Friday, May 16, 2008

UK Liquid Explosives Trial

While American Idol fans debate the merits of the two Davids, across the pond, a terror trial has captured the attention of most of England and in fact the continent.

Eight alleged terrorists are on trial for planning to blow up seven airliners, five of which were destined for the U.S. While this trial is barely registering in the American press, had the plot succeeded, it would have been catastrophic, killing thousands of innocent passengers and rivaling 9/11 in its ferocity. It’s also the basis for one of our most controversial policies, 3-1-1.

Since 2006, U.S. and global explosives experts have been following this plot with great interest, because of its alleged use of novel explosives and methods. Until information became public during the trial, we have been extremely limited in what we could say about this plot. As the trial progresses, we are finally able to share information - things like the fact that the bottles of liquid explosives were pre-mixed, non-binary and would have almost certainly brought down those airliners;
things like showing the hollowed out batteries that would have hidden detonators; things like despite doing everything “right” this crew of alleged would-be killers would have walked right through airport security anywhere in the world under the rules at the time… Had it not been for intelligence leads, police intervention and eventual arrests there’s just no telling the eventual outcome of this diabolical plot.

Just this week, jurors were shown a video of the liquid explosive the suspected terrorists allegedly planned to use on airplanes. The liquid explosive mix was created in a government laboratory and placed in an Oasis soft drink bottle, just as the terrorists planned to do.

We will post more specific information on the plot as it is available and plan to post a Q&A with the chief of our explosives division on the plot and its ramifications here in the U.S. in the next few days. In the mean time, the Daily Telegraph of London has posted notes from the trial and the video shown to jurors here. We have also posted regular updates to the trial on our Web site, here.

Below is the liquid explosive video we prepared and released last year.

EOS Blog Team