March 23, 2006
The Latest Bomb Plot
I’ve no information and no view on whether these guys actually did anything or not but one bit does make me think that they’re highly gullible. Well, I guess that’s obvious but this point as well:
A Luton taxi driver who is said to be a member of the alleged gang was given information while in Pakistan about a "radioisotope bomb", the jury was told.
Salahuddin Amin was asked by a man he knew from a mosque in the Bedfordshire town to contact another man.
Amin contacted the third man via the internet and was told "they had made contact with the Russian mafia in Belgium and from the Mafia they were trying to buy this bomb".
Amin told police after his arrest that he did not think the attempt to buy the bomb was serious, as he did not think it likely that "you can go and pick up an atomic bomb and use it".
A "radioisotope bomb" is not an atomic bomb, it’s what we more normally refer to as a dirty bomb. Conventional explosives surrounded or mixed in with radioactive isotopes. The bang comes justfrom the regular explosives, which then spread the radioctivity around.
What’s slightly silly about trying to buy one from the Russian Mafia is that the necessary components are lying around the UK, all over the place, hospitals, food processors and the like.
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From what is written above, it seems like these guys were trying to buy bomb making material from a guy they met down the pub (well, the mosque actually, but it amounts to the same thing).
And these are the people who are so dangerous and such a huge threat to western civilisation that we are going to have to give up all our freedoms to fight them? The people who make Ming the Merciless, Moriarty and Fu Manchu look like rank amateurs? Sounds like they'll be conned out of any money they have way before they ever get around to doing anything felonious. Maybe we should replace MI5 with the Brussels Crew of the Molotov Crime Family.
Now, I don't doubt that there are some very evil people out there intent on destroying our free, western civilisation. It's just a shame that some of them seem to be in our own government.
Posted by: The Remittance Man | Mar 23, 2006 9:52:32 AM
The Russian Mafia wouldn't want to be selling dirty bombs intended to be detonated in London. That's where most of their retirement fund is tied up.
Posted by: Tim Newman | Mar 23, 2006 10:22:28 AM
"Now, I don't doubt that there are some very evil people out there intent on destroying our free, western civilisation."
Indeed. But the important question is, are any of them at all competent? (See ricin plots passim.) Some of them plainly are, and this mob allegedly accumulated a quantity of ammonium nitrate and aluminium powder, which would certainly have enabled them to make a perfectly workable bomb if they had the expertise.
Now, we won't know until the wheels of justice have finished grinding whether these people were malign and competent, or just malign and not so incompetent they were unable to buy aluminium powder (sold by some paint merchants) and ammonium nitrate (sold by every fertiliser wholesaler in the country). But whatever the papers are saying, both are open possibilities....
Posted by: Chris Lightfoot | Mar 23, 2006 12:11:14 PM
"necessary components are lying around the UK, all over the place, hospitals, food processors and the like" .. and smoke alarms.
Best place to get hold of radioactive stuff is in the ground, there are plenty of uraninum ores in the UK.
Tim adds: Yeah, there was that scare about people collecting smoke alarms, wasn’t there. Pretty silly though, the wholeworld uses 40 kg of americum oxide a year to make them. Tiny, tiny amounts in each.
But Cobalt 60 in a radiology machine, or food irradiation one? Nasty stuff.
Posted by: johnny bonk | Mar 23, 2006 12:24:51 PM
Well, at the tender age of 19 I was taught, in a British university, how to make ANFO and ANFO+Al; it's a staple blasting agent in the mining industry. It is a lot simpler than most of the recipes on BBC Food. The same information is freely available on the internet.
A few years later I was employed to use explosives in mines; I even have a government licence and a couple of certificates that say I'm competent to do it. Never, not once, have I had to be vetted by the police or security services either in Britain or RSA.
Fortunately for the general public, the common fuel-fertilizer mixture (with or without aluminium) is impossible to make go bang without certain other bits of kit which, thankfully, are exceedingly difficult for civilians to get hold of.
My whole point is that unlike our Irish chums, who, it pains me to say, were reckoned to be a very professional outfit, the chaps in turbans appear to be a bit amateurish. And yet our government is talking them up as the next mongol horde in justification of repealing almost every civil liberty that exists in the UK.
Maybe I'm just an untrusting cynic but I'm getting the impression that the government are either not telling us something, or that they have a nefarious plan of their own which requires the supression of civil liberties. Either that or they are just plain incompetent. Frankly, none of these explainations fills me with hope.
Posted by: The Remittance Man | Mar 23, 2006 3:46:05 PM
Oh, by the way, Johnny,
Just to stop the local chapter of Bombs for Islam digging up your front lawn, even economic uranium deposits emit very little radioactivity. I've had the pleasure of working at a uranium mine and the risk to me from radioactivity was incredibly low indeed. Firstly the grade (amount of uranium per ton of ore) was very low indeed. Secondly, of that uranium the vast majority was the non-radioactive version.
Quite frankly you could take a ton of that ore wrap it around a conventional bomb and make it go bang. When the rescue people arrive with their geiger counters etc, I doubt they'd even notice.
Posted by: The Remittance Man | Mar 23, 2006 3:53:09 PM