It seems that the first time that a wider, non-social media using section of the public got wind of what had happened at Woolwich was when it was reported by James Heneghan on Iain Dale’s LBC radio show. Heneghan, as we remember, is one of the few witness who appeared in person in court to testify against Adebolajo and Adebowale. It must be noted of Iain Dale that he has been closely connected to the Tory party who formed the British Government at the time of the attack.
Dale put out a tweet at 3:20pm asking for witnesses of the “attack in Greenwich” to call into the show. Then, at 3:37pm he sent out this tweet:
@heneghan1974 Can you call my producer. I’d like to talk to you on my drive time show 0207 766 6460
Heneghan must have responded, although we don’t get to see the tweet, because at 4:02pm Dale tweeted this:
All plans cancelled. Breaking news from Woolwich will dominate today’s programme. Three dead after sword attacks and police gunfire. @lbc973
Then there was this as 4:05pm:
About to speak to James, a twitter follower of mine, who witnessed the incident in Woolwich. Tune into @lbc973 now.
During this interview, Heneghan pretty much set up a narrative that would become repeated over again in the news media, including the information that police took 20 minutes to arrive. Notice that the BBC live update reporting on its website started at 16:09, and began by re-reporting twitter news. The reader might be interested to know that Dale received a Silver Radio Academy Award for his interview with James Heneghan.
Please also notice that although the Mirror live update site started reporting at 3:41pm, there is no official clarification until 4:04pm. It too reports twitter accounts, and quotes the Metropolitan Police stating the time of 2:20pm as one when officers were alerted and sent to scene – which shows that the official story was being disseminated from the very start. At 4:04pm, however, there is a 3rd update which still gives vent to some wild reporting. This sort of thing could be deliberate to stoke public interest – in hindsight people put it down to natural misreporting due to not fully understanding the situation, which is in fact a great cover story:
According to reports shots were heard following an alleged sword attack in the street close to the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich.
It has been reported by an eyewitness that armed police opened fire on two suspects and shot them dead.
Now, Heneghan put the sword rumour to the sword in his interview with LBC, but he does continue the false meme of the death of Adebolajo and Adebowale – and we know when the interview is going on because of the very next update at 4:09pm:
One eyewitness is telling LBC Radio that one of the attackers asked people to take photos of him after the attack.
He says that as soon as the police arrived one of the suspects charged at the police.
He says six shots were fired and both men went down.
The victim was aged in his mid 20s.
Woolwich beheading: Recap live updates on barbaric attack on ‘soldier’ in street; Andy Rudd; 22 May 2013.
So this was the fourth update, and it was 22 minutes after the second one at 3:47 which included the following:
We have very few details so far but there are horrific reports on Twitter that somebody may have been beheaded. We stress at the moment these are unconfirmed reports.
This reminds us that from 3 o clock until 4pm, there was no news except Twitter noise which the corporate media started to pick up on later in the hour. James Heneghan’s was amongst the first, if not the first corporate media interview of an eye witness. He surely introduced the 20 minutes meme. Here is a transcript of the pertinent part of Henegan’s interview.
They dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road and left his body there; they then went back to the car; their standing there all with the knives in their hand waving the gun about – I’m on the phone to police saying you need to get them here where are they? They took 20 minutes to arrive the police the armed response.
There was police at the end of the road. They weren’t coming just because I think, fair enough they had a fire arm, you could see police but there was no police in the vicinity of the attackers.
They were waiting for something, and it turned out that they were waiting for the police to arrive – the armed police – because as soon as the police came flying around the corner, the man with the beanie hat, the tall guy, he charged at the police response vehicle. A shot was fired by the other guy with the gun next thing you know the police jumped out and I think, if I’m not mistaken, there was six shots were fired, both men went down and we now know they are dead as well.
Now, it cannot escape the attention of the reader that Heneghan is developing into a vey important character in this story. First of all, when he arrives on scene, he doesn’t just take it in – he appears to make a big fuss and noise about it. Whether deliberately done or now, we won’t say, but what this did was spread the information on the ground that a man had been attacked – not just run over – but attacked. In this way, people who had not seen the attack, like Graham Wilders, could then become plausible vehicles for the information.
Secondly, we have made a suggestion as to Heneghan’s whereabouts during the incident after his first arrival; this can only be high-speculation. The third aspect is something that can’t be denied; Heneghan serves to disseminate information to a wider audience – and at about 4pm. The timing looks accidental, and without proof of Heneghan and the Iain Dale show conspiring with the authorities to have it occur at that time, that’s all we can say it is. However, 4pm is an hour after the police shootout. Paramedics came on scene straight after and the Twitter traffic started. The Air Ambulance entered the scene at about quarter to twenty minutes past 3 and the scene had truly been locked down. Paramedic crew were still on scene at 4pm – but essentially everything must have been concluded so that the news could be delivered to the world with the least chance of something changing in the scene to upset the narrative. By 4pm, everything was clear for Heneghan to appear on LBC Radio and for the world to start to hear about Woolwich. Notice the first entry in the Guardian’s live update service was as 4:48pm. The first one in a similar service by the Telegraph was at 4:30pm. All the official reporting started after 4pm, and without a doubt, this Heneghan/Dale interview was the conduit by which the news was more widely broadcast. It was one message to establish the narrative. There is no need to necessarily accuse either party of being involved in the conspiracy – they cold both have been manipulated. Once again, the reader must decide for him or herself.
Of course, there is the problem of Heneghan reporting the wrong narrative with regards to the death of the perpetrators (the number of shots reported may be significant – but then again, we should expect people always miscount). Look again at what he said: “both men went down and we now know they are dead as well”. Who told Heneghan this if he were an organic witness? There was no way he could have known this. The two Michaels were alive when the paramedics turned up for any witness to see. This was either from a script Heneghan was following, or something the people who were manipulating told him in order to have him report (deciding which would be more likely to have the message delivered may help the reader decide about Heneghan). The detail in the narrative is surely meant to imply that the two Michaels were planned to die later on. Scripts, the reader must understand, are given ahead of time. In the meantime, the exercise might not go exactly according to plan, and the two Michaels might not have been seen to receive wounds which could explain death as a consequence. We’ll return to this later.