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Well, at last someone describes just how "easy" it is to mix liquids to make an explosive.

The explosive we're told would be used in this "scary plot" is TATP (triacetone triperoxide).

The Register tells us just how to make the stuff. Don't worry, the details aren't there to actually do it. But the details are there to tell you this "plot" was the "plot" that was not. Either that, or we have been misinformed about the nature of the explosive.

Below, here's what you'd have to do:

First, you've got to get adequately concentrated hydrogen peroxide. This is hard to come by, so a large quantity of the three per cent solution sold in pharmacies might have to be concentrated by boiling off the water. Only this is risky, and can lead to mission failure by means of burning down your makeshift lab before a single infidel has been harmed.

But let's assume that you can obtain it in the required concentration, or cook it from a dilute solution without ruining your operation. Fine. The remaining ingredients, acetone and sulfuric acid, are far easier to obtain, and we can assume that you've got them on hand.

Now for the fun part. Take your hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and sulfuric acid, measure them very carefully, and put them into drinks bottles for convenient smuggling onto a plane. It's all right to mix the peroxide and acetone in one container, so long as it remains cool. Don't forget to bring several frozen gel-packs (preferably in a Styrofoam chiller deceptively marked "perishable foods"), a thermometer, a large beaker, a stirring rod, and a medicine dropper. You're going to need them.

It's best to fly first class and order Champagne. The bucket full of ice water, which the airline ought to supply, might possibly be adequate - especially if you have those cold gel-packs handy to supplement the ice, and the Styrofoam chiller handy for insulation - to get you through the cookery without starting a fire in the lavvie.
Easy does it

Once the plane is over the ocean, very discreetly bring all of your gear into the toilet. You might need to make several trips to avoid drawing attention. Once your kit is in place, put a beaker containing the peroxide / acetone mixture into the ice water bath (Champagne bucket), and start adding the acid, drop by drop, while stirring constantly. Watch the reaction temperature carefully. The mixture will heat, and if it gets too hot, you'll end up with a weak explosive. In fact, if it gets really hot, you'll get a premature explosion possibly sufficient to kill you, but probably no one else.

After a few hours - assuming, by some miracle, that the fumes haven't overcome you or alerted passengers or the flight crew to your activities - you'll have a quantity of TATP with which to carry out your mission. Now all you need to do is dry it for an hour or two.

There is much more to the article. It references peer-review information on the explosive, why it needed mixing in-flight, ect. Read the whole thing here (same link as above).

For me, the net effect of the article is that, there is no way we are getting the whole (or even the right) story. *UPDATE* In the comments, Free Radical, rightfully, questions the "assumption" that the explosive in question was TAFT. The answer is: An article in Time [http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1225453,00.html] says the following:

Senior U.S officials have confirmed to TIME details of the plot that led the secretary to ratchet up the color-coded security alert for British-U.S. flights to an unprecedented red for "Severe." A total of 24 individuals were arrested in Britain overnight and, says one senior U.S. official who was briefed on the plot, five still remain at large. Their plan was to smuggle the peroxide-based liquid explosive TATP and detonators onto nine different planes from four carriers -- British Airways, Continental, United and American -- that fly direct routes between the U.K and the U.S. and blow them up mid-air. Intelligence officials estimate that about 2,700 people would have perished, according to the official.

Originally posted to EclecticFloridian on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 01:36 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (no liquids please) n/t (28+ / 0-)

    George W. is NOT an incompetent liar, he's had waaay too much practice for that. (-2.25, -2.56)

    by EclecticFloridian on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 01:27:01 PM PDT

  •  Dude... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mmacdDE, Rogneid, Rippe

    ...I dunno about anyone else, but I have a hard time even falling asleep on a plane.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 01:27:50 PM PDT

  •  I have been wondering why the Brits and the US (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rogneid

    did not show more information on the actual bomb (without a detailed recipe) or videos of what this stuff could actually do.

    This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

    by Agathena on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 01:37:51 PM PDT

  •  What caught my interest in this story... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rogneid

    ... was the passing reference to dimethylmercury.

    Does anyone know how quickly a high concentration of the stuff can take effect?

    "You have to keep your knee on [Bush's] windpipe until the danger is past." -- Garry Trudeau

    by tbetz on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 01:42:59 PM PDT

  •  Saw a terrorism expert (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rogneid, zigeunerweisen, gatorcog

    ridiculing the whole thing..he said it was very easy to just get the thing stowed away in the belly of the plane, sit up top and hit your detonator any time you feel like it.

  •  Link on Digg (0+ / 0-)

    Pre-order unConventional, the official photo documentary of YearlyKos 2006!

    by Raven Brooks on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 01:58:01 PM PDT

  •  Heh...sic MythBusters on it... (2+ / 0-)

    I was watching MythBusters blow shit up last night by building a "rocket" out of salami (yes, salami), nitrous oxide, and black powder.

    This would be PERFECT for them...

    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it -- GB Shaw

    by kmiddle on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 01:58:25 PM PDT

  •  I remember a few years ago we had to turn on (0+ / 0-)

    our laptops and cell phones for the TSA people to show they were functioning tools...I guess the theory was that noone would blow themselves up at the security checkpoint...though Iraq and Israel would indicate otherwise.

    Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 02:04:58 PM PDT

    •  not that this actually proved anything (0+ / 0-)

      Using a cell phone or a laptop to send a message to an explosive device in checked baggage is hardly rocket science, and is probably easier than doing chemical experimentation on an airliner full of extremely nervous people.

      Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 03:09:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for posting this (0+ / 0-)

      The way this is playing on the news -- it is as if common ordinary over the counter drugs etc. could merely be placed next to each other and . .  kBOOM.

      So the idiots are playing the terror card -- and it is working with some people -- being scared to death makes some folk feel "safer".

      Could it be that this is playing to the Masochists who feel so much safer when someone is beating them up -- psychologically, of course.

  •  Actually, I told everyone this on Day 1 (3+ / 0-)

    I called it from the first bullshit reports.

    1
    2
    3
    4

    Add to it the fact that they didn't have passports, tickets, explosives experience, chemistry experience, and that even on Day 1 the best the authorities could say was that they were "nearing" an operational stage, and the whole fucking thing was a crock.

    You'd be more effective mixing bleach and ammonia on the plane.

    Now we learn that the tipoff from pakistan was obtained through torture, and that the US set of the bust prematurely (again) before a proper investigation could be done, and you have a giant fearmongering crock of crap.

    There was never, ever, any need for the fucking red alert status, or the seizure of liquids. I mean, no security need. They did have several political needs fulfilled by it.

    •  Damn, I didn't mention ... (0+ / 0-)

      Damn, I didn't mention the lack of passports, plane tickets or expolsives on the "terrorists!"

      Good call Mysticdog!

      George W. is NOT an incompetent liar, he's had waaay too much practice for that. (-2.25, -2.56)

      by EclecticFloridian on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 02:33:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i did too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe

      I happened to have an early morning flight that day & woke to MSNBC's reporting of new security regs.  As I repacked my & my kids bags I knew the whole thing was bullshit.  The first thing that popped into my head was my reading the day before about Rove's call to Leiberman promising help.

      So then I set off for the airport and who did I happen to see going into a local breakfast spot dressed in fishing gear?  Dick Cheney!  So then I knew for sure this whole terror plot was a politcal ploy. He is the most paranoid man in the administration, yet he is going fishing during a terrorism crisis?  Smells fishy to me.

      Also, from my travel experience during this time I can tell you that there was no noticable increase in security checks.  My sister made it through with multiple liquids, as did my daughter.  The whole thing was voluntary because they have no way to screen for liquids.  It was total bullshit.  I flew many times right after 9/11 and they would hand search your carry-ons at the gate.  If you had any water/drinks you had to take a sip before they would let you on the plane.  There was none of that in this last week.

  •  I still think TATP may be a red herring (0+ / 0-)

    Background: I'm an organic chemist, but not an explosives expert.

    It may be that the authorities investigating the alleged plot believed that TATP was the explosive to be used.  I have not heard officials say that this was indeed the case.  What I've seen so far is that people invoke TATP as an example of an explosive that has been used in the past and that can be made from clear colourless liquids.  

    Imagine if authorities said, "the suspect attempted to smuggle a weapon onto a plane", and the media and blogs responded with: "it would be very unlikely that you could smuggle a bazooka onto an airplane."  The authorities would be reluctant to say, "Actually, it was a boxcutter smuggled onto the food trolley" lest it give the bad guys ideas.

    TATP may not be a threat, but I think the concept (smuggling benign components onboard and preparing an agent while in flight) is.

    "Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight"--Bruce Cockburn

    by Free Radical on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 02:41:03 PM PDT

    •  Maybe this will convince you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe

      An article in Time says the following:

      Senior U.S officials have confirmed to TIME details of the plot that led the secretary to ratchet up the color-coded security alert for British-U.S. flights to an unprecedented red for "Severe." A total of 24 individuals were arrested in Britain overnight and, says one senior U.S. official who was briefed on the plot, five still remain at large. Their plan was to smuggle the peroxide-based liquid explosive TATP and detonators onto nine different planes from four carriers — British Airways, Continental, United and American — that fly direct routes between the U.K and the U.S. and blow them up mid-air. Intelligence officials estimate that about 2,700 people would have perished, according to the official.

      George W. is NOT an incompetent liar, he's had waaay too much practice for that. (-2.25, -2.56)

      by EclecticFloridian on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 03:14:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not yet (0+ / 0-)

        It's possible, don't get me wrong.  But a lot of that article is anonymous sources, and we're hearing reports that the investigation was halted early and possibly not as imminent as the Time article suggests.  I don't think we'll know the real story for a while yet.

        I should make it clear that I don't think disinformation in this case would necessarily be a bad thing, if it were occuring.  I can see how disinformation, or withholding information, could be necessary in an investigation.  In general, I approve of holding lying officials' toes to the fire, but not here.

        "Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight"--Bruce Cockburn

        by Free Radical on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 07:46:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  TATP incident in TX city........... (0+ / 0-)

    Well, thank you for explaining what happened in TX...the student cooking up the brew on the stove blew himself away and died.....here the story:

    http://scoop.epluribusmedia.org/...

    Note: in the comments is an incident in PA.....C4!

  •  comments from a chemist (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, zigeunerweisen
    Hey all.  I asked my chemist husband to comment on all of this TATP stuff.  His comments follow.  He was tempted to do some searching to check his assumptions, but understandably, a bunch of web searching on this topic, uh, doesn't seem prudent at this juncture.  

    "My initial sense is that it is highly unlikely that one could pull off the preparation by simply pouring things together. Whether the sloshed together mixture would pack enough wallop to do anything is perhaps up in the air (no horrible pun intended), but all in all I'm highly skeptical that this would really work. The military has explored "binary" chemical weapons, in which the precursors to the ultimate nasty product are mixed en route to the target (this was done, e.g., for nerve agents decades ago). I am not aware of them considering this sort of approach to more conventional things that go boom, though one might imagine they would have considered it if it had seemed practical."

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