by Citizen Spook August 1, 2005
New evidence and questions emerge after multiple eyewitness accounts have surfaced indicating that the July 18th, 2005, Chicago subway bomb scare caused the most chaotic Chicago Transit Authority travel day in the last ten years and was the subject of a media black out.
And, contradictory Police reports have been published in conflicting Chicago Tribune stories while relevant alerts about the bomb scare, posted on the Chicago Transit Authority's official web site, have disappeared.
Also, interviews with Chicago Transit Authority spokespeople and Chicago Police department officials from the Division of News Affairs reveal conflicting accounts of the events of July 18th and the Red line shut down by Police request on July 29th, 2005.
[LATE UPDATE: CITIZEN SPOOK HAS INTERVIEWED OFFICIAL CTA SPOKESPEOPLE AND CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT OFFICERS FROM THE NEWS AFFAIRS DIVISION. THOSE INTERVIEWS WERE GUARDED AND THE RESPONSES COMPLETELY CONTRADICT EACH OTHER. THE INTERVIEWS WILL BE THE SUBJECT OF A FOLLOW UP STORY LATER THIS EVENING. IM STILL WAITING FOR A FEW MORE SOURCES TO ISSUE STATEMENTS BEFORE I GO PUBLIC WITH THE REST OF THIS STORY]
On July 19th, 2005, Tom Heneghan & Stew Webb reported:
"French Intelligence and The U.S. Marshall Service Monday night July 18, 2005 caught eight of Tony Blair's British MI-6 Agents trying to bomb the Chicago Subway system. A shoot out killed 4 British Agents. Four were captured in the act of Terrorism and arrested. The British Agents part of Bush & Blair's Al Quaida network were charged in Federal Court today with explosives. The British MI-6 Terrorist Cell Operated out of Laidlaw Corp in Chicago."
On July 22nd, 2005, Heneghan was interviewed by Lenny Bloom and Sherman Skolnick of Cloak and Dagger Internet Radio http://www.cloakanddagger.de
The story was updated in that interview to reflect that the incident took place in the subway that runs beneath the Dirksen Federal Courthouse where Patrick Fitzgerald, the Treasongate special prosecutor, is conducting his investigation into the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity.
Between July 19th and July 26th, the story was not reported in the main stream media or anywhere else in the blogosphere except that it was reposted in various internet forums and was relentlessly attacked as being false. The premature debunking of this story centered on allegations there were no news reports detailing any interruption in service within the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) on July 18th, 2005, let alone something of the magnitude allleged by Heneghan and Webb.
Having heard the interview with Heneghan, Bloom and Skolnick, I became intrigued by the story. It didn't seem logical that a story of this magnitude, if true, could remain hidden from the main stream media, Chicago citizens and the Blogosphere. So, I looked for official reports of service interruptions or bomb scares that might have occirred on July 18th, 2005. I found two small Chicago Tribune recaps which partially confirmed aspects of Heneghan's account.
And on July 26th, I wrote an article titled, "MI6 Chicago Subway Bombing UPDATE! - partial confirmation" and posted it at http://www.tomflocco.com http://tomflocco.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=829
[Since then I have gone live with my own blog... http://www.citizenspook.blogspot.com ...please see the virgin story from July 28th...TREASONGATE: The Controlling Law - Big Trouble For WH Staff]
NEW EVIDENCE AND QUESTIONS HAVE EMERGED
The July 26th update of the Chicago subway bomb scare story focussed on two small recaps which appeared at The Chicago Tribune web site, one on July 19th, by Kyra Kyles and another on July 22nd by Virginia Groark. The Tribune stories confirm that the Red line of the CTA was shut down at the Roosevelt station due to a bomb scare on July 18th, 2005. The Red line runs in close proximity under the Dirksen Federal Courthouse where Patrick Fitzgerald's Grand Jury investigation is centered.
July 19th Trib story:
July 22nd Trib story:
The Tribune articles state that the Red Line was shut down for about 40-45 minutes and commuters were very confused by the CTA's inability to redirect or inform them. Commuters were given no direction on how to make their way home and the CTA was unable to tell them why the subway was shut down.
THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE STORIES CONFLICT WITH EACH OTHER
There's an unusual discrepancy between the two Tribune stories. Kyra Kiles' story of July 19th stated that the station was shut down because of a "suspicious package" left on the platform. But Virginia Groark's story of July 22nd contradicted this, stating that the station was shut down due to a bomb threat which was "phoned in" to the Police.
So the Tribune accounts, running three days apart in the same newspaper, completely contradict each other. And just yesterday, July 31st, I became aware of an alarming number of eyewitness accounts, reported by angry Chicago commuters to a blog called The CTA Tattler which testify to the unprecedented chaos caused to commuters because of the Red Line shut down. This chaos wasn't addressed sufficiently in the Tribune accounts and was the subject of a comprehensive media blackout.
The confusion between the Kyles and Groark stories is not cleared up or even addressed by Virginia Groark in her story of July 22nd. If Kyra Kyles' story was wrong, and there was no suspicious package left on the platform, why wasn't that issue addressed by Virginia Groark in her later story of July 22nd?
From Kyra Kyles Trib story:
"A report of a suspicious package left on the platform of the CTA Red Line station at Roosevelt Road and State Street caused an underground station evacuation and rerouting of subway service for approximately 40 minutes on Monday, according to Carlos Herrera, Police spokesman...
Members of the police bomb and arson as well as the canine unit reported to the scene and investigated a package near a garbage can, according to Herrera...
The package was determined to be an item left behind by an unidentified passenger, and underground service at the station was restored shortly after 5:30 p.m., Herrera said."
Why didn't they mention what the "item" was that the unidentified passenger left behind?
From Virginia Groark's July 22nd Trib story:
"CTA customers pointed to an incident Monday night when someone called in a bomb threat for the Red Line's Roosevelt stop, prompting Chicago Police to close the station for 45 minutes...
"Monday's incident began shortly before 4:40 p.m. when someone phoned in a bomb threat, police said."
The contradictions are disturbing because the source is the Chicago Police Department. Kyles' and Groark's accounts contradict each other because their source, the Chicago Police Department, has contradicted itself.
In Kyles' story of July 19th, Carlos Herrera of the Chicago Police is on the record claiming there was a "suspicious package" left on the platform which was examined and found to be harmless. But Groark's July 22nd story quotes the Chicago Police as stating that a bomb threat was "phoned in". Groark's story does NOT mention a suspicious package.
There are no contradictions between the time and location of the bomb scare, so the conflicting Chicago Police accounts, as to whether the Red Line was shut down because of a "suspicious package" versus a "phoned in" bomb threat, indicate that Chicago Police might be implicated in a cover up.
This theory is supported by the incredible facts that have emerged (see below) indicating that neither the CTA nor the Chicago Police had any idea what was going on in their subway system on July 18th, 2005. Or in the alternative, they were instructed not to inform the citizens of Chicago what the problem was.
The July 19th expose posted at http://www.stewwebb.com does not include the Chicago Police in their account of the alleged shoot out between British MI6 agents and the US Marshal aided by French intelligence agents. And according to Sherman Skolnick, the official record pertaining to the arrest of four MI6 agents has been sealed by Fitzgerald's Grand Jury.
If the Chicago Police and the CTA were in the dark concerning the events of July 18th, such confusion might have been deliberate by Federal agents ordered to prevent a Diplomatic nightmare scenario while various Governments investigate the facts.
From Virginia Groark's July 22nd story:
"Riders acknowledged it was a difficult time of day but said they were not given information to make intelligent choices about the best way home. Some said CTA employees still didn't know what was going on more than hour after the threat was reported.
Matt Greer, 28, arrived at the Grand stop on the Red Line about 5:05 p.m. and was greeted by two Chicago police officers working there who said the station was closed... 'They were completely uninformed about the whole situation, so that was frustrating," Greer said. "For all I knew, the whole system was down. They wouldn't tell us anything'...
Monday's incident began shortly before 4:40 p.m. when someone phoned in a bomb threat, police said. Police shut down the Roosevelt Station from 4:40 to 5:25 p.m., but no bomb was discovered and no arrests have been made."
Groark's story highlights another contradiction regarding the timeline for the Red Line shut down. The Chicago Police are on record stating the entire shut down lasted just 45 minutes, between 4:40 p.m. when the alleged bomb threat was called in and 5:25 when the Red Line was reopened. But Groark's report also states:
"Some said CTA employees still didn't know what was going on more than an hour after the threat was reported."
That statement is been supported by numerous eyewitness accounts from Chicago commuters posted at a web site that deals specifically with the Chicago Transit Authority, The CTA Tattler. http://kjo84.typepad.com/cta_tattler/2005/07/messy_rush_hour.html#comment-7442204
From the CTA Tattler, July 19, 2005:
'Messy rush hour caused by unattended package What a mess rush hour was last night on CTA rail lines. An unattended package forced evacuation of a Red Line train at Roosevelt at about 4:45 pm. Passengers were herded off the train and then led to the elevated tracks in the Loop, where Red Line trains were sitting above ground taking on delayed passengers..."
The final sentence of the CTA Tattler account is chilling:
"The CTA was its usual reticent self. Though it did post this terse announcement on its Web site."
It's chilling because the so called "terse announcement" has been removed from the CTA's official site and the link provided by the CTA Tattler leads to a dead end.
The official CTA web site archive, which goes all the way back to 1998, does not exhibit information about the July 18th service disruptions and neither does its "customer alert" archive. http://www.transitchicago.com/news/ctaandpress.wu
The Bulletin Board from ( http://www.lifeduringwartime.net) Life During Wartime holds the following commentary:
"In the midst of my commute home yesterday I was stopped from getting on the redline by a cop. Snapping out of my end of the day stupor I noticed that all the train entrances were blocked by cops and a crowd of bewildered commuters was swiftly forming. Most people were asking the cops about directions, other routes, etc. I asked what the deal was. 'Sir, if someone told me I couldn't do something I wouldn't waste my time asking why'. Uh, okay. 'Well, I was just curious as to why...' 'Sir, you know what they say happened to the cat. You might have heard about the bomb-ing? The one in Lon-don?' 'Yeah so was it a bomb threat then or what?' 'Sir, if I knew that the train station was closed I'd be smart enough to just get away from the area'. "Alright. Thanks jackass." Of course I was walking away when I said the jackass part. If theres a threat, shouldn't they just tell people?... When I got home after a ride on the most ridiculously over packed bus I've ever been on I checked the cta site. It said something about the redline being closed for a police activity...Nothing about it on the news last night either." http://www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/lifeduringwartime/vpost?id=545730&trail=20#3posted by joshden
Apparently, the CTA site didn't mention a bomb scare being "phoned in" nor did it mention a "suspicious package" having been left on the platform. It apparently said the Red Line was close for "a police actvivity."
Other incidents the week prior to July 18th were handled in a routine manner by an informed CTA and Chicago Police. Confusion was not the protocol. Pay attention to the following eyewitness accounts (posted at the CTA Tattler site) of Chicago commuters. Reading the statements posted, one gets the impression July 18th was an unprecedented evening of chaos. Commuters report that the CTA and Chicago Police were unable to tell hem what was happening or how to get home.
The following two anecdotes describe a "crime scene" at Roosevelt Station:
"I also entered the CTA "system" after 5PM yesterday and heard an unintelligible announcement being made on the "PA". I asked a CTA employee what had been announced and he informed me that the Red Line trains were running on the elevated tracks instead of in the subway but he didn't know why...When I de-trained (a Frank Kruesi term) at Roosevelt I found State Street had been cordoned off as a 'crime scene' and mucho polizei walking about. Also some News cameras were present - but no body seemed to know what was actually going on..."
http://kjo84.typepad.com/cta_tattler/2005/07/messy_rush_hour.html posted by Ron
It looks like the media was there and chose not to report it, so further verification is necessary.
"...I went to the Grand Red Line station at about 5:05 and noticed Chicago police officers stationed at all four entrances with swarms of angry commuters shouting at them. I asked one of the officers if it was only the Grand stop that was closed or if it was the entire Red Line. He just shouted "I can't tell you what I don't know!" Nothing about the Red Line being rerouted, no CTA employees directing us to alternatives, we were just left hanging there..."
http://kjo84.typepad.com/cta_tattler/2005/07/messy_rush_hour.html posted by Matt
This previous comment tells us that the Grand Station was also surrounded by Police. A scan of the CTA map of the area shows that Grand is six stops from Roosevelt on the Red Line. http://www.transitchicago.com/maps/maps/F2004D.html
So, if there was a "suspicious package" left at the Roosevelt stop, why would they have the Grand station surrounded by Police? And how many other stations were surrounded by police? The broad police activity does not make sense if the incident was caused by a package left behind on the Roosevelt Station platform, a package that turned out to be harmless.
Perhaps it was the public realization of the massive service interruption which caused the authorities to change the official story with the July 22nd Tribune piece. A "phoned in" bomb threat would provide a more logical excuse for shutting the system down in such an expansive manner.
The following two comments contradict the official timeline. The first claims there was no service on the Red Line until 6:35 p.m., a full hour later than the time given by Chicago Police:
"Unaware of what was going on, I arrived at a Loop Red Line stop at 5:40 p.m. last night. There were no CTA personnel or authorities keeping people away from the station. There were no announcements made. Nobody knew what was going on, or that we might want to consider an alternate route home. The first train in the subway arrived at 6:35 p.m... http://kjo84.typepad.com/cta_tattler/2005/07/messy_rush_hour.html posted by Norm
"The CTA said the trains were back to normal by 5:26pm, but at 5:50pm 2 red line trains stopped at clark/lake and I saw another one go around the loop." http://kjo84.typepad.com/cta_tattler/2005/07/messy_rush_hour.html posted by cmama
The confusion is well documented:
"...I watched all 5 9/10 pm news broadcasts and saw nothing, although it seemed CBS-2 did a tease right before 10, but I didn't see the actual story. I can't believe how fast these stories disappear! This is probably the WORST delay I've faced in 10 years of almost-daily CTA travel... I don't know when we stopped just before North, but I checked my watch and it was 6:15. So, we were easily there 20 minutes or more... So we spent about a half-hour stalled less than a block from my stop (North/Sedgwick). I seriously considered asking if the windows opened so I could crawl out... When the train started again, I eagerly leapt up--and the train DIDN'T STOP AT NORTH!... Again, we never got any announcement about 1) what happened with the subway tracks, 2) why everything was so slow, 3) what stops we'd stop at. Of course it didn't stop at Armitage either. So we finally got to Fullerton. And after a 90-min ride that should have been 25 minutes... And then, as if the inept/arrogrant CTA...weren't bad enough, the news media doesn't care enough to report it..." http://kjo84.typepad.com/cta_tattler/2005/07/messy_rush_hour.html posted by Katherine
More about the CTA employees not knowing what was going on:
"Monday I got on a north bound brown line train at Randolph/Wabash at about 5:10pm but didn't get off at Armitage until 6 freaking PM!!! One automated announcement while we sat and simmered on the packed train. When I got off at Armitage (not even my stop but I couldn't stand on that train any longer) and asked the attendant what the delay was, he YELLED at me that he didn't know. Excuse me?..." http://kjo84.typepad.com/cta_tattler/2005/07/messy_rush_hour.html posted by JM
"...Fortunately I didn't have to ride last night, but as I turned onto State Street to get to Union, I saw the lady screaming at the driver and banging on the windows. And the only uniformed type person I saw at all was at the top of the stairs that are in front of Marshall Fields, holding a walkie talkie and telling someone "no I don't know what's going on, all I know is the train isn't running". http://kjo84.typepad.com/cta_tattler/2005/07/messy_rush_hour.html posted by Jenn
"A lot of last night's congestion would have been reduced if people had just been informed what was going on so they could have made alternate arrangements..." http://kjo84.typepad.com/cta_tattler/2005/07/messy_rush_hour.html posted by Christine
The entire system was ground to a halt, not just the Red Line:
"maybe this is a stupid question, but what is the point of rerouting the red line trains if it is going to cause the entire system to screech to a halt? the red line trains don't even fit into the brown line stations! all i know is that it took me at least 45 minutes (not including the time spent waiting on the platform) to get from the loop to Sedgwick on the brown line and when we finally pulled into Sedgwick i was so frustrated/claustraphobic/sweaty that i had to get off the train (like many others) and take a cab the rest of the way home...seems like it would have made much more sense to at least keep the brown and purple lines running normally so that SOME people could get out of the loop. instead, every person travelling north from the loop during rush hour got completely screwed. perhaps shuttle buses would have been a more effective way for red line riders to get where they needed to go? that's just my 2 cents." http://kjo84.typepad.com/cta_tattler/2005/07/messy_rush_hour.html posted by Katie
"i went through the turnstiles at the chicago brown line at 5:05. no passengers seemed to know they'd be facing delays; no CTA staff seemed interested in letting us know. i waited through 4 red line trains (one of which did not open the doors at all--it just stopped and sat for a couple of minutes), 4 purple line trains, and 2 brown line trains before i elbowed my way on to the 3rd brown line train at...6:05. twenty minutes later, we arrived at sedgwick. twenty minutes after our two-minute stop there, we reached armitage. things cleared a bit after that, but it was still slow, crowded, uninformed going after that, until i reached western at 7:05. a friend of mine left the chicago platform at about 5:45 and raced me home via the chicago-->western bus plan. we tied. i kept thinking "if i was on my bike, i would have been home an hour-and-a-damn-half ago." http://kjo84.typepad.com/cta_tattler/2005/07/messy_rush_hour.html posted by Matt
A deficiency in the Chicago Tribune story?
"... there is an article on the Trib site that is so brief it makes this whole thing sound like a minor hiccup ... and I can't find any mention of this on the Sun Times site. Guess they all drive to work." http://kjo84.typepad.com/cta_tattler/2005/07/messy_rush_hour.html posted by ugh
Why are there two conflicting stories being given by the Chicago Police?
Why did the Chicago Tribune report two different stories instead of cancelling the July 19th story and correcting the record with the July 22nd story?
Why was the CTA and the Chicago Police not able to provide commuters with proper information? Could the answer be that Federal authorities had taken jurisdiction?
If the story was clear to the Police, they would have communicated to the CTA and the CTA would have communicated this information to its commuters.
NOBODY KNEW WHAT WAS HAPPENING.
And we still don't know. If the Heneghman and Webb July 19th story is correct, the CTA/Police confusion on July 18th would make sense. Facing a shoot out and chase within the Chicago subway, the Feds would have taken control freezing the Chicago Police out. Many stations would've been shut down as the incident progressed as the bombers tried to carry out the attack,or, in the alternative, attempted escape through the subway carrying, or privy to, powerful explosives. This is still in the realm of conjecture, but enough complications have been documented to merit a more in depth investigation.
The CTA employees were not able to provide clear instructions to the commuters. The Chicago Police at the time of the incident, according to eyewitness reports, were just as in the dark as the commuters on July 18th. And in the aftermath the Chicago Police gave conflicting stories to the Chicago Tribune. Why did the entire CTA become crippled and thrown into chaos? Could it be that the Chicago Police, the CTA and the commuters were purposely kept in the dark by Federal authorities trying to avoid an international diplomatic catastrophy?
Perhaps the most interesting part of this story took place on July 29nd, 2005. The CTA Tattler reported:
"The Chicago Tribune is reporting today that the Red Line subway was shut down at about 12:30 today due to 'police activity.' The CTA Web site reports that the subway was reopened at about 1:40 p.m. The Red Line ran above ground on the Brown Line tracks until then..." http://kjo84.typepad.com/cta_tattler/2005/07/cops_shut_down_.html
The official CTA site has removed the comment once again. http://www.transitchicago.com/news/whatsnewA.wu?action=displaynewspostingdetail&articleid=127227
Eyewtiness reports to the CTA Tattler had this to say:
"I was on the red line today. The power on the train cut off right as we pulled into Fullerton. The operator made an annoucement about police activity and the usual we hope to be moving soon'..." http://kjo84.typepad.com/cta_tattler/2005/07/cops_shut_down_.html posted by eelaris
"I was stuck behind the station where the supposed 'police action' was occuring for about 50 minutes. It had to be at least 110 degrees in there with no airconditioning on probably the most crowded train I've ever been on. Was one of the worst things I've ever had to endure. People were scared out of their minds what with the London bombings and all. CTA really dropped the ball by not giving us more information. We had no idea if it was a bomb, an electrical outage, or some dumbass on the tracks. At about the 45 minute mark, people really started to panic and fights were breaking out about whether to open the doors and walk back to the station (which would have needed group consensus because there was barely enough room for people to walk single file). It was horrible." http://kjo84.typepad.com/cta_tattler/2005/07/cops_shut_down_.html posted by Ad.
What was the mysterious "police activity" the Red Line was shut down for?
DEVELOPING LIKE A RUN AWAY TRAIN....
By Citizen Spook
PLEASE REPOST EVERYWHERE