[Marxism] The liquid bomb plot ... oh yeah, whatever happened to that?

Brian Shannon brian_shannon at verizon.net
Mon Aug 21 08:13:39 MDT 2006

Aside from the many loose ends regarding plane tickets, visa,  
passports, training, number of planes (3, 5, 9, 10), numbers of  
cities ranging from 3 to 6, whether the money was coming from England  
or to it, vague connections to Al Quaeda, etc, perhaps the biggy is  
the bombs themselves. Articles like these may do more to undercut the  
whole fantasy than any other.

Personally, not being a scientist, I enjoy speculating on why there  
is not more information on who and where everything took place. My  
own theory on these is that, as in the 1930s Stalin purge trials,  
sometimes one has to adapt the result to the one being tortured.

Here's the main reason which applies also to time and place: If the  
torturer wants the torturee to name B, but the said torturee knows  
that he never met B but he did meet C, he may logically come up with  
C. For if B is incorrectly named and impossible, the torture may have  
to start again.

This will take a while for, of course, that answer must also fit with  
a fairly large plot, which has to be internally consistent as well as  
match the needs of Pakistan, Great Britain, and the United States. It  
was easier under Stalin: one government, only confessions, finally  
only the announcement of confessions.** Of course, that is the goal  
of the Bush administration as well. Everything is secret except the  
charges. No evidence can be presented because it would give away  
state secrets.

Brian Shannon


Mass murder in the skies: was the plot feasible?
Let's whip up some TATP and find out

By Thomas C Greene in Washington
Published Thursday 17th August 2006 09:42 GMT

Binary liquid explosives are a sexy staple of Hollywood thrillers.*  
It would be tedious to enumerate the movie terrorists who've employed  
relatively harmless liquids that, when mixed, immediately rain  
destruction upon an innocent populace, like the seven angels of God's  
wrath pouring out their bowls full of pestilence and pain.
. . .

Better killing through chemistry

Making a quantity of TATP sufficient to bring down an airplane is not  
quite as simple as ducking into the toilet and mixing two harmless  
liquids together.

First, you've got to get adequately concentrated hydrogen peroxide.  
This is hard to come by, so a large quantity of the three per cent  
solution sold in pharmacies might have to be concentrated by boiling  
off the water. Only this is risky, and can lead to mission failure by  
means of burning down your makeshift lab before a single infidel has  
been harmed.

But let's assume that you can obtain it in the required  
concentration, or cook it from a dilute solution without ruining your  
operation. Fine. The remaining ingredients, acetone and sulfuric  
acid, are far easier to obtain, and we can assume that you've got  
them on hand.

Now for the fun part. Take your hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and  
sulfuric acid, measure them very carefully, and put them into drinks  
bottles for convenient smuggling onto a plane. It's all right to mix  
the peroxide and acetone in one container, so long as it remains  
cool. Don't forget to bring several frozen gel-packs (preferably in a  
Styrofoam chiller deceptively marked "perishable foods"), a  
thermometer, a large beaker, a stirring rod, and a medicine dropper.  
You're going to need them.

It's best to fly first class and order Champagne. The bucket full of  
ice water, which the airline ought to supply, might possibly be  
adequate - especially if you have those cold gel-packs handy to  
supplement the ice, and the Styrofoam chiller handy for insulation -  
to get you through the cookery without starting a fire in the lavvie.
Easy does it

Once the plane is over the ocean, very discreetly bring all of your  
gear into the toilet. You might need to make several trips to avoid  
drawing attention. Once your kit is in place, put a beaker containing  
the peroxide / acetone mixture into the ice water bath (Champagne  
bucket), and start adding the acid, drop by drop, while stirring  
constantly. Watch the reaction temperature carefully. The mixture  
will heat, and if it gets too hot, you'll end up with a weak  
explosive. In fact, if it gets really hot, you'll get a premature  
explosion possibly sufficient to kill you, but probably no one else.

After a few hours - assuming, by some miracle, that the fumes haven't  
overcome you or alerted passengers or the flight crew to your  
activities - you'll have a quantity of TATP with which to carry out  
your mission. Now all you need to do is dry it for an hour or two.

The genius of this scheme is that TATP is relatively easy to  
detonate. But you must make enough of it to crash the plane, and you  
must make it with care to assure potency. One needs quality stuff to  
commit "mass murder on an unimaginable scale," as Deputy Police  
Commissioner Paul Stephenson put it. While it's true that a slapdash  
concoction will explode, it's unlikely to do more than blow out a few  
windows. At best, an infidel or two might be killed by the blast, and  
one or two others by flying debris as the cabin suddenly  
depressurizes, but that's about all you're likely to manage under the  
most favorable conditions possible.

We believe this because a peer-reviewed 2004 study (http:// 
www.technion.ac.il/~keinanj/pub/122.pdf) in the Journal of the  
American Chemical Society (JACS) entitled "Decomposition of  
Triacetone Triperoxide is an Entropic Explosion" tells us that the  
explosive force of TATP comes from the sudden decomposition of a  
solid into gasses. There's no rapid oxidizing of fuel, as there is  
with many other explosives: rather, the substance changes state  
suddenly through an entropic process, and quickly releases a  
respectable amount of energy when it does. (Thus the lack of  
ingredients typically associated with explosives makes TATP, a white  
crystalline powder resembling sugar, difficult to detect with  
conventional bomb sniffing gear.)

*The 1995 Die Hard With a Vengeance has been brought back for a few  
days TV run. Willis and Jackson plus Jeremy Irons -- can't beat that.  
There were several liquid chemical bombs. It appears that the film  
makers brought someone in to give some realism to these. The film  
shows just how difficult setting up these contraptions must be,  
including timing, mixing, temperature, etc.

** At the beginning of the purge trials, Trotsky and his associates  
were able to show that a hotel named was not existent at the time  
Trotsky was to have met a fellow conspirator and most famously, that  
the airport that Piatakov was alleged to have landed at in Norway for  
a meeting with Trotsky was not only closed for the month named but  
most of the winter. So Stalin and Vishinsky simply dropped facts;  
confessions would have to suffice. Today Bush and Co. want evidence  
to be classified as state secrets that can't be revealed for that  
would undermine the government's war against terrorists.

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