BBC Conspiracy Files - 7/7 programme

Keeping an eye on the media coverage of July 7th, and taking the media to task over their inaccuracies, mis-leading statements and distortions. Post all your complaints and responses here! If you spot inaccuracies in the media coverage, here's the place to tell us about it.

BBC Conspiracy Files - 7/7 programme

Joined: 26 Nov 2005, 01:46

03 Jan 2008, 21:23 #1

In early 2007, J7 were approached by Chris Alcock of the BBC regarding information for a documentary. We were surprised to learn in early December that the documentary was in fact an episode of the BBC's risible Conspiracy Files series:
Dear Bridget,

Good to talk to you this afternoon.  As promised, here is some background on the Current Affairs documentary we are making about July 7th, 2005.

The programme, part of BBC 2's Conspiracy Files series, will examine the government's narrative of events and the questions raised by groups like the July 7th Truth campaign about the official version of what happened. Throughout our focus will be on establishing the evidence and building up as definitive an account as possible of what happened.

I'd be grateful if it were possible for myself and the programme's producer, Tristan Quinn, to meet with you to find out more about the July 7th Truth campaign and to discuss our programme .

Best wishes

Susan Prichard
After discussions between the core J7 members we sent the following response which we will also publish on the J7 website:
Dear Susan,

As you will be aware, earlier this year, J7: The July 7th Truth Campaign was contacted by Chris Alcock with regard to our participating in a BBC programme, although the programme in question was never identified.  We cooperated fully with Chris, providing him with links to further information and avenues of investigation and Chris also took it upon himself to directly contact several of the highly respected authors and academics who have written articles for J7 that are published on our web site.  In none of these communications was the nature of the programme in question mentioned, although all those contacted were primed for a possible appearance in a BBC documentary examining the events of 7th July 2005.

It is difficult to express how appalled and disgusted we felt when we learnt, as we did from your email of last week, that the 'documentary' for which Chris Alcock was soliciting participants is in fact an episode of BBC2's risible Conspiracy Files series.

For the sake of clarity, it is worth establishing precisely, according to dictionary definitions, what the term ‘conspiracy theory’ means. While the definition of what a ‘theory’ is requires little or no clarification, in law, for it is under the law which alleged criminals are charged for their crimes, a conspiracy is defined as, “an agreement by two or more persons to commit a crime, fraud, or other wrongful act.” Therefore, by the very definition of the term ‘conspiracy theory’ any theory about how the events of 7/7 came to be that involves two or more people making it happen, is in fact a ‘conspiracy theory’.  As such, the official government narrative, which is based on four, young, British Muslim men conspiring to kill themselves and others is, technically, by the legal and dictionary definitions of a ‘conspiracy’, a ‘conspiracy theory’.  As there has been no due legal process – recall the phrase “innocent until proven guilty” – by which the four accused have had their guilt established beyond reasonable doubt, nor has there been an Independent Public Inquiry held outside of the constraints of the Inquiries Act 2005, the official version of events remains precisely a 'conspiracy theory'.

The July 7th Truth Campaign has never posited an alternative theory of what happened on 7/7, ‘conspiracy theory’ or otherwise.  Therefore, the July 7th Truth Campaign cannot be defined, nor dismissed, as ‘conspiracy theorists’ in the traditional, pejorative sense, nor even the legal sense, of the term for the simple reason that, unlike the ‘conspiracy theorists’ which you are no doubt seeking for your programme, we do not promote any alternative ‘conspiracy theory’ about what might have happened that fateful day.  Instead, the basis of the July 7th Truth Campaign has, since its inception, been that of endeavouring to uncover real, tangible evidence about the events of 7/7 and to challenge the official government narrative in instances where evidence proves the falsehoods in this narrative.

Furthermore, there exists in the public domain absolutely no evidence to support the Home Office narrative, much less evidence which proves it beyond reasonable doubt.  Rather, there is evidence in the public domain that directly contradicts the version of events outlined in the Home Office story, evidence that has twice resulted in the Home Office amending the highly flawed narrative that was ten months in the making.

It is worth noting that as a result of these two amendments forced by J7’s questioning, the official Home Office narrative has become more convoluted and even less coherent than it was originally, featuring as it now does, a scenario in which the four accused allegedly don their rucksacks on two separate occasions outside Luton station, once at 0649 and then again at 0714.

The BBC is an organisation funded by the licence-fee paying British public and the State, which itself is funded by the tax-paying British public.  The BBC and the State are both public service organisations and, as such, should serve the public who fund their existences.  Yet, with regard to the events of 7/7, neither the government nor the BBC can be described to have served the public in any respect, unless promulgating factually inaccurate, unsubstantiated speculations is considered to be a public service.  In fact quite the opposite of serving the public has occurred, and both organisations have repeatedly performed a shameful disservice.

The events of 7th July 2005 resulted in the single biggest loss of life in London since the Luftwaffe bombings of the second World War and, in the two and a half years that have passed since, the behemoth that is the BBC has never yet found within itself the resources, time or inclination to address -- with the level of detail, gravitas and import that such an event deserves – precisely what happened on 7th July 2005, how it happened, or who was responsible for making it happen.  Further, the BBC has never endeavoured to tackle the many unanswered questions, anomalies and inconsistencies in the official version of events outlined in the Home Office report dealing with the subject, despite the plight of the bereaved families whose questions about their loved ones have yet to be satisfactorily answered, and despite the continued efforts of the July 7th Truth Campaign to analyse the validity, or otherwise as is more often the case, of the official version of events.  Where is the BBC programme championing the cause of the bereaved families and assisting them to obtain the truth from the authorities about how their loved ones died? As one bereaved family member summed up when they contacted us by email, “Yes, we do need the truth to come out (personally speaking I don't believe it has yet) but truth is what it has to be for proper closure.”  Indeed, the father of 18 year old Hasib Hussain, accused of perpetrating the explosion on the number 30 bus, when doorstepped by a BBC journalist and TV crew, despaired at having never been shown any evidence of his son’s involvement or guilt.

It is beyond comprehension that the BBC, rather than endeavouring to hold the State to account – a state which is already proven to be mendacious, to have lied about Iraq’s WMD, and that has been complicit in the slaughter of over a million Iraqi civilians -- for its production of a speculative, unsubstantiated and entirely evidence-free 'narrative' that is little more than an egregious insult to the victims, their bereaved relatives, and those who survived the event. That the BBC's approach appears instead to be one that will endeavour to portray the July 7th Truth Campaign, or anyone with perfectly legitimate and unanswered questions to which we all deserve answers, as 'Conspiracy Theorists' is still less comprehensible.  This approach is as distasteful as it is abhorrent.

We also noted with extreme interest the following line in your email with regard to your proposed episode of the Conspiracy Files:

"Throughout our focus will be on establishing the evidence and building up as definitive an account as possible of what happened."

To the best of our knowledge, "building up as definitive an account as possible of what happened" on 7/7 is not the function of the BBC, for the task of piecing together the story behind what Sir Ian Blair termed, “the largest criminal inquiry in English history”, is the job of the State in the form of the government and police.  If you are indeed interested in building up such an account we can only suggest that you, the bereaved families, the survivors who have been all but forgotten as far as the media is concerned and your viewing public would be far better served by an episode of the Conspiracy Files which features representatives from the government and police who have access to information that has hitherto not been made public.  After all, it was the Home Office branch of government that produced the official ‘conspiracy theory’ about what happened on 7th July 2005 in the form of a 'narrative' – a story -- that the July 7th Truth Campaign has proven to be based on information that was neither factual nor truthful.

The July Truth Campaign has been consistently appalled by the fact that, with regard to coverage of anything 7/7 related, the efforts of the BBC have been disingenuous, deceitful and downright dishonest and that no effort has been made to rectify this.  There are countless examples where the BBC has, either wittingly or unwittingly, placed misinformation into the public domain, whether this be in ‘news’ items or ‘documentary’ programmes.  We outline below a few of the more blatant examples of the BBC’s wilful ignorance of the few facts that are known, or dubious tactics employed:

•      Just one week after 7/7, the BBC broadcast an episode of Real Story with Fiona Bruce which gave considerable time to the eye-witness testimony of Richard Jones, an individual who has given many and varied versions of what he claims to have seen aboard the number 30 bus which means that, at best, he is an extremely unreliable witness. Furthermore, none of his accounts bear any relation to Hasib Hussain. The BBC has never revisited the testimony of Richard Jones.

•      On the afternoon of 7th July 2005 information came to light via BBC Radio Five Live’s Drivetime programme about a private company running a terror rehearsal operation at the time that real explosions were reported to have occurred on the London transport network.  This information was revealed by the Managing Director of Visor Consultants, Peter Power who, in his own words, was rehearsing, “simultaneous bombs going off precisely at the railway stations where it happened.”  Since the day of 7/7, the BBC has used Peter Power as an ‘independent’ security consultant with monotonous regularity across its entire broadcast media yet, curiously, he has never been questioned about his activities on the day of 7/7 while strenuously making the case for 90 days internment and how the British people must live in fear of another attack as part of what he calls ‘new normal’.  Mr Power has also revealed ‘mock broadcasts’ were used as part of his operation and that, “there was a few seconds when the audience didn't realise whether it was real or not.”.  Mr Power also featured in a Panorama programme broadcast in May 2004 in which a fictional attack on the London Underground took place, with three explosions occurring on underground trains, followed by another explosion above ground about an hour later. It was the BBC that put together ‘mock broadcasts’ featuring a bona-fide newsreader, Kirsty Lang, who, no doubt coincidentally, just happened to be the ‘relief presenter’ for BBC World on the day of 7/7.  This is an irregularity on a par with the efforts of another BBC World presenter, Jane Standley, who announced on 11th September 2001 that WTC Building 7 had collapsed despite it not being hit by a plane, yet the building could be seen standing proudly in the background of her report before the feed fizzled out.  WTC7 Building 7 went on to collapse 23 minutes after Jane Standley’s premonitory collapse report announcing it had already done so. Standley and BBC World’s amazing, prophetic foresight was never mentioned during the 9/11 Conspiracy Files and would have made for far more relevant and compelling viewing than the interview with a writer of the X-Files.

•      BBC news stories about the events of 7th July 2005 have regularly and shamefully been presented with a backdrop that deceitfully shows footage of three of the accused taken from 28th June 2005, some 9 days before 7/7.  The severity of this deception is further amplified by the fact that this footage has often appeared in edited form so that the actual time and date stamps are not visible.  The lack of any CCTV footage from the day of 7/7 has never been questioned by the BBC, nor has the fact that, in the one CCTV image allegedly showing all four perpetrators outside Luton station, three of the faces are completely unidentifiable.

•      On 27 October 2005, a BBC Horizon programme aired, “The 7/7 Bombers – A Psychological Investigation: What makes someone want to blow themselves – and others - up?", featuring forensic psychiatrist Marc Sageman and Dr Andrew Silke, which claimed to offer a psychological profile of the suicide bombers.  The programme stated that the accused caught the 0748 train from Luton to King's Cross and that they arrived at King’s Cross at 0826.  This was not the case and yet no amendment or apology for the inaccurate version of events outlined in that programme has ever been issued by the BBC.  In response to a complaint about these factual inaccuracies, the laughable explanation was that while “re-tracing the journey of the 4 bombers, he [Silke] was not re-enacting it so there are some bits of his journey that do differ from the journey of the bombers.”  Quite what the point of re-tracing steps that obviously weren’t taken by the accused remains a mystery. That the train times had been supplied to the programme makers by the Metropolitan Police Specialist Operations office was also worthy of comment and investigation.

•      There are several documented examples demonstrating the BBC’s guilt in editing stories on the BBC News web site where phrases implying details about the alleged bomber’s journey, such as, “Passengers on the 0748 Thameslink from Luton to King's Cross”, have been edited out, yet the ‘last edited’ date and time has, rather disingenuously, not been updated to reflect these amendments.  This is in direct contravention of the Press Complaints Commission guidelines which specify, “A significant inaccuracy, mis-leading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - an apology published.”

•      The BBC, along with the Metropolitan Police, claimed that the explosion on the Piccadilly Line train occurred by the first set of double doors on carriage one.  The BBC web page containing this information was accompanied by a graphic showing this as the alleged seat of the explosion.  Without any explanation, the BBC then changed this information to say that the explosion occurred by the second set of double doors and the graphic was updated accordingly. Curiously the Metropolitan Police – whom one might think would be the source for such information – have never amended or updated their account of the explosion being by the first set of double doors.

While the following information will serve little or no use in the production of an episode of the Conspiracy Files dealing with 7/7, as ‘researchers’ and/or ‘journalists’ you may be interested to note that, while the July 7th Truth Campaign is the only organisation that has been openly and publicly challenging the government on their flawed and inaccurate story of 7/7 since the day the incidents occurred, the government is also being privately challenged by families of the bereaved and survivors with regard to the accuracy of the report.  In particular, the government has been taken to task over discrepancies in the alleged locations of the blasts on the underground trains.  Another fact that the BBC has failed to investigate is that in August 2006, the then Home Secretary, Dr John Reid, responded that, over a year after the events occurred, a final forensics report had not yet been received.

More recently, after Coroner Dr Andrew Reid sent, unsolicited and without warning in early December, post-mortem reports to the bereaved, at least one family member has noted that there were "fundamental" differences between what they saw when they viewed their son's body and what the post mortem report said.  This too has received no further comment or investigation from the BBC.

By way of conclusion to this communication, the magnitude and importance of the events of 7/7 and the repercussions of those events must not be underestimated.  The official yet unsubstantiated story has been seared into the public consciousness as the 'first suicide-bombings' on British soil, a concept only trumped by the fact that this also qualifies the official story of 7/7 as the first 'suicide bombings' in the whole of Western Europe.  The Home Office narrative of 7/7 is repeatedly used as unquestionable justification by the State and its corporate advisor apparatchiks to institute increasingly repressive legislation, including the widely abused 28 days detention without charge while the authorities struggle to uncover the evidence required to bring charges in a court of law.  It wasn’t that long ago evidence was required before arrests were made.

To understand a little more about the wider context of 7/7 and everything that has happened since, one need only look to the words and wisdom of the Ministry of Defence who, on page 81 of a March 2007 report entitled, "The DCDC Global Strategic Trends Programme 2007-2036 (Third Edition)", noted what the State considers to be a core threat in the foreseeable future:

The Middle Class Proletariat
The middle classes could become a revolutionary class, taking the role envisaged for the proletariat by Marx. The globalization of labour markets and reducing levels of national welfare provision and employment could reduce peoples’ attachment to particular states.  The growing gap between themselves and a small number of highly visible super-rich individuals might fuel disillusion with meritocracy, while the growing urban under-classes are likely to pose an increasing threat to social order and stability, as the burden of acquired debt and the failure of pension provision begins to bite. Faced by these twin challenges, the world’s middle-classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest.

The official story of 7/7 has been used to demonise and dehumanise the Muslim community, in much the same way that the Jewish community was demonised in 1930s Nazi Germany following a similarly questionable and catalysing event, the Reichstag fire, and has proved to be the enabling factor for the rapid and unchallenged institution of more Draconian laws that impose unprecedented restrictions on the civil liberties of everyone.  It is worth remembering that the far-reaching scope of the law, "anti-terrorist" or otherwise, is applicable not just to the Muslim community but to each and every one of us and the State has no qualms about using its laws against anyone and everyone from whom it perceives a threat to what State actors refer to as, “our way of life”.

These factors are testimony to just how seriously 7/7 requires honest, principled and open-minded investigation to get to the facts and the truth about what happened. Only the truth will stand up to rigorous investigation and questioning yet, to date, this questioning and investigation has fallen to ordinary members of the public who have taken it upon themselves to do so, ordinary members of the public like J7: The July 7th Truth Campaign.

The July 7th Truth Campaign would be more than happy to participate in any serious programme that honestly examines 7/7 in its correct historical and political context, the government narrative, the lack of evidence to support it, the nonsensical amendments that have been made to the narrative, and the ever increasing list of unanswered questions that engulf the events of 7/7. 

However, we do not feel that the Conspiracy Files is the vehicle that will facilitate this, nor will it treat the event or issues arising from it with the level of seriousness that they demand, and nor will it further the cause of the July 7th Truth Campaign’s quest for the truth about what happened on 7th July 2005.  As such, the July 7th Truth Campaign has no intention of participating in the proposed episode of the Conspiracy Files and can only hope you will take on board the points we have raised in this communication in consideration of your public service duty to the people of Britain, a people that includes at least 56 families whom, through your continued refusal to honestly address the events of 7/7, you have hitherto failed abysmally.

For truth and justice,
J7: The July 7th Truth Campaign

�To those who are afraid of the truth, I wish to offer a few scary truths; and to those who are not afraid of the truth, I wish to offer proof that the terrorism of truth is the only one that can be of benefit to the proletariat.� -- On Terrorism and the State, Gianfranco Sanguinetti

Joined: 26 Nov 2005, 01:46

04 Jan 2008, 21:57 #2

J7 response to the BBC is now live on the J7 website and blog.
�To those who are afraid of the truth, I wish to offer a few scary truths; and to those who are not afraid of the truth, I wish to offer proof that the terrorism of truth is the only one that can be of benefit to the proletariat.� -- On Terrorism and the State, Gianfranco Sanguinetti

Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

07 Jan 2008, 03:22 #3

Just in case anyone's forgotten:
BBC attacked over 7/7 coverage
Dominic Timms,    * MediaGuardian,
Monday September 26 2005

Ofcom has singled out the BBC for criticism of its coverage of the July 7 bomb attacks on London.

The BBC has apologised for using harrowing footage of a critically injured man being stretchered into the Royal London hospital.

The same footage was later shown by ITV and Channel 4 news programmes but both organisations escaped censure after the media regulator ruled they had used the footage "in a proper context".

Twenty-six people complained after the images were shown on BBC1 and News 24 introduced by a studio presenter saying, "Let's just take a look at some of the pictures coming from the Royal London."

Ofcom accused the corporation of using the pictures "generically," saying the accompanying commentary did "not reflect the seriousness" of the situation.

The BBC expressed regret for showing the footage, saying in the rush to get the news to air it had not checked the contents of the tape thoroughly.

Ofcom said it was not opposed to the broadcast of the images of a man receiving heart massage as he was rushed into hospital, but said their "exceptionally strong and disturbing" content called for "exceptional justification."

"It appeared to us that the pictures were used generically and the commentary did not reflect the seriousness of the images being transmitted.

"We welcome the BBC's admission that the images had not been viewed properly, and its acknowledgement that they should have not been put to air in such a manner."

The regulator ticked off Channel 4 over its use of the images in its 7pm bulletin for not "fully reflecting the enormity of the images being reflected," but said the broadcaster did not breach programming codes because it "did not use them casually".

Meanwhile, ITV avoided criticism by the regulator by establishing a "clear narrative context" with "sensitive accompanying reporting".

Earlier this month, the BBC director of news and current affairs, Helen Boaden, defended the corporation's coverage of the London bomb attacks, saying it had stayed with initial reports of a power surge because it wanted to "check things out".

"There was a moment where that was what the story was. And we continued to go with that until we had verifiable evidence," she told the Guardian.

"Some of our competitors talked immediately of 90 dead. They talked about three bus bombs. That was off a range of various wire services and it was complete speculation and we wouldn't go with that. We would be careful - we would try to check things out."

· To contact the MediaGuardian newsdesk email or phone 020 7239 9857
"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

"The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses." -- Malcolm X

"The eternal fight is not many battles fought on one level, but one great battle fought on many different levels." -- The Antagonist

"Truth does not fear investigation." -- Unknown

Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

07 Jan 2008, 03:42 #4

Then there's the small issue of the Beeb paying for 'terrorists' to go paintballing, as organised by BBC journo extraordinaire (of 11 years, apparently, but you wouldn't really know it as until recently she had only reported on Mohammed Sidique Khan and Zacarias Moussaoui) Nasreen Suleman. Curiously, Nasreen noted in Biography of a Bomber (an episode of Radio 4's Koran and Country that purported to investigate Mohammad Sidique Khan) that paintballing is "for some, a guerilla warfare like activity". Which is odd, because when she was in court recently she seemed to think it a rather more mundane activity:
Ms Suleaman told the court that Mr Hamid was keen to appear in the programme. She said: “He was so up for it. We took the decision that paintballing would be a fun way of introducing him.
For the record, the BBC never offered to take J7 paintballing.
BBC 'funded paintballing trip for Islamic terrorists and didn't pass on information about 21/7 bombers'
By DANIEL BATES - More by this author »
Last updated at 08:04am on 5th December 2007

The BBC funded a paintballing trip for men later accused of Islamic terrorism and didn't pass on information about the 21/7 bombers to police, a court heard yesterday.

The organisation gave Mohammed Hamid, an Islamic preacher accused of radicalising British Muslims, a £300 fee and paid for fellow defendants to go and be filmed for a documentary.

After the botched July attacks Hamid told a BBC reporter he had worked with on the programme 'Don't Panic, I', Islamic' that he knew the identities of the culprits - but she felt 'no obligation' to tell police, the court heard.

BBC in hot water: As it is accused of giving Islamic preacher Mohammed Hamid, who is accused of radicalising British Muslims, £300 to be filmed

The journalist informed her boss and the information was passed on up to senior executives but a decision was taken not to pass it on.

The claims emerged during the trial of Mr Hamid who, along with four others, is accused of running a two-year radicalisation programme to groom London Muslims for jihad.

The court was told Mr Hamid was first approached by BBC researcher Nasreen Suleaman in late 2004 when she was making a documentary before the July 2005 attacks.

It was shown on June 12, 2005 on BBC2.

The BBC paid for Hamid, fellow defendants Mohammed Al Figari and Mousa Brown and others to go on a paintballing trip at the Delta Force centre in Tonbridge, Kent, in February 2005.

The court was told that July 21 bombers Ramzi Mohammed and Hussein Osman also went on a trip to the same centre before the 7/7 attacks. Ms Suleaman said she was unaware that they were on the trip.

Hamid, 50, told her he was going to use to the BBC's money to pay a fine imposed by magistrates after he was convicted of a public order offence alongside the man later exposed as the 21/7 ringleader, Muktar Said Ibrahim.

Ms Suleaman said she spoke to Hamid soon after the failed attacks on July 21 2005 and he sounded 'guarded' and 'worried'.

She claimed he had been shocked that he knew the accused and was worried they might call him as they were on the run.

Prosecuting barrister Duncan Penny asked her: 'Did you tell him to go to the police?'

Ms Suleaman replied: 'I don't think I needed to.'

Mr Penny said: 'Here was a man who told you that he knew those individuals who, as I understand it, were currently still at large for what on the face of it was the attempted bombings of the transport network a fortnight after it happened, and he was telling you he had some knowledge of them?

Ms Suleaman said: 'I got the sense that he was already talking to the police.' She added: 'I referred it to my immediate boss at the BBC. I wasn't told that there was an obligation.

'I obviously had to report back to my immediate manager at the BBC. In fact it was referred above her as well.

'It was such a big story. At one stage the head of news at the BBC was involved. No one at any stage said there was an obligation.'

Miss Suleaman also told Mr Penny, that Hamid, who she dubbed 'a documentary-maker's dream', was taken on a paintballing trip for the programme as a fun way of introducing him.

The court also heard from Ms Suleaman's former colleague Phil Rees, who produced Don't Panic, I'm Islamic. He told the court he was impressed by Hamid's sense of humour.

He said: 'I took it as more like a rather Steptoe and Son figure rather than seriously persuasive. I saw him as a kind of Cockney comic.'

Hamid is standing trial at Woolwich Crown Court with Kader Ahmed, 20, Al Figari, 42, Kibley Da Costa, 24, and Brown, 41.

Hamid denies proving weapons training, five charges of soliciting murder and three of providing training for terrorism. The others deny charges relating to training.

Atilla Ahmet, 43, has admitted soliciting murder.

The trial at Woolwich Crown Court continues.
"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

"The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses." -- Malcolm X

"The eternal fight is not many battles fought on one level, but one great battle fought on many different levels." -- The Antagonist

"Truth does not fear investigation." -- Unknown

Joined: 07 Dec 2005, 15:21

14 Jan 2008, 11:24 #5

I'm curious about 'Dr. Andrew Silke', mentioned above in our email to the BBC. Andrew Silke featured in the Horizon programme, notably 'retracing the steps' that the alleged bombers would have taken in Luton station. Except he didn't, and the BBC freely admitted in response to a complaint at the time that he couldn't have done. In their response, the BBC described Andrew Silke as a Psychologist - and he certainly seems to get around. Have we got a thread on the various and numerous 'terror experts' floating around - there seems to be enough of them about to warrant it.
Andrew Silke has a background in forensic psychology and has worked both in academia and for government. He currently works within the United Kingdom Home Office, supporting the program on reducing organized crime and combating terrorism. He has published extensively on terrorism and counterterrorism in journals, books, and the popular press. His most recent books are Terrorists, Victims & Society: Psychological Perspectives on Terrorism and Its Consequences (Wiley, 2003) and Research on Terrorism: Trends, Achievements and Failures (Frank Cass, 2004). Dr. Silke is an Honorary Senior Research Associate of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews and is a Fellow of the University of Leicester. His work has taken him to Northern Ireland, the Middle East, and Latin America. He is a member of the International Association for Counterterrorism and Security Professionals, and he serves on the United Nations Roster of Terrorism Experts.
Wrong to call terrorists 'madmen'

Terrorists are sane and not paranoid madmen, a leading expert says.

Dr Andrew Silke, a UN advisor and forensic psychologist at Leicester University, says terrorism is a political, not a psychiatric diagnosis.

He said legal reports showed members of groups such as Al-Qaeda were motivated by violent events and the desire for revenge.

Dr Silke was speaking at the annual conference of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Harrogate.
Terror expert Dr Andrew Silke, of the University of East London, said: "The active ingredient in any perfume is alcohol which can be used in creating devices.

"The effect would be more incendiary, like napalm, rather than highly explosive. It would create more more fire and therefore more burn injuries."
School of Law
Professor Andrew Silke



Position: Professor

Location: DH26 Duncan House

Telephone: 020 8223 2588


Contact address:
Professor Andrew Silke
Criminology Field Leader
School of Law
University of East London
Duncan House
High Street
London E15 2JB
Brief biography:

Professor Andrew Silke (BSc Hons, AFBPsS, PhD) is the Field Leader for Criminology and the Director of Terrorism Studies at the University of East London . He has a background in forensic psychology and has worked both in academia and for government.

Professor Silke has published extensively on issues to do with terrorism, crime and policing in journals, books and the popular press. His previous books include 'Terrorists, Victims & Society: Psychological Perspectives on Terrorism and Its Consequences' (Wiley, 2003) and 'Research on Terrorism: Trends, Achievements and Failures' (Frank Cass, 2004). His latest books Suicide Terrorism (Wiley), and Terrorism Informatics (Springer) are due to be published in the coming year.

He is the author of over 80 articles and papers on subjects relating to terrorism, organised crime, policing and criminal behaviour and has given numerous papers and invited lectures on these topics at conferences and universities across the world.

His advice has been sought by several governments, as well as by scientific societies such as the Royal Society in the UK and the National Academies in the USA . In recent years, he has worked with (among many others) the United Nations, the United States Department of Justice, the United States Department of Homeland Security, NATO, the European Defence Agency, the European Commission, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Metropolitan Police and the House of Commons. He has acted as an expert witness in several terrorism-related cases.

Professor Silke serves by invitation on both the European Commission’s Expert Group on Violent Radicalisation, andthe United Nations Roster of Terrorism Experts. He is an Honorary Senior Research Associate of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St Andrews and is a Fellow of the University of Leicester . His work has taken him to Northern Ireland , the Middle East and Latin America.

Activities/responsible for:

MSc Terrorism

Areas of interest/Summary of Expertise:


Current research:

Professor Silke is currently writing a book on suicide terrorism which is due for publication in the next year. Professor Silke is interested in supervising PhDs in areas focusing on terrorism and political conflict, organised crime, criminal investigation, cyber-crime and forensic psychology. Interested candidates are invited to contact Professor Silke to discuss potential research

Research archive:

Publications since 2000

Books - please see Insight box and for further information also the publication site:

  1. Silke, A. (Ed.). (2004). Research on Terrorism: Trends, Achievements and Failures. London : Frank Cass.
  2. Silke, A. (Ed.). (2003). Terrorists, Victims and Society: Psychological Perspectives on Terrorism and Its Consequences. Chichester : Wiley.

Book Chapters

  1. Silke, A. (2005). ‘Fire of Iolus: The role of state countermeasures in causing terrorism and what needs to be done’. In Tore Bjorgo (Ed.) Root Causes of Terrorism., pp.241-255. Oxford: Routledge.
  2. Silke, A. (2004). ‘Terrorism and the blind men’s elephant.’ In Alan O’Day (Ed.) Dimensions of Terrorism, pp.241-257. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.
  3. Silke, A. (2004). ‘An Introduction to Research on Terrorism.' In Silke, A. (Ed.). Research on Terrorism: Trends, Achievements and Failures, pp.1-29. London : Frank Cass.
  4. Silke, A. (2004). ‘The Road Less Travelled: Trends in Terrorism Research.' In Silke, A. (Ed.). Research on Terrorism: Trends, Achievements and Failures, pp.186-213. London : Frank Cass.
  5. Silke, A. (2004). ‘The Devil You Know: Continuing Problems with Research on Terrorism.' In Silke, A. (Ed.). Research on Terrorism: Trends, Achievements and Failures, pp.57-71. London : Frank Cass.
  6. Silke, A. (2003). ‘Irish Republican Army.' In P. Knight, (Ed.), Conspiracy Theories in American History: An Encyclopedia, pp.353-354. Santa Barbara , CA : ABC-CLIO.
  7. Silke, A (2003). ‘Fire of Iolaus: The role of state counter-measures in causing terrorism and what needs to be done.' In T. Bjorgo, (Ed.). Root Causes of Terrorism: Proceedings from an International Expert meeting in Oslo , 9-11 June 2003, pp.179-193. Oslo : Norwegian Institute of International Affairs.
  8. Silke, A. (2003). ‘Preface.' In A. Silke, (Ed.). Terrorists, Victims and Society: Psychological Perspectives on Terrorism and Its Consequences, pp.xv-xxi. Chichester : Wiley.
  9. Silke, A. (2003). ‘Becoming a Terrorist.' In A. Silke, (Ed.). Terrorists, Victims and Society: Psychological Perspectives on Terrorism and Its Consequences, pp.29-53. Chichester : Wiley.
  10. Silke, A. (2003). ‘The Psychology of Suicidal Terrorism.' In A. Silke, (Ed.). Terrorists, Victims and Society: Psychological Perspectives on Terrorism and Its Consequences, pp.93-108. Chichester : Wiley.
  11. Silke, A. (2003). ‘Retaliating against terrorism.' In A. Silke, (Ed.). Terrorists, Victims and Society: Psychological Perspectives on Terrorism and Its Consequences, pp.215-231. Chichester : Wiley.
  12. Silke, A. (2003). ‘The Psychological Impact of Terrorism: Lessons from the UK Experience.' In D. Das and P. Kratcoski, (Eds.), Meeting the Challenges of Global Terrorism: Prevention, Control, and Recovery, pp.189-202. Lanham , MD. : Lexington Books.
  13. Silke, A. (2001). ‘Chasing Ghosts: Offender profiling and terrorism.' In D. Farrington, C. Hollin, and M. McMurran, (Eds.). Sex and Violence: The Psychology of Crime and Risk Assessment. London : Harwood. pp.242-258.


  1. Silke, A. (2006). ‘The Role of Suicide in Politics, Conflict and Terrorism.’ Terrorism and Political Violence, 18/1, pp.35-46.
  2. Silke, A. (2006). ‘The psychology of terrorism.’ Science and Public Affairs, June, pp.14-15.
  3. Silke, A. (2005). ‘Success & Failure in Terrorist Investigations: Research and lessons from Northern Ireland.’ Low Intensity Conflict and Law Enforcement, 13/3, pp.250-261.
  4. Silke, A. (2005). ‘Children, terrorism and counter-terrorism: Lessons in policy & practice’. Terrorism and Political Violence, 17/1-2, pp.201-213.
  5. Silke, A. (2005). ‘Terrorist Threats to the UK Homeland: 7/7 and Beyond’. Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security International.
  6. Silke, A. (2004) ‘Terrorism, 9/11 and Psychology.' The Psychologist, 17, pp.518-521.
  7. Silke, A. (2004) ‘Courage in Dark Places: Reflections on Terrorist Psychology'. Social Research, 71/1, pp.177-198.
  8. Silke, A. (2003) ‘Deindividuation, anonymity and violence: Findings from Northern Ireland '. Journal of Social Psychology, 143/4, pp.493-499.
  9. Silke, A. (2003) ‘Beyond Horror: Terrorist Atrocity and the Search for Understanding – The Case of the Shankill Bombing'. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 26/1, pp.37-60.
  10. Demetriou, C. and Silke, A. (2003) ‘A criminological internet ‘sting': Experimental evidence of illegal and deviant visits to a website trap.' The British Journal of Criminology, 43, pp.213-222.
  11. Silke, A. (2003). ‘Profiling terror.' Police Review, 111/5737 , pp.18-20.
  12. Silke, A. (2003). ‘The psychological cost of terrorism.' Forensic Update, 72, pp.23-29.
  13. Silke, A. (2003). ‘Unsolved mysteries.' Police Review, 111/5716, pp.20-21.
  14. Silke, A. (2002). ‘Understanding terrorism.' Psychology Review, 9/1, pp.17-19.
  15. Silke, A. (2002). ‘Hunting Terror: Using Offender Profiling to Catch Terrorists'. Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security International, 8/2, pp.28-30.
  16. Silke, A. (2002). ‘The psychological cost of terrorism.' The Bulletin of the International Society for Research on Aggression, 24/2, pp.14-18.
  17. Silke, A. (2002). ‘Striking Back at Terrorism: Lessons from History.' Journal of Counterterrorism and Security International, 8/1, pp.12-14.
  18. Silke, A. (2001). ‘The Devil You Know: Continuing Problems with Research on Terrorism.' Terrorism and Political Violence, 13/4, pp.1-14.
  19. Silke, A. (2001). ‘Terrorism: An Action Plan.' The Psychologist, 14/11, pp.580-581.
  20. Silke, A. (2001). ‘When Sums go Bad: Mathematical Models and Hostage Situations.' Terrorism and Political Violence, 13/2, pp.49-66.
  21. Silke, A. (2001). ‘Behind the Masks.' Police Review, 109/5640, pp.20-21.
  22. Silke, A. (2001). ‘Dealing with Vigilantism: Issues and lessons for the police.' The Police Journal, 74, pp.120-133.
  23. Silke, A. and Taylor , M. (2000). ‘War Without End: IRA and Loyalist Vigilantism in Northern Ireland .' Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 39/3, pp.249-266.
  24. Silke, A. (2000). ‘Drink, Drugs and Rock'n'Roll: Financing Loyalist Terrorism in Northern Ireland - Part Two.' Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 23/2, pp.107-127.
  25. Silke, A. (2000). ‘Bitter Harvests: The Royal Ulster Constabulary's Response to Paramilitary Vigilantism in Northern Ireland .' Low Intensity Conflict & Law Enforcement, 9/2, pp.27-46.
  26. Silke, A. (2000). ‘ Bea ting the Water: The Terrorist Search for Power, Control and Authority.' Terrorism and Political Violence, 12/2, pp.76-96.
  27. Silke, A. (2000). ‘Acts of Sacrifice: Exploring the Impact of Paramilitary Vigilantism on Victims and Communities in Northern Ireland .' International Journal of Human Rights, 4/1, pp.1-24.
  28. Silke, A. (2000). ‘Profiling Terrorists: Lessons from the Unabomber Case.' Forensic Update, 61, pp.27-32.


Last updated: October 2007
I had no idea you could get a degree in 'Terrorism' - incredible!
"We are not democrats for, among other reasons, democracy sooner or later leads to war and dictatorship. Just as we are not supporters of dictatorships, among other things, because dictatorship arouses a desire for democracy, provokes a return to democracy, and thus tends to perpetuate a vicious circle in which human society oscillates between open and brutal tyranny and a lying freedom." - Errico Malatesta, Democracy and Anarchy 1924

Joined: 26 Nov 2005, 01:46

14 Jan 2008, 11:45 #6

Another refusal to cooperate with the BBC, this time from the Ludicrous Diversion team - (I would suggest one half of the 7/7 CF would be well served by showing LD):
Dear Susan

Thanks for your invitation to come and discuss the 'conspiracy' issues surrounding 7/7. Unfortunately we must decline. The BBC's credibility amongst so-called 'conspiracy folk' is so non-existent that it's laughable. If you don't know why this is, check out youtube regarding the BBC and 911.

So you intend to find the definitive account of 7/7 – why wait until now? The BBC not only never questioned a single fact within the 'Official Story', but was itself responsible for disseminating the information without giving most of it even the most cursory investigative glance.

We draw your attention, for example, to the issue of what train the supposed bombers took into London. For well over a year the BBC continued to publish on its website the time given by the police and offered in the official investigation – despite the fact that particular train was cancelled - and this fact was widely available across the internet. The BBC only changed its story when the official story was itself changed and the train time altered. Worth thinking about. . .

In fact, in matters such as 7/7, i.e. matters of crucial importance to the British public, the evidence strongly indicates that the BBC is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the British government and intelligence agencies, relying on its historical reputation to create in the public mind exactly the picture that these bodies would like the public to see.

You, no doubt, will claim that you are coming at it afresh, with independent eyes. In that case, (after suggesting you wake up and smell the coffee) we think you should really dedicate the entire program not to the validity of the 7/7 `conspiracy theories`, but to an proper examination of the central conspiracy - how a web of lies was presented by the government, police and intelligence agencies and then disseminated without question by the mainstream media, your good selves at the BBC included.

The idea of the BBC presenting any sort of unbiased presentation would be comedic if it was not so tragically absurd. Their 'conspiracy series analysis of 911 was criminally negligent in its presentation of the facts and lapdog acceptance of the official story and will be correctly adjudged so in time. Your latest hitpiece on 7/7 'conspiracies' will sadly, but inevitably, be cut from the same branch.

You will 'consider' a few of the enormous number of lines of investigation, a blend of the most easily dismissed and the most obviously insane. You will do exactly no independent investigation of any kind. And your conclusion will be that most of the questions being posed by 'conspiracy theorists' regarding 7/7 are without any real basis, but some questions do need asking about the role of the intelligence agencies in following the four men before the event. How do we know this will be your conclusion? Because that is the official line. Feel free to prove us wrong.

If you think this is unfair, here is a list of the essential questions to consider – and to use your BBC-backed weight to obtain answers. We'll take a little wager that not one of these issues is seriously and sensibly addressed in the course of your film.

Why did the mainstream media including the BBC, choose not to question a single police report, political statement or any part of the official report? Is this now outside your remit? Is the BBC somehow under the impression that the police, the government and the intelligence agencies with their anonymous leaks are infallible and more importantly trustworthy? Given a verifiable history of deceit by all three, why would the BBC simply report as fact what these organisations claim?

Why won't the police release the enormous number of images and moving footage of the four bombers in London that they have claim to have and which must exist? Surely, with this much time passed, and in a serious documentary by the BBC there can be no harm in showing the moving CCTV footage of these four bombers - the footage which has condemned them, despite having never been seen by the british public?

How is that the police, intelligence agencies and media all falsely reported the time of the train the bombers took into London for over a year, given that the police has by its own statements, actual CCTV footage of the four bombers getting on this non-existent train?

Here`s a suggestion for a very interesting and enlightening sequence for your film.

Take a camera to Luton station, film the entire journey from there to the underground platforms that the bombers departed from (we were denied permission to do this, but we have a feeling the Beeb will be allowed) – time the journey and count the number of CCTV cameras that filmed the four alleged bombers along the way. Then calculate how many hours of footage of these men must exist if the official story of the mens journey to Kings Cross and onwards is true. Then reveal, perhaps with a crescendo of music – that not one single second of this footage has been presented. In fact, other than a still photo of Hussain outside boots, there is not one single frame of the four men in London. Does it exist? It must, if the official story is true. What possible reason could there be for not showing it?

What a scoop for the BBC it would be if they actually got this footage that has been denied from the British public! What a triumph to force the police into releasing the hours of moving images of the four suspects! And if they don't give you this footage straight away, what a wonderful opportunity to try and uncover why they won't! Exciting journalistic opportunities await, if you want to take the leap. Sadly, this won't happen, but again please – feel free to prove us wrong.

Yours sincerely


    Subject: BBC Documentary
    Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 15:19:19 +0000

    Dear Ludicrous Diversion

    BBC 2 Current Affairs is making a documentary about the 7th July bombings.  The programme is for the BBC 2 documentary series "The Conspiracy Files".
    The programme will analyse what happened on 7th July 2005, and aims to provide a definitive account of events on that day.
    We are interested in talking to people who have raised questions about the official account and who are campaigning for further information to be released.  We've watched your film and we would be keen to meet you to discuss the issues it raises in more detail.
    Many thanks,

                Susan Prichard
                Assistant Producer,
�To those who are afraid of the truth, I wish to offer a few scary truths; and to those who are not afraid of the truth, I wish to offer proof that the terrorism of truth is the only one that can be of benefit to the proletariat.� -- On Terrorism and the State, Gianfranco Sanguinetti

Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

14 Jan 2008, 15:38 #7

"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

"The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses." -- Malcolm X

"The eternal fight is not many battles fought on one level, but one great battle fought on many different levels." -- The Antagonist

"Truth does not fear investigation." -- Unknown