Thursday, July 05, 2007

DHIREN BAROT AND THE WILL OF ALLAH: If I should prove to be feeble-minded, it's God's will, said the terrorist

One of the most irritating facets of the hype surrounding news of the failed doctors-as-terror-clowns carbomb plot, is the recirculation of the mythology of Dhiren Barot.

Barot, locked up for life as a terrorist after pleading guilty in British courts in 2006, has been regularly portrayed as an al Qaeda "General" who concocted what became known as the Gas Limos Project, an outline for bombings using limousines packed with gas cylinders.

In 2006, the Metropolitan Police placed Dhiren Barot's laptop files on the world wide web under the heading of Operation Rhyme. Months later, it removed the landing page from its website without explanation.

Barot's files were heavily redacted by British authorities.

However, your friendly neighborhood GlobalSecurity.Org Senior Fellow had downloaded them and conducted a reverse analysis of the texts so the mind of Barot might be better understood.

I published this analyis here where it remains a semi-popular read.

In the war on terror one can reliably count on authorities and experts to exaggerate the powers and savvy of al Qaeda terrorists. Having dealt with this at length, it's accurate to say that such claims are often dependent on the public not getting a close look, or an accurate interpretation, of gathered evidence. And even when the evidence is produced for examination, the mainstream media will not look at it, prefering to rely on its interpretation by lawmen or experts who'd lose their livelihoods if they became known for conservative views on the subject.

Nowhere has this been more true than with the files of Dhiren Barot.

While one can immediately appreciate Barot's naked evil, his animosity toward "the kuffar" coupled with a desire to cause great harm, it is also impossible to escape the insipid character of the man. If Dhiren Barot was trained by al Qaeda, indeed -- was a high-ranking general, then al Qaeda is now well down the road to defeat.

Dhiren Barot, it can be said with some authority, was a demonstrably stupid man.

The Times of London recently described Barot and his plans thusly:

"Barot, 44, further suggested coating [his gas] cylinders with napalm and adding petrol cans filled with nails to 'further maximise the damage caused.'"

However, at no point in the story did the newspaper tell readers Barot's file showed no evidence that he knew how to make napalm. And since napalm cannot be bought in the supermarket or hardware store, the item even fell outside the terrorist's own recommendations that jihadists must stick to easily procured materials.

"Explosives and fire experts who studied Barot’s plans said that, although 'slightly muddled,' they could be carried out," wrote the Times.

"Charles Todd, of the Forensic Explosives Laboratory, said that it was 'a credible plan to make and initiate a very large explosive-incendiary device.'"

This depends on how one defines "muddled" and "credible."

To read Barot's files is a fabulously irritating experience. They are the journals of a wishful man, a fellow who planned many things.

Barot wanted to pack charcoal around his gas cylinders, liked the idea of using napalm, and wanted to shoot open his gas cylinders with an Uzi. Nowhere in his journals, however, does he demonstrate much clear knowledge on how to directly go about any of it.

Barot does -- on the other hand -- constantly invokes Allah as a sop for every failure of imagination, thinking and execution.

Inshallah this, inshallah that, Dhiren Barot writes. Inshallah! Inshallah! Inshallah, if I am full of s---, it was Allah's will.

DD realizes the yawning inanity of it may be hard for some readers to grasp without proof.

Therefore, I have excerpted some, but not all, of the Inshallahs of Dhiren Barot.

Call it "Barot's Greatest Bits."

Inshallah, it would be foolish to trust in Allah, Barot writes at the beginning. At which point the terrorist's cup begins overflowing with "Inshallah."

It is here, Inshallah, that the burned-out light bulb of ideas in Barot's head spits sparks. He'll build a dirty bomb from smoke detectors!

Inshallah, inshallah!

Inshallah, Dhiren Barot will find grenades. Note: Dhiren Barot never found grenades.

Inshallah, our imagination is aided by Allah.

Inshallah, a dirty bomb from 10,000 smoke detectors has the potential to be pretty big. Or not.

Inshallah! If I succeed, it was the will of Allah. If I don't, Allah wanted me to fail.

A final volley of "Inshallahs" for good luck.

DD found it impossible to come away from these files with anything but contempt for Dhiren Barot. This is not merely because Barot was such a mean-spirited and hopeless terror shmuck -- but also because his writings have regularly been misrepresented by the mainstream media for the sake of the telling of a scary story.

And the tale is that this terrorist, and therefore all others, had and have great skill and ingenuity.

"Homemade, Cheap and Dangerous" blared the Washington Post today and Dhiren Barot was the lead exhibit.

"[A] 39-page memo recovered from an al-Qaeda laptop computer in Pakistan three years ago read like an Idiot's Guide to Bombmaking," wrote reporter Craig Whitlock. However Whitlock and the Post don't mean Barot was an idiot. Instead, they tell the fine story that Dhiren Barot provided credible plans for others, presumably even idiots, to make bombs like those in the recent UK plot.

No matter that those plots, and Dhiren Barot, came to naught.

"Forget military explosives or fancy detonators, it lectured," continued Whitlock, describing, completely inaccurately, material from Barot's journal. "Instead, the manual advised a shopping trip to a hardware store or pharmacy, where all the necessary ingredients for a terrorist attack are stocked on the shelves."

Like napalm?

Barot devotes a few paragraphs to it, stating, "Along with petrol, we can also put napalm and charcoal to good use."

"As a case study, if a person wishes he can study the Vietnam war in which America, being unable to handle the harsh jungle terrain and guerilla warfare, simply used huge gallons of napalm..."

Huge gallons.

Although Dhiren Barot does not know how to make napalm and cannot purchase it at "a hardware store or a pharmacy" -- he recommends to study the Vietnam war -- Whitlock and the Post overlook the interesting details.

" 'Make use of that which is available at your disposal and . . . bend it to suit your needs, (improvise) rather than waste valuable time becoming despondent over that which is not within your reach,' counseled the author of the memo, Dhiren Barot, a British citizen who said he developed his keep-it-simple philosophy by 'observing senior planners' at al-Qaeda training camps."

In this matter, Whitlock and Post editors play their readers for fools in pursuit of their tales from the war on terror. Instead of informing people of the true nature of the terrorist in question, they selectively quote him, creating the impression that he was a highly capable individual, when examination of his actual files shows the opposite.

However, the Post and many other big newspapers have done this before.

In fact, they do it whenever there is alleged big news from the war on terror.

"Counterterrorism officials have warned for years that Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants have tried to obtain weapons of mass destruction, such as a nuclear device or chemical or biological weapons," wrote Whitlock. "In response, U.S. military and intelligence agencies have invested vast amounts of money to block their acquisition."

"So far, however, al-Qaeda and its affiliates have relied almost solely on simple, homemade bombs crafted from everyday ingredients -- such as nail-polish remover and fertilizer -- when plotting attacks in Europe and the United States."

But does the Post let you know about it's embarrassing role in this charade?

Of course not.

"Terrorists Turn to the Web as Base of Operations," was on Post headline from August 2005 for a big Sunday frontpage feature.

"Among other things, al Qaeda and its offshoots are building a massive and dynamic online library of training materials," it claimed. The Post mounted fragments of these alleged training documents on its website.

Al Qaeda documents showed, the Post insinuated, that the organization was training to make the deadly "betaluminium" poison. What the Post had found was one of the idiotic jihadi documents that purported to show how to make botox from horse crap.

The news article was ridiculed many times, notably here.

It is unrealistic to presume that the practice will change. The received wisdom on Dhiren Barot will remain that he was a savvy al Qaeda "General." The regular news won't allow that he was a stupid man with a fondness for heaping his many failings on the will of Allah. That would actually aid in helping people understand that the nature of the terror threat is not one of easy capabilities and always fiendishly efficient jihadists.

However, you don't have to be restricted to such an intellectually impoverished view.

Barot's .pdfs -- including his Gas Limos Project journal entries and writings on making a dirty bomb are on-line here, here, and here. They are bulky downloads. [Note: The Gas Limos Project and dirty bomb plans are included in the first download, 6.1 Mb.]

DD thanks Steven Aftergood and the Federation of American Scientists for hosting them.

Homemade, Cheap and Dangerous. From the WaPo.

Must reading from the archives: Understanding the "it's easy for terrorists" hype delivered regularly by the mainstream media.


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