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RC Plane Attack 'Foiled,' Say German Authorities

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the they've-got-bruce-schneier-in-the-batcave dept.

Crime 233

garymortimer writes with this excerpt from Sky News as carried by Yahoo UK: "German authorities are holding two men of Tunisian origin who they say are facing possible charges for the 'preparation of a serious, state-threatening act of violence.' Prosecutors say the men are suspected of 'procuring information and objects to commit Islamic extremist explosive attacks with remote-controlled model airplanes,' prosecutors added. Police investigating the terror plot on Tuesday launched a series of raids in Stuttgart and Munich in southern Germany and Saxony in the east. They also carried out one raid in Belgium. No-one was arrested. The suspects had been under surveillance for more than a year and authorities had recently detected 'an increased interest in explosives and model aircraft,' according to an unnamed security source quoted by a German news agency."

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233 comments

i always wonder... (3, Insightful)

kennethmci (1472923) | about 10 months ago | (#44121043)

if i read the article, could i be accused of ''procuring information to commit Islamic extremist explosive attacks with remote-controlled model airplanes,' - i mean, if they go into detail about what was planned..... oh oh! they could even say "ive downloaded it onto my computer" with the cunning use of a cache.

Re:i always wonder... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121077)

I've come to the conclusion the authorities don't need any evidence to accuse you of terrorism.

depends whether or not you are white and/or poor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121275)

if you are either not white or white and poor then all of your activities are suspicious

Re: depends whether or not you are white and/or po (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121327)

And if you're both you'll be elected president

As I sit here pondering.... (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about 10 months ago | (#44121045)

I wonder if the German government stores a database of every one of their citizens phone? If they do, was that database used to catch these guys? Why can the Germans catch Islamic extremists using remote control planes, but the American government cannot catch Islamic extremists using pressure cookers?

Re:As I sit here pondering.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121085)

Remote control planes transmit radio waves which are captured along with phone transmitions.
Pressure cookers only release vapor... however the NSA is already working on PRISM vaporware.

Re:As I sit here pondering.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121137)

They were caught having an interest in model airplanes and explosives. Three months from a major election and in the midst of a surveillance scandal of global proportions, that's what the spooks pull out of their sleeves. You see, in response to the pervasive spying on German people by the US and the UK, and to defend her own failure to act upon it, Angela Merkel recently confessed that internet governance is new territory for everyone (meaning herself). She needs all the help she can get from the law and order spooks. When there is no need to scare the public, a group of right-wing terrorists that repeatedly executed islamic people in Germany wasn't stopped for more than a decade.

Re:As I sit here pondering.... (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about 10 months ago | (#44121363)

I wonder if the German government stores a database of every one of their citizens phone?

They don't need to. If you have a court order, the ISPs (which do have such databases) will provide the details you need.

Why can the Germans catch Islamic extremists using remote control planes, but the American government cannot catch Islamic extremists using pressure cookers?

Because, if you read TFA, these guys had been under observation for a year already. Basically, one of two things happened:

Either, the police decided that they won't learn anything new by further observation, or discover any more parts of the network, so to wrap things up and close the case, they arrested the guys and called it a day.

Or, politicians in charge needed something to distract. You see, they always keep stuff in store for that purpose. Pispers says it very nicely (on a different topic):
http://youtu.be/qRWAyM26YV8?t=5m42s [youtu.be] (english subs)

Re:As I sit here pondering.... (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about 10 months ago | (#44121813)

>Because, if you read TFA, these guys had been under observation for a year already.

Which begs the question.... Why were the Tsarnaev brothers NOT under observation?

Re:As I sit here pondering.... (2)

vux984 (928602) | about 10 months ago | (#44122099)

Because, if you read TFA, these guys had been under observation for a year already. Basically, one of two things happened:

To be fair, that loses some meaning when the NSA has us all under surveillance all the time now.

Re:As I sit here pondering.... (2)

egamma (572162) | about 10 months ago | (#44121643)

I wonder if the German government stores a database of every one of their citizens phone? If they do, was that database used to catch these guys? Why can the Germans catch Islamic extremists using remote control planes, but the American government cannot catch Islamic extremists using pressure cookers?

Because ordinary people buy pressure cookers all the time. It's not a purchase that will be flagged; pressure cookers are not inherently dangerous, or typically used for dangerous purchases. On the other hand, buying explosives WILL get you flagged. I wouldn't be surprised if buying $200 worth of ammunition or $50 worth of gunpowder would get your other recent purchases reviewed. And if someone see's "remote control" anything on that list of purchases, they're gonna come after you.

Re:As I sit here pondering.... (1)

dietdew7 (1171613) | about 10 months ago | (#44122005)

When my wife and I were really into shooting, we used to spend $200 a month on ammunition. In low quantities some rounds are almost a dollar each.

Re:As I sit here pondering.... (1)

heypete (60671) | about 10 months ago | (#44122229)

I wouldn't be surprised if buying $200 worth of ammunition or $50 worth of gunpowder would get your other recent purchases reviewed.

A case of 1,000 rounds of 5.56mm ammo (an extremely common caliber) usually costs about $300 or so (though prices vary with demand). That's a fairly common amount of ammo to buy for sporting/recreation/competition purposes (hunters use much less ammo). In my personal experience, a trip to the range would usually involve firing ~200 rounds or so, so a case would last a few months at most depending on how often I'd shoot. Several of my friends report similar consumption of ammo. Anecdotal, yes, but I'd venture to say that it's not terribly out of the ordinary.

An 8lb "keg" of powder (about the size of a gallon of milk) costs about $150 or so (1lb jars cost about $20). Since there's a $20-per-order special shipping fee if you're ordering powder, it's not uncommon to buy a few pounds at a time to spread out the extra fee. Reloading is not uncommon, though not many local shops store powder in large amounts due to various regulations: it's much more common to order it online (where the extra fee applies) rather than buying it locally.

If the government is keeping tabs on all normal-sized ammo and powder purchases, they're going to have their work cut out for them as there's literally millions of people making such purchases.

Re:As I sit here pondering.... (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about 10 months ago | (#44121815)

I wonder how the German government can catch terrorists like this without a PRISM-like system, and yet even with this overreaching boondoggle we in the US can't stop a pair of foreigners from blowing up a city street during a huge event or a guy from smuggling explosives onto a plane in his shoes or underwear.

'Murica.

Re:As I sit here pondering.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44122117)

How do you know they don't have a PRISM-like system?

Afraid to click on an article like this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121053)

I'm afraid to click on an article like this now. PRISM is watching. (Well, and has been for quite some time!)

Hyperbole, anyone? (5, Interesting)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 10 months ago | (#44121073)

...state-threatening act of violence.

Unless the model plane is the size of a 747 or the explosive is anit-matter, how is that a "... state-threatening act of violence." Is Germany in such dire straits that a single model aircraft can topple a whole country?

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (1)

MSojka (83577) | about 10 months ago | (#44121103)

...state-threatening act of violence.

Unless the model plane is the size of a 747 or the explosive is anit-matter, how is that a "... state-threatening act of violence." Is Germany in such dire straits that a single model aircraft can topple a whole country?

They could shut down the BILD [wikipedia.org] HQ for a day or two. Imagine that: Millions (no hyperbole, they sell about 2.5 million copies daily) of dumb people not being able to read the "truth" on the front page of their favourite tabloid and having to think for themselves! State-threatening indeed.

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121109)

Think about it instead of just karma-whoring with your fellow slashtards.

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (3, Interesting)

Shavano (2541114) | about 10 months ago | (#44121131)

They could attack government people and do significant harm to infrastructure.

But here's the real question: they raided some homes and --- arrested nobody. So that makes me think that when they raided the homes, they found no real evidence and maybe there was no real plot. A bunch of Islamic guys who met at the mosque, send each other email and discovered a common interest in say, pylon racing and who also read e-news about bombings in their homelands does not constitute a plot against the government.

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (2)

Tom (822) | about 10 months ago | (#44121247)

They could attack government people and do significant harm to infrastructure.

Which infrastructure can you harm with an RC plane and the tiny amount of explosives it can carry? A wooden footbridge in the Black Forest?

As for the government people, given the current government we have (which is much like that of any other western country these days), any attack on pretty much any of them would be a benefit to the country.

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#44121457)

Which infrastructure can you harm with an RC plane and the tiny amount of explosives it can carry? A wooden footbridge in the Black Forest?

These days, an RC plane can carry quite a bit of payload. And if you actually knew explosives and could construct a shaped charge then you could reasonably damage a fairly hard target with one. That is, after all, what a cruise missile is; an RC plane with autonomous capabilities.

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (3, Insightful)

Sperbels (1008585) | about 10 months ago | (#44121757)

These days, an RC plane can carry quite a bit of payload. And if you actually knew explosives and could construct a shaped charge then you could reasonably damage a fairly hard target with one. That is, after all, what a cruise missile is; an RC plane with autonomous capabilities.

Maybe if you could manufacture something like C4 and pack it into a large RC plane you could cause some minor infrastructure damage. But your average common-man's explosives (pipe bombs, pressure cookers, etc) would do little more than spray people with shrapnel and break windows. Yeah, you could hurt some people, even kill some, but this is hardly a threat to the state. An individual or small group could do far more damage with a little arson...starting a building or a forest on fire for example.

Cruise missle is 3,300 lbs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121803)

1+ million dollars and the weight of a full sized car. What RC model aircraft are you suggesting that replicates that?

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 10 months ago | (#44121543)

Don't underestimate RC planes. There are some fancier models that could easily carry enough explosives to cause serious damage in a small area.
Hell, get three or four and rig something so that they can drop their payload and you suddenly have quite a problem on your hands if you can't spot where they go afterwards.

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 10 months ago | (#44122045)

Nobody is saying that an RC plane, suitably equipped, can't cause damage. It's the claim that such damage can cause 'harm to the state' that's just a bit hyperbolic.

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (1)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about 10 months ago | (#44121135)

...state-threatening act of violence.

Unless the model plane is the size of a 747 or the explosive is anit-matter, how is that a "... state-threatening act of violence." Is Germany in such dire straits that a single model aircraft can topple a whole country?

First of all: here is a difference between the "state" and a country.

Second: http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_stgb/englisch_stgb.html [gesetze-im-internet.de] (Translation of the German Criminal Code provided by Prof. Dr. Michael Bohlander)

Section 89a

Preparation of a serious violent offence endangering the state

(1) Whosoever prepares a serious offence endangering the state shall be liable to imprisonment from six months to ten years. A serious violent offence endangering the state shall mean an offence against life under sections 211 or 212 or against personal freedom under sections 239a or 239b, which under the circumstances is intended to impair and capable of impairing the existence or security of a state or of an international organisation, or to abolish, rob of legal effect or undermine constitutional principles of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 10 months ago | (#44122163)

That's just legal weaseling. The state is not endangered. Period. Its at best mildly irritated.

If an RC plane with explosives can

"impair and capable of impairing the existence or security of a state or of an international organisation, or to abolish, rob of legal effect or undermine constitutional principles of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Then so can a common mugger with a knife. (He could mug someone important and stab them... oh noes endangering the state! The Fatherland itself is under attack. Round up and execute anyone found with a knife, or an interest in knives, or a suspicious amount of cutlery, or shopping online for cutlery...

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | about 10 months ago | (#44121139)

Didn't you get the memo? Pressure cooker sized explosives used for terror means are now "weapons of mass destruction" so these tiny RC plane are just one step bellow at state-threatening. To find the usual "bombing" term you'll have to step down all the way to the use of firecrackers.

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (5, Funny)

dubdays (410710) | about 10 months ago | (#44121141)

...state-threatening act of violence.

Unless the model plane is the size of a 747 or the explosive is anit-matter, how is that a "... state-threatening act of violence." Is Germany in such dire straits that a single model aircraft can topple a whole country?

Exactly what I though when I first read TFS. I mean seriously, a bomb-laden RC plane couldn't take out a random balcony. They'd be better off strapping C-4 to a bunch of swallows (European, of course).

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 10 months ago | (#44121563)

Held under the dorsal guiding feathers or something of the sort?

Seriously, though. A big RC plane can carry enough explosives to cause chaos in a crowd, perhaps even severe injuries.

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (1)

dubdays (410710) | about 10 months ago | (#44121613)

Seriously, though. A big RC plane can carry enough explosives to cause chaos in a crowd, perhaps even severe injuries.

I don't deny that (it'd have to be a fairly big RC plane, though). It's the "state-threatening" part I take issue with.

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (1)

budgenator (254554) | about 10 months ago | (#44121953)

How do you know they are tiny? Giant Scale RC Aircraft have wingspans of 84 inches (2.1 m) or larger. I've seen some planes that were physicaly large enough tp carry a person, like a Monster Scale: 87% Pitts Python [modelairplanenews.com] weighing over 300 lbs (136kg) and powered by a 650cc engine. It's not unusual for giant Scale models of bombers to have operational bombays and drop model bombs durring flights.
With the history of Germany, it's easy to imagine some bad-actors getting their hands on a case of hand grenades, or digging up some UXO (UneXploded Ordinace) out on a military impact area, or even our good ol' friends RPG7, I'm sure a few of those could be dug up in what used to be East Germany.

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 10 months ago | (#44122111)

You know, the easier way to do this is as follows:

- Germany has significant infrastructure along navigable waterways.
- Boats, even boats available to the lay public, can be quite large and capable of carrying building leveling quantities of ANFO (diesel / ammonium nitrate explosive, also nominally available to the lay public).
- It's a trivial exercise to add automatic piloting to your boat. Add a nice GPS system with routing capabilities and you have a self guided munition that can cause hundreds of casualties or bring down a building or both.

Why is the dog barking?

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 10 months ago | (#44121195)

Gavrilo Princip rearranged the map of Europe with two pistol shots.

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (1)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | about 10 months ago | (#44121211)

Two pistol shots, and the entire Eurasian continent with itchy trigger fingers just looking for an excuse.

Don't confuse the trigger for massive change with the actual causes. Sometimes the trigger is just a convenient excuse to execute already laid plans.

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about 10 months ago | (#44121229)

No, he did not.

The most important thing you can learn in history is the difference between causation and occasion. Several of the european powers were already looking for war and would have taken any other excuse to start it. Against any other backdrop of politics, the assassination would've been headlines for two days and then forgotten.

Saying that Princip started WW1 is like saying that Caesar conquered Britain: A useful shortcut but as "Caesar" really only led the army that did the actual conquering so did Princip only provide the spark that ignited the fire others had been busy building up for many years.

Fake plot. Is it NSA '50 plots'??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121249)

Yeh, that doesn't sound right, they can't carry squat, the engine is only big enough to carry the plane itself, so lets dig:

"Last November, American Rezwan Ferdaus was sentenced to 17 years in prison over a plot to fly remote-controlled model planes packed with explosives into the Pentagon."

OK, a name to search on:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15101449
"Posing as accomplices, the undercover agents then supplied him with grenades, six machine guns and C-4 explosives. Mr Ferdaus was also supplied with a remote-controlled plane that could be guided by GPS and fly at 100mph (160km/h)."

So the anti-terror agents supplied: the explosive and the plane and the plot for that one.

"Last year, Spanish police released a video they claimed showed suspected al Qaeda members training for a bombing raid using a model plane."

This one?
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xsrm66_al-qaeda-planned-model-plane-attack-on-gibraltar_news#.Ucw7S5xrEcE

That plane is not packed with explosives (you can see from the way it takes off its not loaded with anything, and it would need a runway near the target since these are short range anyway). It looks like people flying a model plane from a runway and it crashing.

This plot doesn't make sense. It is a hollywood movie plot. Are these two of the NSA plots? You know when the NSA General was trying to justify lawbreaking, he said 50 plots in 20 countries? I see the first one, Rezwan was a hot head that had been asked to make phone detonators by undercover agents, and then given a plane and explosives and arrested for a plot of having a plane and explosives.....

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (1)

Xest (935314) | about 10 months ago | (#44121369)

They were planning on flying a plane with a small amount of explosive into a US base on German soil that secretly stockpiles now poorly maintained and unstable cold-war era nukes to detonate them and trigger a nuclear explosion, which the US would respond to by nuking Russia believing it was an attack by them and Russia would then nuke Germany to complete destruction.

Yeah, okay I made all that up and might have been slightly inspired by The Sum of all Fears which just happened to be on again the other day.

Actually I should stop, I'll be giving the German authorities ideas as to how they can further trump up the charges wont I?

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 10 months ago | (#44121825)

...state-threatening act of violence.

Subtly incorrect translation.

In German, they tend to use word concatenations, and a proper translation into English would pull these words apart. This one didn't. So it was a threat against the state, not state-threatening.

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 10 months ago | (#44122145)

We'll have none of that nonsense here. We've already made hundreds of posts using the inflammatory headline. The last thing we want now is rational behavior.

I am so not inviting you to my Christmas party.

Re:Hyperbole, anyone? (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | about 10 months ago | (#44121863)

Given that a butterfly flapping its wings in the right or wrong way can cause a hurricane on the other side of the planet, logic dictates that a model plane loaded with 250g of gunpowder (having hundreds of times more kinetic and potential energy than a butterfly) would cause repercussions on the scale of a global thermonuclear war if handled incorrectly.

So the authorities shouldn't just be cracking down on RC planes loaded with what some so-called experts call "small" amounts of explosive, they should also be monitoring illicit butterfly keepers as well. We can't allow a caterpillar gap.

WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121075)

Model planes? Even loaded with military type high explosives model aircraft could not be more than a minor LOCAL threat. Not a threat to the state. Puhlease!

Under surveillance for more than a year? These guys sound like a "real" threat.

WTF? Is Germany taking a play from the U.S. book of fear mongering and manufactured boogeymen?

The only thing we can know for sure is that this "incident" will be used as an excuse to limit public access to model aircraft and "civilian drones".

You could take an eye out!

Re:WTF? (1)

sosume (680416) | about 10 months ago | (#44121153)

It takes only one RC plane combined with an official state ceremony to wreak havoc on a scale which can be a threat to the state. If it sprays a highly toxic chemical it may even stay undetected. You can use this method to attack army bases, parliament, officials at home, etc.

Re:WTF? (2)

Tom (822) | about 10 months ago | (#44121445)

It takes only one RC plane combined with an official state ceremony to wreak havoc on a scale which can be a threat to the state.

Power is too distributed in any western country for that. Luttwak debunked your claim in 1968.

You could blow up parliament and the state wouldn't be threatened. Sure, it would be in shock and all that, but nothing important would stop to function and we'd simply elect a new parliament the next month.

They can't even carry extra fuel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121493)

The trouble with all of these plots, is that the RC plane is already at its maximum load with its fuel. You can't even stick an extra tank on them without making it too heavy. If you could, you'd be able to stick in a big fuel tank and increase the range or reduce the wing size and make them lighter faster and more maneuverable.

So even changing the plot from explosives to 'magic toxic chemical', we're still looking at at small bottle, and then making the fuel tank smaller to lessen the weight. How would it spray the liquid? You'd need a sprayer, but that's extra weight too.

I don't think a few CCs of acid "can be a threat to the state", so what liquid did you have in mind?

It just doesn't seem plausible. It sounds like you're fishing for a plot that can pass the Slashdot techies.

I suspect, like the Rezwan Ferdaus plot, this is a case of find an angry muslim / give muslim explosives and plot / arrest him for your plot. Germany because the Germans are angry at being spied on, so they need a story about how the spies saved them from evil plot to kill them style story.

Re:They can't even carry extra fuel (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#44121801)

The trouble with all of these plots, is that the RC plane is already at its maximum load with its fuel.

A quick back-of-your-head calculation (smack!) reveals that if you take a sizable plane with say a mere five minute runtime and cut that down to two minutes you can utilize the space saved for explosives.

I suspect, like the Rezwan Ferdaus plot, this is a case of find an angry muslim / give muslim explosives and plot / arrest him for your plot. Germany because the Germans are angry at being spied on, so they need a story about how the spies saved them from evil plot to kill them style story.

I agree, but there's simply no basis for claming that a weaponized R/C plane cannot be constructed by a talented and interested hobbyist. And let's not forget that R/C aircraft also includes helicopters and quadcopters, some of which are now carrying significant loads.

Re:They can't even carry extra fuel (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 10 months ago | (#44122125)

The trouble with all of these plots, is that the RC plane is already at its maximum load with its fuel.

I suspect all the RC airplanes you've seen were at Radio Shack. A couple of random examples:

http://www.nitroplanes.com/90a234b-j3-cub-100cc-blue.html?gclid=COKLxdvAhLgCFck-MgodhEgAKA [nitroplanes.com]
http://www.rcplanet.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=GPMA1290&click=109537&gdftrk=gdfV23720_a_7c1734_a_7c7524_a_7cGPMA1290&gclid=CIj8z__AhLgCFfA7MgodDEEAMQ [rcplanet.com]

Re:WTF? (3, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | about 10 months ago | (#44121701)

I am sure Germany has all words to do with anything controlled/remote logged due to acts like:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Herrhausen [wikipedia.org]
beam of infrared light or triggers via photographic flash units, engineering of shaped metals or RC are well known and any keywords around that tech would be tracked.
You also have movies like The Dead Pool.
West Germany has always had huge database options, resident registration and lots of cash.
The tracking and tapping of East German spies/helping the USA/UK would have made West Germany think about easy call tracing during all national telco upgrades.
A physical location eg one "Internet exchange point" for all intra-German Internet traffic would make tracking ~95% of the German internet trivial.
As mentioned by the European Parliament: Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System (pdf).
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+REPORT+A5-2001-0264+0+DOC+PDF+V0//EN&language=EN [europa.eu]

On Cue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121079)

See, we do need all this surveillance, now shut up, you stupid peasants.

Threat from r/c planes (5, Insightful)

TimO_Florida (2894381) | about 10 months ago | (#44121091)

Yeah, I've only flown r/c planes for 40 years. They can NOT carry a big enough payload to do any substantial damage. Even full-sized Cessna's have been ruled out as not being able to carry enough explosives to be a real threat.

Re:Threat from r/c planes (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 10 months ago | (#44121191)

What about balloons?
1. Attach bomb to weather balloon.
2. Release upwind of target.
3. Wait until over, send 'drop' signal.

Added bonus: Inflate with hydrox and blow the balloon. It'll be loud enough to shatter windows and terrify an entire city.

Re:Threat from r/c planes (1)

Tom (822) | about 10 months ago | (#44121205)

hush. Don't bring facts into politics, it only makes things messy and complicated.

Evil technology, bombs, terrorists, the police keeps us safe - what else do you need to know, citizen?

Re:Threat from r/c planes (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 10 months ago | (#44121241)

A Cessna packed with the best explosives won't level a city. But don't forget, this isn't about the total damage being done. Terrorists only need to do enough to make people fear. Crashing it into the side of a skyscraper and exploding probably won't take it down, but it will kill people and have financial impacts. There are worse scenarios I'm thinking of, but won't say so as not to give them any ideas.

Re:Threat from r/c planes (5, Insightful)

chihowa (366380) | about 10 months ago | (#44121575)

Terrorists only need to do enough to make people fear.

With news stories and government reactions like this, that's setting the bar pretty low.

Hell, the governments themselves are doing a bang up job of making people fear without any real terrorists.

Fear works in America. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121693)

Terrorists only need to do enough to make people fear.

The willingness of the American populace to use Facebook, and customer 'reward' programs make me believe the American public does not care about privacy. Condoleeza Rice said, "we would have moved heaven and Earth to stop it." with regards to September 11th. With such fear of terrorism from the populace, and indifference to privacy, setting up a giant, secret NSA spying program was the logical thing to do. The Senate listened, and it delivered. Snowden is a traitor, because he disobeyed the orders of people executing the wishes of the American People.

Re:Threat from r/c planes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121265)

A grenade kills people.

It weights less than the pay load of a model airplane.

You know nothing about what you are talking about if you want to claim that a Cessna can't carry enough explosives to be a threat to people. Just crashing a Cessna on someone is more than enough to kill them on the spot.

Re:Threat from r/c planes (1)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | about 10 months ago | (#44121387)

Yes, if you crashed an RC plane or Cessna in a crowd, you could probably kill a few people, but keep in mind the cost of the attack. An RC plane costs a good bit and would draw attention. For the small payload an RC plane can carry, you might as well just go discretely plant a couple of bombs or throw grenades. And if the target is inside a building, you're not likely to cause enough damage to be worthwhile. RC attacks are just not worth the money and effort.

Re:Threat from r/c planes (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#44121499)

Yes, if you crashed an RC plane or Cessna in a crowd, you could probably kill a few people, but keep in mind the cost of the attack. An RC plane costs a good bit

Aside from the electronics, everything you need to build a sizable RC plane can most likely be bought in your neighborhood for very little money. You know they used to make pretty big planes out of balsa wood, tissue paper, and glue, right? You know that full-scale airplanes used to be made out of sticks and cloth, right?

and would draw attention.

Yeah, so will an explosion.

For the small payload an RC plane can carry, you might as well just go discretely

As opposed to correspondently?

plant a couple of bombs or throw grenades

We use aircraft to reach places we cannot otherwise reach. HTH.

And if the target is inside a building, you're not likely to cause enough damage to be worthwhile.

A five-pound payload, well within the capabilities of a good-sized R/C aircraft, can potentially do quite a bit of damage to a structure.

RC attacks are just not worth the money and effort.

Just how much do you actually think it costs to build an RC plane? The amount pales when compared to buying a modern explosive on the black market.

Re:Threat from r/c planes (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | about 10 months ago | (#44121867)

A five-pound payload, well within the capabilities of a good-sized R/C aircraft, can potentially do quite a bit of damage to a structure.

And which structures would those be? Yeah, five pounds of military grade explosives make a huge bang. But you're talking about first getting your hands on military grade explosives, which ain't easy. Then making a plane large enough for carry five pounds (I don't expect planes that big are commercially manufactured). Then you have to fly it into your target precisely (also not easy). Now, why is this better than just planting a brief case with 5 pounds of C4 somewhere?

Re:Threat from r/c planes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121357)

you have of course discounted chemical or biological vectors?

Re:Threat from r/c planes (1)

ax_42 (470562) | about 10 months ago | (#44121807)

You mean the stuff which blows away in the wind? Go read up on how hard it is to actually deliver those payloads (especially if you're constrained to a very light vehicle for delivery).

Re:Threat from r/c planes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121375)

Last time I checked, not all explosives are necessarily the part that kills you. A suitcase nuke could be brought aboard a Cessna, as long as it doesn't weigh more than the weight of however many passengers can fit inside. Set the timer and go in for a low pass. Hell, you could even cropdust a large populace (sporting events, outdoor assemblies, etc) with chemical/biological weapons from a Cessna.

Re:Threat from r/c planes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121841)

You'd be amazed at the damage a kilo of TATP and some ball bearings can do when detonated above a little league game.

Re:Threat from r/c planes (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 10 months ago | (#44121845)

Yeah, I've only flown r/c planes for 40 years. They can NOT carry a big enough payload to do any substantial damage.

To what? A building? No, they really can't. A crowd? They could really fuck up a crowd. And if you had a particular person/car/window office that you wanted to take out, RC planes with a brick of C-4 strapped to it would certainly do the trick.

But the state? An RC controlled aircraft of any shape or size from less-than 1lbs toys, to gas-powered FOV enthusiast wet-dreams, to military grade UAV with hellfires will not be a threat to the state of Germany. Germany will prevail. A UAV might blow up a couple things which we would lament, but the state is not so fragile as to crumble at the loss of a building and a few people. Even 4 airliners full of fuel were not a threat to the state of the USA. They inflicted damage, and the unrestrained terror that everyone exhibited certainly steered the course over the next decade, but there was no threat of there not being a USA after the event. None.

It takes a handful of nukes for that.

So when you talk about what constitutes a "real threat" you have to clarify what it is that's being threatened.

Re:Threat from r/c planes (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 10 months ago | (#44121937)

The threat from R/C planes is actually due to their small size. An R/C plane could fly unhindered through city streets, over security checkpoints, to explode a small bomb in front of the door to a government building. It can deliver the terrorist message of "we can harm you anywhere, at any time" quite clearly.

The point of terror isn't to cause actual damage with a large payload. As I recall, bin Laden said the destruction of the World Trade Center was unexpected at the time. Terrorism exploits the human bias toward paranoia - if they could hit our most secure landmarks, surely they could hit our homes and offices. This is why the government's response is an overwhelming counter-attack. We acknowledge that we are vulnerable, but the long-term cost of the attack is incredibly high. The "War on Terror" isn't meant to actually stop terror attacks, but rather to deter others (governments and individuals from supporting terror against the United States.

Misspelled 'Drone Strike' as 'RC Plane Attack'? (1)

Snowhare (263311) | about 10 months ago | (#44121095)

Really - did anyone in Washington bother to think about the fact that by repeatedly demonstrating to terrorists how easy it was to use 'remote-controlled model planes packed with explosives' to cheaply kill people that you otherwise couldn't easily reach ("Drone Strikes") that the terrorists wouldn't eventually try variations on the same idea themselves?

Re:Misspelled 'Drone Strike' as 'RC Plane Attack'? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#44121197)

Drones that can perform such strikes are rather larger than the average RC plane. The typical RC plane is not going to be able to even lift a grenade, much less a hellfire.

Re:Misspelled 'Drone Strike' as 'RC Plane Attack'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121629)

"The typical RC plane is not going to be able to even lift a grenade"

Sorry to burst you bubble but an grande is about 700grams, any RC plane with more then an 1 meter wingspan powered by an slightly oversized Glow Engine (Runs on ethanol) will be able to lift that much extra weight.

And that was the standard RC plane before the cheap foam electric flyers infested our hobby.

Re:Misspelled 'Drone Strike' as 'RC Plane Attack'? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#44121751)

Read your last sentence back to yourself.

The typical RC plane cannot lift 700 grams, what you are talking about used to be typical long ago.

Cheap foam is an advantage not a defect. Makes fixing them after crashes much cheaper. Also opens the hobby to a lot more folks.

Re:Misspelled 'Drone Strike' as 'RC Plane Attack'? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#44121777)

The typical RC plane

...is irrelevant, since we're talking about planes people might conceivably use as weapons. You are aware that the set "RC planes" includes things like several-feet-long jets with back-swept wings? A relatively inexpensive RC plane is capable of carrying a significant payload, and the existence of foam flyers does not alter that one whit.

Re:Misspelled 'Drone Strike' as 'RC Plane Attack'? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#44121907)

Yes, I am very aware such things exist. I also know they are out of the price range of your average nutbag.

Even a glow plugged engined thing that can lift a baseball is going to be many hundreds of dollars.

Nor is such a small device likely to be that effective. Flying an RC plane is not easy, not is hitting a small target like a person with one. Explosives in small quantities are also unlikely to do much, since they will be outdoors. This means a shrapnel weapon would have to be used.

Here in reality a $500 .308 rifle is a far more useful tool if you want to assassinate people.

Re:Misspelled 'Drone Strike' as 'RC Plane Attack'? (1)

slim (1652) | about 10 months ago | (#44121851)

Maybe these were not "the average RC plane". The suspects are aeronautics students - so likely to be capable of building RC planes of arbitrary size.

Did they have anything ilegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121099)

So did they actually have/make illegal explosives or did they just buy some RC planes and read about explosives online? There is a big difference. I read about a lot of fringe topics including improvised weapons but I'm certainly no terrorist.

Re:Did they have anything ilegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121255)

I'm certainly no terrorist.

Are you sure?

I'm scared (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121121)

I used to be critical of mass surveillance and the erosion of civil rights, but this narrowly avoided terrorist attack made me realize only a transition to a police state can save us from the Terrorists. I, for one, will be cheering when politicians soon suggest we need more domestic spy drones, censorship of the internet, and a bigger budget for the NSA.

Grand Theft Auto (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 10 months ago | (#44121123)

I guess terrorists play too much Grand Theft auto at this point...I seem to recall that mission early in Vice City using R/C helicopters...

Terminology (1)

Bigby (659157) | about 10 months ago | (#44121219)

What is an Islamic extremist explosive attack? How is that different than an American extremist explosive attack? Or any other type of person, extremist or not, "explosive attack"?

Can we call it what it is for once? (0)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about 10 months ago | (#44121223)

Enough with the politically correct/can't risk offending anyone B.S. This was an islamofascist attack. The method is irrelevant. You show me one kid who is into R/C/ planes who also isn't into blowing stuff up and I'll show you a liar. Every geek with R/C passions has at one time or another put rockets or firecrackers in their vehicles.

Wait ... (1)

Alranor (472986) | about 10 months ago | (#44121233)

So now the Germans are in favour of government surveillance?

Re:Wait ... (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 10 months ago | (#44121561)

The German government is in favor of government surveillance. (It is hardly unique in that regard.) I can't speak for the German people, but I doubt they were consulted before the surveillance was put in place.

WHEN are non-muslim nations... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121245)

Okay, seriously. WHEN are non-Muslim nations going to stop letting them in?? This "everyone is equal" bullshit does not work. It would be nice if it did but we HAVE to discriminate for the sake of national security. It's been proven time and time again that they like to blow up other people with explosives; the more they can get at once, the better (in their minds). I think, especially, the USA, Canada, Australia, and all of Northern Europe needs to disallow immigration of Islamic people.

Re:WHEN are non-muslim nations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121335)

Sorry that is not the society common sense therefore we consider you racist. Please stand by until society changes opinion and a new common sense is built. Then we will say "Why didn't you say it sooner?"

Re:WHEN are non-muslim nations... (1)

belthize (990217) | about 10 months ago | (#44121337)

If "likes to blow shit up" is the metric against which dangerous people are measured maybe a wall should be built around the US so they can't get out.

Re:WHEN are non-muslim nations... (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 10 months ago | (#44122089)

Until your ideological side stops insisting on private ownership of instruments of automated mass murder, you should probably keep quiet on the whole "blowing people up" thing to avoid hypocrisy.

What Is This Hypnotic Propaganda? (3, Interesting)

mrpacmanjel (38218) | about 10 months ago | (#44121277)

"..became radicalised by watching jihadist propaganda on the internet..."

Became "radicalised"??!! WTF?

You'd have to be mentally unstable in the first place to believe that kind of thing.

The only "propaganda" is blaming the internet in the first place.

Mind you I've seen Iron-man 3 so hey you never know.

No-one? WFT is that supposed to be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44121339)

Not such thing. It is none, or no one.

Doctor Doctor Give me the News
I've got a bad case of loving you
Because some like it hot
And she's a murderess
Murderess

Now there's something you don't hear anymore.

Murderess

Maybe in Tunis

Don't they have their own shit to blow up?

And people wonder why Snowden is a hero? (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 10 months ago | (#44121359)

The suspects had been under surveillance for more than a year and authorities had recently detected 'an increased interest in explosives and model aircraft,' according to an unnamed security source quoted by a German news agency."

Whoah there, fellas! So basically you've admitted to spying on innocent people for years, in who-knows-how-big of a trolling operation, and you finally caught two small fish who so far have done nothing more than "shown an interest" in something that might count as illegal?

I realize the FP doesn't involve the US, but I also thought Germany had gotten rid of the whole Stasi thing back when the wall came down.
Evidently not.

Interesting (2)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 10 months ago | (#44122037)

Oh yeah, the terrorist thing too, but the actual story here is that people were under surveillance for more than a year without giving cause for their arrest. Particularly since the raid didn't result in an arrest, and the conclusion that the "terror plot" is at best a flimsy excuse to justify the surveillance is almost inevitable.

As a citizen in Germany, I honestly feel more threatened by that than by someone allegedly planning to put explosives onto a toy plane.

Need to tweak the query (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 10 months ago | (#44122233)

select name,address from PRISM.maildata where body like '%plane%' and body like '%explosive%' and header like '%.tn%';

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