About me
About me

The intelligence question and conspiracy theories


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 14 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 14 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 14 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

Last Friday, with reference to the London bombings, Sir Ian Blair (the Metropolitan Police commissioner) announced that no warning of an attack had been given to the police by any organisation whatsoever.

On Monday, Mr Blair announced that

I know of no intelligence specific enough to have allowed them to prevent last Thursday’s attacks.

This implies, of course, that there was some intelligence suggesting an attack. Intelligence that the police clearly weren’t made aware of, and so clearly weren’t investigating. Why not?

On BBC Radio Five Live, a former Scotland Yard official, Peter Power, confirmed that an exercise simulating the exact nature of this attack was underway as the attack actually happened:

At half past nine this morning we were actually running an exercise for a company of over a thousand people in London based on simultaneous bombs going off precisely at the railway stations where it happened this morning

Of course, this is particularly intriguing because at the time the interview was conducted, it was thought that the bombs had detonated over a period of about an hour. It has only recently transpired that the bombs detonated simultaneously.

I’m not one for conspiracy theories. I’m not about to suggest that this was all planned by the government for some largely unconvincing reason. But it suggests to me that intelligence was received, specific about the threat but not specific on time – and hence not a ‘warning’ – it could have happened hours, days, weeks, months, or years after the intelligence was received. The security service, or possibly the government, were therefore possibly getting together lots of discussions of the type Power attended, to discuss whether the planned responses would be appropriate, and whether any extra security measures could be implemented. This would certainly not be an unprecedented measure – procedures are usually reviewed in the light of a given threat. The fact that one of these meetings happened to coincide with the attack itself is just coincidence.

This would also explain why Mr Blair is refusing an investigation into the intelligence failures – the intelligence services were actually quite good, as many of the details about the attack were known. Mr Blair would obviously prefer that this weren’t known, though, because it would appear that despite knowing of the attack, they were unable to stop it. Which is true, but obviously these situations are rather more tricky – one can’t close the whole underground for years on the basis of possible threats… it would never be open!

Whether Al-Qaeda or another group are behind the attack or not, I have no idea, and haven’t really seen any convincing evidence either way. I don’t think the website claim is credible. The fact that ID has been found so quickly, though, apparently linking the bombers to Al-Qaeda makes me wonder whether the attacks were orchestrated by a group unconnected to them but attempting to provoke reprisal attacks against Muslim groups in the UK. But I might be reading too much into that.

This 673rd post was filed under: News and Comment.

Some recently published posts

The Tyne Pedestrian and Cycle Tunnels: eight years on / January 2020, 8 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / January 2020, 7 minutes long

Faber Stories / December 2019, 4 minutes long

My favourite books of 2016 / December 2019, 26 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / December 2019, 12 minutes long

Some random old posts

Michael Portillo makes sense shock / July 2005, Less than a minute long

Jeff Randall’s 30 years of financial journalism / January 2014, 1 minute long

False acronymic etymology / May 2007, 2 minutes long

Review: Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer / September 2012, 2 minutes long

MSN Messenger 7 / January 2005, Less than a minute long

First-class customer service from Toshiba / December 2006, 1 minute long

Comments and responses

Comment from Maximilian Goldenberg

by Maximilian Goldenberg

Comment posted at 21:14 on 15th July 2005.

You do not have to be a genius to realize :

1) a bomb attack was on the way as a reprisal against the UK of GB & NI involvement in Operation Enduring Freedom.

2) the perfect day to commit such an act of infamy would be on the first full day of the G8 summit when the eyes of the world would be on the UK of GB & NI

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

by sjhoward

Comment posted at 13:47 on 16th July 2005.

That would appear to be the most logical conclusion, but it is yet to be proved. Not that I’m disputing it.

Compose a new comment


You may use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> .

If you would like to display a profile picture beside your comment, sign up for Gravatar, and enter your email address above.

By submitting your comment, you confirm that it conforms to the site's comment policy. Comments are subject to both automatic and human moderation, and may take some time to appear.

The content of this site is copyright protected by a Creative Commons License, with some rights reserved. All trademarks, images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. The accuracy of information on this site is in no way guaranteed. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information provided by this site. This site uses cookies - click here for more information.