“Put simply, this was intended to be mass murder on an unimaginable scale,” said Deputy Commissioner Paul Stephenson from the Metropolitan Police at the time. Nothing had actually happened, no bomb had been taken on board a plane – no-one had even made one. So what was all the fuss about? Why all the plane cancellations at Heathrow, costing hundreds of millions in delays and lost flights, and why can’t we take toothpaste in hand luggage any more? Britain’s new anti-terror legislation, where you don’t actually have to do anything to get arrested, had swung into action. Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair, on holiday during these events in Barbados at Sir Cliff Richard’s luxury villa, decided to stay there.
The COBRA meeting began on 9.30 pm on the 9th August 2006, in the high-tech bunker deep below the Cabinet Office. The police raids began at midnight, with 24 suspects arrested, British-born Muslims, some of Pakistani descent, from London, Birmingham, and High Wycombe. It was an overnight operation, and their finances were frozen.Those detained included a soccer fan, cricket players, a taxi driver, an accountant and his nursery teacher wife who is expecting a baby within a few weeks, a security guard with a three-week old baby, a pizza worker, a tyre businessman and a science student. British police found tins of baked beans, peanut butter, some low concentration hydrogen peroxide and a sugar solution (i.e., the latter two were probably bleach or disinfectant and a cup of tea) at the suspects’ homes. These apparently normal, peaceable, well-adjusted people had all been consumed with an irresistible urge to kill themselves and were prepared to kill hundreds of others, we were told (1). These arrests appeared to be the result of a long-standing investigation coordinated between the US, British and Pakistani governments.
On Thursday morning thousands of holidaymakers began arriving at airports to discover total disruption and the biggest terror alert since 7/7. It was alleged that multiple commercial aircraft were intended to be targeted, maybe for the 16th August, and that their fiendish plot aimed to destroy as many as ten aircraft in mid-flight from the United Kingdom to the United States, using explosives brought on board in their hand luggage! News media reported that planned targets included American Airlines, British Airways, Continental Airlines, and United Airlines flights from London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports to Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; Orlando, Florida; Boston, Massachusetts; Newark, New Jersey; New York City; San Francisco, California; Cleveland, Ohio and Washington, D.C. The BBC’s security correspondent Gordon Corera said the plot involved a series of simultaneous attacks, targeting three planes each time. The plotters planned to use Lucozade bottles (or so The New York Times reported) to contain certain ‘liquid explosives’. They were going to use peroxide-based explosives, the media seemed to agree, probably the dreaded triacetone triperoxide (TATP).
These arrests were followed by the search for evidence, as the Financial Times explained: “The police set about the mammoth task of gathering evidence of the alleged terrorist bomb plot yesterday” (August 12, 2006). This was an odd reversal of normal investigatory procedures, commented the French ‘Voltairenet’ (of Thierry Meyssan), in which arrests were only supposed to happen after the gathering of evidence (2). On what basis had the arrests been made? The British government, backed by Washington, averred that the Pakistani government’s arrest of two British-Pakistanis provided “critical evidence” in uncovering the plot and identifying the alleged terrorist. The Pakistani intelligence services (ISI) are notorious for use of torture in extracting ‘confessions.’ In this case, its evidence was based on a supposed encounter between a relative of one of the suspects and an Al-Qaeda operative on the Afghan border. The Al-Qaeda agent supposedly provided the relative and thus the accused with the bomb-making information and operative instructions. But, transmission of bomb-making information hardly required a trip half-way around the world, least of all to a frontier under military siege by US-led forces on one side and the Pakistani military on the other. Were the Al-Qaeda agents in the mountains of Afghanistan supposed to have some detailed knowledge of Heathrow airport?
Prime Minister Tony Blair had alerted President George Bush to the investigation on Sunday 6 August 2006, before flying out with his family to Barbados on the 8th. Bush and Blair had discussed the matter prior to the police arrests. On 9 August, hours before the arrests, the Home Secretary John Reid gave a major speech to Demos (a British think-tank) hinting at a new round of anti-terror legislation, claiming that the country was facing
probably the most sustained period of severe threat since the end of the second world war
And he decried those who “don’t get it,” ie, who failed to comprehend that democratic liberties had to be surrendered to the state. He blamed them for the fact that “we remain unable to adapt our institutions and legal orthodoxy as fast as we need to,” making it clear that the required “adaptation” meant the gutting of traditional democratic rights. He raved on about:
Sometimes we may have to modify some of our own freedoms in the short term in order to prevent their misuse and abuse by those who oppose our fundamental values and would destroy all of our freedoms in the modern world (3).
On the next day, 10th August, President George Bush commented, upon his arrival in Wisconsin:
The recent arrests that our fellow citizens are now learning about are a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation.
Israel was brutally assaulting Lebanon as Bush slipped in that key phrase ‘Islamic Fascists.’ Israel’s July invasion led to the killing of over 1,000 people and the creation of more than a million refugees who were forced to flee their homes.
The US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on August 10th described the (non-) event as an attack which had the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of people. Inevitably, he added that ‘it certainly has some of the hallmarks of an al Qaeda plot,’ and agreed with his interviewer that, ‘this plot was the biggest terrorist threat since the attacks of September 11, 2001’. A senior congressional source averred that the plotters planned to mix ‘a sports drink with a peroxide-based paste to make an “explosive cocktail” that could be triggered by an MP3 player or cell phone.’ Uh-huh. Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes bombed the heart of Beirut.
17 of the suspects were charged with conspiracy to murder and commit acts of terrorism or failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism (Did you catch that – if you don’t report to the police that someone you know might possibly be intending to do something, you are liable to be charged). Little did this (alleged) ‘group’ know that an undercover British agent had infiltrated them. On 28 August 2006, The New York Times reported that seven martyrdom tapes made by six suspects were recovered. Gigabytes of information had been confiscated from homes of dozens of suspects. Hundreds of computers and mobile phones were taken. But, that still wouldn’t give the police any connection between the persons arrested who hadn’t bought air tickets or made bombs, and a terror plot that never happened over the skies of America. The suspected ringleader Rashid Rauf in Pakistan may have had ‘extraordinary rendition’ applied to him, i.e. been tortured, to ‘confess.’
Heathrow airport was closed down, then hand luggage was forbidden, and then later on liquids were forbidden in hand luggage eg milk and toothpaste. The first day of delays cost the airlines over £175 million. Huge queues of passengers waited to check-in and get through the strengthened security procedures. On Sunday 13 August, 30% of flights out of Heathrow were cancelled to reduce pressure on the screeners. British Airlines reported that 10,000 items of baggage belonging to their passengers had gone missing while Ryanair called on the British government to employ police and military reservists to speed up the full-body searches that had become mandatory. By August 12th, the owner and operator of London Heathrow ordered all airlines using the airport to make a 30 per cent reduction in departing passenger flights. Carolyn Evans, head of flight safety at the British Airline Pilots Association, said that “the procedures put in place are not sustainable long term, and unless the passengers are treated more reasonably we will not have an industry left”. In November 2006, BA claimed the increased security measures since August had cost it £100 million (3).
Amidst the madness a word of sense was spoken by former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray:
Many [of those arrested] did not even have passports, which given the efficiency of the UK Passport Agency would mean they couldn’t be a plane bomber for quite some time … In the absence of bombs and airline tickets, and in many cases passports, it could be pretty difficult to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt that individuals intended to go through with suicide bombings, whatever rash stuff they may have bragged in internet chat rooms…. Then an interrogation in Pakistan revealed the details of this amazing plot to blow up multiple planes … Of course, the interrogators of the Pakistani dictator have their ways of making people sing like canaries. As I witnessed in Uzbekistan, you can get the most extraordinary information this way. The trouble is it always tends to give the interrogators all they might want, and more, in a desperate effort to stop or avert torture. What it doesn’t give is the truth. (4)
Another British voice of sanity was that of political scientist Nafeez Ahmed., who expressed the view that:
the British and American governments, for all intents and purposes, invented a terror threat in August 2006, to trigger a climate of fear and paranoia convenient for the legitimization of a political agenda of intensifying social control at home, and escalating military repression in the Middle East. (5)
He gave several talks together with munitions expert Lt. Colonel Wylde on the topic. Apart from these, the entire British media believed the story. It was a dream-hallucination from start to finish, with no semblance of rational evidence to link together those arrested and an alleged plot which never happened. According to Lieutenant-Colonel (ret.) Nigel Wylde, a former senior British Army Intelligence Officer with decades of anti-terror and explosives experience, the whole plot was a ‘fiction’ (6) and the explosives in question could not possibly have been produced on the plane. “So who came up with the idea that a bomb could be made on board? Not Al Qaeda for sure. It would not work. Bin Laden is interested in success not deterrence by failure,” Wylde stated. He suggested that the plot was an invention of the UK security services in order to justify wide-ranging new security measures that threaten to permanently curtail civil liberties and to suspend sections of the United Kingdom’s Human Rights Act of 1998. Wyle added that, if there was a conspiracy, “it did not involve manufacturing the explosives in the loo,” as this simply “could not have worked.” The process would be quickly and easily detected. The fumes of the chemicals in the toilet “would be smelt by anybody in the area.” They would also inevitably “cause the alarms in the toilet and in the air change system in the aircraft to be triggered.”
Key information was supposed to have been obtained from Pakistan but what did Pakistan have to do with it? There’s no need to go to Pakistan to learn that mixing acetone, sulphuric acid and peroxide won’t make a bomb, especially not in an aircraft toilet – that’s only in the Hollywood movies. Those three chemicals would form a nasty mixture which would stink very badly, but they would require a freezing cabinet and a fume cupboard for the reaction to work, ie produce TATP – adding a drop of sulphuric acid at a time, taking several hours, then a day of the TATP to separate out). Also, what about the detonators? Without a detonator, its not a bomb*.
Had the alleged ringleader, 25-year old Rashid Rauf (born in Birmingham) invented the plot under torture in Pakistan, as Craig Murray suggested? Rauf attended a court hearing in Rawalpindi, on 22nd December 2006:
Head bowed and covered by a black shawl and Muslim prayer cap, the Briton named as a ‘key suspect’ in the alleged terror plot to blow up transatlantic airliners was escorted to a court in Pakistan yesterday… Yesterday Rauf, from Birmingham, protested his innocence of any involvement in a plot. Handcuffed and flanked by 12 armed police officers, he claimed he had been framed by the authorities. ‘I have done nothing wrong but I have been framed, I am not optimistic that I will be cleared… everything against me is based on lies. (7)
Despite his prosecutors alleging that Rauf was in possession of a number of bottles of hydrogen peroxide, the court dropped the charges, ruling that this case ‘did not fall into the category of terrorism.’
An article by chemist Thomas Greene in Washington explained how the ‘binary liquid munitions’ story had come out of movies rather than a chemistry textbook :
So the fabled binary liquid explosive – that is, the sudden mixing of hydrogen peroxide and acetone with sulfuric acid to create a plane-killing explosion, is out of the question. Meanwhile, making TATP ahead of time carries a risk that the mission will fail due to premature detonation, although it is the only plausible approach. Certainly, if we can imagine a group of jihadists smuggling the necessary chemicals and equipment on board, and cooking up TATP in the lavatory, then we’ve passed from the realm of action blockbusters to that of situation comedy (8)
The bomb plot hoax has caused enormous losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars not only to the airlines, but also to business people, oil companies, duty free shops, tourist agencies, resorts and hotels, not to speak of the tremendous inconvenience and health related problems of millions of stranded and stressed-out travelers. So what was the point of it? What was its purpose? We’ve already quoted Nafeez Ahmed, and let’s now hear a pertinent judgement from France’s Voltaire Network:
Clearly the decision to cook up the phony bomb plot was not motivated by economic interests, but domestic political reasons. The Blair administration, already highly unpopular for supporting Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was under attack for his unconditional support for Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, his refusal to call for an immediate ceasefire and his unstinting support for Bush’s servility to US Zionist lobbies. Even within the Labor party over a hundred backbenchers were speaking out against his policies … The criminal frame-up of young Muslim-South Asian British citizens by the British security officials was specifically designed to cover up for the failed Anglo-American invasion of Iraq and the Anglo-American backing for Israel’s destructive but failed invasion of Lebanon. Blair’s “liquid bombers” plot sacrificed a multiplicity of British capitalist interests in order to retain political offices and stave off an unceremonious early exit from power. The costs of failed militarism are borne by citizens and businesses (9).
The liquid bomb story was soon ridiculed into obscurity, after which British Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clark merely claimed that, “bomb making equipment including chemicals and electric components had been found” (9). Also, the Clark team claimed that they found ‘martyr videotapes’ in the homes of those arrested, without clarifying the fact that the videos were not made by the suspects but only viewed by them. In mid-December the police announced that they were calling off the search at a strip of woodland where bomb-making equipment had allegedly been hidden, as none of the authorities were prepared to continue funding the operation. On May 20th 2007 the arrested alleged plotters entered their plea of ‘not guilty,’ and their trial will begin in 2008.
How did it begin? Some days before the arrests, on Sunday, 6th August, American Airlines flight 109 from London Heathrow to Boston boarded a family of five, then after the plane left Heathrow authorities determined that the father appeared on a British suspect list drawn up after the 7/7 London transit attacks. The pilot was instructed to fly to Boston but refused, fearing for the safety of his passengers and crew, and quickly returned to Heathrow without informing the passengers. Once on the ground, it was discovered that the male had in his carry-on baggage the type of combination liquid explosive and electronic device now being hyped by the British and American media. That sounds a quite unlikely combination, of featuring on alleged ‘July 7th suspect’ list and carrying binary liquid explosives – no wonder no-one has released the name of this person. As Alex Jones’ Prison Planet article concluded, ‘The Israeli attack on Lebanon created a rift within Blair’s Cabinet … As a result, a suspect passenger was permitted to board an American aircraft at Heathrow with a liquid bomb to lay the groundwork for the media and travel hysteria five days later’ (10).
The police responsible need to brush up on chemistry concerning what can go bang in a bomb, for example in the ‘Crevice’ trial, the mere possession of bags of a fertiliser, ammonium nitrate was enough to put Muslims in jail – whereas fertiliser-grade ammonium nitrate is made so that it will not detonate very readily (11). In the July 7th, July 21st and the Heathrow liquid bomb story, TATP featured, whereas in real life no ‘terrorist’ has used it for a bomb, maybe because it is too unstable and needs to be stored below 10° C.
It would appear that Britons are prepared to pay a heavy price for their daily dose of fear, their tingle of terror, and that politicians do now have to cater for this need, which has somehow spilled over from horror and action movies. No politician trying to claim that the British did not have an enemy, or did not need an enemy, could possibly hope to get elected. This writer would suggest that wolves should be re-introduced into selected woodlands. Possibly hearing the howling of wolves at night might satisfy the atavistic need for fear, and would obviate the continual need to have innocent Muslims banged up in jail on phantom terror allegations.
1. ‘Britain’s airline terror plot: Questions that need to be answered’ World Socialist Web 11.8.06, www.wsws.org/articles/2006/aug2006/lond-a11.shtml
2. www.voltairenet.org/article143264.html ‘The Liquid Bomb hoax: The larger implications’ by James Petras
4. Craig Murray, The Guardian, The UK Terror plot: What’s Really Going On? 15 August 2006, archived at: www.oilempire.us/blair-scare.html.
5. http://nafeez.blogspot.com/2006/09/ex-uk-intel-official-says-liquid.ht ml Ahmed (Sept 18, 2006) Ahmed, August terror plot is a ‘fiction’ underscoring police failures
6. Col. Wylde, 18 September, www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Sources_August_Terror_Plot_Fiction_Undersco ring_0918.html
7. Daily Mail, 23 Dec 2006.
8. www.theregister.co.uk/2006/08/17/flying_toilet_terror_labs/ ‘Mass murder in the skies: was the plot feasible? Let’s whip up some TATP and find out’, Thomas Greene (17.8.2006)
9. BBC News, August 21, 2006.
10. http://rense.com/general73/latest.htm Latest Terror Threat – More Government Foreknowledge’, By Joel Skousen, World Affairs Brief’, 12 August, 2006
http://twf.org/News/Y2006/0810-Terror.html The Wisdom find News & Views
* Lt. Colonel Wylde, speaking of the July 7th story, noted in relation to the criminal investigation into the 7th July terrorist attacks in London, that police and government sources had maintained “total silence” about the detonation devices used in the bombs on the London Underground and the bus at Tavistock Square. “Whatever the nature of the primary explosive materials, even if it was home-made TATP, the detonator that must be used to trigger an explosion is an extremely dangerous device to make, requiring a high level of expertise that cannot be simply self-taught or picked-up over the internet.” The government’s silence on the detonation device used in the attacks is “disturbing,” he said, as the creation of the devices requires the involvement of trained explosives experts. Wylde speculated that such individuals would have to be present either inside the country or outside, perhaps in Eastern Europe, where they would be active participants in an international supply-chain to UK operatives. “In either case, we are talking about something far more dangerous than home-grown radicals here.”
This article was posted on the UK’s 9/11 forum: It seemed worth reprinting because of the fake-terror on Xmas day (‘Umar Mutallab’) event which will likewise cause great inconvenience to airline passengers.
Terrorist caught red-handed: buying a cake
Tayib Rauf, was pictured on CCTV entering a bulk order supermarket in Birmingham just two hours before anti-terror police swooped in to grab him for his alleged role in a plot to bomb ten transatlantic airliners. What were the tools of terror Rauf was acquiring before his kamikaze death mission? Knives? Peroxide to make the deadly liquid bomb? Cameras to detonate the bombs? No – he was buying cakes. “Does this look like the kind of person planning such a plot? He doesn’t look like he’s about to blow himself up,” the owner of the store told the London Mirror. Rauf chatted with the owner, who said he was more concerned about his father’s confectionary business than the fact that he was about to aid in the mid-air slaughter of 3,000 people. http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/april2008/040308_terror_patsies.htm