BFP Book Review- ‘Secrets, Spies and 7/7’ by Tom Secker

“Dead Men Tell No Tales. Muslim Suicide Bombers––Even Less.”

By Mark Mondalek

To speak of absolutes on behalf of 7/7 is a difficult task. To properly distill the facts of that tragic day, any serious inquiry must rest on one simple foundation: that on July 7, 2005, London bombings (of some kind) killed 56 people and wounded several hundred more. This is the bedrock of it all and surely a stance of great ambivalence to take on the matter, but it’s one of the only pieces of the 7/7 puzzle that remains set in stone. Everything else––as far as the case put forth by Secrets, Spies and 7/7 (Secker Publications, May 2013), self-published by author, filmmaker, and independent intelligence analyst and researcher Tom Secker––is entirely amiable.

From the very first hours following the bombings, mixed signals and conflicting reports flooded through the media channels and onto a deeply frightened public. The BBC was the first outlet to declare that the attacks bore “all the hallmarks of an Al Qaeda planned attack.” Even worse, Prime Minister Tony Blair inexplicably informed the press later that evening that, “we know that these people act in the name of Islam,” issuing forth an evidence-free assertion (and a questionable choice of words) so prematurely into the investigation.

“In this context,” writes Secker, “Blair’s comment about the attacks being done ‘in the name of Islam’ was a self-fulfilling prophecy. At that point no one knew who had carried out the attacks or what their agenda and aims were. By the very act of standing up and saying they were ‘in the name of Islam’, Blair was laying the foundations for an official story that would blame Muslims for what happened.”

On the surface, such a statement from Secker, ironically speaking, might put him at risk of sounding just as dangerously presumptuous as Blair did. However, Secrets, Spies and 7/7 isn’t a work of empty conjecture. With over seven years experience spent watching news clips, CCTV video footage and every documentary (two of which he created himself), reading thousands of articles, studying every circulating conspiracy, even the minor ones, along with associative research in the history of state propaganda tactics, terrorism, the security services and the philosophy and politics of fear, Secker’s pragmatism and balanced approach toward understanding the far wider spectrum under which these attacks occurred makes him a pivotal figure in the divisive debate that is the 7/7 tragedy. Relying primarily on official reports, documents and testimony, he extends the debate outward instead of in, all in response to an official investigation declaring four young British Muslims, Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer, Germaine Lindsay, and Hasib Hussain, the sole perpetrators of the 7/7 bombings.

Dead men tell no tales. Muslim suicide bombers––even less. Acceptance of the evidence brought against them is essentially the equivalent of simply reading the headlines instead of the article; key words and phrases opposed to the fine print.

Security camera footage. Eye witnesses. Bomb-making supplies. Phone calls from Pakistan. A radical bookshop. Martyrdom videos!

The words themselves practically bleed with guilt and culpability.

And the list goes on.

The traditional stratagem of media manipulation, saddled with the slow crawl of admissible evidence and information and the exhaustive, apathetic influence that it produces––a strong, if not vital crux of the book––is seemingly all that the sellers of the “official” story of 7/7 wish to offer to the open market. Fortunately for us, Secker isn’t buying.

The use of surveillance footage retrieved from and around the London Underground train station is what some would certainly deem an interesting case study on human psychology, with visual evidence being presented, in very small increments, to a public extremely eager for answers and accountability. We saw this most recently in the case put forth against the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston where, in a grand show of theater by the FBI, security camera footage was nationally televised showing two young men with backpacks on during the Boston Marathon. And nothing more. Earlier this past month during his September 10 speech on Syria, President Obama even implored the American public “to view those videos” of the Ghouta chemical weapons attack, thereby asking that citizens reach their own conclusions based purely on emotion.

The use of CCTV footage in the 7/7 investigation is dubious for a number of reasons. The most striking? Due to mysterious camera malfunctions, no video exists showing the suspects within 20 minutes or even within 200 yards of the targets that they supposedly bombed. “The failure of these CCTV systems is extremely suspicious,” notes Secker. “To have one camera system fail could be considered unfortunate, to have two fail could be considered careless, but three or more looks like sabotage.”

Video footage showing three of the suspects on a supposed “dummy run” or reconnaissance mission a little over a week before the attacks was quickly made public, though there was no splitting up involved, no visits to the scenes of their supposed crimes, and it occurred over an hour later than their repeat trip on 7/7. Nonetheless, the mainstream media made use of this moving footage––as none was provided from the day of 7/7 itself––rarely noting that “the video being shown was from a different day.”

Being that there’s clearly no way for this “evidence” to logically stand on its own, the need for a nexus becomes crucial, particularly with regards to who those four men actually were and what physical and, in some parts, mental evidence that the departed left behind to prove that they perpetrated these heinous acts.

The most obvious factor of doubt and dissatisfaction put forth by Secker is utterly simple, yet impossible to ignore: the implausibility that such an act would have required suicide bombers in the first place. “Trains and buses are what are known as ‘soft targets’, in that there is realistically very little that can be done to prevent someone from carrying out an attack on them,” he explains. “The alleged bombers could have simply left bags or packages on short-delay timers in those four locations and escaped alive.”

“Rather, so we’re told, the four men killed themselves in order to murder 52 other people completely at random. They took their own lives not because it was the only way to hit a ‘hard target’, or to carry out killing on a mass scale, but instead, we are to presume, purely because of ideological fanaticism. This story makes little sense as the whole point of a suicide bombing is to use someone’s willingness to sacrifice their life in order to accomplish an attack that is not otherwise possible.”

Attempts to prove that the four held fanatical beliefs or suicidal tendencies stands on equally shaky footing. Hasib Hussain reportedly dined at a McDonalds for his last meal. Shehzad Tanweer left behind a fortune in the order of £100,000 and even the Home Office concedes that he argued over his change with the cashier at a gas station only hours before his alleged suicide attack. Most telling of all, however, is the vast procurement of mobile phones, credit cards and other identifying materials that were found at each crime scene, often in questionably good condition. Property of Sidique Khan was remarkably retrieved from all four bomb sites.

“This is not only contrary to the behavior of most Islamic suicide bombers,” writes Secker, “it also smacks of planted evidence, albeit not very sensibly planted evidence.”

The direct involvement of the Security Service (MI5) and Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Special Branch both before and after 7/7 is where the waters get doubly murky. Evidence shows that both Khan and Tanweer had shown up in previous surveillance efforts over a year before 7/7 and had even been followed some 200 miles. Secker goes through great lengths to sift through the strange collusion of the security services, their spies, and the various entanglements, cover-ups, and supposed “intelligence failures” that occurred as a result, revealing a pattern in which all four men only appeared to be acting like potential terrorists “when they came into contact with a probable spy.”

As Secker explained on The Corbett Reportthis past July, Secrets, Spies and 7/7, while using 7/7 as its core case study, is also very deeply rooted in investigating the trajectory of the security state itself, its selling of war with Middle Eastern nations overseas, and the proliferation of fear and danger associated with Muslim extremism both at home and abroad. As Secker openly wonders: “With a mandate to convince the public of the terrorist threat did the security services either allow an attack to happen, or make it happen? Were the ‘intelligence failures’ deliberate?”

The text, particularly in the latter half of the book, is essentially a meditation on conspiracy theories as a whole, many of which are thoughtfully refuted or challenged by Secker when attached to the events of 7/7. In this way, Secrets, Spies and 7/7 manages to transcend the inner complexities of the initial criminal investigation to delve into subjects that are much more broad and far-reaching. This is most strongly evidenced by his deep outlook into the effects of popular media in terms of news coverage and the conditioning attempts asserted through fictional television programs, as well as reality television shows, imparting predictive programming upon the public and helping to “normalise the ‘fear therefore security’ politics of our time.” Even more psychologically devastating is the use of large-scale “exercises” designed to train people on how to respond and react in the (apparently) very likely event of a terrorist attack. On the morning of 7/7, an enormous crisis management response exercise was run that in fact perfectly simulated the actual attacks, right down to the same train stations that were involved.

Secker is quite blunt and, one would surmise, very realistic in his belief that the real story of 7/7 will likely never be revealed, but what this book offers instead is in fact much more important: questions, endless droves of them, each one more and more relevant by the day in a world in which the need for war, security and fearful vigilance is constantly preached to us on a repetitive loop, sometimes in ways we may not even be consciously aware.

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Mark Mondalek – BFP contributing author, is a writer and editor based in Detroit. Follow @ Twitter

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  1. From a conservative American’s POV, having Saudi’s living next door is an unpleasant experience fraught with paranoia. Consider even the most productive member of the Muslim world that is known to this person. Said Muslim graduated from Harvard with a Master’s degree in Public Health, teaches students how to end hunger overseas, and yet on his off hours smokes dope. That makes a conservative uncomfortable. Consider another missionary friend of the conservative who documents child abuse by Saudi Princes of male children stolen from Thailand. To what degree does this extend into Washington, D.C.? The conservative had a father and brother in military intelligence. He does not believe the ethical members of the U.S. military will allow Obama to establish martial law if Tea Party members succeed in thwarting extension of the debt ceiling. Finally the conservative is aware of the slaughter of 2 million Bengali’s by Pakistan Muslims of the same brotherhood. This particular story touched his heart because a young Muslim made good here in the US because his father, a physician, got sick the day his militia group was called up in 1971. Conservative American’s are just going to have to admit their racism, and learn to deal with it, without fear.

  2. SiBorg Jonnie says:

    If conservative american is honest with himself, representatives of the american people are guilty of infinitely more atrocities than any middle eastern. if you disagree, you need to do some homework.

  3. @SiBorg Sadly I agree with you, and suspect a bunch of us are going to have to learn the hard way.

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