The Commons Home Affairs Select Committee

A forum for the publication of independent public research conducted by J7 Independent People's Inquiry Forum Members and J7 RELEASE THE EVIDENCE Activists and Campaigners in the joint quest to get to the truth behind what really happened on July 7th 2005. Post your Freedom of Information requests, the responses, and official communications with other bodies and representatives of state and corporate entities here.

The Commons Home Affairs Select Committee

Joined: 26 Nov 2005, 01:46

08 Jul 2009, 23:09 #1

Anti-terror police facing first budget cuts since July 7 attacks

Britain's anti-terrorist police face budget cuts for the first time since the July 7 attacks, Scotland Yard's head of counter terrorism has warned.

By Richard Edwards and Tom Whitehead
Published: 10:30PM BST 07 Jul 2009

Britain's anti-terrorist police face budget cuts for the first time since the July 7 attacks, Scotland Yard's head of counter terrorism has warned.

John Yates, assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, admitted that having to make savings was "inevitable" despite the risks associated with staging the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

His warning came as the most extensive inquiry yet in to the London suicide bombings was announced by MPs, to mark the fourth anniversary of the tragedy.

The Commons Home Affairs Select Committee will call on MI5 and MI6 chiefs, as well as terrorism experts and politicians, to give evidence and explain what the security services knew before the attacks and what should have been done.

Mr Yates, who became Scotland Yard's head of specialist operations three months ago, said there had been a significant growth in funding to combat the extremist threat since 2005.

However, he added that it would be "naive" to think counter terrorism policing would escape the recession.

Police forces nationwide have been asked to make efficiency savings of seven per cent over the next two years, and they are preparing for a cut in public sector funding thereafter.

At a conference of police chiefs in Manchester yesterday, Mr Yates said: "For the first time in counter terrorism we are going to have to robustly look at where we can make savings.

"Like any part of policing you are always looking at stripping out the back office before you look at the frontline. It would be naive of me to say that is not going to be the case."

In a comprehensive spending review in 2007 of national security and counter-terrorism, the Government pledged £3.5bn until 2010-11 - covering the police, security services, Home Office and other relevant government work.

Mr Yates said: "Up to 2011 we are fine but thereafter there is a challenge.

"We have got the Olympics as well, there will be a challenge. We will want to grow against a backdrop of falling budgets."

The pressures on money will leave counter terrorism police units fighting for funding with other police departments, such as serious and organised crime.

It is also set against the backdrop of Scotland Yard asking the Home Office for more cash for the unit which protects the Royal family and VIPs.

Mr Yates said that the official terrorist threat level may soon be reduced from "severe", meaning an attack was highly likely, to "substantial", meaning an attack was a strong possibility.

But he warned against the public being "complacent" about the terrorism threat, which he said continues to "move every week".

Meanwhile, MPs announced a formal inquiry into the London suicide bombings, which killed 52 innocent people, four years after the atrocity.

It will look for any common links between the bombers and those involved in other failed plots, both past and present in the UK, and will examine the Government emergency response system - the so-called COBRA meetings.


Graham Foulkes, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, whose 22-year-old son David was killed in the Edgware Road bombing, welcomed the move.

"I see that as really positive and I think it's good news," he said. "I would like an independent inquiry, but this is a very good second."


The parliamentary Intelligence and Security Service Committee (ISC) carried out its own inquiry in to the bombings but its report in May sparked outrage when it said there was nothing MI5 could have done to stop the attacks.

The Home Affairs committee could begin its hearings as early as September but a witness list is still to be drawn up. It remains to be seen how forthcoming the security services will be in giving evidence or whether it will be held in private.

Patrick Mercer, a Tory member of the committee, said: "This will be the biggest inquiry in July 7 and terrorist incidents in Britain.

"What we are going to try is to look at the links between failed attacks before 7/7 and right the way through to the latest successful and unsuccessful attacks that have been plaguing our security services."


Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the committee, added: "The Committee will be inviting MI5, MI6 and terrorism experts to give evidence with the aim of gaining a detailed picture of what the security services knew before 7/7, what, if anything, could have been done to prevent the attacks and the Government's response to the attacks."

Telegraph
�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
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Joined: 26 Nov 2005, 01:46

08 Jul 2009, 23:11 #2

MI6 chiefs to face tough inquiry over 7/7 attacks

Nicholas Cecil, Chief Political Correspondent Nicholas Cecil, Chief Political Correspondent
07.07.09

The most far-ranging parliamentary inquiry into the 7 July bombings and other terrorist incidents in Britain was launched by MPs today.

MI5 and MI6 chiefs, as well as terrorism experts, will be asked to give evidence to the Commons home affairs committee.


As a monument to the victims was unveiled in Hyde Park on the fourth anniversary of the London bombings, MPs said the Tube remains “extremely vulnerable” to attack and warned against complacency.

The inquiry will re-examine what security services knew before 7/7, what should have been done and the Government's response — including the emergency Cobra committee.

MPs will assess any “common threads” between 7 July, the failed bombings on 21 July and other terrorist incidents. These include the Crevice case, which saw five men jailed for life for an al Qaeda-linked bomb plot whose targets included a nightclub and shopping centre. Some of the Crevice plotters met two of the 7 July suicide bombers. The inquiry will re-open questions over the report by the intelligence and security committee, which cleared MI5 and the police of blame for 7/7, despite new evidence revealing their knowledge of some of the bombers
.

The ISC said it was "understandable and reasonable" that the terrorists had not been detected before the attacks, in which 52 people were murdered by four suicide bombers.

But survivors and victims' relatives dismissed it as "a complete whitewash".

Members of the security and intelligence services may be more guarded with MPs on the home affairs committee. So while the inquiry will be more wide-ranging, it may have more difficulty obtaining information.

Another focus of the inquiry will be the Cobra committee after Andy Hayman, the former head of Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism operations, recently described it as "a nonsensical system". Mr Hayman was at Cobra meetings during the London bombings.

The former counter-terrorism chief criticised Cobra as too bureaucratic, overly political and cumbersome. Tory MP Patrick Mercer, a member of the home affairs committee, said: "This will be the biggest inquiry into July 7 and terrorist incidents in Britain."

Mr Mercer chaired a home affairs sub-committee whose report on the Government's Contest counter-terrorism strategy was published today.

While praising the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, the committee issued warnings over measures to protect the Tube and the 2012 Olympics in London.

Prince Charles was today due to officially unveil the memorial in Hyde Park to the victims of 7 July bombings.

The £1million London Bombing Memorial is made up of 52 stainless steel pillars, each representing one of the victims.

source
�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
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Joined: 04 Dec 2005, 17:55

12 Jul 2009, 08:40 #3

Code: Select all

http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/scotland/SNP-accused-of-hissy-fits.5451501.jp
SNP accused of 'hissy fits' over bombers' trial

Published Date:  12 July 2009
By Stephen McGinty

THE former head of counter-terrorism at the Metropolitan Police has accused the SNP of "having hissy fits" and "despicable" behaviour in the wake of the attempted suicide bombing of Glasgow Airport.

While Strathclyde Police co-operated "brilliantly" with the Metropolitan Police in the investigation into the terrorist cell led by doctors who also attempted to bomb a London nightclub, Alex Salmond, the First Minister, and Kenny MacAskill, the Justice Minister, fought a turf war over control of the suspects and engaged in "some amazing playground antics".

Andy Hayman, the former Assistant Commissioner of Special Operations at the Metropolitan Police, has made the accusations in his book, The Terrorist Hunters, which was due to be published last week but was withdrawn by the Attorney General over "legal concerns".

However a copy has been obtained by Scotland on Sunday, and in it Hayman says a "disproportionate amount of time" had to be spent convincing Alex Salmond and Elish Angiolini, the Lord Advocate, that the case should be handled and the suspects tried in London.

Hayman, who was in overall charge of Counter-Terrorism Command and Special Branch at the time of the attack on Glasgow Airport on 30 June 2007, writes: "At times I think some politicians can't help themselves. The lure of getting in the spotlight or having hissy fits over who is the most important simply gets in the way. And frankly, it's despicable."

The controversy centres around the arrest of Dr Bilal Abdullah, an Iraqi doctor based at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, and Kafeel Ahmed, an Indian engineer, after they attempted to launch a suicide bombing attack on Glasgow Airport. Both had earlier attempted to bomb a nightclub in London, before fleeing back to their base in a rented house in Houston, Renfrewshire.

As the pair were arrested in Glasgow, they were eligible to be tried in Scotland under Scots law.

Hayman writes: "I was confident the chief constable of the Strathclyde Police, Sir Willie Rae, would have no qualms whatsoever in handing me jurisdiction over the terrorist investigation but I was less confident that the Scottish Parliament would allow it … Over the next week a disproportionate amount of effort was directed towards convincing the Scottish First Minister and his Attorney General that it was right to hand the case to London."

The turf war was fought in meetings of Cobra, the government's crisis meeting, which stands for Cabinet Office Briefing Room A, a reference to the location in Downing Street.

The Scots were speaking over a secure communication link in the Scottish Government's emergency room, located in the basement of St Andrew's House. The first Cobra meeting attended by Alex Salmond, Kenny MacAskill and Elish Angiolini took place at 7.30 pm on Sunday, 1 July.

Hayman writes: "The Scots were determined they were equipped not only to deal with the investigation but also to try any suspects in their courts. No one was prepared to give way…

"The police took a different view from the politicians… Both the Met and Strathclyde Police knew it was sensible to give the lead to London where we could make connections with other cells and cases and draw on our considerable experience on hunting terrorists. It took some days, but eventually, logic prevailed and the case came to us.

Abdullah was later transferred to Paddington Green Police Station in London after Angiolini finally gave her consent to a prosecution in England under English law.

Labour leader Iain Gray said: "It is shameful that the First Minister of Scotland should behave in such a disgraceful manner trying to exploit an incident on the scale of the Glasgow Airport attack for his own personal gain.

"It begs the question: is Alex Salmond fit for office?"

But John Neilson, the assistant chief constable of Strathclyde Police and the officer who was in charge of the operational response to the attacks, said: "I don't know of any political interference that impacted on the investigation."

A spokesman for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said: "This bears absolutely no resemblance to events in Scotland that weekend.

"The Lord Advocate and her team worked tirelessly with the support of the Scottish ministers over the course of the weekend of the 29th and 30th June 2007 to ensure that the complex legal issue of jurisdiction was considered quickly but authoritatively. On 2 July 2007 (two days after the Glasgow bombing] the Lord Advocate instructed that both suspects be transferred to police custody in London and that jurisdiction for the investigation be passed to the English authorities.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "These claims are completely untrue and have no foundation whatsoever. Neither the First Minister nor the Justice Secretary had any contact or dealings with this individual, and were not involved in any of the judicial proceedings.

"Decisions on prosecution and liaison with prosecuting authorities in the rest of the UK are matters for the Lord Advocate. Scottish Ministers do not have any direct involvement in such decisions – and had no direct involvement in this case, as confirmed by both the Crown Office and Strathclyde Police.

"The Scottish Government is fully committed to the fight against terrorism."
Follow the numbers.
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Joined: 26 Nov 2005, 01:46

12 Jul 2009, 14:16 #4

The blog of Shelley Mather's mother:
12/07/2009

London Bombings Inquiry

There is progress ahead in the push for an inquiry into 7/7. Rachel North has a detailed update on her blogsite www.rachelnorthlondon.blogspot.com entry Wednesday July 08, 2009.

I have supported this move, not because it will change anything for me, or my family, but because there are questions to be asked and answered, if we hope to successfully avoid further incidents, such as 7/7.

The series of investigations so far, come to the conclusion, that given the way the Intelligence Services work, given the funding and staffing resources they have, other than hindsight, there was little else they could do to counter the plans of the four successful suicide bombers.

This may or may not be the case, and hindsight, as we all know plays little part in analyzing such brutal events. Yes, maybe they could have put the pieces together better, maybe they should have been aware of the intensity and purpose of these four suspects and their alleged, though proven not guilty conspirators (Operation Theseus Trial).

Changes have been made, both to way the Security and Intelligence services work together and the way the Emergency Response services work together. This is all good and hopefully, will lead to a more co-ordinated, speedier response to multiple scene events and overwhelming numbers of those requiring assistance. I hope so.

This does not devalue the point of a full Ministerial Inquiry. There are such matters as the delineation of policed areas and the lack of the sharing of information. This is horrific to me and completely nonsensical. Why do the powers that be not view the whole country as one and set up data bases that make readily accessible all the tit bits of information about various individuals? Is it a matter of guarding your own power base? I am certainly left wondering how logic does not win this argument.

I would like to see a fair and just system that does not take away the rights of the individual but also does not squander information and render useless, the purpose of the Security and Intelligence services.

The use of torture abhors me, and I have already made comment about George W Bush, having the audacity to claim the support of families of the 7/7 dead and injured, to prop up disgusting practice.

17/02/2008 Pukekochic

As for Bush – I can’t believe he has used the 7/7 London bombings to prop up his support and justification for the torture process of “waterboarding”. How dare he use any of my family to prop up his argument. I do not condone torture nor do I appreciate his stating that he is sure families of the 7/7 victims would endorse or support this practice. He hasn’t even called me to ask me!! That’s is partly what I mean about media, making hay out of every possible scenario without any thought to the sensibilities of those he is invoking. Absolute rubbish and a disgrace. I was going to email him but thought the SIS may descend on my paradise and throw me into a bath of water!! Coward I know but I really prefer showers. Maybe he will read this and send me an apology. Ha ha.


If we are calling this, the war on terror, then surely the tennents of the Geneva Convention and justice should prevail. Persons should be detained in humane settings, faced with evidence and the right to defend themselves judicially speaking, and deal with the consequences. The processes should be transparent, not clandestine and to man’s inhumanity to man.

Rendition should not be enacted in anyone’s name.

Enough said for now.
Arohanui

KG
XX
�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
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Joined: 19 Jan 2006, 21:24

13 Oct 2009, 09:27 #5

Has the supposed July 7th inquiry been radically re-shaped?
The Home Affairs Committee is today announcing the scope of its investigation into elements of the Home Office's counter-terrorism policy.  The inquiry will focus on the following issues:

The immediate response of the Home Office to a terrorist attack, including the effectiveness of the Civil Contingencies Committee ("COBRA") in coordinating an immediate Government response;
The potential use of intercept evidence and the value of control orders;
The misuse and misapplication of anti-terrorism powers;
Anti-terrorism measures at the European level.

Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the Committee said:

"Following our inquiry into Project CONTEST, published in July of this year, this is an important inquiry looking at other components of the Home Office's counter-terrorism strategy.  We will also look closely at how the Government responds in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack.

This summer has seen many legal developments in this area with the role of control orders and intercept evidence coming under scrutiny; this inquiry aims to contribute to that debate by looking also at the legal tools available to prosecutors.
"
Home Affairs Committee Press Release
COBRA was one of the things the July 7th investigation was supposed to address. Are they going to cover it twice, or is this what the July 7th investigation has become? There has still been no official announcement of a July 7th investigation by the committee. I will contact them for clarification.
Innocent until proven guilty
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Joined: 19 Jan 2006, 21:24

15 Oct 2009, 08:50 #6

The standards of unhelpfulness and poor English are being maintained.

My query:
In the summer, it was announced in the media that the Home Affairs
Committee would be holding an investigation into the London Bombings.

I notice that this investigation has never been formally announced by
the Committee, but that recently the Committee has announced an
investigation into the Home Office's Response to Terrorist Attacks. One
of the items to be investigated is the effectiveness of "COBRA", which
was one of the items that the putative London Bombings investigation
would address.

Has this newly announced investigation superseded the unofficially
announced London Bombings investigation?

If not, please could you advise when the London Bombings investigation
is likely to begin?
Their reply:
The announced inquiry into the Home Office's Response to Terrorist Attacks is the only inquiry which the currently is currently running into counter-terrorist measures.
Edit: I've replied to ask simply whether or not the Committee will be holding an inquiry into the London Bombings and, if so, when it is likely to commence.
Innocent until proven guilty
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Joined: 26 Nov 2005, 01:46

15 Oct 2009, 09:06 #7

I spotted this in the Mail a couple of days ago:
Around 2,000 people are under surveillance in Britain because they are considered a threat to the country, the security and counter-terrorism minister said today.

Lord West of Spithead disclosed that the individuals were at large but monitored by intelligence services because they are seen as a danger to national security.

His comments suggest there has been no significant decline in the number of UK residents posing a security threat since 2007, when MI5 chief Jonathan Evans cited a similar figure.

Lord West was speaking to the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, at which he was asked how many foreign nationals were regarded as a threat to the nation but could not be deported on human rights grounds.
Same committee?

Shall I send an email from J7 pointing out that the press reported that a CHASC was due to inquire into these aspects of 7/7:
The inquiry will re-examine what security services knew before 7/7, what should have been done and the Government's response — including the emergency Cobra committee.

MPs will assess any “common threads” between 7 July, the failed bombings on 21 July and other terrorist incidents. These include the Crevice case, which saw five men jailed for life for an al Qaeda-linked bomb plot whose targets included a nightclub and shopping centre. Some of the Crevice plotters met two of the 7 July suicide bombers. The inquiry will re-open questions over the report by the intelligence and security committee, which cleared MI5 and the police of blame for 7/7, despite new evidence revealing their knowledge of some of the bombers.
edit: Just spotted your edit cmain so I'll wait and see what response you get.
�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
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