Sunday, August 26, 2007

Home Office 'corrections' to the July 7th Official Report

The Home Office finally responded this week with some answers to FOI requests made by J7 researchers for an explanation as to why the erroneous train time in the Official Report, acknowledged by the then Home Secretary John Reid on the 11th of May 2006, had not been amended in the Report.

J7 also sought an explanation as to how this error occurred in the first place, and at which time the four suspects actually entered Luton station, since the Official Report appears to imply that the men entered the station twice.

On January 10th 2007, an FOI request to the Home Office asked:
1. We would like to know why the train time of 7.40 has not been amended in the Official Report.

2. We would like to know if a full report has been received from the police explaining how this discrepancy came about.

3. We would like to know when this information will be made public.

A response was received the following day, stating:
Dear The July 7th Truth Campaign,

Thank you for your e-mail of 10/01/2007 1:07:06 PM asking questions about the Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July 2005

With regard to the 3 questions you asked:

1: A correction slip is awaiting final approval to be sent to the printers.
2 A report has been received from the police.
3: As it is an internal police document it is not designed for publication.

Yours faithfully

Crime Reduction and Community Safety Group

J7 responded, asking for further clarification to this somewhat confusing reply:
Thank you for the prompt response to our FOI request ref: T1131/7.

We asked when the Home Secretary will be explaining how the error in the train time occurred, you responded:

3: As it is an internal police document it is not designed for publication.

We appreciate that the document may not be published. We are asking for an explanation of how the error occurred, now that you have the police document to explain this.

We are also concerned that the Official Report claims:

07.15: Lindsay, Hussain, Tanweer and Khan enter Luton station and go through the ticket barriers together.

Yet the only CCTV image published of the 4 together, to date, shows them entering Luton station at 7.21.54.

We therefore make the following FOI requests:

1. Could you please clarify whether the 4 entered Luton station at 7.15 or 07.21.54.

2. Now that the internal police document explaining the discrepancy in the time the train left Luton has been made available to the Home Secretary, could we now have an explanation of how this error occurred.

Regards
The July 7th Truth Campaign

It was also necessary to remind the Home Office that:
Ref: T1586/7

Thank you for your interim response informing us that a reply will be forthcoming by 12/03/07.

You also state that you must consider the public interest when considering FOI requests:

"The public interest test is used to balance the public interest in disclosure against the public interest in favour of withholding the information under qualified exemptions."

We would like to remind you of the following statements made by both the Home Office and the Prime Minister Tony Blair:

"Ministers have said they will instead publish a definitive account of what happened, in a written narrative.

Tony Blair said: "I do accept that people want to know exactly what happened. We will make sure they do."

He added that the written narrative - to be compiled by a senior civil servant - would include all of the evidence the government had."

PM defends bomb inquiry decision - BBC News

"Mr Blair told the Commons he understood concerns over the issue and hoped people would be satisfied with publication of a "full account" of all the information available, along with around five different select committee inquiries.

"I do accept that people, of course, want to know exactly what happened and we will make sure that they do," Mr Blair said.

"We will bring together all the evidence that we have and we will publish it so that people, the victims and others, can see exactly what happened."

Blair: no need for July 7 inquiry - The Guardian

We were promised that we would be told exactly what happened and this is the test that the narrative needs to fulfil,

Regards

The July 7th Truth Campaign

After seven months of interim responses, persistence and complaints from J7, the answers eventually arrived on August 23rd:
Dear the July 7th Truth Campaign,

Thank you for your e-mail of 13/03/2007 4:28:26 PM seeking information under the Freedom of Information Act about the Official Account of the 7 July 2005 Bombings in London in which you requested an explanation of how the error in the Official Account of the July 7 Bombings occurred and also asking for clarification as to what time the 4 bombers entered Luton Station. Your request was handled in accordance with the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I apologise for the delay in replying to your information request. After having carefully considered your request and having examined the information that you requested in your letter I am pleased to be able to disclose the following information that you requested.

About your first query, how the error in the Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July occurred, I am able to inform you this discrepancy was due to human error. The relevant part of the police report to the Home Secretary explaining how the error occurred says:

It has now become clear that the exact timing of the train’s departure, given as 0740, was based on what were later found to be conflicting witness statements.

With regard to your second query asking for clarification as to the time the bombers entered Luton station, I can inform you that a correction to the Official Account has been made. As the Official Account is a Parliamentary publication a correction slip has been entered in the Parliamentary library. This correction has also been published on the Home Office official website. A copy of the correction slip is attached.

If you are dissatisfied with this response you may request an independent internal review any aspect of our handling of your application. During the internal review the department’s handling of your information request will be reassessed by staff who were not involved in providing you with this response. An internal review can be requested by submitting you complaint, within 2 months of the date of this letter quoting reference 5642 to:

Information Policy Team
Record Management Service
Home Office
4th Floor, Seacole Building
Home Office
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

Should you remain dissatisfied after this internal review, you have a right of complaint to the Information Commissioner as established by section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act

Yours faithfully
Office for Security and Counter Terrorism

Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July 2005
HC 1087 Session 2005-2006
ISBN 0 10 293774 5

CORRECTIONS

1. Page 4. The time of 07.15 should be changed to 07:14 and the text should read

"Lindsay walks through the entrance foyer of the station, walks to the ticket hall and appears to check the departure board. Lindsay then walks back out of the station to rejoin Tanweer, Khan and Hussain at the rear of their vehicles. The 4 then put on their rucksacks and walk towards the station. They enter Luton station and go through the ticket barriers together. It is not known where they bought their tickets or what sort of tickets they possessed, but they must have had some to get on to the platform."

2. Page 4. The time of 07.40 on the left side of the page immediately preceding the paragraph that commences, The London King’s Cross train leaves Luton station. The time of 07.40 is incorrect and should be replaced by 07.25 which is the correct time.

August 2007

LONDON: THE STATIONERY OFFICE

Yours faithfully
Crime Reduction and Community Safety Group

Please see the July 7th People's Independent Inquiry Forum for the full details and discussion of these requests and responses from the Home Office.

This response has not addressed the specific questions submitted by J7 in the original FOI request.

The Home Office have explained, that the incorrect train time was given due to "human error" based on "what were later found to be conflicting witness statements" - it appeared not to have occurred to investigators to check which trains were actually running that morning, electing instead to base their findings on witness statements and absolutely no other evidence. J7 pointed out in the FOI requests that there is an internal police document, which the Home Secretary was given, explaining how this error occurred, yet this is ignored in the reply. Were witness statements actually taken from passengers on the 7.25 from Luton, was CCTV from the platform viewed and the time noted?

The response also has still not stated at what time the four suspects entered the station, despite J7's very clear question, as to whether it was at 07:15 or 07:21:54.

Correction 1 in the response above, in fact makes the Official Report even more nonsensical when inserted into the correct section.
With this correction in place, the amended section of the official Home Office narrative now reads:
05.07: A red Fiat Brava arrives at Luton station car park. Jermaine Lindsay is alone in this car. During the 90 minutes or so before the others arrive, Lindsay gets out and walks around, enters the station, looks up at the departure board, comes out, moves the car a couple of times. There are a handful of other cars in the car park. A few more arrive during this period.

06.49: The Micra arrives at Luton and parks next to the Brava. The 4 men get out of their respective cars, look in the boots of both, and appear to move items between them. They each put on rucksacks which CCTV shows are large and full. The 4 are described as looking as if they were going on a camping holiday.

One car contained explosive devices of a different and smaller kind from those in the rucksacks. It is not clear what they were for, but they may have been for self-defence or diversion in case of interception during the journey given their size; that they were in the car rather than the boot; and that they were left behind. Also left in the Micra were other items consistent with the use of explosives. A 9mm handgun was also found in the Brava. The Micra had a day parking ticket in the window, perhaps to avoid attention, the Brava did not.

07:14: Lindsay walks through the entrance foyer of the station, walks to the ticket hall and appears to check the departure board. Lindsay then walks back out of the station to rejoin Tanweer, Khan and Hussain at the rear of their vehicles. The 4 then put on their rucksacks and walk towards the station. They enter Luton station and go through the ticket barriers together. It is not known where they bought their tickets or what sort of tickets they possessed, but they must have had some to get on to the platform.

So, having put on their rucksacks after Lindsay was joined in the car park at 6:49, the men apparently do so again at just after 7:14, with Lindsay checking the departure board again at this time, having done so previously in the 90 minutes after 5.07 and before the other 3 arrive.

So, will the Home Office be able to answer the following questions in less than the seven months it has taken them to answer our original FOI:

1. Did Lindsay enter the station and look at the departure board during the 90 minutes whilst waiting for the others to arrive and then again at 7.14?

2. Did the 4 put their rucksacks on at 6.49 or after 7.14?

J7 will be asking these questions in our response to this rather absurd 'clarification' from the Home Office.

2 comments:

lwtc247 said...

It looks like they are giving you the run-around hoping attrition will set in.
But well done Bridget and other J7 members for keeping up the spirit to get to the bottom of this. It is possible Lindsay was double checking the train times, BUT it seems more likely that the police are mixing up their official version of events. They themselves admit the first version was wrong.

It seems they are only half-heartedly (and incompetently) constructing a ‘coherent’ story because of your questions – i.e. one doesn’t actually exist at this moment in time. I think it’s clear why they are not bothering to investigate it because IMO they are involved up to their necks.

I have just been listening a recording of George Galloway on talk sport. http://www.spiderednews.com/GeorgeGalloway.htm?vid=188209 He believes Dr. David Kelly was murdered by the British State and it seems like a large number of people agree. If one accepts that and the fact the sacrificed British soldiers (and over a million Iraqis) then one must accept the fact they are willing to kill 52 people on a summers day in London.

Anonymous said...

milan rai NOT published by RE

read link carefully, _review_ of book was published by RE, not book itself

J7 mobile not working, tried to leave this comment on J7 blog, hope someone sees it

cmain