Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Chilling British Documentary

The hourlong documentary Terror In The Skies originally ran on BBC-TV's Panorama series in September 2008.
It's a chilling but brilliantly documented study of how three members of a radical cell based in Britain plotted to blow up transatlantic jumbo jets using home-made liquid bombs.
Three members were subsequently found guilty of conspiracy to murder. Panorama reporter and al-Quada specialist Peter Taylor takes us through the tortured lives of these men --the jury failed to reach a verdict on four other defendants.
He revisits the childhood haunts of the men, even interviewing the teachers they had as boys. Remember they grew up in Britain and seemed relatively unaffected by international news until they reached their teens and then became radicalized.
We see how both British and American intelligence worked tightly together to unravel the plot and identify and arrest the suspects.
All this would not have been possible save for increased British spending on terrorism after the attacks in the London subway system. And there was the random killing of a delivery driver and the subsequent flight to Pakistan of the main suspect --the dead man's nephew.
The terrorists were closely followed by a British team who tapped phones, planted listening devices in various houses as they watched and waited.
The strangest aspect involved the bulk buying of hydrogen peroxide and the removal by a syringe of soft drink containers so a new deadly mixture could be poured inside the bottles. The bottles would then be carried onboard the jets and detonated in the washrooms while the planes were over the Atlantic.
The program seems to imply American authorities intervened with their British counterparts to arrest the suspects before the evidence could be completely compiled and so some of the suspects got off.
But the frightening aspect is how teens from seemingly placid families can be quickly radicalized to the point they'll desert families in their quest for revenge.
The visuals are simply amazing. Don't miss this one. It runs on CBC Newsworld's The Passionate Eye Monday Oct. 19 at 10 p.m. Got that?

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