When the news broke in August of 2006 that a terror attack had been foiled and it was said that the attack would have been the worst terrorist atrocity since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US and it was announced on almost every television station, media outlet and newspapers that a gang of British Muslims plotted to cause carnage "on an almost unprecedented scale".
This led to airlines in the UK, the US and other countries to ban people from bringing liquids on to planes and to this day there are still items not allowed in large quantities on most flights, all because of that particular plot.
Potentially explosive quantities of hydrogen peroxide, the prosecutor said, were to be mixed with Tang, a fruit-flavored drink powder, then injected by hypodermic needle into the bottom of plastic drink bottles to make it appear as though the bottles were unopened when they were taken through security.
Small AA batteries, he said, were to be emptied and refilled with a homemade detonating compound, which would then be set off with something such as a disposable camera flash.
The plot would have had the simultaneous detonation of seven planes, after they took off from Heathrow to the US and Canada. Specifically to New York, Washington, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal and San Francisco.
The plan was so advanced that the components had already been obtained and the specific flights had already been chosen and the goal was to make, "a violent and deadly statement of intent that would have truly global impact," In the name of Islam.
The eight men on trial have all pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy to murder and preparing acts of terrorism and the prosecution has started laying out its case.
One of the alleged ringleaders, Ahmed Abdullah Ali had an address book in his pocket which contained a list of items investigators believe were the components needed to assemble liquid bombs.
In what is being called Britain's biggest terror trial, prosecutor Peter Wright QC, told Woolwich Crown Court that the eight men were indifferent to the human lives they were going to take.
He goes on to say, "Some of the men in the dock are those actively prepared to sacrifice their own life, to board the nominated aircraft whilst carrying their deadly cargo and detonate it in flight.
"They are men with the cold-eyed certainty of the fanatic, prepared to board an aircraft with the ingredients to construct and detonate a device to bring about the loss not only of their own life but all those around them."
If successful, he said, the "deadly plan" would have resulted in "a civilian death toll on an almost unprecedented scale" as the aircraft "plummeted to earth over a populated area"
Although there are eight men on trial, as the prosecutor lays out his case against the men, more information is becoming available, such as, recorded conversations between the men suggest that up to eighteen suicide bombers and other terminals might have been involved.
The trial is expected to last approximately eight months and those men are Abdul Ahmed Ali, also known as Ahmed Ali Khan, 27, Ibrahim Savant, 27, Arafat Waheed Khan, 26, and Waheed Zaman, 23, all from Walthamstow, east London;Tanvir Hussain, 27, of Leyton, east London, Mohammed Gulzar, 26, of Barking; and Assad Sarwar, 27, and Umar Islam, also known as Brian Young, 29, both of High Wycombe, Bucks.
More from Daily Mail. (Photo of the eight men at that link)
I am told by a Canadian that their government didn't even tell them that Canada flights were targeted at the time.
[Update] U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is blasting the media for under covering the this trial and the information that is coming out as the trial proceeds.
Chertnoff writes in the Homeland Security's Leadership Journal:
While the media dwell on celebrity peccadilloes and microscopic analysis of political comments, sometimes really important news gets overlooked. Right now, buried in the pages of a number of U.S. newspapers is a very significant story that tells us a lot about why we need some of the moderately inconvenient security measures with which we live.
If you fly commercially, you will remember that about 18 months ago new restrictions on hand-carried liquids were imposed at airports here and overseas. As we explained at the time, these actions were the result of a major disrupted plot to detonate liquid explosives on airliners flying from Britain to North America. Because we couldn’t say more without violating British legal rules, some of you may have wondered whether the plot was all that serious.
The trial of a number of the plotters is now underway in a London courtroom. The details being unfolded are riveting – and chilling. Unfortunately, the trial is not getting much play in our domestic news outlets, but the evidence should be required reading for those who travel by air.
As the prosecutor has explained, the plotters intended to smuggle liquid explosives on airplanes in plastic bottles of popular soft drinks. To conceal the liquid explosives, the terrorists injected them into the bottles with a syringe and used food coloring to approximate the appearance of a drink. Blueprints showed in court demonstrated how the explosives could be combined with detonators in mid-air.
The targets: at least half a dozen flights, including aircraft headed for Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.
Particularly disturbing, the terrorists intended to detonate these bombs only when the aircraft were all midway over the Atlantic Ocean and packed with summer travelers. The sinister idea was that after the first plane exploded, the others would be too far from land to reach safety before the next detonation.
Not much imagination is required to conceive of the horror that would have been experienced when word of the first explosion reached crews and even passengers of other transatlantic flights.
Was the plot real? The courtroom was told that the plot was “almost ready.”
I recommend following this story in the newspapers over the next few weeks (if you can find it). The evidence is powerful proof of the reason that we work 24/7 to avert terrorist plots by devoting time, money, and energy to security.