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June 30, 2007

That Bomb in London

It would appear that even if it had gonoe bang it wouldn't actually have gone bang but pop.

Unless we're still missing a part of the puzzle there were two major errors in the construction. There was no oxidiser. Secondly, all commercial propane tanks have valves that release the gas if it heats and thus the pressure rises. Might have got a jet of flame, might even have had a propane tank accelerating along the street on such a jet, but a big bang? Nope, just wasn't going to happen.

Yes indeed, it does look like there's one or more people out there hoping to blow people up. Fortunately, they're not, on the current evidence, competent.

June 30, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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I feel almost sure that the truly cynical will interpret the bombs as a promising means for revitalising Britain's flagging commitment to the War on Terror and to nudge GB to stand up there shoulder to shoulder with President Bush. But there you are.

Posted by: Bob B | Jun 30, 2007 1:07:36 PM

The likeliest explanation is that they meant harm but are stupid and ignorant. No doubt some ill-meaning soul will explain to them how to do better next time.

Posted by: dearieme | Jun 30, 2007 3:12:49 PM

The Guardian hauled in an explosives expert who showed us all that the nails were poorly distributed and also gave some interesting facts on disposal techniques - supersonic water jets and the like.

Tim's chipped in with handy hints about oxidisers and propane tanks (tho I'm pretty certain you don't get those valves on "Camping Gaz" type cylinders - maybe I'm wrong).

Come on chaps - you can do better than this ! Next time show those "dancing slags" you really mean it !

PS - Tim, your blog has so many sidebar bells and whistles on that my work connection usually grinds to a halt after loading the heading, so I can only read it evenings and weekends.

Corporate connections used to be fast, but most large companies devote their bandwidth to their own sites now ..

Tim adds: Re this blog, there's likely to be a move in a week or two: there'll be a stripped down version.

Posted by: Laban | Jun 30, 2007 6:17:51 PM

Dearieme - That is probably the sanest assessment.

After the carnage inflicted by the Madrid train bombings (11 March 2004) and the London tube bombings (7 July 2005), it would be extremely foolish to regard the latest manifestation in London as a mere jape. al-Qaeda foot soldiers may not be from among the brightest but it would be unwise to underestimate the malicious intent or ingenuity of a remotely entrenched hierarchy.

From the start, I have consistently regarded the Iraq war as both misconceived and badly executed. Put bluntly, the Neocons were and are dangerous fools and Bush should have appreciated that Rumsfeld was an incompetent secretary of state for defense long before the realisation eventually dawned.

The Afghanistan war is another matter - it's clear that in 2003 the al-Qaeda hierarchy and training camps were deeply embedded there at the time of 9-11 in 2001. The bombings in 1998 of the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam, with complete disregard for the possibility of hundreds of local casualties, can't be presented as some sort of perverse anticipation of the Neocons of the Bush administration.

What puzzles me most is why what is dubbed Islamic radicalism evidently believes it some sort of achievement for celebration to kill large numbers of ordinary folk at random by acts of vicious terrorism.

What are the survivors supposed to do or believe in response? Hold the followers of Islam in higher esteem when they know that some large parts of the Muslim world remain undeveloped and sunk in pervasive poverty? I simply cannot begin to understand the intentions motivating the restrictions imposed by the Taleban in Afghanistan on the education of girls and the employment of women.

Posted by: Bob B | Jun 30, 2007 7:40:42 PM

A propaganda bomb timed with Gordon Brown's appointment as PM. But who placed it there? Islamic terrorists or some other vested interest? Or perhaps a car smelling of petrol resulting in a terrorist alert, in which case who gets to report the 'news' about what happened? Information ministry? I/ops?

Posted by: Opinionated | Jun 30, 2007 8:08:43 PM

"The UK's national terrorism threat level has been raised to 'critical' [the highest level] after attacks in Glasgow and London. Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged the public to be vigilant and added: 'I know the British people will stand together, united and resolute.'"

But no mention yet of blood, sweat, toil and tears or the Dunkirk spirit.

Posted by: Bob B | Jun 30, 2007 9:19:21 PM

The bombings in the U.K. are reminders to all of us that the terrorists will not stop. Appeasement won't work.

The Taliban in Afghanistan today is different than the Taliban in pre-invasion Afghanistan. Today's Taliban has begun to receive funding and training from Iran. The same group of Iranian criminals who finance Hezbollah in Lebanon have begun to finance and recruit more Taliban in Afghanistan. These Iranians were directly responsible for the missle attacks against civilian targets in Israel earlier this year. Their stated goal in Afghanistan is to take back Kabul using terrorism and suicide bombers.

When Taliban invade a village in Afghanistan, they kill the school teachers who educate female students. Many of the Taliban are foreign fighters. They commonly force innocent Afghani girls into polygamous marriages in the name of Allah.

Posted by: Charles Holden | Jul 1, 2007 2:36:53 AM

"Today's Taliban has begun to receive funding and training from Iran."

Wow, always nice to have the inside track from Vauxhall House. Shall I attribute this to 'senior Foreign Office officials' or 'ant-terrorism experts'?

Posted by: Opinionated | Jul 1, 2007 3:01:40 PM

There's nothing new about the Foreign Office making up some allegation against Iran to get public support behind an economically-motivated military attack. Con Coughlin's been doing it for years:


and before that we had the sexed-up dossier on WMD in Iraq. Cut the crap, guys.

Posted by: Opinionated | Jul 1, 2007 3:12:45 PM

Indymedia. Now there's a reliable source...

Posted by: Stephen | Jul 2, 2007 1:11:45 PM

So, Tim, I imagine you'd be happy to stand near three propane tanks that won't explode as someone pours gasoline all over them and some nails in a flammable confined space, like a car, say, with a full tank of gas, and lights it? I mean, after all, no harm can come, can it? Easy test. Let's video the whole thing and pass it around the internet for a chuckle.

Posted by: Internet Ronin | Jul 3, 2007 4:53:17 AM

Sorry about the tone of that comment, Tim, but I find many of the comments like those referring to "B-Team" bombers irksome.

Some people would do well to remember that at least one of those 7/7 hailed (yes, hailed) as "Golden Standard" or "A-Team" bombers was probably not in the location he planned to be, not in the best position to cause the greatest amount of damage an loss of life in and around that bus, and appears to have been somewhat inept at setting it off. (For that matter, how sure is anyone that any of the bombers achieved their actual goal? Maybe even 7/7 was a failure compared to the goal.)

I seriously doubt that those who lost a husband, wife, son, or daughter in that explosion gives a damn whether the bomber was "A-Team" quality or merely a "B."

Finally, I have seen the damage caused by an exploding faulty propane tank. It was many years ago, in Taiwan, but I can't imagine it would be much different today. Not something I'd want to be standing next to when it happened.

While I have zero interest in living in fear of terrorists, refuse to alter how I live, and find much of the "official" security response ludicrous, I find nothing particularly funny about a failed attempt, whether it would have only killed a few, a dozen, or a hundred. And I imagine the terrorized passengers at the check-in counters in Glasgow don't find the whole thing laughable, either.

Posted by: Internet Ronin | Jul 3, 2007 6:04:14 AM