Twenty-four alleged conspirators arrested... Shocking revelations that they had a new technique for blowing up to 10 aircraft... All cabin baggage banned on flights out of Britain....Maybe they are that stupid, in which case they would be even more dangerous. Even if the cynical option wins out, they are still dangerous, because when scare tactics like this no longer work they are more than willing to let the terrorists in through the security net to take a life or two... or three thousand.
That should scare the public into supporting the "war on terror" a bit longer, even if the real wars are about something else, and are going seriously wrong....
Maybe it's cynical, but there are strong grounds for suspecting that this is all a charade. If they infiltrated these terrorist cells many months ago and now have arrested most of the members, then why would they institute drastic new security measures on flights at this point? And did they really only realize in the last few days that explosives come in liquid form as well?
So maybe 24 terrorist plotters have been arrested in Britain, or maybe 24 innocent British Muslims with full beards, or more likely some combination of the two. But whatever the truth of that, why the panic? ...if you have them all locked up, why are you closing the airports and bringing in all these draconian security measures now? A couple of months ago, when you first uncovered this plot but didn't know all the "main players," I could understand such drastic precautions, but why now?
Maybe it was those explosive "liquid chemicals" they were planning to smuggle aboard the planes. After all, it's only 160 years since nitroglycerin was invented. It's a mere 11 years since al-Qaida associate Ramzi Yousef plotted to blow up 12 airliners flying across the Pacific at the same time with nitro carried aboard in contact lens solution bottles. Who could have foreseen this? Quick! Bring in new security measures!
This is all hype, designed to frighten the British and American publics into supporting the wars of their deeply unpopular governments (and the war of their Israeli ally as well).
Or am I being too cynical? Maybe they're just stupid. I really don't know any more.
These guys play hardball, but their enemy isn't the Muslim terrorist. The enemy is us.
More Gwynne Dyer.