The 5 Most Embarrassing Failures in the History of Terrorism

#2. Dhiren Barot: A Triple Threat Guy

Dhiren Barot was arrested by U.S. authorities along with 13 other guys who were plotting a series of terror attacks. He is now safely in jail serving 40 years, but when you see what he was plotting you realize it's more for his protection than yours. It's a world of sharp corners out there and Dhiren's the kind of guy that forgets his helmet a lot.

See? No helmet

Barot had what he thought was an ingenious plan: he would bomb not one target, not two targets, but three targets! How could you possibly get any better?! Four targets? Don't be ridiculous. It's a three target plan!

Phase 1 of his Master Plan involved attacking tourist hotels. Dhiren was going to acquire three stretch limousines and what is loosely referred to as "a buttload" of consumer-sized propane tanks. After the limos were filled with the deadly grilling materials, they would be driven into an underground parking lot and detonated, where they would then hypothetically bring down the buildings. He used limousines because cargo trucks wouldn't fit in the underground car-park, and also presumably because if there's one thing Al-Qaeda respects, it's rollin' deep.

Dhiren's second plan involved a buttload of smoke detectors. Ten thousand, to be precise. The basic concept was that most smoke detectors contain a radioactive substance called americium oxide. Dhiren planned to ignite them and release the chemical, which would hopefully contaminate and kill the local population because "radiation = bad."

His final target would be the London Underground, the metro system that runs under the Thames River. Dhiren planned to blow a hole in the tunnel, thus flooding the metro. Well... that last one seems like it could work, right?

How It Went Wrong:

First off: Dhiren could not afford any of this. He worked as an airline ticket agent, and while he wanted to be in Al-Qaeda, he wasn't close enough with the group to receive any of those sweet Al-Qaeda Genius Grants. He also didn't have any weapons, any vehicles or any of the equipment needed to make even rudimentary bombs. Which was all irrelevant anyway, because he didn't know how to build a bomb in the first place. Apparently he thought that simply saying Al-Qaeda three times in a mirror would automatically make one a bonafide terrorist badass.

As for his triple-pronged terror threat, well, the limousine plot failed because it's just impossible to jury-rig enough propane tanks to make a building collapse. Despite what video games tell you, you can't just start knocking on red barrels with a baseball bat and expect them to topple a skyscraper.


The smoke detector plot failed because smoke detectors aren't delivered by magical fairies. They cost money. Quite a lot of money, actually, if you're buying several truckloads of them. And even then, converting the money to quarters and throwing them off the top of skyscrapers would be a far more murderous use of the funds.

Even 10,000 smoke detectors wouldn't yield enough radiation to kill even the most sickly and asthmatic of corrupt Westerners. Radiation isn't something you can just "get a bunch of" and then "throw at people." On top of this, the smoke detectors would have to be ignited by a bomb... you know, those things he doesn't know how to make? Basically all of his plans revolved around blowing up other things because he can't build bombs, and yet he would need bombs to blow them up.

Finally, his ingenious metro plan failed because, shockingly, the London Underground tunnel is made of several meters of reinforced concrete. Did you guess the impending problem? That's right: he would need to breach the wall with a massive amount of explosives. For a terrorist, a lot of Dhiren's plots seem to be foiled by the explosives themselves.

If you want to make it even sadder, remember that 13 other guys were arrested along with him. That's right: there were a baker's dozen of retards with enough hatred in their hearts to risk their lives to sow chaos, yet not one with enough brains to actually put fire onto a fuel source and then run away.

#1. The Glasgow International Attack

Glasgow International Airport is the eighth busiest airport in the United Kingdom, and that made it a prime target for Al-Qaeda. Two aspiring recruits decided to take it on, and after an initial embarrassing attempt where--honest to God--their car-bomb got towed, they really buckled down and applied themselves.

On June 30, 2007, these two would-be martyrs loaded propane tanks (it should be noted that this is after Dhiren Barot's trilogy of failure, so clearly terrorists don't keep notes in their Trapper Keepers of terror) into a dark green Jeep Cherokee and set off. The plan, and we use the word loosely here, was to drive straight through the front doors of Glasgow International, hoping that when the car hit a wall, the impact would set off the propane tanks and the result would be catastrophic.

How It Went Wrong:

As the Jeep Cherokee came straight at the airport doors going about 30 miles an hour, the driver apparently failed to realize that there are security bollards (those short vertical posts that are designed to keep vehicles like, say, explosive-laden Jeep Cherokees, from ramming into nice things) outside of just about every federal building nowadays. That's right: they were ambushed by stationary objects, clearly positioned and delineated with bright yellow rings that help make them more visible with the express purpose of making sure people don't accidentally hit them. They didn't even look at the airport beforehand! They just jammed the car into gear and hoped that MapQuest wouldn't steer them wrong.

When their car hit the bollards, the propane tanks (surprisingly just as planned) actually went off! Right in the terrorist's faces! Like 30 feet from the airport! As their car caught fire, one of the terrorists took off to start fistfights (because Momma Terror didn't raise no quitter) and was promptly put down by the police. The other, now currently on fire, ran about for a while doing what people on fire do--which is mostly wishing that they weren't on fire--when this happened:

Because it's Scotland, and they still build fucking men up there.

In the space of about 30 seconds, this man was in a car accident, an explosion, lit aflame and then kicked in the balls with more force than a human foot can technically take.

Future terrorists take note: this is your retirement package.

Want to be Internet famous? Cracked can help! Just go here and sign up. No experience necessary.

For more mind-numbingly terrible plans, check out 5 Daring Crimes (That It Turns Out Never Happened). Or check out some plans these idiots should've followed, in 5 Cobra Commander Terror Plots That Might Actually Work.

And swing by's Top Picks to see our three-tier plan to bring down the Internet.

And don't forget to follow us on Twitter to get previews of upcoming articles and trick your friends into thinking you're psychic.

Recommended For Your Pleasure

To turn on reply notifications, click here


The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!