Friday, July 15, 2005

Post-Attack Assessment

This updates my earlier posts on who did the killings & how, from a personal safety perspective.

Weapon

Probably home-made & so large and heavy.- see
this CCTV picture of one of the donkeys with a heavy rucksack of about 3.5 cu ft capacity.

D1

The rucksack has a much larger volume than was used by the Palestinian hospital-bomber, who hid 20lbs of plastic explosive around her hips. You can shape the explosion of a home made bomb by packing it in an appropriately shaped container - a tall rucksack shape would direct most of the blast horizontally.

Trigger was probably manually and low-tech - the Underground bombs went off at sightly different times, and the bus bomb was an hour later.

Deployment


Suicide bombers, so easy to do. But the very large rucksacks meant they couldn't easily get into the center of the carriage, hence most detonations by the doors.

Personnel


In addition to the four donkeys there were likely three others.

1. A chemist to make the bombs - possibly the Egyptian who has just been
detained.

2. A bomb-maker to build the weapons and add detonators and triggers (battery and switch), shape the weapons in the rucksacks and provide safety and detonation training.

3. A master planner to provide money, research locations and times, and plan the entire operation.

Prognosis

This crude operation was a far cry from 9/11 & shows how the GWOT has damaged al Queda. However, none of the people involved had to be very bright, so the bad news is even if the security forces neutralize the 3 bad actors, there are plenty more where they came from.

The behavior of the Brit muslim community is now key. Friends and relatives of the donkeys will be perfectly aware that they were indoctrinated in
special schools in Pakistan. If these folks stay silent, the bombings will continue, but the Brits will take eventually terrible vengeance. So, the Muslim communities may decide to take the side of their adopted country.

Staying Safe Meanwhile

The chances of you being killed on London public transport are very low - about 3 million people use it every day, and attacks will at worst be every few months.


Still, prudence dictates you take precautions.

The very large rucksacks are a give-way.

1. If possible avoid young middle eastern or Pakistani men carrying large rucksacks on public transport.

2. If you can't avoid them, keep them under constant surveillance. If they start fiddling with the rucksacks, either challenge and try to stop them or duck to the floor and away from glass.

3. And take all the precautions listed here.