War on Terror

Terror, Inc.: Shocking Exposé Reveals Dangerous World of Islamic Militants

Few safety standards exist to protect jihadi recruits

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During his final months, the late al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden had many things on his mind. But no concern weighed more heavily than image control. Al-Qaida's brand in the global marketplace was slipping. Its offshoots and allies were making the organization he had worked so hard to build look bad. And there seemed to be little he could do about it from his hideout in Abbotabad. 

Bin Laden had good reason to worry–and a brief review of some recent news articles shows why.

  • "Six Taliban militants were killed and two others wounded Thursday when the roadside bomb they were building in a mosque exploded." (Associated Press)
  • "A man was killed while trying to plant a bomb on a petrol tanker in the north-central Nigerian city of Kaduna yesterday, police spokesman Aminu Lawan said." (Bloomberg)
  • "Eight militants including an important commander died on Saturday whilst making a bomb in the area of Bara Akahel, Khyber Agency." (Dawn News)
  • "Two men were killed in the Mudiyah district of Abyan when a bomb they planned to use in an attack on government forces exploded by accident…" (Reuters)
  • "Five militants were killed on Saturday when a bomb that they were preparing at their hideout in the Sarghar area of the Khyber tribal region exploded prematurely." (Press TV)

These are just a handful of many such stories from the past several months – stories that expose a darker side to the largely unregulated business of mass murder.

No official figures for the number of terrorists killed by premature detonation exist. But a careful review of the available data shows that during the past two years, an average of almost one terrorist a day was killed in a workplace mishap involving high explosives. 

Officials within al-Qaida–and other large terrorist organizations such as Boko Haram, al-Shabab, andLashkar-e-Taiba–insist these are isolated incidents, that they have adopted safety procedures to prevent further occurrences. "We take every precaution to ensure that our soldiers in the war against the infidels do not explode one second before their appointed time," says Abdul Abdel-Aziz, vice president for corporatecommuniations at Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyaj. "Ensuring the safety of our martyrs for Islam has always been our top priority."

Lying in a hospital bed in Peshawar, Ali Muhammed Hussein disputes that. Hussein lost both legs, his left arm, and his eyesight when the bomb he and an accomplice hoped would blow up a preschool at a UN office building in Jalalabad detonated prematurely in 2011. "We had, maybe, two hours training," says Hussein, his voice husky from three reconstructive surgeries on his throat, his eyes haunted by thoughts of what might have been. "Like: This is the red wire, don't cross it with the black wire, now go. That was it."

Hussein is far from alone. A database compiled by this news organization shows the pace of prematuredetonations has remained largely steady and, if anything, has seen a slight uptick since the death of bin Laden last year. 

"This is what happens when you have zero oversight," says Mark Baker, a former assistant deputy to the assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health in the Clinton administration, who now works as a consultant for labor groups. "People are turned into unrecognizable gobbets of moist white meat hours, sometimes even days, before they are supposed to, without taking anyone else out with them. It's a tragic waste of human resources."

An analysis of explosion data shows premature detonation has occurred in nearly every country in Middle East and Northern Africa, from the India-Pakistan border to the Sahel. Last December, for example, two would-be suicide bombers died when their bomb went off unexpectedly in the Afghan province of Farah. Terrorism officials say they ordered a stand-down so all militants could be retrained in the use of timers and fuses. But less than four days later, five more militants died in another incident in Jakarta that, safety experts say, was remarkably similar.

But there is little that can be done about the problem, says Michael Mungerford, an expert on workplace safety. Despite the increasing use of car bombs, suicide vests, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in recent years, no regulatory agency oversees their manufacture. Due to the covert nature of the terrorism business, surprise inspections are almost impossible. And terrorist organizations are reluctant to share their records and internal documents. 

As a result, Mungerford says, "no one that we know of has ever been punished – no one – as the result of a premature detonation." No international standards govern the making of roadside bombs or other explosives – and even if standards were adopted, international agencies are largely helpless to levy fines or other penalties when an accident occurs.

Baker, for his part, is fatalistic. "Nothing is going to change until terrorist groups start placing a higher priority on human life," he says. "And I don't see that happening anytime soon."

A. Barton Hinkle is a columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, where this satirical article originally appeared.

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  1. What? Are they taking applicants with GEDs or bad credit ratings now?

  2. Uh, wasn’t April Fool’s day a while back?

  3. Well now thats kinda crazy when you think about it dude. Wow.

    http://www.Privacy-Planet.tk

  4. This is AWESOME!

    Although I find it odd that this article implying that there *should* be oversight. I guess it’s fine because he’s not implying there should be *government* oversight.

    1. I took that as satire, given the subject.

      1. Yes, I did, as well. But it was really hard to figure out if I should…. ultimately I just had to put my faith in God and take the plunge to NOT take this article seriously….

  5. I read about half of in when I realized it was a joke, I had to go back and read it again.

    amusing.

  6. The little acts of incompetence add up to something, I’m sure, but the thing that really made terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda look completely incompetent–and feckless too–was the Arab Spring.

    Through peaceful protest and cooperation with the West, within a matter of months, everyday Muslims were able to overthrow vicious dictatorships in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt–something terrorism wasn’t able to achieve over the course of decades.

    The struggle for freedom in North Africa continues, but in terms of the objective of overthrowing western backed dictators, protest movements and cooperation with the west have made Al Qaeda and Co. look even more incompetent than some would-be bombers blowing themselves up, by far.

    1. Interesting – I hadn’t looked at it this way.

      Or, as Anon Bot would say, “LOL! Makes a lot of sense when you think about it!

      http://www.jihadfail.de/anonoterrorist

    2. “Through peaceful protest”

      Peaceful protests?! In Egypt?

      Where did they find the time between all the raping and assaulting journalists and pillaging ancient artifacts from museums?

      To say nothing of the fact that all they accomplished was to insitute an even more repressive police state that holds an even stronger emphasis on militant islamism.

      1. As compared to advocating and carrying out violent terrorism for decade after decade?

        Yeah, compared to what Al Qaeda jihadis advocated from Egypt to Libya, not to mention what terrorists were doing in Algeria and elsewhere for the last several decades…

        Yeah, peaceful protest.

        It certainly wasn’t the assaulting of journalists or pillaging artifacts that got those dictators out of office.

  7. They can have our regulaters

    1. …When they take them from our cold, dead, economy?

  8. We take every precaution to ensure that our soldiers in the war against the infidels do not explode one second before their appointed time,” says Abdul Abdel-Aziz, vice president for corporatecommuniations at Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyaj. “Ensuring the safety of our martyrs for Islam has always been our top priority.”

    Lying in a hospital bed in Peshawar, Ali Muhammed Hussein disputes that. Hussein lost both legs, his left arm, and his eyesight when the bomb he and an accomplice hoped would blow up a preschool at a UN office building in Jalalabad detonated prematurely in 2011. “We had, maybe, two hours training,”

    Is this article for real? It reads like a New York Times expose on workplace safety. It even has whistleblowers!

    1. Oh jesus, the article isn’t for real. Schfuck me I feel like I just got punked.

      1. LOL

        I get punked all the time, though.

      2. It always hurts the first time. The important thing is the love between you and Hinkle.

      3. First time here, Paul?

      4. Your sarcasm detector must have been turned off for this subtitle to not have tipped you off:

        “Few safety standards exist to protect jihadi recruits”

    2. “Is this article for real?”
      It burns!!

    3. ^^Way to set the hook, A. Barton.^^

  9. I recommend a training school in some remote corner of the earth. A place deep in some mountain range. The locals need to be violent, illiterate, unwashed, savages, stuck in the 11th century who would be pliable to a message of mass murder. Oh wait. Never mind.

  10. Evolution in action.

  11. “People are turned into unrecognizable gobbets of moist white meat hours, sometimes even days, before they are supposed to, without taking anyone else out with them. It’s a tragic waste of human resources.”

    Whose side is this douche-bag on? Does he want me to be sympathetic to people who murder children? Is he angling toward government regulation of terrorist activities or making an argument for the unionization of Al Qaida?

    1. Read the comments, RD6009.

      1. I’ll remember to do that first next time. TY BP

        1. Really, I should just stop reading this stuff at work when I only have time to skim through.

          1. Don’t feel bad, it got a lot of other people, too. The key sentence was “a darker side to the largely unregulated business of mass murder.” That alone put this in a class with Cervantes / Swift / Mencken for me.

          2. Dude, that is so awesome – thanks, from the rest of us!

            1. I’ll be here all week folks!

          3. First time here, RD 6009?

            1. Not at all… but between the meetings and emails I sometimes turn into a zombie and feel the need to troll through reason’s comment threads.

    2. Satire? What’s that?

      1. Comedy Barbie says, “Satire is HARD!!”

    3. “This is what happens when you have zero oversight,” says Mark Baker, a former assistant deputy to the assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health in the Clinton administration, who now works as a consultant for labor groups. “People are turned into unrecognizable gobbets of moist white meat hours, sometimes even days, before they are supposed to, without taking anyone else out with them. It’s a tragic waste of human resources.”

      This was the best line of a great satire — captures the cluelessness of the regulators who can’t see the big picture of the harm they do.

      Making it a former Clintonite rather than Bush appointee was a cheap swipe, though.

  12. If the government starts to regulate the bomb making industry, its just going to move overseas where there is no oversight.

    1. win

  13. This is the thing I have always found amusing about Al Quaeda.

    I mean if their goal was to actually terrorize Americans blowing up famous buildings in NYC is not the way to go.

    We do that all the time in movies, people are used to it and while they’ll mourn for a bit over the lives lost it won’t impact how they go about their day to day activities.

    You want to bring america to it’s knees with a terror attack?

    Blow up a Mall during Christmas season, or even better a High School football game and don’t do it in NYC or LA, no do it in Peoria Il or Lawrence Ks, a nice small to midsized “All American” city. THAT would paralyze Americans with fear

    1. The response wouldn’t be fear.
      It would be savage.

      I think they know that, which is why it hasn’t happened.

      1. The Sand People don’t realize how much damage one camel-jock could do with nothing more than a rental car and a Bic driving around the American West lighting forest-fires. There is a Stoopid Threshold about terrorism that goes beyond cycles of background and hopelessness.

        You actually have to be stupid enough – out of the box so-to-speak – to think running into Micky D’s at lunch with homebrew comp B and some nails is going to change the World beyond making it just a little more miserable than it already is. That is huge threshold of stupid, which is why any terrorist-attack of a clever, scary 9/11-ish scale is soooo rare. You need more than mean and stupid to pull that off. You need a smart person with a short-circuit, then appropriately motivated, which is very, very rare.

        1. The Sand People don’t realize how much damage one camel-jock could do with nothing more than a rental car and a Bic driving around the American West lighting forest-fires…

          “Waterboard this man immediately for providing terrorists with sensitive national-security information! Also = get him into mandatory sensitivity training, stat!… “Sand People”… please, Dude…. the proper nomenclature is, “Terrorist-Arabian””

  14. Killing them works apparently. Yippy ky yay!

  15. prematuredetonations

    ..what happens when LoneWacko has sexy-thoughts?

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