The 5 Most Embarrassing Failures in the History of Terrorism
Terrorism isn't exactly rocket science. It's something pretty much anyone can do. You wake up one day and decide that you'd rather like to explode in the middle of a crowded shopping center, and BAM! There you go. You're a certified terrorist.
But, incredibly, people manage to fuck up even that. And if we can't laugh at terrorists, who can we laugh at?
The Fort Dix Incident
Terrorists are basically camwhores with guns instead of tits: they're always videotaping themselves, they desperately crave attention and rarely have anything interesting to say.
If you need proof look back to 2007, when six would-be terrorists embarked on a plan to attack the Fort Dix military base in New Jersey. Rather than practicing their covert plot, you know, covertly, they got a bunch of guns together and went down to a public shooting range with a video camera, where they proceeded to shoot at targets while screaming about their radical agenda. So now they've got their damning footage of them screaming, "WE'RE GOING TO DO TERROR! WOOOO!!!!"--but they weren't sure what to do with it (they didn't know how to get it off the camera). So to get it converted to DVD, they took it down to... oh God, really?
They took it to Circuit City.
How It Went Wrong:
Despite what Best Buy would have you believe, not all Circuit City employees are terrorist sympathizers. The "DVD Converting Guy" did some ace detective work and happened to notice that the entire videotape was chock-full of guns, rage, anti-American tirades and dudes talking about how they were totally going to charge the Fort Dix military base and knock it over. He quickly notified the authorities.
The FBI investigated and the terrorists were promptly arrested, easily convicted and taught the same lesson inadvertent amateur pornstars have been learning since the invention of the internet - whether it's you dancing around in women's underwear or just pinky-swearing to blow up America, don't film it unless you want people to watch it.
The Plot Against the Thomas Jefferson Cultural Center
The Thomas Jefferson Cultural Center was almost the victim of the Sistine Chapel of retarded terrorist attacks. Located in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, the cultural center seemed a prime target of U.S. authority abroad, and so in January of 1991, two terrorists, part of an as yet identified terrorist cell with loose ties to Saddam Hussein, plotted their attack on the building.
The center is in there somewhere.
Most terrorists aren't exactly artists. There's no Dennis Hopper-esque elaborate clockwork devices and multistage plans, they usually just put something that explodes on top of something that doesn't want to explode and then clap their hands together in expectant glee.
This case was no different: they attached explosives to a timer, loaded it in a canvas bag and set it next to the cultural center. The simple plans are the hardest to screw up, right?
How It Went Wrong:
Ahmed, the bomber, who apparently got most of his training from Terror at the Improv, decides to actually arm the bomb at the center. At night. In the dark.
Not thinking to even bring so much as a flashlight, he starts wiring up the explosives by...
...the dim flame of a pocket lighter.
His partner, Sa'ad, probably nagging him like an irritated housewife, stands a few feet away nervously watching. Ahmed finally gets the timer working, somehow not igniting the thing with his Zippo, and settles back with pride. He's got 5:00 minutes to get out of there.
Wait, now it's... h:00 minutes? H isn't a measure of time, is it? Now it's E:00 minutes. Did he... did he somehow set the timer to the alphabet? How is that even possible? Suddenly, it starts to dawn on him. Ahmed, whose last name is presumably "E. Coyote," has set the timer... upside down.
The bomb explodes, disintegrating Ahmed and showering his partner Sa'ad with retard bits. A few minutes later, a passing taxi driver notices a dazed and confused man covered in blood wandering the empty streets. Being a Good Samaritan, he takes the shocked man to the local hospital, where the police coax and comfort him for a while, assuming him to be a victim, until they put the pieces together and arrest him.
Authorities report that Sa'ad had apparently tried to escape but somehow inadvertently ran out into thin air, where he mysteriously stood suspended, defying gravity. After looking about curiously for a while, Sa'ad ultimately glanced down and realized there was no ground beneath him, at which point he plummeted to earth holding a handwritten sign that simply "uh oh."
Just kidding! No but seriously he went to prison and probably got raped forever.
The USS The Sullivans Incident
In the year 2000, Al-Qaeda operatives found a tempting target in a port city of Yemen: the most awkwardly named boat in the world, The USS The Sullivans.
The second Al-Qaeda saw that naughty ship, they just knew she wanted it. Wanted it hard. So they licked their lips with anticipation, maybe high-fived a little bit, or listened to some "Eye of the Tiger"--whatever terrorists do to get revved up--and started loading bombs onto a life-raft.
It was a simple plan: small boat explode, big boat fall in water. Chaos would ensue, people would die, Al-Qaeda would get a boner, yadda yadda yadda.
They've got all the equipment, they've got plenty of well-made bombs and they're ready to go.
How It Went Wrong:
The boat took off on its journey toward destiny. The driver was reconciled with his own impending death, and his comrades bade him sad farewell from the docks - saluting his noble sacrifice. But the severity of the moment (along with everything else) was somewhat dampened when the boat immediately sunk into the bay.
The explosives were too heavy.
In their haste to initiate plan "Explosives + Boat," they failed to take the whole "Boat" factor into consideration, opting to just really focus in on the "Explosives" part. Sure, elaborate plans can fail and the random nature of the universe will throw a wrench into the most well-laid of plots, but your entire plan consisted of two points and you immediately, horribly failed at one of them. You missed 50 percent of a two question test. That's an F.
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.
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.
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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.
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