The Independent has a story today about the husband of one of the victims confronting the father of one of the bombers:
“[W]e are decent people. I worked hard all my life. Please, please, please don’t say it’s something to do with me, or that I knew, my son knew, my wife knew. We are very, very decent people. I think it must have been somebody else on the bus. Not Hasib. He was a good boy. There’s not a shred of evidence that he was involved in it.”
The Hussains’ struggle to accept that Hasib blew up the bus has been compounded by telephone conversations they have had in the past 12 months with conspiracy theorists who claim the London attacks were a “black psy-ops” mission organised by the security services to test London’s defences, or to foment anti-Muslim feeling.
It’s not Hussain’s kid in the video released today, but I think we can dispense with the psy-ops theory.
I’m trying to find the video. I’ll post a clip once I do. The Counterterrorism Blog is updating and says AQ did this to prove 7/7 was one of theirs, root and branch, and not the homegrown plot MI5 says it was. I don’t see how the video proves that, though: Tanweer could have shot it himself, given it to an AQ sympathizer, and then the sympathizer could have smuggled it back to Pakistan.
Which prompts the question of who the sympathizer was. I did a round-up back in May when the British government released its report on 7/7. From the Times of London:
In June 2005, Khan and Tanweer went on a whitewater rafting trip in North Wales. Witnesses report that there was a burly man in the party who spoke only Urdu and appeared to hold sway. Khan took orders from him. The authorities have not traced this man.
Magdy al-Nashar, an Egyptian biochemist who lived in Leeds and had links with members of the bomb cell, has never returned from Cairo since going there last summer. British police would like to speak to him.
There’s more at the link about an alleged “mastermind” who was never found. Another possibility is that Tanweer shot the video while he was in Pakistan — with Mohammed Siddique Khan, the ringleader of the plot and the only one of the other three men to leave a video testament. The two were there from November 2004 to February 2005, according to the government report. If the video was shot at the time, it means a plot was in the works at least five months before the bombs went off.
Another thing. Tanweer’s beard is black in the stills I’ve seen from the video, but according to the government, the chemicals they were mixing to build the bombs had begun to bleach their hair, which also suggests that the video was shot sometime earlier.
Off to do a little photo comparison. Back, hopefully, with video.
Update: Never mind the point about bleaching. Here’s a photo of Tanweer from June 28. His hair is still plenty dark.
Update: Here we go. The first photo is from Mohammed Siddique Khan’s video, which was released last September. The second is from Tanweer’s video, via Fox’s front page right now. Notice any similarity?
Same background. If they were shot in the same place, they were probably shot around the same time. And since the only videos we have are of the two guys who went to Pakistan, I’d say that’s the best bet.
Update: If Al Qaeda had the videos all along, i.e., if it really was an AQ operation root and branch, why did they wait until two months after the bombing to broadcast Khan’s? I can understand holding Tanweer’s for the one-year anniversary, but the randomness of the other one makes me think they put it out as soon as they got their hands on it. Which means they didn’t, in fact, have it all along.
Update: Looks like my hunch was right. Just across on the Blotter:
[S]ources say that both Khan and Tanweer were led to South Waziristan via Quetta several weeks after their arrival in Karachi in November 2004 and spent at least three full days with Zawahiri in the tribal areas.
Khan’s and Tanweer’s confessions were taped during that stay, along with Ayman al-Zawahiri’s speech. The rushes were then edited in Quetta by As Sahab, al Qaeda’s media arm.
I guess it was indeed AQ root and branch.