Thursday, May 06, 2010
WEIRDNESS. I'm not trying to incite conspiracy theories with this. It's just that there are a couple of things going on right now I don't understand at all.
The first is being kicked around at NRO this morning. Here's the best summary of the riddle:
[T]he thing I can't wrap my head around is not the firecracker detonators (which the guy who sold them to Shahzad said "wouldn't damage a watermelon"); or the propane tanks with the unopened valves (safety features on propane tanks made within the last decade or so won't allow the flow of gas unless a receptacle is physically connected to them). No, what really gets me is the two clocks and wire leads attached to. . . absolutely nothing.
If we're operating under the assumption that the firecrackers were supposed to ignite the propane gas (not) leaking into the truck, which was in turn supposed to burn the gasoline and ignite the fertilizer, then there is absolutely no place in the circuit for a couple of digital alarm clocks with some Radio Shack wires hooked up (?) to them. Even if the bomb were rigged to a timing device, it would need an explosive detonator that could respond to an electrical signal (off the top of my head, a model rocket engine or something). This device had no such element.
No amount of stupid accounts for this, if you ask me. It's the kind of thing that only a few too many action movies and a big disconnect from reality can explain.
Does this mean that Shahzad was living in
a fantasy world? Does it
mean that — to use some psycho-babble — this wasn't terrorism so much
as a "terroristic gesture"? Does it mean he wanted to get caught? (When
he was arrested on the Emirates flight, Shahzad reportedly told
authorities "I was expecting you. Are you NYPD or FBI?"). Or was he a
sincere, true-blue jihadist who was just incompetent, perhaps the best
the Tehrik-e-Taliban — harried on the ground by the Pakistani army and
from above by the drones — could come up with?
It doesn't make sense. On the one hand he's supposed to be a trained
terrorist in an international jihadi network. On the other hand he's
planted a bomb that wasn't so much dysfunctional as a prop designed to
look like a bomb. Feel free to explain it to me.
Here's the second item that has me scratching my head. It was
forwarded to me by Lloyd Pye, who has no more idea what it means than I
do. Obviously it has no provenance whatever. But it sure is curious. A
pair of commenters on the oil rig explosion in the gulf:
I don't know anything about this subject. If you do, let me know.