back to article Panicked WH Smith kills website to stop sales of how-to terrorism manuals

Prominent British bookseller W H Smith voluntarily shut its website for emergency "maintenance" last night after being warned by The Register that it was selling a range of DIY terror manuals – such as the Improvised Munitions Handbook that offer procedures for making bombs and explosive booby-traps. The site also offered two …

Facepalm

"The art of the deal" is still for sale I see.

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Really WHS, don't ban knowledge, let it be used to illuminate the absurdity of hateful arguments.

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FAIL

All are avalaible on Amazon

In the US. But of course, we have a Freedom of the Press.

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Re: All are avalaible on Amazon

Errrr, "yay fox news?'

For what it's worth, I agree with the non-censorship issue, but I hardly think American media is anything to gloat about.

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Paris Hilton

... and as for that other nasty terrorist manual

Are you going to include The Bible by any chance? Might not tell you have to build a bomb but it repeatedly has clear instructions on how to bring down an administration by both passive and active resistance.

Theresa May would not be amused.

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Re: All are avalaible on Amazon

You don't really understand what the word "freedom" means do you? When applied to speech & the press, it means the government is not allowed to control either. That means lots of people & organizations you don't like or think are stupid, have as much right to say what they want as you do.

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Re: All are avalaible on Amazon

@ The Man Who Fell To Earth

You said: "But of course, we have a Freedom of the Press."

Jamie Jones said: "For what it's worth, I agree with the non-censorship issue"

Then you return with: "You don't really understand what the word "freedom" means do you? When applied to speech & the press, it means the government is not allowed to control either."

FFS, pull your head out!

He just got finished agreeing with you, and you're giving him the fail icon?

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I really wish the people in charge would stop making stupid panic decisions. No terrorist is making bombs while reading a "how to" guide. They either already have a background in it - or they are using this big network of computers we like to call "the internet" and very specific websites at that. They won't be browsing these sites on unprotected connections they will at the very least be going through a proxy server and a VPN.

If we continue down this route in 10 years time you will need to have a license or video proof that you have a garden in order to buy some fertiliser.

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wrong turn

"If we continue down this route in 10 years time you will need to have a license or video proof that you have a garden in order to buy some fertiliser."

Another 10 years after that and garden books will be censored. Growing your own food can easily be turned into a charge of interfering with commercial or government interests. And so on it goes. (sigh) Better to just not go down that road at all. Efforts to control information never lead to information going away, and only leads to freedom going away.

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@Andrew Jones 2

So the fact (not supposition) that a certain Thomas Mair, 53 is stated to have used the contents of such a book to build a device to kill Jo Cox does not blow a hole in your weak arguement. It is not just stupid master mind terrorists but feable minded bigots and dopes we have to worry about. I realise you made a sort of Trump sound bite but is that all there is to life and death?

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Anonymous Coward

Sites?

What, like youtube???

FFS, ANY first year chemsitry student has a knowledge of explosive chemistry that would rival any cottage industry bomb maker.

Knee jerk reaction.

Banning knowledge is NEVER the solution.

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Re: Sites?

My daughter's school chemistry book has revision on the nitrification of benzene. It warns to keep the temperature low otherwise it makes TNT! Obvious terrorist training!

BAN CHEMISTRY! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

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If we continue down this route in 10 years time you will need to have a license or video proof that you have a garden in order to buy some fertiliser.

You already need a licence to sell it (at least the stuff which can be encouraged to go bang).

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Re: Sites?

Ban thinking! Think of the children!!

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Re: @Andrew Jones 2

So the fact (not supposition) that a certain Thomas Mair, 53 is stated to have used the contents of such a book to build a device to kill Jo Cox does not blow a hole in your weak arguement.

And the fact that she was stabbed and shot blows a hole in yours?

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Re: wrong turn

"Growing your own food can easily be turned into a charge of interfering with commercial or government interests."

We already have that for gardening. It is already forbidden to use traditional techniques using household chemicals or substances derived from plants for pest control and as fertilisers. There was a commonly available book in the 80s which documented how to make pesticides from rhubarb leaves, tobacco leaves, soap etc. Removed from sale because it "advocated the use of unregulated pesticides". It's not permitted to sell seed other than via large commercial seed businesses that support agri-business and don't have much interest in the domestic gardener. Old, but tasty, varieties of plants are under threat because it's not permitted to sell the seed within gardening clubs.

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Re: Sites?

BAN CHEMISTRY! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Labour government tried. And succeeded - it was discussed in the House of Commons at the time.

I remember writing to my MP regarding Labour using court orders to prohibit potential subversives attending an adult education high-school level Chemistry course a few years back.

So UK government has indeed tried and has successfully applied a CHEMISTRY BAN to suspect on the basis of the mere suspicion that said suspect may be dangerous.

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Re: @Andrew Jones 2

Would you actually need a book to work out how to 'shoot and stab' anyone or would you just watch Rambo, Die Hard or any other Hollywood "blockbuster" produced since 1950?

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Re: wrong turn

Already happened.

Read up on the patent violation lawsuits some farmers have faced for violating their End User License Agreements when growing Monsanto seeds and daring to try to keep some back for sowing next year instead of buying more...

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Re: @Andrew Jones 2

"So the fact (not supposition) that a certain Thomas Mair, 53 is stated to have used the contents of such a book to build a device to kill Jo Cox does not blow a hole in your weak arguement."

No, it doesn't because it's not true. Thomas Mair killed Jo Cox by shooting her with a sawn-off shotgun and stabbing her with a knife. The only "devices" recovered from his home were "Nazi regalia and memorabilia". He bought books from National Vanguard Books that may have included details of how to improvise weapons. There's no evidence that he constructed such a device.

More to the point is that Mair suffered from mental illness that was not treated and he was taken advantage of by American Neo-Nazis. Their techniques parallel those of ISIS, attracting individuals who are relatively easy to manipulate and feeding them a diet of mental filth in order to use them as murderers.

Why state that something is a fact when it clearly isn't?

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Re: @Andrew Jones 2

"Would you actually need a book to work out how to 'shoot and stab' anyone or would you just watch Rambo, Die Hard or any other Hollywood "blockbuster" produced since 1950?"

And that is someone putting their finger firmly on one of the root causes of the problem, Mr Hat. But it's not just the block busters. The entertainment industry teaches children from an early age that violence is the solution to all problems. Starting with children's cartoons and shows such as "Power Rangers", children are exposed to the message that violence has no adverse consequences and that violence is the first response to anything that you don't like.

The worst in this respect from my era was "The A Team" which showed every week that you can fire guns at people, throw hand grenades and explode bombs without any danger of killing someone or doing more than slightly singing their hair.

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Re: Sites?

"Ban thinking! Think of the children!!"

Ban children! Think of the thinking!

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Re: Growing your own food can

has food barter not been proclaimed "illegal" already somewhere? Was it US, recently?

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"If we continue down this route in 10 years time you will need to have a license or video proof that you have a garden in order to buy some fertiliser."

You already can't buy a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide from Boots. Apparently it's because some people "abuse" it.

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Re: Growing your own food can

"has food barter not been proclaimed "illegal" already somewhere? Was it US, recently?"

Probably. It's certainly true that the USA bans people trying to live "off grid" by misusing sanitation laws and by claiming that anyone who saves the rainwater from their own roof is "stealing" water that belongs to a private company. We can't have people living responsibly by sourcing their own water, disposing of sewage via a private water treatment system and generating their own off-grid electricity - that could hurt profits.

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"You already can't buy a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide from Boots."

Dang, you're right. I had forgotten that. After I had some dental work done a couple of years ago my dentist told me that I should use H2O2 as a mouthwash for a week "You can use perborate or you can buy diluted H2O2 with flavouring from Colgate but it's easier and cheaper to buy a small bottle of peroxide and dilute it to use as a mouthwash." I visited Boots, they refused to sell it to me, even though I made it quite obvious to the pharmacist that I have a chemistry degree and knew how to handle high test peroxide, let alone the diluted stuff sold in pharmacists.

On a separate occasion they refused to sell me boric acid to be used to kill ants and also for use as an antiseptic. That seems to have more to do with wanting to sell expensive commercial ant killer and antiseptic solutions.

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Happy

I buy 40% H2O2 on Amazon. I guess I could get the books too if I needed them but since my Comprehensive School chemistry course covered all the relevant details I don't need to.

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TNT

My daughter's school chemistry book has revision on the nitrification of benzene. It warns to keep the temperature low otherwise it makes TNT! Obvious terrorist training!

Complete nitration[*] of benzene would produce trinitrobenzene. This is however quite hard to achieve: each subsequent nitro substituent reduced the reactivity of the benzene core, so that fairly extreme measures are needed to make the third nitro group go in in a direct nitration of benzene. It is highly unlikely these reaction conditions will occur due to accidental overheating in a lab; Even then, the yields are very low, so this is not a very useful synthetic route.

Because the presence of an aliphatic substituent enhances the reactivity of the benzene core, direct full nitration of toluene is possible (although the conditions are still quite harsh for a laboratory process; it requires several hours of boiling on an oil bath), leading to trinitrotoluene (aka TNT). A common mistake for rookie students trying to synthesize dinitrotoluene is to overheat the reaction vessel, producing an appreciable amount of TNT.

Been there, done that, got a proper scolding from the lab supervisor :)

[*] Not nitrification; Nitrification is oxidation of ammonia to a nitrate, a rather different reaction.

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Re: Sites?

i remember doing that experiment in A-Level chemistry. The teacher kept a very close eye on the termperture to the point of jumping over a bench (he was a black belt in something) to turn the burner off.

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Try superdrug, Boots are rubbish

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I used borax to sprinkle in my socks to control foot odour (No, I don't have smelly feet but thanks for asking) but now I cannot buy borax, only "borax substitute". I don't recall plans for a borax bomb....

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Re: @Andrew Jones 2

"Why state that something is a fact when it clearly isn't?"

It worked for Donald Trump.

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Re: TNT

Are you a dangerous subversive spreading banned knowledge!!!

How dare you demonstrate an understanding of chemistry. Ban him!!!!!!!!!

And since he posted anonymously - ban everyone who has ever posted anonymously just in case. Or anyone who has thought about doing it. And their pets.

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Re: @Andrew Jones 2

The MP was shot, wasn't she?

He was found to have the materials in his possession but had no device constructed from its content.

As for any terrorist organisation buying its training materials from WHSmith - LMAO. They are pissing themselves laughing right now.

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Re: @Andrew Jones 2

"Why state that something is a fact when it clearly isn't?"

Haven't you been paying attention to the outcomes of recent political campaigns? People aren't interested in facts any more. The truth is a turn-off. Wild rhetoric, confidently asserted, is what the majority wants.

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Re: @Andrew Jones 2

@ Richard Jones 1

"So the fact (not supposition) that a certain Thomas Mair, 53 is stated to have used the contents of such a book to build a device to kill Jo Cox does not blow a hole in your weak arguement. It is not just stupid master mind terrorists but feable minded bigots and dopes we have to worry about."

Thank you for your post. These forums need more people who are, as you seem to be, familiar with facts, weak arguement, and the 'feable minded'.

I, for one, feel certain that a job in government is in your future.

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Re: Growing your own food can

@ Lotaresco

"Probably. It's certainly true that the USA bans people trying to live "off grid" by misusing sanitation laws and by claiming that anyone who saves the rainwater from their own roof is "stealing" water that belongs to a private company."

That would be you being completely and spectacularly wrong.

Not only does the bartering of goods (including foodstuffs) and services happen every day in the US, but people collect and use rain water regularly for their own purposes.

This doesn't take place furtively, in the shadows, but in broad daylight, right on Main street.

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No terrorist is making bombs while reading a "how to" guide.

I'm sorry, but you're mistaken, and I've actually heard the evidence for myself -- I was within earshot of the Brixton nailbomb attack by Stuart Copeland, if you remember that particular bedroom Nazi saddo nutcase.

Lots of self-starter groups and individuals develop the capability to make viable explosives themselves using cookbooks like these. Admittedly AQ and other groups disseminate the same info and suppressing these books doesn't mean AQ won't still have access to the information, but there are plenty of other people for whom access to the info would move things from malignant daydreams to the realm of actual attacks.

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Re: wrong turn

Really genuinely puzzled why this fatuous remark has so many ups and so few downs. It obviously complete bollocks. What have I missed?

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Re: Sites?

Banning knowledge is NEVER the solution.

I refute you thus:

"What's your password, then?"

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Re: @Andrew Jones 2

No, it doesn;t blow a hole in his argument, because the gun was a home-made or adapted from a replica in the manner described in the books.

See also the 7/7 attackers who killed rather more than one person using homebrewed explosives.

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Anonymous Coward

Amazon leaves a nice data trail for those monitoring such sites for 'interesting' purchases.

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Borax?

Used to use shitloads of that for glazes in Pottery at school.

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Re: @Andrew Jones 2

"..is stated to have used the contents..." does not mean he actually used the contents.

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Sweet Jesus

A *dentist* told you to use perborate, intraorally? Fuck me. What the hell school has he been trained at? Bioavailable boron is a goddamned carcinogen. A peroxy- compound containing boron, definitely so. There's a reason it's no longer added routinely to washing detergent.

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Re: TNT

My daughter's school chemistry book has revision on the nitrification of benzene. It warns to keep the temperature low otherwise it makes TNT! Obvious terrorist training!

That reads like multiple of bollocks.

As some others have noted benzene nitrates to 1, 2 or 3 nitrobenzene. Nothing to do with TNT.

If you are nitrating toluene you need to keep it cool because of the bit that they do not teach you in the school chemistry course - that most reactions are imperfect.

This is covered in most university chemical synthesis courses: Instead of taking the nitro groups at "perfect" 2, 4 and 6, nitration of tolene results significant contamination of isomers which are nitrated at 5 and 3. Especially at increased temperatures. These are unstable and can cause spontaneous combustion in the end product.

This is also the reason why you will never find TNT in a DIY explosive "bible" - if you try to produce it outside an industrial environment (and subject to appropriate purification) the results will suck. There is plenty of other stuff which is much easier to produce and is significantly more effective.

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Re: Growing your own food can

Not only does the bartering of goods (including foodstuffs) and services happen every day in the US

USA HAD laws to prohibit that introduced by FDR during the war for obvious reasons.

Some of these were repealed by court cases in the 70-es. I am not sure if this is valid of all of them.

As far as rainwater collection, etc - all of these everywhere in the world need appropriate planning permission and legalization. This is not US specific. I cannot just hook up my rainwater to my water supply, I need to put certain things in place (non-return valves, etc).

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FAIL

"I'm sorry, but you're mistaken, and I've actually heard the evidence for myself -- I was within earshot of the Brixton nailbomb attack by Stuart Copeland, if you remember that particular bedroom Nazi saddo nutcase."

ROFL.

The Brixton nail bomb attack was perpetrated by David Copeland. Stewart Copeland was the drummer for The Police, you even got his name wrong which is a spectacular fail.

I used to work not far away from where Copeland lived. He was a relatively well known local nutcase and although he did download a "terrorists handbook" nothing that he did was particularly unusual or difficult to work out without one. He bought fireworks, unpacked them, assembled them into a bomb, created a very simple electrical detonator and wrapped his bombs in nails. People had been doing elements of these things for decades before the appearance of any "handbooks" and the manufacture of pipe bombs was fairly common knowledge in the (slightly posh) school that I attended in the 60s.

It is not possible to suppress information effectively. Trying to control terrorism by controlling information is as pointless as trying to stop a flood with a bucket of sand. Copeland should have been detected much earlier. He was showing overt signs that he was in need of help since the age of 12, but the government policy of shutting down care for people with mental problems meant that he was "under the radar" at the time that he was most vulnerable.

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Re: @Andrew Jones 2

" the gun was a home-made or adapted from a replica in the manner described in the books."

That is supposition. The police have never published the evidence to support the claim, all that is known is that he used a gun of some sort. The most likely explanation is that it was a sawn-off shotgun. No one needs a book to tell them to saw the barrels and stock off a gun. All they need to do is watch a Guy Ritchie film.

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Re: Growing your own food can

The US law wasn't about protecting the water quality it was about downstream users.

If you have a 2000acre farm in the midwest and build a dam to collect all the rain water that falls on it - the farms and towns downstream suffer.

The story was that the law could be applied to regular houses with a rain barrel - it wasn't being but the media needed a silly season story

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