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 Increased security at British airports
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NaProus
Permanent Resident

1828 Posts

Posted - 08/11/2006 :  06:17:27 AM  Show Profile Send NaProus a Private Message
quote:
But there are no explosives in liquid form that could be assembled into a bomb on flight (there are some of pudding-like consistancy, but not thin liquid that could be disguised as a drink). The likelyhood of someone thwarting an attack using those ingredients is pretty ridiculous, since they could more easily be purchased at your average drug store at the destination, rather than smuggled onto a flight.


Actually, there are indeed such explosives. I found this Q &A in the BBC quite informative:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4780391.stm

They don't want to buy them at their destination, they want to blow up the plane midflight. So all they need to do is to get all the ingredients onto a single plane, enter the lavatory, mix and BOOM!

What's a leper bandage? http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/bandages.html
http://www.ghm.org/resources/hands-on/knittedbandage.html
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yarnlover
Permanent Resident

1748 Posts

Posted - 08/11/2006 :  08:40:42 AM  Show Profile Send yarnlover a Private Message
quote:
if security is tight enough that people couldn't pick up explosives on the concourse, just checking people at security would be sufficient and it's pointless to keep them from buying liquid past security and bringing it on the plane. If security *isn't* tight enough and it's reasonable to worry about people going through security and then picking up their explosives on the concourse,

On the morning news they identified the 19 arrested in London - one was a security guard at Heathrow, arrested in his uniform. How secure is that???




quote:
I do think the British security services are well ahead of ours, because apparently they can find these guys, whatever they are, without wholesale surrender of standard legal procedure.


Did you hear about the system the Brits used in their investigation. They call it "sneak and peak." When the suspect isn't home, they sneak in and look, leaving with no sign they'd even been there. Can't even imagine the uproar here if the US did something similar. The Brits were alse very worried about the leaks from our side. Seems the US side can't keep a secret.

How secure does that make one feel???



See My Stuff: Here

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gwtreece
Permanent Resident

USA
7254 Posts

Posted - 08/11/2006 :  09:01:04 AM  Show Profile  Send gwtreece a Yahoo! Message Send gwtreece a Private Message
quote:
[i]
Did you hear about the system the Brits used in their investigation. They call it "sneak and peak." When the suspect isn't home, they sneak in and look, leaving with no sign they'd even been there. Can't even imagine the uproar here if the US did something similar. The Brits were alse very worried about the leaks from our side. Seems the US side can't keep a secret.





Not surprised that we can't keep a secret.

Wanda
My Blog
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Bethany
Permanent Resident

USA
1546 Posts

Posted - 08/11/2006 :  12:44:47 PM  Show Profile Send Bethany a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by yarnlover

quote:
if security is tight enough that people couldn't pick up explosives on the concourse, just checking people at security would be sufficient and it's pointless to keep them from buying liquid past security and bringing it on the plane. If security *isn't* tight enough and it's reasonable to worry about people going through security and then picking up their explosives on the concourse,

On the morning news they identified the 19 arrested in London - one was a security guard at Heathrow, arrested in his uniform. How secure is that???



That was one of my point earlier (borrowed from my father). The system is only as secure as the people in it. If you've got the right people on the inside, than all these extra procedues don't help you -- and the allegedly "increased" security really isn't increased security, just increased annoyance.

quote:
Originally posted by galleylama

quote:

Right, but my point isn't that it couldn't happen, it's that it doesn't appear to happen very often. Unless the frequency with which terrorist attacks happen increases greatly (which I admit is a possibility) then I think the economic impact of making flying so much more difficult just isn't worth it.


But how much is our safety really worth?



One, are all the extra security procedures really making us that much safer. I mean, I can think of ways to get stuff on board and I'm a brain researcher. If your average inoffensive postdoc can think of them, I'm pretty sure a terrorist can, too.

Two, saftey is worth a lot but it's not worth an infinite amount. Any saftey program has a cost-benefit analysis done, how many people it saves versus how much it costs. Air travel is pretty much essential to the US economy these days. Making it so inconvient to fly that people stop doing it wouldn't be a trivial issue.
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CatherineM
Permanent Resident

USA
3363 Posts

Posted - 08/11/2006 :  2:55:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit CatherineM's Homepage Send CatherineM a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by yarnlover


quote:
I do think the British security services are well ahead of ours, because apparently they can find these guys, whatever they are, without wholesale surrender of standard legal procedure.


Did you hear about the system the Brits used in their investigation. They call it "sneak and peak." When the suspect isn't home, they sneak in and look, leaving with no sign they'd even been there. Can't even imagine the uproar here if the US did something similar. See My Stuff: Here



We do. http://www.law.uga.edu/academics/profiles/dwilkes_more/37patriot.html

Catherine
http://www.yorkiedog.blogspot.com
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lsm
Chatty Knitter

245 Posts

Posted - 08/11/2006 :  7:35:03 PM  Show Profile Send lsm a Private Message
RoseByAny - there are several chemical compounds which could be mixed from fairly innocuous and ordinary substances which could bring down a jet. There are also several liquids which could be combined to create noxious, potentially deadly fumes (think bathroom cleaning supplies).

The television people have been hyping the ban but really haven't explained the underlying reason very well. Many people are under the mistaken impression that it's something in the lipstick or hair gel that will create the bomb.

Here's a snippet from the NY Times which explains the dangers better than I can:

The most common peroxide explosive is triacetone triperoxide or TATP, which is made from two liquids: acetone, the primary ingredient of most nail polish removers, and hydrogen peroxide, commonly used as an antiseptic when diluted. TATP, which can be used as a detonator or a primary explosive, has been used in Qaeda-related bomb plots and by Palestinian suicide bombers.

TATP itself is a white powder made up of crystals that form when acetone and hydrogen peroxide are mixed together, usually with a catalyst added to speed the chemical reactions. But there is no need to wait for the crystals. Acetone and peroxide is “an exceedingly reactive mixture” that can be easily detonated by an electrical spark, said Neal Langerman, president of Advanced Chemical Safety, a consulting company in San Diego.

Acetone is easy to obtain, hydrogen peroxide somewhat harder. The hydrogen peroxide solution sold in pharmacies is too dilute, only 3 percent, to be used in an explosive. Stronger hydrogen peroxide of 30 percent concentration can be ordered from chemical supply companies, but concentrations strong enough to generate a powerful explosion, about 70 percent, are not readily available, Dr. Langerman said.

But acetone mixed with a 30 percent peroxide solution could still set off a fire that might burn through the aluminum skin of an airliner and cause it to crash, Dr. Langerman said.


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/11/world/europe/11liquid.html
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Atavistic
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6604 Posts

Posted - 08/11/2006 :  7:38:34 PM  Show Profile  Visit Atavistic's Homepage Send Atavistic a Private Message
This is just one more reason I want my own pilot's license.

Amanda Takes Off... and
Amanda Knits

Only you can decide how tongue in cheek I am.
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Mickey
Permanent Resident

USA
1670 Posts

Posted - 08/11/2006 :  9:42:48 PM  Show Profile Send Mickey a Private Message
westcoastchica,
you can get e-mail notifications from the TSA when there are changes to the security measures, prohibited items, etc.
http://tsa-7.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/tsa.cfg/php/enduser/std_alp.php
each question has an "e-mail me if there's an update to this" button
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hopeless
Chatty Knitter

122 Posts

Posted - 08/11/2006 :  11:33:24 PM  Show Profile Send hopeless a Private Message
I am afraid that I am going to stick my foot in my mouth but I am 62 years old and never in my life did I think that the things I have seen in my lifetime could really happen.
I absolutely HATE the news anymore. They play it over and over and over until you are totally depressed and think that we are all going to be killed eventually. I have switched to just watching cable at least they do not come on every 5 minutes with another update of what they just told us 5 minutes ago.
I think that there is a lot more to this story, whether we ever find out of not, it is just as hard on them to have to go through this hassle as it is on us.
Sorry, but if they save one life, it is well worth the inconvenience.
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mokey
Permanent Resident

15375 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2006 :  01:29:50 AM  Show Profile Send mokey a Private Message
lsm, thanks for posting. There are far more. My father was a nuclear chemist and told me the deadliest things were in our house not the power plant.

hopeless, I gave up on Certainly Not the News years ago. Please do not give up on news - information is the best weapon we have. Check out www.wrn.org to hear news from round the globe, not the same story 10 times in an hour.

http://www.femiknits.blog-city.com/knitting_for_canadian_troops.htm
http://greenfishoutofwater.blogspot.com
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Chemcats
Permanent Resident

3337 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2006 :  04:35:49 AM  Show Profile Send Chemcats a Private Message
Mokey, I was a nuclear chemist too. And your Dad is sooo right! You might also ask your dad about security at a power station. It is tremendous...and for some reason they have no problem getting people in and out and still keep a level of security that the airlines could easily employ.

(Say hi to your dad for me.)

Meribeth
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lemons
Permanent Resident

1692 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2006 :  07:17:03 AM  Show Profile Send lemons a Private Message
I would also point out that just because liquids come from inside a security perimeter doesn't mean that they're automatically safe; they don't vet restaurant and bar employees as TSA people, for instance. And did I read somewhere that one of the folks arrested in the UK was a security guard at Heathrow?

Maybe we need to set up a two-tier system, one set of flights and security for those who'd rather be safer and put up with the restrictions and another for those who say the efforts aren't worth it.

lemons of missouri
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Atavistic
Permanent Resident

6604 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2006 :  07:31:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit Atavistic's Homepage Send Atavistic a Private Message
I was listening to the radio and they said something about how playground in England were now "too safe" so kids were playing around train tracks and rivers because it was "more fun."

The thing that struck me was the quote for the RSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents). They said that playground needed to be made "as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible."

When is the line from necessity crossed to insanity?

Lip balm?

Oh and believe me, after flying 3 international flights with only a carry-on bag, I get checked CONSTANTLY. I'm taking off my shoes, getting "random" checks at every point, having my ticket highlighted all over the place, and given pat downs. Now I've flown on a one-way ticket to Asia. I'll be going to Thailand in 10 days and I intend to go to China before I leave here. I plan on getting my pilot's license (hopefully within 5 years). I'm sure I'll be detained in an airport room at some point because of all of that.

Bring on the "random" checks.

My government will not prevent me from seeing more than my country, no matter how many red alerts, travel warnings, and over-the-top-lip-balm-and-water-forbidden policies they put into place. My government can scare others into staying home, but they can't scare me. If you really believe terrorists are a huge threat, you let them win by staying home--that's exactly what they want! A scared populace! Well I'm sure as heck going to live my life, no matter if the terror level is green, yellow, orange or red!

Amanda Takes Off... and
Amanda Knits

Only you can decide how tongue in cheek I am.
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probablyjane
Permanent Resident

United Kingdom
1227 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2006 :  08:23:37 AM  Show Profile  Visit probablyjane's Homepage Send probablyjane a Private Message
My view is that a lot of these arrangements are about managing the national psyche - althought I haven't quite decided what the objective of the management is. The cynic in me thinks it suits the government to maintain a level of fear amongst the populace so that increasing inroads can be made into civil liberties. The other part of me assumes that they wish to avoid damage to the airline industry by being seen to be taking firm action - irrespective of whether they are effective or not. Risks can never be eliminated, the best we can expect is to manage them. I agree with Amanda's view that we are in danger of creating a generation which is on the one hand, fearful and incapable of going to the corner shop without supervision, on the other, stifled by being wrapped in cotton wool and rebelling against authority without having gathered any common sense or independence in their early years.

Mind you, having travelled extensively long haul economy I am quite pleased that they are being more stringent about what can be carried as hand baggage. I have no problem with people bringing on valuables, breakables and things they are going to need during the flight but I do object to 24 hours on a plane packed to the rafters by those who try to beat the system by pushing the limits of what they can carry on by cramming their whole luggage into the largest allowable bag so that they can save 10 minutes at the carousels or avoid some baggage handler making off with their smalls (as if...).

Jane ( who was on the London Underground on 7/7 and 8/7 and is not put off her globetrotting ways by this either)

'I am the milkman of human kindness - I will leave an extra pint' Billy Bragg
http://uk.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/janelithgow/album
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mokey
Permanent Resident

15375 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2006 :  10:15:16 AM  Show Profile Send mokey a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Chemcats

Mokey, I was a nuclear chemist too...(Say hi to your dad for me.)


That is so cool Meribeth! His exact job was technical supervisor for the power plant lab, and he did write some papers on reactor safety.

I'd say hi but he passed away 5 years ago.

I'm with Amanda and Jane on not giving up travel. The fewer who fly, the more who will drive, and we all know a chunk of that money will go to fund yet more terrorism. I'll stick to planes.

http://www.femiknits.blog-city.com/knitting_for_canadian_troops.htm
http://greenfishoutofwater.blogspot.com
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ozknitter
Permanent Resident

Australia
3291 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2006 :  10:29:09 PM  Show Profile Send ozknitter a Private Message
Did you hear about the system the Brits used in their investigation. They call it "sneak and peak." When the suspect isn't home, they sneak in and look, leaving with no sign they'd even been there. Can't even imagine the uproar here if the US did something similar. The Brits were alse very worried about the leaks from our side. Seems the US side can't keep a secret.

If they "sneaked and peaked" in my house, they'd think they'd come across a person from an insane asylum with a festish for wool, knitting books and knitting needles.

I also heard on the news that books were banned on planes leaving from British Airports.

Knit in peace and harmony.


Rose in Melbourne, Australia.
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Chemcats
Permanent Resident

3337 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2006 :  02:50:22 AM  Show Profile Send Chemcats a Private Message
Like Amanda, Mokey and many others...I have a raised eyebrow about all of the hype. I do not doubt the capture, etc. but the backwash has been rather extreme and knee jerk and the sccreaming talking heads just feed the fire. I also agree that there is that element of "keep them afraid" manipulation going on too. (especially after Bush wanted to take control of the individual states National Guard without the permission of the state during a "national emergency")

BTW, the US has the "sneek and peek" also. For home, computers and just about anything. They enter, take a look, and make a report.

Meribeth
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Overcaffeknitted
New Pal

USA
31 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2006 :  3:02:55 PM  Show Profile Send Overcaffeknitted a Private Message
I doubt if we will see these more stringent security measures lasting very long at U.S. airports. Not because we will be safer but because the restrictions are costing the airport stores so much in lost revenue. I saw merchants on the news last night complaining that no one is buying bottled water, soda, snacks, or last minute forgotten items like mouthwash, toothpaste, or hair products. They ended with something equating lost sales to "the true cost of safety". Hard to believe they're so exercised when it's just been a few days. Doesn't bode well for the new rules.

Ramona
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mokey
Permanent Resident

15375 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2006 :  3:21:13 PM  Show Profile Send mokey a Private Message
I can understand stores being upset at the lack of sales, so why not the following compromise:

Items can be purchased but you do not get them until you exit the plane at your final destination. Also the airlines could buy drinks from these affected merchants for distribution onboard the flights or in the waiting area.

http://www.femiknits.blog-city.com/knitting_for_canadian_troops.htm
http://greenfishoutofwater.blogspot.com
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n2rockwlls
Gabber Extraordinaire

395 Posts

Posted - 08/14/2006 :  06:57:55 AM  Show Profile Send n2rockwlls a Private Message
Ahhhh... A topic I finally know something about.

Rosebyany was right when she said that there aren't any liquid explosives that can't viable be assembled in-flight. There are only about a half dozen explosive mixtures that are a liquid. TATP, which ISM was kind enough to give the journalistic intelligence assessment of, starts out as a liquid but in its end state is a white crystaline powder. Virtually all of the peroxide based explosives once mixed, processed and stabilized are a powder. The problem with TATP, and HMTD, that after they are mixed they immediately begin to decompose chemically. Those two home made explosive recipes make up about 95% of the homemade explosive incidents I come across. They are inherently unstable and highly susceptable to heat, shock and friction. Various recipes can be found on the internet and most of the time it becomes energetic in the manufacturing process, which is where I come in. I pick up the pieces and determine what happened. The only thing I respect more is flash powder which is the fine silvery powder from fireworks. I've seen flashpowder ignite with just a small spark of static electricity. Nasty, nasty stuff if dealt with in large quantities. I once responded to a house explosion where it was discovered that the occupant was making illegal fireworks. The guy he had paid to package the items up was covered in this fine silvery dust when he decided he wanted to smoke a cigarette. He lit the cigarette outside and instantaneously ignited. He ran back into the garage to get a hose and ended up causing all of the product to simultaneuosly combust. We found pieces of the house a half mile away. We only found about 10% of the body mass of the knucklehead that wanted the cigarette. But I digress.

Peroxide based explosives requires a significant amount of processing to become viable. This process involves time, heating and cooling as well as stirring. This is a process that can't take place on a plane. A more viable threat would be a binary explosive. This is an explosive, manufactured industrially, that comes in two parts; a fuel and an oxidizer. This is done for storage and transportation prerequisites. A binary explosive is not an explosive until its mixed and not detectable as an explosive prior to mixing. Most of these types of explosives resemble a paste when mixed. Only one that I know of is actually a liquid. It resembles mercury in its appearance and composition. The only other liquid explosive of any consequence is an aluminized nitromethane which is twice as strong as TNT. Its used in mines and quarrying where the rock strata requires the extra energy.

Another viable explosive is blasting gels and emulsions. These are also used in the mining industry and can have an appearance of pudding, cake frosting or caulk. These are detectable by both canine and electronic sniffers.

So, the big buzzword being tossed around the media is "peroxide based explosives". Yes, peroxide is a liquid. And, yes, it can used in the production of explosives (TATP). The reality of the urban myth is that it is not a liquid after it is processed.

One last thing...

A bomb is an IED. Title 26 USC Chapter 53 Section 5845 (f)

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