The exercise at Artillery Place could not have been done unless the traffic into the location could be controlled very sophisticatedly. The situating of traffic lights in a big city are automatically designed to allow the free flow of great amounts of vehicles across geographical stretches that otherwise would be jammed, therefore it would not be rocket science for planners to have found a way to clear roads adjacent to Artillery Place. In fact there is evidence that suggests that the traffic was controlled so as to allow this shootout culmination to the operation to happen at 3pm – in terms of Twitter communications, which are borne out by the video footage.
Firstly, consider how TfL put out a twitter at 2:37pm:
John Wilson St (Greenwich) is closed in both directions due to an incident, Seek alternative route
They then put out a tweet at 3:08pm:
Artillery Place shut both ways btwn John Wilson St & Frances St. Also, John Wilson St shut both ways btwn Woolwich New Rd & Woolwich High St
So what this is telling us is this: happened is that by 2:37pm, measures had already been taken to drain traffic off of John Wilson Street. Police would have had to devise a way to control the traffic from getting on to John Wilson Street because otherwise it would never stop draining, and the operation could not be executed. Notice that the timing of the 2:37pm tweet is after the official time for the police armed intervention – and yet Artillery Place has not been specified. This must be purely to do with the fact that Artillery Place was already controlled. Notice as well from the 3:08pm tweet that the police road closure that we speculated was up much earlier as an essential bottleneck to stop traffic going down Artillery Place is confirmed.
What follows, then, is speculation as to how they closed down the roads so as to restrict traffic onto John Wilson Street. First of all we should notice a few obvious things from the footage. There doesn’t seem to be any traffic coming up Wellington Place in the Sun Footage as the shootout is going on, but lots of traffic had been going up there and turning right onto John Wilson Street in the iconic photo of Adebolajo talking to Loyau-Kennett. Not long at all after the shootout, the junction would be empty. There will be images of people standing in the road watching the helicopter land (more about this in a moment).
Next, when one looks at the Mirror Footage at the end of the shootout, it shows very little traffic moving slowly across the junction at this point. In fact, the traffic coming into this junction from every route looks feebly low; only a couple of buses, a motor cycle, and 4 or 5 cars and trucks navigate the junction in the Mirror footage over about 60 seconds – and then the paramedics arrive. It shows traffic coming from South John Wilson going up North Wilson Street and down Wellington Place, and up Wellington Place to go down John Wilson Street – either way. Noticeably, there is no traffic coming from North John Wilson Street. This is perhaps understandable – with the top of John Wilson closed, the main thrust of the thoroughfare comes from south of Wellington Place, as the diagram shows.
At first the blocks at the top and the bottom of John Wilson Street would have been put in place, and the vehicles made to go on a main detour going along the route marked in red on the map – these are the principle roads, and are a best guess. Diversions up Woolwich New Road might also be possible – as long as the blocks that are about to mentioned are put in quite soon thereafter. Traffic can be stopped from getting on to Wellington Place by putting a block across Wilmount Street after the junction with Grand Depot Road. With that block in place, all the traffic in the northern part of that enclosed area would filter out into John Wilson and onwards. All one would need to do then is block the exit onto John Wilson from Grand Depot Road – including the bit that comes up from Woolwich New Road. This stops traffic getting onto John Wilson Street in the southern sector. The footage seems to tell us that the traffic took longer to filter out from the south. This could just be to do with volume rather than timings of road blocks.
We do need to bear in mind that the planners had to have traffic coming past the picture down Artillery Road and into the junction while the waiting phase was happening – it would be a giveaway if there were none. This means making sure traffic comes through Wellington Place – which suggests that the Grand Depot Road block might have been in place before the Wilmount Road one.
In any case, how the blocking was actually done is anyone’s guess. We do know that by 2:37pm they must have put the road blocks in placed at the top and bottom John Wilson Street – this is why traffic is still normal when we see it in the Shop Footage. By 3pm they had put the other blocks in progressively so as to control traffic through the area. John Wilson Street was drained over a duration, slowly so there could be no suspicion, and so that police and paramedic vehicles could assemble, and the ARV could drive on to the scene unhindered. The tweet at 3pm looks like a response to the influx of government – but in fact, it actually was preparation for the shootout, because the shootout was staged after 3pm.
When official social media releases put news out of actual road closures, then of course at that point police could start closing down wider areas of Woolwich without causing suspicions. However, how the conspirators controlled the roads to execute the initial phases of the hoax is not so straight forward. And the roads around the junction of John Wilson Street with Artillery Place and Wellington Place must have been controlled. In effect, then, they must have been controlled in a way that couldn’t ordinarily have been noticed.
What do we see when we look at the CCTV footage of Lee Rigby walking up Artillery Place. Firstly, there are no other pedestrians. This is very strange in itself, but it doesn’t suggest that the pavements have been controlled. All the conspirators have to do is control the space from where the Tigra is going to mount the pavement and where it ends up. In the CCTV footage after the strike, when the person said to be Gill Hucks looks to get out of the car, a fellow in a green top, and what looks like jeans and a cap (or he has fair hair) is seen running towards her (see Figs. 247-249). It looks for all the world that this character is reacting to the possibility of some interference; it could well be that this character is ensuring that people don’t intervene. If that is true, then it is sure to be the case that this person was stationed here before, out of the view of the camera, to ensure that any pedestrians along artillery place stay out of the ground zero area. As for the identity of this character, it could be a man caught in the background during Adebolajo’s rant (see Fig. 251). The main points against him are his clothes, but it doesn’t help that he is discovered in the same shot as certain other people. Of course, generally there can be no guilt attributed merely by any sort of loose association that comes from standing near people in a crowd, but in this case, as other images attest, there could be something to it. On the other hand, it could be a man who is seen in the Shop Footage right at its commencement (see Fig. 250). He disappears into the shop, and is never seen again. Did he walk out of the other entrance and move down Artillery Place? His jacket is certainly a better match colour-wise.
The next thing we should notice is that there is no traffic going down Artillery Place, or going across John Wilson, before Lee Rigby is struck. The only traffic is coming across from Wellington Place. Remember, road blocks are probably not in place at this stage, so we need to work out how the traffic flow was accomplished. The bigger part of it was cunning use of the traffic lights, but the biggest factor was the fact that the conspirators managed to park a truck the wrong way up Wellington Place not far from the pedestrian crossing and lights. This vehicle is quite plain in the Shop Footage. It is present right from the very start of that film (see Fig. 27), and at some point we can see the back opening so that we know it must be facing oncoming traffic that is approaching the junction with John Wilson Street.
To be more precise, the footage suggests that this truck was parked backwards very possibly within 5, but definitely 15 meters of a stop line at traffic lights – and on double red lines to boot. How could this possibly be the case? And how could the driver, in his capacity of professional delivery operative, make such an odd choice? Well, the answer to the second question must be – he never would. As for the first: there is no way that this truck could reach this position by entering the road against the oncoming traffic. Because of the way the traffic lights are configured, if this truck came from John Wilson Street, then it had to drive through stationary traffic waiting at the lights. If its came from Artillery Place, it had to drive through traffic coming out of Wellington Place.
The only answer to how this truck came to be where it was is due to a small lay-by that accesses to the rear area of the private property on the corner (which seems to be flats) – a turn in or a drive way to grounds attached to the promises (see Fig. 252). This truck must have turned in that space and reversed out of it the wrong way up the road in a convenient moment; and it must have been set there deliberately in order to cause a blockage in the system so as to cause a bottleneck.
The cover for this truck is obviously that it is delivering to a nearby residence. We can say this because there are men in yellow fluorescent jackets opening the back of the truck and seemingly moving an object off of it. This is visible after the Tigra has struck Rigby. They then close the door, and they seem to walk south down John Wilson Street. However, there is a huge problem with this cover story. There is nowhere to deliver to south down John Wilson Street (see Fig. 258). Besides which, if these people were really delivery personnel, and delivering to the premises on the corner – which is the nearest building – then why not park in the lay-by abovementioned? Of course, a delivery truck parked the wrong way up a street, at traffic lights, is so odd that there had to be a restriction on the risk of it being noticed – in other words, it needed to be disposed of as soon as possible after it had outlived its use. Exactly when this happened is not known. In one image of the Air Ambulance located in the junction at about quarter past three reveal that the truck had been made to disappear by that time. Before that it was nowhere to be seen in the iconic Kennett/Adebowale image.
Now let us look at how this blockage helped control the traffic. The planners of this operation needed to make sure they controlled traffic going down Artillery Place, and coming up it. When the lights turned red on John Wilson Street, which is the state they were in when Rigby was struck, this would stop two thirds of all the traffic coming up Artillery Place. The last third would be squeezed through a bottleneck so that the planners could ensure that their car, the Tigra, was at the head of a queue of a single file of traffic going into Artillery Place. It didn’t matter if this car approached this bottleneck behind other cars – it could slow down, as it indeed did, to make a space for the Rigby character to step into. We’ll look at how he could make sure he was able to step into space at the same time momentarily. Traffic coming down the street had to be blocked some point further up the road, and Rectory Place had to be blocked as well – and as we have discovered, this was pretty certainly the case later on, but at this stage it was managed so that it would look organic. This had to be the case because no traffic comes from these places for 24 seconds, as far as we can tell from the shop CCTV footage. In the days after 22 May 2013, many individuals and news corporations went to this road to do on the spot TV pieces – these pieces reveal the nature of the traffic as would normally be expected to see. Artillery Place is extremely busy, and there is very little chance that at 2:20pm, no traffic would travel down it into a major junction for 24 seconds. This blockage must have been temporary and apparently accidental so not to cause suspicion or attract too much attention. Don’t forget, the people pulling this operation off would be used to executing their actions in synchronicity. If any of the traffic that went through after Rigby was hit belonged to an actor, the conspirators would have had that parked up the road to join natural traffic that it was drip feeding through.
And so, the plan could have been made quite simply, and executed, so that this stretch of road was empty in a way that was deliberate, but which also looked organic. It also meant that Lee Rigby could cross Artillery Place where he pleased. He wasn’t restricted to using the crossing; he could continue to walk up Artillery Place on the sidewalk until he could see the hit car appear at the bottleneck, then he could step out into the road, and he could modify his gait, which he did, to make sure he was on the wrong side of the road so that the Tigra would end up in the target zone which was already being guarded by operatives off camera.