Monday, November 20, 2006

ISLAMO-MacGYVER: I made bombs from sand and urine, claims fabulist, among other things

DD often enjoys the stories of crackpots. Take this one, I Was a Teenage WerewolfMy Life As A Spy At the Heart of al Qaeda by "Omar Nasiri," cashing in with a strategic book deal. (Complete piece, here.)

"Assad Allah was an enormous Algerian who had taught me how to handle explosives at the Darunta training camp near Jalalabad," writes Omar. "With his green eyes and red hair, he looked like an Irish rugby player."

"As a trainee mujahid I had learnt some basic things, such as how to set off an explosive using a watch or a mobile phone. But with Assad Allah we used complicated mathematics and chemistry, and the work required intense concentration.

"We learnt to make every explosive from scratch: black powder, RDX, tetryl, TNT, dynamite, C2, C3, C4, Semtex, nitroglycerine, and so on. We learnt how to construct each of these from everyday products: corn syrup, hair dye, lemons, pencils, sugar, coffee, Epsom salts, mothballs, batteries, matches, paint, cleaning products, bleach, brake fluid, fertiliser, sand — even my own urine. . . "

Islamo-MacGyverNasiri knew how to make bombs from sand and urine! In any case, it's rather pointless to discuss the absurd idea of thinking of your urine as a sufficient source of nitrogen, one which you might be able to convert after a bit of hit or miss vile labor, to a small amount of saltpeter. And DD doesn't have to do it! That's because there are many determined but slightly thick American men, hobbyist explosive home chemists, who've mulled it over during chats in cyberspace. Knock yourself out.

Islamo-MacGyver contradicts himself in the space of a couple paragraphs. Although he professes to know how to make Semtex "from scratch," a couple grafs later he states: "We learnt how to blow up a train, cars and buildings . . .We talked a lot about aeroplanes: Semtex was easiest to get on board, because it was almost impossible to detect, but it was hard to obtain . . . "

An editor should have straightened that out.

Since Islamo-MacGyver's story comes in the form of a book excerpt republished in a big newspaper, think of it this way: If you had a shot like it, would you waste it telling a story about what you really knew how to do? No, of course not. No one would be interested in that.

Islamo-MacGyver also showed up on Brit television, claiming al Qaeda had planted disinformation in Iraq in order to fool America into attacking Saddam Hussein.

"A senior al-Qaeda operative deliberately planted information to lure the U.S. into invading Iraq, according to a double agent who said he spent years working inside the terror network," informed Bloomberg News. (Story title, a great one: "Al-Qaeda Planted Evidence to Provoke Iraq Invasion, Spy Says." Why not for the Sunday WaPo or New York Times?)

"The informer, a Moroccan who uses the pseudonym Omar Nasiri, made the assertion in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation's Newsnight program . . . "

"Nasiri said Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, a leading al-Qaeda figure who was captured by U.S. forces in late 2001, falsely told his interrogators that al-Qaeda was training Iraqis. U.S. officials subsequently suggested there were links between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein in the lead up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq."

"Al-Libi lied because he wanted to make a Muslim country the base for a jihad by provoking a U.S. invasion and he considered Iraq the best option, Nasiri said. Nasiri said he heard al-Libi outlining his belief that Iraq was the best country for the jihad in a meeting at a mosque months before his capture."

Oh great Islamo-MacGyver, if only you had known we've been over this before.

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