June 29, 2007

Car Bomb (Dud) In London (Update: Jihadists Had Spree In Mind)

UPDATE III, AND BUMP TO TOP: ABC News reports that Germany has arrested two men who came from the Pakistani camp that served as Jihadi U, and believe that they have also been targeted. Also, authorities say this bears all the hallmarks of an Al-Qaeda operation:

Last year, al Qaeda operative Dhiren Barot was convicted by a British court for a plot to use limousines to carry similar bombs as those defused today to similar targets as the nightclubs allegedly targeted today.

In his own personal manual, Barot described how the cylinders, "if carefully orchestrated can be as powerful as exploding TNT," and "are easily available to the general public," designed for a "synchronized, concurrent (back-to-back) execution on the same day and time." Videos posted on al Qaeda Web sites also show in full detail how to rig propane and butane cylinders as powerful bombs.

And today's explosive devices -- composed of five or six propane and butane cylinders as well as 33 gallons of gasoline, all rigged to detonate with calls to two cell phones -- followed Barot's manual and the al Qaeda videos closely. Officials say the cell phones failed to initiate the explosions, even after each phone had been called twice, preventing a shrapnel-filled fireball from launching and killing people in the surrounding area.

Hmm. Looking more serious all the time, isn't it?

UPDATE II: It looks like London narrowly averted two bombings, perhaps more, as London police found a second rigged vehicle. The cell-phone detonaters failed despite multiple attempts to blow up the bombs:

Police in London's bustling nightclub and theater district on Friday defused a car bomb that could have killed hundreds after an ambulance crew spotted smoke coming from a Mercedes filled with a lethal mix of gasoline, propane and nails. Hours later, police confirmed a second explosives-rigged car was found nearby.

The first car bomb, found near Piccadilly Circus, was powerful enough to have caused "significant injury or loss of life" at a time when hundreds were in the area, British anti-terror police chief Peter Clarke said.

Clarke said Friday evening that the second car — another Mercedes — was originally parked illegally on nearby Cockspur Street, but had been towed from the West End to an impound lot near Hyde Park.

"The vehicle was found to contain very similar materials to those that had been found in the first car," he said. "There was a considerable amount of fuel and gas canisters. As in the first vehicle, there was also a quantity of nails. This like the first device was potentially viable."

And it looks like the Islamist terrorists had celebrated a little too early, according to CBS:

Hours before London explosives technicians dismantled a large car bomb in the heart of the British capital's tourist-rich theater district, a message appeared on one of the most widely used jihadist Internet forums, saying: "Today I say: Rejoice, by Allah, London shall be bombed."

CBS News found the posting, which went on for nearly 300 words, on the "al Hesbah" chat room. It was left by a person who goes by the name abu Osama al-Hazeen, who appears regularly on the forum. The comment was posted on the forum, according to time stamp, at 08:09 a.m. British time on June 28 -- about 17 hours before the bomb was found early on June 29.

Al Hesbah is frequently used by international Sunni militant groups, including al Qaeda and the Taliban, to post propaganda videos and messages in their fight against the West.

The police already know who they seek in the first incident. Security cameras -- London is full of them -- got a clear picture of the man who left the first Mercedes, and it's someone they know well. In fact, he's been arrested before for suspicious activity but released for a lack of evidence (via Hot Air):

British police have a “crystal clear” picture of the man who drove the bomb-rigged silver Mercedes outside a London nightclub, and officials tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com he bears “a close resemblance” to a man arrested by police in connection with another bomb plot but released for lack of evidence.

Officials say the suspect had been taken into custody in connection with the case of al Qaeda operative Dhiren Barot, who was convicted of orchestrating a vehicle bomb plot involving targets in London, New York, Newark, N.J. and Washington, D.C.

NBC reports that the British authorities now seek three men from Birmingham in connection to the day's events, which indicates a conspiracy for this attack. Both US and British intelligence have concluded that this is a plot by organized radical Islamists, who didn't know enough to get the air/fuel mixture correct in constructing the bombs. They won't repeat that mistake, I'm certain.

Bonus question: how long before we start hearing that this is the work of incompetents and that the media is blowing the story out of proportion?


Original post follows:

Police discovered that a car that left outside a London nightclub had been intended as a car bomb -- one that failed to detonate, fortunately. While authorities attempt to find the person or people responsible, the proximity to the anniversary of the July 7 bombing attacks two years ago seems more than just a coincidence:

A car bomb left in London's West End would have caused "significant injury or loss of life" if it had not been defused by police.

The explosive device, consisting of gas cyclinders and nails, was discovered at 2am outside a packed nightclub in The Haymarket, near Piccadilly Circus. ...

One witness said that door staff at the nightclub Tiger, Tiger alerted police after the car was driven into bins last night and the driver ran off.

The witness said the large silver saloon car was being driven "erratically" before the minor crash. The driver was not stopped.

So far, the size of the device is under dispute. Jack Straw, the new Justice Secretary in the Gordon Browne government, called it "big" in an interview today. The Telegraph reports from its police sources that the device actually was small -- but with the nails and the shrapnel the car would have created, it could have been very deadly regardless.

For now, details will be sketchy. Londoners, though, will wonder what comes next for a city that has always embraced multiculturalism.

UPDATE: Was this a graduation requirement from Jihadi U? ABC News reports on an interesting, but necessarily compelling, correlation:

The discovery of a massive car bomb set to detonate in central London comes just three weeks after what was described as an al Qaeda graduation ceremony of suicide bomb teams to be dispatched to Europe and the United States. ...

On the tape, the leader of the British team speaks of the mission in broken English, "Let me say something about why we are going along with my team to tell a suicide attack in Britain."

That was just 20 days ago, and the existence of the tape first reported by ABC News put British and German security experts on edge.

It's interesting and provocative, but as a theory it has at least one major flaw -- no suicide. The driver of the car ran off, which makes this look like either a bad bomb design, a failure of will, or most likely a remote-detonation scheme that failed. Either that, or grade inflation has struck Jihadi U.


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Comments (67)

Posted by TomB | June 29, 2007 7:46 AM

It looks like Internet manuals can't really replace real, hands - on bomb training in Iran, or Pakistan, or wherever. But the real problem is that regular policing, used on thieves and burglars doesn't seem to work against fanatics submerged in friendly and approving segment of the society.

Posted by The Opinionator | June 29, 2007 7:52 AM

Well, as long as it was only a "small" device....Geez, every time something like this happens, we get the media and the lefties trying to minimize it as if it was no big deal. They did the same thing with the Fort Dix Six. Small, large, whatever. It was still an attempted terror attack. I wonder what it will take for the media to realize this is global jihad and they are targets as well?

Posted by ralph127 | June 29, 2007 7:52 AM

I have a friend who flies frequently and is contemptuous of the inanities of airport security. One day, after listening to his riff, I made what I think is a valid suggestion, instead of banning shampoo why don’t we ban Muslims from boarding our airliners. He nearly bit my head off shouting ‘you can’t do that’.

It would be more accurate to say that we as a people do not have the will to ban Muslims from boarding our airliners. Point defense is a placebo at best, not least because there are an infinite number of points to defend. We must deal with the pathogen of the terror that engulfs us. The pathogen of the terror is Islam. A people so rotted from within by political correctness that we lack the courage to name the enemy cannot survive much less remain free.

How would you respond to these questions? How would your friends respond?

1) Six years after 9/11 how many Muslims with a valid British passport enter America daily?

2) Six years after 9/11 how many Muslims without a valid British passport cross the Rio Grande daily?

3) What is the difference between the Islam of the Muslims of 9/11 and 7/7 and the Islam of their prophet Mohammad?

When I posses these questions to my friends I am at best dismissed as a bigot, to which I reply it is the god of their prophet Mohammad who damns me for being an

Six years after 9/11 why do we permit Muslims to enter our country?

Six years after 9/11 why do we permit Muslims to remain in our country?

What city do you think good Muslims will nuke first?

Posted by MarkD | June 29, 2007 7:55 AM

Multiculteralism is a miserable failure. The British need to wake up to the fact that they have allowed a ssubversive minority in their midst who have no intention of joining their society.

Posted by Tom Shipley | June 29, 2007 8:06 AM

First off Ralph,

Islam is not our enemy. A sect within Islam is and there are millions of people of the Islam faith that are not the enemy of the United States.

Secondly, why don't we bar Muslims from entering the US? Because we are a nation that welcomes everyone (who enters legally). We pride ourselves on that fact (the whole melting pot, huddled masses thing...).

Are you seriously going to let 19 people change that fact? Terrorism is meant to spread fear. And if 19 people can make America so afraid that we alter the fabric of who we are by banning an entire religion from entering our country, then they certainly succeeded in their mission.

Multiculteralism is a miserable failure.

The the United States is a miserable failure.

Posted by Tom Shipley | June 29, 2007 8:19 AM


Both telegraph stories you post use the same quote about the size of the device:

"A police source said: "The indications that we have got so far are that it was certainly a big device."

And Opinionator, even if they had quoted a police source as saying it was a small device, they're still quoted a police source. They aren't trying to downplay anything... just reporting. You can give your media bias crutch a rest for a while.

Posted by TomB | June 29, 2007 8:38 AM

Tom Shipley,
If police source says "...big device." and report about it says, that it was actually small, it is a definition of downplaying for ordinary people.

Posted by Pitiricus | June 29, 2007 8:45 AM

Multiculturalism has worked for all except Muslims... Maybe it is something within Islam and its teachings but this makes Muslims lethal to modernity. The solution would be to stop Muslim immigartion and expell the illegals...

Posted by bulbasaur | June 29, 2007 9:07 AM

Wouldn't you think that if terrorists were just angry at Bush/Blair hegemony or war for oil or whatever you nuts believe, that terrorism would have stopped in England with the removal of Tony Blair?

Listen up libs: appeasement will get you killed.

Posted by Paul Carlisle | June 29, 2007 9:10 AM

I disagree that there is any connection the July bombings of a couple years ago. It seems obvious to me that the timing is coupled to the transition of Prime Ministers, and the intended message is, "We are here for the long haul, and will span your elections, governments and plans to stop us."

AQ and related groups have never shown any particular interest in anniversaries, either.

Posted by jay k. | June 29, 2007 9:25 AM

i wonder how londoners feel about the "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here" strategy this morning. but they need not worry...thanks to george bush soon democracy will spread like wild flowers thru the middle east.

Posted by Immolate | June 29, 2007 9:31 AM

Tom... agreed. We cannot assume that all Muslims are the enemy just because one, or some, or even a majority are. The majority of white American adults support abortion rights. But if I were to be shot by a fanatical abortion protestor because I'm a white American, it would not only be wrong, it would be ironically wrong.

But common sense still applies. If a dog in the neighborhood is running around at night overturning garbage cans and terrorizing cats, we don't go out and kill all the dogs in the neighborhood. But we also don't go out and investigate every third cat, hampster and goldfish to make sure that dogs don't get their feelings hurt.

Being Muslim is not and should not be an indictment against a person. But being a member of a group that has members who represent a terrible danger to the rest of society does, and should, cause inconvenience. This is not because the innocent should be punished for the deeds of the guilty. This is because our security resources are limited and must respond to threats realistically.

Posted by Tom Shipley | June 29, 2007 9:34 AM

But a Westminster source said the device was believed to be relatively small and made of some type of home-made explosive.

I did miss this sentence. So they quote two police sources saying it was both large and small. It's still not downplaying, they're simply reporting what two sources said. If you read the entire article, I find it hard to believe that any rational person would think the telegraph was trying to downplay this event.

Posted by boojum | June 29, 2007 9:39 AM

This was most probably a failed suicide bombing. Attention was first drawn to the vehicle by witnesses who saw the Mercedes run into some nearby structure and the driver run away. Some ambulance drivers who had been inside a nearby club then noticed something like smoke (volatile gas fumes) inside the car and called authorities.

Posted by boojum | June 29, 2007 9:41 AM

This was most probably a failed suicide bombing. Attention was first drawn to the vehicle by witnesses who saw the Mercedes run into some nearby structure and the driver run away. Some ambulance drivers who had been inside a nearby club then noticed something like smoke (volatile gas fumes) inside the car and called authorities.

Posted by jay k. | June 29, 2007 9:46 AM

immolate...i'm sorry but that's a totally bogus analogy. cat's and dogs and hampsters are entirely different species. you are suggesting that because a chocolate lab knocked over your garbage can we need to harass every chocolate lab because yellow labs wouldn't think of knocking over your garbage can. thinking like this is why people of color are profiled on the jersey turnpike. timothy mcveigh commited an act of terror. ted kocinski commited acts of terror. living in a free country comes with risks and isn't easy. but freedom means that everyone is free.

Posted by daytrader | June 29, 2007 9:49 AM

It was also the first day for PM Brown.

Maybe trying to pull a Spain type attack to influence withdrawal from Iraq.

Posted by Lightwave | June 29, 2007 9:52 AM

The obvious question is "What does newly-minted PM Gordon Browne plan to do about it?" This is a perfect opportunity for Browne to set the tone for a new direction for London by addressing the obvious flaws in the Brit's multi-culty policy mishmash.

The good news was that this was stopped. It would be better news if the Brits took much more strict action to deal with their Londinistan problem. I'm kinda of betting on the fact this wasn't an IRA car bomb.

Welcome to your new job, Gordon.

Posted by TomB | June 29, 2007 9:56 AM

Erratic driving before could suggest driver was not familiar with crowded streets and maybe driving on the left side of the road (graduation theory). Escaping after a small crash (rather than calmly recover and kill) could suggest homemade and lousy copy-cat attempt of a car bombing (looks so easy on evning news from Bagdad, doesn't it). Also many suicide drivers are actually locked IN the car and can't escape, or be removed without exploding.
In any case an unexploded car will be a bonanza for the police experts.

Posted by ralph127 | June 29, 2007 10:00 AM

Please name for me any Muslim cleric who condemned his fellow Muslims calling for the death of Tony Blair after the knighting of Salman Rushdie, and did so publicly, unconditionally and in terms of Islamic theology.

Ditto the forced conversion of the two Fox News reporters ,Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig, in Gaza last year.

I have posted below for Tom an excerpt from Timothy Furnish’s “Beheading in the Name of Islam”. I posted this once before and ask again, please provide the names of Muslim clerics in America who repudiate the points made by Mr. Furnish. On what bases do they abrogate the verse of the Koran he sites? How can Muslims say that Islam forbids terror when the founder of their religion order his captive enemies beheaded?

I have been looking for Muslim religious leaders who will condemn the ever increasing evil done in the name of the god of their prophet Mohammad for over 20 years. I have found none.

Unless and until the Muslims that live amongst establish and promulgate an Islam different from the fanatical, political Islam that deluges us with terror, and do so publicly, unconditionally and in terms of Islamic theology, then all Muslims in America must be dealt with as potential enemies. Since 19 good Muslims slaughtered 3000 Americans for the greater glory of the god of their prophet Mohammad on 9/11 can we base our safety on the meaningless platitudes that most Muslims in America are just working hard to improve the lot of their families?

What city do you think good Muslims will nuke first?


Decapitation in Islamic Theology
Groups such as Abu Mus‘ab al-Zarqawi's Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad (Unity and Jihad) and Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Hasan bin Mahmud's Ansar al-Sunna (Defenders of [Prophetic] Tradition)[10] justify the decapitation of prisoners with Qur'anic scripture. Sura (chapter) 47 contains the ayah (verse): "When you encounter the unbelievers on the battlefield, strike off their heads until you have crushed them completely; then bind the prisoners tightly."[11] The Qur'anic Arabic terms are generally straightforward: kafaru means "those who blaspheme/are irreligious," although Darb ar-riqab is less clear. Darb can mean "striking or hitting" while ar-riqab translates to "necks, slaves, persons." With little variation, scholars have translated the verse as, "When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks."[12]

For centuries, leading Islamic scholars have interpreted this verse literally. The famous Iranian historian and Qur'an commentator Muhammad b. Jarir at-Tabari (d. 923 C.E.) wrote that "striking at the necks" is simply God's sanction of ferocious opposition to non-Muslims.[13] Mahmud b. Umar az-Zamakhshari (d. 1143 C.E.), in a major commentary studied for centuries by Sunni religious scholars, suggested that any prescription to "strike at the necks" commands to avoid striking elsewhere so as to confirm death and not simply wound.[14]

Many recent interpretations remain consistent with those of a millennium ago. In his Saudi-distributed translation of the Qur'an, ‘Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali (d. 1953) wrote that the injunction to "smite at their necks," should be taken both literally and figuratively. "You cannot wage war with kid gloves," Yusuf ‘Ali argued.[15] Muhammad Muhammad Khatib, in a modern Sunni commentary bearing the imprimatur of Al-Azhar university in Cairo, says that while traditionalist Muslims tend to see this passage as only applying to the Prophet's time, Shi‘ites "think it is a universal precept."[16] Ironically, then in this view, Zarqawi has adopted the exegesis of his religious nemeses. Perhaps the most influential modern recapitulation of this passage was provided by the influential Pakistani scholar and leading Islamist thinker S. Abul A' la Mawdudi (d. 1979), who argued that the sura provided the first Qur'anic prescriptions on the laws of war. Mawdudi argued

Under no circumstances should the Muslim lose sight of this aim and start taking the enemy soldiers as captives. Captives should be taken after the enemy has been completely crushed.[17]

Beheading in the Name of Islam
by Timothy R. Furnish
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2005

Posted by Tom Shipley | June 29, 2007 10:02 AM

But common sense still applies.

I don't think Muslims should be treated any differently than anyone else at security checks, etc... in terms of policy.

Obviously, they are going to be under closer scrutiny than say the Little Old Lady from Pasadena. A suspicious Muslim-looking man is going to draw more attention than other people. It's human nature. To continue the dog analogy, if some one is bitten by a dog when they're young, they're going to have some built-in trepidation of dogs in the future.

If 19 Muslims hijack 3 airplanes and crash them into buildings, Americans are going to be wary of Muslim men when flying. It's just human nature. Sucks for Muslim men and I think people need to realize that the Muslim man you're sitting next to on a plane is 99.9% certain not to harm you. We just need to stay vigilant, keep tight security and go on with our lives.

Posted by TomB | June 29, 2007 10:09 AM

Tom Shipley,
After getting a CONFLICTING opinions, any real reporter would run and check what the meaning of "relatively small" is (like: small in comparison to a dumpster truck bomb). Unless he is looking for any excuse to downplay the event.

Posted by Tom Shipley | June 29, 2007 10:20 AM

After getting a CONFLICTING opinions, any real reporter would run and check what the meaning of "relatively small" is (like: small in comparison to a dumpster truck bomb). Unless he is looking for any excuse to downplay the event.

No, any real reporter on deadline covering a developing story is going put both accounts in, especially when the second account also adds that they believe it was a homemade device.

I just find it unfathomable that you're saying that line (near the end of the article AFTER a direct police quote saying it was a large device) is proof the writer of this article is trying to downplay this event when the headline and opening 'graph reads:

Car bomb would have caused 'carnage'
A car bomb left in London's West End would have caused "significant injury or loss of life" if it had not been defused by police.

Posted by Dan Hamilton [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 29, 2007 10:55 AM

"Obviously, they are going to be under closer scrutiny than say the Little Old Lady from Pasadena. A suspicious Muslim-looking man is going to draw more attention than other people. It's human nature. "

It maybe human nature but it is against policy and the TSA people could be fired for doing it. That is why you see "little old ladies" and even children being searched and "suspicious Muslim-looking men" being passed right on through. PC means they must go out of their way to PROVE they are not singleing out Muslims. The TSA people are more worried about being Fired or sued because of PC then anything else.

The stuff we go through to get on planes is BS. It may stop the terminally dumb but does nothing else but make people THINK something is being done. The appearance of doing something not actually doing something.

Posted by legaleagle | June 29, 2007 10:55 AM

Here's a good bet about who is may have been; the filthy terrorist who was discovered with a bomb in his car at Jerry Fallwel's funeral at good old Liberty U! Of course, we can't be sure, because the media naturally downplayed the danger posed by this loathsome rightwing Christian murderer.

Posted by legaleagle | June 29, 2007 10:58 AM

Here's a good bet about who is may have been; the filthy terrorist who was discovered with a bomb in his car at Jerry Fallwel's funeral at good old Liberty U! Of course, we can't be sure, because the media naturally downplayed the danger posed by this loathsome rightwing Christian murderer.

Posted by Jim C | June 29, 2007 11:14 AM


Your comment that America is a failure is a perfect example of what's wrong with the left today. It's not Islam's fault, it's America's fault.

If you don't like the country, then get the h**l out!

Jim C

Posted by Jim C | June 29, 2007 11:26 AM


To not profile is simply stupid. Why on earth would you waste your limited resources harrasing an 80 year old white woman with the last name of Smith when most terror attacks are comitted by 18-40 year old males with the last name of Mohammed? If muslims in this country don't want the inconvenience of being investigated, wanded, and searched when they fly, then maybe the "peaceful" muslims should do more to turn in the Jihadis in their midst. Maybe the "peaceful" muslims should do more to convince their Imams to tone down the jihadi rhetoric preached in mosques every week in this country. Maybe the "peaceful" muslims should do more to condemn jihad instead of making excuses for those who would commit jihad... Just a thought.

Jim C

Posted by syn | June 29, 2007 11:28 AM

Tom Shipley

For the sake of showing tolerance, enlightenment and diversity Bloomberg's policy was to profile little old ladies on the subway with much more scrutiny than 'suspicious muslim-looking' men.

And of course to further display enlightened tolerant diversity, Bloomberg is actively funding an Ismaic madrassa in Brooklyn lest he appear a racist, bigoted Islamophobe

Posted by Tom Shipley | June 29, 2007 11:29 AM

Well, Jim, I personally don't think America is a failure. I was responding to a poster who said multi-culturalism is a failure.

My post was intended to point out that if multi-culturalism is a failure, then America is a failure as it was founded as a country that would be open to anyone, no matter their race or cultural background.

I assume posters on here have a reading comprehension above the 2nd-grade level, so I apologize. I'll try to "dumb it down" for your sake in the future.

Posted by Jim C | June 29, 2007 11:42 AM


That was just simply uncalled for. That man that showed up at Fallwell's funeral was sick in the head, and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. But, to lump all Christians in with him when you have no justification for doing do is wrong.

By the way, for those of you who say that's what we're advocating when we ask for profiling at the airport; notice that I said "when you have no justification for doing so". In the case of muslims, we have plenty of justification for doing so: 9-11, 7-7, spain, Khobar towers, the embassy bombings, the first WTC bombing, the Locharbe Scottland bombing, Richard Reid and his shoe bombs... need I go on? But, there simply is no justification for lumping Christians in with this one man.

Jim C

Posted by PersonFromPorlock | June 29, 2007 12:10 PM

Tom Shipley:

America hasn't really been multicultural: it's been a place where new arrivals adopted the prevailing American culture, sometimes against a lot of resistance, but also changed it so it's a different American culture for all of us -- but still a single culture.

Posted by Tom Shipley | June 29, 2007 12:21 PM

Well, maybe I get this more than most since I live in a big city, but many immigrants keep their cultural heritage after they move to America.

We're one country, but within that country we have very strong immigrant groups who keep their heritage alive. In some way, our culture is the fact that we have many cultures.

Posted by TomB | June 29, 2007 12:25 PM

Jim C,
There is a frightening (and not publicized by our MSM darlings) estimate of 150,000 Muslims in UK alone, who passively support Jihad and terrorism and wouldn't let the authorities know of any incoming attack. This alone is a good reason to look at the Muslim community with high suspicion and justify profiling, until THEY can convince us, where is their loyalty. Admittedly, it is a long path, not to mention no more dancing in the streets for the wrong reasons…

Posted by Tom Shipley | June 29, 2007 12:26 PM

Just look at Boston, a strong Irish heritage. Chicago, a strong polish heritage (among many other), Minnesota has a strong Norwegian heritage, Miami and South Florida has strong Latin American roots. In northern Wisconsin and Minnesota, as I'm sure Cap'n Ed is aware, there's a sizable Hmong community.

That's off the top of my head. You look anywhere and you'll find pockets of immigrant groups around the country who keep their homeland's culture alive in the US.

Posted by jay k. | June 29, 2007 12:31 PM

jim c...
i understand that many on the right see the concepts of freedom and equality as "stupid" and bigotry as justified. that's the beauty of this country...you are free to feel that way. it doesn't make it right.

Posted by Realist | June 29, 2007 12:50 PM

Islam is a religion of peace.

Don't you believe El Presidente Compasivo, you racist bigots?

Viva El Presidente Jorge bin Jorge al-Bush!

Allahu akbar!

Posted by Chris M | June 29, 2007 12:58 PM

I'm a little bothered to see this Incendiary Device repeatedly described as a "bomb". The nails that were found would have just sat there in the fire, and gotten rusty. There would be no shrapnel, because there would be no detonation. Gasoline and Propane tanks don't make a real bomb. The propane tanks might have made a bit of a pop, but mostly it would just be a big car fire, like Paris sees every night. No store windows would have been shattered, or pedestrians showered with shrapnel. I'm not an Islamic apologist, but to describe this as a bomb is inaccurate. Whoever created it was obviously going for shock value, not actual destruction. The real terrorists use real detonating explosives, not gasoline and propane.

Chris M

Posted by Lew | June 29, 2007 1:10 PM

I've always thought that the real question about multiculturism is whether or not there is such a thing as "American" culture. In other words, is American culture simply the accumulation of all the cultures of all the peoples who came here and were here to begin with, or has our experience added something more. Is America more than the sum of its parts?

Most conservatives strongly believe that it is indeed more, although most probably wouldn't say it exactly that way. And furthermore, if it is more than the mere sum of its parts, then those who come here must have done so for at least partially that reason. They therefore, I think bear some obligation to adapt themselves to the culture that drew them, and not the other way around. After all, I can't imagine anyone going to all the trauma of uprooting themselves from the homeplace of their ancestry and coming to some strange other country for the purpose of staying at home. Of course, anyone has the right to bring whatever elements they like along for the ride, but similarly America has no obligation to turn itself inside out to accomodate it. Unless of course, America really doesn't have a culture.

I think that's the difference between the "melting pot" and the "salad bowl". Everything entered into the melting pot changes because of the heat applied, whereas the salad bowl simply sits there in all its colorful diversity, each ingredient remaining separate and distinct, until it eventually just rots.

Posted by TomB | June 29, 2007 1:19 PM

Chris M,
I don't know how well you follow the news, but the propane tanks are being routinely used to make bombs. Inside is filled with a mix of explosive and nails (it is a long process, so you can pray at the same time) and the detonator is placed inside, or nearby. A lot of gasoline around helps the effect... As Seventh of Nine would say: crude but effective.
We still don't know, if this was the case in London though. Also the reported smoke in the car which attracted attention was there to attract attention, so maybe there was a conspiracy by CIA, or maybe reports about the smoke were false. Our brave journalists don’t help us here either, it is almost 24 hours later and we still don’t even have a rough sketch, or at least a list of main known facts.

Posted by Tom Shipley | June 29, 2007 1:46 PM

Our brave journalists don’t help us here either, it is almost 24 hours later and we still don’t even have a rough sketch, or at least a list of main known facts.

Sketches are provided by the po-lice. And " a list of main known facts"? You might want to think about sitting the next couple minutes out.

Posted by Chris M | June 29, 2007 1:49 PM

Tom B,

You are right, that we don't have all the facts in this case yet. If they find high explosive inside the Propane tanks, then I will stand corrected. I must admit I've never heard of Propane tanks being used this way. The tanks wouldn't add anything to the explosion, so why would they bother? I still think this looks like more of a political message than a real bomb.

Posted by TomB | June 29, 2007 1:51 PM

Very well said. In fact many (most?) immigrants don’t want to be put into the “salad bowl”, and are against all the multicultural mumbo jumbo, if we only would listen. But quite often we simply force them to dance their ethnic dances, or to bring their ethnic foods. We keep asking them “where are you from?” and provide them with their own imams and keep their children in separate language schools, creating and keeping them in ethnic ghettos, all mostly for our own paternalistic gain and entertainment (“I love Chinese food”).

Posted by Tom Shipley | June 29, 2007 1:57 PM

I've always thought that the real question about multiculturalism is whether or not there is such a thing as "American" culture.

To me, American culture revolves around the ideas of freedom and opportunity and the symbols of those things.

White picket fence is the embodiment of success made possible by the opportunity here.

Things like hot dogs, coca-cola, skyscrapers, McDonald's, Cadillacs are byproducts of the open-market that fuels the country.

Elvis is perhaps the best icon for American culture. His music was born out of two very different Southern cultures, his initial success is a very "American" story (truck drivers turns into the most famous person in America practically overnight) and his downfall was brought about by the excess that many see has a negative of American culture.

Posted by TomB | June 29, 2007 2:10 PM

Chris M
After sitting out for a few minutes, as Tom Shipley above gallantly advised me, I may try to answer your question. Propane tank (container of choice for terrorists) is a kind of a big pipe bomb. The metal shell keeps ingredients together and dry and during the first phase of explosion keeps the pressure buildup, which accelerates the process.
Other important think is, that propane tank is a common, inconspicuous thing, driven around by many people, so the bomb is easy to conceal.

Posted by Lew | June 29, 2007 2:52 PM

To me, American culture is much more than how we amuse ourselves. I think its more like an ill-defined but infinitely potent search for liberty and all of the desperate yearnings and sacrifices and the dazzling successes and heartbreaking failures along the way. American culture is all about trying and failing and having the courage to get up and try again. We are, for better or worse, westerners striving to be worthy of the ideals and the terrible sacrifices of those who got us here. Trying with all we have to prove to a cynical world that ordinary human beings don't need to be governed, but that we can govern ourselves.

In our earliest beginnings, the people who came before us committed us to a set goals that we wrestle desperately with yet today. The icons of our popular culture exemplify either our success or failure in that pursuit and show us in pride or shame for all to see against that background. If we have any inherent virtue at all, it resides not in our selves but in our aspirations and in the determination with which we pursue them. We are equally capable of producing a Bull Connor or a Paris Hilton or a George Gershwin or a Martin Luther King or an Elvis Presley.

American culture is unique in several ways, but two of them are most important; we are the only country based on an idea rather than a race or territory, and we are not so much a place as we are a journey. If you could imagine "The United States" as the gritty reality, and "America" the aspiration we have for ourselves, our culture is all about our halting and imperfect quest to get from one to the other.

I think that's why so many of us like to play golf so much. There is nothing so rapturously seductive as a perfectly struck 7-iron approach shot, and we all know that the quest to achieve it lies over the obstacle course of our own weaknesses and foibles.

Posted by bulbasaur | June 29, 2007 3:30 PM

Well, ladies, the facts were bound to catch up with you. From London police:

1. The clear picture in the video tape the terrorist is an islamist radical who was already familiar to the police.

2. The second car is confirmed to have been a bomb, and confirmed to be linked to the first bomb.

3. The bomb plot was announced last night in a radical islamist chat room.

Democrat party: "there is no terrorist threat."

Posted by PersonFromPorlock | June 29, 2007 4:23 PM

Tom Shipley:

...Minnesota has a strong Norwegian heritage....

True. In fact (IIRC), a hundred years ago more words were published in Norwegian in Minnesota than in Norway. But that's not true today and that's the difference between multiculturalism and the melting pot. All that remains is a penchant for cooking with dill and cardamom, and lutefisk jokes.

Posted by Mark F. | June 29, 2007 5:14 PM

Chris M, New York City has prohibited propane tanks of the size used for campers in their tunnels for a long time, before the terror threat. This is not because they are afraid of small pops. There is the potential for major damage. Once you realize that a vehicle full of gasoline and propane tanks would be more than a nice fire to roast marshmallows around, then the large quantities of nails become something more than an inert mass left behind in a smoldering car.

Tom Shipley, I'm one of those Minnesota Norwegians. I grew up speaking English and had to learn the Norwegian language later. I have no desire to blow up Swedes or Danes for their past rule/oppression of Norway. I don't even want to blow up Germans for what happened to Norway during WWII (even to some of my relatives there). I'm proud of my heritage and active in associations celebrating it. But I am primarily an American. The same cannot truly be said of a great many Muslim Americans. We can try harder to bridge gaps, but I fear we are facing insurmountable difficulties with this group.

Posted by Mark F. | June 29, 2007 5:40 PM

PersonFromPorlock, my favorite description of lutefisk is: "the piece of cod, which passeth all understanding."

Chris M, my mechanic buddy will donate one of his depleted parts cars and we will try to duplicate the gas can/propane tank/nail set-up of those two cars in London. You can prove that we are idiots by sitting alongside it making s'mores while it burns. Bring along others who agree with you. They will love the opportunity to have experimental evidence to prove the "bombs" could never harm anyone. My buddy and I will be on the other side of a hill, waiting until all the flames have died out before we come back to you and admit how stupid we were.

Posted by Chris M | June 29, 2007 6:10 PM

OK, so the resulting fire would still be a nasty thing. People nearby could be fatally burned, and buildings could be set on fire. This incendiary device is obviously an attempt at terrorism. I think it is a relatively pathetic attempt. It tells me that they didn't have access to real explosives. They're so desperate that they had to use Propane and Gasoline. The subway bombers used actual detonating explosives, so maybe this is a good sign for the British.

Posted by bcismar | June 29, 2007 6:12 PM

It's interesting and provocative, but as a theory it has at least one major flaw -- no suicide. The driver of the car ran off, which makes this look like either a bad bomb design, a failure of will, or most likely a remote-detonation scheme that failed. Either that, or grade inflation has struck Jihadi U.

Personally, I would guess that the driver was overcome by a lack of oxygen in the vehicle and became disoriented.

Posted by Mark F. | June 29, 2007 6:49 PM

Chris M, I think you missed the last update. Propane tanks can make a heck of a blast, with lots of shrapnel. We are not talking about a big bonfire here. Pay attention. Or are you just afraid of admitting error? Just try throwing one of the tiny propane cylinders used for small torches and lanterns in a fire and see what happens. Just be a long distance from it when it goes. The shrapnel from that can be deadly. Call the tunnel authorities in NYC and they can confirm the explosive hazard of propane tanks, which is the main reason the tanks are banned from the tunnels. Don't go on ranting about "real explosives". McVeigh killed a lot of people and destroyed a building with fertilizer and fuel oil. You don't always need C-4 or gelignite or dynamite. As far as gasoline alone is concerned, the OSS manufactured a device called the Firefly during WWII, which was slipped into German staff car gas tanks and floated on top of the gasoline. When the gasket decayed and exposed the phosphorus, it was open to the vapors in the top of the tank and blew up the whole darned vehicle.

Posted by capitano | June 29, 2007 7:12 PM

One of the side benefits of capturing and killing terrorists is that it removes the "expertise" from the battlefield. Some have suggested (at least in Iraq) that even though there seems to be an unlimited supply of suicide bombers, there also seems to be fewer explosive experts. Perhaps there is a worldwide shortage because of the GWOT.

Of course if you don't believe there is a global terror threat, then there is nothing to see here. Of course, the klutzy wannabe bombers might get lucky, but if so, we can worry about it after the fact. You know, the law enforcement model for protecting the free world.

Posted by Mike | June 29, 2007 8:17 PM

Oh dear. When someone is shooting at you, it is generally unwise to to stand, exposed to his fire, and calmly critique his apparent lack of marksmanshi--to that point. Ths issue is not that those trying to kill you are not good shots, but that you are in deadly danger and had better take action before your enemy's marksmanship improves. After all, what he is doing, right up until the moment that he hits you, is practicing to hit you.

They've been shooting at us for decades. How many hits can we take?

Posted by Fight4TheRight | June 29, 2007 8:23 PM

It's time to call a spade a spade. Take your Politically Correctness and put it on John Edwards' car bumper.

Islam is simply not a religion. It is a politically motivated ideology. Some may even view it as a cult.

With that said and understood, it is easier to understand how a "religion" could call for all non believers to be hunted down and destroyed. It makes more sense, when Islam is viewed as an ideology, that it's "founder" would call for world wide submission by all non believers.

If any insist that we refer to Islam as a religion, then I propose you give the same status as Greenpeace, John Birch Society and Code Pink.

And the argument that terrorism is the product of an extreme "minority" or even "sect" of Islam is beyond ignorance. Al Qaeda follows the extreme side of Sunni, and your "peaceful" Shias of Hamas arm and train six year olds for war. 95% of the 9/11 bombers were Saudi Sunnis while dozens of innocent Israelis have been butchered by the Shias of Hezbollah.

Keep on believing it's a religion. Keep on believing it's just a "violent minority." Keep on believing it until your son or daughter is beheaded on a video.

Posted by bayam | June 29, 2007 10:50 PM

It's true that a violent minority of Muslims hate the West and perpetrate acts of violence. The majority of Muslims living in Britain in the US are peaceful and have no intention of engaging in terrorism.

However, it's also true that mainstream Muslims need to take more responsibility for the extremists in their communities- and admit that a serious problem exists that must be rooted out. When a well-known British extremist turned earlier this year and started talking about donors to the terrorist cause, the profile was a well educated, urban professional living in a city such as London. Yet no one is talking about how to deal with the financial and other forms of terrorism support that are coming from some of the elites in the Islamic community- even though their actions are just as murderous in the end as a suicide bomber's.

This is a much larger problem in the Muslim community than most people are willing to admit- not to mention try and solve.

Posted by Lightwave | June 30, 2007 9:02 AM

bayam has a very good point. Call it the Keith Ellison Principle.

The most vocally opposed and politically active group against the terrorist perversions of "Islam: the Religion of Peace" should be moderate Muslims.

There should be press conferences and protests and other public outcries against the small percentage of Muslims who are perpetrating these acts. In the US these efforts should be led by Rep Keith Ellison, America's first Muslim Congressman. I'm sure the Northern Alliance Blogs would be eager to cover an Ellison press event denouncing these horrible perversions of Islam's tenets of peace and understanding.

...Except that will never happen. Ellison remains silent on these events, just like the majority of American and British Muslims. When they do speak out, it is to chastise the rest of non-Muslim Americans or British for being "religiously intolerant" or "racists" against Muslims. Indeed, the real victims here are not the terrorized American or British populace, but the Muslims themselves.

This has been a growing problem for years now, and yet nobody seems to want to tackle this in government, or even acknowledge that it exists.

In a world where you're either "with us or against us" moderate Muslims can only sit on the fence for so long.

Posted by Fight4TheRight | June 30, 2007 10:39 AM


Typically, I agree with 90% of your postings here at CQ.

On this point though, I think you are missing the real issue. The issue is NOT that Keith Ellison isn't standing up to the violence and should be, but the real issue is that Keith Ellison is a Muslim. He bought into and lives the political ideology of it. And thus, Keith Ellison, by believing with his heart and soul, the politically motivated ideology of Islam, not only condones terrorism but SUPPORTS it.

He has to. Keith Ellison's "bible" of this cult states:

Qur'an 8:59 "The infidels should not think that they can get away from us. Prepare against them whatever arms and weaponry you can muster so that you may terrorize them. They are your enemy and Allah's enemy."

The only difference between Keith Ellison and the guy that rigged these car bombs and the 9/11 hijackers is that Keith Ellison's job is to infiltrate the U.S. Congress and take it out at a later date.

Posted by Lightwave | June 30, 2007 11:18 AM


Well, F4TR, I guess the sad part is that I'm willing to concede to your point on Ellison, based on the evidence at hand.

I pray you're not right.

Posted by mori | June 30, 2007 12:35 PM

tom s. i sincerly hope you are not involved in protecting the u.s. from islamic jihad. such a lack of concern for the people of your country is disconcerting.

Posted by Charles | June 30, 2007 1:50 PM

Perhaps F4TR's source isn't the one I use, which is available from project gutenberg for nothing. It gives three translations of the Qur'an in side-by-side format, and for 8:59 it gives:

Y: Let not the unbelievers think that they can get the better (of the godly): they will never frustrate (them).

P: And let not those who disbelieve suppose that they can outstrip (Allah's Purpose). Lo! they cannot escape.

S: And let not those who disbelieve think that they shall come in first; surely they will not escape.

(Y, P, and S stand for the translators.)

It seems there's a cottage industry that's sprung up around translating the Qur'an in the most outrageous and frightening manner -- by people from places like Virginia who are not remotely muslim.

I wonder how a rabidly anti-religious individual might translate some of the Bible?

Posted by Fight4TheRight | June 30, 2007 2:09 PM


I imagine we could debate interpretations of the Quran for days and weeks. I'm sure your quoted participants (Y, P, and S) may all come from different perspectives, perhaps may even have different "religious" persuasions.

But I will simply ask you to review the quotation I used and the ones you put forth and compare all of those to:

1. The 9/11 attacks
2. The 7/7 attacks
3. The Spain train attacks
4. The bombing of the Cole
5. The bombing of the African embassies
6. The 100+ massacre of Buddhists in Thailand
7. The Bali bombings

Of course, I've barely exposed the tip of the minaret with this list, but I'd ask the question. Does this point to a "Religion of Peace" or does it point to a political ideology intent on destroying the infidels? (Rhetorical, perhaps....valid, yes)

Posted by Fight4TheRight | June 30, 2007 2:19 PM


Forgive me, I did mean to address your question about possible "rabid" quotations of the Bible. I would say that I have seen very few Islamic interpretations of The Bible that could be deemed critical or slanted.

However, I would put forth that when you are busy strapping on suicide vests and blowing yourself up in a market of innocent Jews or you are slitting the throat of an American Airlines pilot before killing 3,000 innocent Americans, an interpretation of the Bible just doesn't fit into the time frame of jihad.

Besides, after seeing the "Religion of Peace" representatives of Hamas leveling and burning Christian churches in Gaza, as well as burning crosses inside of those churches, perhaps the written word and an interpretation of The Bible are seen as, let's say, ....ineffective.

Posted by Charles | June 30, 2007 3:10 PM


I agree, it is more important to judge people by what they do than what they say. I do not disagree with the assertion that there are factions of Islam whose aims and methods are contemptible, violent and dangerous.

The real question is: of the billion muslims, how many people are dangerously violent and who supports them for various reasons, and how can they be neutralized? Seems the British did OK, whether by luck or good police work, for which we can all be grateful.

It would be a bad idea to try and oppress all muslims -- we'll just make more enemies (aside from the inhumanity of making the innocent suffer along with the guilty.)

There is a faction of Christianity in Africa which has been using child soldiers and terrorism for decades. And of course, there's Northern Ireland. These are recent or current, but if you look a little farther back, it would appear that the Bible was interpreted rather "liberally" by quite a few people.

Please note that Northern Ireland didn't get better by continuing to oppress its Catholics.

Posted by Fight4TheRight | June 30, 2007 3:47 PM


Thanks for the well-worded response. You do make valid points but I have to simply say, that in my view, this is comparing apples and rotten oranges. I will not view any correlation between a rift between Northern Ireland's Catholics and Protestants and the political ideology of Islam. Catholicism/Christianity is a religion. Islam is not.

The issue is not about violence, Charles. The issue is about the spread of an ideology that does not allow variance. A Muslim can live in a country such as the U.S., a Christian cannot live in a Sharia-run islamic state.

Catholicism does not call for the submission of the world's Buddhists, Taoists, Hindus or for that sake, Missouri Synod Lutherans.

Islam, being a politically motivated ideology, demands strict adherence to it by all and if the "infidels" will not submit, they will be destroyed or taken over. With that said, my belief is that a true Muslim, whether he be viewed as moderate, secular, Sunni, Wahhabi, Shia, extreme or any other tag line, that true Muslim must follow the teachings of world submission and the eventuality of a World governed under Sharia.

My final point. It is my contention that the countries of Great Britain, France, Sweden, United States have not drawn Muslims to their lands because those lands offer "freedom" or a "better way of life." Or that those Muslims moved there to escape anything in their own lands. Those lands were chosen for a distinct, ideological reason.

Some of us believe we are called to be fishers of men, Some of us beleve they were called to be enslavers of men.

Posted by Charles | June 30, 2007 4:22 PM


And thank you for your reasonable replies. Even if we do not agree, we can still agree to try and be civil.

For centuries Christians and Jews have lived in Islamic lands. The Copts in Egypt, the Maronites in Lebanon, Christians lived in Iraq even under Hussein, Christians and Jews live to this day in Iran.

So it isn't impossible. The spread of virulent Wahabi teaching, fueled by money from oil from a certain middle-eastern kingdom, has been a terrible influence, but such rigid ideologies don't generally last (and this one is due for its own reformation.)

Fundamental Christianity calls for a vast war and catastrophe, following which all the nonbelievers will be cast into the pit. Lots of these people think now is the time.

When looking for human motivations for immigration, it is not necessary to look beyond the desires of everyone to live in freedom (many of the world's most repressive regimes are muslim today) and economic opportunity. I appeal to Occam's razor in evaluating these reasons, and it says a vast muslim conspiracy to convert the West is unnecessary to explain the flood of immigrants.

It is our fortune (and misfortune) to live in one of the best places on Earth politically, economically, and socially. If we wish to avoid being ruled by a new majority of muslims, we could always let in all the Mexicans and be ruled by the Catholics. Or we could vastly increase immigration from India and make the country hindu. If it was up to me, I'd prefer buddhists. Buddhist extremists are the gentlest kind of extremists.

If we build a wall and hide behind it, we'll go into an economic downturn that won't be pleasant either. Perhaps the solution is to let everybody in (but not all at once) so long as they swear on all the holy books to abide by an absolute separation of religion and state, and to protect the constitutional protections we have enjoyed in this country. We might point out to them that it doesn't make any more sense for them to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs than it does for us to do so.