Terrorist Special Olympics in the UK

First London and then Glasgow. Who are these idiots? Is there a Special Olympics for terrorists going on in the UK this week?

Two points about Glasgow:

One, airport security worked. And two, putting a propane tank into a car and driving into a building at high speed is the sort of thing that only works in old episodes of The A Team. On television, you get a massive, extensive explosion. In real life, you only get a small localized fire.

I am particularly pleased with the reaction from the Scots, which is measured and reasonable. No one was hurt; no need to panic. Life goes on.

On the other hand, who invites their friends to come along on a suicide mission?

Posted on July 2, 2007 at 9:19 AM • 125 Comments

Comments

YOOWANJuly 2, 2007 9:36 AM

I think the Scottish reaction has got a lot to do with the fact that Glaswegians are used to seeing burning cars....it's pretty much the worst place for the amateur terrorist to try to blow up; the man who was on fire was initially tackled not by the police or security but by a baggage handler!

dJuly 2, 2007 9:44 AM

The reaction at Edinburgh airport was certainly far beyond reasonable. ID checks at various points (but people without ID were not stopped from going to the terminal building), snow clearing vehicles parked in front of terminal at all sorts of odd angles...

It was all so predictable and accomplished nothing...

Carlo GrazianiJuly 2, 2007 9:45 AM

Time for someone to update the old Monty Python Flying Circus "Upper-Class Twit Of The Year Contest" sketch.

The "Idiot Terrorist Of The Year" finals feature an Airplane Lavatory Chemistry event (judged on most artistically singed eyebrows), Synchronized Self-Immolation, Best Home Video Bloopers (extra points for taking video of terrorist training to local video shop for copying), Best Excuse to Neighbors for Odd Midnight Stinks Seeping Under Door, Car-Bomb Races...

IrinaJuly 2, 2007 9:46 AM

Well, yes. My daughters, thirteen and almost twelve, were giggling over the paper this morning.

Colossal SquidJuly 2, 2007 9:53 AM

Yep, reaction in the office this morning was much the same, jokes at the expense of the 'terrorists'.
Sadly, the same air of levity doesn't seem to have infected our new PM.

Of course flaming cars at airports wouldn't be such a problem if fliers were allowed more than 100ml of liquid in their hand luggage.

MichaelJuly 2, 2007 9:53 AM

It's not even necessary for terrorists to hurt anyone at this point. People are so scared at the threat, no more is really needed.

Colossal SquidJuly 2, 2007 9:56 AM

"t's not even necessary for terrorists to hurt anyone at this point. People are so scared at the threat, no more is really needed."

So would you say people are terrorised? Mission accomplished!

FPJuly 2, 2007 9:59 AM

Meanwhile, Joe Schmoe thinks that they're after us, and that we must do something!

Expect politicians debating in the near future whether it's a good idea that you can drive up to an airport terminal curb.

I also found this good write-up at the Register: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/29/more_fear_biscuits_please/

Last year, terrorists attempted to blow up a German train station using wires placed inside a 11 liter natural gas canister (containing only gas, no oxygen), with a few bottles of gasoline next to it. The device did not detonate, but we were told that hundreds would have died or been injured from the metal fragments that would have flown for "a hundred meters".

Mike MaloneJuly 2, 2007 10:02 AM

Thank you for making this point! I've been saying this all week and people think I'm just being a jerk. These guys are idiots. How does putting gasoline and propane in a car make it "a bomb"?

HugoJuly 2, 2007 10:03 AM

London showed us two things:

1) It's still extremely easy to commit a terrorist attack. Biometric passports and 100 ml liquid rules do NOT prevent that.

2) Security awareness is VERY important. Someone spotted smoke coming out of the car and informed the police. Simple and effetcive. No Big Brother rule can improve that.

Random CurmudgeonJuly 2, 2007 10:06 AM

Well...at least now there is widespread UK support for the new PM's policies and support of American imp...er...anti-terrorist agenda(s).

Always good to start the new PM off with solid public support, eh?

Frank Ch. EiglerJuly 2, 2007 10:11 AM

> On the other hand, who invites their friends to come along on a suicide mission?

Someone who wouldn't mind sharing those promised 72 virgins/raisins.

Frank Ch. EiglerJuly 2, 2007 10:16 AM

> First London and then Glasgow. Who are these
> idiots? It there a Special Olympics for terrorists
> going on in the UK this week?

By the way, it might be appropriate to communicate a sense of relief that these terrorists failed, rather just see humour in the situation. It would be even better not to sound disappointed.

supersnailJuly 2, 2007 10:25 AM

The mainstream media in the UK have been peddling all this "1000s could have been killed" nonsense with a straight face, while totaly ignoring the most salient aspect of the attacks -- the total incompetance of the attackers.

Apparently one of the organisers worked as a hospital doctor. I hate to think how he got qualified with such a low understanding of basic chemistry.

NeilJuly 2, 2007 10:27 AM

Frank; vicious, sustained, contempt-ridden mockery is just what they deserve.

Inspiring terror and inspiring mirth are pretty much mutually exclusive.

It's the British way.

Dave PageJuly 2, 2007 10:29 AM

I've just come through London on the train. I'm sure that having armed police carrying machine guns through crowded public places isn't doing anything to lower tensions, nor the "special response" policemen yanking all the Muslim-looking people off for questioning from the platform of my train in Manchester.

I'll be getting the bus back into Manchester City Centre later - it might be slower and more expensive, but I'm less likely to be caught up in knee-jerk OMGTERRORISTWTF lunacy.

Hieronymous CowherdJuly 2, 2007 10:30 AM

Here Frank, you dropped your clue.

As I live in London, I'm very relieved the terrorists failed. Sooner or later we might get some competent terrorists and then things will be unpleasant (again). In the meantime, laughing at the fools who think that they're going to heaven by killing a lot of kuffirs makes us all feel better and keep the sense of proportion our government and their catspaws seem determined to deny us.

The entire methodology of suicide bombing does not lend itself to generating competent terrorists. If your asset is guaranteed to be wasted there's not much point training them very well. This in turn raises the risk of failure, pretty much ensuring that the entire cell will get blown as soon as the attack occurs. It doesn't seem like a very efficient way of running a war.

arctanckJuly 2, 2007 10:32 AM

It's really not worth dying this way. But have to say that it's much better than him succeeding in dying the "glorious" way.

DaveShawJuly 2, 2007 10:35 AM

To cause "terror" in the UK at the moment all you need to do is get some people who are "not English" to leave a few bags on a few trains in London and the whole capitol will be evacuated. People will panic and be scared. The terrorists don't even need to blow things up or kill people to instill terror. The media do that now.

The Daily Mirror (http://www.mirror.co.uk) is a classic example of the media spreading fear with it's "War on Britain" headed pages.
Since 9/11, 50 or so people lost there lives sadly in 7/7. That many die crossing the road each day. Not really a war on Britain...!

Dave.

yDNAJuly 2, 2007 10:40 AM

Is it necessary to suggest there is a connection between the Special Olympics and idiots? I get the joke, but it doesn't seem like a fair comparison.

PJuly 2, 2007 10:47 AM

I for one hope that putting gasoline and propane in a car doesn't constitute "making a bomb", given that my car usually has some gasoline in the tank, and being a country-dweller I have a 10 mile round-trip to the local Citgo when I need a propane refill for the grill...

Agreed on the overall reaction, helped, I am sure, by the total incompetence the terrorists demonstrated. It's refreshing not to see mass hysteria after such an event.

Here in the US many people seem to have missed the rather important fact that not letting yourself be terrorized is by far the best way to stop the terrorists from achieving their aims.

Colossal SquidJuly 2, 2007 10:52 AM

On reflection it was more a 'cry for help mission' rather than a 'suicide mission'.

fnoolJuly 2, 2007 10:56 AM

@P

I'm not a terrorist, which is why I drive a diesel.

Feel free to report me next time I buy feritiliser for my guarden.

AnonymousJuly 2, 2007 10:56 AM

What all the oxidizer folks miss is that if it was a two stage device -- pop the can and some time later spark the air/fuel mixture, it could have been big. But that does take brains, a clock device, and a spark.

Laughing at the failures can make repeats harder to think about doing, maybe. But there are too many fools who will repeat. Love Neil's comment.

RobJuly 2, 2007 10:58 AM

I think it's clear. The terrorists have been studying Schneier and decided to implement one of the "movie plot threats" that Schneier talks about so much.

It's a pity they weren't paying attention in class!

Jim RamseyJuly 2, 2007 10:58 AM

This is really an insult to the Special Olympics.

My wife had the best comment --
"Can you picture a Down's person blowing up anything? Hugging to death maybe."

Still, they'll get better.

AnonymousJuly 2, 2007 11:00 AM

The IRA were something to worry about. These guys were 3rd class muppits. Yes they've got people a little worried but little more than that. I know of no one who has cancelled a holiday. I'll be flying from Glasgow in a couple of weeks. In fact if you want to get a further idea of the Scottish reaction to this (in addition to the website of the chap who decked the flaming bomber) is that jokes are going round already.

cocotoniJuly 2, 2007 11:03 AM

I don't want to justify the actions of the terrorists, but UK was really pushing the luck this time, with knighting Salman Rushdie and appointing Tony "Let's go to Iraq" Blair to hold peace talks on Middle East.

Can you think of any more offensive action towards Muslims?

PezJuly 2, 2007 11:09 AM

I live in London, and I've got to say the general reaction here is people just taking the piss. After all, anyone who knows London knows that your car gets towed within 30 seconds if you park llegally. Schoolboy error.
Plus we got used to the IRA (and various splinter groups) who not only had access to proper high explosives but also knew how to use them. They did eventually realise that actually killing people was bad for their cause and instead just blew up (mostly) unoccupied buildings instead, such as the Bishopsgate attack. The Keystone Jihad are quite possibly the least scary terrorists we've ever had, frankly. The People's Front of Judea are more likely to cause terror.

73 65 63 73 74 61July 2, 2007 11:10 AM

"Who ranks as the highest? One who does not harm anything. One who never retaliates. One who is always at peace regardless of the other person's disposition." - Buddha

thrustonJuly 2, 2007 11:10 AM

OT but methinks cassiel has mistaken Max Hastings the respectable journalist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Hastings) for Max Clifford the disreputable publicist
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Clifford).

thrustonJuly 2, 2007 11:11 AM

OT but methinks cassiel has mistaken Max Hastings the respectable journalist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Hastings) for Max Clifford the disreputable publicist
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Clifford).

Bruce SchneierJuly 2, 2007 11:18 AM

"By the way, it might be appropriate to communicate a sense of relief that these terrorists failed, rather just see humour in the situation. It would be even better not to sound disappointed."

You think I'm disappointed that the terrorist attacks failed? That's simply idiotic. When did we turn into a society that must run around like chickens without our heads in order to "prove" that we don't secretly agree with the terrorists?

Mockery and derision is what these people deserve, nothing more.

Bruce SchneierJuly 2, 2007 11:19 AM

"This is really an insult to the Special Olympics."

Indeed it is, and I thought about that before making the post.

But in the end I decided that the joke was worth it.

Geoff LaneJuly 2, 2007 11:51 AM

There's a lot of media commentary on the inept bombers but as yet nobody is pointing out that in an area that probably has the highest density of surveillance cameras in the country, it took a human to recognise something curious and call the police.

The cameras are fine for analyzing after the fact, but I for one would prefer not to be blown up in the first place (and especially not by a bunch of idiots who don't seem to have even borrowed "Car Bombs For Dummies" from the library.)

As I write this I wonder, did the cast of Carry On Bombing even have the wit to disable the over pressure valves on the gas bottles?

GomezJuly 2, 2007 12:07 PM

At the risk of being politically correct, I'm sure retards take offense at the thread title...

RobertJuly 2, 2007 12:12 PM

"We are safe, but we are safe because we continue to pay attention and we continue to add security measures," Chertoff said as the Fourth of July holiday approaches.

Terrorists are suspected of continuing last weekend's plot in the U.K. this week in the U.S. under code name "Weenie Roast" and "bigum fire cracker". The suspected upcoming attack is rumored to be based upon a battalion sized super-cell of BBQ grill-wheeling Al Qaeda operatives across the United States, and in every major city. The operations explosively enhanced BBQ devices and illegal fireworks could kill and injur millions, according to DHS initial projections. "Watch your neighbors, don't trust anyone! What might look to the casual eye as a festive hootenanny, might become a fatal calamity of horror and terror.

Holiday security in the U.S. will be tight. "The advent of propane canisters being used as WMDs is concerning" an official commented. "We must be quick and flexible in developing security measures to stop new threats. That said, we are monitoring the purchase and refills of Propane cylinders over the holiday. Grocery store and Gas Station employees have been given provided a DHS hotline number for suspicious customers who buy, refill, or exchange propane cylinders and don’t purchase a 24 pack of beer. We know the terrorists don’t drink, so that’s a dead giveaway.��? People are asked to be extremely vigilant.

Congress is anticipated to debate a national ban of all propane cylinders in the U.S. over 24 oz. in the coming weeks as part of a gun control bill being proposed. “If we can keep guns, propane, and anything else that can be used for evil purposes out of citizens and terrorists’ hands, we’ll all be a lot safer.��?

We're doomed for sure....

MacJuly 2, 2007 12:13 PM

yDNA"Is it necessary to suggest there is a connection between the Special Olympics and idiots? I get the joke, but it doesn't seem like a fair comparison."

My point exactly. I get the joke as well, but damn it all, I just don't think insulting disabled people is reasonable. It's mean spirited and pointless.

DerekJuly 2, 2007 12:20 PM

Good post, Bruce. I think what we have here are two separate groups of terrorists. In a way you can think of them as crackers vs. script kiddies. On the one hand you have people like the 9/11 planners who had an agenda and were able to see vulnerabilities, and then were able to exploit them, and exploit them well.

The other group are merely wanna-be terrorists. They aren't that bright, probably don't have a lot of direction in their lives, feel like they're powerless etc. They see the agenda of the more sophisticated terrorists, and try to emulate them in order to gain revenge, fame, power, etc. The problem is, as you point out, that they're idiots. They don't have the ability to think things through, and their attacks end up the way that these did.

Now, I hope that people will see these attacks for what they were and not allow it to add to the culture of fear that you also wrote about.

AnonymousJuly 2, 2007 12:32 PM

mundus vult decipi... apparently, mundus also vult terreri (sorry if I butchered that, my Latin's quite rusty). :P

Clive RobinsonJuly 2, 2007 12:32 PM

With regards the,

"What all the oxidizer folks miss is that if it was a two stage device"

I suspect that what the terrorists where trying to do was a BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosions), that is you heat up a fuel in a container untill it is well above it's normal flash point, when the container ruptures due to simple physical preasure the resulting rapidly expanding cloud uses atmospheric oxygen to burn and release the chemical energy for the explosion. If the oxygen is added to the fuel then the explosive type is often refered to as a Fuel Air explosive or FAE or FAX.

These BLEVE Explosions are known to be very destructive and are rated in terms of TNT equivalent. Have a look at,

http://jfe.sagepub.com/cgi/content/refs/3/1/9

For further details.

However like all Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) they are natoriously difficult to get working effectivly. Unlike many other IEDs they are fairly obvious when they fail.

When experiments have been carried out for investigations in the Petro Chem industry various things come out.

1, The effect of the heating fire can vary wildly with time with one expermint using gas burners showing variability from 8mins to 43mins depending on quite moderate wind condition differences.

2, The yield is criticaly dependent on how the container breaks. A simple split produces a very low yield of around 2% with a container designed to fragment the yeild can go up to 25% or more.

3, Another major issue is that a fuel like propane has a lower and upper explosive limit which are quite close together in a normal atmosphere so this acts as quite a constraint on their effectivness.

4, To be effective as an explosion the fuel oxygen mixture needs to burn at a rate considerably in excess of the speed of sound to produce an effective blast wave.

Point 1 needs a careful design to get the variability down and would be unlikley in an IED design.

Points 2&3 tend to sugest that if your canisters are inside another containment vessel (ie a car) then there would be little atmospheric oxygen to rapidly combine with the fuel, and therefore point 4 would come into play.

One way to get around points 3&4 is to use a gas that already has the oxygen built into the molecule, thus ensuring optimal mixing and (physical constraints aside) yield thereby negating the effects of point 2.

If people consider the history of the design of the handgrenade then you will see how point 2 might be dealt with in practice.

These issues are probably why the military are much more interested in FAE's. Which have their own interesting history of difficulties during development and deployment.

Which is where I am curious from news items atleast three hospital doctors appear to have been involved, getting hold of oxygen cylinders would not have been overly difficult adding an appropriate amount of oxygen to an LPG container would have been possible the question is why did they not experiment before hand...

C GomezJuly 2, 2007 12:36 PM

I absolutely agree the "terrorists" were morons. It brings up an old point you made yourself in this blog Bruce. The "terrorists" may just be idiots.

I think it's understandable that these attacks might cause some fear. But, as I've pointed out in your comments before, it is the regularlity with which they occurred, and not the outcome.

Look at the D.C. sniper here in the U.S. The fact remained that, on a day-to-day basis, you were probably safe from any harm. It was the regularity with which people were being killed or attacked and the lack of any pattern or motive that scared everyone.

If al-Qaeda is real, or if any terrorist group is real, and they want some decent advice... they should really try terrorizing for once. Why attack once every few years and succeed in spectacular fashion once? Why not be doing little things every day? Something doesn't add up.

This is where I disagree with Bruce. We are not terrorized here. People do not alter their work, school, or travel plans because of terrorism to this point. They _did_ for a short time after 9/11, but then we came to realize 9/11 was either the work of a single group, or is the work of a larger group that apparently is marginalized, or stupid.

Are the American leaders terrorized? Yes. They are the ones who live in fear. Everyone gets a pass for 9/11. But no one wants to be the one (President nor Congress) who presides over the "second attack". So _they_ are the ones who live in fear, overreact, and overspend. To this point, it hasn't affected people's pocketbooks _enough_, so the same cronies are still in place all over the federal level.

Not a politicianJuly 2, 2007 12:36 PM

"When did we turn into a society that must run around like chickens without our heads in order to "prove" that we don't secretly agree with the terrorists?"

Uhm... past 9/11, you are assumed guilty until proven otherwise. After any single "attack", successful or not, any politician (these know-nothing idiots who make the laws) cries for more surveillance, more repression, more censorship, more safety, less freedom.

C GomezJuly 2, 2007 12:38 PM

@Bruce:

I think a real public service would be to contrast what about the airport security worked compared to security theater.

I know you are _not_ talking out of both sides of your mouth, but surely you understand that after harping on security theater at airports, you can really help out by explaining why _this_ should be considered security that worked.

sooth_sayerJuly 2, 2007 12:49 PM

May be they skimped on their training expenses .. figuring how hard could it be !!

And .. And .. who invites their friends for a suicide ... one who couldn't handle all 72 of them alone!!

UrbanJuly 2, 2007 1:17 PM

Couldn´t you find a more insulting and inappropriate metaphor? Shame on you.

MattJuly 2, 2007 1:28 PM

Bruce commented: "Indeed it is [an insult to the special Olympics] and I thought about that before making the post. But in the end I decided that the joke was worth it."

So, what you're telling us is that you're not being a thoughtless prick here; rather, you chose to be a prick only after careful consideration.

Not a dhimmiJuly 2, 2007 1:40 PM

So, what's the deal with the first car being left with its doors open and the lights on? I've seen that reported at least twice now.

Where they trying to attract attention?

I keep seeing the authorities report that the bombs were "viable" - is that doublespeak or really what it sounds like?

CitizenJuly 2, 2007 2:06 PM

"On the other hand, who invites their friends to come along on a suicide mission?"

Your movie plot populist contest does, as well as your constant remarks of terrorists being idiots. And who said they ought to be smart anyway? You don't need a PhD to commit a terrorist act like these ones, or come with the ultra sophisticated stategy. "Keep it simple stupid" vs 3249827347923874907 data mining programs, biometric IDs, intelligence data sharing etc. etc. and yes, my money go for funding stuff like that.

AnonymousJuly 2, 2007 2:15 PM

I'm surprised by the amount of people saying that people are now scared because of the recent action in London and Glasgow.

Scared? I do not know anyone that is scared. It's almost socially unacceptable to be scared of such things. That's why terrorism will never be able to work in the UK.

GregJuly 2, 2007 2:20 PM

You're all going to tell me you don't drive just a smidge more carefully when you have a propane tank in the back seat? And that every highway agency is just being needlessly worried and ignorant of science when they ban hazardous cargo in major tunnels?

Of course the bombs were viable. If I had just lit my car on fire with 4-5 propane tanks in the back seat I wouldn't be stopping to close the doors either. I would get the hell away as quickly as I could no matter how low the risk is.

Obviously not the cleverest of bomb designs, being 0 for 3 so far. But with a bit of poor luck any of them could have caused an explosion and quite a large one at that.

What I don't understand is why they think barring cars from airport forecourts is a logical response. What makes airport forecourts any different from any other high traffic area. Airplanes are sensitive targets because a relatively small explosion will crash the plane. But airports are no more vulnerable than any other large building.

fnoolJuly 2, 2007 2:32 PM

I'm not scared.

In the IRA days things were more worrying, but I was still more concerned about being knocked down by a car, even after I missed the manchester bomb by over sleeping.

The strange thing is that it is almost unacceptable for me to admit to not being scared sometimes. Most of the people I know think the same way, but a few of them are horrified.

How dare I not be afraid of terrorists? They want to kill me!

Well in that case they need to raise their game, as the laws of probability suggest they will need to get threw a few hundred thousand other people first.

Unless they know where I live of course.

Reader XJuly 2, 2007 2:36 PM

""This is really an insult to the Special Olympics."

Indeed it is, and I thought about that before making the post.

But in the end I decided that the joke was worth it."

Bruce, you're a great guy, but you lose three ways here:

1. Being mean-spirited.

2. Letting everyone know that you made a deliberate decision to be mean-spirited.

3. Demonstrating a sophomoric sense of humor.

Brian KaufmanJuly 2, 2007 2:36 PM

Haha! I agree that the headline of this post was very funny and worth possibly insulting the real Special Olympics. Right on Bruce!

Not a dhimmiJuly 2, 2007 2:39 PM

Hey greg - one occupant, multiple doors. That means they weren't just left open because the guy was trying to get the eff away from there, it means they were opened deliberately.

PS - what does running away really fast have to do with the bombs being 'viable' anyway?

NostromoJuly 2, 2007 2:50 PM

@Dave
'To cause "terror" in the UK at the moment all you need to do is get some people who are "not English" to leave a few bags on a few trains in London and the whole capitol will be evacuated.'

Rubbish. The Brits are not easily terrorised. The IRA (largely financed from the USA, btw) were vastly more competent, and succeeded in blowing up a lot of people and buildings, but life in London pretty much went on as normal.

Petréa MitchellJuly 2, 2007 3:06 PM

You know what we need here? We need the next Mythbusters movie special to be on whether you can get spectacular explosions the way they show in the movies. Sadly, Discovery Channel would probably refuse to air it for fear of being accused of aiding the terrorists by showing that a bunch of people who are currently under arrest for terrorism couldn't have done what they thought they were going to do.

Count another vote for the Special Olympics headline being funny enough to be excusable.

RoyJuly 2, 2007 3:10 PM

LAX, in response to the UK 'attacks', is now giving special attention to 'unattended vehicles'.

For those of you still learning the peculiarities of English usage, that means 'parked cars'.

Erik NJuly 2, 2007 3:17 PM

You might think they are idiots because they miserably fail killing themselves as good terrorists do and have always done.

Or, they are not idiots at all. Maybe they have just figured: There's no need to blow oneself anymore - a failed attack causes just as much havoc, panic, fear and confusion - well, terror.

So, the modern terrorist might be a failure by old standards, but really is just much more successful?

fnoolJuly 2, 2007 3:19 PM

@roy

Car bombs were fairly common during the IRA campaign. Worrying about parked cars near potential targets is sensible, provided that you have an enemy with a record of setting off effective car bombs.

This bunch have utterly failed to demonstrate any such capability. That doesn't mean they never will of course, but so far it isn't worth losing sleep over.

PonderJuly 2, 2007 3:34 PM

Recently a student-appartment flat was struck by lighting and set the roof on fire. Construction workers had left their tools on the roof, including gas canisters for their torchburners.
Watch what a standard gas bottle in a fire does:
http://www.skoeps.nl/index.php?module=Skoeps&func=show&id=14453

The 'filmer' was obviously too distracted to use is mob. phone/camera properly but the impact is still quite impressive.

The incomprehensible chatter is indeed Dutch.

(I have inhabited that building for some years in what seems like a previous life now.)

derfJuly 2, 2007 3:40 PM

These wannabes are just sad. They've not got quite the Islamic militant fervor to do it to the exacting standards of al-Qaeda.

Seems like no matter how many people are body cavity searched trying to get on a plane, the terrorists can still win by blowing up the security line of people patiently waiting to be searched. So far, they haven't yet managed to pull it off. Once they do, the TSA will need a pre-security line to screen people for the security line.

Almost makes you want to build your home inside-out and hang "Asylum" on the front door.

John A ThomsonJuly 2, 2007 4:29 PM

The authorities response was well overboard. As someone who flew out of Edinburgh Airport on Friday and noted an increased level of security that had just be instigated and flew back on Sunday, when the police response was totally OTT at both Heathrow and Edinburgh, all I can say is the police were causing more disruption and pain to the public than the bombers had ever managed.

The airports, the police and other security specialists need to look at how they deal with these situations just after the event. Their current response is too heavy handed and adds "terror" to the overall impact of the terrorist event.

citizen number 12July 2, 2007 4:56 PM

Someday one of these boneheads that we love to ridicule is going to be following his simplified wiring diagrams, unintentionally cross a few wires and get something that will actually explode. Even brainless morons can have a lucky day.

Stefan WagnerJuly 2, 2007 7:11 PM

@ponder:
No, it isn't impressive.
I don't see an explosion, but a deflagration.
There is a somewhat impressive fireball, about 30 m high, but after that, the building looks like before.

How long did the fire heat the gas bottle? The smoke tells us: Some minutes at least.

Jon SowdenJuly 2, 2007 7:12 PM

@citizen number 12
"Someday one of these boneheads ... [will] have a lucky day."

They surely will, and about twice a year, based on past performance.

http://www.start.umd.edu/data/gtd/

But is anyone really disputing that?

The govt, on the other hand, seems to be aiming to freak out on a weekly or daily basis.

Jon SowdenJuly 2, 2007 7:21 PM

Edit, back to a bit less than twice a year (fatal cas > 100, explosives, 1998-2004)

SteveJuly 2, 2007 9:14 PM

Norman Tebbit was RIGHT when he talked about his Cricket Test.

What Cricket has to do with this terrorist plot.

As early as 16 years ago, Lord Norman Tebbit, a British politician expressed his concerns about the increasing numbers of British Citizens that identified with a foreign nationality more than their British citizenship.

An example he gave was what he saw at a cricket match in Great Britain between their national team and that of Pakistan. He saw a great number of British citizens of Pakistani descent rooting not for England but for Pakistan. And they weren't all naturalized first generation British citizens, but third and fourth generations as well.

How, he wondered, can these people be considered British citizens and take part of the responsibilities of British citizenship, when they themselves don't even really think of themselves as British as indicated by them rooting for a foreign team instead their own national team?

And what are the consequences for British society of having a significant segment of its population that will not integrate itself into British Culture but instead identifies itself more with a foreign country than their own?

This "test" of British citizenship came to be known in England as the "Cricket Test" and as you can imagine was greeted with hostility and calls of racism from the Left.

But his concerns were unfortunately vindicated on July 7th, 2005 when "home grown" terrorists hit the London Underground subway system with suicide attacks

And now we have another terrorist plot which might have just included "home grown" terrorists in Great Britain.

Too bad people didn't listen to Lord Tebbit's concerns in 1990 instead of ridiculing his "Cricket Test".

Tebbit: 'Cricket test' could have stopped bombings

Tebbit attacks 'unreformed' Islam

EricJuly 2, 2007 9:42 PM

I'm surprised no one has pointed out that two of Bruce's bubbles have popped as a result of what's happened in London and Glasgow recently.

First, non-police, non-security workers noticed something strange about the two vehicles in London and notified police. In one case it was ambulance workers, and in the other, it was those who towed the car (as best I can make out from news reports). In the past, Bruce has criticized government officials asking citizens to keep an eye open and report anything strange. But it's useful.

Second, Bruce has often said that airport security measures should be curtailed since they only prevent idiots from committing terrorist acts. Well, apparently there's a benefit to that.

Besides, given that there haven't been any successful attacks on a U.S.-originated flight since 9/11, we have to conclude that a) the measures have discouraged terrotists, b) able terrorists have decided for some reason not to attack a U.S.-originated flight independent of the security measures over the last 5+ years, or c) other measures have removed all able terrorists from U.S. soil. Is there another viable alternative explanation? If you have one, please share it.

JackJuly 2, 2007 10:14 PM

Visit your page a lot, but come on, if you want to call some one an idiot, just call them an idiot -- the mentally-retarded athletes in the Special Olympics however are not idiots.

Brandioch ConnerJuly 2, 2007 10:43 PM

@Eric
"First, non-police, non-security workers noticed something strange about the two vehicles in London and notified police. ... In the past, Bruce has criticized government officials asking citizens to keep an eye open and report anything strange."

And ... ?

From what I recall, Bruce has only mocked government requests that citizens report "suspicious" behavior of certain types of person.

I don't recall Bruce ever saying that citizens should not report things such as unknown or unidentified items that citizens have not seen before.

But once such ARE reported, it is up to the government officials to handle the cases with the correct response level.

Claiming that blinking light ads were "threats" is inappropriate.

"Besides, given that there haven't been any successful attacks on a U.S.-originated flight since 9/11, we have to conclude that a) the measures have discouraged terrotists, b) able terrorists have decided for some reason not to attack a U.S.-originated flight independent of the security measures over the last 5+ years, or c) other measures have removed all able terrorists from U.S. soil. Is there another viable alternative explanation? If you have one, please share it."

Certainly. And such has been shared already.

It comes down to the availability of terrorists with the skill set necessary to carry out such attacks.

You would be picked up almost instantly if you tried to carry out an attack in Iran. You do not speak the language. You do not know the customs. You couldn't even tell the police from the military from a office guard.

Instead, it's easier to recruit people in Iraq who already know the language and the customs and so forth and can strike at Americans much easier there.

They've succeeded 3,500+ times. And that's not counting how many they've crippled.

Why waste valuable, rare agents when we keep sending them targets suitable to their lesser forces?

BobJuly 2, 2007 11:40 PM

cocotoni says "Can you think of any more offensive action towards Muslims?"

Help me here. I'm a tolerant man, took the time to learn a bit about Islam so I could discuss it rationally with the more fire-and-brimstone Christian friends.

But I find myself less tolerant. "Offsensive action toward Muslims". These are extremist, fundamentalist nutcases brainwashed from birth. If you want to bow before them, that's your business. They're immune to reason. They're hard to kill. These guys were clowns, great! We can have a good laugh. Occasionally they're successful. That's the problem.

Book "The God Delusion" explains how the vast majority of children follow the religion of their parents. In theory, at age 18 they should choose. It's brainwashing. *Now how do you reason with an irrational person who wants to kill you?*

We need practical solutions. Any new ideas? New idea: War hawks and Ass kissing hasn't worked so far.

finJuly 3, 2007 2:16 AM

In a related news item, the name of one of the terrorists has been released to the media. "Singed MaJeep" is being held for further questions by Strathclyde police.

csrsterJuly 3, 2007 2:25 AM

Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou for the johnsmeaton.com link. I think I may have wet myself. I just love the idea that the true Glaswegian response to the threat of international terrorism is to give them a good kickin.

Richard BraakmanJuly 3, 2007 2:30 AM

"The bombs were viable" is shorthand for "If they hadn't made these bombs, but had made different bombs instead, those different bombs would have exploded just fine".

John DaviesJuly 3, 2007 2:43 AM

@Steve

The Tebbit cricket test failed because it was recognised for the lunacy that it was. Where do you draw the line? Although I live in England I'm Welsh and will happily support Wales in any sporting endeavour against England. Does that mean I should be thrown out of the country?

Like with all these problems it's tempting to go for the easy diagnosis - "You're not from this country so you must be bad". The reality however is a lot more complex. Until we realise that we're condemned to repeat the past.

Steve EJuly 3, 2007 2:44 AM

"I don't want to justify the actions of the terrorists, but UK was really pushing the luck this time, with knighting Salman Rushdie and appointing Tony "Let's go to Iraq" Blair to hold peace talks on Middle East.

Can you think of any more offensive action towards Muslims?"

Posted by: cocotoni

Well boo-hoo.

It isn't worth worrying about upsetting the feelings of somebody that is so sensitive that they consider a knighthood to Rushdie is enough provocation to go on a random killing spree. These people are eejits, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.

OTOH, these radical atacks have not affected my life one bit so far, except that it is sometimes a subject of conversation.

Gaius ObviousJuly 3, 2007 3:27 AM

In an alternate world where certain terrorists were stopped before they did their deed:

"How could anyone think a group of five students could hijack a plane with just a boxcutter each? It's crazy that they were arrested simply because the ticket agent thought they were 'acting strange.' Trying to hijack a plane with only box cutters for weapons (so the police claim) is like something from a Three Stooges short. I guess they were really arrested for 'flying while brown.'"

"And how about that guy they arrested in Oklahoma City with the truck full of fertilizer? They claimed he was going to use it as a bomb to blow up a federal building there! Sheesh. I guess all farmers are now considered terrorists. It was fertilizer for gosh sakes -- the same stuff you buy in bags at Home Depot to put on your lawn. Now you are considered a terrorist if you buy it in bulk to save money. Making a bomb out of fertilizer is like something out of Star Trek where Captain Kirk tried to kill the Gorn lizard dude. Only in movies can you do that."


supersnailJuly 3, 2007 3:41 AM

"To cause "terror" in the UK at the moment " - I think the poster is missing the point, there is a complete disconnect between the "official" and "media" reactions compared with the general populus.
The "media"/"official" respose is of the "Oh no the sky is falling on our heads - lets make a law agaisnt looking at the sky".
The general public response - "Theres a great punch line in there waiting to get out."

So nobody was terrorised its just another example of how out of touch the media and polititians are with the people they supossably represent.

The outstanding polititian here was Alex Salmond, Scotlands First Minister who's measured no nonsense response was in sharp contrast to the others.
Plus compare his comments "we Scottsih are an inclusive community" clearly including muslims, asians etc. etc. in that "we" with the Tebbit "cricket test" drivel.

DaveShawJuly 3, 2007 3:58 AM

OK. I conceed to the points of @supersnail and @Nostromo. I think the point I was trying to make was lost on paper. The Brits as a race would not be terrorized but the Goverment and media would overreact to embarrasing levels.

Colossal SquidJuly 3, 2007 4:09 AM

"...the mentally-retarded athletes in the Special Olympics however are not idiots."

By definition if they have an IQ of However, have to agree that Bruce's headline is a tad tasteless.

Ian EiloartJuly 3, 2007 7:23 AM

I was in the Thai Square restaurant on Cockspur Street, about 8 hours before one of the cars was towed from in front of the restaurant. I'm glad it failed, but Bruce, you should have picked different target.

These bombers seem to be quite evenly matched with our outgoing Prime Minister when it comes to evaluating WMD.

SalmonJuly 3, 2007 7:48 AM

@Eric
Or they are still planning/waiting. Remember, terrorist attacks of 9/11 size are very rare.

FPJuly 3, 2007 9:41 AM

This morning, I woke up to the Radio asking listeners to call in and discuss whether they're changing their 4th of July travel plans because of the attacks overseas. Despite stretching the premise into the proposterous, they did not find anyone who'd rather stay at home. Still, every caller was of course "dead scared."

BTW, I find Bruce's headline dead on. In the Special Olympics, Athletes compete that, because of their (physical) disabilities are disadvantaged with respect to regular athletes. In the London Terrorist Special Olympics, terrorists compete that are not on par with regular terrorists because of their mental shortcomings.

Either way, it's clear parody. And as commented on in another post, it's becoming ridiculous that people expect you to state the obvious for reasons of political correctness.

travelgirlJuly 3, 2007 10:56 AM

what i don't understand is why doctors haven't been stopped from getting on planes?

isn't it obvious? after all, shoes and liquids were both major contributors to previous stupidity... why not make sure no flight takes off with doctors onboard?

hell, let's go one step further: no humans on board. same reasoning...

RustyJuly 3, 2007 11:42 AM

cocotoni says "Can you think of any more offensive action towards Muslims?"

Pardon me, cocotoni, but at this stage I, and I'm sure a number of people who won't speak up, could care less about offending the bloody moslims.

You can't fight crazy, esp. when it comes complete with a world-view 700 years behind the rest of us.

(Yes, I know this is a sweeping generalization. That's why their called generalizations. But there are millions of so-called 'moderate' moslems in the western world alone, and I don't hear much of them denouncing these acts or making any visible attempt to keep their nutters under control. I find that, as a human being, offensive)


Not a dhimmiJuly 3, 2007 12:41 PM

@Rusty

Every time a Christian commits murder, are Christians obligated to go on television and state the obvious -- that murder is wrong and the offender doesn't represent Christian views?

Of course not. They can simply state once (or occasionally) that murder is wrong and unChristian. Actually, they don't even have to do that; it's considered obvious that murder is wrong, so they aren't required to say anything. Silence is not assent in such cases.

So why do you hold muslims to a higher standard than everybody else?

Petréa MitchellJuly 3, 2007 1:03 PM

"what i don't understand is why doctors haven't been stopped from getting on planes?"

Anyone who could be reasonably suspected of being in possession of a college education should have the details of their degrees verified before they can fly. I mean, if you really want to be safe, you want to catch people with past evidence of terrorist leanings, right? So you've got to get everyone with a pre-med degree.

derfJuly 3, 2007 1:07 PM

@Eric

You can get video from the internet on how to prayerfully lay out your suicide bomb belt for maximum carnage. It's deliberately created so any moron can follow the directions.

The TSA has cooperated rather nicely in creating a very enticing security nightmare - the lines leading to the security scanner.

We have target and opportunity, now we need motive.

Outside of the middle east it's very difficult to find someone so low on the poverty scale or high on the religious fervor indoctrination scale that they'll willingly blow themselves up.

When/if they do make that decision, explosives aren't waiting at the corner Kwik-E Mart. This limits their capabilities somewhat, hence Mr. Patio Gas in Scotland. If they don't homebrew the explosives, they'll likely get caught trying to acquire them. If they homebrew, they still could get caught, because many of the ingredients are monitored. If they manage to get the homebrew ingredients, they still have to brew without killing themselves early.

You'll notice, so far the outstanding incompetence of the TSA hasn't been involved in stopping our theoretical Islamosuicide except to create a beautiful target...

AnonymousJuly 3, 2007 1:14 PM

"@Rusty

Every time a Christian commits murder, are Christians obligated to go on television and state the obvious -- that murder is wrong and the offender doesn't represent Christian views?

Of course not. They can simply state once (or occasionally) that murder is wrong and unChristian. Actually, they don't even have to do that; it's considered obvious that murder is wrong, so they aren't required to say anything. Silence is not assent in such cases.

So why do you hold muslims to a higher standard than everybody else?

Posted by: Not a dhimmi "

He isn't. He was reffering to terrorism, which is a tad different from most murder cases.

If you are a Christian I am pretty damn sure that you would codem a Christian for commiting terorist acts on those flimsy premises.

Don't make excuses for barbarism.

Steve EJuly 3, 2007 1:19 PM

"@Rusty

Every time a Christian commits murder, are Christians obligated to go on television and state the obvious -- that murder is wrong and the offender doesn't represent Christian views?

Of course not. They can simply state once (or occasionally) that murder is wrong and unChristian. Actually, they don't even have to do that; it's considered obvious that murder is wrong, so they aren't required to say anything. Silence is not assent in such cases.

So why do you hold muslims to a higher standard than everybody else?

Posted by: Not a dhimmi"

He is not holding muslims to a higher standard. That is eronious.

If an extreme Christian group commited terrorist atacks willy-nilly, I am sure that many moderate Christians would be willing to condemn them.

Terrorism=/=murder. It is totally random as far as the victims are concerned.

Bryan FeirJuly 3, 2007 1:50 PM

Does anybody else here remember a short story by Dean Ing, originally published in 1978 in the old SF 'bookazine' Destinies, called "Very Proper Charlies"?

Basic idea was a media campaign to cut off all terrorists from what they wanted most: media attention. (This was in 1978, so the IRA was one of the bigger worries at the time.) All terrorists were now to be called 'Charlies', from the old British vernacular, and the logo for a terrorism news story was a short ugly man with a lit stick of dynamite between his teeth giving the camera the finger.

Naturally, media organizations became bigger targets after this, and the comedian who originated the idea had to go into hiding, but I seem to recall it did have the intended effect of making some organizations question their old tactics... been several years since I read it.

Not a dhimmiJuly 3, 2007 1:58 PM

@Steve E

Just what does randomness have to do with responsibility for other's actions?

As for christians condemning terrorism by other christians - how many condemned the IRA bombings? How many condemned Eric Rudolph's little spree? Or any of the other abortion clinic attacks?

In fact plenty of muslims have and continue to condemn terrorism, out loud and in public. But fear sells newspapers so you only find out about it if you look for it.

He and you are absolutely holding muslims to a higher standard and claiming otherwise is simply self-deception.

RustyJuly 3, 2007 2:13 PM

@Anonymous said "Every time a Christian commits murder, are Christians obligated to go on television and state the obvious -- that murder is wrong and the offender doesn't represent Christian views?"

First off, you must be a politician or work for FOX - let's not address the question, just turn it around. Nice try.

My comments are in the context of repeated mass-murder of strangers for dogma's sake, not individual acts of murder, which is often courtesy of someone you know personally.

I am not holding Moslims to a higher standard, simply to a standard of human decency which seems to be in short supply. I disagree with your assertion that we should all "assume" that silence is golden. I don't see it; I simply feel that silence is acquiescence, or at the very least indifference. (sound of pin dropping)

By their own statements, these Moslims are using Islam as their justification for torture and murder of non-believers (the old "My guy in a funny hat believes in the right fictional character, so your guy in the funny hat is an infidel and must be slit stem-to-stern and hung in the market square" routine).

That being the case, if Islam is this wonderful religion of peace that the apologists keep blathering on about I would expect the adherents of the 'real' Islam to come to it's defense and put a bullet in these buggers anon.

Hasn't happened, won't happen. So, I maintain that the question isn't "If christians did it", it's "Why aren't moderate Muslims doing their bit?"

Respectfully,
Rusty.

RustyJuly 3, 2007 2:21 PM

My last post was directed at "Not a dhimmi ", not Anonymous. Slip o' the finger. But since I'm at it, I looked up 'Dhimmi" - from Wikipedia:

"A dhimmi (Arabic: ذمي, collectively: أهل الذمة, ahl al-dhimma, the people of the dhimma or pact of protection, Ottoman Turkish zimmi) was a free, non-Muslim subject of a state governed in accordance with sharia — Islamic law. Dhimmi had more rights than other non-Muslim religious subjects, but fewer legal and social rights than Muslims".

Don't blame you for not wanting to be a Dhimmi, doesn't look like fun.

Matthew SkalaJuly 3, 2007 2:28 PM

That being the case, if Islam is this wonderful religion of peace that the apologists keep blathering on about I would expect the adherents of the 'real' Islam to come to it's[sic] defense and put a bullet in these buggers anon.

Yes, it's perfectly reasonable to be surprised that people advocating peace don't kill others. War is peace, after all.

Jon SowdenJuly 3, 2007 4:27 PM

@Jim
Who is the real idiot, Bruce?
“The suspected ringleader of the Al Qaeda car bombers is a brilliant NHS neurologist…��? 7/2/2007, Daily Mail

Yes. Quite. However, this was the "Terrorist Special Olympics", not the "Brilliant NHS Neurologist Special Olympics". Brilliance in one field is not necessarily transferable to another, unrelated field. As the Terrorist Special Olympics have shown us.

BobJuly 3, 2007 7:19 PM

@Gaius Obvious writes "How could anyone think a group of five students could hijack a plane with just a boxcutter each? ... "

Nice observation there. Kudos to you. It's a fine line we have to walk, between color-coded hysteria and ambivalence.
We were lucky this time, but I hear no constructive suggestions about what to do with these guys. Eventually one will get through.

@Colossal Squid writes "Special Olympics ... have to agree that Bruce's headline is a tad tasteless."

Much as we love BruceFish, he's occasionally politically incorrect: In an earlier cryptogram posted a letter to him by a paranoid schizophrenic as "Hey guys get a load of this!" Sigh. But if the point was as @DaveShaw says that the Brits don't go into color-coded stupidity, yeah, it's true. I was in London during several IRA bombing campaigns. They don't form posses to go after anyone with an Irish accent, and they don't duct-tape their houses in a color-coded frenzy of fear. They just get on with their business. It's infectious: One day when Victoria Station was bombed, I went into the city to go sight seeing the next day. My feeling was "F* the damned terrorists" and I went about my business too. Hard to explain, but it felt liberating not to be held a hostage to fear. Good for the Brits and Scots!

Little known fact in the US: IRA Bombings were financed by Sympathetic Irish Americans. The US Government knew about this but didn't stop it. Brit public weren't very impressed by this and often (this was in the 1990s) told me so. When 9-11 happened, suddenly terrorism became a bad thing and the funding was nipped. Funny that.

UNTERJuly 3, 2007 7:34 PM

I am quite offended by those who call the terrorist-wannabe "idiots". Don't you know that idiots are real people with feeling too? My God, this insensitivity to the feelings of "idiots" and "morons" is unbelievable! Insulting those who can't have their own blogs and are reduced to making comments on other peoples blogs in unbelievable in this day and age -- you would think that by now we'd all be too careful to make any kind of analogies or metaphors of any kind whatsoever.

Humor is the real terrorist, making similes between unsimilar situations to create an absurd tension.

UNTERJuly 3, 2007 7:49 PM

Rusty: "That being the case, if Islam is this wonderful religion of peace that the apologists keep blathering on about I would expect the adherents of the 'real' Islam to come to it's defense and put a bullet in these buggers anon.

Hasn't happened, won't happen. So, I maintain that the question isn't "If christians did it", it's "Why aren't moderate Muslims doing their bit?"

===

Are you serious? The question isn't why Muslims aren't killing all terrorist, anymore than it's why aren't Christian's busy eliminating abortion-clinic bombers, or Buddhists aren't boycotting Sri Lanka, or Hindus attacking the Tamils, or the Catholic Church hasn't put out a hit on IRA men.

Have you and anonymous been paying attention to the last 10k years of history? This behavior is par for the course, across the board. No one, no one, ever really attacks their co-religionists openly for their barbaric behavior. Every religion, down to the Buddhists, have plenty of examples of barbaric behavior that is completely unreprimanded.

But everyone attacks the barbarism of the other religious group, or the other ethnic group, or the other nation. Bahh, talk in specifics or not at all. Otherwise, you are engaged in the same simple-minded generalization that leads to barbarism in your enemies.

Give me a religion of peace, and I'll show you a thousand years of war in its name. Give me an "enlightened" political group or state and I'll show you the most disgusting mass-murder and genocide in its name. Or, in in the words of Matthew, "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" Maybe the business should be ocular research instead?

Not a dhimmiJuly 3, 2007 10:20 PM

@Rusty
> First off, you must be a politician or work for FOX -
> let's not address the question, just turn it around. Nice try.

As an independent businessman, early on I learned that turnabout is always fair play. Whenever I evaluate the fairness of a contract, the first question is - would the other party accept the terms they want me to accept?

You appear to think turning a question around to evaluate its fairness is somehow a terrible thing. I believe it is shortest path to understanding the heart of the matter.

> My comments are in the context of repeated mass-murder of strangers
> for dogma's sake, not individual acts of murder, which is often
> courtesy of someone you know personally.

You seem to want to make terrorism a special case, and then only a specific type of terrorism at that and then exaggerate certain characteristics for what, rhetoric's sake? A thousand times more people are murdered each year then are killed in terrorist acts. Yet you expect that because you have made jihadist terrorism a special case, that muslims should organize to do what no other groups do?

> By their own statements, these Moslims are
> using Islam as their justification for torture
> and murder of non-believers.

No, by their own statements, these *terrorists* are using Islam as justification. Like far too many others you focus on the "muslim" first and the "terrorist" second which is just another variation on the base rate fallacy.

Here's a hint about how many muslims see the jihadist terrorists - it's not about dogma, it's about economic and social repression. Sure the terrorists say that they have God's blessing - but damn, so does every one else, even down to both teams on every football field. It's the terrorists' actions that matter, not their religious misaffiliation.

> That being the case, if Islam is this wonderful religion of peace
> that the apologists keep blathering on about I would expect the adherents
> of the 'real' Islam to come to it's defense and put a bullet in these buggers anon.

Yeah, and with that you've revealed just how ridiculous your first principles are.

GordonjcpJuly 4, 2007 11:43 AM

This is the UK we're talking about. As other posters have mentioned, we've been dealing with terrorism for a *long* time. That's why it doesn't work; no-one is scared of it. Particularly when wannabe jihadis only manage to hurt *themselves* with their "carbomb", which they crash into a building which has a) probably the most sophisticated fire suppression available, what with being an airport and all, b) a lot of police around at all times, and c) is full of average Glaswegians, who, as was amply demonstrated on Saturday, will respond to the "terrorist threat" by delivering a severe kicking.

adJuly 5, 2007 4:05 AM

The two recent revelations that

1) all of the bombers were in the medical profession
2) a large proportion of Britain's doctors come from abroad

suggest that the point of the attempted bombings wasn't to cause fatalities, but to produce enough publicity to cause Britain (and, perhaps, the US) to restrict foreign doctors, damaging their health-care system in the process.
Surely Al-Q adherents resent all those muslim doctors leaving to practice in the west, so this might be aimed at curbing that.

rupertthebearJuly 5, 2007 5:14 AM

On BBC radio this morning there were questions regarding vetting all foreign doctors remaining in the UK. Not architects, dentists, bankers, engineers etc - all admissible on the same skilled worker visas as doctors - only doctors.
Security theater at it's finest.

Richard BraakmanJuly 5, 2007 7:41 AM

Yeah, well, doctors have access to LIQUIDS! They're much more dangerous!

Concerned CitizenJuly 8, 2007 5:45 AM

Regarding "Special Olympics" comment.

I would expect this comment from someone on Saturday Night Live or MadTV.

Bruce, if you want to be taken seriously by our national leaders you need to tone this kind of stuff down. I think you can help this country stay in balance, but, only if the politicians can refer to you and not risk retribution from specialty groups.

Send your jokes to Jay Leno and get your dues that way. Jokes like this have limited value and can do more to ruin your credibility than the joke is worth.

Keep the edgy, political, anti-establishment side here and be a voice for the people...

CC

Luke SilburnJuly 13, 2007 8:53 AM

Another late visitor to the party but I'd just like to chip in that I think roundly ridiculing these muppets (cf. the Very Proper Charlies post and various other comments upthread) is not only deeply satisfying but also pretty good tactics.

As far as I can see most of these jihadist are coming to the whole suicide bomber schtick from what is essentially an overheatedly puerile nihilist/narcissist mindset. The prospect that they'd be regarded as pathetic losers and laughed at, rather than as mighty-ghazis-whose-enemy's-quail-in-fear-at-their-memory of their fond imaginings is exactly the sort of thing that's most likely to give them pause (and a chance to grow out of their stupidity).

Regards
Luke

RogerJuly 13, 2007 11:54 PM

@rupertthebear:
The reason for checking up on doctors rather than architects is that it isn't a knee-jerk reaction to the fact this was done by foreign born doctors; it's a response to information alleging that the group was part of a program deliberately infiltrating "sleeper cells" of doctors into the UK under the facilitated visa program. That scheme -- if it is true -- was in turn allegedly based on the observation that the NHS did very cursory background checks on applicants.

Incidentally, you may have heard that in Queensland, Australia, yet another foreign born doctor -- one Dr. Mohammed Haneef -- has just been charged with providing support to the attacks.

RogerJuly 14, 2007 12:27 AM

@Not a dhimmi:
"As for christians condemning terrorism by other christians - how many condemned the IRA bombings?"

Millions; even in Ireland itself, tens of thousands did so repeatedly and publically, even at risk to their lives and safety. For just one specific example: the Betty Williams peace march, where 35,000 Protestant and Catholic women marched together to pray at the gravesides of victim of the violence, despite being assaulted by the fanatics.

More to the point however are the occasions where some surprisingly mainstream Muslim figures seem to have pointedly avoided condeming the violence. For example in Australia, Sheik Taj El-Din Hilaly was interviewed after the Bali bombings and seemed to deliberately to evade the reporter's questions about the issue when a simple condemnation appeared appropriate. He later gave a sermon in his mosque that fairly bluntly supported the 9/11 bombers. Sheik Hilaly is not some fringe extremist, he was (until just last month) the Mufti of Australia. Under such conditions it is not surprising that Australian non-muslims would ask their Muslim friends if they do or do not condemn religious terrorism.

Edward the BonoboJuly 23, 2007 8:10 AM

On the issue of Muslim condemnation of terrorism...I have a great degree of sympathy for the idea that ordinary, decent Muslims do not have a special obligation to condemn terrorism. As it happens, though...Glasgow Muslims did go out of their way to do so.
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2007/07/09094518

I also have very little patience with the notion that the knighthood for Salman Rushdie should be viewed as an unwarranted insult on Islam. as an Atheist Fundamentalist, I find it impossible to give credibility to religious ideas. From this position, you can see that it's almost impossible to second-guess what someone else, starting from an irrationalist perspective might find offensive. Gay sex? Bacon? Polyester? Any one of these might be deemed offensive, depending on whom one talks to. How would I know?

noneFebruary 5, 2010 10:07 AM

I think it is stupid for someone to be a terrorist. First of all it's just crazy and you will get caught and second of all why would anyone want to kill themselves unless they are stupid. It's not right and not fair. And come on why would they endanger other people and especially people who are disabled. That's just not right.

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