you. I support 100% Rachel's call for an independent inquiry (although I don't know how it can be completely independent of the government and still have the ability to compel testimony). What's the difference between this and the "Truthers" call for another 9-11 investigation?
We've had our 9-11 Commission. It did a terrific job of explaining what happened. The victims and survivors of 7/7 deserve the same.