The "car bomber" hysteria gripping much of the British and international media over the weekend has had a bucket of cold water from the Reg already, but just one bucket doesn't seem enough for this kind of outbreak. To recap: an exceptionally incompetent group of troublemakers, unknown to the plods or spooks, decided to bring a …
Sing it, Brother!
Now if only the mainstream, or even the blogosphere would take up notice.
I agree that the media have really lost a sense of realism in this scenario. I remember reading in an evening paper (I think it was the standard) that the car bomb had the potential to kill 1700, which seemed like an odd number to pluck out of the air until you realise that's the capacity of Tiger Tiger nightclub. Now with the worst car bombings in baghdad having killed up to 250 people, with hundreds more wounded when detonated in crowded markets it seems slightly sensationalist to rate this bomb as having the potential to flatten the entire nightclub and kill everyone in it down to the last clubber or even claim to do so. I feel in many ways the press do the terrorists work for them... giving them front page headlines for paltry efforts, no planning and 0 body count.
They have watched Hollywood too much
These "terrorists" watched Hollywood movies too much. Every car in the movies hit by a bullet explodes violently (unless the hero is driving, then it can be riddled with AK-47 or even .50 machine gun bullets with only damage to the windscreen). Had they watched Mythbusters, or ANY program on Hollywood special effects, and been much the wiser. Unfortunatey, many of our leaders appear to suffer from the same belief in Hollywood-movie style physics and chemistry (and hence impossible plots).
Having said that, it IS fortunate that these particular "terrorists" who hate others sufficiently to want to blow them up or burn them alive were this incompetent. Had they been as competent as, say the Oklahoma City bomber, who made a decidedly low-tech, but deadly car bomb, without blowing himself up, London and Glasgow would have lost some buildings, and, more importantly, many lives.
So yes, vigilance is useful, but paranoia (such as the measures concerning liquids on airplanes) is another matter entirely.
...this is all very useful and informative, but will you please just get a proper job with a real newspaper, or the BBC? Then I wouldn't have to spend my lunchtimes angrily spitting coffee over the newsprint.
Exactly my thoughts and I am equally asshamed at what I see as my generations complete willingness to bend over and shove their heads under the pillow at the first mention of the word <i>"Osama"</i>
Scary ain't it?
There are various people who seem to be running around stating that the terrorists slipped through and it was 'only luck' there weren't deaths. Yeah luck and a complete lack of competance on the clown's part
I thought the Chapati bombers were funny - these guys are a riot! Frankly I've seen more impressive student pranks
I take the opposite attitude to the need to tighten controls to avoid these kind of planks slipping under the radar - I would be worried if this and a plot to detonate a Delia Smith recipe were on the radar, it would to me signify a police state where we had sacrificed too many freedoms already
As someone who worked in London during the real threat and acutality of IRA bombs this does all seem a bit patetic. I ca't understand why the papers have hyped this all up.
I'm not a big Mrs Thatcher fan, but she seems to have had bigger balls than our current sad excuse for a government.
A voice of sanity
At last, a calm voice of sanity, who actually knows what he's talking about.
I have to wonder why there have not been any interviews with any real bomb disposal men during the recent events.
Oh well, guess we'll just have to sit back and see what freedoms Mr Brown will remove from us next.
We're laughing but...
Practically every British airport has now banned cars from approaching the airport buildings, which creates another minor but significant irritation when travelling by air. These rules, which will be enforced by the same people who make you leave your bottle of water when you fly to Amsterdam, are where are freedom of movement are quietly being curtailed. If the bombers had thought, they would have tried to hit Glasgow Queen Street railway station and caused chaos on the entire UK train network, as unstable as it is, as every railway station would have to ban access to vehicles in the same way, even while the Home Secretary is standing up and saying that the terrorists won't affect our way of life.
Well... a TV programme
Who remembers a tv programme from early 90's about a minister / prime minister - something like house of cards? Anyway they found it really convieniant to have people 'suddenly' try and blow up something and get caught when the politicians needed something. Although it was fictional I just keep finding so many plausably similarities it is actually staggering...
Oh well. Brown needed something to mark his arrival... he could have picked something which would at least go bang. Forwards the dictatorship.
Well said Sir..
I can agree, it appears the war on terror has been won. AQ appear not to have any resources left. Which has most likely been a result of our boys/girls over in the middle east keeping them busy and moving without them being able to arrange for resupplies, training, etc. As well as being cash staved by the various other methods employed else where.
Yet somehow, I can't see the various terror experts and security bods letting those £/$ signs fade away. So we hear about how '000s of people could have been killed by a burning car with some nails in it. I kid you not. I couldn't believe it when I saw the *possible* number of potential hurt being reported on well known (and at the time respected) news sites.
The fact is gas canisters and fuel tanks are tested in situations where there is a lot of fire around, in order to prevent a bang.
If we are now being told that these safety measures do not work, then I think there needs to be something done about that, instead of worrying about these other idiots.
I want the security services to find AQ and deal with them, but don't try to make them out to be something we should fear. If the idiots are happy to set fire to themselves, then let them get on with it. Anyone noticing them should just walk away, set the fire alarm off, if they have crashed into your building and maybe call the fire services too.
I am certainly less fearful.about the whole AQ situation now.
Incompetence to buy a parking ticket as well
To add to the ineptitude of our would be attackers, lets not forget that the 2nd car was towed away for being parked illegally and it wasn't until the car was at the depot that the "bomb" was found. I'm sure the parking meter wasn't very far away and it would only have cost a couple of quid.
"If these guys at the weekend really were anything to do with al-Qaeda, all one can really say is that it looks as though the War on Terror is won."
It will be interesting to see how the usual commentators square this circle. On the one hand, they will agree with you that the attacks were laughable, and they will praise you; on the other hand, they will disagree that the War on Terror is won, and damn you as a neocon stooge of Karl Rove, a a runaway son of a nuclear A-bomb. Their tiny little brains will blow a fuse trying to mentalise these two contradictory passions.
pimping print runs
Why the media is all over this in their OMG manner? Because this is how they make a living, that is why. Fear sells much better than rationality. Also, the terrorists won with the first quart of freshly pumped breast milk denied access to a plane. As terrible as dying in an attack is, success in terror is not measured in bodies, but in fear and restriction.
Oh the horror of it
All the lives lost, the utter devastation! Those cunning terrorists.
7/7 was a true tragedy. If the terrorists had had enough kooks willing to off themselves, it would have been worse. But the bigger you make the conspiracy, the more likely it will be revealed.
But this had an equally effective result. Fear. And a reaction from "the government" to further restrict freedoms. At the Austin airport, the driver can't leave the car when dropping someone off (even for a second, like to open the trunk). And nobody can do drive by pick ups, you have to park in the parking garage. At least they haven't blocked off 15% of the spots like they did right after 9/11. And security is doing random inspection of cars going to the terminal. ABIA boarded 780,000 passengers in May.
No mention of the new security procedures on the ABIA home page (www.abia.com)
Now this makes sense!!
The only logical reason I can think of for any of these loosers to blow themselves up is to get laid. Assuming they actually get to heaven and Moh. gives them the 72 virgins, they FINALLY get favorable odds at getting laid!! Maybe they should get nominated for Darwin awards!
What's really worrisome
What really worries me is not seeing these idiots do such stupid headline grabbers, but why we *DON'T* see more *REAL* attacks.
Making an effective IUD is not rocket science. Anyone with a high school (middle school for our Imperial friends) education in chemistry and some imagination can do this - that is, if they actually STUDIED.
There will always be malcontents wanting to "disrupt" the status-quo for any variety of reasons, from woolly-headed "idealism" to very real economic reasons. The fact that serious attempts to disrupt society are so few and so very far between is the curious - and worrisome - anomaly in this whole "terror" scenario.
As Mr. Page points out, the PIRA was quite effective at doing real damage, often using simple devices and plans. Again, no rocket science here: just some thought into what was being attempted and how to go about doing it. Yet even the PIRA failed at doing any REAL damage - yes, lives were lost, and economic damage was sustained, but the Anglo-American way of life continued unchecked.
I am truly concerned that what we have as "radicals" are naught but amateur bogey men - more like amateur Hollywood SFX crews than real terrorists. Where are the *REAL* terrorists in all of this? Why have we not seen the types of attack that are daily occurrences in Iraq or Sri Lanka or Pakistan?
My personal theory: 90% of the "Al Quida operatives" that get into England or the U.S. decide that, well, you know, working at a convenience store may not be top of the heap, but it beats the crap out of starving on the streets of some piss-ant dirtbag city. So...they become "sleepers" that, unfortunately for their mates, decide to never wake up...and in turn become typical citizens.
Not with a bang, but a whimper...or, more correctly, as sigh and a belch after dinner...
Oh at long last!
This gets my vote for article of the year from The Register. I include every other newspaper and media outlet in that. Thank you for being one dissenting voice in a million, but a voice with some intelligence
Re : Sing it Brother
http://blog.interrupt3h.com/?p=19 is one that has picked up on the ... lack of 'professionalism' shall we say ...
... disagree that TWOT is won ...
" disagree that the War on Terror is won, and damn you as a neocon stooge of Karl Rove, "
Umm, I think you maybe need a scorecard to keep up, so let me help:
Neo Cons: claim the war on terror will go on for generations and are trying their hardest to stoke up the panic and fear.
Usual Commentators: claim that terrorism isn't half the threat it's made out to be and the whole thing is being hyped up by anti-democratic authoritarians within our society who want to undermine freedom and democracy and rule by executive dictat.
So how would this author saying that the neocon's attitude is a load of rubbish make anyone think he's a stooge of them? I really can't see that myself...
Surely the war on terror has been lost...
...and the proof is the media response generated by these failed attacks.
But that's the point!
"[...] petrol, gas etc make for an excellent, photogenic fireball"
Exactly. Guaranteed plenty of publicity, but didn't actually hurt anyone (apart from the odd would-be bombers, of course). The instigators can claim that no real people were hurt during the making of this film. Just the thing to please the "boys back home" (Islamist mullahs) without causing undue guilt or second thoughts amongst the future AQ candidates they're trying to fill with fire of their own.
You don't have to be a complete and utter fuckwit to work here
...but it helps.
This isn't terror, this is cabaret, FFS !
I keep expecting Jacqui Smith to burst into song.
these aren't terrorists, they aren't even clowns
Those bozos weren't even amateur hour, they were kindergarten pre-naptime entertainment. I shudder to think what a _real_ terrorist could have done. Timmy McVeigh, for instance, or any of dozens of Islamist bomb-makers in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan... The old PIRA must be laughing themselves sick.
Anyone surprised by the ignorance?
I'm delighted to find that the latest batch of Terrorists in the UK are so utterly incompetant that they only injure themselves (got to feel glad a Suicide Bomber can't even get the first bit right). But for those amazed by the ignorance have to remember the dimwitted ignorance that has bred their motivation. If these people were indeed intelligent types who consider what they do before they do it, rather than just go off and act on something that seemed good, then they wouldn't have signed up for a demented jihad against the UK in the first place.
That's it, goad them.
July 2006: Dozens killed and maimed by terrorists exploding homemade devices on London transport. The terrorists killed by their own actions and much of their support network 'rolled-up' by our security forces.
June 2007: A new crop of terrorists (obviously less-well-schooled than their forerunners) creates a threat that fails to materialise. Some in the community heave a sigh of relief and thank whatever gods made them. Others - mainly among the smartarse tendency - jeer and point, presumably with the objective of goading misguided muslims into learning more effective ways to slaughter innocents.
Sir, when the next terrorist is successful at killing and maiming British citizens, I will remind myself to write to you and ask, "So, are you happy now?"
There were proper terrorists when I was a lad
This whole thing just showed a lack of effort.
When I was a lad at least the IRA put their backs into it.
Fuel Air bomb...
I was within a mile of an effective fuel-air bomb when Buncefield went up...rattled a few tiles that one did.
I reckon ITV news must win - hands down - the "potential mass-murder" prize for overstatement.
> Sir, when the next terrorist is successful at killing and maiming British citizens,
> I will remind myself to write to you and ask, "So, are you happy now?"
Pchao. And then you will have achieved what exactly? Please explain. In your response, consider the fact that the author does not condone terrorism, does not incite hatred and does not want anti-terrorism efforts stopped. Also consider that we all know that there absolutely, positively will be a next successful terrorist attack. And nothing can stop it.
In other words: Filed under "emotional blackmail".
So much for "Big Brother"
After all the rubbish put about by the "big brother is watching you" brigade, it turns out that police had to scan CCTV footage from cameras around London, to find which way the cars came into town.
And the media still haven't told us whether the drivers of the cars committed the ultimate crime : not paying the London Congestion Charge!
Be alert ; the country needs Lerts!
Ridicule is our best weapon against terrorism
@John A Blackley: Damn right we should be ridiculing these people, and making it very clear for all the world to see that no, sir, we will NOT be terrorized, we will hold our heads up high, laugh in your face and spit in your eyes.
And if the terrorists do succeed in killing and maiming, we will mourn, we will vow never to give in to terrorist acts, then put up our "Business as Usual" signs and continue with a renewed determination not to stop living our lives as free people.
That, Sir, is the best way to defeat terrorism. It is the ONLY way. That determination and refusal to roll over and die is how Britain survived the Blitz and the PIRA. If we choose to live in fear, and let our liberties be stripped away "for our protection", then we are part of the problem, and we're throwing away all that generations past fought and died for!
Sadly our politicians would have us live in fear, because it suits their political agendas, and the mass media would have us live in fear, because emotion and hype get higher ratings. Terrorists also want us to live in fear. Spot the difference?
@What's really worrisome
"Making an effective IUD is not rocket science...."
Intra-Uterine Device? (Conjurs up image of exploding nether-regions).
IED I think ;-)
I agree. I'm not inclined to blow a gasket about these piddling little events.
That said, who is to say its not a precursor? Surely it makes sense to test the 'defences' of your 'enemy' before launching a real attack.
If what's being said about the background of these people, they aren't your average home grown tosspot with a grudge.
Lets hope its just a bit of idiocy.
Love the headline!
John A Blackley, you are not alone
> Sir, when the next terrorist is successful at killing and maiming British citizens,
> I will remind myself to write to you and ask, "So, are you happy now?"
Yep. So will I.
I don't live in fear of terrorists.
It's the apologist morons on here who frighten me.
improvised IUD? Or clingfilm condom...
IUD/IED: Gah! Beat me to it. re Teh! Terrible! Terrist! Firebomz!, the fact that they tried to ignite ANYTHING in this dreadful swamp of a country says quite a lot about their abilities, does it not? They'd have caused far more mayhem with the judicious placement of a binbag over a drain grating I reckon.
Perhaps it was a rough boarding school but, in the early '70s, I remember older boys teaching me how to make petrol bombs (using petrol siphoned from teachers cars).
It was demonstrated that too much fuel in the milk bottle and it burned but did not explode. Too little and it just went out. A goodly supply of air and petrol and you get a lovely bang.
The benefits of an English Public School education. Obviously, nobody from AQ at my school!
Try a different gas next time...
Glad to see it wasn't just me that thought “hang on a minute, consumer propane / butane gas cylinders don’t blow up in a fire…” when this all hit the news.
I remember seeing a health & safety video once where a propane gas cylinder was put in the middle of a fire. All that happened was a jet of propane shot out when the safety valve let go. I suppose if any bystanders were daft enough to hang about long enough watching, they might have been toasted.
I'd recommend they use acetylene next time round. Do these people not keep an eye on the news http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/6694385.stm .
All you have to do is leave the valve open in an enclosed vehicle, acetylene has an alarming tendency to spontaneously explode under such conditions.
While they're at it, they could try taking ceramic kitchen knives along next time they want to hijack a plane. While every-one's surrendering their toothpaste, you can waltz through an airport scanner with one down your sock with no problem. http://www.hartsofstur.com/acatalog/FK_White_Zircona_Ceramic_Knives.html
Opps, now they'll start routine strip-searches at airports and ban welding.
Something's not quite right about all this is it?
Interesting article, i guess we should wait for a while to see how many of the people arrested are quietly released or charged for the crime they actually got arrested for.
Its interesting to note that the two BNP men who got arrested a couple of months ago and are now in court charged with having chemical explosives and planning an attack has hardly been on the news at all...only place i read about it is in the lancashire section of bbc news...
I've certainly seen more specaticular results from a thunderflash in a deep dug dunny, and the whole thing is way below amateur night at the village hall.
However, I'd suggest the reason is actually the CT effort. Obviously the group lacked training, AQ seems to have been quite good at this and Afg gave them the space to test and train. They now lack the secure development and training facilities so rely far more on 'theory' and wannabee bombers lack practical skills. Next, the recent wannabees used materials easily obtained without raising suspicion. It also seems likely that they avoided hanging out around fundamentalist imams, visiting iffy countries, etc, so as not to attract attention. Again fear of CT.
I had thought that all this indicated that AQ had no role, however, as information about the arrested emerges it invites the question about how this disparate group came into being, how did they they find each other so quickly without being noticed? It might have been luck, but the obvious conclusion is it was before they got to UK, or that they were part of an organisation and were put in contact with each other after arriving in UK, this suggests a bit more of an organised conspiracy and real sleepers, fortunately undertrained thus far.
Real sleepers with half decent training and some without suicide tendencies would present a serious challenge. Could the govt really convince the voters that 50 deaths a year in UK through islamic terrorism is just the price of democracy? Could the media be persuaded to accept that line? Logically its obvious that it should, but logic doesn't have much to do with it.
I have to agree with the general feeling that this is an outstanding article in the current climate. The media did a good job of portraying this as the UK under serious attack, but once you filter the paranoid ramblings out and find out the truth, you can have a chuckle. I've been to Glasgow airport numerous times as it's my local airport and I could have told any idiot that they have good strong bollards in front of the doors and driving right through them would be nearly impossible. A quick trip over and a look around before the attack would have told these fools that. Why attack an airport anyway? Isn't that getting a bit cliched? Security is always high there and that's why the police had these idiots in handcuffs within minutes. They could have taken a metal pole into the street and swung it in a full circle and caused more casualties that this attack was likely to.
Since it appears some members of this 'terror cell'/Kindergarten were foreign doctors working in the UK and this is the smartest attack they could come up with, doesn't that worry anyone more?
I don't feel terrorized. Merely inconvenienced.
A Us perspective
Thank you! thank you! for some perspective - I nearly hurled my dinner having lto listen to Brian Williams on NBC pontificate about the increased threat and how we were going on "ALERT" because of this. Is there no reliable news source left on this planet ?, People are so afraid to tell the truth as it might hurt ratings , unless you are the Daily Show . As was it was well pointed out you are well more likely to get hit buy a bus or by lightning than to be snagged by one of these so called terrorist events . Iraq , now theres a dangerous place where last month was concidered a good month because "only" 1200 civilians died - move there if you want to worry about car bombs - they know how to do it right.
John A Blackley, you are not alone... but you don't have a whole lot of friends round here.
" I don't live in fear of terrorists.
It's the apologist morons on here who frighten me. "
There aren't any apologists here. You just made that up. You're lying, you're putting words into people's mouths that just aren't there. Not one single person here is in favour of terrorism.
What there IS, is, there's a whole load of other people who also, just like you, don't live in fear of terrorists. In fact, we live /so/ not in fear of terrorists, that we've made rational and balanced decisions about how we rate the risk and threat and how we balance it against costs and benefits, and we've decided it's not worth sacrificing any more of what are after all /our/ - meaning yours and mine - rights, not the terrorists', for the utterly risible reduced risk it would bring us.
Oh, and then there's you with your "Everyone who doesn't think exactly like me must be evil".
Now you can argue with us about the weight we assign to the various risks and costs and benefits of the various tradeoffs between security and freedom, and you can think we're wrong, but if you had a point to make or an actual argument, you'd have made it, but you didn't, you had nothing but cheap emotional abuse. You didn't have a point to make about what we should be doing, you just wanted to say that everyone who isn't like you must be bad and wrong.
In that one respect, you even think alike to the terrorists. That doesn't mean I'm calling you an apologist for, or supporter of terrorism, or saying that you're in any way comparable to or as bad as them. I'm not as dishonest as you. It does, however, say that you make the same basic psychological errors of egotism and solipsism in your personal and political judgements, and that they are therefore not to be relied on.
What it's really all about
Nice article - the technical appreciation is spot-on.
A couple of points though.
It seems a number of the 'cell' members are doctors. Aren't they supposed to be intelligent? And have passed pretty intensive chemistry and physics exams?
Given their level of competency demonstrated by this exercise, perhaps they should have quietly stayed working as doctors and achieved a much higher body count without even trying?
However there is a more serious point about these hi-jinks. The group have achieved at least two of their aims - disruption and publicity. They will also have given the government yet another excuse to tighten up on ordinary people and their daily activities.
For the marginal cost of three cars and some gas bottles they have demonstrated how easy it is to get the British Government to do exactly what they want - which is to become every more authoritarian and remove yet more civil liberties. Stand by for the increased guards at airports, car exclusion zones, and restrictions on sale and ownership of gas bottles.
We are certain to see more of these disruptive activities - with varying degrees of lethality but with guaranteed ever increasing inconvenience.
I think the job was planned by Beavis and Achmed.
More like a plot from Spooks everyday
Say , this is more like a failed plot from the TV series " Spooks" , each day the mainstream media runs with the Police Propaganda Machine in crap overload output!
But hey, the late Abe Lincoln said it best in the following words "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."
Or as the much downtrodden Chief Sitting Bull of the Souix Nation would say white men from officialdom speak with very forked tongue!
This is reassuring
I am quite pleased to see that there are many people that are keeping their wits about concerning this sad event. Of course, Reg readers are above the norm, but it's nice to see it confirmed.
That said, I am worried about the comparisons between wartime UK and "modern" UK. I think it is high time that England adopts a new motto : What Would Churchill Do ?
Obviously, in this case, he wouldn't even stop smoking his cigar.
It would be nice to see "mainstream" media adopt this kind of attitude. Right now, they look much too much like Fox News for my own comfort.
Those silly old terrorists
Oh dear it all went wrong... The point of your article is moronic.
So how many goes did it take to collapse the twin towers? You seem to be forgetting that the UK has been dealing with terrorists since the mid 70's. The IRA used to be laughably incompetent as well, after a few blown up and burned operatives they got it together and started to do some serious damage.
The recent attempts were pretty amatuer, but I don't think that qualifying as a medical doctor makes you an idiot.
This campaign marks a definate turn in tactics and perception about who the terrorists are. They are not British born disaffected poorly educated youths; hence the coverage in the press.
As well as that I don't seem to recall the front of a major airport entrance being rammed by a flaming car being in much in the news as of late, so I expect the overall novelty value has pushed this story to the front pages of the press.
Hype is stupid but helpful
This article sounds utterly convincing to me, but overplaying the seriousness of these attacks may have some positive effects. Presumably a series of ineffective attacks like this present a great opportunity to gather intelligence. The present coverage will presumably encourage any would-be jihadis to continue on their present path - handing out valuable intelligence with little danger to the public. If the coverage was more accurate then presumably these guys would be going back to the drawing board to come up with more effective techniques, which would be unfortunately for anyone blown up as a result.
Of course this assumes that stupid reporting in the mass media is less of a tragedy than people being killed by terrorists. I think stupid reporting in the mass media IS a tragedy, but it seems pretty much inevitable these days.
Oh Dear, don't catch cold
I'm actually more worried that these idiots could pass themselves off as doctors - is the NHS that hard up?
I couldn't agree more. You have to first test things before trying them in public. It is as simple as that. I have to say that not getting a trigger mechanism to work is more embarrassing than the uselessness of the "bomb", that is something you can test as much as required until you get it right.
I have to say the police and fire service only treated the attack at Glasgow airport the way they did to be sure the gas canisters could be safely removed, to check that there weren't any other vehicles with inflammable material and because there was significant smoke damage to the main terminal building. I know this as I was there on Sunday.
We have been saved from any serious threat in the past week thanks to the incompetence of the so called terrorists. I doubt that will continue indefinitely. Personally I hope that it does.