back to article Beavis and Butthead in London jihad

Police and securocrats know that there aren't enough real terrorists in the world, which is why they have to keep manufacturing them. This is because citizens tire of being watched by cameras, frisked and x-rayed, having their belongings searched, giving fingerprints to so-called friendly nations on entry, contemplating the …


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  1. Dillon Pyron

    Burst disk

    All pressurized cylinders have a burst disk to prevent them from exploding should the pressure rise too high in the tank. The propane would boil off and come blowing out the tank in a jet, which would ignite. But a fireball? Probably not. Propane makes a poor explosive. But it is heavier than air. Release it, then ignite it.

  2. Tawakalna

    hear hear!

    absolutely wonderful, glad to see that there are still folk who haven't been taken in by the supposed "terrorist threat" on every street corner.

    As we all should know, the local Al-Quaeda branches can't fit under every bush on the street because of the hundreds of paedophiles already lurking there!

    somewhat more seriously, this ludicrous incident is already being touted by the media-spinners as having "an international dimension" (R4 17:56 this evening) No doubt this will mean that one of the supposed "terrorists" had a holiday in Tunisia once or that he buys ready-made cous-cous from Al-Tescaw. Mind you my 10yr old still can't take a carton of Kia-Ora or his Crayola Jumbo crayons on our charter flight to Torremolinos because he might be part of a sinister terrorist plot to undermine our freedoms......

  3. Nexox Enigma

    Terrorists take all the fun out of it

    I can't even mess around with small home made explosives in my front yard any more because I'm afraid that my neighbors will call the police. They used to come over and watch me blow up an old toilet or something, but since a few enterprising individuals managed to run some aeroplanes into some buildings, they just take their children inside and look at me oddly.

    And explosives are fun, especially if you know what you're doing. Unfortunately 'terrorists' use explosives, and the general population (as this article shows) has no understanding of explosives, so any activities involving them are seen as criminal.

    People do tend to fear what they don't understand, and I suspect that terrorism and explosives both fall into that category for most people.

    Seriously, no oxidizer though? Did someone not make it through highschool? Hell, even the Anarchist's Cookbook explains how damned hard it is to make a fuel air bomb, and from this article, I'd imagine thats just the sort of literature that this 'terrorist' would have referenced.

    - Nex

  4. Mike Banahan

    Impound my garage now and arrest me!

    For it too contains petrol, gas cylinders and nails.

    Actually unless the reporting about this 'bomb' has missed out the crucial element of charge to detonate the above, my garage is MORE dangerous than the London car 'bomb' since it does contain a modest quantity of nitrate explosive too in the shape of my clay-pigeon-shooting cartridges. Oh No! Perhaps Al-qaeda 0wn3 my garage!!! Hi ho, Hi ho, off to Gitmo I go ..........

  5. Albert Waltien

    Even sillier...

    there probably would not have been a fireball from burst cylinders. Commercial propane cylinders have pressure-relief valves which would have opened before the internal pressure was high enough to burst the cylinder(s). More likely there would have been a jet of burning propane and maybe a flying jet-propelled cylinder but, sorry, no booma-booma.

    The whole affair reminds one of the non-existant liquid explosives, fear of which has resulted in the banning of hair pomade and baby formula from carry-on baggage in airliners.

  6. Nigel Frankcom

    Keep 'em on their toes

    Sheesh, we had the IRA for most of my life (40+ years), car bombs, vcr timered; you name it, they did it... and now we have a bunch of wanna be pseudo-Muslims. Last time I looked (and I do own a copy of the Koran), other faiths were 'to be educated' .... one wonders how you educate the dead.

    Still - I suppose it keeps our security (ha ha) forces in a job so makes the employment figures look better....

    Maybe that surf shack in Tahiti is looking better... assuming the damned French don't let a nuclear bomb off nearby.

    Ho hum - life goes on.

  7. Ogberi

    "Imagined" terrorists

    You know, I have a hard time getting behind our "War On Terror", despite living in the US. The media protrays anybody who isn't "normal" as a terrorist, pedophile, or socially deviant. We have long lines in airports to get our shoes X-rayed, you are photographed, fingerprinted, video'ed and your phone tapped.

    Truly, the "car bomb" was laughable. Noisy, scary, and panic-inducing, yes. But certainly not as lethal as the media made it out to be.

    After all, what with Paris Hilton now being a "respectable" citizen who no longer "acts" stupid, there *MUST* be something to feed the ravenous unwashed hordes in the name of "news and entertainment".

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm sure there's an FBI agent next to my desk disguised as my trash can. He probably would like a cup of coffee.

  8. Jeremy

    Funny you should say that...

    The Beeb collared an "explosives expert" to "simulate" what the "explosion" would have been like, to show us how afraid we should all be. Big fireball, small boom, no signs of a shockwave (didn't even wobble the camera much). Funny, that.

    I was so hoping it was a name I wouldn't hear today but I did on the BBC news tonight. Al Qaeda. There, they had to go and say it, didn't they? But none of the hallmarks of them were present. Where was the synchronization, the rush-hour timing for best media exposure? And don't get me started about whether or not "Al Qaeda" actually exists...

    Yes, the media would have us believe that we're all gonna die but what sickens me most is that then, when the population at large fail to fall for their fake terror and just get on with their merry lives (as London appears to be doing today), that they then have the barefaced cheek to call us brave.

    I always thought that the news was meant to tell us what *has* happened not what *might* have happened. Obviously, I'm totally misguided.


    You have to get the oxidiser JUST right

    When I was at school, one of the most popular things I did that nearly got me expelled was filling draws in the Physics lab with gas from the bunsen burners, then lighting them.

    A draw completely filled with gas was useless. If you got it to light, a medium-sized flame would add the smell of burning wood varnish to the already incriminating smell of the gas.

    My speicality was being good at judging how much gas to put in, so that it mixed with the air in the best ratio. The best I managed blew the draw 4 feet across the lab, just reaching the next bench.

    A car filled with patio gas isn't going to go off. You could sit in there flicking your lighter - it wouldn't light and neither would you (although you'd soon be unconscious from lack of oxygen.

    If a detonating device actually blew out the windows, allowing the gas to mix with the outside air, AND it kept detonating (or producing some sort of ignition source) for long enough, then it might set off the gas. You'd get a big pop and a pretty fireball. You might get your hair singed within 20 feet or so. The flame might even blow itself out.

    The only real danger I can see is the petrol gets lit and then burns for long enough to heat the gas cylinders to the point of exploding. How many people will be standing around watching by that point?

    There wer some other horrifying aspects they forgot to mention in the reports. The "device" included dangerous poisons like dioxins (flammable car upholstery), materials intended to injure people at a distance (friable car safety glass) and deadly shrapnel (well a car is mostly made of metal). Never mind the complex data aquisition modules (we ICE is pretty good nowadays).

  10. david

    Wrong car?

    Everyone seems to be missing the real issue:

    If they had instead used a mini cooper, could they have blown the doors off?

  11. Duncan

    True but...

    While I agree with your overall argument – it’s really nothing after all on what the IRA used to do - I suspect you don't live in Central London, nor pass through that area very often.

    There are 2 big bus stops there, and tiger tiger is less than a few meters with huge windows. It's a really busy area right through until 4/5am. I've stood at the bus stop 15m down from there often.

    The Terrorist links and Hysteria yes are bad. But it never affected us for the last 25 years so I don't see why it should now.

    Are people right to fear getting blown up - even those "few fatalities" you just seem to brush under the carpet as not that important? Of course, I am concerned. But I know life does and will go on. And I'll look out for suspicious things while walking around.

    Yes the finger pointing towards all those "nasty terrorist and insert political reasons" are bad. I hate it and agree that that is stupid. But equally there was a bomb, and it could have hurt me if I had been standing there like many times before.

    Yup - stiff British upper lip - but it’s what has always been a good thing about the UK. Am I anymore afraid to go there today? No... but to mock the "few casualties" if it had gone off... that just undermines your point.

  12. Nexox Enigma

    Something that I forgot...

    A friend once told me about a fun thing that he and others would do in the middle of the desert while on RV trips.

    When they had finished off a propane tank, they would set it in a bush, light the bush on fire, then run away and shoot the tank with a 22 rifle. The remaining gas inside the tank would ignite and rip the tank apart at its seam, which resulted in the top half shooting 40-50 feet in the air.

    Besides sounding like a hell of a lot of fun, it does illustrate how to properly blow up a tank: with the gas inside at atmospheric pressure, so it doesn't require quite so much air to burn completely.

  13. Alan Donaly

    I thought they said bumblers.

    I read that story on yahoo! I saw bumblers not bombers

    oh well. Whoohoo! Thomas go babe you tell em especially

    that part about them making things much nastier which they

    have the thing is so transparent it was the theme of

    every Orwellian paranoid fantasy of government as con artist

    and we are supposed to not see, try again only this time hire

    some real terrorists, this sort of thing is terribly insulting to our intelligence. Of course if they go too far we might start asking

    why they haven't done something real about the problem we couldn't

    have that could we. Poison food, horrible slow reactions to disasters

    that kill hundreds of thousands, homeless families, really

    non-existant health care in the US, soldiers sent back to war

    over and over till they finally do get killed or lose a limb (seen

    plenty of those) none of these things matter as much as the mad

    bumblers.Get a rope.

  14. Jeremy

    And anyway...

    Half the fricken country is under water, 1000s of homes are or have been underwater, people *did* die and the damage runs to millions and millions of pounds.

    What's more important to the nation right now, that or some Bin Laden wannabe's wet dream of an idea? Perspective acquired :)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The next logical implication

    If this half-witted attempt was less dangerous than your average reckless driver, how long before the government decides that every kid who runs a stop sign is a potential terrorist

  16. James Mabry

    I'll Pray You Aren't hit by the next one

    I'm always amazed at the depths of stupidity, ignorance and hatred that oozes from people like the writer of this bit of drivel. There are pimples on my ass with more integrity and intelligence.

    I'll say a little prayer that you aren't hit by the next Islamist attack. And, mostly, I'll say a big prayer that I might be able to hate leftist dumbasses a little less.

  17. Adrian Esdaile

    Did anyone notice that the car was flying?

    Quote: "The car containing it had been abandoned after its driver was observed piloting it erratically, crashing it, then running off, like a true professional." Unquote.

    PILOTING the car? It must have been a flying car! If teh t3rr0r1zt5 have got Moller tech, we're all doomed! Doomed, I say!

  18. Paul

    flooding - Al Qaeda blamed for rain

    I'm surprised the media haven't blamed terrorists for all the rain - no doubt they're flying over the country seeding the clouds to make sure we all get flooded.


    well done Thomas for your "emperor's new clothes" story.

  19. daniel

    The old FIS bombs in France

    The FIS (islamic salvation front) used to refill old 13kg gas cylinders (used a lot in France for powerng a stove when you live out in the country), emptying them, filling them with somthing other than propane or butane (plastic or black powser) and covering them in with nails. That sort of thing killed 8 and wounded 150 people in a Parisian underground station in july 1995.

    It would seem also in Algeria, that if someone does not like you, they will use the same sort of gas bottles, drill a hole somwhere in your house, put the tube through it and empty 13kg of propane then toss a match through the hole and run...

    But as for setting them on fire in a car, the pressure release valve would rupture, and a nice flaming torrent of gas would come out, ignited by the fuel... I would think that the London Fire Brigade would have that under control in a jiffy...

    Now, if they were filled with nitroglycerine or black powder, then we could have some nice 1980's IRA style fireworks... (and No, I would not like to drive 30 litres of nitro in a car over England's roads :)

    No, this does not look like any professional job... unless... A) we are not told all the truth or B) the second suspicious car that was found was a realler-deal and/or the first car was a nice graphic decoy...

  20. CSQuake

    At last, I've found intelligent people!!

    Myself and yourselves are clever enough to make car bombs and destroy buildings and lives in the process - we choose not to because we have no intention of destroying buildings and lives. So how on this earth did 2 FAILED car bombs be found in London ...

    I mean WTF.

    You can guarantee that defence funding will get an added boost of a few billion to PROTECT our shores and when they need a few bil' more, then again we will have a pathetic series of minor disruptions and failed bombings.

  21. Chris Matchett

    I think we need a demonstration

    And I think the writer of this article and most of the commenters above should be guinea pigs to stand as close as the people in Tiger Tiger and people waiting for buses nearby. You can help each other pick out the nails and broken glass from each other.

    Nice of you to criticise the press for jumping to conclusions while at the same time assuming you know exactly what was in those cars, how they were set up and how they were going to be used.

    Now apart from the road closures this city has got on with life as normal so could you slack jawed yokels kindly fuck the fuck off out of our business and go back to shooting squirrels or whatever it is you have to do on Friday night.

  22. Uwe Dippel

    Thanks for the enlightenment !

    That was the missing link for me:

    When I read the first article about this on the BBC, I smelt something fishy in the state of Brown. But on the psychological and sociological terms: Driving around erratically, leaving a car behind; in some no-parking lot from where it would be towed sooner or later, to an unidentifiable location. The car had been towed. Later it was found smelling of petrol. Not even gas. Petrol. Any basic DIY chap can close a liquid tank nicely enough to prevent it from smelling. Just the petrol in the tank doesn't usually smell, does it !

    Oh, how much I wished this was the level on which Osama et al operated ... ! We could all go back to our everyday life; quiet and in privacy. From time to time we'd experience some unexpected firework here or there, after which we'd use to broom to clean off the location; identical to how we do it after any other car accident. Of which we have hundreds per day.

  23. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    So what if they're idiots?

    I can sympathise with the general thrust of the article, but so what if they're too stupid to make a bomb? The point is people keep trying to do this, quite regularly if you believe the number of security operations going on around the country. The poing all of you have missed is that they are trying to kill people, and one of these days they'll manage it purely on the odds. The people behing the july bombings were competent enough and there are a lot more people out there, equally competent, who are simply waiting to make their move.

    I agree that a lot of the security precautions taken by this country are unnecessary, for example the liquids one (though, really, any explosion on board a plane, no matter how small or how incompetently produced, is going to be dangerous because of the dynamics involved) and other things that are really an attempt by the current government to tighten its grip over our lives, but I can remember the precautions taken during the IRA's tenure as well. For a while a lot of cities removed all their litter bins in order to prevent the IRA using them to hide bombs.

    They started out as incompetents as well.

    Whatever our government is doing, the truth remains that these people want us dead, and they want it because we aren't muslim, because we don't worship their version of god and don't venerate his prophet.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Leftist dumbass" spotted in post. Film at 11.

    > I'm always amazed at the depths of stupidity, ignorance and hatred that

    > oozes from people like the writer of this bit of drivel. There are pimples on

    > my ass with more integrity and intelligence.

    > I'll say a little prayer that you aren't hit by the next Islamist attack. And,

    > mostly, I'll say a big prayer that I might be able to hate leftist

    > dumbasses a little less.

    Let's see: One count of "hatred", one "I will pray for you" and one "islamist attack". One peremptory statement of being a "leftists dumbass". One "I'm always amazed that X". One accusation of "stupidity and ignorance" while posting a text that evidently fits said adjectives.

    Yes! The probability of the writer belonging to "red-state fascist america" is _good_.

  25. J Davis

    So many experts

    Makes you wonder why the police every bother calling in bomb disposal or other authorities in cases like this. There are obviously so many instant experts on IEDs passing by that they could just ask anyone to confirm that its just 'a collection of propane cylinders and petrol'.

  26. david


    Why didn't they use chapatti flour like the last guys? it's cheaper and according to govt. experts "more explosive than TNT"

    Also if this is true, why can we still take chapatti flour (and matches) through airport security, and yet no water or oil (which you need to make a real chapatti)

  27. Graham Marsden

    Yeah and....

    James Mabury:

    > I'll say a little prayer that you aren't hit by the next Islamist attack. And, mostly, I'll say a big prayer that I might be able to hate leftist dumbasses a little less.

    And whilst you're doing that, pray that Gordon Brown isn't going to use this as an excuse to whittle away our basic Rights and Freedoms a little more.

    "Following this attack, here is a list of changes I'm going to make that was prepared earlier by the Security Services who have just been waiting for another opportunity to get even more information on everyone and consider them suspects..."

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I'll Pray You Aren't hit by the next one

    The language suggests a comment from the US...

    First off, statistics make it clear that the chances of getting killed or injured - even by a *competent* terrorist attack - are insignificant compared to all sorts of daily risks. So it's unlikely I'd ever start to worry about the threat from 'Islamist' or indeed any other terrorists, especially as in the unlikely case that something happened I probably couldn't have done anything to avoid it.

    Secondly, in the UK there are years of experience with living with the threat from the IRA, who actually *did* know what they were doing, unlike the current lot who obviously have some degree of intent, but no real clue of how to turn wild ideas into reality. (Though the IRA ASUs did have the advantage that they always planned to survive & escape, so could pass on knowledge of what actually worked!)

    This seems to be a common thread between all the recent plots and attacks we've seen in the UK, even the successful ones - we have a load of separate groups (so no global conspiracy) sharing more or less the same motivations and with similar plans ('cos they saw them on the news!), who have a vague idea they want to do something but are completely lacking in even the basic knowledge and skills to actually carry it out - or if they do have some knowledge and skill are still not particularly competent. They're basically a group of fantasists.

    Of course, it's convenient to take the fantasists, and their stupid ideas, and make them out to be rabid terrorists who were going to cause carnage: after all, it justifies the actions of the authorities. And we always need a bogeyman to fear.

    But thinking & talking about something and actually being able to do it are two very different things; for example, just because I talk to some mates about building a rocket and flying to the moon doesn't mean I can actually ever do it!

    Shame the degree of success shown in catching the various groups of 'terror plotters' hasn't been repeated against groups like the ALF and SHAC; there's more than one type of terrorism, and you'd think if you can catch the others than the not particularly subtle animal rights groups would be easy, and worth it just for the training value.

    But the really worrying thing to me about the current situation is that all the incompetents being picked up means either there isn't a major threat (so loss of libery for no real benefit), or even worse that in chasing the fantasists the people who do know what they're doing, who understand OPSEC and could really cause damage are being overlooked in favour of an easy win.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The power of Prayer...

    @James Mabry:

    Thanks for offering to pray for my safety against terrorist attack, but it's a million-to-one chance. Could you possibly pray for my safety against something that's actually likely to *happen*, like car crashes or getting cancer?

    Meantime, I'll pray for you not to get hit by a meteorite. Seems about fair.

  30. Tony

    You're Right

    We should all return to our complacency before 9/11, 7/7 and other dates of note.

    The successful propane-enhanced car bombs only work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    And come on, what are a few guys with box cutters going to do?

    Relax people, how bad could a fireball be? So what if one or two nightclubs catch on fire.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Oh, really?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are you really so blind?

    Kids lighting fireworks are meddlesome at best. People packing cars with what they thought to be lethal explosives and fragmentation-ammo, are not just meddlesome - they were actually trying to kill people.

    It's a good thing that they "forgot the oxidiser," because of they didn't, you might be singing a different tune.

    Just because their plans happened to be ineffective isn't enough incentive for me to forget that some people filled with hate just attempted to kill a lot of innocent people. Again, if that's not clear enough... if they hadn't "forgot the oxidiser," a lot of innocent people would now be dead.

    Did you stop to consider how lucky we all are for the mistakes made by these wanna-be-killers before you stepped-up to your soapbox?

  33. Tim

    Better ways...

    They'd have been more succesful if they'd started a fire rather than try and build a bomb. Find a building, lock fire escapes, pour petrol down stairs, and open gas cylinders then ignite (preferably not while stood to near). If the rest of the building catches then they've already put people in more danger than the bomb.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Terrorism is


    Whilst I might agree with Thomas's 'media hypes everything' bias, he seems to miss the point. Terrorism is as terrorism is, not as terrorism achieves. Whether the perpetrator(s) in this case know how to construct explosives is, surely, irrelevant. It is the purpose behind the act that allows us to label it.

    Death occurs daily, live with it.

  35. TimeTraveller

    Well maybe you experts don't know EVERYTHING

    I suppose as you smugly and cynically sit and pass judgement on the people who's responsibility it is to protect you and I from acts of terrorism you think that the the so called "facts" about this incident that you are reading about in the media are the entire story.

    Have you ever been involved in an incident that was widely reported in the media and noticed the discrepancy about what you experienced and what the media reported?

    How do you know there was no oxidant in the car..were you there to have a look.?

    Just because the perps may have been incompetent, does this mean there is no threat?

    If the public loses interest in terrorism because they are busy deciding whether to buy the blue Lexus or the Silver one, is it a bad thing to use these kinds of incidents to keep them aware that there is a threat, since the resources required to properly manage these threats are directly related to the perceived threat, not the real one?

    Also as you contemptuously and and cynically cast the law enforcement officials as immature, paronoid, boobs running around like Keystone Cops, are YOU with your implied superior knowledge of how things REALLY work, prepared to take responsibility for the protection of the public...and bear the consequences for your failures along with the glory for your superior insight?

    Your article reminds me of a 3rd rate university campus newspaper that editorializes harshly on everything based on the author's Poli-Science 301 course that has brought him the enlightenment he now feels the need to share with the dim-witted average Joe in order expose the stupidity of the established administration who only have 30 or 40 years of adult life experience to guide them.

  36. peter

    RE: Well maybe you experts don't know EVERYTHING

    Hey I'm not dim-witted, apparently a troll from the 1960's is terrorising the Internet boobs!

  37. Roger Lancefield

    Campus cynicism is so

    TimeTraveller, well said sir/madam. I wanted to write something very similar but just didn't have the energy to have to deal with mentality of many of those above.

    As for the glib commenters who seem to delight in the statistical liklihood that it will be someone else and not them who gets cut apart by the next successful nail bomb, hiding behind odds is not moral, wise or brave. Will any of you have the courage to face the families of the inevitable dead and maimed and express your mocking cynicism to them, telling them how 'death happens, so get over it', or will you just wait 18 months for it all to simmer down and start anew the whole process of ridiculing and pouring scorn upon those whose jobs it is to remain vigilant? Hang on, I'll answer that for you, you'll all take the latter course of action.

  38. James O'Shea

    This is so stupid

    I have in my garage right now the means to make a _far_ bigger bomb than those morons.

    1 four (empty, but that's easily fixed) 5 US gallon petrol containers. (I live in South Florida and have a generator which needs fuel.)

    2 a substantial amount of soap powder and vegetable oil. (I just did the month's shopping for certain consumables at Sam's)

    3 a substantial amount of sulphuric acid. (And not all in car batteries, either)

    4 a substantial amount of potassium permanganate.

    5 a substantial amount of ammonia.

    6 two (full!) 5 gallon containers of diesel. (I have a diesel 4x4 which very often goes places where there are no fuel stations. I take fuel with me.)

    7 about 10 pounds of styrofoam peanuts.

    8 about a gallon of liquid iodine.

    9 about two pounds of potassium nitrate.

    10 one (full!) 5 gallon container of kerosine.

    11 twenty pounds of charcoal.

    12 two (full!) 25 pound propane cylinders, and one half-empty one.

    13 a substantial amount of cotton, in the form of no-longer-usable-for-the-original-purpose ex-socks and ex-underwear and ex-shirts, now used as cleaning rags but suitable for conversion into wicks.

    14 several cans of paint and paint thinner.

    15 a carton of matches, grills-for-the-starting version.

    16 twenty pounds of 'enriched' fertiliser.

    Can anyone guess just how many _different_ types of explosive and incendiary devices I can make? Starting with, oh, napalm?

  39. Nordrick Framelhammer


    The public are more likely to "lose interest" due to the overhyping of stories like the bomb story than anything else. The media, with their penchant for hypebole, are, at the present time, far more dangerous than the so-called terrorist threat. They are like a kid yelling "Fire" in a crowded cinema every 5 minutes.

  40. Terence Peters

    Thomas C Greene is demented

    I can not believe the sheer grinding vapid stupidity of this article. Dripping with venom for the government without an iota, not a single shred, of proof is pathetic. As a work of pure demented fiction, the article says much about the author's mental state than anything else. Mr. Greene hates the government, fears the government, and sees himself as better, smarter, and more capable of understanding the 'truth' than the rest of us. Accordingly his drooling syncophants on this board dutifully kiss his virtual arse in a show of degenerate group stupidity that must be read to be believed. They actually vie to see who can be the most inane and clueless.

    Mr. Greene, propane can be highly explosive. Google it you blithering idiot. I don't know - and neither do you - the actual configuration of the bombs in those cars. But it is easy to see that propane released inside a car where it would pool on the floor and vaporize into what is a closed compartment of air could generate a tremendous explosion and the attendant gas would ensure plenty of fire. Hundreds of people are killed and hurt every year in this nation by propane accidents, some of which are violent explosions. These terrorists - whether expert or novice - wanted to kill, mutilate, and burn your fellow countrymen and you are obviously ok with that as you spend what little writing ability you have bashing those fellow citizens especially the ones in government that are responsible for trying to prevent and if not prevent then deal with the consequences of terrorist acts.

    You are beneath contempt.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hiding behind odds etc...

    "Will any of you have the courage to face the families of the inevitable dead and maimed and express your mocking cynicism to them, telling them how 'death happens, so get over it"

    So we are all duty-bound to stand in shock at terrorist attacks lest the everlasting shame of having shown too little empathy with the victims of said attacks will fall upon us? I find this attitude distasteful. In german you have the word "Pflichtbetroffenheit" which can be translated as "the duty to be concerned" (the word has a sardonic undertone). Refusing "Pflichtbetroffenheit" and putting the situation into context is not "hiding behind odds". Think about it - the US could actually have better cards now by not having gone into panic spasm mode in 2001. What a concept. Oh wait, there's that oil..

    "those whose jobs it is to remain vigilant"

    There is no-one who matches that job description, except maybe members of Parliament (often asleep at the wheel). In an authoritarian fantasy world, though "they" would indeed take good care of "us"... Stop reading Perry Rhodan!

  42. David Allan


    I think some London bombers got lost. Two people tried ramming the bollards outside the entrance to Glasgow Airport. Problem is, they had the petrol filled vehicle, but decided to set fire to it before ramming the bollards. Probably because by now they'd probably worked out that a mobile phone dosen't make a very good explosive detonator. They crashed into the bollards but as bollards are designed to stop cars going through them that's as far as the vehicle got. The two who had tried to pull off this rather comical attempt at "terrorism" only got as far the Strathclyde police officers who grabbed them nearby and extinguished the one who was on fire.

    See, there are people who are as thick as George Bush

    (I love saying "Bollards")

  43. Terence Peters

    The responsibility to care

    Anonymous coward wrote: "So we are all duty-bound to stand in shock at terrorist attacks lest the everlasting shame of having shown too little empathy with the victims of said attacks will fall upon us?"

    No one said that. You are attempting to create a strawman and it won't work. The other commenter was referring to the clear lack of compassion shown by some commenters here towards those that have been hurt and killed as well as to those who - but for some luck - would have been killed, mutilated, and burned in these incidents.

    Being grateful for these people not being hurt or killed is a sign of a civilized human being. The opposite is also true. It seems to me there is a particular madness infecting those who hate/fear the governments of the UK/US that they will acknowledge nothing that in any way would tend to even in the most remote way validate anything said governments do, even to the detriment of their basic humanity.

  44. mark daly

    The question is surely not the competence of the terrorists

    It really matters little if the attackers were professionals or bumblers if the intent was to kill. What is more an issue is how we let it effect our lives and how willing we should be to give up our liberty to politicians who are claiming that they can 'protect' us from such dangers. I suppose I am a little skeptical of requests from government to be 'vigilant' when it seems to mislay the whereabouts of known terrorism suspects on such a regular basis. My alarm bells also start ringing when the main stream media starts putting out misleading statements suggesting that the modus operandi of the attackers was the same as that deployed by Al Qaida in Iraq when there is really precious little evidence to suggest that is the case. I fear that the recent incidents will be used as yet another ploy to allow the current administration to push through its pet security projects such as ID Cards which in reality will do little to protect us from the current terror threat but will make us less free. No matter what we do in life we can not avoid the inevitability of death so maybe it is time we grew up and started to evaluate the risks of life like adults rather than hoping that 'nanny' will protect us from all misfortunes. Maybe then we might learn how to live as a free people.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Modus Operandi

    > My alarm bells also start ringing when the main stream media starts putting out

    > misleading statements suggesting that the modus operandi of the attackers was

    > the same as that deployed by Al Qaida in Iraq when there is really precious little

    > evidence to suggest that is the case.

    Indeed. In Iraq, the car bombs actually go off.

  46. heystoopid


    Yawn , man this new centuries cartel mass media terrorist propaganda machine must be powered by the ghost of Dr Josef Goebbels on steroids , or were they filming an episode of "Spooks"?

    Abe Lincoln neatly summed it as follows "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."

  47. Brett Leach

    There is stupidity and serial stupidity.

    The number of "thwarted" unworkable, unsuccessful or botched attacks IS rather remarkable.

    Too cute for their own good, or some trivial but critical oversight seem to be a hallmark of "poster child" attacks on Western soil. One explanation is that away from the "front", "agents" become reluctant to carry through and subconsciously "screw up". Another is that they wish to make a "See what we COULD have done" statement. And a third is that at least some of the attacks have been manufactured domestically, either by infiltration and "encouraging" a bunch of mouthing off yahoos, or entirely out of whole cloth.

    Making a working bomb is a non-trivial, but not too difficult task. The basics are easily within the grasp of anyone who halfway paid attention in high school physics and chemistry. So why so many failures?

  48. Tim Wesson


    It seems to me that those who are supporting liberty (ie. the restraint of law) in the face of terrorism are resorting to facts, whereas those who are supporting the state are exaggerating one-off incidents, or looking to arguments like "What are you going to tell the families of the victims?".

    It all comes down to whether we should have a rational policy or one dictated by emotion as felt by authoritarians (the viceral dislike of government encroachment as felt by libertarians doesn't count).

    Historically, government has always reassured people, emphasised the odds, and told people to continue going about their business in the face of terrorism. By steering from the responsible course, it is the government that is exposing authority to ridicule. But what other course is available to those who want a responsible policy reinstated? Argument doesn't appear to work.

    Disasters (explosions, floods, chemical fires, road accidents) occur every day. Families are always distraught. They reasonably ask whether a factory could have had better saftey procedures, or whether cars could be made to go slower along a stretch of road. A billion pounds allocating to saving lives from such accidents would almost certainly lead to none being spend upon terrorism, except as a useful side-effect of other spending.

    What makes terror different isn't the sufferring of relations, or the degree of commitment by professionals; it is one thing only: media coverage. The sufferring of those close to the victims is a smokescreen for our own feelings of empathy. But our empathy is uninformed, since so much sufferring isn't news.

    The result is governernment by not reason but emotion. If you want oppression, this is where you start.

  49. Adrian Coward

    Why is this here?

    I understand the occasional funny/weird/"glad it's him and not me" deviations from what is, after all, a technology/IT site, but what is this story doing here? Slow day at Vulture Central?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Clowns have got to be passed off as terrorists"

    The suggestion seems to be that we should ignore/excuse them because they're incompetent.

    Just because they didn't get it right doesn't mean they aren't terrorists.

    Eventually, they WILL get it right (such as the 7th July bombings) and I don't want to be there when they do. Perhaps you could take my place if you're so convinced that they're just clowns?

  51. Steve Scott

    Sample scenario...

    Imagine someone pointed a shotgun at you and pulled the trigger, and it turned out that they'd forgotten to load it....

    Would you count your lucky stars and make damn sure they couldn't point a shotgun at you any more, just in case the next tme it WAS loaded?

    Or would you just think "ah well" and let them continue to point a shotgun at you, because you know based on prior experience that the chances are the gun isn't loaded?

  52. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

    Wow !

    What a load of indignant rhetoric - and bollocks !

    Firstly, well done the anonymous poster with the Utube link - that nicely demonstrates what the article was saying ! You fill a car with gas cylinders and petrol, then set fire to it, what happens ? The fire consumes the oxygen (of which there was only about 20% to start with, the other 80% being mostly inert nitrogen) until the heat makes the windows break. The fire then continues at a rate determined by how fast fresh oxygen can get in.

    As other have pointed out, the gas cylinders will just vent and while this will fuel the fire it won't cause a big bang, or even a big fireball - just a bigger fire.

    In the Utube video, you can see that a VERY much bigger tanker is engulfed in a fire and it lets go - resulting in a big bang^H^H^H^Hfireball. Yes it engulfed a largish area, but notice how long it took ? Long enough to evacuate the area I think you'll find. Notice that it didn't level the area which is what would have happened had the "government propaganda and media hype" version of chemistry been true !

    No, as the article points out, the way these things are hyped to extreme means that the biggest threat isn't the terrorists, it's the government and the media who are doing their job for them ! The function of terrorism is to induce panic and fear into the targets - what better way than for the target's own government and media to do that for you ?

    And like others, my garage is well equipped to make big bangs if I was so inclined, and I can thing of very easy ways to make a much bigger bang with much less material - no need to piles of containers.

  53. Tony

    Re: mark daly

    says: "No matter what we do in life we can not avoid the inevitability of death so maybe it is time we grew up and started to evaluate the risks of life like adults rather than hoping that 'nanny' will protect us from all misfortunes. Maybe then we might learn how to live as a free people."

    I don't quite know where to begin in assailing this astoundingly naive (to be kind) statement.

    Everyone who entrusts their children to the care of a nanny expects without saying that they will be protected from misfortunes. Misfortunes can be generally defined as unhappy, unforeseen events. A nanny, having foresight and experience, will hopefully protect his/her charges from misfortune.

    Nannies are hired because they have special, relevant knowledge in caring for children.

    Adults have the same need for protection from "misfortunes". That is evidenced by the creation of everything from weather forecasting agencies to police agencies. Such agencies are in place to protect everyone (not just children).

    These people have special, relevant knowledge in their fields and help to protect us from unforeseen events.

    I would suggest the author travel to Saudi Arabia and start spouting anti-Islamic speech through a bullhorn on a street-corner.

    The nannies there are not nearly so kind, or so I've heard.

  54. foxyshadis

    We will die somehow.

    Terence, would you be the one to ban all forms of human activity because there is some chance of dying, as you would not have the courage to face the families afterward if anyone should so much as choke on a breadcrust? No, people die, quite a few members of my own family have, and there are people who are specially trained to comfort families and the injured, no matter how it happens. There are severe punishments for those who kill. There are also forms of human depravity and callousness that are much crueler than a bungled terrorist attempt; you don't need to push your phobias on me.

  55. foxyshadis

    Re: Sample scenario...

    Steve, how does that analogy relate? How would you define "make damn sure they couldn't point a shotgun at you any more" in this context, when the kids will do jail time? I'm curious, honestly. No one should be able to buy petrol or propane? No one should be allowed to drive/park near a crowded street corner? No one should be able to see the Toran? All people should be confined to homes?

    Continuing your analogy, would you ban all shotguns? Maybe knives too? Decree that all hands must be amputated? Would you huddle in your room where no one could hurt you? How far would you go to make sure that no one could ever threaten you again?

    Your anology makes the most sense when it comes to punishing the losers who tried this, and that's exactly why so many "attempted" laws are on the books. No one that I could see here is in any way advocating not punishing anyone, so I have to assume you're simply not thinking very hard before posting.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The responsibility to care... about who exactly?

    @Terence Peters

    " The other commenter was referring to the clear lack of compassion shown by some commenters here towards those that have been hurt and killed as well as to those who - but for some luck - would have been killed, mutilated, and burned in these incidents. "

    This is sheer screaming gibberish nonsense insanity. You're criticising us for not showing enough imaginary sympathy to the non-existent victims of something that didn't happen?

    There are two sides in this debate. One is saying "It's not worth giving up any more of our freedoms because the sacrifice isn't actually making us any more secure". The other is saying "ZOMGWTF?!!! Are you in favour of terrorists? Oh why won't you think of the children, you heartless leftist scumbags". This is a non-sequitur argument, it's a bunch of bullshit emotional blackmail and I don't see any reason why we should kow-tow to your McCarthyite ranting.

  57. Uwe Dippel

    Read AND interprete, please !

    Terence Peters, TimeTraveller et al

    Please, reconsider your position after giving the article and other comments some extra thought: Nobody tried to imply the innocence of a gas cylinder stacked in a coat of nails. On the contrary.

    But if we want to counter terrorism, we need to distinguish clearly between people who almost daily kill tens of soldiers with a single car- or road-side bomb, in Iraq; and two retards who load their Jeep with some gas cylinders, sprinkle petrol over their bodies, drive the car into the vicinity of an airport, and finally crash themselves sitting in said car into the terminal hall; with the car bursting into flames. Look at the photos that the Beep provides. Nice fireball.

    If we want to warn people in the cinema, we can't yell 'Fire' each 5 minutes, thanks Nordrick.

    If I were in UK or a citizen, I'd protest the coverage of the BBC: "The police have not speculated. But Mr Clarke said on Friday he recognised that facets of these attempted bombings resonate with previous plots" No speculation ?

    "we are dealing, in general terms, with people who are associated with al-Qaeda", says your very fresh PM. What makes him think so ? His desire to generally keep the population in a state of suspense ?

    Up to you to speculate why the PM is so keen on this link, instead of dreading it.

  58. Steve Scott

    Reply to foxyshadis...

    Foxyshadis, the original article states :

    "This should have been dismissed for what it is: an event on the level of some teenagers getting a tremendously foolish notion, and being drunk enough for it to appeal to them. But we're hearing whispers of terrorism instead"

    My point was that just because the consequences were small, primarily as a result of the perpetrators incompetence, that doesn't mean it should be 'dismissed' as the author suggests. Because, to go back to my original analogy, the next time the shotgun could be loaded...

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing to see here, move along...

    I'm afraid that I agree with the author - the securo-industrial complex, (the one that took over from the military-industrial complex after the end of the Cold War [assuming the prez isn't trying to start it up again?!]), will use these morons as an excuse for more totalitarian measures, (e.g. this morning the BBC was already saying that this was a justification for the 90 days without charge detention - err, not imho!).

    Some nitwit of a commentator - not on the Beeb - actually had the gall to suggest that this is why road tolling is a good idea, by making it easier to track Achmed the Arsonist and his buddies. Err, nope (again imho).

    Best comment goes to the genius who - when asked whether we need more cctv - said "no, it's not necessary when you've got a calm population who know suspicious behaviour when they see it". After all, according to the news the flaming halfwits at Glasgow were "restrained by police and members of the public". I think if someone tried to flambe me and my family then I'd try and to do more than just "restrain" the would-be bomber. ;-)

    At the end of the day - thankfully - these three incidents did little. People are still turning up at the airport, and the vast majority of them will be able to go on their holidays. And I would imagine that - unless the police say otherwise - that the London nightclub targetted will also be open tonight.

    Oh, and apart from the cctv angle, what exactly has this got to do with IT? Are we all being fitted up with tracker bracelets or something...

  60. Ben Parr-Ferris

    How could we all be so stupid?

    Of course, we shouldn't arrest these people because they got it wrong first time round.

    You've really shown me the light - we should leave them out there until they've realised their mistake, and only after they've built a functioning explosive device and killed people should we try to find and arrest them. In the meantime, we can just sit back and pretend that no one's clever enough to be able to kill.

    Frankly, I don't care if they kill a thousand or no one at all. They are using violence (whether successful or not) in furtherance of their political aims. That makes them terrorists. Sooner or later they will kill if they're left free, and the only way to stop that is to track them down now.

    I have serious misgivings about the UK government's wish to curb our freedoms, but I'm not thick - these people need to be caught, and the fact that they failed first time is nothing but pure luck. It's no reason to "dismiss" them and their actions - unless you want to die that is.

  61. Pete James


    "Citizens tire also of reading the rolls of the war dead fraudulently sacrificed in the name of counterterrorist "victory", "

    Poor work, very third rate chattering-class Owen wannabe. People tire of the witless fools who send men and women to war for their own vanity. Of those dead and lost from needless conflict, these people shall always be remembered and, within their families, their memories cherished.

    For the writer to then go on and treat these latest terrorism atempts with such derision ironically illustrates their own narrow mindset; that the bungling will continue and the foolish simple folk with a twisted view of a religion will go on making themselves look stupid. Increased monitoring of our communities and interference in our private lives is not the forward to deal with this menace, just as warring with different cultures is no way to put across your opinion. But treating such threats with such disdain is just as idiotic.

  62. James Anderson

    Great Article

    An island of independent though and sanity in a sea of unquestioning media hysteria.

    As for the what has this got to do with IT whinges. Since I have bee reading El Reg there has been a consitant policy of writing non IT related articles sometimes on important issues but mostly out of a purient interest in female anatomy.

    Keep up the good work.

  63. K`Tetch Dureek

    What is terrorism though

    In reading this article, people seem to have split into two camps. Those who think before reacting, and those who react before thinking. The article falls into the former, and those decrying it the latter.

    The important thing most people forget is that terrorism isn't about killing people. Its never been about killing people. The IRA understood that you can perform terrorist acts, and not kill. The idea of it is, as the name suggests, to spread terror.

    It is the intimidation of the populace, the generation of fear and the resultant reaction by the populace that is the actual aim of terrorism. You will often hear people just like Finnbar, and Terrance Peters, claiming that these terrorists need cracking down on, and clearly not thinking, just emotionally reacting. The (rather misnamed) USA PATRIOT act was a clear victory for the so-called terrorists. In my phone book (a phone book for a small rural town whose only claim to fame was that its was used for "My Cousin Vinny") it has a 3 page spread about 'what you need to do to prepare for a terrorist attack.

    Basically, if you define a terrorist as someone who uses the threat of attacks to instill fear on a populace, in an effort to change or restrict the smooth and free continuance of everyday living, you will find that the real terrorists are the ones that self-same terrified populace has elected into power.

    Personally, I am probably unique out of those posting here, in that I have had first hand experiance of terrorism. I had walked past one of the Warrington bombs (the one on Bridge street) in 1993 a few moments before it went off. I can still remember the sound of the bang. That is a sound that will stay with me for life. It doesn't stop me however. I've also seen the other side of the coin, as I was working on Treasure island (in the middle of the San Fransisco bay) during the 4 bridge alert in November 2001. myself and a collegue spotted an abandoned box van on the Bay Bridge one morning driving to work, and reported it to the National Guard unit stationed on the bridge. From the car park of our studio, we could see the bridge, and the van was still there 5 hours later. They were *REALLY* concerned about the threat obviously.

    In short, think before reacting, and remmeber the aim of terrorism is precisely the reaction a lot of people give - to be afraid, upset, angry and to change their way of life. Well done, you knee-jerkers, and terrorist obsessors, you've handed them the victory, just as Bush does every time he gives a speech.

  64. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    One more point

    "the truth remains that these people want us dead, and they want it because we aren't muslim, because we don't worship their version of god and don't venerate his prophet."

    Sorry, but that is not the case. They don't want us dead because we're not Muslims, they want us dead because we meddle in regional policies we have no understanding of. The US have earned the moniker of Great Satan not because of the difference in religion, but because of the carelessness and downright callousness of US behavior towards Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular. Notice also that none of this attitude existed before the forced creation of the state of Israel, which is, in my opinion, the worst mistake the UN has ever made.

    Until that issue is resolved - and frankly, between how irresolute and inefficient the UN is and how adept the US is in keeping things that way, I don't think it ever will be - the fundamentalists will continue droning on about the Great Satan and how it is the ultimate enemy of their way of life.

    Well, until the day comes when there is no more oil, anyway. Then we'll all leave them alone probably, since we won't have any more economical incentive to bother them. Unfortunately, by that time there will have been entire generations of jihadists raised on hatred of the West, and who knows what that will bring ?

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    T for Terror-mongering

    I found it rather amusing that the movie V for Vendetta premiered on Sky Movies the same weekend as this "car bomb" thingy... but of course that movie is ridiculous, no way would the British let a crazed looney tell us what to do and compromise all our privacies and freedoms in case we might be "terrorists"... of course not, how silly.

    Especially not the banning of "inappropriate materials" (I wonder how easy it would be to take a copy of the Koran onto a commercial flight in one's hand luggage") or political spin on every news story...

    I only wonder how long it will take them to figure out that several cartoonists and sci-fi writers have been onto them for decades - they just do it in a subtle way and so can get away with it without being censored.

    Just wait - I hear a knocking at my door...

  66. Fenwar

    Chalk up a point for the government...

    "Making a working bomb is a non-trivial, but not too difficult task. The basics are easily within the grasp of anyone who halfway paid attention in high school physics and chemistry. So why so many failures?"

    We can thank the government and exam boards across the country for their sterling work in ensuring that this dangerous scientific knowledge no longer falls into the hands of <s>children</s> potential terrorists...

  67. Sean Jennings


    Thankfully only to the incompetance of those involved, many people weren't killed on Friday in London or on Saturday in Glasgow. True the terrorists concerned may be inept but their intention was to kill as many people as possible.

    The tube-bombers on July 21st were also pathetically inept, sadly for the 52 killed and hundreds injured the tube-bombers on July 7th weren't.

    Intent not competance defines a terrorist.

    While I expect conspiracy-theorists (ie the CIA & Mossad orchestracted 9/11, the Holocaust didn't happen, and other such rubbish) and ultra-leftists (still upset at the collapse communism) to take any opportunity to attack verbally Western democracy in blogs such as this, I find it unbelievable that a technology website carries such utter tosh as that produced by Thomas Greene. If Mr Greene wants to vent such political polemic in public might I suggest a career in politics rather than masquerading as a journalist?

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The key is in the name...

    ... terrorism - To create terror and fear. If the media reported accurately and didn't hype it up so much, then there would be less fear and terror created, all the media do is further the agenda of the terrorist, lending them credability and giving them their publicity.

  69. EnricoSuarve


    I've read some of the comments above and yeah - the shotgun could be loaded, yes the threat is ever present etc etc

    But no - no don't start calling these imbeciles terrorists, did anyone queuing for a plane in Glasgow a hundred yards from where the "car bomb" went off, look terrified or even vaguely worried, no they looked pissed off and aggravated

    The simple fact is that these guys are incompetent - I've seen a gas cylinder go off in a fire once (an outdoor catering van caught fire at a gig I was working at). After at least 5 minutes of intense fire (fat encrusted wood being in abundance), it went boom, took off like a rocket and landed in a field half a mile away where we found it the next day. The fire crew who attended were actually surprised as this doesn't normally happen and no one was hurt (no utensils through eyes al-la Hollywood or anything).

    If a drunk chef with poor sanitary skills can achieve a better boom than you then calling you a terrorist is stretching it, and is dangerous as it virtually begs people to call for tighter measures and more security. I love my country as it is - I don't WANT a police state, the terrorists do - they hate our freedom after all!

    Please could we calm down, turn off the flashing 'critical' batbeacon, Stop having 'COBRA' meetings about 2 cases of unsafe petrol storage in London and 1 bonfire in Glasgow, and start discussing something that might actually make people in this country safe from the things which really DO kill people (less guns in London would be a good place to start....)

  70. Pete James


    "Personally, I am probably unique out of those posting here, in that I have had first hand experiance of terrorism. I had walked past one of the Warrington bombs (the one on Bridge street) in 1993 a few moments before it went off."

    I'm glad you survived. I'm not glad we both have any such experience. But no, unique you are not I'm sad to say.

    Interestingly Prime Minister Brown did make some comment about the British way of life not being changed by the events of the weekend. So seeing as liberty is a fundamental cornerstone of the fabric of our 'way of life', that's the ID card gone, more cameras gone, detention gone, permanent retention of personal records gone.........

    Fat Chance!

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Comspiracy Theories

    The best I've heard to date is that it's all a warning from the CIA to Gordon Brown that he'd better toe the line or else...

  72. Ron Eve

    Engage brain before opening mouth

    Creating an effective explosion is easy. Ask any schoolboy reasonably well versed in physics and chemistry (oh wait, is that still a possibility in the UK?). In my school (back in the '60's since you ask) it was something of a rite of passage for some one to occasionally blow manhole covers up into the air or drawers across the chem lab. These muppets clearly didn't have a clue, as so many others here have indicated. (Yes, check the youtube links).

    That they're incompetent dipshits is neither here nor there. They achieved critical mass with the hysterical press and talking-head authorities sounding off, with minimal investigation or evidence, about how hundreds of lives 'could' have been at risk. The point here, as others have said, it that it's irrational comments like this that really help no one. No one's denying that there could have been serious injury or loss of life but the extent would have been far less than the 72 point headlines would have you believe.

    Any loss of life due to these murderous attackers (I can't call them terrorists - they're murderers, they kill innocent people) is, of course, intolerable, but losing our liberty and democracy because the State deems it necessary 'to prevent terrorism' is equally, if not more so.

    All those CCTV cameras that the authorities so proudly commented on, didn't PREVENT the incidents, nor any other incident to my knowledge. Only useful after the event, no denying their use then, but we keep being told that more surveillance will PREVENT attacks and criminality.

    Didn't stop the killers of Jamie Bulger either...

  73. George Johnson

    Still be vigilent

    Yes it's obvious they are complete pillocks who could have easily injured dozens or rubber-neckers standing about, but I doubt the massive loss of life they had envisiged. You still need to keep your eyes open and just report odd things like abandoned cars full of flammable material, if nothing else that to ensure no one gets badly burnt! Thanks for the article, a note of sanity over the crud that comes from the mass media.

  74. Ian Michael Gumby

    So much noise so little content.

    There's a lot of bravado over this failed plot.

    Do we know all the facts?

    I seriously doubt it.

    But what we do know is that someone tried to do something stupid with the intent to harm a lot of people.

    Suicide "bombers" try to drive a flaming jeep/range rover in to an airport?

    Sure, there's a lot of us who know far better ways to cause panic, havoc and terror. But the point is that we don't.

    I personally view the article as having a cathartic effect. (A stupid article/vent and the BS starts to flow.)

    Be thankful they weren't successful. We just got lucky. For all we know, they weren't trying to succeed but to test our responses to the threat.

  75. Matthew

    Date error...

    Most important of all, will this follow the ever-creeping Americanisation and be known as 6/29?

    Even the BBC have started doing this referring to dates as 'July 2nd' instead of '2nd July'. I blame 11/9...

  76. Dave

    Lest we forget!

    The thing that galls me is the new home secretary trotting out the party line about the biggest sustained threat from terrorism... blah blah...

    I cannot beleive we are being asked to forget the attrocities carries out by th IRA over many years. THAT was a real threat! I feel, as an ex member of her majesty's forces who has served in Northern Ireland, betrayed by the government on and it's seeming will to 'forget' the NI problems and all the dead soldiers and civilians.

    Who here remembers the mortar attack on 10 downing street?, the bombing of the tory conference hotel? or the bombing in Hyde park? - not the government obviously!

  77. Uwe Dippel

    Only island of sanity !?

    I really wonder if El Reg is the only island of sanity ? Since BBC isn't.

    Any hints appreciated, very much !

    K`Tetch Dureek, I am so sorry to disappoint you. "Personally, I am probably unique out of those posting here" Not quite, welcome to the club. I was a mere few hundered meters away from La Belle disco, Berlin, in 1986, at just another entertainment. Hell, was that a thunder !

    Did it scare the hell out of me ? No, it didn't.

  78. Stephen Gray

    Terence Peters

    You believe everything that you see on the internet... try actually reading a book about IED's, propane or just any old book, that should keep you away from your keyboard long enough for grown-ups to talk, now go to bed you 14 year old school boy

  79. Daren Nestor

    Missing the points

    The point of those talking about the ineffectiveness of these attempts at criminal damage is that "terrorism" has been made a bogeyman, something to fear. You defeat fear by laughing at it and not allowing it to rule your life.

    Terrorism is ineffective. It will not win a war. It will not cause substantial long term physical harm. Yes, people may die, and we can empathise with those they leave behind. But all that terrorists are trying to do is to make you give up. And we, here in the west, are giving up. Giving up basic liberties that our societies are founded on. Giving up our attitudes of openness, and the respect for other people's beliefs. The terrorists are winning by changing us.

    Well, I won't change.

  80. Stephen Gazard

    Pandora's clock

    Anyone read the book pandora's clock? For the uninitiated, it's about a 'terrorist' plot contracted by the US government to wipe out a plane-load of tourists on a charge of a viral infection, and then blame it on a then unknown group of islamic terrorists.

    Sounds somewhat familiar to the current thing. I've always been a bit suspicious of the notion of Al-qaeda, but hyping up a story about bombs that failed to detonate does not help the overly sensitive section of the population who will get scared silly now at any parked car they don't recognise. In Iraq this thing happens far more often with far more deadly consequences. If we get afraid of things like this, as some people do, we've let anyone who has a notion of being a terrorist win because they've terrorised us by *failing*.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More going on here?

    What I've heard so far is that at least two of these putative terrorists were trained physicians who you would think would know enough about science to make a functioning bomb. Maybe their intent, for whatever reason, was to make a non-functioning bomb and at least make a visible attempt at terrorism with out actually hurting anybody. Or at least with minimal impact. Seems far-fetched, I know, but so is the whole Jihad thing.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about mentioning the elephant in the room?

    If people don't understand 9/11 and the function of terrorism, they won't understand today's carbomb.

    There are many troubling questions about 9/11. Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself and prove me wrong.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get the facts first!

    Rather than deal with the symptons how about somebody actually deals with the causes? War in Iraq, War in Afghanistan, problems in the Middle East, these need to be resolved quickly.

    Al-Qaeda is a convenient label to attach onto any "islamist" inspired attack. "Political Islam" has a phenomena has its roots in the failure of democracy and former US and western policies in Muslim lands, way back to World War I

    I think we need to wait for the smoke to clear before we can really speculate, thankfully none of the people recently arrested were British

    As a young British Asian (and Muslim) I feel alienated and have continued to do so for a number of years, today going through Liverpool Street station I was stopped several times by Policemen and people wanting to "check my oyster card" no doubt to download all the information about my wherabouts, I also happeend to see lots of Somali and Arab looking men having bags searched, its hysteria gone a bit too far.

    Obviously terrorism in all forms is unacceptable but we need to put things into scale and context, after all we are not Americans

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Glasgow bomb?

    The sky news shewed a feeble attempt to put the blazing jeep out? Where were those big fire engines which are supposed to put out burning aeroplanes in 30 seconds. Did somebody want a longer clip for the sky news 'video loop of the day'?

  85. Steve


    For the record, I personally have been standing within 10 feet of exactly these kind of cannisters when they have been on fire (or in fires, if you prefer)

    More than once.

    I am still alive and have all my arms and legs.

    Threat level critical, my hairy arse. As described by Mr Green, this is nothing more than a prepubescent boy's wank fantasy, which is why most gas canisters are 'blown up' by, erm, pre pubescent boys.

    And I'll be quite comfortable, should the occasion arise, to a) stand that close to another such device or b) explain to the mourning relatives why it's not OK for the government to rape my civil liberties in order to prevent a couple of f**kwits managing to murder a couple of unfortunate passersby.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they really wanted to kill people

    Wouldn't it be easier just to go crazy with a 4*4 on London pavements and knock people down, or wouldn't that count as it would just disappear in with the hundreds of other road fatalities?

  87. foxyshadis

    Apparently the original isn't clear enough

    Steve Scott, dismissed in the press, not dismissed from any sort of legal repercussions.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How come they were so stupid, but not detected beforehand?

    All the posters here agree that the people behind these attacks were incompetent. However, what I can't fathom is, if they were this incompetent... - why didn't they leave a trail that MI5 could spot?

    Then again, look at the timing. This has handed the new PM a lovely chance to show his "Iron" character.

    Perhaps our 'protectors' were aware, but decided not to intervene until the threat was "undeniable"?

    BUT!!! Our security services would never risk the safety of the public, surely!

    Oh hang on a second... everyone agrees that they didn't did they?

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    S for (Brown) scum

    Good article.

    Good comments.

    It's good to know not everyone's taken in by all this bollocks.

  90. Monty Lovering


    Many English people grew up in cities that occasionally had bombs go off in them as part of the IRA's campaign, so the fact that the terrorists explicitly cite Islam as their motivator (instead of Roman Catholicism being the differentiator) is not that interesting as the justification of murderous bastards is seldom interesting.

    If you look at the murder rates for Europe and the USA, and compare c. 300 million Americans with 12,658 murders to c.300 million Europeans with c. 5,000 murders (Source;, it is clear that terrorists in Europe would have to kill twice as many people as were killed in 9/11 every year to make Europe as violent and dangerous a place as America.

    Those two facts go a long way to explain attitudes.

    The fact the last two terrorist attempts in the UK have been laughable just adds bemusement or amusement to indifference.

    I know one shouldn't, but the idea of a guy getting himself severely burned whilst trying to kill people and then spending the rest of his life in jail is rather droll. Instead of the virgins he faces the knowledge no women COULD ever find him attractive again, not that it matters as he'll never be alone with one ever again...

  91. John

    Welcome to your new world

    These latest "attacks" on our cities are no more than staged event that's being used to force through changes in our statute. Real terrorists determined to cause panic and destruction would attempt something with more of a lasting impact such as poisoning the water supply. They would be able to make a clean getaway and the devastation could be phenomenal.

    Anyone, including you could print and laminate your very own MI6 agent badge, approach a group of foreign students asking them to take part in a counter-terrorist simulation. Just ask them if they fancy earning £1000 for a day's work helping the security services on a counter terrorist training operation. Remind them that it's TOP SECRET. Give them a backpack full of chapatti flour, some train tickets to London and tell them they are playing in a giant game of hide and seek. For your next trick, try giving some guys a car full of gas canisters and tell them to drop it off at the airport. Don't forget to drain the brake fluid first so they crash into the barriers.

    If you want to know who is behind these events, then ask who stands to gain from them. That's what the police always do when investigating a criminal act, as it invariably leads straight to the culprit.

    While the police are chasing around after their so-called doctors of death, we should be looking for the changes to the laws that the govt. are making. Since the 7/7 events, they gave themselves the power to stop and search. They can arrest anyone and keep them imprisoned for 48 hours without charge while they ascertain identity. Scariest of all, they have blurred the definition between a criminal and a terrorist.

    For anyone who welcomes this encroaching police state then please help the authorities by surrendering all your rights to free speech, freedom, fairness and privacy. For Thomas C Greene and the rest of us – it's time to speak out and refuse to give away our basic human rights.

  92. chriss jones

    Maybe Thomas C Greene could make a better bomb?

    Incompetent maybe. Does the author have access to forensic evidence? You don't know what else these 'bombs' contained and I'm certain security services wouldn't reveal that sort of information.

    Ever heard of a fuel air burst or a fuel low airburst?

    You are the scary buggers here!

    If the secret services wanted to scare us they would just go out and kill a bunch of us.

    Go get a life.

  93. Demian Phillips

    Operation Northwoods

    Sometimes the people who rule us do entertain crazy plans.

    "Justification for US Military Intervention in Cuba (TS),"

    Back in the 60's the Joint Chiefs (I think that’s because they smoked a lot of hashish) cooked up an idea to have a civilian flight full of vacationing collage students (dummy) shot down (by our own forces) on it's way to Cuba and claim it sent out a mayday about a Cuban MIG and that it was what shot it down.

    Another plan was to attack one of our own naval ships with a full crew, kill them all and blame the Cubans. The idea was Americans would step right in line because Navy personal were lost. As a second option (notice it was not the first or only option) they suggested maybe using a dummy ship might work, but with no service men dead, it would look fishy. So then they say to create fake military personnel and then insult/desecrate Arlington by having fake funerals for fake soldiers who were fake killed to justify a war.

    Another idea was to kill boatloads of Cuban refugees (wow talk about kicking people who are down), so much for "Give us your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.".

    From the book "Body of Secrets"

    "Operation Northwoods, which had the written approval of the Chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Lemnitzer and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war."

    I don’t believe in conspiracy theories like "the CIA did 9/11" (but if anyone can show proof I will listen) but this does sound a bit like recent events.

    Evil is not something strictly in the hearts of our enemies, we all have the capacity. What makes the difference is a person’s ability to not act on those impulses or view those ideas as good.

    I'm sure these people sitting in places of power had/have "good intentions".

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