Monday, April 6, 2009
Peter Power, the former Scotland Yard official Anti-Terrorist Branch official, who oversaw drills of the very events of the London bombings on the morning of 7/7 as they were happening, has revealed more details behind the events for the first time in three and a half years.
A statement, apparently from Mr Power, has appeared in the comments section of a recent blog posting regarding comments Power made on the BBC last week.
As we highlighted, the “crisis management expert” revealed that some companies used the shut down of the city of London on Wednesday, during the G20 protests, as a dress rehearsal for an influenza pandemic.
In response to an explanation of who Peter Power is, which was added by the Uncensored Magazine blog, Mr Power himself posted a lengthy statement in which he reveals that the company he was working with on 7/7 was London based information giant Reed Elsevier.
The company is most notable for its ownership of the Lexis/Nexis legal database, as well as many other information sources. As Elsevier, it runs a vast number of science journals, including some of the biggest and most reputable ones. Reed is also known as a host of large exhibitions. The company part owns the ExCel Centre in London’s Docklands area, where the G20 summit was held this past weekend.
Here is Peter Power’s statement in full:
There has been much nonsense written about why my company ran an exercise on 7 July 2005 that had very close parallels to the real thing that day. Since then I have made several attempts to add my own comments to numerous sites that seem to get increasingly excited about their own conspiracy theories and in the process exclude any rational debate. It seems those who occupy the world of finding conspiracy theories to replace just about any coincidence, do not want to have any dialogue with those offering a different view, but I have not yet given up hope. I am therefore hoping, perhaps naively, that someone might like to read an honest and factual account about a particular exercise my company ran in London three years ago.
Unfortunately, the BBC had postponed in 2008 a programme in their ‘conspiracy files’ series that would have done this. Our client three years ago agreed to be named in the BBC programme since the attitude of the producer and his team was very balanced (several conspiracy theorists were also invited to take part). We even allowed our complete exercise material to be made available to the BBC. Regrettably broadcasting in 2008 might have jeopardised an ongoing court case, so they had little choice about postponing it to 2009.
Early in 2005 Reed Elsevier, an organisation specialising in information and publishing that employs 1,000 people in and around London, asked us to help them prepare an effective crisis management plan and rehearse it before sign-off. Several draft scenarios were drawn up and the crisis team themselves set the exercise date and time: 9.00am on 7 July.
The test was planned as a table-top walk through for about six people (the CM team) in a lecture room with all injects simulated. Everything was on MS PowerPoint. The location of their Central London office near to Chancery Lane was chosen as one test site. With many staff travelling to work via the London underground system, the chosen exercise simulated incendiary devices on three trains, very similar to a real IRA attack in 1992, as well as other events.
As there had been eighteen terrorist bomb attacks on tube trains prior to 2005, choosing the London Underground was logical rather than just prescient. With this in mind it was hardly surprising that Deutsche Bank had run a similar exercise a few days before and, prior to that, a multi-agency (and much publicised) exercise code-named Osiris II had simulated a terrorist attack at Bank tube station. Moreover, I had also taken part in a BBC Panorama programme in 2004 as a panellist alongside Michael Portillo MP et al, in an unscripted debate (we had no idea at all what the scenario was to be?) on how London might once again, deal with terrorist attacks, only this time it was fictional (created entirely by the BBC).
In short, some of the research for our exercise had already been done. The scenario developed for our client even started by using fictitious news items from the Panorama programme then, as with any walk through exercise, events unfolded solely on a screen as dictated by the facilitator without any external injects or actions beyond the exercise room. Also factored into the scenario was to be an above ground fictitious bomb exploding not far from the head office of the protected Jewish Chronicle magazine where for exercise purposes, our imagined terrorists would have been aware that commuters would now be walking to work (past a building already considered a target) as some tube stations would have been closed.
Of just eight nearby tube stations that fell within possible exercise scope, three were chosen that, by coincidence, were involved in the awful drama that actually took place on 7 July 2005. A level of scenario validation that on this occasion, we could have done without.
An exercise that turns into the real thing is not that unusual. For example, in January 2003, thirty people were injured when a tube train derailed and hit a wall at speed. At the same time, the City of London Police were running an exercise for their central casualty bureau where the team quickly abandoned their plans and swung into action to cope with the real thing.
For a surprising number of people such coincidents cannot be accepted as such. There just has to be a conspiracy behind them, despite the obvious point that painstaking research will always identify probable above possible scenarios. By the way, the only reason I was asked to speak on TV news that day, when there was still much confusion about the real tragedies, was to encourage more organisations to thoroughly plan their own exercises knowing the threat of terrorism is and remains, very real. One tragic consequence being Islam, a great Abrahamic, monotheistic faith (along with Judaism and Christianity), has undeservedly become vilified by some people.
To re-cap the situation, on the afternoon of July 7th, 2005, Power told a BBC radio interviewer that his company was running an exercise for an unnamed group that revolved around three bombs going off at precisely the same tube stations and precisely the same time as those that were hit that morning.
The transcript is as follows.
PETER 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.
The odds of such a coincidence are absolutely staggering, which led some to charge that Power’s drill was set up ahead of time, or used by people with insider foreknowledge of 7/7.
Just as happened on 9/11, when exercises involving hijacked aircraft overlapped with the real attacks, some charge that the drill was a cover for the real attack in case any of its perpetrators were caught.
Power alluded to the nature of the simulations in the days after 7/7, in an effort to downplay the significance of the mock-versus-real events.
Less than one week after the bombings, as Power and his company Visor consultants received correspondence and questions, mostly stemming from our articles on the drills, a short statement was issued, concluding with the following comments:
“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).”
Power’s culpability is seemingly minimal – after all why would he announce the drill on national radio hours after the attack? – but his reaction to questions regarding the drills highlighted that he was not comfortable discussing the subject further.
Indeed, in December 2007, when Power was approached politiely by members of the We Are Change group, who explained who they were and what they were doing, he refused to answer any of their questions on camera, saying he would not tolerate the approach.
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