Feeds

Gilligan's bomb: Is it time to panic yet?

Vicious thrashing fails to stir rotting equine corpse

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Dr Alford, being a professional, may not have chosen to mix up something as volatile and dangerous as TATP - or if he did he may have taken steps to desensitise it somewhat, not wishing to foolishly blow himself up.

(Your correspondent once spoke to a forensic-explosives boffin from the UK gov lab at Fort Halstead, who described his reaction on being nonchalantly handed several pounds of a similar compound by a blissfully unaware copper back in the pre-9/11 era. He said it had taken years off his life.)

Dr Alford's mix apparently required a proper detonator, whereas proper mad-bomber TATP can be made to detonate using no more than heat or electric current.

Really good terrorists, as Dr Alford points out, can build home-made detonators which could conceivably be smuggled through security buried inside an electronic device. The Provisional IRA could do this, and not being suicidal types they had reason to; but proper barmy suicide fanatics would be unlikely to bother. The whole point of having dets is that most of your charge can be comparatively safe to handle and move about, and the det - which will go off if shown any disrespect - can be kept separate until the last moment and babied.

As of 2005 there were indeed several murderous jihadi scumbags resident in the UK who could actually mix up viable explosives in deadly amounts and who weren't under surveillance. Sensibly, rather than go for a risky caper like trying to penetrate airport security they simply walked onto the Tube, where confined spaces magnified the devices' effect - if not as much as a total structural failure in flight might have. Those men are all now dead, of course, which is what happens to competent suicide bombers - it's a self-correcting problem to some degree. The follow-on 21/7 series of damp squibs indicated that there were several more unknowns willing to die, but that these didn't have the necessary knowhow.

London is still here. Nothing has changed. You can still, any day you want, buy acetone and peroxide, keep trying carefully with small amounts until you learn how to make viable TATP. Then you can make a bomb and take it onto the Tube. If you are willing to die, you can certainly set it off amid dense rush-hour crowds. If you aren't ready to die, you can probably still manage it, to be honest; and if you fail you can try again and again, still being alive - though you'll need to plan carefully to deal with the CCTV.

Hell - as someone who actually can make good TATP, you shouldn't be involved in the operation on the ground at all. Dumb expendable footsoldiers who know nothing should be doing that. But more people means more risk of an informer - which is probably why the average size of terror networks in the UK is just 10 people, according to MI5.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.