We do not really want to comment much on the the latest Airport Terrorist Plot Hype, this time involving the jet fuel storage tanks at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York in the USA.
However the level of media reporting is pretty appalling, with prominence being given to soundbites being uttered by ambitious Prosecutors and New York Joint Terrorism Taskforce and FBI officials in the USA, who have been exaggerating the threat posed by the alleged plotters from Guyana and Trindad.
Why do the official spokesmen and the media persist in reporting the mass causality terrorist fantasies of extremists, who have no proven expertise with or even access to any explosives, as if they somehow had a viable plan and posed a real risk to more than themselves and a few unlucky bystanders ?
However, we fear that this hype will be used by Gordon Brown's NuLabour spin doctors, to try to bolster their next round of even more repressive legislation, which, according to the Prime Minister in Waiting's apparatchiki, who have briefed the Sunday newspapers and broadcast media like the BBC, might be revealed to Parliament later this week.
We will no doubt have more to say about Gordon Brown's new terrors, presumably to be presented by the extreme lame duck Home Secretary John Reid. At the moment we do not trust the still deniable Sunday media spin.
It portrays malevolent, yet bumbling and incompetent amateurism amongst the alleged gang of plotters, who had been infiltrated by a coerced informer referred to as the Source. He should have been languishing in prison having already been convicted in 1996 on federal drug dealing and racketeering charges, and awaiting sentencing for a further federal drug trafficking charge in 2003. He was also being paid by the US Federal authorities, and had been "working with them" since 2004 i.e. for two years before he first met Defreitas. Was he just a "source" or was he also an "agent provocateur" ?
There is passing mention in the document of "pipelines" in association with the JFK Airport jet fuel farm, but Sky News and the BBC and other mainstream media like the
Mail Independent on Sunday are wittering on about the 40 mile jet fuel "Buckeye" pipeline, which passes through "tough white working class suburbs" or areas notorious for Mafia hijackings of goods in transit to and from the Airport.
There is no mention of this pipeline in the Legal Complaint at all, despite the large number of extracts of "consensually recorded" telephone conversations and reports by the Source, the authorities informer within the gang. The Source, together with Defreitas apparently conducted some video surveillance at the Airport itself (with a video camera purchased by the Source).
Incredibly, it is alleged that the plotters were also relying on maps and out of date satellite imagery from Google Earth via the web, as well as Defreitas' inside knowledge.
Apparently, Defreitas was stopped and searched by US Customs and Border Patrol, had his phone book copied (with the contact details of the former member of the Guyana Parliament, Abdul Kadir who is also charged), Despite this, Defreitas and the Source persisted with meeting and telephoning Kadir.
These sort of "phone tap evidence" transcripts contrasts sharply with the current situation in the UK, where none of this kind of evidence is used in court.
They are said to have physically transported their reconnaissance video and their Google Earth images on a laptop computer, possibly with printouts, to Guyana, where they were warned by Kadir not to take anything incriminating with them on to to a meeting in Trinidad, with a known Islamic radical, who they suspected was under heavy surveillance by the authorities. Kadir pointed out that the Google Earth stuff could always be downloaded again , if they kept note of the URL !
The fact that this came up at all in conversation, shows the low level of sophistication and technical expertise of these alleged plotters. The fact that this was judged to be incriminating, and worthy of inclusion in the official Complaint and Arrest warrant documentation, says something about the US authorities.
The suggestion by Kadir ("who had been trained as an engineer") that the fuel tanks might be double skinned may or may not have been correct, but at least it was more sensible than the idea that they might be made out of Titanium, which one of the unnamed or unidentified plotters suggested (see page 20 of the document)!
However Defreitas's assertions that blowing up or setting fire to a fuel tank or pipeline would somehow devastate the entire Airport site, and cause more casualties than the September 11th 2001 attacks, is utter rubbish.or wishful thinking.
Jet fuel is nearly the same as kerosene and is not as inflammable as petrol, which is what caused the Boiling Vapour Explosion at the Buncefield fuel depot in the UK in December 2005. Even theough the protective berms (concrete fire and blast containment walls) around Buncefield were of an outdated specification i.e. each fuel tank did not have its own individual berm, this was huge initial explosion and series of subsequent fires and explosions, did not result in any loss of life, since, obviously, most of the blast in such a powerful, but low explosive explosion goes up into the air vertically rather than horizontally at ground level.
Kadir is even quoted in the Complaint, as suggesting that the attack should be done "in the early hours of the morning", to minimise casualties amongst women and children, yet still to do economic damage.
However, Buncfield also showed that the airports which it served were not put out of action by the explosion and fires. Therefore Defreitas's alleged claims about economic damage to the US economy also look to be exaggerated, even if he and his fellow plotters had somehow managed to create a Buncefield sized explosion, which seems unlikely, as they were arrested before they got their hands on any explosives of any sort..