Homegrown Islamic Fascists

British authorities claim to have thwarted a "homegrown" plot wherein suicide bombers were to simultaneously destroy 10 American airliners en route to the United States.

Although British residents, those arrested appeared to be "of Pakistani origin," and Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman claimed that "Pakistan played a very important role in uncovering and breaking this international terrorist network."

President Bush immediately opined that the foiled plot was a "stark reminder that this nation [America] is at war with Islamic fascists."

Islamic fascists?

Who are they?

Well, according to Bush, they are terrorists who "try to spread their jihadist message; a message I call – it’s totalitarian in nature, Islamic radicalism – Islamic fascism; they try to spread it, as well, by taking the attack to those of us who love freedom."

If the Pakistani-Brits had been successful, the surviving relatives of the victims could rest assured that Bush’s refusal to prevent or halt Israel’s war of aggression against Lebanon and the murder by the Israelis of a thousand or so Lebanese civilians with American-supplied weapons had absolutely nothing to do with the Pakistani-Brit plot.

Nor will the Israelis launching a war of aggression against Syria or "taking out" Iran’s nuclear programs (all verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency to be for peaceful purposes) and the murder of thousands of Syrian and Iranian civilians with American-supplied weapons have anything to do with any future attempts by "Islamic fascists" to retaliate against Americans.

Of course not.

You see, the Likudniks believe anyone "supporting" the Lebanese resisting Israel’s most recent war of aggression are also "Islamic fascists," and therefore the Israelis would be entirely justified in destroying Lebanese, Syrian, and Iranian infrastructure and murdering thousands of Lebanese, Syrian, and Iranian civilians – all of them happy to die so that Americans can keep on loving freedom.

Of course.

But perhaps the Pakistani-Brits thought they might "shape the will" of a few members of Congress, get them to quit supporting American-Israeli wars of aggression against Islam, by at least threatening to blow American airliners out of the sky in retaliation.

However, despite the panic engendered on both sides of the Atlantic, this Pakistani-Brit "homegrown" plot appears to be no better planned, funded, or organized than other terrorist plots recently "thwarted" in Florida and Britain.

According to the Associated Press, Michael Chertoff, head American terrorist-plot-thwarter, said the terrorists planned to use liquid explosives, disguised as beverages, and to set them off with "detonators" disguised as electronic devices, such as iPods.

To do that, the Pakistani-Brits would first have to smuggle the three components of an improvised explosive device – the explosive materials, the detonator, and the trigger – past the passenger-gropers and their X-ray machines.

Most explosives – especially liquids – are relatively insensitive and will not detonate themselves.

A typical IED detonator consists of a pellet of very sensitive high explosive with an embedded, highly resistive bridge wire.

The third IED component, the trigger, supplies on command a high-voltage pulse to the bridge wire, "blowing" it, causing the enclosing high-explosive pellet to detonate.

If the high-explosive liquid is well contained and in direct physical contact with the detonating pellet, the supersonic shock wave created by the detonator will propagate through the liquid, detonating it as well.

Of course, to get the three IED components past the gropers and X-ray screeners, the Pakistani-Brits need to have (a) explosives that don’t look like explosives, (b) a detonator that doesn’t look like a detonator, and (c) a trigger that doesn’t look like a trigger.

Acquiring or manufacturing dozens of small, reliable detonators that don’t look like detonators might be difficult.

And once smuggled past, the principal problem for the self-immolating disciple of Mussolini is making sure the detonator that doesn’t look like a detonator is in intimate contact with the well-confined liquid explosive.

So, if the Pakistani-Brit plot was real, we should expect to learn, soon, that the Pakistani-Brits had an explosives test facility where each of the 10 potential self-immolators practiced assembling liquid-explosive IEDs and detonating them on command without accidentally killing themselves.

Real or not, henceforth, you will be allowed to take onboard the aircraft most of the clothes you’re wearing and your passport, but not much else.

Everything else – including any already assembled IEDs – will have to go in the cargo hold.

By the way; it’s more than possible that TWA Flight 800 was brought down by an already assembled liquid-explosive IED in its cargo hold.

Author: Gordon Prather

Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.