Friday, September 25, 2009


Yesterday, DD commented that whenever would-be peroxide bombing terrorists are in the news, web hits go up. Way up.

Everyone (well not everyone -- just the different types who prefer reading terror stories to whatever's up with Mackenzie Phillips) is looking for 'how to make a peroxide bomb.'Naturally, after reading about it in the news.

However, in retrospect, DD blog had an unusual spike of searches on how to make peroxide bombs from at least mid-August until yesterday. Some of it was attributed to continued news coverage and fallout from the Airplane Liquid Bomber Plot convictions in early September.

So I decided to drill down a bit and Colorado jumped out and bit me. DD blog almost never has any readers from Colorado. California, New York, northern Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania and the UK are where most of the regulars phone in from.

Using screen snaps of Google Analytics returns, unusual search results line up from Aurora. Why is Aurora interesting?

Because, according to the US government -- Najibullah Zazi and the Beauty Parlor Supply Store Bomb Gang were there shopping around for ingredients.

For example, from today's Los Angeles Times:

"During July and August 2009 Zazi and others ... purchased unusually large quantities of hydrogen peroxide from beauty supply stores in the Denver area ... Zazi [made purchases] from a supply store in Aurora ... In July, August and September 2009 [individuals associated with Zazi made purchases] from three different beauty supply stores around Aurora."

Colorado logons for peroxide bombs, many in the last few days. Big circle is Denver. Aurora sticks out on drill down.

The significant number of logons for information on peroxide bombs occurs prior to the permanent detention of Zazi.

Aurora's very specific interest in peroxide bombing prior to late September. All entries listed here are posts on a peroxide bomb plot.

At SITREP yesterday, I commented that the government's indictment of Zazi showed the frequently seen al Qaeda poor man's approach -- to ineptly surf the Internet for bomb-making recipes, hoping something will fall into one's lap that makes it as easy as baking a cake.

Despite a lot of media coverage on peroxide bombing being easy in 2006 (see here and here for a recap), this is not really the case. If it was, peroxide bombs would have been exploding quite frequently over the past few years.

Paradoxically, it has long been apparent to this writer that many al Qaeda men believe everything they've read in US newspapers. And, therefore, DD blog posts on the 'easy to make peroxide bomb' meme are like flypaper to them. (For instance, the only thing readers of DD's blog from Pakistan are interested in are the same posts. And there are a few of these readers/surfers every month. It's all they do -- perform trawls for 'peroxide bomb' through Google, as far as I can tell. By contrast, most people don't seem to be so monomaniacal, homogeneously mean-spirited, dull and intellectually incurious about the rest of the world.)

To reiterate, from SITREP: There are many tricks to making these things, details not included in recipes posted around the Internet, which is where they're scrounged up.

And the authorities have been reasonably tight-lipped about the mechanics of things which have been found in peroxide bomb plots. And this is, in a manner of speaking, a good thing -- because it keeps the wanna-be's flailing around in ignorance.

The FBI was also entirely right in being very concerned during the days when Najibullah Zazi remained free, with friends and family attesting to his innocence. Up until very recently, the Beauty Parlor Supply Store Bomb Gang was still trying to get its act together. He needed to be dragged off the street. And they have to be dragged off, too.

"Prosecutors said that [Najibullah Zazi] had traveled overseas to receive bomb-making instructions and had done extensive Internet research on the components of explosive devices," reported the Los Angeles Times.

Perhaps so, but if you've received decent bomb training, would you really have to scrounge the Internet in August and September for peroxide bombs formulas, recipes which leave you partly baffled?

Or, to use a rhetorical question: Did the IRA need Google, the Internet and a hodgepodge of webpages to make bombs?

Or, how about this one: If I downloaded fifty articles on open heart surgery from the Internet would you let me repair your crusty valves?


Blogger João o Ião said...

This post has been removed by the author.

2:42 PM  
Blogger João o Ião said...

Being a former chemistry student it always seemed very strange this sort approach to bomb making.
It must be easier to manufacture nitroglycerine (which i must say is also a more dangerous process) as long as you have a supply of concentrated sulfuric an nitric acid and survive to make make a feasible bomb that will actually explode, then going for the mambo jumbo liquid mixture explosive or flour bomb or whatever (ricin for example?) that (normally) ends in complete failure.
This people are mostly dumb and should be check by a psychiatrist.
It only serves the purpose of right wing politicians so they can wave those big black FUD banners.

And you pose a great question? How did the IRA, ETA et al did it for so long and so well?

4:35 PM  
Blogger numeral said...

Coupla things:
"The notes discuss formulations for mixing hydrogen peroxide with flour, and list ghee oil as a type of fuel that can be used to help initiate the explosive device."

"Included in the communications were requests related to flour and ghee oil, which are two ingredients listed in the bomb-making instructions."

Gee ghee! Those bomb-making instructions must be a hoot.

Also numerous reports say Zazi was making TATP as was used in the July 7 London bombings whereas it is HMTD that was detected on a wallet on the Aldgate train. There is no forensic evidence, from the bomb sites, of what the main charge was.

The problem the Feds have is that Zazi isn't dead, unlike the July 7 guys. He is going to defend himself.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Sock Puppet of the Great Satan said...

"Or, to use a rhetorical question: Did the IRA need Google, the Internet and a hodgepodge of webpages to make bombs?"

Err, it would have done a bit better, probably. When the Provisional IRA split off from the Official IRA in the late 1960s*, there just wasn't a lot of organization experience with bombs: the [Official] IRA had tried an abortive bombing campaign in the early 1960s which did not go well and led to the [Official] IRA taking a more political than military direction.

Hence, when the Provos tried making bombs, there were a lot of accidents because of their inexperience. These were called "own goals". About 120 Provisional IRA members killed themselves making bombs or otherwise trying to use weapons they were unfamiliar with. The number of these deaths declined in the late 1970s and early 1980s as the Provisionals' knowledge grew.

By comparison, all the British security services put together killed about 135 IRA members.

So, yes, the Provisional IRA probably would have appreciated teh Google.

7:57 AM  

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