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 …

  1. AlexS
    Facepalm

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

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

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

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      All are avalaible on Amazon

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

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        FAIL

        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.

        1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
          FAIL

          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.

          1. Kurt Meyer

            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?

    3. macjules Silver badge
      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.

  2. Andrew Jones 2

    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.

    1. Ole Juul Silver badge

      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.

      1. Lotaresco Silver badge

        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.

        1. lnLog

          Re: wrong turn

          'it's not permitted to sell the seed within gardening clubs.'

          seriously? trick there is not to sell, if you want to ensure old varieties continue then be willing to provide cuttings and seeds for free

          1. Lotaresco Silver badge

            Re: wrong turn

            "seriously?"

            Yes, seriously it's another case of the law being an ass. Every seed variety offered for sale is supposed to be tested and registered. the cost is about £3k for the registration which is why people growing the seed would like some money back. At the moment, as you suggest, you can get around it by distributing for free but "they" want to make that illegal also.

            It just seems like madness. The rules are clearly set up to give big growers an advantage over small and amateur growers and are particularly biased to having a monoculture with little variation. That means that, as with bananas, a disease that affects one plant can probably infect all of them.

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: wrong turn

            'it's not permitted to sell the seed within gardening clubs.'

            seriously?

            The Woodland Trust in their work potentially fall foul of this regulation, as they are dedicated to protecting the UK's ancient woodland and creating new woodland from seed and cuttings sourced wholly from within the UK (and ideally reasonably locally to the planting).

            The mostly get around it by encouraging volunteers to go out each year and collect seed, which they then plant and distribute to organizations and community groups wishing to plant their own wood.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        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...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Growing your own food can

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

        1. Lotaresco Silver badge

          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.

          1. Kurt Meyer

            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.

            1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

              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).

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                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

              2. Kurt Meyer

                Re: Growing your own food can

                @ Voland's right hand

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

                Thank you for the history lesson.

                The US also HAD laws prohibiting the manufacture or consumption of alchoholic beverages. The US also HAD laws prohibiting women from voting. The US also HAD laws enslaving the black portion of the populace.

                What exactly is your point in referencing laws the US HAD but no longer does?

                Barter occurs every day in the US, in every part of the US. Are you seriously attempting to dispute this?

              3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

                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.

                The only "obvious reason" is the enslavement of the population. Unless one is a complete retard in all matter economics as FDR was but wants to take decisions anyway. Fucking dirtbag, that guy.

            2. Lotaresco Silver badge
              WTF?

              Re: Growing your own food can

              @Kurt Meyer

              "That would be you being completely and spectacularly wrong."

              No really, it isn't. I have friends who have been affected by this nonsense. It is down to US cities enforcing the "International Property Maintenance Code" in an arbitrary and unfair manner. Examples include a US Marine in Huntsville thrown out of the home he owns for the crime of existing on harvested rainwater. There's the case of a woman in Cape Coral, Florida evicted for the same crime of daring not to use city utilities and daring to tell people about it. There's a general assault against citizens who dare to have a lifestyle that doesn't fit with being good little consumers.

              The authorities in the United States and Canada appear to be misusing The International Property Maintenance Code which states that properties are unsafe to live in if they do not have electricity and running water. The interpretation being used by the authorities is that off-grid power and water that is harvested from the sky do not count as "electricity and running water".

              There's also this:

              "Collecting rainwater in barrels is a common Earth-friendly and off-grid living practice, but the sustainable existence chore is illegal in many states. Unless you own the water rights on the property, it is not permissible to salvage rainwater in barrels for future use. Western states where water is in high demand, like Colorado, Utah, and Washington, have laws which prohibit rainwater collection or diversion." Man Imprisoned For Collecting Rainwater

              So it's fairly clear that the statements that you made are incorrect. Maybe you should learn the facts before you spew your outrage? Just a thought.

              1. Kurt Meyer

                Re: Growing your own food can

                @ Lotaresco

                "No really, it isn't."

                No, really, it is.

                " 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."

                You are spouting bullshit.

                I save the water off my own roof, and so do several of my immediate neighbors. In fact, a quick tour of the subdivision I live in revealed a couple of dozen rain barrels and/or water collection schemes. Not a single one of these home owners has ever been told that they are in violation of "The International Property Maintenance Code", whatever the fuck that's supposed to be.

                The city housing inspectors go through this neighborhood very frequently looking for violations of the local housing codes, and have never said a word to any resident about his or her collection of rainwater. Or the use they make of said rainwater.

                Municipalities have housing codes and other ordinances intended to provide a safe, healthy environment for their citizens? Who knew?

                If you desire to live in Huntsville, or Coral Gables, or Weston-super-Mare, you will be expected to be in compliance with the local regulations. What a surprise!

                Don't want to be on the grid? Move away from the grid. It is to be found in every city and many towns in the US, so your best bet is to move to a rural area, where there is no grid.

                A fair sized portion of my family are not on any water or sewer grid, none whatsoever. My brother isn't connected to any municipal water system, he gets all of his water from a combination of his wells, and collected rainwater. All perfectly legal, as much water as he needs to grow his crops and water his livestock. A sister in another state does likewise.

                "So it's fairly clear that the statements that you made are incorrect. Maybe you should learn the facts before you spew your outrage? Just a thought."

                No, my statements are correct.

                You mistake bemusement for outrage. Yet again I encounter on these pages a poster from another country who has no first hand knowledge of the communities where I live, but is bound and determined to tell me that I don't know, and he does know, how those communities actually work.

                I wouldn't presume to tell an Englishman what the "facts" were or how the governing was conducted in Kent, or Cornwall, or Yorkshire. I don't live in those places. I'll take him at his word, because he does live there.

                On a different note, I was sorry to read your post concerning gardening and the availability of seeds. I would think that HM government would strongly encourage the growing of as much fruit and veg as was possible by the citizenry.

                If you are interested, a book you might like to read is: "Cadillac Desert - the American west and its disappearing water." by Marc Reisner. Penguin Books, ISBN 0 14 01.7824 4

                Enough for now, I'm off to see if San Marino scored a goal in their match today.

                1. Lotaresco Silver badge
                  FAIL

                  Re: Growing your own food can

                  "No, really, it is."

                  Well that really convinced me. Emboldening the word "is" is just so convincing, so much better than all that tedious evidence.

                  "You are spouting bullshit."

                  Well researched, accurate, referenced "bullshit" with plenty of examples of people who have been subject to action to prevent them living off grid in the USA. Of course this meticulously documented evidence is of no value whatever when someone can perform the perfect put-down by emboldening the word "is" and shouting "bullshit" without providing a single reference of their own.

                  <rolls:eyes>

            3. tlhonmey

              Re: Growing your own food can

              Depends on where and when you are. The Socialist State of Washington had a complete ban on collecting rainwater until just a few years ago. Furthermore, I may not sell or even give away any of the milk my goats produce unless I have it processed in a certified facility.

              Such practices were common on a national level under FDR. He packed the courts so they'd rule that growing your own food would cause you to purchase less and thus "affected" interstate commerce. He then used these rulings to justify seizing and destroying wheat, corn, and livestock produced by small farmers for their own use in an amazingly horrible scheme to kickstart the economy by making sure prices stayed nice and high.

              New York city has made it illegal for private citizens to give food to homeless persons.

              Basically insanity is the norm, not the exception where humans are concerned.

            4. veti Silver badge

              Re: Growing your own food can

              As usual in the US, the facts are a little more nuanced than that.

              There are some states that have laws about what you can do with rainwater on your own property. Some of them have complex regimes of 'water rights' and 'permits' to do things that would otherwise be forbidden.

              So yes, the story is wildly exaggerated, but it's not complete fantasy.

              1. Lotaresco Silver badge
                WTF?

                Re: Growing your own food can

                " the story is wildly exaggerated"

                Go on, I'll bite, how can a story that is supported by references be "wildly exaggerated"?

          2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            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.

            For real? And to think we used to joke about taxing the air we breathe!

            I know in the UK, trespass laws won't get you anything, but in America, if a private company owns the water, can't you prosecute them for trespass, or sue for roof/rust damage, or charge them rent, or legally confiscate assets sent to you u solicited? !!

            1. 404 Silver badge

              Re: Growing your own food can

              'For real? And to think we used to joke about taxing the air we breathe!'

              You do pay tax for the air you breathe - part of the Government package enforcing clean air laws.

              Just not directly.

      4. Tom Paine Silver badge

        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?

    2. Richard Jones 1
      FAIL

      @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?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        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?

        1. Tom Paine Silver badge

          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.

          1. Lotaresco Silver badge

            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.

      2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        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?

        1. Lotaresco Silver badge

          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.

      3. Lotaresco Silver badge
        FAIL

        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?

        1. Titus Aduxass
          Facepalm

          Re: @Andrew Jones 2

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

          It worked for Donald Trump.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          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.

        3. Florida1920 Silver badge

          Re: @Andrew Jones 2

          Their techniques parallel those of Donald Trump, attracting individuals who are relatively easy to manipulate and feeding them a diet of mental filth....

          FTFY

      4. stu 19

        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.

      5. Kurt Meyer

        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.

      6. Fred Dibnah

        Re: @Andrew Jones 2

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

      7. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: @Richard Jones 1

        Son, back in Ye Olden Daze, a few cousins and friends played with assorted chemicals and our high school chemistry books plus one or two historical novels. We made gunpowder, guncotton, nitroglycerin, really crude versions of dynamite and plastic explosives, napalm, several different organo-phosphate nerve agents (hint: start with roach-killer spray), ammonium tri-iodide, lots of similar stuff. We made a lot of explosions and came really close to killing ourselves several times. Y'all gonna ban chemistry books, laddie? How about historical novels; we first encountered ammonium tri-iodide in a book set in late 19th century Austria. And certain tricks involving potassium permanganate, petrol, and sulphuric acid were taken from another book, set in France in the summer and fall of 1944.

        Don't be more of a berk than you can help, laddie.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        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!

        1. YetAnotherLocksmith

          Re: Sites?

          Ban thinking! Think of the children!!

          1. VinceH Silver badge

            Re: Sites?

            "Ban thinking! Think of the children!!"

            Ban children! Think of the thinking!

        2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          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.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          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.

          1. Jelder

            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.

          2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            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.

            1. 4ecks

              Re: TNT

              Easier to make things that go boom i.e. Nitric and Sulphuric acids, Glycerin, a bowl of Ice Water, and optional extra of cat litter.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: TNT

            ahh the smell of almonds takes me back...

          4. martinusher Silver badge

            Re: TNT

            TNT isn't particularly explosive, you'll only get it explode if you can detonate some explosive near to it. If you chuck a lump on a fire it will just burn.

            (This is why in when you see someone defusing a bomb in a WW2 TV drama you'll see our hero pull out the detonator as a mechanism that's screwed into to a small can of explosive. This can was called the gain and it was filled with a relatively sensitive high velocity explosive such as RDX which is what was used to set off the main charge. Without the gain the bomb would have just gone 'pop'.)

          5. Roj Blake Silver badge

            Re: TNT

            Schools and universities generally use toluene rather than benzene because of the latter's carcinogenic properties, which presumably would be easier to turn into TNT.

        4. James 51 Silver badge

          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.

        5. David 132 Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Sites?

          BAN CHEMISTRY! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

          I'm reminded of a spoof I read about recently (too lazy to google the source, so apologies if I mis-quote it).

          The basic premise was that at the rate we're going, children's chemistry sets in the near future wil consist solely of experiments like:

          Experiment A: "Dilute a small quantity of aqueous H2O by adding liquid Dihydrogen Monoxide. Observe that a quantiy of water has been produced."

          ...and even that would probably be banned eventually, because words like "Monoxide" sound SCARY and DANGEROUS.

        6. macjules Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Sites?

          BAN CHEMISTRY! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

          Meh. If you want a REAL chemistry set try this little beauty:

          Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab, The set came with four types of uranium ore, a beta-alpha source (Pb-210), a pure beta source (Ru-106), a gamma source (Zn-65?), a spinthariscope, a cloud chamber with its own short-lived alpha source (Po-210), an electroscope, a geiger counter, a manual, a comic book (Dagwood Splits the Atom) and a government manual "Prospecting for Uranium."

      2. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: Sites?

        Banning knowledge is NEVER the solution.

        I refute you thus:

        "What's your password, then?"

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Sites?

          Tom Paine says > "What's your password, then?"

          Completely confusing privacy and knowledge. So FAIL.

          Of course, as technology improves, knowledge coupled to more and more powerful tools will have more and more powerful, long-range effects.

          We won't be able to NOT tightly control virus assembly mechanisms in the long run...

          Larry Niven wrote about the ARM (Amalgamated Regional Militia) as enforcer of tech misuse.

          This will be needed at some point.

          But the Bureau of Sabotage is needed now, we are long past the point where gigantic kicks have to be given to political and governmental organizations.

    4. Rich 11 Silver badge

      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).

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Go Bang? Oh, you mean my Compost Heap

        That releases a considerable amount of Methane. Trap that and you could make something that goes bang.

        A farmer I know does this commercially (anerobic digester) and as a result powers his whole operation from the generated Electricity. He also sells the surplus to the grid.

    5. Wilseus

      "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.

      1. Lotaresco Silver badge

        "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.

        1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
          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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

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

        2. Falanx

          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.

          1. Lotaresco Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Sweet Jesus

            Here's a clue. Perborate mouthwash. Here's another Bocasan.

            Sodium perborate is still used in washing powder, it has not been banned.

            The EPA classifies boron as "not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity". So where on earth did you get your "facts" from?

      2. Robin Bradshaw

        Try superdrug, Boots are rubbish

      3. Mine's a pint

        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....

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Borax?

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

        2. hplasm Silver badge
          Big Brother

          re Borax

          Borax Substitute is an EU consequence. Ebayeee is one source of the real thing (a good soldering/brazing flux)

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

      5. Mr Pogle

        I had to give my name and address to buy Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) as a pure white powder rather than fizzy orange tablets. The pharmacist didn't know why but it was "on the list".

        Even buying a bottle of meths resulted in me having to verbally declare I wasn't going to drink it. As he put it on the counter I couldn't resist saying "Have you got a cold one from the fridge?"

        1. Lotaresco Silver badge

          'I had to give my name and address to buy Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) as a pure white powder rather than fizzy orange tablets. The pharmacist didn't know why but it was "on the list".'

          Shame on the pharmacist, although it is possible that he knew why and didn't want to tell you. Ascorbic acid is used by (some) heroin addicts to prepare heroin base for injection by making it water soluble.

    6. Tom Paine Silver badge

      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.

      1. Lotaresco Silver badge
        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.

      2. tlhonmey

        On the other hand, anyone with an IQ above about 80 and a penchant for destruction can probably come up with a reasonably effective device just by wandering through the local home and garden store and looking for products with brightly coloured warning labels and reading Wikipedia articles about them. Weapons-grade explosive devices were being manufactured by the Chinese out of horse dung and charcoal while London was still an abandoned Roman fort.

        If they get the design from a well-known book instead then, at least, it will be more easily recognizable and more likely that the local bomb squad can disarm it if they manage to find it.

    7. tekHedd

      Video proof of the garden?

      I might be in trouble there if it needs to look like a healthy garden. OTOH if video of withering brown plants is sufficient it might not be an issue.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the thinking?

    I can't help but wonder why you alerted WH Smith to the presence of these books with the obvious intention of getting them removed from distribution, and then provided the names of the books in your article. I'd never heard of any of those three books before, but after reading the titles in your article it took me less than 2 minutes to locate free ebook downloads of all three with DuckDuckGo*. You'd better hope no terrorists read El Reg!

    * If anyone wants to repeat this experiment, I suggest not doing it on Google and I'd recommend using Tor or a good VPN as well - otherwise you might find Mr Plod banging on your door in short order asking awkward questions...

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: What's the thinking?

      Since the lizard GCHQ overlords OWN duckduckgo then why go to the bother?

      Mobile post wont let me put tinfoil icon :(

      1. Marc 25

        Re: What's the thinking?

        Since the lizard GCHQ overlords OWN duckduckgo then why go to the bother?

        Got any proof of that?

        1. Jelder

          Re: What's the thinking?

          "Got any proof of that?"

          Hah. Proof is so 2015. What you need are groundless lies said VERY LOUDLY.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: What's the thinking?

            "Got any proof of that?"

            Never believe anything until it has been officially deneid

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's the thinking?

      I think that the thinking was "provoke and watch what they do". Is it different from what us, plebs do, i.e. trolling, and if so, how? Public interest? Clicks? With those questions, I'm not being sarcastic or disaprove, I _would_ like to know the rationale and whether the little "experiment" brought the results as expected?

      btw, I wonder if Amazon just ignored your probe... Sent it to the wrong office maybe? ;)

    3. Havin_it
      Black Helicopters

      Re: What's the thinking?

      I hope you kept your Tor on when you admitted doing this while signed in to this (non-SSL) comment forum then. Oh, and that you've done so every time you've ever signed in to El Reg, otherwise Insp. Knacker of the Yard can pop down to Vulture Central and ID you right quick (if he can be arsed).

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: What's the thinking?

      "I can't help but wonder why you alerted WH Smith to the presence of these books with the obvious intention of getting them removed from distribution, and then provided the names of the books in your article."

      What struck me as most odd wasn't just the books being named specifically, but the article being padded out by telling us exactly what the books contain, just in case the titles weren't enough to whet the appetite.

      Now, as many have said, attempts to ban knowledge doesn't really work. Over a long period of two or three generations, that knowledge may be rare, but never entirely gone, so I'm not really in favour of censorship, but the current UK laws on dissemination of knowledge "likely to be of use in terrorism offences" must be pretty close to being broken just by the article alone. I mean, it's almost as bad as posting a link to a site which contains links to pirate videos !!!!11!!!one!!11

  4. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    Madness!

    Surely WH Smith will also remove titles related to shooting, archery, knife making, karate, boxing......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Madness!

      No to mention those computer/telecomms books, someone might make an exploding phone...

      1. Marc 25

        Re: Madness!

        "Boeing 747 operators manual" is now on the list too after 9/11?

        1. macjules Silver badge

          Re: Madness!

          Only if they exclude instructions for landing the aircraft.

    2. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: Madness!

      They sell magazines on knife-making in your local WHSmiths, do they?

    3. harmjschoonhoven
      Pirate

      Re: Madness!

      I hope they still sell Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World, Pdf here.

      Scorpion bombs were used in naval warfare. Throw a couple of thin eathware pots with a scorpion inside at a hostile trireme and wait for the effect.

      1. Lotaresco Silver badge

        Re: Madness!

        "Scorpion bombs were used in naval warfare. Throw a couple of thin eathware pots with a scorpion inside at a hostile trireme and wait for the effect."

        A cunning plan, Baldrick, with only one flaw. The Euscorpiidae and Buthidae that are the scorpions commonly found around the Mediterranean are small and don't present much of a hazard. Being stung by one is about as painful as a bee sting.

  5. moiety

    Oh do fuck off. Warned by The Register indeed. When any twat knows that mixing [redacted] and [redacted]; both common household chemicals you can make [redacted] gas. And while satisfactory explosives are harder to make these days with the controlling of [redacted], [redacted] and [redacted]; you can still easily demolish a building with stuff you can buy at most supemarkets.

    For some good terroristic reading, I heatily recommend Ragnar Benson, who tells you how to do stuff like stop a tank with a few twigs and a piece of string. I'm not going to do any of it myself, of course, because I'd be crushed under the first grand piano I tried to hoist into the air. The book says to use logs, but that wouldn't be nearly as funny.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      [Redacted] is a much better book. It concerns the onteraction of [redacted] with [redacted] yielding far greater results. Since supermarkets sell [redacted] and building merchants ask no questions about [redacted] you can be on your merry way in no time.

    2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      > Oh do fuck off. Warned by The Register indeed. When any twat knows that mixing [redacted] and [redacted]; both common household chemicals you can make [redacted] gas.

      Don't tell them that. They're already going down the path of burning books, the next thing will be to burn any of us that actually learnt anything in chemistry for possession of banned knowledge.

    3. Lotaresco Silver badge
      Mushroom

      "Oh do fuck off. Warned by The Register indeed."

      Quite. Yesterday I took a drum of [redacted][redacted] from the cupboard. This stuff is a dangerous explosive and the factories where it is made ban the carrying of matches, lighters and even check employees' boots to make sure they don't have steel cleats (segs) that could cause a spark. It's that easy to cause an explosion with [redacted][redacted]. Guidance given to resistance fighters[1] in WWII contained details of how [redacted][redacted] or its primary component [redacted] could be use to create IEDs. This is dangerous stuff and yet the government permits [redacted][redacted] to be openly sold. Will no one think of the children?

      I later mixed this stuff with another known explosive ingredient [redacted] and the lactations of a domesticated bovine species and poured it over my apple pie. That's how hard I am, I gulp down explosives with my supper.

      [1] Or terrorists as the SS/Gestapo called them at the time.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
        Joke

        Book Burning is so last year

        Who burns books anymore? These days I download the PDF files and delete them ... it's so much easier and I can do it from my phone.

        1. Michael Strorm

          Re: Book Burning is so last year

          @Version 1.0; "Who burns books anymore? These days I download the PDF files and delete them ... it's so much easier and I can do it from my phone."

          Samsung knows that simple "deletion" can't be relied upon. That's why the Galaxy Note 7 had an innovative feature that physically set fire to the files on the phone (well, okay, to the phone itself) every so often in case some of them were dangerous.

          Some ungrateful bastards didn't appreciate this- I understand the feature won't be reappearing on the Galaxy Note 8.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Book Burning is so last year

            "That's why the Galaxy Note 7 had an innovative feature that physically set fire to the files on the phone (well, okay, to the phone itself) every so often in case some of them were dangerous."

            You raise an interesting point sir. Has anyone ever checked the Amazon or Kindle accounts of the the "victims" of these exploding phones of firey death? Is this book burning by remote control?

        2. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: Book Burning is so last year

          It's getting so I can't afford to pay the carbon taxes to burn them anymore.

      2. Lotaresco Silver badge
        Meh

        "Quite. Yesterday I took a drum of [redacted][redacted] from the cupboard."

        I'm genuinely puzzled by a downvote for this. Is Mary Berry reading El Reg and furious that I dare to use instant rather than carefully combining hens ova with vanilla pod and milk?

        1. Red Bren
          Thumb Up

          "I'm genuinely puzzled by a downvote for this."

          If you go around humiliating people by challenging their comments using facts and logic, don't be surprised if they retaliate; not with counter arguments, but by going through your comment history and downvoting all your recent posts.

          Have an upvote and carry on!

          1. Lotaresco Silver badge

            Down, down deeper and down...

            "If you go around humiliating people by challenging their comments using facts and logic, don't be surprised if they retaliate; not with counter arguments, but by going through your comment history and downvoting all your recent posts."

            It's just a tiny bit pathetic isn't it though that they don't even attempt to refute the argument or even to explain where they got their "facts" from? They just downvote and run away.

            1. Kurt Meyer

              Re: Down, down deeper and down...

              @ Lotaresco

              Red Bren is spot on.

              I thought it was a clever, funny post.

              In my younger days, I toiled for a couple of summers in a [redacted] mill. Fire or flame of any sort was forbidden not only in the structure, but also in the parking area which was 100 yards away. You couldn't go out to your car at lunchtime and have a ciggie.

      3. James 51 Silver badge
        Boffin

        Who ever wrote my A-Level chemistry text book had put little anecdotes about chemistry in the margins to make the topics seem more interesting. One that stuck in my mind was about how important surface area could be in the rate of a reaction. The example given was an explosion where one or two people died in a silo were powered chocolate was being stored. Something sparked and it became effectively a bomb without what most people would consider to be an explosive present.

        1. h4rm0ny
          Happy

          >>"powered chocolate"

          Where can I get this? It sounds wonderful!

        2. hplasm Silver badge
          Happy

          "Who ever wrote my A-Level chemistry text book ..."

          'Property of the Half-Blood Prince.'

      4. Chris G Silver badge

        @Lotaresco. You are quite right about [Redacted] it was responsible for one of Britain's largest industrial accidents/explosions in 1981.

        Many products of any material that will burn, are, when finely powdered, potentially explosive. However getting a fine powder to explode on demand is quite tricky.

        When I was a teenager I worked with my Dad at one time on a job sanding a floor with a big drum sander, I took a full bag of wood flour and dumped it next to where we were burning old wood wormy floorboards, after the loud WHUMPF, I discovered that I had half a moustache, no eyebrows and a lot of missing hair on one side of my head. My old man laughed!

      5. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Coat

        Redacted?

        Ha ha, to all of you that posted redacted comments, not one of you realised youd left the document history attached, so it was easy for us to undo!

    4. James 51 Silver badge

      I do remember my chemistry teacher telling us the reason why you shouldn't mix cleaning products is that it might release chlorine gas. Important safety tip when cleaning the lab after a spill.

  6. Alistair Silver badge
    Flame

    oh hang on .... I have to go get some gas

    .oO.oO.oO.oO.oO------->

    for the lawnmower .

    Hold on a sec.

    I can use that gas to start the bonfire for your paranoid fantasy book burning party.

    If your legal system is pookeying booksellers on the street simply for having those on the shelves, you need a case of Trimpinator 6000 to clean up your legal system.

    (ps we need a 451F icon)

    (pps icon closest reference)

    (sorry for the siren)

  7. Codysydney

    Some unemployed Sun journos found a job at Register I guess.

    1. Kurt Meyer

      Sun journos

      @ Codysydney

      "Some unemployed Sun journos found a job at Register I guess."

      Many, many years ago. The difference between today's "product" and the El Reg of even five years back is sad to see.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big Brother Thought Police

    or if you prefer...

    "It tells me, that goose-stepping morons like yourself should try *reading* books instead of *burning* them!"

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Big Brother Thought Police

      Quite. I shall cancel my subscription... Oh... Well change the ad-blocker whitelist then.

  9. ShelLuser
    FAIL

    Good job... or not...

    When that stuff got sold in the open the people behind it also had a pretty legit way of checking which kind of customers bought that stuff. Maybe it would have been possible to set something up that whenever someone did buy such books you'd run background check (or let law enforcement handle that).

    But nah, this stuff is too dangerous so we're shutting it down. Effectively forcing possible terrorist-want-to-be's to go underground and download all their stuff from the Internet. Unseen nor noticed by anyone.

    Good going!

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Good job... or not...

      I would agree, I didn't quite get why WH Smiths took the seemingly more difficult route of adding filters to the auto imports of wholesalers' catalogues, rather than the simpler one of scanning shopping cart contents, for which they could most probably adapt an existing shopping basket scanning tool.

      1. YetAnotherLocksmith

        Re: Good job... or not...

        I wouldn't worry. I bought all three off Amazon. Free next day with Prime. Mostly basic, but then all three are seemingly written by/for the US Army.

        I'm anticpating a more dangerous & violent world. Signs point to it, as do portents. My clients expect a good security review, so that's what they'll get.

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Good job... or not...

          Signs point to it, as do portents.

          Do you really think this is the time to worry about the state of your camping equipment?

          (h/t Pratchett)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Infectious Ethos is not always good.

    Just shows how the characteristics/ethos of the Day's Prime Minister get fed down the chain of command. Theresa May's has an obsession with controlling the Population with Surveillance, and so it develops/expands.

    (Blair taking his family away in a People Carrier from Downing St, set the scene for People Carriers for the Middle Class masses). A sort of Butterfly effect.

    1. Red Bren

      Re: Infectious Ethos is not always good.

      Cameron leaving one of his kids down the pub, emulated by Gove leaving one of his kids in a hotel.

  11. Dan 55 Silver badge

    So much for Big Brother

    If I came across books like those (not that I actually know the titles of known terrorism books you understand, except those listed in the article), the first thing I'd assume is that Smiths were listing them on their website to catch out Four Lions style jihadists and tipping plod off if someone tries to buy them.

    But no, it seems that the man from Hermes would actually rock up and deliver it to you if you ordered it.

    Not sure what to say. Is this a terrible lack of joined up thinking or oddly reassuring that the panopticon still isn't here yet?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: So much for Big Brother

      "Not sure what to say. Is this a terrible lack of joined up thinking or oddly reassuring that the panopticon still isn't here yet?"

      No, it's just half-arsed legislation combined with cheap as chips IT automation. It's the same reason you need an age check when buying plastic picnic cutlery from a supermarket because knives!!!!

  12. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Bolting the stable door

    while the horses are galloping into the matter transporter in stall 2.

  13. Timmy B Silver badge
    Flame

    They had one job....

    I still found "A guide to improvised weaponry" on the site. And "An introduction to the technology of explosives". Sure that some "use" could be made of those.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: They had one job....

      Just download them from the Internet - and as far as being "terrorist publications" - these are standard military publications - OK, one of them is from 1965 so it's a little out of date but if this sort of thing is now a terrorist publication, should I be worried about my copy of Caesar's Conquest of Gaul?

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: They had one job....

        should I be worried about my copy of Caesar's Conquest of Gaul?

        Depends on where you file it - I suggest keeping it with Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" amoung the management and leadership books.- it's where I keep my copy of Robert Taber's "The War of the Flea", right next to "Winnie-the-Pooh on Management".

        1. John Sturdy
          Happy

          Re: They had one job....

          And also, for those working at a higher level, Edward Luttwak's "Coup d'Etat --- a Practical Handbook".

      2. Wiltshire

        Re: They had one job....

        Caesar's Conquest of Gaul?

        Definitely. That has detailed accounts on how to improvise an attack on a superior and better equipped naval defense force, by using the weather to the attacker's advantage. The Veneti sea-going ships were bigger and stronger than the Roman galleys. But when there was no wind, the sneaky Romans were able to row their galleys right up to the Veneti ships. The rest is Roman history.

        This is a clear lesson that rowing boats are potentially dangerous improvised weapons and need to be banned immediately.

      3. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: They had one job....

        Just about anyone who has ever been in the army or TA will have seen these and most likely have some training. These books have to my knowledge been available since at least the early '70s when I had copies. Plus at that time my chemistry was already good enough to make quite interesting bangs, I am sure that applies to a lot of other people who are also not terrists.

  14. WorsleyNick

    Journalism?

    This looks like Daily Fail journalism. The writer appears to have failed 'Journalism 101' and be sailing dangerously close to falling foul of an action for contempt of court

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Journalism?

      You have read the byline haven't you?

      1. Lotaresco Silver badge

        Re: Journalism?

        "You have read the byline haven't you?"

        And the name of the author.

    2. CADmonkey

      Re: Journalism?

      I think they bought some of their commentators with them.

  15. 0laf Silver badge

    Knobbled

    Did I not read that the security services had edited some of these types of books to ensure the recipes either didn't work or blew up in the would be bomber's face? Urban myth maybe.

    Also I can recall from school the tale of a legendary book called the "Anarchists' Cookbook". It allegedly contained all this sort of stuff. Never actually saw a copy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Knobbled

      The Anarchists cookbook AKA jolly rogers cookbook has been debunked several times.

      99% of its contents are either outdated or simply dont work.

      The reason some of the concoctions would blow up in your face is because the reciepes are wrong, badly written and have instructions in the wrong order.

      I tried somoking dried banana skins and peanut skins, both of which are supposed to get you off your tits.

      Result? I coughed my arsehole up through my lungs and that was it....

      1. W4YBO

        Re: Knobbled

        "I tried somoking dried banana skins..."

        They call me mellow yellow (Quite rightly)

      2. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: Knobbled

        The smoke bombs worked.. I know this from experience.

  16. Chozo
    Alien

    Come, Hunt An Earthman

    Is a SciFi novel by Philip E. High and depending on your viewpoint is either a tale of plucky humans fighting alien invaders or a thinly disguised manual for asymmetric warfare techniques, psychology & booby-traps. Available from all good booksellers including WH Smith.

  17. Lotaresco Silver badge

    Why?

    Why is The Register coming down on the side of the stupid "ban everything" brigade?

    I was a chemist before I became a computer geek, like most chemists I could, if pushed, whip up some effective explosives. I don't because I'm not an arsehole, not because someone stole the books off the shelves of my university library. As well as learning about explosives (and making explosives) at school and university I also learned about them from a slim notebook handwritten by uncle as part of his Home Guard training. I have, to date, kiklled exactly (0) people as a consequence of being exposed to this dangerous knowledge.

    These days I'm also a hobby farmer with close to a hundred trees to maintain and patches of scrubland to keep clear. Machetes, billhooks, jungle knives, parangs etc are essential tools for this sort of work. I used to be able to buy them over the counter at farm stores and from tool stores such as Screwfix and Toolstation as well as via Amazon. Now it's almost impossible to find these tools because some moron has decided that banning blades is the way to fix the evils of society.

    Don' get me started on the insanity of punishing gun owners who behave themselves for the crimes that someone else commits.

    I look forward to the time when someone realises that you can kill people with rocks and tries to ban rocks.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      There's still a nice selection of billhooks on ebay. I got one from there years ago.

      1. Lotaresco Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        "There's still a nice selection of billhooks on ebay."

        Thanks for the tip. I notice most of them are marked "vintage" which is a bit sad if the major source of these is now "found lying at the back of granddad's shed. I looked up machetes and they are all marked "fancy dress" and "prop" as far as I can see. A few years ago they were just tools and easily available.

        1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          @ Lotaresco - www.fiskars.co.uk have some billhooks that might be good enough for what you want.

          But nothing as flexible as a cutlass

          1. Lotaresco Silver badge

            Re: Why?

            @2+2=5

            Thanks for the heads-up. We use a lot of Fiskars stuff on the farm and it's mostly OK. I was fortunate enough to get some decently heavy and easy to sharpen billhooks a few hears ago. The machetes on sale in most places, where you can find them, are hopeless. They are too light, too thin, too springy. It's better to have ones with a lot of weight at the tip so that you can cut through branches easily.

            The recent rules about "zombie knives" have scared retailers so much that they have withdrawn legitimate farm tools from sale which means that much of the market is now low quality stuff made out of cheese.

        2. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          I had a Sthil Swiss brush hook for years, the best modern version in my opinion:

          http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/GENUINE-STIHL-SWISS-BRUSH-HOOK-BILL-HOOK-SLASHER-SICKLE-0000-881-3400-/252051987982

    2. Fonant
      Meh

      Re: Why?

      "I look forward to the time when someone realises that you can kill people with rocks and tries to ban rocks."

      Heh, just rocks? The most effective and punishment-free way to kill someone these days with with an automobile. People with cars kill some thousands of innocent civilians every year, just in the UK!

    3. W4YBO

      Re: Why?

      "I look forward to the time when someone realises that you can kill people with rocks and tries to ban rocks."

      One of our local school systems suspended a kid last fall, just after the time change, because the kid wisely carried a flashlight (torch) to his bus stop. Problem was this flashlight had a "pistol grip." System superintendent issues platitudes about student safety and “Students should be cognizant of any item that may be considered a weapon and not bring those items to school.” What? Like pencils, pens, twenty pounds of books in a swingable bag, a car, a lithium battery...

      Nearly anything can be used as a weapon. I've even heard of someone being smothered with a feather pillow. Banning stuff because it *has been used/can be used* as a weapon is fruitless.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Why? "Nearly anything can be used as a weapon."

        "You gonna kill me with your soup cup?"

        "Tea, actually."

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Why?

        "One of our local school systems suspended a kid last fall, just after the time change, because the kid wisely carried a flashlight (torch) to his bus stop. Problem was this flashlight had a "pistol grip." System superintendent issues platitudes about student safety and “Students should be cognizant of any item that may be considered a weapon and not bring those items to school.”

        He obviously wasn't black, I take it? If he was would you be reporting a slightly different story involving Police, guns, SWAT teams?

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      "I look forward to the time when someone realises that you can kill people with rocks and tries to ban rocks."

      Obligatory Douglas Adams (RIP) quote

      “We'll be saying a big hello to all intelligent lifeforms everywhere and to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys.”

      Obviously he was a closet terrorist who sneaked subversion into his alleged comedy!!

    6. Captain Badmouth
      Thumb Up

      Re: Why?

      "I look forward to the time when someone realises that you can kill people with rocks and tries to ban rocks."

      Essential for desert survival, as in "Don't forget to brick the camel."

  18. tiggity Silver badge

    Pointless

    All rather pointless when in (UK) big cities (& quite a few smaller places) firearms (of the non shotgun type) are still relatively cheap and easy to illegally obtain despite various crackdowns over the years (in the 80's guns were far easier to buy, the rise of young gangs (and their frequent use of guns) drove a lot of the crackdowns as although lots of arms had been circulating, observable usage had been low).

    Getting shotgun licence is fairly easy in the UK, especially if you live in the sticks & so can produce lots of vermin control reasons e.g. on your own property if plenty of land, if not, helping out your farmer friends with their pest control, and there is always recreational use - it's not just grouse moors, lots of little shoots (often in private woods etc) all over the place.

    Despite post Dunblane frenzy, getting various gun UK licences is not difficult if you are a "respectable" citizen.

    Only person who would need a "terrorist" manual would be a billy no mates (at least no mates suitable to be certificate referees) and concerns over their mental health / doubts they had valid use for a gun

    Disclosure: I used to live in a very dubious part of a city regarded as a "gun capital of the UK" years ago, but when moving to the sticks even more people had guns, just a change of type -typically shotguns & hunting rifles (for hunting rifles need firearm certificate, marginally more rigorous screening than firearm certificate but if you have regular work or leisure use or other valid reasons, a few good referees & GP say's you are not a psychonaut then away you go).

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Pointless

      "but when moving to the sticks even more people had guns" --- tiggity

      ... Reminds me of the great exchange from the great Hot Fuzz:

      Andy Cartwright: Everyone and their mums is packing round here.

      Nicholas Angel: Really, like who?

      Andy Wainwright: Farmers.

      Nicholas Angel: Who else?

      Andy Cartwright: Farmer's mums.

  19. MNGrrrl
    Mushroom

    Book banning

    On general principle, books should never be banned no matter how offensive. As to whether or not they are dangerous -- knowledge by itself is never dangerous. A gun is not dangerous simply sitting in a vault, nor will the world end because there are thousands of silos full of nuclear weapons all around the world. It takes the same know-how and training to make bombs as it does to fly rockets. The knowledge that created guns also created mining, building demolition, and other essentials. Every tool is useful to society in some way.

    -

    That said, many a murderer or would-be murderer has googled "How to murder someone". Many wannabe terrorists have googled for ISIS online. And, obviously, many a bomber has bought books online on how to make bombs. There must be a compromise reached here between our personal freedoms to know these things (and own them, as in books, computers, etc.), and the practical consideration that these materials *are* in fact often sought out by people who mean harm.

    -

    We should not be jailing people for buying books on these topics. There *are* good reasons for someone to want to know, or to own, such things. But we should *also* keep a closer eye on those who express interest in these materials. If the police could be trusted to be discreet, objective, and narrowly focused on the investigation of whether people intent to harm the public, this discussion would be over right here: Sell the books to anyone who wants them, and give the police the tools to investigate and use surveillance to assess threats.

    -

    Unfortunately, at least in the United States, most of Europe, and indeed the world, government actions and laws do not inspire faith in law enforcement. Politics have, do, and will continue to, cause great harm to personal liberty and act counter to the public's best interests. It was politically advantagous in the 90s for the United States to "get tough on crime". But it was socioeconomically disasterous -- we now have the highest incarceration rate of any country on Earth, and it had no impact on the crime rate. Our "war on terror" has yielding similarly disasterous results -- a decade-long recession, trillions in debt, tens of thousands dead, and many times that with permanent injury or disability, torture of innocents, and the list goes on.

    People are racially, ethnically, or religiously profiled constantly. Justice is not impartial, and investigations are rarely narrowly limited in scope to assessing harm -- and confidentiality is a joke. In the United States, all investigations are a matter of public record... unless you are wealthy. An accusation alone can bring severe consequences to a person's life -- for example, after the Boston Marathon bombing, an innocent man was ethnically profiled by the popular site Reddit, and although cleared of any wrongdoing, later committed suicide as a consequence of continuous death threats, inability to find work, and other issues related to said vigilantism. The FBI routinely screws up in its investigations; It has upset elections, wrongly imprisoned people, forced false confessions, and committed acts of excessive brutality, including torture.

    -

    The general public and law enforcement so often fail at first principles -- impartiality, confidentiality, limited scope -- that the benefits gained are eclipsed by the damage caused. We have to at least pass the point where more guilty people are caught than innocent, before we can morally or ethically justify such invasions of privacy and enroachment of personal freedom. Whenever we sacrifice our principles to gain apparent security, we invariably lose both.

    -

  20. jake Silver badge

    One wonders ...

    ... if this Yank, with the trifecta of A levels in Applied Maths, Organic Chemistry, and Physics (all taken in the mid 1970s, before high school texts and labs were sanitized) is even welcome in DearOldBlighty anymore ... You never know, I might teach someone how to make and use a quarterstaff ;-)

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: One wonders ...

      "I might teach someone how to make and use a quarterstaff."

      That falls under Outsourcing...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Names of terrorists

    "...using the name of a convicted British terrorist, using PayPal and assumed identities. No alarm bells rang at retailers."

    Good? Much like IP addresses, names aren't _really_ personal identifiers. Having the same name as a convicted terrorist (or sex offender) shouldn't automatically cause you problems in life.

    (Anon - obviously)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Streisland ????

    I had no idea these books were available.

    I'll have to check them out now ...

    BTW, I have an old-school print copy of "The Anarchists Coolbook". Purchased in 1991 from Virgin Megastore, Oxford Street.

    It was next to books about the Manson family.

    AC obviously

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Streisland ????

      They all appear in PDF format on the first page of Google - I just downloaded them all.

      1. David Pollard

        Re: Streisland ????

        What does Duncan Campbell know that we don't that has prompted El Reg to encourage commentards to brush up their skills relevant to decentralised national defence?

      2. Kurt Meyer

        Re: Streisland ????

        @ Version 1.0

        Have an upvote for saying so under your regular handle, unlike those trouser staining anonymous cowards.

        I too, own a print copy of "The Anarchists Cookbook". It's good for a few laughs, and not much else.

        I certainly won't be storming the barricades with a pitchfork in one hand, and the Anarchists Cookbook in the other.

        1. Alister Silver badge

          Re: Streisland ????

          I certainly won't be storming the barricades with a pitchfork in one hand, and the Anarchists Cookbook in the other.

          Yeah, the Anarchist's Cookbook is no use at all as a shield, you need something with a bit of meat to it, like The Bible, or a Telephone Directory...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Streisland ????

      Streisland is the theme park devoted to Barb. Streisand I guess... yeah I was surprised a year or two ago to find I'd been wrongly thinking there was an L in the name for years, too :)

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

        Re: Streisland ????

        Try the 'What's Up, Doc?'-themed rollercoaster or the Yentl Karaoke Bar. Fun for the whole family!

  23. Simon Ward
    Mushroom

    I hope to $DEITY they never find my PhD thesis ... which will tell you, in pretty excruciating detail, how to make stuff go 'bang!' in all manner of interesting ways.

    (and it'll even tell you how to simulate such things on a Babbage engine - there's yer IT angle right there)

  24. McHack
    Facepalm

    Ban the Archive?

    You can download those manuals from the Internet Archive, there are lots of these old public domain military manuals available there. Are they planning on blocking archive.org? The trickiest thing is getting the authentic ones. The one that looks like a bad photocopy with the notation "Poor Man's James Bond"? Take a pass.

    Ex: https://archive.org/details/Improvised_Munitions_Handbook_TM_31-210_reduced_file_size

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Ban the Archive?

      The Home Guard Manual produced by the UK MoD is still available in PDF form from many, many sources. It shows all sort of wonderful things in words and pictures, such as how to sneak up and slit someones throat, how to strangle/kill with cheese wire or similar, how to make Molotov cocktails, how to turn explosives/home-made hand grenades into "sticky bombs" to disable/destroy vehicles and many other "useful" techniques for defending your country from violent invaders.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    very convenient, these anti-terror laws

    when the plebs want to start a revolution (damn, already illegal!?), pardon, terrorist rebelion (damn, ever more illegal!!!), they won't know how to make that Molotov pinacolada, so they'll stay at home and support revolution by dis-liking the gov on facebook

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: very convenient, these anti-terror laws

      "support revolution by dis-liking the gov on facebook"

      Already taken care of. "They" fixed that years ago by removing the dis-like" button from Feacebook.

  26. Cuddles Silver badge

    The Register are Nazis?

    Slightly provocative, but sadly it seems the logical conclusion. As far as I can tell, Smiths were not actually doing anything illegal or even wrong; the books in question are technical textbooks legally available for sale, and shops are not required to do any kind of background checks on customers. But for some reason El Reg suggest that not only should knowledge be banned if someone feels it's possible to abuse it, and not only that regular businesses should be required to spy on their customers and look up all their details in national databases before approving sales, but also that it's the duty of citizens to go poking their noses into their neighbours business in the hopes of catching them in the act of doing anything that seems even slightly dodgy.

    Brexit and Trump may not seem great, but we haven't descended into a fascist dystopia just yet. Maybe you should spend a bit more time on actual journalism, and a bit less advocating for background checks to buy books and citizens spying on each other to catch anyone who doesn't do such checks to your liking.

  27. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    IT Angle

    IT Bang

    Dear El Reg,

    Please write to all Electronic Distributors and make them remove all tantalum capacitors and electrolytic capacitors from sale - these all explode violently if the power supply polarity is reversed. The only safe capacitor is a mica film capacitor - all others must be removed from sale immediately.

    There's the IT angle for you.

  28. The Vociferous Time Waster

    Think of the children

    My prep school science teacher was forever teaching us how to make explosives.

    He was banged up for 8 years for kiddie fiddling so it turned out that was the bigger danger.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Think of the children

      But he didn't blow any up so the law worked

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, this is silly..

    I really don't get it. If you just went on to Amazon and ordered [redacted] and bought the stuff listed, namely [redacted], [redacted], [redacted] and went to Tesco and bought [redacted], [redacted] then you'd have enough in there to make at least [redacted] units of [redacted] which would give you enough material to [redacted] up at least half a [redacted].

    The big problem we're facing now is that [redacted] can't be found without [redacted] and the only way you can do that is if you [redacted], [redacted] and [redacted]. We all know that the police are monitoring this stuff though so you would need to [redacted] and [redacted] as well as [redacted].

    Even then, you run the risk of [redacted].

    I think El Reg has just taken this to silly extremes. If they hadn't mentioned [redacted] and [redacted] or even [redacted] then [redacted] would never have been a problem. As it goes, we'll need to see what [redacted] after that.

    It's just [redacted].

    1. Steve Knox Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Well, this is silly..

      Nice one. Of course, El Reg would never actually ████████████████ your post like that...

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Well, this is silly..

      It is indeed [expletive deleted], isn't it.

  30. Bazmanuk

    damn. Would have made a great Christmas gift.

  31. ShrNfr

    Big deal. All these and more are available on Amazon.

  32. adam payne Silver badge

    In this situation I think they were thinking more of the legality of the books, possible police investigation, legal proceeding, fines, damage to reputation etc.

    Can you imagine what would happen if something did happen and the person purchased the book from them? The public backlash alone would give them serious problems.

    Knowledge is power and always has been. There will always someone somewhere who would exploit that power for the own ends.

  33. Raedwald Bretwalda

    US Army Field Manuals

    A surprisingly many US Army Field Manuals are available for free as PDFs on the Web. Including the manuals giving platoon and company tactical advice, and (bizarrely) how to conduct SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defences).

  34. Dave Bell

    The truth

    "Blue Peter" once explained how to make explosive from fertiliser and another common material, as used in quarrying. Getting the required kaboom required the use of a ready-made commercial explosive as a primer. The speed of the shockwave from the fertiliser-based explosive is pretty slow. You get rock rather than gravel.

    The books you mention can not be relied on. Some of their sources have deliberate errors and omissions that could lead to the bomber experiencing a premature detonation.

    One of the things we are losing is knowledge of what competent "Terrorism" looks like. Compare what is happening now in England with what happened to the French railway system in 1944. It wasn't just the Resistance (which was doing what "terrorists" do), there were air attacks as well, but it was shut down.

    OK, we don't need terrorists to shut down the railways. we have the government for that, but we scare pretty easy. Go find "London Can Take It" on YouTube. "Some shops are more open than others."

    There are days that I wonder why politicians want us scared.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: The truth

      >Compare what is happening now in England with what happened to the French railway system in 1944

      Your theory is that Southeast Trains are actually a terrorist organisation intent on destroying capitalism by making commuting into London impractical?

      It is the only explanation that makes sense

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: The truth

      "There are days that I wonder why politicians want us scared."

      Trick question, right?

  35. tokyo-octopus

    Meanwhile in the real world, once again I was recently once again thwarted in my attempt to smuggle a bottle part-full of hydrogen (a major contributing factor in the Hindenburg disaster) and oxygen (as implicated in the Apollo 13 incident) in a ratio of roughly 2:1 onto a flying machine (despite being potentially in the possession of a glass bottle full of inflammable potato juice).

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Your mistake was trying to take them as a liquid.

      Next time keep them as separate gasses and then the security people won't object

  36. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Not just the books

    If these were military manuals from the 50s and 60s then many people will have read them when in the army. We need to find these potential terrorists and lock them up.

    Fortunately this story came out on the one day a year when these people break cover and dress up in easily identifiable uniforms and stand around cenotaphs.

  37. HarryBl

    As the book is a US Army publication is it not in the public domain as most US military manuals are? It's widely available for free download all over the web.

  38. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Ignorance of scientific illiterates

    After the Tokyo subway sarin gassing a colleague and I looked in the Merck manual (a chemistry reference) sarin. We found a reference to the synthesis of sarin that was published in 1950 (this was about 1995). The basic problem that scientific illiterates have is that making almost all explosives or chemical weapons uses basic organic chemistry and the synthesis of these chemicals has been published decades ago, The bigger problem with making these chemicals is the inherent danger of the precursors and especially the final product. Many explosives and chemical weapons are very dangerous to handle if one does not know what they are doing and are dangerous if do know.

    More to the story, my colleague researched nerve agents and found that the first known agent was synthesized in the 1850's from two very common chemicals. The information for making these agents is on the scientific literature.

    Just to note, my original training is as a chemist and I am an ex-lab rat.

  39. Leeroy Bronze badge
    Mushroom

    Zombies

    Would the excuse of .... I was just preparing for the inevitable Zombie apocalypse sir! Stand up in court ?

    I don't think zombies drink much tea so maybe the booby-trapped kettle is out. Anyway we all know the safest place is the pub :)

  40. brain_flakes

    Food grade potassium nitrate

    Flowers of sulphur

    Ground charcoal

    ... Now you're all on the list.

  41. Doc Ock

    The Arseonists handbook:

    One lighter and a can of baked beans.

    I'm not allowed to tell you what to do with the items but I can tell you not to insert the can of baked beans up your arse.

  42. Richard Barnes

    How pathetic is this?

    I see that Google points to an edition of the Improvised Munitions Handbook available in pdf format for free, so what does it achieve if WH Smith stops selling it?

  43. JaitcH
    Happy

    Many Military Combatants Are Given These Manuals ...

    in training. Many of the Skyhorse Publishing titles are dated and simply copies of US Government manuals. Publications of the US Government are not copyrighted hence the busy reprinting industry.

    The best source of current titles available direct from the U.S. Government Publishing Office > https://www.gpo.gov/ <.

    To think that hundreds of thousands of furloughed military personnel who have undergone improvised explosives training is disturbing. I was in Royal Signals and attached to a unit whose reson d'etre was to make common or garden things go bang.

    One demonstration I remembered was an incandescent lamp bulb and a common household fluid. Impressively destroyed the room it was discharged in.

    Most homes have sufficient chemicals to create explosives or even poisonous gases. And a box of matches alone can do quite a bit of damage.

    The Vietnamese government is very aware of these things and there is a general prohibition on fireworks, although sparklers have recently been approved. Matches are prohibited but lighters are approved. We can't even buy nail guns or ammunition.

    The annual fireworks displays celebrating Georgian calendar New Years and Tet New Years are mounted by the military - and they make really, really, big bangs!

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Many Military Combatants Are Given These Manuals ...

      @Jaitch "The Vietnamese government is very aware of these things"

      They would be, more than half the information in the old improvised bang books was either used by them or aimed at them during the Vietnam war, along with loads of info on nasty traps using spiky bits of bamboo (Panjis) and sharpened stakes a la Rambo.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Many Military Combatants Are Given These Manuals ...

      "One demonstration I remembered was an incandescent lamp bulb and a common household fluid. Impressively destroyed the room it was discharged in."

      Almost banned. The first stages have been implemented. Now we know the real reason. That evil commie Chinese fiction about global warming was never the real reason!!!

  44. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Boffin

    The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments

    Under no circumstances google the above book or go to the following URL:

    http://chemistry.about.com/library/goldenchem.pdf

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments

      Uncle slacky, from your link; "Mixing these common household chemicals can be extremely dangerous. Learn which chemicals don't mix and what happens if they do. "

      Looks like terrist education to me, or is it just the welfare of chemistry students?

    2. Lotaresco Silver badge

      Re: The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments

      One of my favourite books. Another good one is Ignition! a history of rocket propellants. A very good and amusing read.

  45. Brian Allan

    If not here, then they will be obtained elsewhere...

  46. SomeoneInDelaware
    Mushroom

    Won't do any good

    Any decent chemistry major/mad bomber (I was both during my childhood) knows that you find all of the information you need in any decent university library.

    When I was in middle school, I hopped on the bus and rode down to the state university's chemistry department library to search in Beilstein's Handbook of Organic Chemistry, It was huge, had to be 400-500 volumes on the shelves! A very helpful librarian taught me how to locate specific molecules in the indexes (it is all an online database now). Dad was a duPonter and helped me build a beautiful lab in the house -- even had a homemade fume hood. And the chemical supply store clerks in town knew me by name and would sell me things like nitriic and sulfuric acids, no problem.

    The article was written in German, which wasn't a problem as I was well aware from my father that German was more or less a required skill for chemists.

    I didn't do too badly. The neighborhood has fewer treestumps in the parks and I still have all of my fingers and toes.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could be worse

    The folks selling chemicals on Ebay are now finding that certain ones notably boric acid and strong oxidizers are getting taken down and in some cases blocked. Tried to get an O2 regulator and even these are unavailable over the counter. Ffs.

  48. Mr_Pitiful
    Mushroom

    Ebay

    I can get everything I need from Ebay to create many explosive devices.

    All the ingredients are there for many explosives, in fact I've even purchased some of them

    A few years ago it was easier to knock a barn down with explosives than a bulldozer

  49. TK

    Well that was easy

    After I saw the article, I searched for Improvised Munitions online just to see if an Amazon link came up. Instead I found it as a free pdf.

    I don't know about your UK bookstore, but it's easy enough to grab.

  50. CJ Hinke

    Torrents alive and well

    Torrents for these titles and much more are readily available!

  51. Chaironea

    The web sure does more people get interested in such stuff...

    ... than that was the case with the publications openly available during my youth.

    So it has obviously become a lot easier to get deeper introductions into the "How-Tos" of potentially dangerous activities. I can understand that that makes some people uncomfortable - especially those who may never have gotten in touch with suchlike.

    For me, growing up in Germany where I was able to buy nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, H202, permanganates, glycerin, potassium nitrate and what not else while I was a kid, experimenting with all kinds of things that went "bang" was quite natural. That went on for several years.

    We went as far as making cannons shooting steel spikes several hundred meters and electrically triggered bombs from fertilizers. Our muzzle-loaded guns shot 10 mm bearing balls clean through several petrol cans in a row. And we only stopped when one of us got a serious warning from police that they would interfere at his employer (we were around 17 by then) because he obviously had to have done some welding of parts there. He did not, he had a proper welding device at home, but it was sure not the time to argue with police about such details at that point.

    Today we would be off far worse with such behaviour, probably for all times sharing a place in some directory of potential terrorists and dangerous misfits. It has ended up for me with a Ph.D. in chemistry instead and I have no terrorist tendencies at all, except sometimes in some evil dreams or fantasies.

    I was by the way just today able to openly find and download all of the named books from the web, so whether some seller offers them or not is pretty irrelevant.

    For me personally the question is not whether such information is dangerous or not, as it is in the world and you cannot keep it down by whatever means you use. It rather is a question of weighting such information. It may seem cynical to some, but the chances of being killed by some terrorist in Europe are remote compared to e.g. traffic, food additives or air quality.

    So my Opel Astra Diesel is (alas) a surer killer than any of the books mentioned, at least in the numbers the model goes on our roads. And a lot more people die from fast food than from terror. One should keep that in mind before strirring panic among the people and trying to cut down civil liberties to achive a minimal effect on security.

  52. bollocks1

    Improvised Munitions Handbook is the first result on Google and said manual is downloadable in PDF format so WTF

    http://gunfreezone.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/improvised-munitions-handbook.pdf

  53. Dieter Haussmann

    EPIC FAIL!

    The Koran is stillf or sale on their site and includes the following commands...

    1. Thou shall Rape, Marry, and Divorce Pre-pubescent Girls. Koran 65:4 2. Thou shall have Sex Slaves, Work Slaves. Koran 4:3, 4:24, 5:89, 33:50, 58:3, 70:30 3. Thou shall Beat Sex Slaves, Work Slaves, and Wives. Koran 4:34 4. Thou shall have 4 Muslim male witnesses to prove rape. Koran 24:13 5. Thou shall Kill those who insult Islam or Mohammed. Koran 33:57 6. Thou shall Crucify and Amputate non-Muslims. Koran 8:12, 47:4 7. Thou shall Kill non-Muslims. Guarantee receiving 72 virgins in heaven. Koran 9:111 8. Thou shall Kill anyone who leaves Islam. Koran 2:217, 4:89 9. Thou shall Behead non-Muslims. Koran 8:12, 47:4 10. Thou shall Kill AND be Killed for Allah. Koran 9:5 11. Thou shall Terrorize non-Muslims. Koran 8:12, 8:60 12. Thou shall Steal & Rob from non-Muslims. Koran Chapter 8 (Booty/Spoils of War) 13. Thou shall Lie to Strengthen Islam. Koran 3:28, 16:106 14. Thou shall Fight non-Muslim even if you don't want to. Koran 2:216 15. Thou shall not take non-Muslims as friends. Koran 5:51 16. Thou shall Call non-Muslims Pigs and Apes. Koran 5:60, 7:166, 16:106 17. Thou shall Treat non-Muslims as the vilest creatures with NO mercy. Koran 98:6 18. Thou shall Treat non-Muslims as sworn enemies. Koran 4:101 19. Thou shall Kill non-Muslims for not converting to Islam. Koran 9:29 20. Thou shall Extort non-Muslims to keep Islam strong. Koran 9:29.

  54. Captain Badmouth
    FAIL

    Tincture of iodine

    Another thing that no longer seems to be available in a high street chemist (unless you know otherwise..). Allegedly used in the manufacture of metamphetamine?

    1. David Pollard

      Re: Tincture of iodine

      The withdrawal from sale could be because of its possible use in making nitrogen tri-iodide. It used to be that one could buy iodine crystals too.

      The clamp-down in response to trrrsm has spoiled a lot of schoolboy fun. Mind you, one of my chums was fortunate that the prompt criticality he accidentally triggered left him with nothing worse than yellow hands for a couple of days.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tincture of iodine

        I actually bought some a while back, as a "Prepper" just in case KI was not available in a nuclear incident.

        Hint: Iodine is found in: Seaweed, some types of salt and also old pacemaker batteries.

        Probably going to get watchlisted now but you can't criminalize knowledge.

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