Monday, August 14, 2006

Vanishing Questions

In all the hubbub over the alleged terrorist plot uncovered last week, I'm begining to worry that certain questions are going unanswered. So for my own peace of mind I'm going to write them down. If anyone knows if they have been answered and can point me to a reputable source (or preferably multiple sources) for confimation, I'd be very grateful.

1) Have the British authorities revealed if they actually found any explosives?

2) The police were apparently watching these plotters for months. If they knew of the plan, why didn't they step up airport security earlier?

3) This method of bringing down a plane was first mooted and attempted by Al Qadea in 1994 (Ramzi Yousef's plan to bring down aircraft crossing the Pacific). Why weren't authorities screening for this known threat- liquid explosives carried on in soda bottles- since 1994?

4) If one must now pack liquids and gels in one's hold baggage, does this mean that the woefully inadequate hold-baggage explosives screening rate has drastically improved in recent months?

5) Given the amount of time and effort it takes a terrorist cell to plan a big attack on civil aviation targets (9/11 took two years, this one is alleged to have been in the works for many months) surely we are actually safer immediately after an attack or the disruption of an alleged attack? Notwithstanding the possibility of a "second wave" (of all AQ or AQ inspired attacks in the west there was only one with a second wave- London 2005- and they failed) given the vast drain on resources one of these attacks represents the chances of a second attack in close order is very, very unlikely. Or can someone show me evidence to the contrary?

6) Vaguely related; did the police anywhere ever catch the second wave or copycat bombers who tried to attack the London Underground on July 21 last year, and have they been tried or scheduled for trial? I lost track of that one somehow.


Anonymous said...

Question 2 was on my mind as well

Don't have any answers sorry

Lambent said...

Perhaps they didn't need to step up airport security because they were watching them. If any of them had gone near a travel agent or airport the police would have known.

weasel said...

So Lambent, why the need now? They caught them. And if the answer is that they don't know if they got all of them or if there was a 2nd cell, then watching one group would not have negated the prudence of raising airport security from the moment they learned something might be afoot. And it doesn't answer my first question. Al Qadea tried the liquid explosives in a bottle gag in December 1994, almost 12 years ago, and still no detection mechanism? Still no enhanced security? I used to think all this guff was about reassuring the traveling sheep herd. Now I think its to scare them.

Perhaps rather it has more to do with this series of interesting coincidences and opportunistic seizing of vague warnings for domestic political reasons on both sides of the Atlantic (link via Bill Norris).

weasel said...

Sorry- it doesn't answer my 3rd question.

And frankly, I'm not sure if I want to trust the surveillance skills of a police anti-terrorism squad who shot a Brazillian electrician wearing a jean jacket seven times in the head after mistaking him for a suicide bomber in a winter overcoat. Remember, the only reason the police ended up tailing Jean Charles de Menezes was that the crack observation officer had left his post to go for a piss and nobody was watching the building. The police panicked.