After eight days of detention, nobody has been charged with any crime. For there to be no clear evidence yet on something that was “imminent” and “Mass murder on an unbelievable scale” is, to say the least, rather peculiar.
The drip, drip of information to the media from the security services has rather dried-up. The last item of any significance was that they had found a handgun and a rifle – neither of which could have been in any use in the alleged plot. If you were smuggling undetectable liquid explosive onto a plane, you would be unlikely to give the game away by tucking a rifle into your hand baggage.
The idea that high explosive can be made quickly in a plane toilet by mixing at room temperature some nail polish remover, bleach, and Red Bull and giving it a quick stir, is nonsense. Yes, liquid explosives exist and are highly dangerous and yes, airports are ill equipped to detect them at present. Yes, it is true they have been used on planes before by terrorists. But can they be quickly manufactured on the plane? No.
The sinister aspect is not that this is a real new threat. It is that the allegation may have been concocted in order to prepare us for arresting people without any actual bombs.
Let me fess up here. I have just checked, and our flat contains nail polish remover, sports drinks, and a variety of household cleaning products. Also MP3 players and mobile phones. So the authorities could announce – as they have whispered to the media in this case – that potential ingredients of a liquid bomb, and potential timing devices, have been discovered. It rather lowers the bar, doesn’t it?
I do not discount the possibility that there is a germ of something behind the current alleged plot. Will it be anything like the hype? No.
Like Public Enemy says, “don’t believe the hype”, especially when it comes from the likes of Bush and Blair, both of whom are both desperate to reverse their disastrous and ever-sinking poll numbers.
Murray says his blog is too small to affect public opinion. I disagree. He already has. This story, which he and others have blogged, is getting out, moving up to the mass media level. That’s how blogging works. Stories bounce back and forth in the blogosphere, some obtain escape velocity and become mainstream news. I’m expecting this story will be one of them.