Breast Implant Bomber Tale Rehashed by Sun, Goes Global

Joseph Farah described as “terrorist expert”

BenSix draws to my attention an article in the Sun resurrecting the “terrorists with breast implants” story. According to the paper:

FEMALE suicide bombers are being fitted with exploding breast implants which are almost impossible to detect, British spies have reportedly discovered.

…Terrorist expert Joseph Farah claims: “Women suicide bombers recruited by al-Qaeda are known to have had the explosives inserted in their breasts under techniques similar to breast enhancing surgery.”

…Hours after [the underpants bomber] had failed, Britain’s intelligence services began to pick up “chatter” emanating from Pakistan and Yemen that alerted MI5 to the creation of the lethal implants.

I dealt with this back at the start of February. In early January, a Forbes columnist speculated on the possibility of bomb breast implants, noting that Ayman al-Zawahiri “was a prominent gynecologist before dedicating his life to death and destruction”. A reader’s letter to the Ottumwa Courier made the same suggestion the next day. A few weeks later, the idea was picked up by the Daily Mail, which added the detail about the “chatter” and that “male bombers would have the explosive secreted near their appendix or in their buttocks” (The hapless Patrick Mercer also provided an obligatory quote). WorldNetDaily then picked up the baton, adding supposed evidence from MI5 that the technique had actually been put into use. As I noted in February, how exactly a  conspiracy-mongering conservative internet news-site operating out of the west coast of the USA acquired this extra information – including a direct quote from the head of MI5 that is found nowhere else on-line, and material from a report prepared for him – is somewhat mysterious.

The Sun article rehashes the WND piece, promoting WND‘s preposterous and distasteful editor Joseph Farah (e.g. here and here)  into a “terrorist expert”. From there, the story moved back across the Atlantic to Fox News, and now media around the world are buzzing:

Террористки-самоубийцы вскоре будут прятать смертоносные заряды в грудных имплантатах и в ягодицах, предупредила британская разведывательная служба MI5…

Terroristiverkosto al-Qaidan pelätään rekrytoineen itsemurhapommittajiksi naisia, jotka ovat valmiita piilottamaan räjähdysaineita rintoihinsa…

El Kaide terör örgütünün canlı bombaları yeni bir patlayıcı yerleştirme bölgesi keşfetti: Meme silikonu!…

Chirurgii plastici ce folosesc implanturi mamare cu explozibil pentru atentatori ar putea reprezenta noua tactică teroristă pe care măsurile de securitate şi noile scanere nu ar putea-o descoperi…

여성 테러리스트들이 가슴 성형 수술을 이용해 폭탄테러에 나설 가능성이 제기되고 있다고 미국 폭스뉴스가 25일 보도했다…

イギリスの治安当局筋によると、イスラム原理主義の形成外科医たちはパキスタンの無法地帯でこの危険な手術を行っている可能性があるとのこと。テロリズム専門家のJoseph Farah氏は「アルカーイダにスカウトされた自爆テロ志願者の女性たちに対し、豊胸手術と同様の方法で胸部に爆発物を埋め込む手術が行われたことがあると知られています」と語っています。…

A posting by Neal Ungerleider at True/Slant offers a probably futile appeal for calm:

PETN is a poor substance for exploding breast implant bombs. Pentaerythritol tetranitrate is known for two things: its relatively thick density/appearance/feel in solid form and for its extremely high brisance. The first means that any that any suicide bomber with breast implants large enough to detonate a hole in a plane would be walking in an odd manner that would likely invite scrutiny. The second means that a dedicated detonation device would be required to blow up the breast bombs…

The “explosives in the buttocks of some male suicide bombers” did not work at all. This author has written about al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s love of rectal suicide bombs before. It turns out that planting explosive charges in the body effectively turns the body of the bomber into a shield protecting the intended target from harm…

But how can this compete with the Sun‘s amazing photographic evidence, captioned “threat… explosives inserted into breast implants”:

In January 2009 the Sun gave the public a completely fake terror story about a plot to target British Jews: the evidence was postings on a Muslim website which turned out to have been made by a non-Muslim who then passed the story on to a news agency. The tale was debunked and withdrawn (and the source arrested), but the Sun attempted to defend its article in a letter to the Press Complaints Commission which shows exactly how the tabloid-editor brain works – see here.

UPDATE: Farah has now written a new post, complaining about the use of material published by him and telling us that the supposed scoop actually came from Gordon Thomas:

What they did was plagiarize the words of one of G2 Bulletin’s contributors, Gordon Thomas, and put them in Farah’s mouth.

“Why would they do that?” Farah asked. “Well, I guess they believed it permitted them to not credit either WND or G2, the original sources of the material. Perhaps they thought I would be so grateful for the promotion to ‘terrorism expert’ that I wouldn’t quibble with the misrepresentation.”

And the point is not to quibble with the media misrepresentation, says Farah. The point is to call the public’s attention to a resource that is being purposely obscured from them by the rest of the media – even though they obviously read it, rewrite it and exploit its content to the max.

He adds that Thomas is

a London-based correspondent with deep contacts in British intelligence.

One conservative who is less than impressed with Thomas is Daniel Pipes. Let us turn to a review by Pipes of one of Thomas’ books, Gideon’s Spies:

Thomas holds Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, responsible for the deaths of Princess Diana (whose driver it supposedly pressured to the breaking point); the publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell (whom it supposedly murdered); 241 U.S. Marines in Lebanon in 1983 (about whose planned fate at the hands of Hezbollah it supposedly had advance knowledge); and William Buckley, a CIA agent (whom it supposedly let die so the PLO would take the blame). Thomas’s “secret history” also reveals that the Mossad helped the (failed) putsch of Soviet hardliners against Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991, and purposely destroyed the CIA’s network in South Africa.

…what is reliable in this book is old-hat, while what is new is utterly unreliable, a mishmash of blather and fantasy.

Reviewers on Amazon have helpfully highlighted a whole series of howlers that can allegedly be found in one of his other books.

12 Responses

  1. This story is a true confluence of idiots.

  2. Wouldn’t they achieve more explosive powers by exploiting the buttocks instead?

  3. Whether the story is true, what precisely prevents it being made true?

    The point of all this, surely, is that we can only live in fear so long. Beyond a certain point we’d be better off with the stiff upper lip.

  4. I always thought that Ayman al-Zawahiri had been an eye doctor, rather than a gynaecologist, as suggested by the Forbes journalist.

    I suppose this story had to happen, after the Saudi case of the (fortunately non-fatal to other people) suicide attack in Saudi Arabia last year, when a young man apparently inserted his explosives anally to avoid detection.

    But if folk wisdom were to be believed, it was always claimed that women with silicone breast implants would be unable to fly because the silicone would expand and blow up in a pressurised aircraft at high altitude. No passengers with perky boobies ever erupted or had their busts “blown up”, though the urban myth persisted for some time.

    And now the same myth seems to have been rehashed and given a new lease of life in this account.

  5. Farrah’s mind seems just perverse enough to imagine big fake
    breasts filled wit explosives.

  6. […] Fox News and The Sun are, as usual, regurgitating hyped up bullshit as pointed out here in Richard Bartholomew’s blog.  Not that they were the only ones, as a quick Google search […]

  7. […] Finds quote from fellow who sounds imposing. Calls him an expert. Even though he’s not. Even though he never gave the quote. […]

  8. […] a minister. Coming in the wake of so many duff media reports about terrorism (for example, “breast implant bombs“, “HIV bombs“, and “Terror Target Sugar“), this simply will not do. […]

  9. […] comes in the wake of the Sun‘s “breast implant bomber” yarn (which quoted Joseph Farah, of all people, as a “terrorist expert”), and […]

  10. […] pondered the spectre of “HIV-needle bombs” (that was another one from Mercer); “breast-implant bombs“; and, just recently, an “Olympic cyanide-cream” […]

  11. […] pondered the spectre of “HIV-needle bombs” (that was another one from Mercer); “breast-implant bombs“; and, just recently, an “Olympic cyanide-cream” […]

  12. […] fears about a “breast implant bomb” followed in early 2010, as I discussed here and here; the idea appeared as a speculation in Forbes, […]

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