Sounds like Robin Williams from Good Morning Vietnam: "Earlier this week, Great Britain recognized the Island State of Singapore."

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London bombings victims unlawfully killed: inquest

Agence France-Presse May 6, 2011 5:02 AM

LONDON — The 52 victims of the July 7, 2005 London bombings were unlawfully killed, a coroner ruled Friday following exhaustive inquests into the al-Qaida-inspired atrocity.

The verdicts were expected but the families of the victims were listening closely to what the coroner, judge Heather Hallett, has to say about whether the security services could have prevented the attacks and what more the emergency services could have done to improve their response.

The outcome is all the more poignant following the death of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden.

The attacks on three London Underground trains and a bus killed 52 commuters and were perpetrated by four Islamist suicide bombers, two of whom had made video statements spliced with footage of al-Qaida number two Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Hallett was giving her verdicts and recommendations at the Royal Courts of Justice in London following nearly five months of hearings which examined the attacks in detail, shedding new light on the worst terror atrocity on British soil.

Over 73 days in court, some 309 witnesses gave evidence and a further 197 statements were read. The hearings generated 34,000 documents.

In her early remarks, Hallett said that although around a third of the victims were still alive in the minutes after the blasts, each of the 52 innocent victims would have died "whatever time the emergency services reached and rescued them".

She also said the evidence "does not justify the conclusion that any failings of any organization or individual caused or contributed to the deaths".

The coroner said she believed that the hearings had successfully examined highly-sensitive security service material relating to the times when the bombers came across their radar in the years before the attacks.

Hallett began her verdicts by paying tribute to the "quiet dignity" of the bereaved families.

She said the proceedings had gone further than simply recording the fact that 52 innocent members of the travelling public were unlawfully killed in an act of terrorism.

Hallett said the inquests had explored in detail the circumstances of each death and also examined the adequacy of the emergency response.

She said the hearings had studied the bombers' background and the extent to which any of them had previously come to the attention of the authorities.

The inquests had also unearthed material which had never previously seen the light of day, she said.

The inquests had caused organisations to reassess their own systems and acknowledge that despite improvements already made, more may be possible, she said.

The inquests heard in distressing detail about each victim's final moments, pieced together from eyewitness and forensic evidence. Many were not killed instantly, evidence showed.

Chilling footage of the devastation was also shown in public for the first time — slow-moving, silent video from inside the devastated trains, revealing the bloody, scorched wreckage.

Recordings of a flurry of phone calls to the emergency services were played, gradually revealing the destruction.

The inquests also heard of extraordinary acts of heroism from commuters caught up in the blasts, putting their own lives in danger to help keep others alive.

Graphics were used to illustrate the positions of passengers, showing how some close to the bombers survived, while others further away were killed.

New details emerged about the bombers — ringleader Mohammed Siddique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer, Hasib Hussain and Germaine Lindsay. They were all British, the first three being of Pakistani origin.

Khan received a series of calls from phone boxes in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi days before the attacks.

His will showed he apologized to his wife for lying, saying he was doing it to please God, and told his baby daughter that leaving her behind was the hardest part.

The attacks unleashed a wave of unease in Britain about the threat of extremism in Britain linked to Pakistan.

© Copyright (c) AFP

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