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Are Liquid Explosives on a Plane Feasible? 875

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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  • W. Virginia Incident (Score:2, Interesting)

    by duplicate-nickname ( 87112 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:13PM (#15929508) Homepage
    From the BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5261456.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    US airport in 'liquid bomb' alert

    A West Virginia airport has been evacuated after a suspect bottle of liquid was discovered in a passenger's carry-on luggage, officials say.
    The bottle was subjected to a swab test and a sniffer dog examination and both tested positive for explosives.

    A security guard first spotted the bottle in the bag, Tri-State Airport authority chief Jim Booton said.

    Officials say the woman is of Pakistani origin and was travelling on a one-way ticket to Charlotte, North Carolina.

    Chris Yates from Jane's Aviation told the BBC that both tests were extremely sensitive.

    The likelihood that a container that had not come into contact with explosives would come up positive on both tests was extremely low, he said.

    The incident comes a week after UK intelligence officers say they foiled a plot to blow up planes using liquid explosives.

  • It has been done! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lunartik ( 94926 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:14PM (#15929510) Homepage Journal
    Christ, this has . [wikipedia.org]

  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:14PM (#15929515) Homepage Journal
    Except Nitro Glycerine would most likely detonate the second you had any turbulence, or even upon takeoff, given how unstable it is. Now if you wanted to make a bomb out of liquids - why not just bring a bottle of water and a piece of rubidium or cesium? Remember what happens when alkali metals hit water? BOOM! Two grams of cesium and a quart of water is enough to make an explosion roughly equivalent to about three or so hand grenades going off. Water and rubidium can blow apart a bathtub. Cesium is far, far more reactive.
  • by Aqua_boy17 ( 962670 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:29PM (#15929686)
    Bingo! And someone please mod parent up.

    If the terrorists can subject us to huge inconveniences and economic damage to pay for all of this added security, then they've 'already won'. Not being a Chicken Little or conspiracy theorist, I'm still puzzled as to why it is that the U.S. and U.K. governments so consistently play right into the hands of the terrorists. I mean, we've (allegedly) captured the ones responsible for the plot and (allegedly) know what they were doing and planning. Why, then if this is so do we still have to take all of these precautions? We are nations of over-reactionaries and I see most of these actions as closing the barn door long after all the livestock has escaped.

    Now gimme back my gel sole shoe inserts you insensitive clods!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:33PM (#15929731)
    How much money and time is wasted every year on tamper proof product packaging because one nut job laced up some Extra STrength Tylono?
  • by GMontag ( 42283 ) <gmontag@[ ]montag.com ['guy' in gap]> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:35PM (#15929744) Homepage Journal
    On the History Channel (or similar) I saw a show about sabotage during WWI. A German agent in the USA was building and supplying liquid incendiary devices to Irish dock workers who would, in turn, leave the devices in the holds of ships sending supplies to England.

    The devices were made of metal tubes, connected with a threaded coupler and a piece of brass separating the tubes. Acid in one tube would eat through the brass and combine with the other liquid and burst into flames, catching the compartment on fire and forcing the Captain to flood the compartment and cause the ship to sink. The thickness of the brass determined the delay and made sure that the evidence was deep below the sea.

    The method was finally discovered when one of the devices failed and was discovered when the ship ported.

    Now, instead of using the delay technique, or using a shorter delay and other container materials besides lead pipe, I believe two people with bottles of the same liquids could manage to mix them together and set a fire great enough to take down an airplane.
  • by crhylove ( 205956 ) <rhy@leperkhanz.com> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:39PM (#15929785) Homepage Journal
    It's an unpleasant topic, and you may not WANT to believe it, but that doesn't alter the facts surrounding the issue.

    And there are several straw men already leaned up against my initial post:

    Yes terrorism is real an Israel, where they have been oppressing muslims for decades. How does that change the facts surrounding both 9/11 AND 7/7?

    Adding your personal opinion (especially your uninformed personal opinion) based on the validity of my mental processes (Hitler's brain, etc.) is ludicrous. Please refute the facts surrounding the topic and stop trolling.

    Here are links to several videos that you can view online, and better inform yourself:

    http://www.myspace.com/wtc_7 [myspace.com]

    http://radio.indymedia.org/uploads/american-schola rs-symposium-cspan-web.wmv [indymedia.org]

    http://americanscholarssymposium.org/ [americansc...posium.org]

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-594659397 3848835726&q=9%2F11 [google.com]

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8797525979 024486145&q=9%2F11 [google.com]

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9640346520 02408586&q=9%2F11 [google.com]

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6545313046 180631815&q=9%2F11 [google.com]

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3249714675 910247150&q=9%2F11 [google.com]

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6952102263 921897950&q=9%2F11 [google.com]

    At least attempt to inform yourselves before you jump into a discussion and throw your political/personal views all over the place with no basis in reality.
  • by paranode ( 671698 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:41PM (#15929808)
    So why exactly is this guy's blog any more valid than the other things we've heard out of the vast media machine? Occam's Razor alone puts this towards the bottom of the credibility list. "The government is just trying to scare you!"
  • by Guysmiley777 ( 880063 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:42PM (#15929819)
    In all of this, the one thing of which I am certain is that the timing is deeply political. This is more propaganda than plot. Of the over one thousand British Muslims arrested under anti-terrorist legislation, only twelve per cent are ever charged with anything. That is simply harrassment of Muslims on an appalling scale. Of those charged, 80% are acquitted. Most of the very few - just over two per cent of arrests - who are convicted, are not convicted of anything to do terrorism, but of some minor offence the Police happened upon while trawling through the wreck of the lives they had shattered.

    I don't live in the UK, so I don't know. But if this is really happening, what better way to breed mistrust and hatred towards the government? That is scary stuff.
  • by punkr0x ( 945364 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:47PM (#15929863)
    I agree. 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? Do you really think a man like Bush has the intellect to decieve an entire nation? Why wouldn't they find loners and steriotypical suspects to make their scapegoats, if that was really what they were doing? An interesting read, but what makes Craig Ramsey any more trustworthy than any other media?
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:49PM (#15929878) Homepage Journal
    Bruce Schneier, the dean of crypto [schneier.com] and security processes generally, yesterday debunked this plot [schneier.com] as "implausible".

    A British diplomat (to Uzbekistan, an actual center of the Qaeda War) warns us to be skeptical of the plot [dailykos.com]. Especially its timing, which was premature for destroying a possible network, but right on time to steal headlines from a primary defeat from a leading neocon [google.com] that drew defensive scare propaganda from Bush and Cheney even though it's a Democratic primary.

    As we see more and more [msn.com] of our Republican government terrorizing us on their campaign schedule [usatoday.com], we have more chances to turn against them, and fight our own war against terror ourselves, in our own minds and at the polls. We can replace anyone in the House of Representatives [wikipedia.org] and 1/3 of the Senate [wikipedia.org].
  • by Chabil Ha' ( 875116 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:50PM (#15929894)

    To quote a blog:

    Why Terrorists Target Mass Transit

    Thursday, 10 Aug 2006, 07:21:56 AM

    With today's announcement of a foiled terrorist plot to detonate bombs stowed in carry-on baggage, one really has to ask themselves why terrorists choose to use mass transit as their target for their plots.

    I think the answer lies in their motives--to make people afraid and submissive. By blowing up a plane, you're killing a couple hundred of people. This has the effect of making people afraid. So afraid, in fact, that they stop flying. That translates into a trickle down effect of people not going about their usual economic activities. Buy a hamburger at the airport, renting a vehicle, purchasing meals at restaurants, buying souvenirs, etc. Terrorism has a large micro-economical impact on those they affect, not to mention the trauma that the world's markets feel in addition.

    Terrorism isn't just evil on the grounds of cold blooded murder. Terrorism is evil because it seeks to disrupt the ebb and flow of free economies that have a direct impact on every single person on the planet. That's what 9/11 was all about. I think in the end their desire wasn't necessarily to kill a lot of people, but something far more sinister--destroy the largest symbol of capitalism.

    The events after 9/11 certainly prove that it sent our economy into a tailspin. Which, as I have asserted, was their primary goal.

    In conclusion, to all you out there that are kidding yourselves about terrorism--it's real and has a direct impact on your life. Before you start criticizing policy on actions taken to prevent it, consider what the real life impact would be without taking those measures.

  • by illumin8 ( 148082 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:57PM (#15929966) Journal
    The UK Terror plot: what's really going on?
    Does anybody else find it suspicious that this story was leaked to the media the day after Joe Lieberman lost the democratic primary in Connecticut? This was one of the key primaries that seems to have indicated to everybody in the Republican party that they were definitely going to lose big in November. Joe Lieberman was with Bush on the war, and this was not only the democrats in his party telling him he was wrong on the war; 15,000 Connecticut voters switched parties from independent or republican, just so that they could tell Joe Lieberman to get lost...

    The republicans are losing support big time over here. Finally the majority of people in this country do see through their bullshit, and short of another 9/11, there is no way the republicans can stop it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:58PM (#15929974)
    Occam's Razor, unless I'm greatly mistaken, basically states that the simplest answer is probably correct.

    Which is the most simple explanation? That a bunch of people who don't have passports, plane tickets or (if the Register article is to be believed) the remotest understanding of explosives presented a genuine threat? Or that someone didn't really care what kind of threat they represented wanted to present themselves as the good guys by having "saved" us from this threat?

    I'm slightly scared to post this, as I don't want to mysteriously commit suicide in the woods.
  • by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:59PM (#15929986) Homepage
    It's also a medication. Has anyone ever determined how easy it is to concentrate Nitroglycerine from a medical prescription into something that can bring down a plane?

    MacGuyver did that once. To break out of a European medical center (asylum perhaps?) he ground up nitro tablets, mixed them with something, and blew a hole in a cement wall. Then again, this is Macguyver we're talking here so I'm sure the writers could have had him create an explosion out of contact-lense solution if they wanted.
    Yeah, "MacGuyver science" is the largest load of manure ever perpetrated on TV in the guise of ingenuity. Seriously, I have yet to hear of a single MacGuyver "jury rig" more complicated than a slingshot that would actually work in real life. Everything from a few pencil's worth of graphite in a toy balloon creating a sizeable opaque "smoke screen" when ruptured, to the aforementioned nitroglycerine vasodilator tablets into explosives*. Anyone who ever says "but I saw MacGuyver do it" needs to immediately have IDIOT branded on their forehead so in the future precious seconds aren't wasted when intelligent folks are engaged in real-world problem solving.

    * Glyceryl trinitrate tablets generally contain no more than 500mcg of nitroglycerin. Even if there did exist a simple way to "strain out" the nitroglycerin from the tablets, it would take approximately 400 THOUSAND TABLETS to yield enough of the stuff to equal a very small 500g "stick" of 40% dynamite (dynamite is rated in ratio of nitroglycerin to binder, by weight). Given that they're doled out usually no more than 50 or so at a time, that's about hell of a lot heart patients he had to hit up at that asylum. Writers who create crap plot details like that need to be dragged out an shot. Don't even get me started on Lost or Alias.
  • by PowerKe ( 641836 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:02PM (#15930008)

    "In fact the blast was not the result of a meeting between water and rubidium and caesium, but the triggering of a bomb, Sky television confirmed yesterday."

    "But in a 2004 episode, the producers compromised. Explaining what happened when the metals were put in the bath, a crew member said: "Absolutely bloody nothing. The density of caesium ensured it hit the bottom of the bath like a lead weight. The volume of water then drowned out the thermal shock. They could not go home empty-handed. So they rigged a bomb in the bottom of the bath."

    source: http://www.badscience.net/?p=270 [badscience.net]
    and: http://www.badscience.net/?p=261 [badscience.net]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:03PM (#15930019)
    Sadly that was a fraud [badscience.net]
  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:05PM (#15930045) Homepage Journal
    You just need a sealed unit, so that any odors don't escape, it's not that difficult.

    However, depending on your mixing process, you might set it off if you're not trained in proper handling. But, from every account I've ever seen, they appear to be well trained and versed in how to use explosives.

    That's the problem, quite frankly.

    Now, all that said, you're still safer on a plane than in a car, even with all these risks, and you still should refuse to live in unnecessary fear. Most such problems can be handled by tossing a blanket or a thick coat on top of the terrorist and pinning him down until he's subdued by the flight crew.
  • by BoySetsFire ( 178757 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:21PM (#15930207)
    http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/08/17/airport.evac.ap/i ndex.html [cnn.com]

    leave the hillbilly jokes out, please.
  • by Kythe ( 4779 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:30PM (#15930309)
    The point, as the OP didn't quite make clear, is that you'd not be able to make enough of this exceedingly unstable mixture to do more than hurt or kill yourself, and possibly take the bathroom out of commission.

    Not exactly the glorious martyrdom that they'd likely been planning for themselves. But hey, if the plan was to injure or kill only yourself and embarrass your cause in the process, then sure.
  • by rossifer ( 581396 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:53PM (#15930488) Journal
    And I don't know if there is any method of checking for a chemical residue for nitroglycerin--unlike other chemical explosives.
    Actually, nitroglycerin falls cleanly into the category of chemicals that the explosives residue detectors are most sensitive to: organic nitrous compounds. 10 years ago, they weren't doing residue checks. Now there are wipedowns, puffers, etc.; all of which are highly tuned to detect organic nitrous compounds (among other things).

    And even if there was a method to detect chemical residues, noone checks the insides of the bottles. They just do a quick swab. Even today I don't see any reason why terrorists can't cleanse the outsides of containers to prevent the swab from working.
    Because the detectors are sensitive to incredibly small quantities (hundreds or thousands of molecules/parts per trillion when airborne). As in: you'll need a truly great seal on the bottle, two clean rooms and a remarkable cleaning protocol to make sure that the remaining residues are below the detection threshold.

    Not that it can't be done, but the cost is unbelievable (and the number of people that need to cooperate increases the risk of detection). Someone from the first room being within several feet of the bottle for a few minutes after cleaning would leave a detectable explosive residue on the bottle's surface.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:15PM (#15930679)
    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.

    NY Post [nypost.com]
    August 3, 2006 -- More than one-third of Americans suspect federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East, according to a new poll.

    The survey also found that 16 percent of Americans speculate that secretly planted explosives, not burning passenger jets, were the real reason the massive Twin Towers of the World Trade Center collapsed.

    You can call 1/3 of the population or 16% of the population "paranoid schizophrenics" if you want, but it just makes you look like an idiot.
  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:17PM (#15930705)
    Let's also make a special line for Jews.

    Why? They're not the ones filling mosques with speeches about tearing down western civilzation. They're not the ones sending suburban kids out with bombs to kill other kids on trains.

    Why is it that the larger, non-bombing Muslim community (in, say, London) isn't heading this off at the pass by running the hate-preachers out of town so that there's no need to even talk statistics about who it's worth, or not, taking a closer look at in an airport? Really - why?
  • by tehdaemon ( 753808 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:42PM (#15930877)
    The first jet airliner [wikipedia.org] did just that (well, it exploded, not imploded...)
  • by Thorsten Timberlake ( 935871 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:50PM (#15930920) Journal
    Because they're scared of them. Moderate muslims in my country who voice their opinion are often threatened, one told of a meeting with an imam and his bodyguards, they threatened him with knives. Immigrant politician Naser Khader http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naser_Khader [wikipedia.org] lives under constant police protection.

    Outnumbering those you disagree with is hardly enough if they're better organised and willing to go to extremes.
  • by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @08:22PM (#15931427)
    I'm not saying you're wrong. But "liquid" was perhaps the wrong term.

    The question is whether undetectable, binary liquid bombs are feasible. To be undetectable, they couldn't be nitrogen-based explosives, as that is what all the detectors sniff for.

    So the question is, could a two-part, non-Nitrogen-based liquid explosive (so called peroxide bombs) be smuggled onto a plane and then make a large enough explosion to bring it down?

    It seems rather unlikely to me, with only a light skimming of the info. But I could easily be wrong. That's why I found the slashdot post interesting (although I didn't read the article, as I don't read the Register anymore due to rampant BS from them).
  • by ray-auch ( 454705 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @08:26PM (#15931449)
    Catholics? You're next.

    Er, nope, catholics (or just "irish accent") are previous not next - they have already been done, before we got onto the muslims.

    That's in the UK at least - in the US I guess the catholics were "freedom fighters we send money to" rather than "terrorists", but hey, what's a few nail-bombs between friends.
  • by diablomonic ( 754193 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:37PM (#15931808)
    you have to watch that colgate triple stripe whitening toothpaste, someone could whiten their teeth so much, they could blind everyone that looks at them with the glare, and burn a hole through the cockpit door.... or, you know, bursh their teeth loudly or something...

    anyway, re 7/7, watch "terrorstorm" on google video, you'll see that there was a "training" exercise being run on 7/7, involving muslim terrorists bombing 3 stations and a bus, at the exact time of the bombing (+- 30 mins) in the exact stations targetted by the bombing, and then all of a sudden it went live......

    now think about this: the bomber on the bus was thought to perhaps not know it was a suicide mission: when he heard about the other "suicide" bombings witnesses said he panicked and tried to take his backpack off, which was when it exploded. Now imagine you where hired to be an actor in a terrorist drill, playing the part of a suicide bomber. You and 3 mates take the fake backback bombs and go buy return tickets, running and jumping with supposedly sensitive explosives on your backs. you split up as per the plan, your sitting on a bus, and all of a sudden you hear that bombs have gone off at the 3 places your mates where going too.....

    (theres a lot more to it than that, watch terrorstorm)

  • Just not plausible. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AWeishaupt ( 917501 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @10:28PM (#15931990)
    I've been trying to explain along the lines of TFA ever since this supposed terror plot came to light.

    Yes, if they were using sensitised nitromethane, or pre-prepared gelled Acetone Peroxide, then it is very much plasuible.

    But everything i've read claims that they were supposedly planning to synthesise AP on the plane.

    Now, you start off with your Hydrogen Peroxide, say 35%, and you could have this pre-mixed with your acid catalyst - say conc. Hydrochloric or Sulfuric Acid. You only need a small amount of acid - and HCl doesn't react anywhere near as exothermically as conc. H2SO4. So this pre-prepared mixture could conceivably be handled quite safely - it's certainly nothing like 'Pirhana Fluid', which IIRC, is equal volumes of conc. H2SO4 and H2O2.

    So this mixture can be mixed, on the plane, with acetone. Now, it needs to be done in an ice bath, - sure, maybe you can MacGyver this up on board somehow - and after waiting hours for the reaction to complete, the product needs to be filtered out and dried. In my opinion, this would be the hardest part to complete on the plane, and the hardest to conceal. It would be easier trying to get snakes on the plane.

    TFA does mention something particularly scary in the context of aircraft terror - Dimethylmercury.

    In a couple of bottles of eye drops or something, you would probably have enough to give everybody on the plane a lethal dose. No fancy delivery system needed, just drop it on the floor and let the volatility, vapour pressure and air circulation system do the rest.

    And you wouldn't know a damn thing for months.

  • by hyfe ( 641811 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @11:56PM (#15932267)
    Except Nitro Glycerine would most likely detonate the second you had any turbulence,
    Ok, this is a second hand story, so the details are most likely horribly off.. but I do know the persons involved, so the gist of it is true. The guy who told me this, used to sneak into the woods behind the facilities this took place to play hide and seek when he was a kid.

    Sooo.. Roll back to the 90'ies. Research facilty for Norwegian Oil company Hydro in Oslo. They're handling lots of nitro-glycerin and various high-explosives.. and they have all these safety measures, because for some reason, people don't like being blown up,

    So.. one day, one senior researcher, fairly hung over, is handling a glass-tube (shut) with the nitro-glycerin.. and drops it. So, the guy sees his life pass by in slow-motion, curses a little for not having had sex with his wife this morning and closes his eyes waiting to die.. Except nothing happens. So, he runs out and calls for evacutation. Eventually, they clean the mess up and everybody gets back to work. Turns out, the container didn't break, and the nitro-glycerin was still lying happily on the floor.

    Now, the leading researcher and head of the facility was a really hands-on-guy. He knew all the theory and stuff, but he was really hands-on. So.. they had all these tests on how much pressure it takes to make nitro-glycerin blow up, but how do you test how much turbulence it takes to make a closed container filled with the stuff blow up? You could probably put it in a shaking-machine, but that'd hardly be realistic conditions now would it?

    Now, the rest of this story is verified. This guy fetches some containers of nitro, drags it out in the woods behind the factory along with a fishing rod. He finds a big ledge, when at the bottom, he ties a container to the line, and being carefull not moving the nitro at all he walks up the top of ledge, and using his fishing rod hoists the stuff up and starts swinging it around wildly.. without hitting the rock ledge of course.. He stood there for 10 minutes just waving the stuff around.

    Sadly, or maybe luckily for him, he was not able to make it explode as long as it was within a closed container. The scientific, now empirically tested, conclusion was clear, the risk of explosion within a closed container was grozzly exxagarated.

    (This guy also ran an experiement with was I think was paint-thinner(not sure, it was poisonous atleast) and a sealed off cabin. Himself, another researcher acting as a secretary and a psychologist locked themselves in the cabin to find out the effect the stuff had on human beings, all the while writing logs of what they were experiencing. Reviewing the log-books the day after, they found they had started drawing stick-men instead of writing logs after three hours)

  • by raddan ( 519638 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:07AM (#15932313)
    Score:4, Insightful? Come on.

    I am not a terrorism "expert"; just someone who likes to keep the "story" consistent with the way I've seen the world work. This "horde of Islamic fundamentalists" stuff is just fearmongering. Think about it.

    The goal of Islamic jihadists (at least, the ones we care about-- Al Qaeda, right?) is to remove those people who stand in the way of a Muslim state. The reason why they target not just Westerners (who clearly stand in the way-- we introduct Democracy, corporate influence, and lifestyles unacceptable to orthodox Muslims), but other Muslims, is because of one thing: the "plague" of material goods. This political philosophy was strongly advocated by a person named Sayyid Qutb [wikipedia.org]). The line of reasoning is that anyone "infected" by the obsession of ownership will fail to remain a Muslim because they will do anything in order to fulfill their desires. Community and tradition fall apart. Qutb argued that leaders who pushed for Westernization, mainly in the form of economic reforms, were secretly (or perhaps unknowingly) destroying Islam. Therefore, those leaders could be, in good conscience, put to death. Later followers of Qutb's political theory, like Ayman Zawahiri [wikipedia.org] (mentor to Osama bin Laden) expanded on that theory, saying that anyone who follows the Western model of capitalism can be rightfully put to death. Hence, death to other Muslims, death to the people working in the WTC.

    But I doubt there is one, pervasive political philosophy throughout the Middle East. There are many different tensions, the result of many different historical conflicts. Part of the reason why there is so much fighting is that Muslims tend not to forget about those conflicts (tradition is important, remember?)-- another is the continuing destabilizing force the West has been throughout the years, playing those historical tensions against each others, for poltical and economic reasons (read: oil & power). Certainly, though, Qutb/Zawahiri's philosophy is the view held by Al Qaeda. So far, they're the only terrorists who actually seem to want to expand the conflict beyond the Middle East.

    My question is this, if Al Qaeda is really composed of as many smart people as our government, media, and terrorism "experts" say they are, why haven't they realized that a few dozen bombs ain't exactly going to halt the massive machinery put in place by the military, industry, and politicians? It seems to me that "world domination" isn't their goal. Fear of "world domination" is just the boogeyman that our media keep throwing out at us to keep us happily supporting the $80 billion/yr money pump to war profiteers.
  • by jjohnson ( 62583 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:55AM (#15932473) Homepage
    the 1993 WTC bombing, the terrorists returned twice for their deposit on the van used to carry the explosives.

    This actually isn't as stupid as it sounds. Had the explosion gone off properly, the truck (meaning the identifiable marks of the truck) would have been vaporized and buried. The truck wouldn't have been identifiable for months, at least.

    That being the case, it would have been suspicious not to report the truck stolen and claim the deposit. Imagine you're the rental agent. The WTC just blew up, and an appropriately sized truck that you rented out has had no one claim the deposit. That's a direct line to the renter, which is how they actually caught the guys (but only because they identified the truck almost immediately).

  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @03:48AM (#15932903)
    Which is the most simple explanation? That a bunch of people who don't have passports, plane tickets or (if the Register article is to be believed) the remotest understanding of explosives presented a genuine threat? Or that someone didn't really care what kind of threat they represented wanted to present themselves as the good guys by having "saved" us from this threat?

    I am often amazed that even so sharp a tool as Occam's razor is unable to cut through the nonesense that gets posted on Slashdot.

    Lets try this: It was a genuine plot, under invenstigation [dailymail.co.uk] for a long period of time, (one of many [mg.co.za]) that was stopped when they decided to try a dry run [thestar.com]. Cash, guns, [dailymail.co.uk] and a bomb making kit [bbc.co.uk] have apparently been found. No word yet on if they are related to the suspected terrorist training [guardian.co.uk] going on in various places in the UK. This was as much about "saving Joe Lieberman" as the terrorist activity against Australia [abc.net.au]... which is to say, not related at all. (Maybe you've heard of the Bali bombing [bbc.co.uk]? It is just one of many attacks against Australians and the West in general.) There are many more like it in: Phillipines, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, etc, none of which are designed to prop up a US president who can't be reelected any way..

  • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @11:23PM (#15938699) Journal
    So you're trying to say that all the terrorists are Moslems and most of them are Arabs and there's no ethnic or sexual diversity in the people who attack planes?
    • Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein may not be an IRA terrorist himself, but he knows some guys who know some guys, ok? He's Gerry with a G, not a J, but close enough, probably has some buddies named Frank, but certainly some named Mike and Pat and Ryan.
    • Kim "Crazier-than-my-father" Il-Sung just botched an ICBM missile launch, if you remember - AFAICT he was just saying "booga-booga-booga" so the world press would pay attention to him.
    • Ted Kaczynski sounds like a good Polish-American name, and one of the big excuses the US government used to rip off our civil liberties is because they were worried he'd blow up an airplane in addition to his sporadic bombings of University and Airline people. Another Ted, Theodore Gold was one of the Weathermen bombers who got himself blown up, and of course Teddy Kennedy has entirely no connection with anybody in Boston who'd give money to the IRA.
    • In April 2001, terrorists shot down an airplane carrying American Baptist missionary Veronica Bowers and her baby and machine-gunned the passengers as they left the plane after they crash-landed. The terrorists worked for the Peruvian Air Force's drug trafficker airplane suppression program, and were supported by a CIA spotter plane; shooting down unarmed civilian planes without warning is terrorism even if it's your own citizens you're trying to terrorize. I don't know the names of the terrorists, but presumably some Spanish, some Indian, and some Anglo names.
    • Everybody remembers good old white-boy Tim McVeigh, rejected by the Militia Movement for being too crazy, but trained by the US Army.
    • Shoko Asahara was the Japanese Aum terrorist cult's Guru, and Hideo Murai was his explosives chemist. That ought to cover your Yamamoto quota. They had a couple of guys named Dmitri in their Russian branch.
    • Yigal Amir assassinated Yitzhak Rabin to interfere with the Middle East Peace Process. David Ben Gurion was a bit out of your time period, but he and a number of other founders of Israel were terrorists.
    • Colombia's been full of terrorists shooting judges who mess with the cocaine trade - probably one of them is named Maria or Julia, or if not them, Peru's Shining Path have enough women to have those names covered, and while they may or may not have a Chang, they do call themselves Maoists.
    • Svensson? If anybody knows who assassinated Swedish Premier Olof Palme, they're not telling.
    • Croatians - During the 1970s and 1980s, you wouldn't see the work "Croatian" in the press without either "terrorist" or "ethnic dancers" attached to it - that only changes when the Serbians proved to be the even crazier part of Yugoslavia. The Bosnian Muslims were mostly the victims in that war.
    • Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof were some of the leaders of the Red Army Faction. It hasn't blown up anything big since 1993 or assassinated anybody major since 1991, but it's still within your 20 years. And it was named after the Japanese Red Army Faction, just to maintain the ethnic diversity and keep up your Yamamoto quota.
    • Georges Schoeters was a Belgian who started the Front de libération du Québec in the 1960s. Pierre Vallières was an intellectual leader of that half-assed group, Francis Simard is pretty close to the Francois you're looking for, and they had some Yves's and Jacques's. Probably was a Guillaume in there somewhere. For a similar name, there's Guillermo Novo Sampol, a Cuban-born fascist-leaning terrorist who keeps trying to assassinate Castro, most recently busted in Panama in 2000. And a much earlier French program called The Terror was led buy guys with names l

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