The question is why John Howard announced on July 8 2005 that there were 52 victims of 7/7, at a time when the UK police had still not announced anything more than 37 victims.
John Howard had beaten the BBC to the 52 figure by about 3 days.
Newspapers like to get their timelines for major events right. After all, they will constitute major resources for furture historians.
Anway, this is the letter that will be sent out to:
maybe the UK's Media Standards Trust
(who have a particular concern with accountability for internet-based news)
Any criticisms or additions?
The Australian Prime Minister's July 8 statement on the 7/7 bombings
This letter describes an incongruity in two newspapers' official 7/7 timelines. Therein, Australian Prime Minister John Howard appears to be credited with supernatural foreknowledge:
On the official timelines for July 8 2005, DER SPIEGEL and LA REPPUBLICA cite statements by the Australian government and the Australian Prime Minister about the London Bombings.
In these statements, a death toll of 52 is reported:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1 ... 53,00.html
+++ Number of Deaths climbs to 52 +++
(5:33 a.m. CET) According to statements made by the Australian government, the number of dead has risen to 52. Further deaths are feared, said Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard. In Great Britain, 37 deaths have so far been confirmed.
http://www.repubblica.it/2005/g/dirette ... ref=search
July 8 :
08:09 Premier australiano: "I morti sono 52"
Secondo il primo ministro australiano John Howard, il bilancio delle vittime ? di 52 persone, di cui 7 cittadini australiani. La cifra fornita da Howard contrasta con quella ufficiale della polizia londinese (37) ma il premier non ha spiegato ai giornalisti da dove provengano le sue informazioni.
However, the previous evening, the BBC had reported a death toll of only 37 victims:
The known death toll at the end of the first day is 37 with more than 700 injured.
In fact, the first BBC report to mention a death toll of 52 was not released until three days later, on July 11:
The first victim of the London bombings is named as the confirmed number of dead reaches 52.
John Howard did not just beat the BBC to the 52 figure. He also beat the UK police, emergency services, coroners and forensic experts who still had much work to do on the morning of July 8:
According to the LA REPPUBLICA timeline, only later, at 12.10 CET the UK police announced that there were more than 50 victims.
12:10 Polizia: pi? di 50 i morti
La polizia metropolitana comunica che i morti sono pi? di 50. E precisa che ? ancora impossibile stabilire il numero esatto delle vittime perch? ci sono ancora corpi nelle gallerie della metropolitana e sui bus. I feriti sono 700
Why would John Howard in Australia be allowed to know, and to announce this information, before the UK police?
Moreover at 13.42 CET, 8 hours after Howard’s statement, LA REPUBBLICA reports that the Russell square carriage has still not been reached:
Nessun ferito nel vagone di Russell Square: La polizia non ? ancora riuscita a raggiungere il vagone della metro rimasto intrappolato nei pressi della stazione di Russell Square, ma ? escluso che nei sotterranei ci possano ancora essere dei feriti intrappolati. Lo ha chiarito il capo della polizia della capitale britannica, Ian Blair.
It happens that the Russell Square bomb claimed the largest number of victims (26). Without the Russell square carriage having been reached, it was impossible for John Howard to know the total of 7/7 victims. But not only did he claim knowledge of the death toll, he picked the correct final figure ? 52
It is implausible for John Howard to know this figure at the time of his statements.
The timelines constructed by LA REPPUBLICA and DER SPIEGEL imply that John Howard in Australia had more information than the UK police. Therefore his statements do not make sense in the context of those timelines.
Howard does mention his expectation for the death toll to rise.
Indeed, after excavation of the 26 Russell Square dead, and after the deaths of victims from their injuries in subsequent days (Sam Ly and Lee Harris on July 14 and July 15 respectively according to the BBC), the death toll will eventually rise to 56 including the bombers.
But why did John Howard, on the morning of July 8, have more information than the UK police,?and why does he prophetically choose the figure that is now emblematic of the tragedy of 7/7 ? 52 - the figure that is enshrined in the 7/7 memorial and in most reflections upon that day?
We demand a joint clarification from Der Spiegel, La Repubblica and the Australian government, of John Howard’s prophetic statement, and its incongruous place within the official London Bombings timelines of these two respected European newspapers.