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Are Liquid Explosives on a Plane Feasible? 875

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the shaken-not-stirred dept.
permaculture writes "The Register describes the difficulty of mixing up a batch of liquid explosives on a plane. Further, it opines that such a plot might work in a Hollywood film, but not in the real world. Liquid explosives were used for the 7/7 London bombings in 2005, according to the official account — or not, as now seems more likely." This story selected and edited by LinuxWorld editor for the day Saied Pinto.
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Are Liquid Explosives on a Plane Feasible?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:12PM (#15929492)
    so? go ahead and carry some through an airport. you won't get past the potholes in the highway on the way there in the taxi
  • by noretsa (995866) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:13PM (#15929504)
    Does anyone else think that these terrorists' true purpose is not to kill the passengers on a few planes but to inconvenience travellers for years to come? Blowing up a plane is a one-time deal but scaring people into not taking drinks onto planes, making people take off their shoes before boarding, checking their ipods in with their luggage, these annoyances are going to be with us for decades to come! Why terrorize when irritating is so much easier?
  • False Post (Score:1, Insightful)

    by toupsie (88295) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:18PM (#15929556) Homepage
    Read [amazon.com] the book on nutcase theories regarding 9/11. No matter how many times you watch Loose Change, it doesn't make it factual. Even Oliver Stone couldn't make a conspiracy theory movie out of 9/11. Yes Virginia, terrorism is real. There are Islamic Fascists in the world that want you dead, no you cannot appease them and George Bush did not create them.
  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:18PM (#15929560) Homepage Journal
    The UK Terror plot: what's really going on?
    http://www.craigmurray.co.uk/archives/2006/08/the_ uk_terror_p.html [craigmurray.co.uk]

    I have been reading very carefully through all the Sunday newspapers to try and analyse the truth from all the scores of pages claiming to detail the so-called bomb plot. Unlike the great herd of so-called security experts doing the media analysis, I have the advantage of having had the very highest security clearances myself, having done a huge amount of professional intelligence analysis, and having been inside the spin machine.

    So this, I believe, is the true story.

    None of the alleged terrorists had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not even have passports, which given the efficiency of the UK Passport Agency would mean they couldn't be a plane bomber for quite some time.

    In the absence of bombs and airline tickets, and in many cases passports, it could be pretty difficult to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt that individuals intended to go through with suicide bombings, whatever rash stuff they may have bragged in internet chat rooms.

    What is more, many of those arrested had been under surveillance for over a year - like thousands of other British Muslims. And not just Muslims. Like me. Nothing from that surveillance had indicated the need for early arrests.

    Then an interrogation in Pakistan revealed the details of this amazing plot to blow up multiple planes - which, rather extraordinarily, had not turned up in a year of surveillance. Of course, the interrogators of the Pakistani dictator have their ways of making people sing like canaries. As I witnessed in Uzbekistan, you can get the most extraordinary information this way. Trouble is it always tends to give the interrogators all they might want, and more, in a desperate effort to stop or avert torture. What it doesn't give is the truth.

    The gentleman being "interrogated" had fled the UK after being wanted for questioning over the murder of his uncle some years ago. That might be felt to cast some doubt on his reliability. It might also be felt that factors other than political ones might be at play within these relationships. Much is also being made of large transfers of money outside the formal economy. Not in fact too unusual in the British Muslim community, but if this activity is criminal, there are many possibilities that have nothing to do with terrorism.

    We then have the extraordinary question of Bush and Blair discussing the possible arrests over the weekend. Why? I think the answer to that is plain. Both in desperate domestic political trouble, they longed for "Another 9/11". The intelligence from Pakistan, however dodgy, gave them a new 9/11 they could sell to the media. The media has bought, wholesale, all the rubbish they have been shovelled.

    We then have the appalling political propaganda of John Reid, Home Secretary, making a speech warning us all of the dreadful evil threatening us and complaining that "Some people don't get" the need to abandon all our traditional liberties. He then went on, according to his own propaganda machine, to stay up all night and minutely direct the arrests. There could be no clearer evidence that our Police are now just a political tool. Like all the best nasty regimes, the knock on the door came in the middle of the night, at 2.30am. Those arrested included a mother with a six week old baby.

    For those who don't know, it is worth introducing Reid. A hardened Stalinist with a long term reputation for personal violence, at Stirling Univeristy he was the Communist Party's "Enforcer", (in days when the Communist Party ran Stirling University Students' Union, which it should not be forgotten was a business with a very substantial cash turnover). Reid was sent to beat up those who deviated from the Party line.

    We will now never know if any of those arrested would have gone on to make a bomb or buy a plane t
  • by kfg (145172) * on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:19PM (#15929563)
    Blowing up a plane is a one-time deal but scaring people. . .

    . . .is why, I believe, they call it "terrorism."

    KFG
  • In a word? No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guysmiley777 (880063) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:22PM (#15929607)
    Firstly, the 7/7 bombs were reported to be TATP. This compound is made with acetone, hydrogen peroxide and drain cleaner. The ingredients are liquid, yes, but the end product is a powder. Creating TATP requires access to a cooler or ice water bath, it is not something you can whip up in a bathroom.

    The hysteria this has caused is mind boggling. There are an infinite number of ways terrorists could attack random innocent civilians. It is not, repeat not, possible to protect everyone from everything. Banning iPods and water bottles is not making anyone safer. It is an attempt to appear that something is "being done". It's a pacifier for the masses.
  • Okay... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:24PM (#15929623)
    They talk about how far-fetched and difficult it might be to pull off.

    But couldn't we have made all these drawn out "first they'd have to learn how to fly commercial jetliners, not necessarily knowing which types they'd eventually board, then they'd have to successfully get to the cockpit without being incapacitated, and THEN they'd have to make the pilots think they were hijacking the plane, then kill them, and if all that weren't enough, then they'd have to actually divert the planes successfully to their targets as inexperienced pilots, AND hit them once there"-type things about 9/11, too?

    Who would have believed that before it happened? Who wouldn't have said that someone had been "watching a few too many Hollywood movies"?

    These were determined people who had been planning for months, if not years (depending on which reports and which of the people you're talking about). Only one person really had to succeed. And even if the actual loss of life on one plane would be negligible, the economic and other impacts would again be immeasurable - that's the point, theirs and ours.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:25PM (#15929649)
    Does it matter if the plot would have worked? This plot is actually much more effective as a failure; everyone assumes it would have worked, and British people can never again bring liquids! on a plane. Probably about as much terror gets inspired by having Blair and the White House give serious and hystrionic speeches about what these plane bombers could have done if allowed to go forward as if the plane bombers had actually gone forward, and making the lives of anyone who flies on an airplane just that bit much more miserable in the years to come under newer and stringent regulations is something that lasts whether you "succeeded" or not.
  • by LS (57954) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:26PM (#15929657) Homepage
    There are so many problems with this. Why weren't liquids blocked before? I'm sure in the billions they spent investigating possible methods for bombing a plane that liquid explosives were considered. Authorities aren't gonna make people get on planes naked, so they have to let people take stuff on. They are only blocking liquids now because they have to show the public that they are doing something. There are still dozens of other ways to easily get dangerious stuff onto planes, but they don't block those now, do they? easy examples: Sharp pencils and pens, materials in laptops and other electronics that show up as normal shapes on the xray but could easily be reconfigured into weapons, etc.

    In any event I just took a flight from China to Los Angeles and they claimed you couldn't bring liquids aboard, but no one was checking. It's all just noise to make people feel like they are being protected.
  • by russ1337 (938915) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:27PM (#15929662)
    All I have to say is... you hit the nail on the head. The Govt sold it, the media bought it and are now feeding it to us through a rectal tube.
    There are so many obvious miss-truths and missleading statements in the media, it makes me sick.
    Good article. You should be writing for the Times.
  • by eipgam (945201) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:36PM (#15929754)
    Given a couple of people (one a young boy escaped from a care home) have managed to board planes at major UK airports, without boarding passes or passports, in the last couple of days I'd say passport possession has nothing to do with one's ability to blow up a plane.

    That said, I agree with a lot of the rest of your post. Particularly the comments about John Reid's speech.
  • by brobak (683932) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:39PM (#15929786)
    You know, I've read several articles now talking about the potential difficulties in mixing a binary explosive on a plane. And you know, I'll buy that. But, for my dollar, and ease of use, why not just carry on some bleach and ammonia? When mixed they do some pretty nasty stuff [bbc.co.uk]. And there's no concern about explosion beforehand, and no strange requirements for mixing them properly. Plus, once you mix them, you can't stop the reaction. The end result is the same. Everyone on the plane dies, and it falls out of the sky. That was the whole point, right?
  • *Terrorists*, huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Silent sound (960334) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:46PM (#15929857)
    What I see there is a Pakistani woman caught with a water bottle full of "possibly explosive [reuters.com]" material. They don't know what the material was yet.

    This certainly could be "a terrorist caught with explosives", the conclusion you jump to; given that it was a real possibility, evacuating the airport and investigating further as they have done was of course the appropriate course of action for the time being.

    But it also seems possible this is a false alarm, similar to this morning when a bomb sniffing dog [nwsource.com] detected a suspicious container that turned out to be full of completely ordinary rags, or the day before when an "unruly passenger" was widely reported to have "Vaseline, a screw driver, matches and a note referencing al-Qaeda [news24.com]" and then it turned out she had nothing of the kind [tvnz.co.nz] and was just having some kind of nervous breakdown and peeing in the plane aisles (?), or a couple days before that when three men of Arabic descent were arrested with a bunch of cell phones on suspicion they were going to blow up a bridge [record-eagle.com] but then turned out only to be buying cell phones to resell in Dallas at a profit.

    Again, it could be that this woman arrested in West Virginia was part of a real terrorist plot, and it could be that some unhinged lady was inspired by recent media reports about plane bombs to pour lighter fluid in a couple of water bottles and attempt to board a plane. Perhaps there really was a legitimate threat to passenger safety there. I shall be watching the news on this one with interest to find out exactly what happened.

    But until we do find out exactly what happened, it seems awfully odd in this case to say "reality has intervened" when in fact what you mean is "partly speculative media reports have intervened".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:50PM (#15929886)
    Contact-lense solution is of course also no longer allowed on a plane. Somebody has been watching MacGyver too much, methinks.

    And there is a good reason [wikipedia.org] for that that has *nothing* to do with MacGyver. Ramzi Yousef hid a bottle of nitroglycerin inside a contact lens solution bottle under a seat--of which he assembled the bomb in the lavatory. 4 hours later the bomb detonated and killed a Japanese businessman. This was a test flight for Oplan Bojinka [wikipedia.org].
  • by WoodstockJeff (568111) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:50PM (#15929895) Homepage

    The summary: improvised explosives involve pretty nasty stuff that you'd be hard pressed to mix in an airplane lavatory without killing yourself in the process.

    And, to a suicide bomber, this is a downside how? What might kill you would also likely kill others aboard the plane, so it would serve its purpose... terrorizing and killing people. Might not be as spectacular as killing 10 planes worth of people, but even 50 people spread out over those 10 planes would have put a kink in air commerce for a while.

    Personally, I've not found the urge to keep my pilot's license up-to-date since 2001, because I don't want to feel like a criminal for doing something I enjoy... And any effort to get in the air today puts you smack in the middle of the "prove to us you're still not a criminal today" attitude of the public in general, not just the government. It came to a head last year when I got an advertisement for a safety publication that spent the first page and a half explaining how it could help me avoid losing my license or being shot down for breaking all the different placebo rules on flying, rather than "real" safety issues, related to preventing accidents.

    The attitude is no longer correct. Time to bail out.

  • by m874t232 (973431) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:51PM (#15929897)
    Geez, stop evaluating news source by credibility and start using your own head! That guy makes sense, while claims that terrorists could brew up unstable explosives in an airplane bathroom do not.
  • by INeededALogin (771371) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:01PM (#15929999) Journal
    Its not like Mod Points are hard to get. Give the guy a break. I enjoyed reading the article, Slashdot truncates it to the Read More length and I didn't have to load up some external webpage to view it. Now... if he does this for every post... and it becomes a trend on Slashdot... then yes it is a problem.

    And... I guess you just commented on it for Mod points without providing any thing intuitive except a name from the link that he supplied at the top of his post. Pot calling the Kettle Black?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:04PM (#15930028)
    There is really no need for a would be terrorist to mix their own explosive compount mid-flight. Solid explosives (dynamite, tnt, c4, rdx, tatp, ...) are easier to transport and are generally more stable than liquid ones. Niether solid nor liquid explosives can be detected by the metal detectors that are currently used for airport security. Any explosive compound that can be detonated with a non-metalic primary charge (blasting cap) would be easy enough to smuggle onto a plane taped to a passengers body (under their clothes). Such a device is easy enough to procure and would be quite effective at taking a plane out of the sky. Any terrorist who plans to set up a chemistry lab onboard an aircraft is a hack.
  • by Guysmiley777 (880063) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:05PM (#15930040)
    This just in: Racial profiling to obtain a 3% success rate "good enough for me... as long as I don't fit that profile."

    I realise we are talking about a religion, but racial/ethnic/religious profile takes too long. And how much ill will do you think is being created by this kind of behavior?
  • by nathan s (719490) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:05PM (#15930043) Homepage
    Everyone keeps saying this stuff about "passengers won't comply" in the aftermath of 9/11.

    I call BS. Nobody knows whether or not passengers will comply, because these are very volatile, fear-laden situations and if a couple of bodies are lying in front of you to illustrate the resolve of the attackers, you are gonna be scared to death of trying anything yourself. I'm not saying it's impossible, but until there is another hijacking attempt and we find out that the passengers rush the hijackers, we cannot categorically say that this will happen. I think it's a fantasy to pretend otherwise.
  • Redox rules (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Java Ape (528857) <.mike.briggs. .at. .360.net.> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:11PM (#15930116) Homepage
    First, although I work as a geek (and have for years) I have an M.S. in chemistry, and a long-standing facination with explosives. I'm not an expert on the topic, but I've got more background than the average Joge. I'd like to underscore the text of the article, in that binary explosives are not as simple and elegant as Hollywood makes them out to be. Most of the ones that might be interesting are (like many explosives) extremely nitrogen rich. Good for storing energy, but most sniffers are looking for Nitrogen-rich compounds. You may as well try to get a block of Permatex aboard.

    Another reader pointed out that, while the explosive scenario is problematic, incindiary devices are easy. A soup-can full of Potassium Permanganate and a rougly equal volume of Glycerine will make a heck of a blaze -- or a really nice igniter for a thermite bomb. I suspect all of these materials could be smuggled aboard (though I'm not about to try).

    Another potential venue is nerve agents. Without going into any real detail, hydrofluoric acid is the foundation for several nasty nerve agents, some of which COULD be whipped up in the lav in just a few minutes. Probably not enough to kill the whole plane, and I'm assuming the pilots have a seperate air supply, but killing half the passengers on a loaded airliner might be good enough to interest a terrorist.

    Then there's biological agents. Some years ago I worked with cyanotoxins, primarily anatoxin. Nasty stuff, and available at any nice warm, eutrophic lake in the U.S. I was playing around with extracting the toxin, and ended up with a protocol that used DMSO as a solvent to help seperate the toxin from cellular membranes. This stuff used to scare me to death -- a nice liquid that, if splashed on your skin (or clothing) would cause death in a matter of minutes. Imagine a squirt-gun or a water-balloon filled with this on a plane.

    For the record, I'm far more frightened of the current Government that I am of terrorists, and I'd rather just take my chances that submit to the "protections" that are being provided. However, it doesn't take a lot of effort to come up with some plausible scenarious where a lunch-box might conceal some fairly deadly things.

  • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:18PM (#15930180)
    How does it benefit Bush or Blair to create a situation where people who are opposed to their policies, for whatever reason, are going to cry conspiracy?

    Because the policies grant them more power. Are protestors throwing molotov cocktails at the white house? No? Then the government can afford to let them cry conspiracy -- there's no real opposition yet.

    Do you really think a man like Bush has the intellect to decieve an entire nation?

    Fear is what deceives. All Bush has to do is control the fear and he controls the nation.
  • by RegularFry (137639) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:20PM (#15930198)
    'Cos nobody else has pointed it out yet, Craig Murray is more valid because he used (until relatively recently) to be the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, has held top secret clearance, and has seen first hand how the government PR machine works. He makes the point in the comments on his blog post that if he'd still been in the post when the arrests happened, he'd have seen the files on at least one of the detainees, because the detainee is an Uzbek.
    If memory serves, he stood down over the principle of Western intelligence agencies relying on evidence provided by the Uzbek secret police from torture victims. Or he might have been pushed. Can't quite recall the details right now.
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:20PM (#15930202) Homepage Journal
    "Except Nitro Glycerine would most likely detonate the second you had any turbulence, or even upon takeoff, given how unstable it is."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Airlines_F light_434 [wikipedia.org]
    How about this for logic. If it has been done then it is is possible.
    Yes Virgina somebody manged to smuggle nitroglycerin on to an airliner and use it as a bomb.
    Nitro is nasty stuff but you all have been watching too many old movies. They used to ship the stuff in wagons over dirt roads. It did blow up every now and then but it isn't impossible to transport.
  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:21PM (#15930213) Homepage Journal
    Yes.

    Let's also make a special line for Jews.

    Catholics? You're next.
  • by Goaway (82658) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:23PM (#15930241) Homepage
    It's an unpleasant topic...

    Yes, it is. Because it once again brings into focus how the internet tends to fuel the psychoses of paranoid schizophrenics worldwide. These people need help, but instead the internet just helps them descend further into madness. It's 9/11, it's chemtrails, it's Morgellons, and above all it's depressing to watch.
  • Re:False Flag. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TrappedByMyself (861094) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:26PM (#15930266)
    but you make the point for low taxes and very little government involvement in any part of our lives

    What a great idea. The world wide web (created by a multi-government funded organization) and the internet (created by a government funded organization) are seriously useless to society. Global communication is overrated. That includes the global telecommunication network (more munti-government funding in its lifetime, such as Morse's 30k government grant for the US telegraph network).

    Heck, since we canned that, let's look at those eyesore highways, more government clutter. Who needs to travel anyway?

    With the breakdown in travel and communication, there is no need for government anymore, so we can just live in communes and grow our own organic veggies powered by happy sunshine and vegetarian hippie poop.
    peace
  • Re:In a word? No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iphayd (170761) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:29PM (#15930301) Homepage Journal
    It is _not_ a pacifier. It _is_ something to cause hysteria. It is _not_ something done by arabs. It _is_ something done by our governments.

    As Jon Steward said the other night, "You are more likely to die in your bathtub than in a terrorist attack."

    You are more likely to die in a car crash than in a terrorist attack.
    You are more likely to die in the bathtub, due to a car crash, than in a terrorist attack.

    Basically, it is time to start contacting the media in droves and tell them that we are sick of their reporting of government misinformation, we are willing to take the chance of another 9/11, and that they should report on the crimes against the nation and humanity being perpetrated by the people in power.

    Now I'm off on an unscheduled vacation to Gitmo. See you again after the trial (never.)
  • by Benjamin Shniper (24107) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:32PM (#15930327) Homepage
    Actually, their goal is world domination under their hardline view of Islam.

    Like many other totalitarians, they think little of inconveniencing or killing human life, as long as their goals are getting met. Terror is a tool. Inconvenience just another tool.

    And destroying the US and Israel is their initial goal, to be followed shortly by world domination. They target the US and Israel because, in theory, we oppose their horrifying goals and have the balls to stop them. Of course, if we give in and put on our burqas and shut up and praise Allah, they might just settle for forcing us to convert.

    -Ben
  • Re:False Post (Score:3, Insightful)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:37PM (#15930359)
    no you cannot appease them

    However, we can stop toppling their sovereign leaders, establishing military presence without consent of the people, and sending their citizens to foreign prisons without trial.

    If any of the above happened in the US because the government allowed it, would you stand for it?
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:45PM (#15930416)

    Sharia law, USAPATRIOT Act... same difference!

  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:48PM (#15930434)
    Who said anything about brewing the explosive onboard?

    I suggest everyone reading this thread go and read the story about Philippine Airlines Flight 434, onboard which a liquid bomb was smuggled as parts, assembled in the aircraft toilet and hidden under a seat in the lifejacket container, with a Casio watch timer mechanism. On the next flight, when it had been missed during the routine cleanup, it exploded killing the seats occupant and only narrowly avoiding a pressure vessel breach of the aircraft itself.

    The bomber was Ramzi Yousef, a noted AQ mastermind, the explosive was a liquid nitroglycerin and the bombing was a trial run with a 1/10th power explosive. The target was 11 international flights over the Pacific on one day in 1995.

    Now sit there and say that this plot can be dismissed because of a lack of credability.
  • by owlnation (858981) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:51PM (#15930466)
    Does anyone else think that these terrorists' true purpose is not to kill the passengers on a few planes but to inconvenience travellers for years to come? Blowing up a plane is a one-time deal but scaring people into not taking drinks onto planes, making people take off their shoes before boarding, checking their ipods in with their luggage, these annoyances are going to be with us for decades to come! Why terrorize when irritating is so much easier?
    I don't want to go all tin-foilly-hatty here. But this latest alert has a distinct aroma of rat. I really don't believe there's much truth in the liquid explosives hyperbole. I suspect official lying or exaggeration for whatever purpose - probably even wider ranging power. Or it could be that the UK and US administrations are populated by hysterical morons... (and I'm not ruling that out of course)

    As regards air travel... GAME OVER! The terrorists have won. Going by plane in europe - which was never a joy to start with - is now so truly awful that it feels it'd be less painful and quicker to walk to your destination instead. At least you could listen to your iPod as you go. Airport authorities have had 5 years to come up with better security systems and ways of handling passengers. Are you, is anyone, impressed with their progress?

    I simply don't understand why terrorists should be so fixated with aircraft. There's a thousand ways to cause mayhem and destruction - the IRA did so for 30 years or more in the UK without touching an airplane. Getting around the airport security is difficult, destroying part of a busy highway is really easy and the resultant chaos would last for months if not years.

    Either the terrorists are really dumb, they have some sort of air fetish they need to see someone professional about, or there's a different truth out there somewhere.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:53PM (#15930485) Homepage

    I rest easier on an airplane knowing that we're soundly protected from the most bizarre Hollywood movie plot type attacks, desperately trying not think about all the simple, easy practical things the idiots running things have overlooked.

    The real terrorists have got to be laughing their asses off at the way we snarl air traffic, tie up millions of dollars in police resources, botch up air travel and twist ourselves in nervous knots over nothing. I'll bet they're more than a little amused at the video of people throwing toothpaste and hair gel into dumpsters.

    If the terrorist plan is to make us live in fear, scared of our shadow and squander our national treasure on security that doesn't work while we go into staggering national debt spending 5 billion a month in a no-win war half-way around the world, then I'd ask which political party is really helping the terrorists?

    A small group of people could cause mass panic and a surprising amount of damage armed with nothing more dangerous than a little training and a cigarette lighter or box of kitchen matches. We are so easily spooked, then our over-reaction and fear takes the little bit of damage the terrorists actually do and magnifies it to absurd proportions. Remember the panic and fear on the east coast when the sniper and his kid were on the loose? There were road blocks, random searches, helicopters, overtime for police...one guy with a rifle. Un-fucking-real.

  • by John Carmack (101025) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:54PM (#15930493)
    As a follow up, some people aren't realizing that it isn't necessary to actually have a chemical reaction and form an organic peroxide molecule to make an explosive. A solution of oxidizer and fuel can easily be a shock sensitive explosive. This requires higher concentration peroxide than is available off the shelf, but concentrating a modest amount is not very challenging.

    The feasibility of this really isn't open for debate. There is no doubt that you can reliably mix two liquids and produce a high explosive that can be detonated with a sharp impact.

    A quest for perfect safety from all conceivable threats is, of course, ridiculous, but I'm sure there will be many more added security measures thrown in as a result of this, to little real benefit and much general annoyance. Personally, I would have been completely comfortable flying immediately after 9/11 with absolutely no additional security measures. Statistics and probability leave me with no fear of terrorism.

    John Carmack
  • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <`ten.suomafni' `ta' `smt'> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:05PM (#15930590) Homepage
    No, scary stuff is asking yourself what is the percentage of recent attackers (you know, people who have actually killed trainloads of people) in Europe were Muslims?

    Depends on how conveniently you define "recent". There have been both Catholic and Protestant acts of terrorism in Ireland; there's the Basques, mostly Roman Catholics [wikipedia.org], in Spain. I couldn't find any information about the religious links of Greece's "November 17" terrorists or ELA.

  • by Vellmont (569020) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:05PM (#15930592)

    And, to a suicide bomber, this is a downside how?

    Dying from the noxious fumes in a small bathroom before you can make enough explosives to blow up the plane isn't really meeting the goals of most suicide bombers. I suggest you read the actual articles before posting from now on.
  • by tweek (18111) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:07PM (#15930604) Homepage Journal
    but why even bother blowing up the plane? The security lines at airports are going to be incredibly dense and an airport has plane-loads of people in it. A coordinated simultaneous detenation of something inside the airport would work just as well.

    When was the last time you went through a security checkpoint to get IN the airport?
  • by Rayonic (462789) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:18PM (#15930711) Homepage Journal
    Terrorism exists because people are desperate because of the situation they are in

    Weren't most of these terrorists British-born and thus pretty well off? Actually, none of the 9/11 hijackers were poor either. Heck, Osama bin Laden himself is a millionaire.
  • by osgeek (239988) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:20PM (#15930729) Homepage Journal
    I watched some of the vides and I read a bunch of that myspace page. It set off my "religion detectors" at every turn. Arguments, like:

    You can see that the majority of the damage was done to one of the corners of the building and that most of the fuel did indeed explode outside. The impact of this plane could not possibly have damaged the entirety of the south towers core
    ... are complete bullshit. From photos like that, you can't see what happened at the core of the building. You obviously can't begin to imagine the force caused by such a large fuel-filled object hitting the building at a high speed. What in the hell does this person know about "could not possibly"? Obviously, not much. The myspace page is filled with unscientifically-worded rhetoric like the above. It's normally the kind of rhetoric you read on "intelligent design" sites... "living organisms could not possibly have been created through electrical and chemical processes"... yeah, whatever.

    A few verbal slips and some video that you don't understand as a lay person do not a huge conspiracy make. Occam's Razor should be applied, as usual.
  • by Jeremi (14640) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @07:14PM (#15931070) Homepage
    As for how much "ill will" this is causing, I'd say not much.


    And you would be wrong.


    Most of those being "harrased" in this manner have no love for western society in the first place. How much harm can you really create by harrasing people who would be quite happy to make your nation part of a Global Caliphate?


    To paraphrase Douglas Adams, there is a huge difference between disliking something and being willing to turn to violence against it; and it is that difference that keeps the vast majority of the population from day to day. If your actions change someone from "dislikes the west, but is peaceful and law-abiding" to "hates the west and will attack when given the opportunity", then congratulation, you've just created a terrorist. I'd call that harmful.

  • by radtea (464814) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @07:14PM (#15931075)
    If you actually read TFA you'll see the low-powered bomb was as intended as a test, and he planned to use bombs 10x as powerful as that for a major terrorist attack on 11 airliners over the Pacific ocean. Sound familiar?

    Yes, it sounds like another failed plot, broken up in 1995 by ordinary police work without the aid of warrentless wiretapping, extreme rendition, torture, or invasion of sovereign nations.

    The odd thing is that in 1995 ordinary good police work broke up a serious plot to bomb planes and no one ran hysterically in circles screaming the world was going to end if we didn't all go thirsty on our next international flight. Whereas in 2006, acting on "information" that was tortured out of a suspect in Pakistan [craigmurray.co.uk] a purported plot that violates empirically known facts of chemical synthesis was broken up, and much hysteria ensued.

    So while the plot looks vaguely familiar--there is a family resemblence, Witgenstein might say--the reaction looks totally unfamiliar. It's almost as if the organs of the state want us to be afraid, even though there is so much less to be afrid of.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @07:58PM (#15931310)
    "the woman is of Pakistani origin"

    There you go right there - proof that she was a terrorist. Of course, if she was an pale anglo-saxon American, they would never have thought to do the swab test swab. Remember when the U.S. soldiers finally found drums of what appeared to be chemical weapons in Iraq in the early months after the invasion? Preliminary tests, and secondary tests, identified the drums as containing powerful neuro-toxins, but in the final analyses, they were just DDT. I really feel sorry for these poor people that get racially profiled. Most likely, this will turn out to be a false alarm, but not until after they have thoroughly terrified the yound women in question.
  • by LanceUppercut (766964) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @08:01PM (#15931333)
    How is that relevant? The Wikipedia article clearly states that he used liquid nitroglycerin. Nitroglycerin will be easily detected by regular modern airport explosives-detection means, which puts nitroglycerin out of consideration. The whole point of The Register article, if you read it carefully, is to research the possibilty to create explosives from apparently _innocent_ liquids.
  • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:20PM (#15931745)
    You do realize that his job...

    Stop right there. (insert godwin spoiler)

    We've already decided this issue at the Nuremburg trials. "Just doing your job" or "just following orders" is absolutely never an excuse for one's actions. Even the Roman Praetorian routinely executed their emperors when the line had been crossed.

    When I first saw the Matrix, I was absolutely floored by the following quote:

    Morpheus: The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around. What do you see? Business people, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system, and that makes them our enemy.
  • by pi_rules (123171) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @10:50PM (#15932082)
    Do you really think a man like Bush has the intellect to decieve an entire nation?

    In a land where American Idol is a success and NASCAR is the most popular sport?

    Ayup!

    Hell, I listen to classical music, read plenty, follow political news like a heroin junkie, discuss politics daily, and watch a half an our of television a month. Even I voted for the guy the last time around.

    I've made better decisions than that under the influence of illegal substances.
  • by ELProphet (909179) <davidsouther@gmail.com> on Friday August 18, 2006 @03:04AM (#15932791) Homepage
    Hell yeah! Just got out of the theater for our special 10:00 Thursday showing, and I must say the crowd was the best movie crowd I've ever seen. Cheering when snakes attack, cringing when other snakes attack, quoting lines from a film that *NO ONE* had seen "I'm tired of these mutherfucking snakes on my mutherfucking plane!".

    I do believe that New Line cinema may have unintentionally hit upon a new type of film making, but much more and I'll be modded off topic. So, on to the next thread about films!
  • by prof_vestanpance (629108) on Friday August 18, 2006 @07:06AM (#15933411)
    You also need to explain the collapse of WTC7. No planes, minor debris (it was some distance away). There were some fires and, hours later, *pop*, it liquified too. See www.wtc7.net.

    Some fires? Would that "some" include the fire raging across several floors for several hours that was pretty much unattended as the resources were stretched so thin?

    Remember that we're searching for truth here. No point in believing falsehoods

    If you're searching for the truth why would you accept the claim that there were only "some" fires when there is plenty of documentary evidence to the contrary? Could it be because it doesn't fit in with your world view and you are unwilling to accept anything that isn't spoon fed to you by the Alex Joneses of this world, who make quite a good living out of regurgitating this shit.

    No doubt this is all false as it's a government body but why don't you read this and try to refute their claims: http://wtc.nist.gov/ [nist.gov]

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday August 18, 2006 @08:07AM (#15933620)
    First of all, a terrorist will have access to the information regardless. That group appearantly knew how to make it, and I doubt they had the bright idea and if they did, that they didn't share it.

    A "normal" person, even equipped with the info, would not go ahead and say "oh, it's a nice day, let's commit suicide and blow up a plane". Would you? I wouldn't.

    What it comes down to is that when a government lies, blatantly enough that it's obvious at least to a small group of people, conspiracy runs rampart. The group will say "ok, what the feds say is BS because (insert info from TFA here)" and the next group will go "they lied! They're hiding something! (insert some conspiracy here)".

    What it comes down to isn't more safety. The only thing accomplished is that the government becomes less trustworthy and less credible. People read the 'net, they don't rely on CNN alone anymore. Actually, the more faith is lost in the official information, the more people will turn to other sources, often enough those sources are even MORE unreliable than the official ones, but become more credible simply by the fact that they are NOT official.

    For reference, see the former communist states. Everyone there believed what the west media said, simply because it was forbidden to hear them, because they knew their own media were lying and thus everyone who said anything else was automatically credible.
  • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Friday August 18, 2006 @08:13AM (#15933646)
    Good.

    It seems to me that telling a bunch of terrrorist wannabes how to blow up an aircraft should be illegal. It's like an adult giving a loaded gun to a child - the responsibility for anything that happens afterwards lies more with the adult than the child.

    And before anyone says that the terrorists can google it themselves remember that Richard Reid seemed not to have a working bomb, and some of the 21/7 bombs failed to explode [wikipedia.org]. Having the media talk endlessly about how to do it properly is a terrible idea.
  • by MrNaz (730548) * on Friday August 18, 2006 @09:47AM (#15934152) Homepage
    short of another 9/11, there is no way the republicans can stop it

    Don't say that, you're giving them ideas.

  • by tinkerghost (944862) on Friday August 18, 2006 @02:19PM (#15936243) Homepage
    'So they planted some thermite'
    That's the issue. It takes hundreds of pounds of high explosives to 'pull' a building the size of WTC 7, strategicly placed in cuts on the support posts.
    Thermite is not an explosive, it is an extremely exothermic Red-OX reaction - a hot burn if you will, and fast - but not explosive. You are looking at trying to cut 25-75 vertical beams (conservative number), each over an inch thick, with a material that's going to try to fall as soon as it melts the surface of the beam you've attached it to. OK so we just place it where the beams join the floor - except don't you think someone would notice people ripping up an entire floor - clearing the concrete/matrix from around those joints, and carting in cases of thermite. Oh ,and when it burns through, it's still going to fall down, not burn sideways. Look at the footage again, the WTC 1&2 collapse started in the impact areas, did your conspiritors just get lucky & put thermite in that area - or did they put enough thermite on every floor to start a pancake?
    I stand by the statement, you don't use thermite to bring down a building. Not by burning out it's supports anyway. It's not the right tool for the job.

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