Saturday, 5 February 2011

SIMply wrong

Back in October 2010, when DS Stuart first gave sworn testimony to the 7/7 Inquests (J7 analysis here) he told us that a phone belonging to MSK was found at Edgware Road:
Q. In particular, investigators found in the wreckage a phone subsequently determined to belong to Khan?
A. That's correct, sir, yes.
Q. When that phone was examined, did it have any readable data on it?
A. No, sir, it was damaged beyond --

DS Stuart then discussed the calls made and received on this 'phase 4 operational phone' produced in a schedule entitled 'Draft schedule of all calls between MSK, Tanweer, Hussein and Lindsay attributed phones 270605 - 070705, and all calls in the same period to/from phones used by the four on 070705'.

The details for the phone used by Khan and described as 'a phase 4 operational phone' ends with '254'. Its recovery and connection to Khan was described to Hugo Keith QC by DS Stuart:
A. The handset for that phone was discovered at the Edgware Road scene where Mohammed Sidique Khan's body was recovered. DNA from Mohammed Sidique Khan was recovered from the handset as well. The phone was routinely cell-sited in and around his home address. It was cell-sited in Luton on the 7th where we know from CCTV Mohammed Sidique Khan was. It only ever rang the other three. It was never rung by another number attributed to Mohammed Sidique Khan.

DS Stuart then claims that previous operational phones contained no suspicious contacts, preferring to claim that each of the 4 phase 'operational phones' were only called by the 4 accused in connection to each other, the caveat to that being calls to car hire companies and the 3 men that were tried in the Theseus trial. Answering question from Mr Patterson QC, we gather that:
Q. Have you, Sergeant, analysed the contacts made between the earlier phones and numbers being used by the four men and other people outside that group of four?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did those enquiries lead you to any suspicions as to other contacts that might have led to suggestions that other people were involved or assisting the four men?
A. There have been prior court cases in relation to that, sir, yes.
Q. I'm aware of that, and three individuals in particular, but focusing just on the days leading up to 7/7, any suspicious contacts in any of the telephones in that period of time?
A. No, this is an accurate schedule of that, of all the contacts.
Q. Yes. That's not quite an answer to my question. One issue that arises is whether there's evidence that the four bombers were assisted in any way, either on the 7th itself or in the days leading up, and one way we can analyse that question is by focusing on telephone contact. Any suspicious contacts on the 7th or in the days leading up with others outside of the group of four?
A. No, sir, not that I'm aware of, no, sir.

This point is further confirmed by counsel to the MPS, Max Hill, in his questioning of DS Stuart:
Q. Then just looking at the entirety of this schedule, so the period from 27 June to 7 July, are you saying that this is a complete operational picture in terms of telephones in the hands of all four bombers throughout the period 27 June to 7 July?
A. Operational, yes, sir.
Q. In answer to earlier questions from Mr Patterson, it is right that at an earlier stage there was what might be called some operational telephone use connected to those who became the subject of the Theseus trials.
A. Yes, sir.
Q. The three men who stood trial in 2008 and 2009.

To sum up what we knew in October 2010, a single phone, Khan's 'phase 4 operational phone 254', was found at the Edgware Road site, the phone had no recoverable data, the schedule released shows all calls made and received on operational phones between 27/08/05 and 07/07/05. The only suspicious calls made and/or received on operational phones were those connected to the two Theseus trials held in 2008/09.

J7 contacted the Inquests to clarify some of these details when we became aware that DS Stuart would return to give further testimony to the 7/7 Inquests on 2nd February 2011. One of the issues we asked for clarification on was:
During the questioning of Detective Sergeant Mark Stuart, in sworn testimony, he stated that there was no recoverable data from a phone 'determined to belong' to Mohammad Sidique Khan:

However, news articles covering the first and second trials of the accused Waheed Ali, Sadeer Saleem and Mohammed Shakil claim that a phone recovered from Edgware Road contained phone numbers attributable to the accused and a text message sent from Waheed Ali to Khan:

Flewitt said the strength of Ali's relationship to Khan was demonstrated by a text message Ali sent to the July 7 ringleader on December 7 2003.

It read: "Gates of memories I will neva (sic) close. How much I will miss you no one knows. Tears in my eyes will wipe away but the love in my heart for you will always stay."

In the remains of Khan's mobile telephone, recovered from the debris at Edgware Road, were numbers "attributable" to Shakil, saved as "SHAXMOB",and Saleem, saved as "Sads", the jury was told.

Evidence in the trial included details of the remains of Mohammad Sidique Khan's phone, found amid the wreckage of his Edgware Road blast that killed six people. His phone included a number tagged "SHAXMOB", attributable to Mohammed Shakil, and another entry, "SADS", referring to Sadeer Saleem.

He was so close to Khan a text message was found on the suicide bomber's mobile phone in the rubble of the Edgware Road blast. It read: “Gates of memories I will neva (sic) close. How much I miss you no one knows.Tears in my eyes will wipe away, but the love in my heart for you will always stay.”

When DS Stuart's returned to give further evidence on Wednesday 2nd February he was asked the following by Hugo Keith:
Q. May I, before I move away from Khan's operational phones, address one particular point? An organisation that has been following this issue has expressed a certain degree of confusion as to which phones were recovered where, and perhaps I could just clear up that particular confusion, if it exists. In relation to MSK's phone, 826, the handset and SIM were found, were they not, inside the tunnel at Edgware Road?
A. That's correct.
Q. That's the third phone on the page?
A. Yes.
Q. As a result of the SIM card being found, was it possible to retrieve any of the data on that phone?
A. There was no data that could be recovered.
Although it was sent off for examination, they couldn't extract any data for it.
Q. What about in relation to the last operational phone, 254, which was also, I think you told us last year, recovered from Edgware Road --
A. Yes, sir.
Q. -- or at least certainly the handset was recovered and I think you told us that it was damaged beyond repair?
A. It was, sir, and for the same reason, they couldn't extract any data from it either.
Q. Where Khan sent or received texts, therefore, particularly at the time of the use of the last operational phone, how were you able to retrieve data evidencing the sending or receipt of texts?
A. The actual sending would come from the call data. The context or the content, we would rely on downloads for whichever phone it was sent to or received from.
Q. So are there a number of routes by which data can be retrieved, even if you don't have the original SIM card?
A. Yes, sir.

Not only did Keith take this opportunity to claim that not only 'a phone' was found at Edgware Road, as stated by Stuart on 14th October, but in fact, two phones were found in the tunnel. Khan's phase 3 & 4 operational phones, 826 & 254 respectively. Yet it seems that only the handset and not the SIM of the 'phase 4 operational phone', the sole phone described in the schedule discussed when Stuart gave his original testimony, was recovered. No reason is given for Khan's missing SIM card.

Ms Gallagher, counsel for the bereaved, also questions DS Stuart on the question J7 posed in relation to the data extracted from Khan's phone that was referred to in the Theseus trials:
... Could I just start by dealing with this issue of confusion? Mr Keith, when questioning you, referred to an organisation having expressed confusion about your statement on 14 October about there being no readable data from the phone at Edgware Road that was recovered at Edgware Road, and you were taken to those two phones. It's [INQ11176-2]. So both the phone number ending 826 that was recovered inside the tunnel at Edgware Road --
A. Yes.
Q. -- and I think you've said the SIM card was found and sent off but there was no readable data?
A. That's correct, yes.
Q. And phone number 254 also recovered from Edgware Road mentioned at the bottom of that page and you said, for the same reason, no data was recoverable there?
A. The handset was recovered and it was -- no data could be --
Q. Mr Keith said, "Well, how do we have information about the exchange of text messages?", and you made reference to obtaining call data. So it's possible to obtain information about text messages without extracting it from the hardware itself, from the SIM card of the telephone?
A. Yes, there will be a record of the sending of the text on the call data that we can recover from the phone companies.
Q. But Detective Sergeant, that's just information about the sending and receipt of texts. It's not information about the content?
A. The content you would only get if the phone that either received or sent the text to the damaged phone was itself recovered and examined and we could derive data from it.
Q. So the comms data can't give you the content, that's only possible from hardware of one or other phone. So it's not possible to recover information such as contact details, so telephone numbers that are saved and so on, through comms data?
A. No, that's correct.
Q. Detective Sergeant, I think the difficulty is that your answers won't have cleared up the confusion, because the reason that the confusion has arisen is that there were a number of news articles, public at the time of the Theseus trial, which referred to the actual content of text messages recovered from one of those phones and, indeed, I think publicly there's some information with links to those news articles. But, in fact, we can go one step further because, of course, we've got the opening from counsel in the Theseus trial -- the reference is [INQ105680-12]. It's paragraph 64 and it says: "Among the debris at the scene of the Edgware Road bombing the police found part of a mobile telephone belonging to MSK. In the memory of that mobile phone was recorded a mobile telephone number attributable to Shakil ... and a ... number attributable to ...Saleem ..." Then paragraph 65, I don't think we need it on screen, but for your reference, my Lady, that includes the content of a particular text, also recovered from that.

There is then some discussion on how the texts between Lindsay and Khan were recovered and it is established that these were accessed from Lindsay's phone, then continues:
Q. The reason it's important to do this, obviously, is, as you're aware, a number of people are following these proceedings very closely. There's been some concern expressed about this issue, so it seems sensible to just put it to bed. If there's a simple answer, let's just have it and it will be on the public record.
A. Yes, not at all. [ibid p35:5 on]
Q. Detective Sergeant, just to clarify it, if we could go back to [INQ105680-12] at paragraph 64 , when, in the opening to the Theseus trial, as was widely reported, it stated there that this information was recovered from that mobile phone found at Edgware Road, is that simply wrong?
A. Yes. [ibid p39:22 on]

Simply wrong? We can add this 'simply wrong' to the litany of errors anomalies and inconsistencies that J7 have detailed, so far, over the 15 weeks of the 7/7 Inquests. The fact that 'simply wrong' evidence can be used in an attempt to convict 3 men, all found innocent, who faced up to 40 years in prison isn't just 'simply wrong' it's 'simply appalling'.

More 'simply wrong'

The first page of a schedule detailing purchases from hydroponics shops was released, beginning on 22nd February 2005, claiming that Tanweer contacted Huddersfield Hydroponics on a phone 'atributed to him' which was cell sited within a 2km radius. Keith claims that 'operational phone usage begins around the time that hydrogen peroxide purchases are made'. [ibid p15:9 on] Yet DS Stuart gives the precise date and time for the first use of an operational phone (phase 1) for Tanweer as 25 March at 18.06, over a month after the supposed first purchase of hydrogen peroxide [ibid p11:14 on]. Simply wrong.

Pakistan calling

After claiming that no 'suspicious calls' were made to or from operational phones in DS Stuart's original testimony, the updated schedules show calls made to Khan's 'operational phones' from various phone kiosks in Pakistan, mainly from the Rawalpindi district. 'No suspicious calls' (simply wrong?) transforms into 'so many suspicious calls':
.. question of calls from Pakistan, if we just screen down, please, to page 11 [INQ11177-11] of the exhibit, we can see in the bottom half of the page there a number of calls from Pakistan?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. In particular from Rawalpindi, so 9 May, 10 May. Over the page to 12 May, page 12 [INQ11177-12] of the document. Then moving forward to 14 May on page 14 [INQ11177-14] , there were a great deal many calls from Rawalpindi on that day, we can see there, all to MSK, the original schedule is in red, and I needn't go through the schedule to the later dates, but are there further calls on 19 May, 31 May and 2 June?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. There appeared to be a substantial number of calls in that period from the middle of May to the beginning of June, and then, again, were there further calls from Pakistan, right at the very end, just a matter of days before the bombs are detonated on 7 July, on 2 July in fact?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you assess that these calls, therefore, were probably connected to some guidance or some means of communicating information concerned with the manufacture of the bombs and then, ultimately, their detonation?
A. Yes, I think they had to be, sir. [ibid p20:1 on]
Not just suspicious calls but apparently 'bomb-making suspicious calls' - did DS Stuart think these unworthy of mention during his first appearance at the 7/7 Inquests? Perhaps the testimony given by Clifford Todd, principal forensic investigator at the Forensic Explosives Laboratory the previous day, contains the reason:
Q. The technical expertise required to construct either the initiating device or the main explosive device, was that of a particularly high order, or could those four men -- none of whom it seems had any particular skills in chemistry -- have carried that out under a certain degree of guidance or instruction themselves?
A. Yes, they would have needed some -- certainly initial guidance or instruction, I believe. I don't think that -- my comment about them dealing with this and doing this in isolation is intended to make a distinction between four people with no experience of bomb-making, suddenly between themselves, and only between themselves, deciding to come up with a bomb plot such as this, make the devices, and go and set them off, certainly without extensive practice themselves. That's not really feasible. They would need some detailed instruction and some practice, almost certainly, at doing this. So that's what I was trying to get at in my comment about having some outside help. There must have been something more, some -- they must, at some point, have had some advice.
Q. Once the instructions or the guidance had been provided, and perhaps alongside a certain degree of training, perhaps abroad, would they have required there to have been a specialist bomb-maker or a chemist present in Alexandra Grove for bringing their plot to fruition?
A. No. I should also perhaps say that these were -- these devices were entirely unique. Certainly the hydrogen peroxide mixed with a fuel such as pepper were entirely unique within the UK for sure and, as far as I know, worldwide as well. At the time, there would have been plenty of information on the internet about how to make bombs of various descriptions, and certainly now, if you were to look, probably you will find information about devices of this particular type. But at that time, if it was the case that four people just decided to do this with no prior experience, they probably could have got enough information off the internet, but it would be extremely unlikely they would have come up with this particular design. They would have most likely come up with a design already known and spoken about on the internet, which, to the best of my knowledge, that wasn't there at that time.
Q. So this supports your overall view that the construction of these devices could only have been undertaken with guidance and instruction from elsewhere --
A. Yes, correct.

Q. -- and obviously persons unknown. The process is not, regrettably, hugely complex, but it is quite a sensitive process, is it not, in terms of getting the ratios and the mixtures right?
A. Yes.
Q. Is it your view that the paraphernalia in Alexandra Grove indicate that a great deal, unfortunately, of time and effort appears to have been dedicated to getting the ratios right and to making these devices work?
A. Yes, both the time and effort has been taken and the understanding there of what they need to do to get it right.

The 'suspicious Pakistan phone calls' may go some way to answer Clifford Todd's amazement that the 4 accused were able to construct viable devices, of the like never seen before or since, without considerable expertise. What it doesn't answer is: How did they know which of the devices were viable and which were 'simply wrong'?

J7 will return to analysing the vast amount of evidence released over the last week in relation to Alexandra Grove and bomb making. In the meantime..

As Hugo Keith and Ms Gallagher correctly described J7, we are an organisation that is keeping a close eye on these proceedings. In the absence of a jury to ask questions, to note the many inconsistencies, it is up to we the ordinary people who are not following these proceedings for catchy headlines to sell newspapers, to examine the evidence presented to the 7/7 Inquests and ensure that we are all informed when this evidence is 'simply wrong'.


  1. So what exactly does this mean? That the evidence given last year is null and void? That the long passionate text sent to MSK never existed?

    Somehow someone managed to extract a text message from a destroyed phone, pass it to the media, before the phone somehow slipped back in time and disabled itself completely...

    Thank you Bridget, it must be hard collating and displaying the problems in a coherent way, when the intention seems to be to blur the facts and ignore any discrepancies...

  2. A point about novices making explosives from instructions from the internet (or elsewhere).

    Imagine trying to learn to drive from a book and the car explodes everytime it stalls.

    I think that this is a fair description of what they were trying to do.

  3. J7 detailed following of this Event could clearly be useful to the families representatives in helping to prevent questions being sidestepped or avoided.
    I know you respect the families very much but I hope that the families representatives are learning to turn to J7 for support.

    “J7 will return to analysing the vast amount of evidence released over the last week in relation to Alexandra Grove and bomb making”.

    A good starting point would be to inform the court what a poor source of hydrogen peroxide liquid oxygen is.

    Liquid Oxygen contains 17.5% hydrogen peroxide H202.
    Hydrogen Peroxide is a molecule which is
    fundamental to life itself, participating in all the
    metabolic processes in plants and animals.
    When added to the nutrient tank it will
    quickly break down into pure water,

    “Q. Is it your view that the paraphernalia in Alexandra Grove indicate that a great deal, unfortunately, of time and effort appears to have been dedicated to getting the ratios right and to making these devices work?
    A. Yes, both the time and effort has been taken and the understanding there of what they need to do to get it right”

    But does this paraphernalia include equipment for concentrating Hydrogen Peroxide and getting it right


  4. Q. Did you assess that these calls, therefore, were probably connected to some guidance or some means of communicating information concerned with the manufacture of the bombs and then, ultimately, their detonation?
    A. Yes, I think they had to be, sir. [ibid p20:1 on]

    Ok let me tell you that people from Britain who have relatives in Pakistan make and receive calls all the time. If you go into any Pakistani home, you'll find it's not uncommon for them to be on the phone talking to someone over there. In fact there can easily be multiple calls within a day, to and from different relatives and friends. There is absolutely nothing sinister about an activity that is so common.

    Either way the person above (DS Stuart I think) has no right to make the claim that the calls were for 'guidance on how to make bombs', especially in view of the fact that DS Stuart doesn't know who was on the other end of the calls and nor does he know the content of the conversations. It is nothing more than dubious speculation on his part, but being presented as facts. If this is their idea of an inquest, then god help us all.

  5. All the above comments seem to have sumed it up reasonably, except for one lingering aspect.

    If evidence presented to a previous trial is known to be 'simply wrong' there are two issues here. Firstly, when, by whom, and how was this evidence found to be wrong. Secondly, if the date is before the evidence was given, then who ever gave the evidence is guilty of perjury.

  6. Assuming that Alexandra Grove was a drug factory rather than a bomb factory; on the basis of the piperine detected, the drug made would be Ecstacy.

    Did the police look for the presence of ecstacy?

    Another point.

    If you've been making drugs and you're disturbed by the police; one way of trashing the evidence would be to dump it into an oxidising agent. Something like bleach or hydrogen peroxide.

    According to the transcripts p58 line 5

    "5 You concluded, in essence, in relation to all four
    6 scenes, that despite the absence of traces of piperine
    7 at the scenes, the absence of any other recognised high
    8 explosive, together with the material found at
    9 Alexandra Grove, led you to conclude that the main
    10 charge was an improvised mixture, a home-made mixture of
    11 pepper and hydrogen peroxide?
    12 A. That's correct, yes."

    It could be that the "pepper / peroxide" mix is a massive red herring.!!?? Someone tries to destroy evidence and this slop is misconstrued as the focus of their efforts.

    Idle thoughts at a late hour. I hope to blog about this during the week with clearer arguments but an answer to the first question (re ecstacy) would be appreciated.

  7. I've blogged on the nature of the bombs used in the attacks on the basis of Clifford Todd's evidence. See here. Hope this is of use.

  8. Thanks for the note and the article, gyg3s.

    It's an interesting point you make that -- even taking the official 'narrative' at face value -- evidence emerging from the inquests, specifically regarding the fantastical nature of the chemistry, is perhaps chipping away at the credibility of that narrative.

  9. A post asking whether or not Alexandra Grove was a drug factory or bomb factory.

    Again, hope it is of use.

    (Thanks for your comment Antagonist).

  10. In order to obtain 1 kg of MDMA (ecstacy) requires 225 kg of pepper - see Feasibility study of pepper to ecstacy

  11. Does anyone from this group (J7) have any intention of chasing up the Independent Police Complaints Commission (or similar) with regard to the instances of potential perjury that have so far come to light?

  12. Good question.

    What are the chances of the IPCC ever ruling in favour of justice for the population at large, and against the injustices perpetrated by the police force in its primary role as the day-to-day body of (increasingly) armed men that defends the State and private interests from the People?

    I'm reminded of a sentence from the opening post on the J7 7/7 Inquests blog:

    "From the outset [of the 7 July Inquests], it must be understood that the State cannot in any way find itself to be culpable for anything that would reflect badly upon it, and history is littered with countless examples of the State absolving itself of responsibility, illegality, or immorality in all degrees."

    If the system cannot hold to account the police in egregious cases of injustice, such as the execution and murder of innocent people, it seems extremely likely that the same system will make short shrift of the relatively trivial issues of potential perjury in the case of a story about which, to coin a shrill phrase from some years ago, "we all know what happened".