<!-- Begin meta tags generated by ORblogs --> </meta name="keywords" content="progressive, liberal, politics, government, edit, language, grammar, accuracy, honesty, clarity, world, news, media" /> </> <!-- End meta tags generated by ORblogs -->> Editor at Large: So much for the foiled terrorist plot

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

So much for the foiled terrorist plot

OK, everyone, it's safe to fly again. You can go ahead and reschedule that cancelled trip. The alleged airplane bombing plot - if it even existed - was a joke.

According to the British technology publication The Register, smuggling the component parts of the liquid explosive triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and successfully mixing them into a brew powerful enough to bring down a plane would require skills far beyond the capabilities of, well, anyone.

"First," wrote The Register, "you've got to get adequately concentrated hydrogen peroxide. This is hard to come by, so a large quantity of the three per cent solution sold in pharmacies might have to be concentrated by boiling off the water...Take your hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and sulfuric acid, measure them very carefully, and put them into drink bottles for convenient smuggling onto a plane. It's all right to mix the peroxide and acetone in one container, so long as it remains cool. Don't forget to bring several frozen gel-packs (preferably in a Styrofoam chiller deceptively marked 'perishable foods'), a thermometer, a large beaker, a stirring rod, and a medicine dropper. You're going to need them.

"It's best to fly first class and order champagne. The bucket full of ice water, which the airline ought to supply, might possibly be adequate...Once the plane is over the ocean, very discreetly bring all of your gear into the toilet. You might need to make several trips to avoid drawing attention. Once your kit is in place, put a beaker containing the peroxide/acetone mixture into the ice water bath (champagne bucket), and start adding the acid, drop by drop, while stirring constantly. Watch the reaction temperature carefully. The mixture will heat, and if it gets too hot, you'll end up with a weak explosive. In fact, if it gets really hot, you'll get a premature explosion possibly sufficient to kill you, but probably no one else.

"After a few hours - assuming, by some miracle, that the fumes haven't overcome you or alerted passengers or the flight crew to your activities - you'll have a quantity of TATP with which to carry out your mission. Now all you need to do is dry it for an hour or two."

The conclusion is clear: "Certainly, if we can imagine a group of jihadists smuggling the necessary chemicals and equipment on board, and cooking up TATP in the lavatory, then we've passed from the realm of action blockbusters to that of situation comedy."

Also, as Ted Rall points out, "the 'plot,' or at least the prosecution thereof, is already unraveling. Two 'terrorists' have been released. Of the remaining 23, only 11 have been charged. Of those charged, only eight face charges related to the 'plot.'" And those eight may well turn out to be nothing more than pranksters with an overactive imagination.



Anonymous Jeff said...

So what should have the British done? Let them on the plane? I know:

Security: "Good morning sir, what do we have here, some suspicious liquids?" "No worries sir, you could never make a big enough explosion with that stuff, so have a nice day and enjoy your flight."


Jeff :)

6:26 AM  
Blogger Editor at Large said...

Jeff: No, you don't let them on the plane with their "suspicious liquids"; you confiscate the liquids and perhaps detain them, quietly and unceremoniously. Instead, a worldwide alarm is sounded and everyone freaks out about...basically nothing. Which plays directly into the hands of the "terrorists."

They got what they wanted without even using their fake explosives!

3:36 PM  
Blogger exigent said...

It shows how easily manipulated we still are, and that is depressing.

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

I honestly have no idea where you guys are coming from? If you don't raise the alert level, other cells that have plans in place would continue and possibly board a plane to complete their mission. If you talk with most people that flew during that week (including me), most adjusted and went with the flow, happy to comply for the sake of safety. Goodness, you guys complain about everything Bush! Get off the party politics already!

6:34 AM  
Blogger exigent said...

"Happy to comply"
--because they have successfully fooled you. Control by fear. All these reminder of why we need them. Have you seen V for Vendetta?

Way to go, lemming. You are a product of exactly what they want all of us to become. We should all be more like you. Less questions and more compliance.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Editor at Large said...

Jeff: Compliance for the sake of safety is one thing (that's why we wear seatbelts), but kowtowing to fear-mongering is another. How far should we let these "terrorists" push us?

We'll be the first to admit that we complain a lot about Bush. And we'll be the first to lament that we have to.

Exigent: Humans are easily manipulated, partly because we are gullible (naturally optimistic), partly because we're tired (from working our asses off to make ends meet), and partly because we're lazy (it's easier to "go with the flow" than to ask questions). We have to be wary and keep asking questions, or we risk becoming the society depicted in V for Vendetta.

1:11 PM  

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