The conspiranoid site Prison Planet has picked up on a BBC Radio 5 report from the evening of July 7, the same day as the London attacks, in which Pete Power, a former Scotland Yard counter-terrorism official and now managing director of the private security firm Visor Consultants, states that his company was carrying out an exercise on how to manage multiple bomb attacks on the London Underground at the precise time that the real attacks happened. He declines to say who contracted his firm for this work, saying only that it was “a company,” and that he can’t mention its name for “obvious reasons.”
POWER: At half past nine this morning we were actually running an exercise for a company of over a thousand people in London based on simultaneous bombs going off precisely at the railway stations where it happened this morning, so I still have the hairs on the back of my neck standing up right now.
HOST: To get this quite straight, you were running an exercise to see how you would cope with this and it happened while you were running the exercise?
POWER: Precisely, and it was about half past nine this morning, we planned this for a company and for obvious reasons I don’t want to reveal their name but they’re listening and they’ll know it. And we had a room full of crisis managers for the first time they’d met and so within five minutes we made a pretty rapid decision that this is the real one and so we went through the correct drills of activating crisis management procedures to jump from slow time to quick time thinking and so on.
Of course, like all conspiranoiacs, Prison Planet cannot refrain from telling the readers what to think:
The exercise fulfils several different goals. It acts as a cover for the small compartamentalized government terrorists to carry out their operation without the larger security services becoming aware of what they’re doing, and, more importantly, if they get caught during the attack or after with any incriminating evidence they can just claim that they were just taking part in the exercise.
This is precisely what happened on the morning of 9/11/2001. The CIA was conducting drills of flying hijacked planes into the WTC and Pentagon at 8:30 in the morning.
This last claim is not true. In fact, PP’s own embedded link on the drills goes to its page delineating several Pentagon (not CIA) exercises scheduled for the morning of 9-11, including one (Vigilant Guardian) that concerned a multiple hijacking scenario—but none concerning “drills of flying hijacked planes into the WTC and Pentagon.” The only one which came close to “drills of flying hijacked planes into the WTC and Pentagon” actually concerned such a scenario at the Chantilly, VA, offices of the DoD’s National Reconnaissance Office (see WW4 REPORT #48).
Prison Planet has also posted a follow-up story on the automatic e-mail Visor is now sending out in response to queries on the matter (which we present here minus PP’s distracting interjected commentary):
Thank you for your message. Given the volume of emails about events on 7 July and a commonly expressed misguided belief that our exercise revealed prescient behaviour, or was somehow a conspiracy (noting that several websites interpreted our work that day in an inaccurate / naive / ignorant / hostile manner) it has been decided to issue a single email response as follows.
It is confirmed that a short number of ‘walk through’ scenarios planed [sic] well in advance had commenced that morning for a private company in London (as part of a wider project that remains confidential) and that two scenarios related directly to terrorist bombs at the same time as the ones that actually detonated with such tragic results. One scenario in particular, was very similar to real time events.
However, anyone with knowledge about such ongoing threats to our capital city will be aware that (a) the emergency services have already practiced several of their own exercises based on bombs in the underground system (also reported by the main news channels) and (b) a few months ago the BBC broadcast a similar documentary on the same theme, although with much worse consequences [??]. It is hardly surprising therefore, that we chose a feasible scenario – but the timing and script was nonetheless, a little disconcerting.
In short, our exercise (which involved just a few people as crisis managers actually responding to a simulated series of activities involving, on paper, 1000 staff) quickly became the real thing and the players that morning responded very well indeed to the sudden reality of events.
Beyond this no further comment will be made and based on the extraordinary number of messages from ill informed people, no replies will henceforth be given to anyone unable to demonstrate a bona fide reason for asking (e.g. accredited journalist / academic).
The only other medium to pick up the story is Aljazeera.com (not to be confused with Aljazeera.net, webpage of the Qatar-based cable TV network, although the name was probably chosen precisely to cause confusion). Although Aljazeera.com refrains from interjecting commentary in the story, it waxes elequent about 7-7 “Conspiracy Theories” (by its own wording) elsewhere.
This anomaly certainly bears scrutiny, and the conspiranoiacs get credit for catching such anomalies and bringing them to light before they slip down the Orwellian memory hole. But they do the truth a big disservice through their sloppiness, treating conspiracies as a priori conclusions, and inability to simply let the facts speak for themselves. Prison Planet spells out how the 7-7 conspiracy supposedly worked in an article entitled “How the Government Staged the London Bombings in Ten Easy Steps“:
1) Hire a Crisis Management firm to set up an exercise that parallels the terrorist attack you are going to carry out. Have them run the exercise at the precise locations and at the very same time as the attack. If at any stage of the attack your Arabs get caught, tell the police it was part of an exercise.
2) Hire four Arabs and tell them they’re taking part in an important exercise to help defend London from terrorist attacks. Strap them with rucksacks filled with deadly explosives. Tell the Arabs the rucksacks are dummy explosives and wouldn’t harm a fly.
3) Tell four Arabs to meet up at London Underground and disperse, each getting on a different train. Make sure Arabs meet in a location where you can get a good mug shot of them all on CCTV which you can later endlessly repeat to drooling masses on television.
Etc., etc. Will somebody please tell Prison Planet that Pakistanis are not Arabs?
See our last post on the London attacks.