5 Terrifying Plots That Turned Into Goofy Disasters
In the movies, terrorist attacks are ingenious, brutal schemes that are nearly impossible to foil. Hey, you gotta give your hero something to do for 90 minutes. But if that's the case, why hasn't every single landmark in the world been bombed at least ten times? There's only one Bruce Willis, and he can't be everywhere. Luckily, in real life, terrorists are usually nothing but hateful, impulsive idiots whose schemes fall apart in hilarious ways. Like how ...
An Al-Qaeda Cell Had To Call Their Parents To Quit Terror Training Camp Early
In 2013, UK police swooped in on a Birmingham-based terror cell before they could carry out some of the deadliest attacks in British history.
None of their bizarre, cartoonish plans worked. Their schemes ranged from driving around and scything people with huge knives strapped to their tires to smearing poisoned hand cream on car door handles overnight so that people would start dropping dead while driving to work. Fortunately, none of those things even came close to happening, since all of those ideas are incredibly, unspeakably stupid.
To fund these dastardly plans, the terrorists posed as charity collectors and spent months accruing spare change. They eventually gathered up 12,000 pounds, at which point "finance director" Rahin Ahmed assured the others that he could easily double that by currency trading online. He immediately lost 9,000 pounds. Like, immediately. At one point, he left his account running while making a cup of tea, and came back to a 3,000-pound loss. At the time of their arrest, the other members were reportedly not talking to him, at least until he could sell his car and pay them back.
Other members of the group went to Pakistan to attend an al-Qaeda training camp, but were horrified to discover that they had to sleep outside and their only bathroom was a big hole in the ground. They eventually called their parents, confessed that they couldn't hack it, and asked to be picked up from terror camp early.
A Commando Group Was Sent To Attack A Party That Didn't Exist, So They Turned The Mission Into A Sightseeing Trip
In 1984, Murtaza Bhutto, the son of executed Pakistani President Zulfikar Bhutto, sent nine members of his anti-government group Al-Zulfiqar to Vienna. Their plan was to storm the Canadian embassy during the annual Canada Day celebrations and take the gathered dignitaries hostage. They would then demand a plane and fly to Cuba, which was the default left-wing militant dream back then.
There was just one problem: The embassy didn't hold a Canada Day party that year. Which seems like something you would check before making plans to swing by for a drink, let alone smuggle machine guns into Austria.
According to Murtaza's former aide, nobody realized they were attacking a nonexistent party until literally the day of the raid, when two guys went to scout out the embassy and found the whole place was closed. Since Murtaza had already left Austria (he preferred not to get his hands dirty), his flunkies had no idea what to do and no way of contacting their boss. They had no maps of Vienna, and didn't speak a word of German. They also didn't speak English, which was slightly suspicious, since they were all traveling on stolen British passports.
The strike force ended up spending their money on beer and disposable cameras, then wandered around Vienna for six days, drinking and taking photos. Finally, the cops searched them on just ... overall general suspicion of everything, and found their guns. One member of the strike force wasn't there when the others were arrested, but he went straight to a police station and turned himself in because he didn't want to be lost in a strange city without his friends. Aww, buddy!
Egypt Tricked Gaddafi Into Paying For A Fake Assassination
Muammar Gaddafi wasn't a real funny guy. Yes, he did once commission an original song for a weird music video about his celebrity crush Condoleezza Rice. And yes, he also spent millions bribing a top professional Italian football team to play with his clumsy son. And sure, for 40 years, he wrote regularly to some random florist in Brooklyn just to gripe about politics. But don't let that distract you from the fact that he was a genuinely horrifying person.
For example, in 1984, Gaddafi sent a hit squad of British and Maltese mercenaries to Egypt to carry out a laundry list of missions, from assassinating political dissidents to stealing an F-16 jet. Things started well enough, when they subcontracted some Egyptian goons to murder exiled Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Bakkush. The Egyptians provided photographs of a heavily beaten Bakkush, lying bound and gagged in a pool of blood, which the squad forwarded to Gaddafi as proof that his money was being put to good use.
Gaddafi proudly announced to the world that Bakkush had died a traitor's death. Which was somewhat undermined the next day when Bakkush showed up at a press conference at the Egyptian Interior Ministry.
The "Egyptian goons" that Gaddafi's spies had hired turned out to be undercover police officers, and they merely slapped some makeup on Bakkush while he played dead in a pool of red dye. Once the photos had been sent, the Egyptians arrested the spies. Even better, they marched them straight to the bank to collect the hefty reward Gaddafi had sent, which of course went into the Egyptian treasury. Presumably, everyone in the Egyptian government ate steak on his dime for the next month.
Mercenaries Took Their Kidnapping Victim To The Wrong Country
In 1963, a gang of British thieves stole millions in a lightning raid on a Royal Mail train. The "Great Train Robbery" went off without a hitch, but the gang celebrated with a quick game of Monopoly, as is British criminal tradition, and the police recovered their fingerprints from the board. Everyone involved was soon arrested, except for Ronnie Biggs, who fled and eventually wound up in Brazil, which refused to extradite him since he had a Brazilian son. Biggs became the most famous fugitive in Britain, and as is British criminal tradition, he released a single with the Sex Pistols.
Then in 1981, a group of former British soldiers were hired to kidnap Biggs and take him to a country where he could be extradited. Who hired them to do that? To this day, nobody goddamn knows.
The bounty hunters caught up to Biggs in a restaurant in Rio, maced him, dragged him out to the street, then smuggled him onto a private plane in a sack marked "anaconda snake," as is British criminal tradition. Biggs was then put on a yacht headed for Barbados, where he was supplied with ample amounts of booze and pot to keep him docile, as is British crimi- you get the point.
The yacht eventually broke down and had to be rescued by the Barbados coast guard. With Biggs in Barbadian custody, the soldiers congratulated themselves on a job well done. Except ... Barbados didn't have an extradition treaty with the UK either. In all fairness, everyone thought they had signed one in 1979, but it turned out the Barbados government never bothered to ratify it. Also, the kidnappers took Biggs all the way to Barbados in the first place because one of the mercenaries wanted to have his wedding there. Basically, any other Caribbean island, and the plan would have worked fine, but instead Biggs was sent back to Brazil, while the kidnappers themselves were arrested and deported. As is Barbadian criminal tradition.
A False Flag Plot Was Foiled When A Neo-Nazi Accidentally Brought A Gun To The Airport And Hid It In A Bathroom
In January 2017, a maintenance man opened a duct in the ceiling of a bathroom in the Vienna Airport and a loaded gun fell out. Mystified, the Austrian police decided to stick an alarm on the vent and see what happened (if you're wondering why they didn't put a camera there, think about it for a second). A few weeks later, they burst into the bathroom to find German soldier "Franco A." standing on a toilet, peering into the duct. Franco claimed he had found the gun in a bush, shoved it in his bag, and forgot about it until he went to the airport. Rather than miss his flight, he hid it in the duct to retrieve later, because why waste a gun, you know?
Nobody bought that, but here's where it gets really crazy. Franco's prints identified him as a recent Syrian immigrant to Germany, even though the guy standing in front of the authorities was definitely a native German who had served in the army for years.
Apparently, Franco left Germany in 2015, then recrossed the border, claiming to be a refugee. Despite speaking no Arabic, he was granted asylum in Germany, and then spent two years living a double life, dutifully serving in the army while also traveling Europe to collect welfare and establish an identity as a Syrian refugee. Perhaps due to the whole "speaking no Arabic" thing, he picked "David Benjamin, fruit seller" as his totally Syrian-sounding persona.
Further investigation led German authorities to believe that Franco was part of a group of neo-Nazi German soldiers who had been stockpiling guns and ammunition while drawing up a list of targets. The plan was for Franco to murder the justice secretary (or a former president, they were playing it by ear) and then escape. His fingerprints would then lead investigators to the Syrian identity, and the crime would be blamed on immigrants, thus kick-starting World War III or something. The terrorist cell allegedly worked on that plan for two years, and it was all foiled because some idiot fake fruit seller forgot that you can't bring found shrub guns to the airport.
A stunning amount of these plots might've gone better if the perps had just been using some Rosetta Stone.
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