Bad terrorist – didn’t file his expense claims

May 30th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Who knew terrorists had to fill out expense reports?

According to a letter obtained by Associated Press, al Qaeda was beset by the kind of managerial problems that afflict companies around the world.

Al Qaeda chiefs required lower-level terrorists to attend meetings on time, return phone calls promptly, follow orders, fill out expense reports properly and not bitch about managers in public.

Who knew that even terrorist groups, had bureaucracies?

The 10-page letter lays out in embarrassing detail the problems al Qaeda chiefs were having managing a particularly difficult terrorist in the group’s North African division.

Moktar Belmoktar, an Algerian-born terrorist in his 40s, clashed with his superiors on numerous occasions, mostly over procedural matters.

I wonder if he obliged to file a strategic plan, listing the desired outcomes, his planned outputs and necessary inputs?

The letter criticises Belmoktar for accepting a less-than-impressive 700,000 euros in ransom for Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler in 2008, when the going rate was $US3 million.

He also broke union rules!

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The London attack

May 23rd, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Daily Telegraph reports:

A cub scout leader confronted terrorists just seconds after they had beheaded a soldier asking them to hand over their weapons and warning them: “It is only you versus many people, you are going to lose.”

Well done Ingrid Loyau-Kennett.

Cub scout leader Ingrid Loyau-Kennett selflessly engaged the terrorists in conversation and kept her nerve as one of them told her: “We want to start a war in London tonight.”

Mrs Loyau-Kennett, 48, from Cornwall, was one of the first people on the scene after the two Islamic extremists butchered a soldier in Woolwich, south east London.

She was photographed by onlookers confronting one of the attackers who was holding a bloodied knife.

Give her a medal.

“I asked him if he did it and he said yes and I said why? And he said because he has killed Muslim people in Muslim countries, he said he was a British soldier and I said really and he said ‘I killed him because he killed Muslims and I am fed up with people killing Muslims in Afghanistan they have nothing to do there.”

It is worth recalling that the 9/11 attacks preceded the actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. If it was not Afghanistan as their excuse, it would be something else.

In some ways having terrorists just jump out and stab someone to death is possibly more scary than bomb attacks. You can detect bombs, but there is little defence against an attacker with a knife – except a gun!

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Islamic Terrorism

April 24th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The two brothers suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon appear to have been motivated by a radical brand of Islam but do not seem connected to any Muslim terrorist groups, US officials said after interrogating and charging Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with crimes that could bring the death penalty.

Tsarnaev, 19, was charged in his hospital room, where he was in serious condition with a gunshot wound to the throat and other injuries suffered during his attempted getaway. His older brother, Tamerlan, 26, died after a fierce gunbattle with police.

The Massachusetts college student was charged with using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. He was accused of joining with his brother in setting off the shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs that killed three people and wounded more than 200 a week ago.

The brothers, ethnic Chechens from Russia who had been living in the US for about a decade, practiced Islam.

Two US officials said preliminary evidence from the younger man’s interrogation suggests the brothers were motivated by religious extremism but were apparently not involved with Islamic terrorist organisations.

In one sense it is more concerning they were not dupes put up to it by a terrorist group, but decided to turn to terrorism based solely on their religious beliefs.

There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims, and it goes without saying that the vast majority do not practice or support terrorism. Just mindlessly ranting against an entire religion achieves nothing.

And of course there have been terrorists motivated by other religions – Northern Ireland, for one.

But to my mind there is a difference with terrorism done by extreme Islamists. It is that religion seems to be the sole reason for the terrorism.

Most terrorism involves territorial disputes. Northern Ireland was part-religious but partly an fight over the partition or Ireland.

Terrorism in Kashmir is linked to control of disputed territory. Religion is part of it, but not all of it.

Other factors involved in why people turn to terrorism can be extreme poverty, lack of education etc.

But when it comes to terrorism involving relatively well off, well educated citizens, with no territorial dispute – the sole factor often is just their belief in an extreme version of Islam. And to be frank that is scary.

Tony Blair and the IRA managed to find a political settlement that has almost stopped terrorism in Northern Ireland. The same has happened in other areas.

But I’m at a loss to know how you stop people like the Tsarnaev brothers concluding that their God wants them to blow up children who are watching the Boston Marathon. When a religion doesn’t unambiguously condemn violence and killing, and many priests promote rewards in the afterlife for those who kill in God’s name – no wonder. When Iran’s mullahs hand out fatwas encourging people to kill the likes of Salman Rushdie, it is no surprise that you have others decide that killing people for their God is a good idea.

Christianity has it faults, and a chequered history. But the number of Christian priests who in modern times ever call for someone to be killed is almost zero – the odd lunatic excepted. But sadly in Islam, all too many religious and political leaders (and the two are linked) do preach violence in God’s name.

The solutions are not easy. Just condemning 1.6 billion Muslims for the sins of a few is not a solution – just prejudice. But neither is there merit in ignoring the problems and almost unique challenges of Islamic terrorism. The lack of a central authority in Islam, and the inability to modernise their teachings, makes change very challenging.

In the end the only practical long-term solution is to encourage moderate Muslim leaders, to speak out and condemn the extremists, and make clear that terrorism is evil and sinful – no matter what.

But I have to admit I am pessimistic. I don’t see an end to religious terrorism in my lifetime.

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Another terror plot

April 23rd, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Reuters reports:

Canadian security forces have thwarted an al Qaeda plot to blow up a rail line between Canada and the United States, police and intelligence agencies say.

US security and law enforcement sources said the suspects had sought to attack the railroad between Toronto and New York City. Two men had been arrested after raids in Toronto and Montreal.

With this plot and the recent terrorism in Boston, it seems a very bad time to be arguing that there should be no capability to do intercept domestic communications in New Zealand. One professor was recently in print saying that this would make us a totalitarian state in a hysterical rant.

Of course any domestic spying must be strictly controlled and have rigorous oversight.  But those who argue New Zealand never has and never will have domestic threats are dangerously naive.

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The Boston killers

April 21st, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing lay hospitalised under heavy guard as people across the area breathed easier and investigators tried to piece together the motive for the deadly plot.

Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 19, was reported in serious condition and unable to be interrogated the morning after he was pulled, wounded and bloody, from a boat parked in the backyard of a home in Watertown, Massachusetts. 

The capture came at the end of a tense day that began with his older brother, Tamerlan, dying in a desperate getaway attempt.

President Barack Obama said there are many unanswered questions about the Boston bombings, including whether the Tsarnaev brothers – ethnic Chechens from southern Russia who had been in the US for about a decade and lived in the Boston area – had help from others.

“When a tragedy like this happens, with public safety at risk and the stakes so high, it’s important that we do this right,” Obama said. 

“That’s why we take care not to rush to judgment – not about the motivations of these individuals, certainly not about entire groups of people.”

However, Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau told CNN the early indications were that the brothers did act alone.

That appears to be the case. In fact it seems the (deceased) older brother probably put his younger brother up to it.

It is still a very distressing case. The two killers were relatively well integrated it seems, but the older brother appears to have become a radical Islamist. Hopefully we may learn from the surviving brother if there was a specific trigger that led to this.

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Boston Marathon explosions

April 16th, 2013 at 7:33 am by David Farrar

Fox News reports:

The Boston Marathon headquarters has been locked down after two explosions were reported near the finish line, a spokesman told Reuters.

Witnesses reportedly heard two booms near the finish line inside the Fairmount Copley Plaza Hotel that sounded like two claps of thunder. 

The Associated Press says there are reports of injuries. 

Unless this is a freak accident, this is a terrible criminal event – to target marathon runners. One can only assume they wnted to kill or injure as many people as possible.

There are first hand reports on Twitter of horrific injuries, legs blown off etc.

My prayers and thoughts are with the victims, and with the United States today.

UPDATE: Two or three dead so far. My emotions are torn between profound sadness and massive anger. What should have been a day of joy has become a day of tragedy. May those responsible be found and removed from civilisation.

UPDATE2: The NY Post is reporting 12 dead and 50 injured. Note no other media are reporting this many dead. Two dead and six critical is the latest on CNN.

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The extent of the extremism

September 24th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

I think we often try to comfort ourselves that the “extreme” faction of Islam is just a few thousand uneducated poor and/or jobless Muslims. But the sad reality is that the extreme faction has wide-spread support from leaders down. They are definitely still a minority, and rejected by most Muslims, but they are not a trivial number.

We see this, in this story on NZ Herald:

A Pakistani official on Saturday placed a US$100,000 bounty on the head of the maker of an anti-Islam film that has sparked a wave of violence and anger, as Muslims mounted fresh protests worldwide.

Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour also called on the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to join the hunt and help accomplish the “noble deed.”

Bilour spoke to reporters in the northwestern city of Peshawar a day after violent nationwide demonstrations against the “Innocence of Muslims” film left 21 people dead and more than 200 injured.

“I announce today that this blasphemer who has abused the holy prophet, if somebody will kill him, I will give that person a prize of $100,000,” Bilour said, urging others to shower the killer with cash and gold.

“I also invite Taliban and Al-Qaeda brothers to be partners in this noble deed,” he added. “I also announce that if the government hands this person over to me, my heart says I will finish him with my own hands and then they can hang me.”

Even worse, neither his Government nor his party are taking any action against him. They are saying that his statement are personal views, not Government policy, so no need to do anything!

I think we are understanding how Osama managed to live in Pakistan for so long, undetected.

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Greens compare US to terrorists

May 3rd, 2011 at 8:31 am by David Farrar

Green co-leader Russel Norman tweeted:

Call me old fashioned but aren’t we different to terrorists because we don’t assassinate people and we adhere to rule of law?

As most of the world celebrates, the Greens demonise the United States.

Does Dr Norman think that the US should have knocked on the front door of the highly fortified compound, and asked bin Laden to come out and surrender? That would have probably resulted in a death toll of hundreds – and possibly lead to bin Laden escaping.

When will the Greens realse that heading up a terrorist army is not the same thing as being some thug who held up a dairy with a gun.

The US action was legal under US law. It was authorised, and bin Laden was a legitimate military target. Again, he was not some bank robber, but head of a global army of terrorists.

Also Dr Norman misses the key point of terrorists. Terrorists deliberately attack civilians and the more dead civilians the more sucessful they deem their attack to be. In military operations, the more dead civilians, the bigger the failure it has been.

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Don’t call the terrorists names

October 14th, 2010 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

John Key announced on Tuesday:

New Zealand has designated a further seven international terrorist groups under the Terrorism Suppression Act, Prime Minister John Key announced today.

The entities are: Indian Mujahideen, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the military wing of Hamas (Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades), the Real Irish Republican Army, the Continuity Irish Republican Army, the New Peoples Army/Communist Party of the Philippines, and Hizbollah’s military wing (The Islamic Resistance).

“These designations help implement our international obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373, which is aimed at preventing the activities of terrorists,” says Mr Key.

“All seven of the entities have carried out various terrorist acts, including the indiscriminate killing of civilians.

Sounds entirely sensible. I mean who could object to that? No-one right?

I spoke too soon.

Enter the Green Party:

One of my aims, as a Green MP, has been to get New Zealand to specialise in international peacemaking, using Norway as a model.

Norway has used its good offices, and specialist advisers, to sponsor peace talks in Sri Lanka, Sudan, the Middle East, and the Philippines.

It has been able to play this mediating role because it has not declared any of the parties to the talks as terrorist organisations. …

Yesterday John Key followed suit, putting these two organisations on New Zealand’s terrorist list.

He also put six other organisations on the list, including the military wings of Hamas and Hizbollah. This is plain silly, when surely the main task of countries like New Zealand is to encourage peace negotiations between Israel and the governments in Gaza (Hamas) and Lebanon (where the government includes Hizbollah ministers).

Official statement from the Green Party. They are against sanctions (which is what happens when you designate an organisation as a terrorist activity) against terrorists, because calling them terrorists hurts their feelings.

Yep, don’t block access to their bank accounts, don’t try and stop weapons being sold to them. Because you may offend them, by calling them terrorists.

According to Wikipedia the Indian Mujahideen in seven bombings have killed 203 people and injured a further 703. Palestinian Islamic Jihad has killed 211 and injured 605 in around 20 attacks. The Real IRA and Continuity IRA are the lunatics still planting bombs in Ireland and England. Keith commie friends in the Philippines want to replace a democratic state with a Maoist one party state.

It may have escaped Keith’s notice that these organisations are not that keen on peace.

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The Times Square Bomber

October 6th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A Pakistani immigrant who tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison by a judge who said she hopes he spends time behind bars thinking “carefully about whether the Quran wants you to kill lots of people.”

A defiant Faisal Shahzad smirked as he was given a mandatory life term that, under federal sentencing rules, will keep him behind bars until he dies.

“If I’m given 1,000 lives I will sacrifice them all for the life of Allah,” he said at the start of a statement that lasted several minutes.

Worth reflecting that if he was in NZ, he would have only got a maximum 14 year sentence for attempted murder and be eligible for parole in five years.

Shahzad, a 31-year-old former budget analyst from Connecticut who was born in Pakistan, responded that the “Quran gives us the right to defend. And that’s all I’m doing.”

This is the scary thing. This was not some young impressionable teenager, or an unemployed school dropout with no future. He had a good education and good job, and then decided that his interpretation of his religion means he must kill people.

He added: “We do not accept your democracy or your freedom because we already have Sharia law and freedom.”

I guess the desire for Sharia law and its version of freedom is why there are so few female Islamist terrorists.

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Editorials 20 April 2010

April 20th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald supports proposed student loan changes:

Either way, it is clear that the Government, having declined to do away with interest-free student loans, must find ways to reduce the cost of the scheme.

t has to do this, first, because an alarming 41.5 per cent of the Government money placed in tertiary education goes directly to students as loans, allowances and interest subsidies. That is more than double the OECD average. Also, Mr Joyce, like other ministers, must find savings in his portfolio for this year’s Budget. This year he took a first step by proposing that student loans should be conditional on students’ success. That was reasonable, if only because it moved the loans into the same territory as living allowances to students on age, income and residential criteria, which are not available to those who failed more than half their course the previous year. In the same vein, new residents already have to wait two years for a student allowance or a welfare benefit. There seems no reason for student loans to be different, and good reason for them to be aligned. …

If any exception is to be made to the proposed stand-down period for student loans, it should be for refugees. Most, by dint of their status, arrive in this country with virtually nothing. The scheme provides those who wish to study with a degree of independence. Clearly, refugees are not comparable to the new residents who Mr Joyce suggests swoop on student loans as soon as they arrive, whether or not they are committed to their studies or to New Zealand. In effect, signing on for tertiary courses provides them with funding denied them by the two-year benefit stand-down.

I agree that the two year stand down for new migrants should exclude refugees. Refugees are admitted for humanitarian reasons, not economic reasons.

The Dom Post talks terrorism:

Hence, terrorist threats to Olympic and Commonwealth Games are not just an attack on the athletes, or host countries, but an attack on international fellowship – an attempt to stop nations and peoples co-operating and getting to know each other.

The reasons for the weekend bomb blast outside the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, venue for an Indian Premier League cricket match, are not yet known, but the amateurish nature of the devices that injured 17 people suggests it may have been the work of disaffected locals rather than al Qaeda, which early this year warned international competitors to stay away from the World Hockey Cup, the IPL tournament and the October Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

But, whatever the case, Commonwealth governments and sporting associations are doing the right thing by not being panicked.

And the ODT supports safer driving measures:

Something must be done about youth driving.

The statistics are oft-quoted but they bear repeating because they lie at the heart of the Government’s move, among other things, to raise the driving age to 16.

Take comparison with Australia: New Zealand drivers in the 15-19 age group suffer an average of 21 deaths a year for every 100,000 of population, compared with Australia’s rate of 13.

Further, young drivers between the ages of 15 and 24 in this country comprise 16% of all licensed drivers but in 2008 they were involved in around 37% of all fatal crashes and 38% of all serious injury crashes. …

Road crashes in fact are the highest single killer of 15- to 24-year-olds and the leading cause of their permanent injury.

Broadening out the international comparisons, 15- to 17-year-olds in New Zealand have the highest road death rate in the OECD and 18- to 20-year-olds the fourth highest.

The Government’s moves in the area of youth driving are widely supported as long overdue.

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Well I feel safer now!

February 11th, 2010 at 12:08 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand has for the first time designated four international terrorist groups which are not listed by the United Nations, Prime Minister John Key says. …

The groups are Somalia-based Al Shabaab, Spain’s Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), the Kurdistan Workers Party in Turkey and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, of Colombia.

I am sure the four groups are now in panic talks after having heard of the NZ Government’s action against them. They will probably announce their surrenders in due course.

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Muslims speaking out against terrorism

January 11th, 2010 at 1:17 pm by David Farrar

A nice initiative in Canada:

Twenty imams have issued a “fatwa” against any Muslim who would attempt to commit an act of terrorism in Canada or the United States.

Syed Soharwardy, an imam at the Al-Madinah Calgary Islamic Centre, who organized the initiative, said yesterday that any attack by foreign elements should also be considered a direct affront to the 10 million Muslims who call either Canada or the United States home.

“We want Muslims around the world who would dare to commit terrorism on our soil to know that we stand together with all Canadians and Americans.

Since the threats against Salman Rushdie several years ago, most people think of fatwas as death threats. But in fact, the imam notes, the vast majority of fatwas are condemnations or even non-binding directives that are meant to teach fellow Muslims the proper religious response to a given situation.

He said many Muslims he has spoken to say their lives have grown miserable and have suffered societal backlash because of the perceived association between violence and Islam.

But since 9/11, he added, it has become imperative for Muslims to vocally condemn violence — even though they have no personal responsibility for those acts.

Muslims who live in this country should also stop fighting the battles that they left behind when they came to live here, he added.

“We are Canadian now. This is where our energy should be directed.”

Again what refreshing common sense.

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The Press on terrorist detection

January 2nd, 2010 at 2:24 pm by David Farrar

The Press editorial;

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s comment that the system had worked defied belief. Clearly President Barack Obama, for whom the botched attack has become a political liability, did not agree with her.

I think he needs a new Homeland Security Secretary. The only part of the system that worked was the courage of passengers in tackling the terrorist.

He declared that there had been a systemic failure in the US intelligence community. Given the ample warning signs about Abdulmutallab this was self-evident.

Abdulmutallab had previously lived in Yemen, a country known to have al Qaeda cells. He had paid cash for his ticket and boarded the aircraft carrying only hand luggage, which should have aroused suspicion. US intelligence authorities had intercepted messages referring to a possible attack by a Nigerian and received warnings of a terrorist attack on Christmas Day.

But most astonishing of all was that the terrorist’s father had visited the US embassy in Nigeria and spoken to a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer to express concerns about his son.

This would be comical, if it was not true. I mean seriously – the guy’s dad actually pops into the US Embassy to tell the CIA that his son has joined Al Qaeda, and he is still allowed to fly. Millions of legitimate passengers are screened, delayed or refused, but the terrorist is given the all clear even after his father had dobbed him onto the CIA.

Maybe you could understand the CIA fuckup if the father had communicated by e-mail, for the father was Chairman of the Bank of Nigeria. So an e-mail starting “I cam the Chairman of the Bank of Nigeria and my son has a lot of money …” might hit the spam folder.

The incompetence of Government has no limits it seems. This is why it is so laughable that some loonies think the US Government secretly pulled off 9/11. Hell they can’t even do a no fly order for someone dobbed in by their dad, let alone pull of a giant global conspiracy.

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A first hand tale of the attempt to blow up NW253

December 29th, 2009 at 10:24 am by David Farrar

Over at the Huffington Post, Roey Rosenblith blogs a fascinating first hand account of what it was like on the flight that Al Qaeda tried to blow up.

Definitely read the whole thing to get soem idea of what it must have been like. I did enjoy his final paragraph:

In a few weeks my vacation is over. I’m going back to Uganda, to work with my Ugandan business partner Abu Musuuza, who by the way is a practicing Muslim (and I, by the way, am a seldom practicing Jew). With our American investors, Ryan Allis and Ron Boehm, our company Village Energy is going to provide light and power to as many people as we can get it to. And even though al Qaeda tried, I’ll be damned if they manage to stop me or anyone else on that flight from going out and achieving our life’s ambitions.

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US Airline Security

December 28th, 2009 at 10:31 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Airline passengers to the United States will be isolated from other travellers at Auckland Airport and face a rigorous second set of security checks following the suspected terrorist attack on a Christmas Day flight to the US. …

The Aviation Security Service’s northern regional manager, Peter Pilley, said passengers should allow an extra hour before the departure time for their flight.

He advised people to take as little carry-on luggage as possible to speed the process.

The TSA directive also says passengers must remain seated for the final hour of their US-bound flight and are not allowed access to carry-on baggage or to have any items on their laps.

Eric Crampton is not impressed:

Can we reject the null hypothesis that Osama’s crew have agents inside the TSA and that their whole objective is to give these agents reasons to make travelers’ lives hell?

Heh. Not impossible. He quotes other bloggers:

Seems to me that what this, Flight 93, and the Richard Reid incident have shown us is that the best line of defense against airplane-based terrorism is us. Alert, aware, informed passengers.

TSA, on the other hand, equates hassle with safety. For all the crap they put us through, this guy still got some sort of explosive material on the plane from Amsterdam. He was stopped by law-abiding passengers. So TSA responds to all of this by . . . announcing plans to hassle law-abiding U.S. passengers even more.

9/11 did change everything. Passengers will take action now – even take on armed hostiles, rather than let them gain control of a plane. Crampton comments:

Only two things have made flying safer [since 9/11]: the reinforcement of cockpit doors, and the fact that passengers know now to resist hijackers.

He offers three theories for the new flight restrictions:

  1. The TSA are in it with the terrorists to create maximum inconvenience for travelers and augment the TSA budget
  2. The TSA are complete idiots
  3. There’s nothing the TSA can really do, but idiots demand they do something and the only something that passengers can observe is how much they’re being inconvenienced?

I agree with Eric that (3) is marginally the most likely.

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Liquids on planes

September 9th, 2009 at 8:46 am by David Farrar

Like many I get frustrated at the airline rules over liquids on planes, having had to dispose of tubes of sunscreen and drink bottles etc.

But this story on the conviction in the UK of three British Muslims, reminds us why the rules came about:

Three British Muslims were convicted yesterday of plotting to commit “mass murder on an unimaginable scale” by blowing up transatlantic airliners in an attempt to kill thousands of people in the air and on the ground.

In a plot that changed rules on what passengers can carry on to planes, the terror cell, operating under guidance from jihadist overseers in Pakistan and inspired by al Qaeda, planned to simultaneously detonate liquid bombs disguised in soft drink bottles on board at least seven flights from London’s Heathrow Airport to North American cities, a court heard.

What shocked many is that most of the plotters were born in the United Kingdom. In fact three of them had only recently converted to Islam.

Thank goodness the security services were on the ball.

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