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BBC Reports UK-U.S. Terror Plot Foiled 1792

j823777 was one of several readers to point out a BBC report that "A terrorist plot to blow up planes in mid-flight from the UK to the U.S. has been disrupted, Scotland Yard has said. It is thought the plan was to detonate up to three explosive devices smuggled on aircraft in hand luggage. Police have arrested 21 people in the London area after an anti-terrorist operation lasting several months. Security at all airports in the UK has been tightened and delays are reported. MI5 has raised the UK threat level to critical — the highest possible." spo0nman adds a link to the Associated Press's coverage. Update: 08/10 12:57 GMT by T : Several readers have pointed out new restrictions imposed as a result of this plot on passengers' carry-on luggage. In the UK, nearly all possession (including laptop computers) must be carried in the cargo hold; while their rules don't yet go quite as far, U.S. airlines are stepping up their enforcement of carry-on-restrictions, including banning substances like toothpaste.
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BBC Reports UK-U.S. Terror Plot Foiled

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  • No hand luggage... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 10, 2006 @08:24AM (#15879539)
    From TFA: "Passengers are not allowed to take any hand luggage on to any flights in the UK, the department said."

    Only passports, wallets.

    The mind boggles. No computers, books, iPods, bottles of water, sunglasses?

    Smoking, alcohol, and sex are already off-limits or difficult. I hope these are really short flights, and the planes have plenty of distractions for the passengers, otherwise we'll wonder if being blown up is not the better alternative.
  • Questions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ettlz ( 639203 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @08:24AM (#15879541) Journal

    First, congratulations to the Security Services for foiling this plot.

    Did they need to detain someone for 90 days without trial to prevent this disaster?
    Would ID cards have helped?

    And how long before I can travel with my notebook onto an aeroplane again, as we all know a cargo hold is no place for a lithium ion battery?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 10, 2006 @08:24AM (#15879542)

    No liquids or gels can be brought on board.

    Reduce the "clutter" in your luggage so the inspectors have a clear view.

    Medicine is ok and baby formula but be prepared to show it to the inspector.

    Call carrier to see how early you have to arrive.

    Have fun flying?!.

  • Why oh why (Score:5, Funny)

    by kahei ( 466208 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @08:27AM (#15879554) Homepage

    WHY do these terrorists specifically hate those of us who are scared of flying??

  • Latest (Score:5, Informative)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @08:29AM (#15879569) Journal
    Current information coming over the Beeb is that the plot may have included up to 9 planes simultaneously or in successive waves.

    Explosives are suspected to have been carried on in hand luggage as liquids, suggesting that they were planning to use binary agents (where two non-explosive chemicals are mixed to form a 3rd reactive substance).

    Currently travelers from the UK are being told that (IIRC) they may board the planes with absolutely no more than 7 carryon items, limited to a select list such as:
    - 1 book
    - 1 newspaper
    - wallet
    - passport
    • Re:Latest (Score:4, Funny)

      by cap0ne ( 993792 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @09:47AM (#15880311)
      The only thing left for the terrorists will be explosive clothing. They'll find a way to weave C4 right into their shirts in a visually pleasing plaid pattern. But instead of actually carrying out their mission of martyrdom, they will simply mail a sample to CNN, have Bin Laden make a vague recording about it.

      I can picture the result now: planeloads of people sitting wide-eyed and paranoid while shivering in little paper gowns - the kind with the backsides missing like you get at the hospital. The terrorists will not be able to stop laughing.
  • by akadruid ( 606405 ) <slashdot@thedrCO ... minus herbivore> on Thursday August 10, 2006 @08:30AM (#15879579) Homepage
    Please note that MI5 said 'disrupted', not 'foiled'. The impact that this event has caused can definitely be considered a significant success by the planning organisation or anyone aligned with their goals, if not as much as they wished.

    Mind you, it might actually serve some interests better for tens of millions of people to be worried, inconvienced, or annoyed than for airliners to explode.
    • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @08:59AM (#15879825)
      Mind you, it might actually serve some interests better for tens of millions of people to be worried, inconvienced, or annoyed than for airliners to explode.

      Nah. They'd rather that the planes had exploded. That plays much, much better on Al Jazeera. This cannot be cited as a "victory" by the jihaddis backing it, and if they had knocked the planes down, they'd also have the extra inconvenience and worry, as frosting on that cake. No... this is a win for the good guys, and probably really frustrating to the backers that obviously put a lot of time and effort into recruiting all of these would-be suicide bombers, training them, supplying them, etc. You can bet that there are some pre-recorded Zawahiri video tapes that will now not be seeing airtime since this attack was stopped.
  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @08:35AM (#15879606) Journal
    We've known about a likely plot to blow up several planes.

    Now, the perpetrators have been arrested, and anyone else who may have been involved is potentially compromised, so will probsbly not risk carrying it out. As a result, an attack is less likely. So the alert level has gone up.
  • Security (Score:4, Funny)

    by Ed Almos ( 584864 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @08:37AM (#15879620)
    Security at airports is not 'tightened' it's fucking impossible. Anyone travelling from the UK to the USA will find that it's quicker to walk.

    Ed Almos
  • No carryon soda... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mjh ( 57755 ) <mark.hornclan@com> on Thursday August 10, 2006 @08:48AM (#15879715) Homepage Journal
    Of course, what will happen now is the the TSA or the FAA is going to ban all carryon liquids on air travel, and just for good measure will throw in food. So now that the airlines don't offer free food on flights, anyone want to start a pool on when the free sodas on the airplane will suddenly become very expensive? Put me down for Aug 18, 2006.

    I'm not trying to suggest that this is some sort of plot by the airlines to charge higher drink prices. I don't think any such thing. I'm simply saying that this is the likely result of the inane government action that will innevitably follow: banning all carryon fluids on all commercial flights.
  • Is anyone else... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Null537 ( 772236 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @08:48AM (#15879721)
    ...more angry about the hassle this causes, than anything else? Terrorists spread terror, so they've hit their mark. By being foiled the plot does an amazing amount of damage on its own, spreading FUD.

    I don't feel any safer by having my liquids/toenail clippers/pocket vibe/ipod/laptop taken away from me, when there are plenty of other ways to kill/be killed that airlines have no control over. I am more angry at terrorists for making American privacy close(er) to extinction than anything else. With a "war" on "terror" there are going to be casualties, my water consumption/music listening/laptop using/game playing/phone usage habits shouldn't be at the top of the list.

    Why does the scapegoat have to be the common citizen?
  • Unless these restrictions are lifted, I don't think I'll ever be able to fly anywhere. Yes, I understand the need to a sensible level of security, but I see this as going too far.

    I used to suffer from depression, and it has left me with the remnants of social anxiety. I can function out and about quite easily, but with very definite limits. Crowds still mess my head up. Queues fill me with dread. I need to travel with something to take my mind of things - often to shut out the world and people around me.
    I also have a fair bit of not-exactly-cheap equipment that goes with me everywhere. There are things that do not get let out of my site. My laptop, for example, comes to work with me when I have a house-inspection. I trust my colleagues more than an inspector I've never met. Yet I'd be expected to fly long-haul without carrying it in my arms?

    Yes, I know I'm probably slightly paranoid. But for one thing I've had things broken before when they were with people I didn't know or trust. And secondly, it's another holdover from my depression.

    And right this very minute I feel extremely uncomfortable. I see an all-too-possible threat of increased security measures invading our lives to a greater extent, where the existing ones already feel too much.
    Plus the idea of being stuck taking my holidays without ever leaving the UK[*] kinda fill me with dread.

    [*] 'Cos I can't see these measures not spreading to Eurostar, somehow.

  • Just yesterday, the UK Home Secretary was in the news saying that "we may have to modify some of our freedoms in the short-term" to protect us from evil terrorists. Given the degree of preparedness demonstrated by various services today, it seems pretty obvious that he was aware of the current situation when he made those remarks -- thus it also seems clear that he was shape people's opinion in preperation for the events that are now unfolding in public today.

    See: Terror 'may force freedom curbs' [].

  • Why Planes? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 10, 2006 @08:53AM (#15879771)

    Why are planes and airports apparently such an appealing target for terrorism? If I really wanted to do some damage to civilians i'd go to a sold out college football game (very little security) and blow a chunk out of the stadium. If I wanted to do some damage to the government then I'd find some fairly small military building to blow up. And lastly, if I wanted to do something that would get a ton of media attention, i'd blow up a water tower or some sort of public monument.

    The only reason I could think that planes are so attractive is that you only have to overtake several people and once you are in the cockpit, you are free to do whatever you want without revolt. Unless you have specific plans to use the plane (not just blow it up while its in flight) or hold the passengers hostage, it doesn't seem like a very great capture. I suppose one other advantage is that the terrorist doesn't have to worry about being stabbed to death with nail clippers that bystanders had on them since you can be sure the airport security took those all away.

  • by Bazman ( 4849 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @08:54AM (#15879780) Journal
    friends of mine are flying home from UK to Australia soon. With two small kids. And under the restrictions, no kids toys. 18 hours with two kids and nothing to keep the occupied.

    I suspect the rest of the plane would prefer a terrorist attack.

  • I felt... naked (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShootThemLater ( 5074 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @08:54AM (#15879781)
    I arrived at Heathrow for an early flight to Frankfurt just as news was breaking for this at about 06:00. It was a tough decision to part with my laptop, PDA and mobile but I decided to take my chances. It only really then dawned on me the extent to which I depend on these items when I was waiting for hours to clear security... While I could have found a public payphone, all my phone numbers are stored in my mobile & PDA and I actually remember very few of them. I could speak to people, after somehow getting their numbers, but they could not call me back. All the usual channels that are normally avalable to me to get information about a delay were unavailable to me - no web access or even SMS messages to friends with access. You just have to stand in a queue like a sheep.

    I didn't take my flight in the end, despite it being one of the few that wasn't cancelled - when I finally got to the gate they still had an additional delay of over an hour and I was only due to be there one day. With half of it gone, and the prospects of being able to fly back to the UK this evening looking distinctly dubuious, I offloaded myself.

    This was obviously an inconvenience for me, but I have nothing but praise for our security services who foiled this and the airport staff who managed to handle the whole thing pretty well, considering.

    As has been reported, items allowed were limited to wallets/travel documents and baby/health-specific products. However, many of us brought books and papers with us also. Interestingly, Duty Free shops were open airside - although I didn't see if any electronics shops were. The focus this morning was really on what can be brought from landside to airside and they didn't seem to have thought about what you buy airside so much (although I would speculate that electronic items bought airside do not pose such a threat in that trrrsts would use pre-modified devices to detonate explosives). The search at security was a remove shoes, belts etc. job - rather like being in the US :)

    It will be very interesting if this policy is made permanent. Like many companies mine has a policy of not putting laptops into checked luggage - for good reason. And when you are on the move much of the time you need your tools to keep productive - I've previously found time in the lounge or on board to be really valuable sometimes. However, I think in light of all the other ways that security can be compromised this can't continue as an indefinite measure - the risk:hassle/cost ratio is all wrong.
  • So... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Cowtard ( 573891 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @08:55AM (#15879794)
    Wonder what they were planning to use? Pop Rocks and soda or the new hotness of Mentos and soda?
  • by Flying pig ( 925874 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @08:56AM (#15879808)
    Announces that us liberal left wingers just don't get it on terrorism. Judges refusing to convict without evidence, evidence which they are not allowed to see because those lefty judges are themselves security risks. Ridiculous human rights legislation that prevents him from simply locking up anybody he feels like. Over-zealous government agencies that want to investigate how the police came to shoot an unarmed man sitting harmlessly in a train and then spread FUD about it afterwards. The same idiot left wing liberals who think that perhaps if we had a more even handed and rational policy in the Middle East we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.

    At the risk of being accused of covert racism, it's perhaps worth pointing out just how much of the UK government is controlled by Scots, from the Prime Minister down. The Scots have something of a reputation for violence and aggression, and if you want to point out that the Rt Hon Anthony Blair, MA, Barrister-at-Law is an upper class Scottish lawyer, it was just such an upper class Scottish lawyer that organised the Glencoe massacre, for his own advantage.

    Actually, I think our police and security services on the whole do a pretty good job, especially outside London (where there is a lot of institutional corruption.) But they deserve better politicians.

  • by portwojc ( 201398 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @09:02AM (#15879854) Homepage
    Honestly what is the goal behind terrorism? Has it done anything for their cause besides rain more crap down on the people they claim they are fighting for?
    • by JavaLord ( 680960 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @10:53AM (#15880920) Journal
      Honestly what is the goal behind terrorism? Has it done anything for their cause besides rain more crap down on the people they claim they are fighting for?

      The main goal as far as the US is concerned is to push the US out of the middle east. Bin Laden specifically stated his goal was to get the US to stop propping up dictators in the middle east, supplying weapons to Israel, and basically, to stay out of their business.

      Terrorism typically works on an invading force, especially when that force is relucatant to kill civilians. Once the price in blood is too high, the invading force will usually pull out. It has worked in the past.

      If you want to understand what Bin Laden wants, read his Fatwah. Here is a brief part of it from wikipedia:

      1998 Fatwa

      In February 1998, another Fatwa was issued that was signed by Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and others.

      Published on the 23rd February in the Al-Quds Al-Arabi independent newspaper, it lists three grievances:

      * U.S. occupation of the Arabian Peninsula

      "First, for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples. If some people have in the past argued about the fact of the occupation, all the people of the Peninsula have now acknowledged it. The best proof of this is the Americans' continuing aggression against the Iraqi people using the Peninsula as a staging post, even though all its rulers are against their territories being used to that end, but they are helpless."

      * U.S. devastation of the Iraqi people and humiliation of their Muslim neighbors

      "Second, despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, which has exceeded 1 million... despite all this, the Americans are once again trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the ferocious war or the fragmentation and devastation. So here they come to annihilate what is left of this people and to humiliate their Muslim neighbors."

      * U.S. support of Israel

      "Third, if the Americans' aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews' petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there. The best proof of this is their eagerness to destroy Iraq, the strongest neighboring Arab state, and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan into paper statelets and through their disunion and weakness to guarantee Israel's survival and the continuation of the brutal crusade occupation of the Peninsula."

      "The International Islamic Front for Jihad against the U.S. and Israel has issued a crystal-clear fatwa calling on the Islamic nation to carry on jihad aimed at liberating holy sites. The nation of Muhammad has responded to this appeal. If the instigation for jihad against the Jews and the Americans in order to liberate Al-Aksa Mosque and the Holy Ka'aba Islamic shrines in the Middle East is considered a crime, then let history be a witness that I am a criminal."
  • Propaganda (Score:5, Insightful)

    by N8F8 ( 4562 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @09:04AM (#15879869)
    Cynicism in the US is reaching an all-time high. Half the population blames the government or accuses it of conspiracy no matter what the government does. We need more effective ways of countering the enemy's FUD. We have multiple CSPAN channels broadcasting government live and embedded reporters and still most of the citizenry would rather read and believe tabloids, kooks and extremist blogs. Guess what, you are the government. You are the military. Look at the history of the world and realize that there ARE people who will kill you because they don't like your GOD or covet what you have or have been taught since childhood to hate you out of existence.
    • Re:Propaganda (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ThinWhiteDuke ( 464916 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @10:35AM (#15880757)
      Half the population blames the government or accuses it of conspiracy no matter what the government does

      Govt said Saddam had WMD. Govt said Saddam was Bin Laden's friend. Govt went to war. Saddam had no WMD. Saddam and Bin Laden hated each other.

      Govt said it had "irrefutable evidence". It was not irrefutable. It was not evidence either. Downing street memo says "intelligence and facts are fixed around the policy".

      Govt said Iraqis would welcome soldiers with flowers and chocolate. Iraqis sent road side bombs and mortar shells.

      Govt said Mission Accomplished. It was 3 years ago. Mission still not accomplished.

      Govt said it's spreading democracy in the middle-east. The whole region is spiralling into chaos and mayhem (Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Iran...)

      Election time comes. Govt changes alert levels repeatedly. Population is scared into trusting the Govt. Govt wins elections. Nothing happens. Nothing is revealed.

      Govt said Abu Graib was "bad apples". Govt fights anti-torture law. Anti-torture law passes. Prez's signing statement says he will ignore it.

      Govt says it needs secrecy to defend America. Govt classifies each and every instance it breaks the law.

      Shall I go on?

      In general, it's healthy to distrust the government. In this particular case, it's a necessity.
  • Just reread 1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xiph ( 723935 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @09:15AM (#15879978)

    We're at war with the Soviets^D^DTerrorists...
    And we just has a glorious victory !
    next up the 20 minutes of hate?
    then back to work, business as usual..

    We don't even need a war, just the illusion of one, thank you minitrue for real and complete reports of whats going on, and thank you miniplenty for lowering the oil prices to a historic low of 20$ pr gallon...

    the current war on terror is quite like the war in 1984. Where the main purpose of the war was not to capture territories or resources, but rather to reduce the freedoms of the populaces. after the liberation of iraq, iraqies gained some and lost some, but people of the eu and us lost freedom. This victory will no doubt show that our forces are good and fine and great, and with more funding they'd be even better. now they have tightened airport security, most notably by requiring all carryons to be carried in clear plastic bags.

    They're no doubt already discussing how to make security even better, as we speak. I'm not saying terrorism isn't real, but it's certainly been boosted since we started taking it seriously. I'm not saying the government is trying to take away your freedoms, but I do think they're forgetting what it is the silverware of civilisation that they're remoulding to shoot werewolves (monsters none of us really know much about). The governments are more worried about the deaths of a max. 5000 citizens the last five years, than meeting the big challenges we're facing (reducing bureaucracy, informing the intolerant, helping developing countries, improving pluralistic democracy, increasing education levels, getting humans to think)

    So what if they kill a few of us, including some leaders, democracy is strong because it is NOT dependant on one person, but when too few cares, it becomes a defacto oligarchy.

    /rant over
  • by Tsiangkun ( 746511 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @12:24PM (#15881841) Homepage
    I'm running late, so I'll just put the lines on the page and leave space to read between them.

    Joe got the boot from a grass roots movement.

    The spin machine reminds people that democrats are left wing radicals that are weak on homeland security.

    A convenient terror plot spoiled so soon after is suspicious.

We gave you an atomic bomb, what do you want, mermaids? -- I. I. Rabi to the Atomic Energy Commission