In a development that will shock Australians already anxious about the possibility of home-grown jihadists launching terror attacks on home soil, explosives similar to those used in the 7/7 London tube bombings and maps possibly targeting two NSW locations have been uncovered in a suburban home.
The media are reporting that one map contained the words “George St’’ and “uniform’’, believed to refer to a uniform shop on the Sydney street near Central Station.
The second map had references to “brothel’’, “bridge’’ and “grave’’, believed to be a site in Newcastle.
Australian Federal Police have joined the investigation.
Police discovered the maps while raiding property in Pullenvale, north of Brisbane, last week which was being rented by NSW man Daniel Fing, 30, who was taken into custody.
The haul of explosives included 22 litres of liquid explosive material TATP, (triacetone triperoxide peroxyacetone) which is favoured by terrorists for suicide attacks as it contains no nitrogen and is therefore undetectable by searches looking for nitrogen traces, and which was used in the London attacks because it can create a military grade explosive. Given the extreme instability of the material, the threat to the local area of accidental detonation, let alone any deliberate attempt to set off a terrorist explosion, must have been very significant.
“It’s an extreme explosive. It’s made from very common household ingredients,” explosives expert Dr James Blinco from the QUT School of Chemistry in Brisbane said.
Astonishingly – and especially given the likelihood of any old crazies and ratbags only loosely-connected to any formal terrorist group deciding to perform some unthinkable act to achieve their five minutes of infamy – the recipe for TATP is freely available on the Internet, including a YouTube video which demonstrates how to make the explosive.
We have one simple question to ask Googe, YouTube, and the rest.
Especially, as a quick Google search reveals, Mr Fing has previous, bombing a love-rivals car with the very same explosive back in 2006, a crime for which he was sentenced to four years in jail.
Surely we should be seeking to reduce the free availability of information about explosive manufacture, which no one could possibly need for legal purposes? We are normally very loathe to restrict or censor information, but this one would seem to be a no-brainer, especially in today’s troubled world.
We are also concerned about the fact that this haul seems to have been discovered by happy accident. The Brisbane Times reports that a real estate agent unwittingly stumbled across other suspicious items on Wednesday night, leading to officers discovering the explosives.
In 2011, Mr Fing survived a drive-by shooting when a gunman allegedly opened fire at his home in Belmont, NSW. The man charged with Mr Fing’s attempted murder was later found not guilty. Police have not said if they know the whereabouts of a woman who was living at the Pullenvale house with Mr Fing. He is currently facing charges dating from 2012 of wounding, assault, weapon and drug possession and is due to face a NSW court on August 27.