back to article Yes, there was a viable liquid bomb plot

So the verdicts are in - or not in. The "liquid bomb" plot trial is at least on hold, possibly finished altogether. A British jury has decided that three men are guilty of conspiracy to murder and cause explosions, but refused to convict them of conspiring to blow up airliners in flight. A further four men have pled guilty to …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Volte-face.

    Wasn't it you, Lewis, who thoroughly pooh-poohed the very notion of liquid explosives being any threat at all? No mention that I recall of even the possibility of non-binary liquid explosives (accepting that the big debunk was specifically about *binary* liquid explosives) being viable... You're the blowing things up expert; doesn't it behoove you to at least mention that there might be other methods rather than leading us to the conclusion that because binary liquid explosives were impractical, the restrictions on liquids were pure theatre?

  2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Wahoo!

    I declare a victory for the forces of law and order before the moral hobby-horse riders get in! Mind you, we'll have to send them all off to Gitmo otherwise the Indymedia crowd won't have an "injustice" to whine about. Congrats to the Police and security services, big raspberry at the CPS for not framing a better case against the four not convicted of stiffer sentences, but a success none the less.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wot? No swearing?

    Well said..

    I find it a little incredulous that the bombers managed to get away with the "only going to make a bang in the terminal" excuse.

    - They could've stuck the bombs in any bag and set them off check-in side.

    - They didn't need to have suicide videos.

    - They didn't need to disguise the detonators at all.

    If they wanted to get through security, then they were after the planes.

    Like you say, they're out of the game, personally, but for justice to be properly done they'd be convicted of the crimes they have committed. It's also possible that the jury saw something we haven't of course.

    These guys will be heroes to those sympathetic to the cause. They tried and failed yes, but they also got away with it, and a free to talk to those who might want to have a go, to spread contacts and information, to generate cash for their cause.

  4. Keller Drozdick
    Heart

    Bravo

    Excellent article

  5. Kyle

    Hang on a sec

    I may have misunderstood, but it appears that part of this article's argument is that the accused had planned to use a completely different set of reagents to those which had previously been debunked as possible implements of terror, and that this differing set of reagents would in fact work, thus justifying the whole liquids ban.

    However, the author has not specified what the explosive agent would be (other than to refer to it as a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and Tang). There's a reasonable amount of detail about how the detonator would be assembled, but nothing to explain what it's going to detonate. Without telling us what the chemical basis of the explosive agent is, we can only take the author's word as to whether an explosive agent can be made with those ingredients. Which isn't a very good starting point for an article discussing the relative merits of controvertial (albeit relatively minor) travel restrictions...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Volte-face.

    No wonder yours was the first post. You didn't even make it to the 5th paragraph.

  7. Morten Toft
    Thumb Up

    Very good article.

    Very good article. Had to sign up to tell you!

  8. Kiernan Wagstaff
    Thumb Up

    Eloquent and persuasive.

    Excellent article, with the data, arguments and conclusions being well thought through and presented.

  9. Matthew
    Stop

    @ Volte Face AC

    That was Thomas C Greene. See the link at the beginning of the article.

  10. Al
    Thumb Up

    Isn't reading this article a crime?

    People have had their doors kicked in for less, I'm sure.

    That said - tip-top article. Very informative and sensible.

  11. Simon Painter
    Thumb Up

    Blah blah terrorism blah...

    We beat the IRA by not being scared. The only way to beat the threats by minority islamic fundamentalists is to get on with our normal life and take reasonable precautions while not letting our basic civil liberties disappear. Airport rules are a pain but regular travellers can work around them and nobody cares about the Daily Mail readers who fly from Gatwick to Spain and now can't bring back vast quantities of undrinkable green spirits.

  12. censored

    Of course....

    If I wanted to do a bit of damage, a laptop battery and a flammable liquid (oooh, let's say a litre of 70% abv vodka from the duty free) might do the trick.

    And that's without me even bothering to read up on things.

    The rules are nonsense.

    We're all allowed 5 x 100ml bottles of liquid, but not 1 x 500ml bottle? I can't take a fork through security, but the restaurants in departures all hand them out? How much damage, exactly, can one do with Gillette disposable razor blade?

    And even now, as you say, I could meet my jihadi friends in the departure lounge and get together a few litres of liquid nastiness, batteries, containers and whatever else I needed.

  13. Charlie
    Thumb Up

    Good article

    Thanks for the information. I've been largely confused by this whole issue and you've managed to simplify it and explain something that previously was so sensitive that only the jury were allowed to know the full details.

    I also agree with your analysis that a fair judicial system and following the rule of law is one of the best defences against 'terror'.

  14. V

    eg?

    "E.g." Mr Page....

    But more seriously, I commend you on a very thoughtful and thought provoking article.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice article

    So, it still seems you can't make a binary liquid bomb as seen on Die Hard.

    It also seems you need a detonator. I'm curious to know if a few hollowed out batteries worth of detonator would be sufficient to blow a hole in a plane, even without the explosive?

    It also appears that there are other non-liquid items that would work just as well, so my giving up the convenience of bringing my own drinks on to a plane is just for the seeming.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @JonB

    "I find it a little incredulous that the bombers managed to get away with the "only going to make a bang in the terminal" excuse.

    - They could've stuck the bombs in any bag and set them off check-in side.

    - They didn't need to have suicide videos.

    - They didn't need to disguise the detonators at all.

    If they wanted to get through security, then they were after the planes."

    None of which could be used to bring a guilty verdict. Remember that to bring a guilty verdict then there can be no reasonable doubt. Your points are all based on assumption, if you are making an assumption then you are not offering proof positive and as such there must be reasonable doubt.

    Could they have caused death and destruction on an airliner? Probably. Were they planning to? Hard to prove beyond reasonable doubt.

    The one thing that would have nailed them bang to rights would have been airline tickets. So the question is, were the security services right to pounce when they did or should they have waited to see if their suspects had booked tickets.

    Also, whether or not their bombs would have done their job is really a moot point. They intended to detonate their devices. They believed their devices would work. In order to bring a successful prosecution for conspiracy to commit any crime then surely the important thing to prove is that the accused planned and fully intended to commit the offence, not that their plan would have actually worked?

  17. Jared Earle
    Pirate

    @kyle

    "However, the author has not specified what the explosive agent would be (other than to refer to it as a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and Tang). "

    Is Google broken again?

    The explosive agent would be Hydrogen Peroxide and Tang. Oh, and another ingredient that the smallest amount of research would reveal. The ingredients make Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine.

    It's explosive.

    I was unconvinced but this article (and the fact my dad was an Organic Chemist so I understood the basics) has convinced me that a plot could be viable. However, they got them before it went off, and that's the important fact to remember. The liquid bomb never worked because they were caught before they had a chance to smuggle it through security.

  18. CJ
    Dead Vulture

    Speak for yourself...

    "So perhaps the liquid limits are worthwhile, the more so as everyone has now got used to them and the worst of the inconvenience has died down."

    I'm not used to them. The inconvenience is still considerable.

    Just one example: I never know, when I fly, whether I'm going to get a screener who will let my contact lens solution through, or not (it doesn't come in tiny bottles, and since it's sterile, you can't decant it into a smaller bottle). So I'm super nervous every time I go through security, because I really, really don't want to be stuck on a 10 hour flight with dry eyes.

  19. Steve

    @ Matt Bryant

    "big raspberry at the CPS for not framing a better case against the four not convicted of stiffer sentences,"

    Have you considered the possibility that the four were simply convicted and sentenced for what they actually did rather than what you think a 7ft baby-eating jihadi with lasers for eyes would probably be getting up to?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Excellent Article

    Lewis,

    An outstanding article as usual. It seems the senior service generates some decent officers along the way. From an ex-RAF Engineering Officer - nice stuff.

  21. zedee

    @censored

    The current travel rules allow safety razors in your hand luggage.

    It's only old skool cut-throats and double edged replaceables that'll get you a free ticket to Cuba.

    Mr. Page, good stuff again.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Nice article

    It's nice to see this view expressed.

    The verdicts did surprise me, not because I think it's wrong, but simply because I was expecting the knee-jerk "guilty" verdict. It's a VERY nice thing to see that the jury were able to come up with a verdict that seems reasonable given the circumstances.

    The defence is a little weird - but if you're going to do that (blow up something in the terminal) you're going to do it in a way that would have worked to get onto a plane. Otherwise you just won't get the publicity that you want.

    All in all - great result for "democracy". And also (hopefully) a wake up call for the government to realise that we're not all sheep being led into an atmosphere of terror. FUD isn't any more valid a tactic in real life than it is in computer stuff.

    Anonymous 'cos I'm sure I'm on the security force's radar already. :)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Mixed Messages

    Blimey, this is a bit of a turnaround for the Reg. The last time I read about this topic the Reg article was *categorical*: "liquid restrictions are a waste of time and it's impossible to endanger an aircraft in that way"! There were no "ifs" or "buts" - just a slating of the media reporting and the decisions of MI5 etc.

  24. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    my dad was an Organic Chemist

    That is the main difference between most of the commentors on this kind of thread and you, then : you actually have a rather good idea of the subject matter and can therefor follow the article, understand its conclusion, and make up your mind on whether or not the author did his job right.

    What astounds me is the amount of people who will not hesitate to comment on anything and everything as soon as it bothers their limited preconceptions of the universe, without knowing the most basic thing concerning the subject that got them so riled up.

    It can be funny sometimes, though.

  25. Kyle

    @ Jared

    Google may well have found the answers for me, but do you really think I want to search for information on how to make an explosive agent out of Tang and hydrogen peroxide while at work?

    Chances are, carrying out that search would answer my question while also potentially leading to pages/discussions I don't really want to be associated with. Whereas the author posting the explosive agent that he postulates is at the core of the plan, and possibly the active ingredient in Tang that will allow its manufacture from hydrogen peroxide, would mean I could research the chemistry angle at my leisure from academic sources that are less likely to cause me grief.

    Now, all that aside, the hexamethylne triperoxide diamine you mention is, as I understood from the article, used in the detonator rather than as the main explosive agent. Are we talking about a bomb that's all detonator here, or a bomb where the detonator sets off a larger explosive charge? I'd like to understand what's being postulated here so that I can make my own mind up, assisted with further research if necessary, rather than just being expected to take someone else's opinion at face value about whether the threat is real and whatnot.

  26. Stef
    Thumb Up

    Erm

    I can't disagree with a single thing you've said!

    So... Chrome, then?

    iPods?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Stating the obvious

    "Carrying this sort of stuff about is... not something you'd make a lifelong habit of"

    Yes, obviously not if you were a suicide bomber...

    Are you ready for your door to be kicked down and office raided after revealing quite a lot of detail in the article? ;)

  28. Jonathan McColl
    Thumb Up

    Brilliant article

    I agree: victory comes when the old-guard tourists/freedom-fighters decide to hang up their AKs without a splinter group of young hotheads taking them down again. I have watched this with various forms of IRA during the course of my life and read it in history books for a lot of other places and organisations.

    And "emblondening" is a word I will try hard to use in a sentence sometime.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I'll say it again

    The liquid limits are useless, just use a non conventionally shaped bottle.

    Walk straight through security....

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ CJ

    Wear glasses. Problem solved.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I've got to get me some of them there batteries

    ....the wife's always complaining about how unsatisfying her vibrator is..!

    On a serious note - I so miss the fact that I could bring back bottles of wine from me hols. Seems apparent that mixing 6 x 750ml of wine is, as I predicted several years ago, only going to get me arseholed.

    Paris - as she probably has an ample suppy of those batteries ;-)

  32. RW
    Thumb Up

    Another bravo

    But why is it that the only news outlet I trust to get these things straight is El Reg? Has mainstream journalism fallen so low you simply cannot trust it any more? [Answer: yes, it has indeed.]

    Somewhat analogous to the wisdom of the jury in this case, I often wonder what the state of the world today would be had that idiot Bush and his handlers, instead of pouncing on 9/11 as an excuse to institute a fascist police state, announced "The three thousand deaths at the World Trade Center are martyrs to the cause of civil liberty. That terrorists have abused these liberties does not justify destroying them."

    One can only dream. And cry.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At AC RE: RE: Volte-face...

    Actually, yes I did. Read the whole thing through.

    Made the error of not clicking on the link and checking my memory. Apologies to Lewis are, indeed, duly proffered.

    My disappointment should, instead, be directed at the editorial policy of the organ as a whole then.

  34. J-Wick
    Thumb Up

    Great article

    Well researched & thought out, well delivered. Good work.

    CJ - in the US at least, you're allowed to take contact lens solution though in hand luggage. Whether that's 'official', or judgement on the part of individual TSA personnel I don't know, but it's worth trying if the alternative is a flight with dry eyes...

  35. alain williams Silver badge

    But how powerfull would the bang be ?

    I still remain to be convinced that a mixture of hydrogen peroxide & a soft drink would explode violently enough to do much serious damage. It might generate a lot of froth but how much more? It is only contained in a flimsy plastic bottle.

    I would really like to see this properly demonstrated.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Lesson for the barbarians

    Compliments Mr.Page,

    best article in months. I couldn't agree more with your conclusions. Quite a law lesson for the barbarians living on the other side of the pond.

    The ban on liquids aboard is still an overkill in my opinion, but that is...

    BTW: who cares if your previous point of view was quite the opposite. Only the stupid does not change his mind.

    AC because the barbarians scares me.

  37. Frumious Bandersnatch
    Boffin

    excellent article

    As I checked the by-line, I seemed to remember that Mr. Page had written before that he'd been involved with bomb disposal. So I was expecting a well-reasoned, no-nonsense article. Mr Page, you delivered in spades. Well done. Now what about the accusations that often fly around on the comments page about El Reg being a "tabloid"-style publication? Not in evidence here, certainly..

  38. Death_Ninja
    Thumb Up

    Always a tricky one...

    ...trying to find something suitable to do with people who you arrest not actually engaged in a terrorist act. Stopping them in a taxi to the airport would have given a rather more convincing version of the story, as it stands a lot of what went on was speculation in the eyes of the court.

    As mooted, a fair version of British Justice has been seen to be done and maybe that in itself is a bigger victory than convictions themselves. A Daily Mail style field troika and firing squad would have only served to harden opinion that we just want to persecute Muslims...

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    traitors

    After the retrial, those of them found guilty should have their citizenship revoked. Let them re-establish a caliphate somewhere else.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    stray thought on liquid restrictions

    why not lift the limits on liquids and replace it with a "please quaff" rule for any liquids that passengers wish to bring on board? I'm assuming that most components for liquid bombs would have a deleterious effect on the imbiber, of course. Any boffins care to comment on this idea?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @alain williams

    Yes, I was surprised too, it was demonstrated to the court though.

    I would have expected it to burn rather than explode, maybe a plastic bottle is sufficient containment for that? Or they were going to wrap it in duct tape?

  42. Steve
    Stop

    @ Matt Bryant

    They didn't actually blow anything up...

  43. Klaus
    Thumb Down

    Speaking as a Chemist

    I've been doing chemistry research for ~15 yrs now, and every time I hear these Tang/peroxide bomb comments I simply don't know what to think. I can't think of any conceivable way that this could form a better explosive than a solid explosive (think dynamite). For people who like using google to try to figure these things out. Start looking up peroxide + citric acid (or any organic acid for that matter). Good luck finding any science related articles which refers to their being explosive.

    That said, peroxide does have a nasty habit of forming organic peroxides. However, good luck in controllably making them into an explosive device.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    There is precedent for the "no liquids" rule,...

    in chap 2 of Red Dwarf, when Petersen is forced to scull 12 cans of Glen Fujiyama in the customs aisle.

    Need an "irrelevant science fiction reference" icon pse!

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Quaffidj

    Certainly, slugging back some conc. H2O2 would sting, rather, even if flavoured with fruity powder.

    Given that a nice bang needs an oxidising agent and something to oxidise, usually, and the stronger the better, it's porbably a *pretty* good test.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    No need for bomb to be liquid

    As rescent as two weeks ago at Heathrow Terminal 5, I was subjected to abuse and made to drink ready-made formula milk because it exceeded the magic 100ml (it always does, all containers on the market are bigger).

    At the same time, behind my back junior (who is 6 1/2 years old) got through the X-ray a toy alarm clock (with an external ringer - perfect for activating a det or shorting contacts) sitting on top of a box of plasticine.

    This just about says it all on the farcical nature of the current security restrictions.

  47. Les Matthew

    Retrial is on the cards

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7608780.stm

  48. Anthony Eeles
    Thumb Up

    @AC re: please quaff

    Think it's been suggested before, the issue being that if you're happy to blow yourself up mid-air, on your way to numerous virgins / paradise scenario of your choice,, drinking poison ain't going to be much of a deterrent!

    Good article. Better than the tripe El Reg publish about IT these days! ;)

  49. Pete Silver badge

    @Les Matthew

    newsflash - the gummint has announced it will ask for a retrial.

    No doubt the defendants will be continually re-tried until the jury come to the correct decision.

  50. Lee T.
    Flame

    @Stating the obvious

    no, no, carrying dets around isn't a lifetime proposition _except_ for suicide bombers.

    <-- should be obvious.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Some interesting points

    I think this is quite a thought-provoking piece, particularly in light of the Reg's previous pooh-poohing of liquid explosives as a "plot" rather than a viable plot (previously noted in these comments).

    What it suggests to me is that the key element here is airport security. The liquid ban does not stop people bringing explosives onto the plane - to be honest, it doesn't even stop me carrying 100ml of contact lens solution onto the plane - but simply gives clear instructions for boneheaded 'security' guards to follow as a minimum requirement. Similarly, the no-belts suggestion - followed with nazi fervour by most drones in airport security - is just a simple rule to follow.

    If you actually had security folk who were interested enough in their jobs and bright enough to know when to question and when not, we would actually be secure. Instead, we get those prepared to work for a pittance whilst managing hordes of pissed-off passengers - pretty much the least sharp tools in the box, in other words - and our airport security is something of a joke as a result.

  52. marc bolan
    Flame

    Just one small problem.

    They didn't have passports...

    Can you board a transatlantic plane without one?

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Retrial - and what freedom really means

    I see that the CPS are pushing for a retrial of the 7 people who the jury failed to convict on various charges, I hope the new jurors have as much backbone as the first jury did.

    What this all comes down to is that as a society we should be ready to accept death or injury in a worthwhile cause, just as our ancestors did in previous wars and battles. I've always said that the only way to beat terrorists is to treat them with utter contempt and in the event of there being a terrorist success simply continue as normal. Yes it's a painful thought that your nearest and dearest may be killed or worse, injured in a way that makes continued existence difficult and painful, but that is the way that has been chosen before and it has worked.

    The current panic, legislative knee-jerking and general "can't allow a hair on anyone's head to be harmed" approach will inevitably lead to us constructing a mobile prison around ourselves and wondering why the bars block out the view outside.

    Time that some sense was injected into worldwide policy on this issue, but sadly I can't see it happening.

    Conflagration icon because I can see a fair amount of flame heading my way.

  54. Jason Scrutton
    Alert

    Other options

    Having recently had the dubious pleasure of flying from gatwick to edinburgh on a regular basis, I was not a little surprised to find a large twin-tank welding kit within arms distance of anyone getting on or off of the plane....

    It's pretty basic stuff - but apparently not always covered

  55. lusuwzhgdfdk
    Stop

    Liquid bans *are* significant restrictions of our freedom

    Those liquid bans are far from an insignificant restriction, since many airlines actively encourage traveling with only hand luggage, and one does want to bring their shampoo, toothpaste, etc and usually they come in containers that are larger than 100 ml.

    Furthermore this is of course only the beginning of the slippery slope, so even if it doesn't seem too bad now (for some people), it should still be fought.

    And of course, by destroying our own freedoms we are doing exactly what "the terrorists" want. They have already won.

    "In Germany they first came for the Communists and I didn't speak up because

    I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up

    because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I

    didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the

    Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came

    for me -- and by that time no one was left to speak up.

    -- Pastor Martin Niemoller"

  56. Dave Bell

    Hydrogen peroxide and Tang

    My first reaction is to think of that older staple of DIY explosives: weedkiller and sugar.

    Hydrogen peroxide would replace the weedkiller as the oxidising agent.

    Tang contains, I suppose, a lot of sugar.

    Like ANFO, you'd need a fairly hard thump from the detonator to get it to explode.

    I may be completely on the wrong track, but it doesn't sound as chemically crazy as the ideas being pushed out in the early scare-story reporting.

    Incidentally, it doesn't need to bring the airliner down to be terrifying. Badly damaged over the North Atlantic, loss of cabin pressure, doubts about the structure, and all the 24-hour news channels: that's a really potent terror recipe.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Very strong bottles needed

    Given that even lab Hydrogen Peroxide (which I assume is a lot weaker than that suggested for a bomb?) tends to give of loads of O2 when looked at wrong (let alone shaken vigorously), how likely is the container holding this stuff going to last without exploding (non-violently) or just popping its top when subject to the sort ofd vibration you get whan an aircraft takes off?

    And I still dont understand where acid plus peroxide gives you enough chemical energy to blow a sensible hole in an aircraft....

  58. spam
    Thumb Down

    But what's the aim of the game here?

    The aim of the game is to convince the public that we are all in grave danger of terrorist attack. That our lives depend on giving up our liberties. That our lives depend on the government and security services and that the billions of our money spent fighting terror is justified.

    The terrorists already won, they won on 9/11, our governments have damaged us more that terrorist ever could.

  59. Bruce
    Pirate

    Got in himmel

    I can just see the same jury in WWII.

    A Hurricane shoots down a He-139 loaded with bombs. The Pilots demand to be let go and return home because they didn't actually drop any bombs and they deny intending to drop the bombs. They were just out for a nice fly around London.

    The jury convicts them of trespassing, fines them, and lets them go home.

    Civil law is NOT the place for terrorists to be tried.

  60. Andy Bright

    Hah you think the drinks ban is bad there..

    I was stopped by security in a US airport and thoroughly searched because of two ham sandwiches I refused to hand over. I demanded an explanation as to why my sandwiches constituted a threat, and that it wasn't some sort of collusion with my airline's new policy of not serving meals. Yes I regretted my lack of control immediately as the words escaped my mouth, and the consequences were rather obvious. I did not make either of my flights that day.

    I did however refrain from noting the rather rotund appearance of the TSA personnel that ended up taking my sandwiches.

    I've yet to find out which of the ingredients (ham, bread, small dollop of mustard - no margarine or mayonnaise) could take down a plane or be used to attack airline personnel.

    As for being a bunch of chicken shit cowards, well both our governments share this trait. Left or right, liberal or conservative, the whole lot of them seem to think a few bombs would end civilisation as we know it. What I want to know is why governments think saving a few skins is worth tossing away and shitting on the sacrifices made to get us the civil rights they want to remove.

    Far more people died to get these rights than would be lost if someone set off a bomb or two because of them. And that is the point of keeping them. Not being willing to put up with a little bit more risk is more or less saying you don't give a shit, your miserable life is worth more than someone who was willing to risk theirs for the sake of others.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Utter cobblers

    Your so-called 'expert' seems completely confused - he doesn't seem to be able to distinguish between the chemical used in the detonator (HMTD) and the chemicals used in the main charge (peroxide, sugar and citric acid). A bit of research reveals you can make HMTD from peroxide, citric acid and hexamine, but he seems to think that peroxide + citric acid is explosive on its own - well, I *think* that's what he is saying, but the article is so confused it's impossible to tell.

    Please get someone who knows what they are talking about (an organic chemist with experience in explosive synthesis?) rather than this person, who's qualification seems only to be in the use of explosives, rather than their synthesis.

    0/10 El Reg, I used to think you were a reliable source of information, after this I'm going to have to take al your articles with a large pinch of salt. Shame on you.

  62. MattW

    This is why I continue to read the Reg

    Outstanding article.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Teeny tiny Tang

    From http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/apr/04/uksecurity.terrorism2, an excerpt from the diary of one of the bomber's diary, describing the composition of the liquid in the bottles:

    "Lucozade, red, 1.5 drops, one teaspoon Tang, one teaspoon orange, 12 drops. Oasis, red. On, red dye. Orange, two times mango."

    How exactly is 1 teaspoon (5ml) of Tang in a 250ml bottle going to make an explosive?

    I'm sorry, but the whole "Tang is a deadly explosive" angle is clearly utter bollocks. There *may* have been an explosive in the bottle, but the 2% of Tang in the bottle wasn't part of it, it appears to just have been part of the peocess of disguising the contents, rather than an active ingredient.

  64. Jim Morrow
    Paris Hilton

    re: stray thought on liquid restrictions

    >>> why not lift the limits on liquids and replace it with a "please quaff" rule for any liquids that passengers wish to bring on board? I'm assuming that most components for liquid bombs would have a deleterious effect on the imbiber, of course

    You are a world-class imbecile. Do you think a suicide bomber is going to be deterred at the prospect of the damage to their health by being forced to drink a mouthful of Tang? Or even hydrogen peroxide?

    Paris icon, because even she's not as stupid as you.

  65. Pete Silver badge

    @Andy Bright

    Your story (plus others I have heard, directly from the victims) has led me to the conclusion that the guards at airports now consider the passengers passing through the security system as a sort of conveyor belt, carrying goods that they may, or may not desire for themselves. if they see something they want, they simply stop that person and confiscate the item with impunity.

    I am not aware of any process that stands between confiscated items and the airport staff. In that respect I now regard it as simply another tax on travelers - in the same way as having your luggage ransacked.

  66. Muscleguy
    Flame

    So very stable

    That the boffins who 'replicated' what would have happened used a long mechanical arm to add the detonator in the explosions shown to the jury and the media. So a taxi ride to the airport and have you seen how they handle the stuff going through the scanners? HTMD your havin' a laugh.

  67. Chris G Silver badge

    It's more than the mix

    That determines how a given chemical reaction will go. In the case of 100% peroxide when experiencing a sudden powerful shock and increase in temperature (detonators do this) it will release a large amount of free oxygen, if, as with tang (lots of sugar) dissolved in a liquid there is a sufficient supply of fuel in a homogeneous mix with the oxygen thus released it will combine very very quickly and in the process of rapid combination it will produce a great deal of pressure and heat. This is what you would expect of an explosion. If you try to light the same mix with a match I think it might be quite exciting but not an explosion. If any body would like to try this, please let me know the out come as I have no problem with being proved wrong.

  68. This post has been deleted by its author

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Retrial, @Utter Cobblers

    @Utter Cobblers, Fuel air bombs work, so a rapid oxidation explosive probably also works. See BBC's trial of this, sure the citric + peroxide is a filler but it does look possible to make a bomb out of it plus the detonator. So this could have been done.

    @Retrial, IMHO people face terrorist charges who shouldn't (thought crimes without suspicion of any plausible plot), I don't know the guilt or innocence of the rest of the accused but it doesn't surprise me if the CPS cast a wider net than it had evidence for. So when the jury says 'we're not sure and can't agree to convict these ...' that sounds like the jury process working.

    Blunkets argued that retrial for specific cases where new and compelling evidence came forward should be allowed. He argued that these checks and rules would prevent abuse of process: simply retrying people till you get the verdict you want.

    So much for that it seems. Another NuLabour promise borked.

  70. Martin Usher

    Still not convinced....

    The whole story rests on being able to carry around and work with concentrated hydrogen peroxide. This stuff is nasty. It might be harmless when diluted to 3% or even 15% but at the high concentration needed for ad-hoc explosive manufacture its highly reactive and somewhat unstable. (You wouldn't catch me carrying the stuff around in a soda bottle, even if I was into martyrdom.)

    You can make serious explosions from common household objects but there's inevitably the catch. Those charcoal briquettes used for barbeques, for example, can be made as potent as dynamite -- provided you can saturate them in liquid oxygen. Straightforward enough, except that it isn't. So someone could demo it on TV just fine but it probably wouldn't be anything like as predictable in the kitchen.

    I'm rather pleased that explosions are not that easy to make.....

  71. Ishkandar

    If I remember rightly....

    ...the first "practical" liquid explosive was nitroglycerine (glycerine trinitrate) !! It was highly unstable, though, and it took a smart Swede called Nobel to soak diatomous earth with that stuff to stablise it !!

    As for detonators, Sony seem to make excellent ones !! Just look for Sony branded laptop batteries !!

  72. umacf24
    Paris Hilton

    @Utter cobblers

    Read the article. He's reporting the evidence which centred around HMTD detonators (to be made in advance and carried through security) and explosive to be assembled near the time from from H2O2 and Tang. You're assuming that the "active" element would be citric acid in the Tang -- I prefer to assume that it would be the sucrose.

    I would never have guessed this, but it's easy to be wise after the event. Fuel/oxidiser mixtures are used commercially, and the jury were shown the results of tests that appear to have shown that peroxide/sugar actually will go, even with plenty of water.

    I think the prosecution might have done better to point out that such a rubbish explosive was only going to have much effect let off next to the skin of an aeroplane.

    Paris, because she prefers diet tang.

  73. Remy Redert

    @Nathan Hobbs

    While your first two approaches (booking all the seats on one side of the aircraft and running around) might work, they require a rather large amount of people to do so. A few men with steak knives really shouldn't be a threat to the safety of an airplane either.

    Setting fire to a toilet aboard an airplane, besides being surprisingly hard to do in the first place, is rather unlikely to cause significant damage. Opening the doors while the airplane is moving at any significant speed, let alone altitude, is physically impossible (Unless your name happens to be 'the hulk'). As soon as the airplane takes off and external pressure starts to plummet, the door is forced into place by the pressure of the air inside the aircraft.

    As for those doubting the explosive properties, mixed properly, the hydrogen peroxide would release a substantial amount of oxygen when the detonator goes off. If the pressure of the shockwave is sufficiently large, that will set off an explosive reaction between the sugar and the oxygen released by the hydrogen peroxide.

    It's not a very potent explosive, but it is relatively easy to make and, with the exception of the detonator, pretty much safe to handle. The pressure build up inside the bottle is unlikely to be much greater then the pressure built up inside a bottle of carbonated drink when shaken viciously.

    As for those implying that a terrorist wouldn't be opposed to drinking some of that mix to prove its safety, think again. Drinking a solution with only a teensy amount of hydrogen peroxide will almost certainly cripple you pretty much instantly, as that stuff is extremely aggressive. So aggressive in fact that very mild solutions of it are used to bleach hair.

    Can't say for certain that would be true of all liquid explosive mixtures, but since an explosive requires an effective oxidiser, it's safe to say most of them would be quite nasty in contact with the skin. And very rapidly so.

  74. Publius Aelius Hadrianus
    Stop

    You guys are scary

    How many people here *really* believe these people were just out to let off a few firecrackers at the check-in desk? This kind of bomb would only kill a few people on the ground, but hundreds in a pressurised aircraft. And when has anyone ever recorded a suicide video for "a documentary"? Their solicitors just made up these weaselly arguments to get them off - and amazingly it worked.

    Someone here said the 'clincher' would have been if they'd got their airline tickets. But why stop there? They could say they only wanted the tickets to get airside to make a scary popping noise in TieRack.

    Get real. And don't believe that these people will respect you any more for letting them play the system.

  75. heystoopid
    Coat

    Nice one

    Nice one , convicted only on circumstantial evidence by the same plods as per the "Guildford Four" as since no persons apart from those accused who were much abused prior to the Stalin like public show trial and the questionable pride honesty and integrity of the blue coated investigation team from a force with known well documented racist history , thus it becomes a truly questionable conviction of a thought crime leaving the appeal court judges to sort out the plods mess again.

    Some where in the intertubes waterways of vast data there lies a statistic about the number of innocent local yokels killed and and injured in various degrees by these same blue coated plods driving their plod wagons around like hoons on the freeway or cleaning their guns or accidental cell hangings and in the past 100 years guess who has killed or injured more local yokels incarcerated or otherwise then all the terrorists combined in the same time frame and keeps mum about that one ?

    Oh no , the evil world of numbers strike again !

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @V ("eg")

    If you were going to be pedantic, you should have pointed out that the required abbreviation was in fact "i.e.". I hate pedantry. Especially when it's wrong.

    </irony>

  77. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Boffin

    RE: Steve

    "....7ft baby-eating jihadi with lasers for eyes..." How many times do you have to be told - the lasers go on the frikkin sharks!

    "....They didn't actually blow anything up..." A patently pointless argument. It is still a crime in the UK (and many other countries) to conspire to cause explosions (no need to do the bang bit), carry a weapon with intent to cause injury (bomb components = weapon), let alone conspiracy to murder (matyrdom videos would seem to have plenty of "kaffir gonna suffer" inferences, definately enough to present a reasonable case for intent to murder). My suspicion is someone in the CPS took the simple option. Of course, that's not including associating with known terrorists (should add a few years to the sentence), which is what these guys did both here in the UK and in Afghanistan, and the guys they associated with did do plenty of blowing stuff up, both here and in the Afghan. The casualty figures for ordianry people in Iraq and Afghanistan being killed every month by the people running the camps these guys visited is between several hundred and several thousand a month, depending on the figures used. Is that enough for you to get off your moral hobby horse and grow up?

  78. Peter F
    Alert

    Liquid resrictions

    Why do we bother with restrictions in the UK and US when you can return to the UK from any non-EU country with as much liquid as you like?!?! I recently returned from a holiday in Turkey and we were encouraged by the tour reps to bring large 1.5L containers of water with us. The airport staff don't even turn a hair.

    The whole thing seems pointless if it can be worked around trivially by travelling from a different country.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    oh fuck - we have a Daily Mail reader posting here

    bruce writes in 'Got in himmel':

    > I can just see the same jury in WWII. A Hurricane shoots down a He-139 loaded with bombs. The Pilots demand to be let go and return home because they didn't actually drop any bombs and they deny intending to drop the bombs. They were just out for a nice fly around London. The jury convicts them of trespassing, fines them, and lets them go home.

    You should stop believing everything you read in the Sun or Daily Hate.

    WW2 was a war FFS. [Unlike the so-called "war on terror" which isn't between nation states.] International law and things like the Geneva Convention define how warring nations treat civilians and prisoners of war. Captured combatants didn't face the courts. They went to prisoner of war camps. As anyone who's watched The Great Escape or The Colditz Story would know.

    > Civil law is NOT the place for terrorists to be tried.

    As least this is true. Terrorists get tried in the criminal courts because they commit crime. Civil law covers things like contracts, divorce, debts and so on. Even Paris knows that.

  80. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Boffin

    RE: Nathan Hobbs

    "....Why are we so scared all of a sudden." The big difference between the IRA and AQ was that the IRA had a reasoned justfication for what they did that most people could understand whether they agreed with it or not. They also had a stated goal - integration of Northern Ireland into Eire - which the UK public felt their government could influence or negotiate on, so there was grounds for hope of a political deal. The IRA also often tried to gain maximum publicity whilst avoiding deaths, often calling in bomb warnings well in advance. The latter was mainly due to the fact they did not want to lose the majority of their funding from sympathisers in the US who probably would not have been so happy to see pics of little kiddies blown up by their donations. Yes, the IRA did kill a lot of people, but the majority of the UK public did not feel they were in any likelyhood of being killed by the IRA, mainly because the IRA did not want to kill the majority of us, and in particular did not use suicide tactics, something Western culture finds unacceptable and the mark of barbarity. In the extremely unlikely worst case, if it ever did get to the point of a shooting war, we could have trounced Ireland in five minutes flat. In short, we believed that in the end we'd win or at least reach an accpetable compromise, which we largely did, because we believed the IRA would eventually want a settlement.

    AQ on the other hand is largely driven by the chaotic ramblings of a 7th century cult that grew into one of the world's largest religions. Whether you claim the jihadis follow a warped version or not, most people in Western Europe have a jaded view of fanatics of any religion, let aone one that condones the killing of non-believers just because some guy in a cave or down a well says so. The jihadis' stated goals range from elimination of Israel to total domintaion of the world, where the complete illogicality of the demands not only puzzles but causes despair in the public due to the impossibility of a political deal. Their sponsors also seem to want to kill as many of us as possible. Tie this up with the very evident desire for matyrdom in the attempt to achieve said impossible goals, where the aim is maximum carnage and spectacle with anyone an acceptable target, and compare to the IRA's "we want our land but we don't really want to kill the UK public". Getting an idea yet?

    Then dial in the seemingly endless supply of jihadis in the UK let alone the estimated 2 billion muslims worldwide, some with very well armed governments, and suddenly you start to worry that if it ever did get down to a global religeous war we're not so sure of victory, and there doesn't seem to be a way to reason with the jihadis. In short, we fear AQ more because we can't see a resolution to the problem. The West has got used to idea of solving problems by reasoned political compromise, but how do you negotiate with someone whose sole argument is "convert, submit or die" yet kills other muslims daily?

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Contact Lens solution

    Re: US allow contacts lens solution through security.

    I am surprised at that. They don't allow that at Heathrow airport.

    Some contact lens solutions contain Hydrogen Peroxide. And American's let it through? How stupid is that?

  82. Master Baker
    Paris Hilton

    I would have got away with it...

    I would have used a biological wand to get away with it.

    I would have injected one part of the two part binary liquid into each of my ball-sacks, and would have placed the detonation materal at the iris of the unblinking serpent.

    Then, when sat comfortably upon the plane (whilst in flight), I'd whip my rod-out and start to wank with a fury unseen since Rocky II.

    The resultant ejaculation would mix the two liquids and force them up tot he detonation cap, at which point the amount of friction generated by rubbing the cyclopean head (like chalking a snooker cue) would set the whole thing off in a truly explosive orgasm.

    Right, must get back to work...

  83. Craig McLean
    Thumb Up

    @ steve

    "Have you considered the possibility that the four were simply convicted and sentenced for what they actually did rather than what you think a 7ft baby-eating jihadi with lasers for eyes would probably be getting up to?"

    Best. Reply. Ever.

  84. Simon Brown
    Paris Hilton

    viable? any videos?

    First they said liquid bombs weren't viable. Then they said they were. Then other people said they weren't. Now they say they are.

    Y'know what? I would like to see it with my own eyes to be honest. Detonator works, fair enough. But with hydrogen peroxide and tang powder? I'd want to see a video of a mock up of said device being exploded on a firing range before I decided whether or not such a device is viable for blowing a hole in anything.

    Paris. Blowing. Holes. nuff said ;)

    Also is the 7' jihadi with lasers for eyes not a Bill Bailey quote?

  85. Jimmy

    @AC@JonB........ Mr Plod definitely not guilty.

    "The one thing that would have nailed them bang to rights would have been airline tickets. So the question is, were the security services right to pounce when they did or should they have waited to see if their suspects had booked tickets."

    The jury could only reach a verdict based on the evidence presented by the police, security services and the CPS. The accused in this case were under surveillance for a long time because their activities brought them to the attention of the UK security services. As you correctly observe the key to any successful prosecution case would be the purchase of airline tickets by any of the suspects, and so the spooks watched and waited patiently.

    At this point Tony Blair, who was being briefed by the Joint Intelligence Council, had a conversation with George Bush during which he revealed details of the ongoing security op in the UK. Bush passed the information to Dick Cheney who then arranged through the CIA for the arrest of a peripheral member of the group who was in Pakistan.

    The whole Uk operation was compromised and the cops had no alternative but to move in and arrest the suspects. Any prospect of bringing a successful prosecution was fatally damaged.

    Simon Jenkins details the whole sorry mess in the Guardian.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/10/1

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Simon Brown

    They showed that to the jury, and a somewhat cut down version of the film has been shown on TV.

    I still suspect a third ingredient, I can understand why they don't make that public.

    The concept that wasn't viable was the idea of making TATP in an airborne-bog-lab. That was the plan as originally leaked to the press, but clearly wouldn't have worked.

    Taking an explosive liquid on-board is viable and has been done before using nitro-glycerine.

    It's worth noting that other terror-muzzo's have had a rather bad time concentrating peroxide, so it's quite possible their bombs wouldn't have done much more than pop. But apparently they'd been trying them out in the woods, and they worked there.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    real chemistry and RE Matt Bryant's RE: Nathan Hobbs

    AFAIK, HMTD is the only seriously considered fully organic detonator. Only problem using it long term is disintegration to formaldehyde and ammonia within days. When I was 15, I made some in a glass cup: bottle blondes use peroxide of the appropriate strength so its easily obtainable (it'll mildly burn your hand - make the skin look white where the surface tissue oxidised), citric acid is common, but you have to look around for the third part (still easy enough for a high schooler to obtain). Like a fool, I hit a 1cm^2 dried piece of filter paper I'd filtered it through with a hammer and it blew me backwards, so a gram of the stuff would be enough to turn a limb into hamburger or set off a secondary explosive. After that experience, I poured water into the bottle I'd stored it in and within a few days it was disintegrated. Its real, and easy to make, but the problem is lots of potentially dangerous things are: suicide bombers are such morons they rarely have the success that IRA regularly did without blowing themselves up. It would be easier to make the iodine/ammonia explosive used in pranks, but ammonia gives a pretty strong smell. There are lots of smart, ambitious people we all know who would do a far better job than those idiot jihadis, yet the world hasn't ended.

    We should keep fighting terrorists, but without giving up the things so many more have died to give us. In Iraq and afghanistan sure, there is a war going on, and civil liberties suspended, but we have no civil war here yet the civil situation we're in would crap the pants of any conservative/liberal/libertarian of just ten years ago. Who are the people modifying our daily lives and our freedom (I mean our daily lives here, not in iraq or afghanistan) based on terrorism the most? Our politicians, nearly every one of whom would sell our lives up the river if it meant more priviledges, power and money, and terrorism can be a good power/money-making angle for all involved. I'm not excusing terrorism at all, but if we let them use it as an excuse to take liberties people have died for in order to make it easier for re-election or obtain large govt contracts for friends and supporters, then we deserve all we get.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    according to the beeb's Panaroma programme

    there was no evidence of them trying to bomb planes - the guy only had downloaded some flight times from an internet cafe. Some of them didn't have passports, making the plane bombing evidence circumstancial. However, if they were caught with the liquids whilst attempting to board planes.... they would've been prosecuted. It also mentioned a conspiracy theory that a certain Mr Bush had the guy in Pakistan arrested to revive his ailing presidency.

  89. Andy Davies

    @various

    have to agree with:

    "I still dont understand where acid plus peroxide gives you enough chemical energy to blow a sensible hole in an aircraft...."

    "How exactly is 1 teaspoon (5ml) of Tang in a 250ml bottle going to make an explosive?"

    "The IRA blew up a hotel with the primeminister in, and we still just ignored them and got on with our lives. Why are we so scared all of a sudden."

    and I really really object to having to take my shoes off at the airport (why ffs?), arriving hours before my flight, and staggering tired and jetlagged round interminable security queues being abused by jobsworths for carying my wife's bag as well as my own.

    ... other ingredients in the tango instead of water (explosive water?) ? - I can only think of e.g. petrol as an energy source, but I don't think you'd want to mix it with peroxide!

    AndyD 8-)#

  90. Bounty

    Why do so many people suck?

    The point is there is no point in using wierd disguised dangerous/detonators and bombs to make a small boom in a terminal. The fact that they tried to make a weak bomb capable of getting past security is PROOF they wanted to blow up something (soft) PAST the terminal, AKA a frickin plane. If I was suicidal and wanted to jack people, I'd break a branch off a tree and start swinging. Mabye if I wanted to get all fancy, I'd sharpen one end.

    So giving them a short sentence and watching them makes it all better? Ask Daniel Pearl if letting Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh out (he was in for kidnapping tourists and using them to negotiate prisioner releases) early in 1999 (as part of a hostage negotiation with plane hijackers!!! WTF??) was a good idea. I guaranFFFFinTee you Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh was on watch lists, and he still managed to cause terror. Also, almost forgot to mention he was also linked to 9/11. (remember these pricks were not just going to hold hostages [they're "martyrs"] they were going to skip straight to the kill part, making them worse than when Saeed started out. I'm sure a few short years in prison will remove any doubts they had about their purpose in life.)

    This whole terror thing has not really gone that far yet, but trust me if and when it does, there will be some serious amount of eggs being broken, and a very large omelette.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Matt Bryant - No, not entirely true.

    I was working in the anti-terrorism area in the 1970s. The IRA's stated aim was for a 'A United SOCIALIST Ireland'. Interestingly the IRA, PIRA, INLA etc. were 'Proscribed Organizations' in the Republic of Ireland BEFORE they were illegal in the UK and Northern Ireland. The Government of the Republic of Ireland probably understood what these organizations really did, and that they themselves would later be liable to attack. All of these groups had significant elements that you would probably describe as 'organized crime'. Much of their activities were 'turf wars', i.e. who controlled the local criminal enterprises such as protection rackets, prostitution, and armed robberies.

    These groups were capable of breath-taking hypocrisy. They policed their local communities by such methods as 'knee-capping' the local drug dealer or thief - Then they notified the local citizenry that they had dealt with these criminals, and then brazenly took over the same criminal activities.

    These groups have phoned in 'warnings' to the authorities, designed to send innocent civilians TOWARDS the imminent explosion, such that casualties would be maximized. These activities sometimes appeared to be applauded by a a vocal minority of their Irish-American supporters who may have thought that it was a good idea that 'British oppressors' died.

    In spite of the development of peace process, started in 1994, citizens of the USA continued to send 'aid contributions' to Northern Ireland even after the 1998 Omagh bombing by the Real IRA. These contributions seem to have been dramatically curtailed after 911 and the realization that the USA was also a victim of terrorism. It is thought that active recruitment by these Republican organizations (and their Loyalist opponents) continues, and that they still have a significant involvement in racketeering operations. Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Ireland_peace_process

  92. Shakje

    @Matt Bryant

    Doing oh so well until:

    "let aone one that condones the killing of non-believers just because some guy in a cave or down a well says so."

    Papers outside of the gutter press (even the Sun probably) reports the anger of the wider Muslim community at terrorist attacks whenever they occur. So no, the religion doesn't condone the killing of non-believers.

    AQ is not driven by chaotic ramblings, it's driven by hatred, in exactly the same way that Hitler's Nazis were driven by hatred of anyone not like their ideal human. This hatred stems from small things but is cultivated by seasoned power-hungry, and pretty intelligent, people/madmen (I'm not convinced they're all mad, just eating up the power-rush) until ordinary people are convinced that they hate the West and all it stands for. Quite frankly, while it's terrible, I can see why they do. I hate the celebrity media for what it does to growing up girls, I hate the violence we have on our streets on a Saturday night because of twats being allowed to drink, and I would also be pissed off if people of my religion or race were targeted by the police and customs officials because of the way we looked, or if small-minded people compared me to killers because of my beliefs or the colour of my skin, or if my home country was invaded on the basis of lies and oil.

    How about you go back to your little paranoid world of edgily eyeing up anyone with a bag and a turban and stop commenting on things you don't even try to understand. Rational people will look at the return to pre-9/11 levels of terrorism and the chances of being involved in a terrorist attack and carry on with their lives like normal. A dead terrorist gets a virgin every time someone gets scared because of a failed plot.

  93. Jared Earle
    Boffin

    @JonB

    "I still suspect a third ingredient, I can understand why they don't make that public."

    Yes, there was a third ingredient. It's referred to in these very comments and on the 'pedia page for the explosive. It's also an ingredient of RDX and as such is difficult to buy in large quantities. In small quantities, it's available off the shelf, if you know which shelf. The news articles all refer to Peroxide, Tang and "other organic compounds".

    Enough boffin-types have said it's possible while the non-science-dudes keep saying it's not. My cash is on the egg-heads.

    As for videos? Just search google and you'll find examples.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sniffers

    Are not these types of chemicals fairly easy to detect? Even better than a "please quaff" rule would be a explosive detector the security stave could use. Ideally it would be a wand they could simply wave over an open bottle, but if I had to sacrifice a capfull of liquid to analyze that would be acceptable too.

  95. michael

    re:so very stable

    "That the boffins who 'replicated' what would have happened used a long mechanical arm to add the detonator in the explosions shown to the jury and the media. So a taxi ride to the airport and have you seen how they handle the stuff going through the scanners? HTMD your havin' a laugh."

    the boffins who replicated it have good respect for there and others lifes suicide bombers do not

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Matt Bryant

    Sorry, I don't get why there should be a difference in being afraid of a rational bunch of terrorists who set bombs to cause death and destruction and being afraid of an irrational bunch of terrorists.....etc etc yada yada yada

    IIRC the IRA have killed far more people than AQ, even if you count worldwide and loosen the definition of Al'Qaida to include "anyone slightly brownish or has a beard". It is also absurd to claim that the IRA didn't want to kill people, or even that they wanted to keep deaths down in any way.

  97. Britt Johnston
    Pirate

    which state?

    The point is not whether liquid bombs could be made, but that solid and compressed gas bombs are more efficient. The banning all states of matter is more logical, but less economically viable. So 100% safe is not possible, and some Body squeezed out an extra 0.01% by taking away our shampoo, perfume, drinks, eyewash etc. (>>0.01% convenience)

    Things started the 70s, when nations fought hard - and won - to stop hijackers becoming an everyday occurrence. Presumably, they wanted air travel, on national carriers, to be a positive experience.

    Well, it hasn't been fun for decades. Imagine car travel being channeled like airlines today, body/bag checks/separations at every crossroad. If security gurus want to be proactive, they should be fighting the increase of sea piracy, ready for intercontinental airlines going belly up. And, in the meantime, non-intrusive spot checks with a small group of intelligent people.

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