7/7 Mock Terror Drill: What Relationship to the Real Time Terror Attacks?
Fictional 7/7 "scenario" of multiple bomb attacks on London's subway
Professor Michel Chossudovsky | August 11 2005
A fictional "scenario" of multiple bomb attacks on London's underground took place at exactly the same time as the bomb attack on July 7, 2005.
Peter Power, Managing Director of Visor Consultants, a private firm on contract to the London Metropolitan Police, described in a BBC interview how he had organized and conducted the anti-terror drill, on behalf of an unnamed business client.
The fictional scenario was based on simultaneous bombs going off at exactly the same time at the underground stations where the real attacks were occurring:
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.
(BBC Radio Interview, 7 July 2005)
In response to the flood of incoming email messages, Peter Power --who is a former senior Scotland Yard official specializing in counterterrorism-- responded in the form of the following "automatic reply":
"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).
[ signed ] Peter Power"
(quoted in London Underground Exercises: Peter Power Responds, Jon Rappoport, July 13 2005
Mock Terror Drills
There was nothing "routine" in the so-called "walk through" scenarios. Visor's mock terror drills (held on the very same day as the real attack) was by no means an isolated "coincidence". Power's email response suggests that mock drills are undertaken very frequently, as a matter of routine, and that there was nothing particularly out of the ordinary in the exercise conducted on July 7th, which just so happened to coincide with the real terror attacks.
There have indeed been several documented high profile cases of mock terror drills in the US and the UK, held prior or on exactly the same day and at the same time as the actual terror event. In the three previous cases reviewed below, the mock drills bear a canny resemblance to the real time terror attacks.
1. CIA Sponsored Exercise on the Morning of 9/11
On the morning of September 11 2001, within minutes of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the CIA had been running "a pre-planned simulation to explore the emergency response issues that would be created if a plane were to strike a building". The simulation was held at the CIA Chantilly Virginia Reconnaissance Office.
The Bush administration described the event as "a bizarre coincidence". The matter was not mentioned by the media.(AP, 22 August 2002)
The CIA sponsored simulation consisted in a "scheduled exercise" held on the morning of September 11, 2001, where "a small corporate jet crashed into one of the four towers at the agency's headquarters building after experiencing a mechanical failure. (Quoted in Associated Press, 22 August 2002.)
The news concerning the 9/11 Chantilly aircraft crashing simulation was hushed up. It was not made public at the time. It was revealed almost a year later, in the form of an innocuous announcement of a Homeland Security Conference. The latter entitled "Homeland Security: America's Leadership Challenge" was held in Chicago on September 6, 2002, barely a few days before the commemoration of the tragic events of 9/11.
The promotional literature for the conference under the auspices of the National Law Enforcement and Security Institute (NLESI) stated what nobody in America knew about. On the morning of 9/11, the CIA was conducting a pre-planned simulation of a plane striking a building. One of the key speakers at the National Law Enforcement and Security Institute conference was CIA's John Fulton, Chief of the Strategic War Gaming Division of the National Reconnaissance Office a specialist in risk and threat response analysis, scenario gaming, and strategic planning.
(See . The National Law Enforcement and Security Institute website is: http://www.nlsi.net/ See also The Memory Hole at http://www.thememoryhole.org/911/cia-simulation.htm):
On the morning of September 11th 2001, Mr. Fulton and his team at the CIA were running a pre-planned simulation to explore the emergency response issues that would be created if a plane were to strike a building. Little did they know that the scenario would come true in a dramatic way that day. Information is the most powerful tool available in the homeland security effort. At the core of every initiative currently underway to protect our country and its citizens is the challenge of getting the right information to the right people at the right time. How can so much information from around the world be captured and processed in meaningful and timely ways? Mr. Fulton shares his insights into the intelligence community, and shares a vision of how today's information systems will be developed into even better counter-terrorism tools of tomorrow. (Ibid)
2. October 2000 Mock Terror Attack on the Pentagon
In late October 2000 (more than ten months prior to 9/11), a military exercise was conducted which consisted in establishing the scenario of a simulated passenger plane crashing into the Pentagon. The Defense Protective Services Police and the Pentagon's Command Emergency Response Team coordinated the exercise. According to a detailed report by Dennis Ryan of Fort Myer Military Community's Pentagram, "the Pentagon Mass Casualty Exercise, as the crash was called, was just one of several scenarios that emergency response teams were exposed to on Oct. 24-26 ":
The fire and smoke from the downed passenger aircraft billows from the Pentagon courtyard. Defense Protective Services Police seal the crash sight. Army medics, nurses and doctors scramble to organize aid. (…) Don Abbott, of Command Emergency Response Training, walks over to the Pentagon and extinguishes the flames. The Pentagon was a model and the "plane crash" was a simulated one.
On Oct. 24, there was a mock terrorist incident at the Pentagon Metro stop and a construction accident to name just some of the scenarios that were practiced to better prepare local agencies for real incidents.
(Dennis Ryan, "Contingency planning, Pentagon MASCAL exercise simulates scenarios in preparing for emergencies", MDW NEWS 3 Nov 2000. http://www.mdw.army.mil/ )
3. Britain's Atlantic Blue, April 2005
In Britain, there were several documented exercises of terror attacks on London's underground system.
In addition to the 7/7 exercise conducted by Visor Consultants, a similar mock terror drill on London's transportation system entitled "Atlantic Blue" was held in April 2005, barely three months prior to the real attacks. In 2003, a mock terror drill labelled OSIRIS 2 was conducted. It consisted, according to Peter Power in testing the "equipment and people deep in the Underground of London". It involved the participation of several hundred people. (Interview with Peter Power, CTV, 11 July 2005).
"Atlantic Blue" was part of a much larger US sponsored emergency preparedness exercise labelled TOPOFF 3, which included the participation of Britain and Canada. It had been ordered by the UK Secretary of State for the Home Department, Mr. Charles Clarke, in close coordination with his US counterpart Michael Chertoff.
The assumptions of the Visor Consultants mock drill conducted on the morning of July 7th were similar to those conducted under "Atlantic Blue". This should come as no surprise since Visor Consultants was involved, on contract to the British government, in the organisation and conduct of Atlantic Blue and in coordination with the US Department of Homeland Security.
As in the case of the 9/11 simulation organized by the CIA, the July 7, 2005 Visor mock terror drill, was casually dismissed by the media, without further investigation, as a mere "coincidence", with no relationship to the real event.
Foreknowledge of the 7/7 Attack?
According to a report of the Associated Press correspondent in Jerusalem, the Israeli embassy in London had been advised in advance by Scotland Yard of an impending bomb attack:
Just before the blasts, Scotland Yard called the security officer at the Israeli Embassy to say they had received warnings of possible attacks, the official said. He did not say whether British police made any link to the economic conference.(AP, 7 July 2005)
Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was warned by his embassy not to attend an attend an economic conference organized by the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in collaboration with the Israeli embassy and Deutsche Bank.
Netanyahu was staying at the Aldridge Hotel in Mayfair. The conference venue was a few miles away at the Great Eastern Hotel close to the Liverpool subway station, where one of the bomb blasts occurred.
Rudolph Giuliani's London Visit
Rudolph Giuliani, who was mayor of New York City at the time of the 9/11 attacks, was staying at the Great Eastern hotel on the 7th of July, where TASE was hosting its economic conference, with Israel's Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as keynote speaker.
Giuliani was having a business breakfast meeting in his room at the Great Eastern Hotel, close to Liverpool Street station when the bombs went off:
"I didn't hear the Liverpool Street bomb go off," he explains. "One of my security people came into the room and informed me that there had been an explosion. We went outside and they pointed in the direction of where they thought the incident had happened. There was no panic. I went back in to my breakfast. At that stage, the information coming in to us was very ambiguous." (quoted in the Evening Standard, 11 July 2005.)
Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Rudolph Giuliani knew each other. Giuliani had officially welcomed Netanyahu when he visited New York City as Prime Minister of Israel in 1996. There was no indication, however, from news reports that the two men met in London at the Great Eastern. On the day prior to the London attacks, July 6th, Giuliani was in North Yorkshire at a meeting.
After completing his term as mayor of New York City, Rudi Giuliani established a security outfit: Giuliani Security and Safety. The latter is a subsidary of Giuliani Partners LLC. headed by former New York head of the FBI, Pasquale D'Amuro.
After 9/11, D'Amuro was appointed Inspector in Charge of the FBI's investigation of 9/11. He later served as Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division at FBI Headquarters and, Executive Assistant Director for Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence. D'Amuro had close links to the Neocons in the Bush adminstration.
It is worth noting that Visor Consultants and Giuliani Security and Safety LLC specialize in similar "mock terror drills" and "emergency preparedness" procedures. Both Giuliani and Power were in London at the same time within a short distance of one of the bombing sites. While there is no evidence that Giuliani and Power met in London, the two companies have had prior business contacts in the area of emergency preparedness. Peter Power served on the Advisory Board to the Canadian Centre for Emergency Preparedness (CCEP), together with Richard Sheirer, Senior Vice President of Giuliani and Partners. who was previously Commissioner at the NYC Office of Emergency Management, and Director of New York City Homeland Security.
(See CCEP at http://www.ccep.ca/ccep_shei.html)
One should not at this stage of the investigation draw hasty conclusions regarding the mock terror drill of a terror attack on the London underground, held on the same day and at the same time as the real time attacks.
The issue cannot, however, be dismissed. One would expect that it be addressed in a serious and professional fashion by the police investigation and that the matter be the object of a formal clarification by the British authorities.
The issue of foreknowledge raised in the Associated Press report also requires investigation.
More generally, an independent public inquiry into the London bomb attacks is required.