Thursday, August 10, 2006

Liquid terrorist bombs: a new threat?

Not really. Were the 24 men arrested in Britain today just copying a planned attack 12 years ago?

Warsaw airport came to a standstill today. Radio Polonia reported that:

Sky Europe operates flights from London to 2 Polish cities in southern Poland, additionally offering shuttle bus connections to further 2 locations. Just like all other carriers arriving in London on routes shorter than 3 hours it has already felt the consequences of the flight cancellations. Sky Europe spokesman Eryk Klopotowski.

‘This may be a severe disruption but I wouldn’t call it a chaos. There are severe delays on many flight. Our planes are 2 hours late at the moment. This is caused by detailed security checks done at all British airports that includes personal security check and x-ray of every item including shoes.’

Security measures were stepped up:

More police officers, including counter-terrorist police and plainclothesmen, were deployed to safeguard airports and subways. The number of traffic police patrolling main routes to airports has also been increased.

Zbigniew Wassermann, the Polish minister without portfolio, in charge of special services, said there were no indications of a threat of terrorist attacks against Poland. He added that the Polish intelligence services would closely monitor the situation.

It seems these, mostly, British freaks planned to use a cocktail of liquid chemicals plus something like a mobile phone or a key fob to blow to bits airline passengers. But this isn’t a new ‘sophisticated’ method of terrorism, as some in the media are claiming.

These were not particularly sophisticated people at all. Neither was their method.

In 1994 Abdul Hakim Murad, Wali Khan Amin Shah, and Ramzi Ahmed Yousef led a group of men who planned a similar attack on US aircraft with 12 bombs using liquid explosives.

The Washington Post reported back in 1996:

‘The impressive workings of the bombs these men were making for that purpose are spelled out in Murad's confession and in documents retrieved from the hard drive of a portable computer allegedly owned by Yousef, which he inadvertently left behind in a Manila apartment where police showed up to investigate a fire caused by the mixture of some of the chemicals.

Murad made clear that their intent in designing the devices was to ensure they could be readily slipped past airport screening devices and assembled in the washrooms of the planes once the flights were underway.’

At the heart of each device was a timer built by rewiring a commonly available Casio digital watch, which could be connected to a stabilized form of liquid nitroglycerin stored in a bottle ostensibly filled with contact lens solution. The stabilizer for the nitroglycerin looked like cotton, and Murad told interrogators that "nobody can think that it's . . . explosive."

Read more of that article here

We know these religious nutters know how to blow up planes, and we know how they want to do it, but we seem to react after we have uncovered a plot. Not before.

It seems that the security systems that airports are now employing – no liquids, no hair gel, no bottles of contact lens solution, etc, are not proactive but reactive.

That just seems daft.

More on liquid terrorist bombing?
Plot to blow up passenger planes mid-flight foiled, New Scientist


Anonymous said...

I agree it is plain daft - typical reaction of this government:-(

TBH - I would be quite happy to just take a plastic bag with money/travel documents on board the plane as hand luggage - the rest can go in the suitcase.

But? me wonders what the 'Duty Free shops' and alll those other shops will think? - I mean once you have checked in your baggage and gone throught to the departure lounge - why buy any stuff? you can't take it on board (not at the moment anyway)

Interesting to see what the 'businesses' affected will make of it?


beatroot said...

In a way, it’s more than daft, Issie.

Governments are using more and more draconian measures to fight these people – civil liberties are being forfeited in the name of ‘security’ when a few common sense security measures would be much more effective. Blair, Bush, all of them, go on and on about them not affecting ‘our way of life’ when it is they, governments, who are changing our way of life the most.

Not rational.

Anonymous said...

Yes - this sadly is true:-(

And of course we have the ongoing saga of ID cards here:-(

Some of us are actively working on trying to halt this!

ID cards won't make us safer!!

If 'they' are intent on causing destruction - they will!


beatroot said...

That's right. I get the impression that these sorts of things are going to become part of modern life. They are going to be horrid and upsetting when they happen...but, in the end, they are not going to change our way of life.

Unless we let them.

Sometimes I think Bush and Blair are doing the terrorists work for them.

roman said...

issie and beatroot,

So, your solution is to do nothing?
Pro-active or reactive, I don't want some religious fanatic mixing a bomb in the toilet on my next flight, thank you.
Also, who cares what the duty free shop owners think. A plane load of passangers' lives are more important than a 10% loss in revenue due to a lack of sales of suntan oil.

Anonymous said...

I think you misunderstood me? us?

I am happy that - these measures are taking place - yes

They should have happened before!!

This is a re-active response yet again !

How many times?

Maybe a bit of forward planning? err - could have been called for in light of 9/11?

Gawd? as a country our security measures are the pits:-(


beatroot said...

I think you did misunderstand, Toman. The measures that all airports put in place after 0/11, like having locked cockpit doors, could have been done before 0/1.

There had been attacks on pilots before by crazed religo-terrorists.

There has been planned liquid bombing before but we only now decide that it's a threat.

But we do nothing.

Instead we make draconian laws that take away civil liberties.

We have an expression where I come from. That is an 'arse-about-tit reaction to terrorism.

Frank Partisan said...

Tomorrow the Islamists, will move on from wet bombs, to a new modality.

beatroot said...

Dry Air bombs!

beatroot said...

You said it, George. Religious hate law - absurd. Tne Terrorism act with 28 days - presumes guilt untill proven innocent, a complete reverse of British law. The 28 days he is already trying to lengthen...and this latest incident will embolden him. In the US the Patriot act...etc etc

Qiet, efficient police work is much more effective than draconian laws and attacks on free speech...

beatroot said...

They are willing to acceot it, Stepxx, because they are scared. And I think that is as much about a cultural shift in the conceot of 'risk' as it is about Bush's 'Islamo-fascism'.

And you are right to wait for more evidence about this. I am thinking of the police raid in north London two months ago which turned out to be completly bogus.

But generally there is a drift in the west to more draconianism, and that again is more to do with a breakdown in the fundemental glue that sticks societies together than it is about the 'war on teror'.

Lar said...

Im very confused by your comments. On the one hand Beatroot and Anonymous above argue and complain about draconian laws after 9/11, and say something should have been done beforehand. 20/20 hindsight is a marvellous thing and I would love to have seen the reaction of powerful airline, airport and tourist lobbies, not to mention ordinary passengers, if you upped security to current levels before the 9/11 attacks - there would have been outrage and the security services would have been accused of paranoia.
Then at the same time you criticize the current heightened security measures which may have prevented a possible terrorist attack in the future (assuming that the information the British police have is accurate).

beatroot said...

The distinction I am making, Larski, is between efficiency of policing and security measures – coordination between security forces etc, and draconian attacks on civil liberties and freedom of speech.

As far as security measures go, every time a plot or attack happens authorities seem surprised and the media goes into ‘shock’ mode and uses words like unprecedented. My post was a humble attempt to show that these types of terrorists revisit methods they have used before. Like the supposed use of liquid bombs.

Anonymous said...

Your story gives the lie to today's ever so carefully thought out headline in Gazeta Wyborcza: "Terror has a new weapon." But I suppose the newspaper does not have the resources that the mighty Beatroot Organisation has.

roman said...


You said: “Religious is code for Islamic by the way”

Your words not mine and quite astute of you to draw this conclusion. Could it be because the vast majority of the incidents of terrorism claiming innocent lives in the last 20 years were perpetrated by Muslims?

You said: “have the Empire stop proto-Colonial invasions and occupations of poor countries and stop the grotesque exploitation of the developing (not) world.”

So what you’re saying is that the “developed” world should stop funding and helping the poor countries in the rest of the world? In your opinion innocent women and children on airplanes are OK to be sacrificed until the proto-Colonial invasions and exploitations of poor countries comes to an end? Sounds like blaming the victim and giving the perpetrator the benefit of doubt. This kind of delusional thinking exemplifies a disconnect from reality so common amongst people who dislike the basic democratic values the west enjoys.

beatroot said...

Anon: I saw that headline too! What is wrong with these people?

Roman: Could it be because the vast majority of the incidents of terrorism claiming innocent lives in the last 20 years were perpetrated by Muslims?

But many Muslims think that the main crimes over the past 200 years (and I am not including the 'Crusades' back been commited by Christians.

It's all about perception and standpoint I suppose. But you have to try and put yourself in others' shoes sometimes.

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