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TATP & AK-47s

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Orionblamblam

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Before the "Paris in the news again" thread got locked, a point was raised that the French police will hunt down the suppliers of the weapons used. There appear to have been two main classes of weapons... explosives (suicide belts) and AK-47s. How difficult would these be to procure?

According to CNN, the explosives used was TATP. Acetone peroxide (triacetone triperoxide) is a common explosive for suicide bombers (including the London bombings of 2005, and in the same year the failed bombing of the football stadium in Norman, Oklahoma) because it can be manufactured from relatively easily available precursor chemicals, namely hydrogen peroxide, acetone and hydrochloric acid. All of these chemicals are incredibly easy to come by in substantial quantities, and are quite safe (apart from acetones flammability) by themselves. I don't know about Europe, but all of these could be acquired at Wal Mart.

Converting the precursor chemicals into the explosive TATP requires, apparently, very little actual effort. The process can be described in a paragraph. A google search found a whole bunch of "how-to" pages and videos.

As for AK-47's: these things are *incredibly* common (something like 75 million + of them). It's not just that the Soviet Union flooded the third world with the things, but they are being mass produced now in rudimentary machine shops around the world. For example, the "Khyber Pass Copy," weapons hand-made in the Khyber Pass region between Pakistan and Afganistan, is so commonly encountered it has become a cliche. Other hand-made AK-47's are so readily available in some regions that they can be had for $6 or a sack of rice.

Hand made counterfeits of the AK-47 run the gamut from dangerously shoddy to very high quality, but for the purposes of terrorist activity such as Paris, so long as it fires and doesn't explode, it's good enough. The barrels need not even be rifled! When the targets are only a few feet away, rifling doesn't buy you much, but deleting rifling makes the gun a lot easier and cheaper to make. The point here is that if these weapons can be manufactured in a third world village without benefit of modern machine tools, they can certainly be stamped out in some hidden basement outside Paris or Berlin or London. And that's if, for some reason, the terrorists in question don't simply procure a boxload of the guns from smugglers. With Europes now-open borders and freedom of movement, and with a whole lot of folks being rapidly swept from place to place, smuggling something as simple as an AK-47 would be a snap. I would expect that the AK-47's used in France were simply smuggled in. Since the AK-47 is just a series of steel parts, chemical detectors (including dogs) won't pick them up. Many of the components can be easily hidden in plain sight.


Compare the easy availability of terrorist weapons to the weapons used to counter them... drones and missiles and NSA computer systems.

Note: None of this should be construed as political, just simple chemistry and mechanics.
 

JFC Fuller

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Guns in their base form are an incredibly simple technology. All one really needs to make them is some CNC machines and the knowledge of how use them.
 

Michel Van

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In France and Belgium you can get AK-47 with ammo for 800 to 900 euro on the black market.

of origins is from former East block states, former Soviet Allies nation or out Russian stockpile.
next to that allot nation like Pakistan still manufacture the AK-47.

It very likely the IS terrorist simply buy the AK-47 in Belgium.
The Belgium Police special forces is active in Molenbeek on behalf of French authority.

for moment the Germans Police interrogate a man they arrested in Bavaria
the man came from Montenegro was on way to Paris, in his car trunk, eight Ak-47, revolvers, hand grenades and TNT
 

CJGibson

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Don't need CNC machines. Didn't the WW2 resistance groups in occupied Europe build Sten guns in bicycle shops?

Chris
 

Orionblamblam

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As memory serves, early in the first Israeli war of survival in 1948, when there was an arms embargo against them, they made 9mm cartriges for their home-made Stens using brass lipstick tubes that they imported in surprisingly large numbers. Vaguely similarly, the 22 LR case has long been assumed to be wholly expendable and not reloadable; the difficulty in obtaining this round in recent years has led to the availability of tool sets that will allow you to reload the 22 (don't ask how reliable that is, I dunno). People can be quite inventive when the need arises.

Thing is, though, arms for terrorists often doesn't require a whole lot of inventiveness. Mostly the inventiveness comes in the *planning.*
 

Abraham Gubler

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Rice cookers are the weapon of choice for terror bombing in thr mid east. Used as thr casing for your home made explosives.

However interdicting 'home grown' aka 'lone wolf' terror supply networks is no where near as effective as focusing on the radicalization efforts at the local radical madrassa or internet chat room.
 

Orionblamblam

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Abraham Gubler said:
However interdicting 'home grown' aka 'lone wolf' terror supply networks is no where near as effective as focusing on the radicalization efforts...

The *tools* of terrorism will always be available, no matter what you do. Look at 9/11: all they had were box cutters. And I'm sorry, TSA, there's no way on earth you're going to be able to stop someone bringing the functional equivalent of a box cutter on board an aircraft. You're just not.

And stopping radicalization would require the abridgement of freedom of religion, speech, association and assembly. This is possible in some countries, I suppose, but even if you swing that in the local government, people are just going to go underground. And even *then* you're going to have your garden variety whackos who decide to stick up a train because Dog told him them to.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
And stopping radicalization would require the abridgement of freedom of religion, speech, association and assembly. This is possible in some countries, I suppose, but even if you swing that in the local government, people are just going to go underground. And even *then* you're going to have your garden variety whackos who decide to stick up a train because Dog told him them to.

Stopping radicalisation does not mean the abridgement of anything. What it means is that you counter the radical messages with messages pointing out how silly and ridiculous they are. You equip families with the means to identify their children before they become radicalised. You provide them with the means to counter the radical messages their children receive. You also have to modify your government's policies to take into account the desires and wishes of immigrants, who afterall, citizens as well, rather than dismiss and ignore them. You need to bring immigrants into the community, rather than allow them to remain isolated and of course allow your ordinary citizens to express their ignorance towards them.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Orionblamblam said:
And stopping radicalization would require the abridgement of freedom of religion, speech, association and assembly. This is possible in some countries, I suppose, but even if you swing that in the local government, people are just going to go underground. And even *then* you're going to have your garden variety whackos who decide to stick up a train because Dog told him them to.

No need for any of that. Plain old fashioned spying gets the job done. Just need to provide the appropriate resourcing of surveillance to target ratios. More than possible in a nation with a small radicalization target group like Australia or the USA. A lot harder with a much larger target group like in France.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Kadija_Man said:
Stopping radicalisation does not mean the abridgement of anything. What it means is that you counter the radical messages with messages pointing out how silly and ridiculous they are. You equip families with the means to identify their children before they become radicalised. You provide them with the means to counter the radical messages their children receive. You also have to modify your government's policies to take into account the desires and wishes of immigrants, who afterall, citizens as well, rather than dismiss and ignore them. You need to bring immigrants into the community, rather than allow them to remain isolated and of course allow your ordinary citizens to express their ignorance towards them.

"You forced us to bomb you." If you want to defend the abuse you receive that's your personal psychosis. Victim playing is just part of the arsenal of weapons deployed by most terrorists.
 

Orionblamblam

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Abraham Gubler said:
Plain old fashioned spying gets the job done.

A lot of 'em seem to self-radicalize. A lot of people just need *something* in their lives, and some come across jihadi videos or Hare Krishnas at the airport or Twilight novels, and they get sucked into the stupid. It would require 1984-level internal spying to note a lot of this type.

Something I'm wondering is if Snowden might lose some of his popularity in Europe, since his revelations have made it easier to plan acts like this.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Orionblamblam said:
A lot of 'em seem to self-radicalize. A lot of people just need *something* in their lives, and some come across jihadi videos or Hare Krishnas at the airport or Twilight novels, and they get sucked into the stupid. It would require 1984-level internal spying to note a lot of this type.

This tends to be motivated by narcissism so there is a lot of self-generated chatter about what they are doing. Very rarely is there any home grown terrorists that keep to themselves.
 

Orionblamblam

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Seems like every time some goober goes and shoots up a school or stabs a bunch of student nurses or some such, you *later* hear about their FaceSpace comments where they threatened this or that. But it always seems to come up *after.* It's not that the evidence isn't there in advance, it's that there's a *vast* pile of evidence in advance. I suppose the computers will eventually get smart enough to sift through everything and figure out the real threats from those just talking big (see: "Person of Interest"), but about five minutes later those computers will achieve sentience and decide that humans suck (see: about half of the science fiction from the last 40 years).
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Seems like every time some goober goes and shoots up a school or stabs a bunch of student nurses or some such, you *later* hear about their FaceSpace comments where they threatened this or that. But it always seems to come up *after.* It's not that the evidence isn't there in advance, it's that there's a *vast* pile of evidence in advance. I suppose the computers will eventually get smart enough to sift through everything and figure out the real threats from those just talking big (see: "Person of Interest"), but about five minutes later those computers will achieve sentience and decide that humans suck (see: about half of the science fiction from the last 40 years).
Humans suck? Really, Scott? If it wasn't for us humans where would we be? -SP
 

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Steve Pace said:
Orionblamblam said:
Seems like every time some goober goes and shoots up a school or stabs a bunch of student nurses or some such, you *later* hear about their FaceSpace comments where they threatened this or that. But it always seems to come up *after.* It's not that the evidence isn't there in advance, it's that there's a *vast* pile of evidence in advance. I suppose the computers will eventually get smart enough to sift through everything and figure out the real threats from those just talking big (see: "Person of Interest"), but about five minutes later those computers will achieve sentience and decide that humans suck (see: about half of the science fiction from the last 40 years).
Humans suck? Really, Scott? If it wasn't for us humans where would we be? -SP

Scott's views reflect his misanthropic views on humanity.
 

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I know it's pedantic, but there are relatively few AK-47s in circulation. Soviet production ended in 1959. Most of what's in the World are stamped-construction AKM derivatives.

And this is siginificant, because other than outline there is very little similar between an AK-47 and a AKM. The internals were completely reworked.

I'm not sure why that particular model name has stuck in the public imagination but it's like referring to all the USAF's current Buffs as B-52As. Or that the US Army's current service arm is an M16A1. It's over-precise to the extent of being incorrect.

If you find an actual AK-47 the barrel rifling is likely to be worn-out and because it used a different mounting trunnion than the later models, you can't just plug-in a modern one. Easer to discard it and buy a new model instead which is exactly what happened by the million.
 

Orionblamblam

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Steve Pace said:
Orionblamblam said:
...about five minutes later those computers will achieve sentience and decide that humans suck (see: about half of the science fiction from the last 40 years).
Humans suck? Really, Scott?

It's common enough trope in science fiction... our creations, whether they're biological (see: Frankenstein) or mechanical (see: RUR) or electronic (see: Colossus, Terminator, etc.) tend to see humanity in pretty bad light. The works that have a synthetic being created by humans decide that humans are Just Awesome are pretty few. For every "Bicentennial Man" you have a dozen "AIs."

Personally I generally disagree. It sure as hell won't be bunny rabbits terraforming Mars and seeding it with life.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
And stopping radicalization would require the abridgement of freedom of religion, speech, association and assembly. This is possible in some countries, I suppose...

The freedom of religion, speech and assembly have NEVER been absolute, in any country at any time, no matter what some of you Yanks believe. Yelling "fire" in a crowded movie theatre is no different than yelling "kill the Christians" in a country with lots of Christians. We cannot allow either. (Same goes for yelling "kill the Moslems".)

Controlling these dangerous activities and dangerous devices like home made AK-47s will always be a delicate balancing act with personal freedoms. This balancing act is best done in a society with constantly evolving checks and balances on the control processes, i.e. a functioning, all inclusive, democracy. The French, of all people, should have learned by now that oppressing any significant portion of the population will lead to a storming of the Bastille.
 

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Bill Walker said:
Orionblamblam said:
And stopping radicalization would require the abridgement of freedom of religion, speech, association and assembly. This is possible in some countries, I suppose...

The freedom of religion, speech and assembly have NEVER been absolute, in any country at any time, no matter what some of you Yanks believe. Yelling "fire" in a crowded movie theatre is no different than yelling "kill the Christians" in a country with lots of Christians. We cannot allow either. (Same goes for yelling "kill the Moslems".)

Controlling these dangerous activities and dangerous devices like home made AK-47s will always be a delicate balancing act with personal freedoms. This balancing act is best done in a society with constantly evolving checks and balances on the control processes, i.e. a functioning, all inclusive, democracy. The French, of all people, should have learned by now that oppressing any significant portion of the population will lead to a storming of the Bastille.
Where did anyone claim is was an absolute right? An incitement to violence or causing violence from your statement has been part of American jurisprudence since 1776 or so and is basic Constitution 101.
 

Bill Walker

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bobbymike said:
Where did anyone claim is was an absolute right? An incitement to violence or causing violence from your statement has been part of American jurisprudence since 1776 or so and is basic Constitution 101.

I know, but this often comes as a shock to some Americans. See several posts above.
 
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