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The Terror of Woolwich: Many more questions than answers.

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Stuart J. Hooper
21st Century Wire

A British soldier was beheaded on the streets of Woolwich, London by men described as Islamist terrorists in what we are told was a targeted attack.

The backdrop: It’s important to contextualize the political climate when attempting to offer an analysis of what occurred in Woolwich. This is at a time when Cameron’s leadership is being called into question due to his failing austerity policies and refusal to bring forward a vote on EU membership, and Britain’s involvement in Syria is struggling to hold water.

The event: Confusion appears to have reigned after the incident with the media rushing to blame Islamic extremism and the Police not wanting to jump to conclusions. The police response time has been called into question and raised suspicions as it took armed units twenty minutes to reach the scene (Ansell, 2013). Why did it take police so long to respond?

Analysts may say that this is due to the aforementioned austerity cuts to police forces, which have been noted in The Guardian (Johnson, 2012) to be a threat to public safety. It also explains the police’s request to not jump to conclusions as this could lead to an unmanageable situation for police forces if sporadic revenge attacks were to spiral out of control. Similar police restraint was noted during the London riots in 2011.

Revelations: The role of intelligence agencies must also be called into question, particularly in regards to how much influence they have over who exactly is arrested and when that arrest occurs.

A man attempting to expose the murder suspects’ connection with MI5 was arrested immediately after breaking the information to the BBC’s Newsnight programme (Urquhart and Dodd, 2013).

Here’s a compelling question then: If police can immediately be on the scene of a whistleblowing-in-progress, why can they not immediately, and appropriately, respond to a murder-in-progress?

The motive: This will be properly examined further on. It’s a mystery as to why the suspects were hanging around on the street after the attack talking to bystanders, taking interviews etc; perhaps they were hoping for suicide-by-cop. Their attempted attack against the armed police officers, with kitchen knives and a handgun, would support this conclusion; but the possibility also exists that they were aware they would not be immediately apprehended.

Let’s assume that these two attackers were politically motivated. The event might therefore be said to be a prime example of ‘blowback’ from the West’s interventionist policies in Middle Eastern and African nations. There is evidence to support this assumption as in a video, one attacker stated that ‘I apologize that women had to see this, but in our land women have to see the same’ (ITV News, 2013). This could be taken as confirmation of a genuine political grievance and motivation for the horrific attack. If so, putting the violent murder to one side for a moment, we must then ask a serious question: are the interventionist policies of the West that are allegedly for our security, in actual fact worsening our security here at home? Furthermore, one must ask why Cameron feels it is necessary to provide Islamist mercenary terrorist rebels in Syria, who have been caught using chemical weapons (Reuters U.S., 2013) and regularly execute people in the streets (Reuters U.S., 2013), with £40 million in taxpayer-funded aid? This appears to be a direct conflict of interest with the West’s so-called ‘war on terror’ (Press TV Politics, 2013).

Approaching the event from an alternative angle, it will inevitably be asked by some skeptics if this was some form of false flag attack; where a group attacks itself to place the blame on another. On the surface, there appears to be genuine evidence that would lead to this conclusion. However, the attacker made another interesting statement to onlookers calling on them ‘to remove’ their government because ‘they don’t care about you’ (ITV News, 2013). Is this simply a mad rant, or is there something to his statement.

Journalist Webster Tarpley (2012) concluded that the U.S. Embassy attack in Benghazi was in fact an attempt to discredit Obama before the Fall 2012 elections – and the recent US Congressional hearings on Benghazi have revealed that there is evidence of political brinkmanship and stand-down orders which partly support Tarpley’s thesis. Could it be possible that the same was meant for Cameron from this incident? Here we return to the current political climate where his leadership is already under intense scrutiny, with the Tory-Lib Dem coalition coming apart. Other political opportunists will undoubtedly jump on the event anyway as evidence of Cameron’s incompetence and inability to lead. Cameron’s speedy return from Paris indicates he is already well aware of the reality of this threat.

Reaction: Speculation aside, the real danger we are now faced with is a reactionary response from far-right groups and then a follow-up government crackdown. English Defense League (EDL) members have already flooded Woolwich leading to a response from riot police, while another man ran into a mosque in Essex wielding two knives in a revenge attack (Channel 4 News, 2013). Thankfully no injuries were reported and he was arrested; it is unknown if he is affiliated with the EDL.

Although, we must ask, who exactly organizes and supports such groups? Now it is claimed that the EDL is using social networking to ‘exploit’ the attack (Wallis Simons, 2013), is there a larger agenda behind the EDL? They appear to be a threat to not only our physical freedoms, as police clamp down on protests, but also to free speech. Calls will inevitably come to close down their social networking pages, which have been growing significantly since the event, along with other ‘extremist’ material. Therefore we must establish the EDL’s true purpose in the political arena, and a lookout for irrational, reactionary responses from far-right groups and the government.

According to the BBC, the following has taken place since last week:

  • Prayers were said on Sunday at a service dedicated to Drummer Rigby at St Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, in Woolwich, at a service at the town’s St Mary Magdalene Parish Church and in his local church in his home town of Middleton, Greater Manchester
  • A 29-year-old man, arrested on Thursday on suspicion of conspiracy to murder, has been bailed to return pending further inquiries
  • French authorities are investigating whether the stabbing of a soldier in a Paris suburb was a copycat attack. The soldier, who was stabbed in the neck by an unknown man who escaped, is in a stable condition
  • MI5 director general Andrew Parker is expected to present an initial report to a Parliamentary committee next week about what the security services knew about the two murder suspects
  • There has been a large increase in anti-Muslim incidents since Wednesday’s murder, an inter-faith charity has said

Reality: It’s now been revealed, by an anonymous source, that the suspects were a part of previous intelligence service probes (Dodds and Katz, 2013). This brings us into the shadowy world of informants, patsies, moles and professional technicians; all being necessary in the execution of false flag terrorism (Tarpley, 2005-07). While the attackers do not fit the profile of a mole or professional, their previous contact with intelligence services significantly raises the possibility of them being one of the following: informants, dupes, patsies, provocateurs or double agents.

A New York Times opinion piece by David K. Shipler (2012) recently revealed how the majority of foiled ‘terrorist attacks’ in the U.S. were ‘facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists’; revealing the historic association of similar would-be terrorists with intelligence agencies. Tarpley notes that such dupes, patsies and double agents must be of a ‘low mental ability’, clearly evident in the Woolwich attackers, and therefore require ‘comprehensive support’. What was the nature of the ‘probe’ into these suspects? Were they at any time receiving ‘support’ or being ‘manipulated’?

It emerged from the BBC Newsnight program that one of the two suspects in the attack, Michael Adebolajo, was ‘harassed’ and ‘tortured’ by MI5 agents in Kenya (Urquhart and Dodd, 2013); allegedly leading to his radicalisation. Here we see his striking similarity to Sufyan Ben Qumu who was accused of being involved with the recent attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi (Spencer, 2012). Ben Qumu was a former inmate at the notorious Guantanamo Bay detention facility where he too would have inevitably been tortured. How can such a high value ‘target’ be allowed to leave Guantanamo and then re-engage with terrorist forces? It is almost unfathomable that an intelligence agency would not have known what Ben Qumu was doing, and who he was involved with, in Libya. So why wasn’t he stopped? Could Guantanamo Bay actually be a training camp for double agents, dupes, provocateurs and patsies, where inmates are not tortured in order to gain answers, but their compliance?

We must now ask the same questions of Adebolajo. Was he ‘tortured’ and ‘harassed’, or ‘recruited’ by MI5 to meet similar ends?

Adebolajo’s friend, Abu Nusaybah who provided the interview to the BBC revealing these details about his past in Kenya, was arrested immediately after giving the interview. This is said to have ‘shocked’ BBC insiders (Urquhart and Dodd, 2013), as he was not arrested in regards to the murder. Is it possible that this arrest was ordered from MI5 in a futile attempt to stop these revelations, concerning Adebolajo’s past contact with the agency, from coming out? Both Nusaybah and Adebolajo are said to have links to the now banned Islamist organisation, based in Britain although originally founded in Saudi Arabia, al-Muhajiroun (Urquhart and Dodd, 2013). This is an organisation that has been said by Morgan (2007) to operate under other names such as ‘The Saviour Sect’ and ‘al-Ghurabaa’. It must now be asked if this group is still operating today under another name or completely in the shadows. If so, how many other members have had similar experiences with intelligence agencies and who controls its operations?

At the time of writing more suspects are continuing to be apprehended by police. The extent of their connection to not only the suspects, but also intelligence agencies, should be the top priority of police investigators. Accusations of MI5 involvement with the suspects should exclude the agency from any investigative duties in this case.

Sadly, an apparent copycat attack has already occurred in Paris (Bertin, 2013) that signals for vigilance on the behalf of military personnel, but not necessarily a connection to the original incident. Clear facts ought to be established regarding the exact extent of intelligence agency involvement and they must be held accountable to prevent future incidents. Potential motives for intelligence agency participation should also be sought.

Has this incident succeeded in demonise Muslims, creating division and unrest amongst the population? If so, why?

We now know that the elite, private school Eton wants its students to justify the shooting of protesters (RT News, 2013), are we about to see that become a reality?

Britain is changing in strange ways and in rapid fashion. We must ask who is responsible for the direction the country is currently heading.

Stuart J. Hooper


Ansell, N. (2013) ‘Woolwich attack, armed police response time concerns in MSN News:

Bertin, N. (2013) ‘French soldier stabbed while on patrol near Paris’ in Reuters:

Channel 4 News (2013) ‘Far-right EDL supporters clash with police in Woolwich’ in Channel 4:

Dodds, P. and Katz, G. (2013) ‘Britain: Soldier slaying suspects had been probed’ in Associated Press:

ITV News (2013) ‘Exclusive video: man with bloodied hands speaks at Woolwich scene’ in ITV:

Johnson, W. (2012) ‘Coalition’s cuts to police budgets ‘risking public safety’in The Telegraph:

Morgan, A. (2007) ‘UK: Islamist guilty of soliciting murder’ in Spero News:

Press TV Politics (2013) ‘Cameron announces further £40m aid package to foreign-backed terrorists in Syria’ in Press TV:

Reuters U.S. (2013) ‘U.N. has testimony that Syrian rebels used sarin gas: investigator’ in Reuters:

Reuters U.S. (2013) ‘Video shows Islamist rebels executing 11 Syrian soldiers) in Reuters:

RT News (2013) ‘Britain’s Eton College asks teenage candidates to justify shooting protesters’ in RT:

Shipler, D. K. (2012) ‘Terrorist Plots, Hatched by the F.B.I.’ in The New York Times:

Spencer, R. (2012) ‘Former Guantanamo inmate accused of attack on US ambassador to Libya’ in The Telegraph: 

Tarpley, W. G. (2005-07) ‘The Theory and Practice of Synthetic Terrorism’ in 9/11 Synthetic Terror Made in USA 4th Edition, California, United States: Progressive Press

Tarpley, W. G. (2012) ‘October surprise to Carterize Obama’ in Press TV Viewpoints:

Urquhart, C. and Dodd, V. (2013) ‘Woolwich suspect’s friend arrested after appearing on Newsnight’ in The Guardian:

Wallis Simons, J. (2013) ‘The far-right EDL is using Twitter and Facebook to exploit the Woolwich terrorist attack’ in The Telegraph:

21st Century Wire is an alternative news agency designed to enlighten, inform and educate readers about world events which are not always covered in the mainstream media.


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