The Telegraph reports:
Enough Semtex to make 56 bombs the size of the one used in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing has been stolen from a French castle.
The explosive turned up missing yesterday (July 20th) but no one seems to know how long ago it vanished. The thieves helped themselves to a few detonators while they were shopping.
And it turns out that this “castle” near Lyon is actually the place where old bombs go to die – or at least where the munitions used to get rid of old bombs are stored.
Unfortunately, the security at this place seems rather laissez-faire, given the gap between the theft and its discovery.
Maybe it’s time to get out the guillotines for those purportedly in charge of this pile of bricks. Hey, that’s the least the Chinese would do for such a serious lapse. And let’s say this for China: it decapitates people for more rational reasons than some.
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“A theft of explosives used by bomb-disposal experts to destroy munitions retrieved from former battlefields has taken place,” said a statement from the Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie.
The statement said there had been “security failings” which gave the thieves their chance.
Does this sound as hollow as that hoary old phrase, “mistakes were made”?
The Semtex is now being searched for by French anti-terrorist police who fear it could be used to attack civilian targets.
Now there’s a real ‘duh’ moment for you.
Semtex is favoured by terrorists because it is powerful, has no smell and is almost impossible to detect.
Which leads to the obvious question: why is Semtex odorless? Surely it can be manufactured with some kind of signature smell? Especially if you’re simply going to use it to detonate old munitions to begin with. How odorless does that have to be? And why not some dye in the material and the packaging?
“The investigation has to find out how they could have been stolen,” a police source said, adding that the authorities were taking the theft “very seriously.”
The apparent seriousness with which the authorities take this theft is a real comfort. I wonder if they’ve now tightened their grip on all the other state-controlled Semtex.
We’ll just have to wait to see how seriously they take the resulting explosions.
Living in “interesting times” is so 20th century. We’ve regressed back to life in a volatile epoch. It makes one long for the innocence of the Cold War, where the weapons were big and precisely aimed at one another.
Hat tip: NN