And you can have some nice OEM versions of Windows XP for free, too.
August 13, 2003 2:06 AM   Subscribe

Pssst... got some luvverly bits of rocket here, guv'nor. Bring darn a plane like nobody's business. Yours for $90,000. Nah, 'cos I like you, I'll do you a deal: $85,000.

Black market missiles, anybody? [apologies for the Cockney accent]
posted by humuhumu (23 comments total)

 
Favourite quote from this:
"But the fact that someone is trying to sell these weapons in the US is nothing new. I ran into a Russian arms dealer a block from the White House, who was trying to sell these things. They were even in a catalogue."

Yuri - are you selling illegal missiles on my patch again? I've warned you about this - go on, off with you! If I see you here again, it'll be a night in the cells for you...
posted by humuhumu at 2:08 AM on August 13, 2003


hang on... man tries to sell missile. But it's not an illegal arms sale, it's a 'terrorist plot'? Anyone care to explain why?
posted by twine42 at 2:39 AM on August 13, 2003


It's a terrorist plot because he thought he was selling it to terrorists, apparently. So that seems to qualify to be labelled terrorist these days.

I'm always a little wary of 'stings' like this which are pulled along for so long. The man had been tracked from the moment he started negotiating to buy the thing. Why wasn't he arrested then? Why did they lead him on until he had sold it and smuggled it into the US? What if they'd lost track of him (and more worryingly, the missle) when he'd got to the US? You'd think that they wouldn't have gone that far if they didn't think they'd lose the missile, but why chance it anyway? Is it all just a way to get bigger headlines and a longer prison sentence?
posted by humuhumu at 2:48 AM on August 13, 2003


In other news, selling your car to a boy racer will get you fined for speeding.

I'd like to assume that the relevant authorities couldn't lose him and his rocket launcher if they tried, but I know what these 'professionals' are like.
posted by twine42 at 3:00 AM on August 13, 2003


I'd like to assume that the relevant authorities couldn't lose him and his rocket launcher if they tried, but I know what these 'professionals' are like

Actually, they apparently went as far as giving him a dummy rocket.
posted by thedude256 at 3:59 AM on August 13, 2003


What kind of arms dealer wouldn't realise it was a dummy?
posted by influx at 4:10 AM on August 13, 2003


In addition I just saw on the news that two arrests were made in NYC of "gem dealers" who assisted with the monetary transfer.

Gem dealers? Oy vey!

But it's not an illegal arms sale, it's a 'terrorist plot'? Anyone care to explain why?

Umm... because terrorist use these things to shoot your commercial airline ridding ass out of the sky?

In other news, selling your car to a boy racer will get you fined for speeding.

Am I to understand that a few people here are actually coming to the defense of this scum?
posted by wfrgms at 4:18 AM on August 13, 2003


Am I to understand that a few people here are actually coming to the defense of this scum?

Don't look at me... in my opinion, major arms dealers are up there with major drug dealers. This guy needs locking away for a long time. This isn't a terrorist plot but it could easily have been, and this guy certainly thought he was involved in one.
posted by humuhumu at 4:24 AM on August 13, 2003


Umm... because terrorist use these things to shoot your commercial airline ridding ass out of the sky?

Umm... because the article even notes the arrested suspect is not suspected to be a terrorist or a member of any terrorist group? Because finding out if he is is somewhat significant instead of just screaming "terrorism!" and basing investigations on misinterpretations of motive? Let's not even start the "any object used on 9/11 mshould be banned then, right?" argument, mkay?

Am I to understand that a few people here are actually coming to the defense of this scum?

Yes. I support terrorism and the murder of hundreds of people for my dastardly suggestion that one not rush to conclusions and generate pre-emptive hysteria that distorts a criminal investigation. Why the fuck do I goddamn hate freedom so damn much?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:42 AM on August 13, 2003


But it's not an illegal arms sale, it's a 'terrorist plot'? Anyone care to explain why?

The BBC report that broke this last night suggested that the dealer only agreed to sell the missile on the condition it was used to bring down air force one.
posted by brettski at 4:55 AM on August 13, 2003


The BBC report that broke this last night suggested that the dealer only agreed to sell the missile on the condition it was used to bring down air force one.

And how would they verify this? Did the arms dealer bring a notary public with him to stamp a contract or something? And what would happen if it was used for something else?

"Cmon guuuuuuuuyys! You prooommmmissseeeeddd! I'm tellin' my mom!"

Not that this claim of conditions by the BBC isn't true, but sounds like the guy could have been rooked either way.
posted by tittergrrl at 5:20 AM on August 13, 2003


I think the insinuation was that if they didn't he wouldn't supply them with the 49 others he had agreed to buy...
posted by brettski at 5:56 AM on August 13, 2003


The BBC report that broke this last night suggested that the dealer only agreed to sell the missile on the condition it was used to bring down air force one.

You must have been watching that wacky Baghdad Broadcasting Corporation, rather than the British Broadcasting Corporation.

I watched the 10 o'clock news, Newsnight, and a fair chunk of News 24 last night, and at no point did they say any such thing. The BBC were typically reticent to jump to conclusions.

But his buyer was an undercover FBI agent and the arms dealer's voice is heard on tape saying he wanted the missile to be used to shoot down a large passenger plane.

The FBI have denied that the plane in question was Air Force One, the US President's official aircraft.

posted by influx at 5:56 AM on August 13, 2003


"This was a guy who would sell to anyone. This was not an organisation. It was a sting," one US intelligence source said.

Asked last night whether the attempted missile sale amounted to a terrorist plot or simply an abortive illegal arms deal, [an FBI official] said: "So far, I would characterise it as both.


Hmmm, well that clears that up then.

brettski: I'm not sure, but I think you may have bargled two "facets" in the report....

IIRC, the BBC mentioned that the seller had explicitly been looking for a buyer who would target a commercial plane and boasted that it could even bring down Airforce One.

The BBC website's article on this issue plays down the danger to Airforce One.

I watched so much news last night, I can't remember if they have changed their reporting though, so perhaps you are right.

On Preview

Influx seems to agree with me on this though.....
posted by davehat at 6:04 AM on August 13, 2003



You must have been watching that wacky Baghdad Broadcasting Corporation, rather than the British Broadcasting Corporation.


Wait, there's a difference?

(Happy fun copyright infringement courtesy of the knuckleheads at freepers.)
posted by ednopantz at 6:16 AM on August 13, 2003


because the article even notes the arrested suspect is not suspected to be a terrorist or a member of any terrorist group? Because finding out if he is is somewhat significant instead of just screaming "terrorism!"

The very first line of the CNN article states:

"A man who authorities say plotted to sell a surface-to-air missile to what he thought was a Muslim extremist is expected to appear in a New Jersey courtroom today..."

I think attempting to sell a missle to (apparent) extremists makes you an accessory to terrorism nonetheless, and that is the real point. XQ, et al, would you prefer the gentlemen from the FBI shrug their shoulders, tousle the guy's hair and say, "Well, it's his business what he does with this rocket launcher, I'm sure nothing will come of it"? What makes you think you have any conspiratorial data about lack of due-process aside from what is being reported? It seems bizarre some of your immediate concerns go out to the alleged criminal's rights in this case, rather than the innocent people who would undoubtedly die because of this arms sale.

Yes. I support terrorism and the murder of hundreds of people for my dastardly suggestion that one not rush to conclusions and generate pre-emptive hysteria that distorts a criminal investigation. Why the fuck do I goddamn hate freedom so damn much?

Why don't you wait til all the information comes out before you hyperventilate and create your own pre-emptive hysteria, hm?
posted by dhoyt at 6:56 AM on August 13, 2003


I think attempting to sell a missle to (apparent) extremists makes you an accessory to terrorism nonetheless, and that is the real point. XQ, et al, would you prefer the gentlemen from the FBI shrug their shoulders, tousle the guy's hair and say, "Well, it's his business what he does with this rocket launcher, I'm sure nothing will come of it"?

Gosh, that's a stupid and vicious way to spin it. My point was that instead of immediately declaring this story a "stunning victory in the war on terrorism" we should get some actual facts as to whether or not this was actually an attempt at terrorism or an attempt at an arms deal.

Why is that significant? The article itself says so: "The US government is also trying to buy up stockpiles of the missiles around the world. " Now, as we all know, the United States has NEVER been involved in covert weapons deals (cough), but it seems to me that the act of the US openly claiming an interest in purchasing missile launchers as a means of getting them out of the hands of terrorists is an interesting one that deserves discussion beyond "oh, well the guy was a terrorist, case closed."

Why don't you wait til all the information comes out before you hyperventilate and create your own pre-emptive hysteria, hm?

My second comment up there was a sarcastic response to the somewhat condescending "you don't HATE children, do you?" tone of wfrgms' comment. I was addressing the incorrect suggestion that asking for more information on this was tantamount to suggesting the suspect should have been coddled. But, of course, it would be really simplistic to have interpreted it that way. You know, like you did right there in your search for an excuse to attack me.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:16 AM on August 13, 2003


My point was that instead of immediately declaring this story a "stunning victory in the war on terrorism" we should get some actual facts

Neither the Guardian or CNN called it a "stunning victory", so why the quotes? Oh, because that's what those bastards were going to say.

Gosh, that's a stupid and vicious way to spin it.
...your search for an excuse to attack me.


Wow, I'm stupid, vicious and I "attacked" you, all for simply saying we should wait on facts before assuming this guy got mislabeled a Terrorist by the feds.

Please carry on with your pre-remptive hysteria.
posted by dhoyt at 7:37 AM on August 13, 2003


The BBC report that broke this last night suggested that the dealer only agreed to sell the missile on the condition it was used to bring down air force one.

It would be a shame to lose an actor of Harrison Ford's calibre...
posted by bwg at 7:39 AM on August 13, 2003


XQUZYPHYR: I have to say, the US stockpiling snippet is, to me, a most intriguing factor in this particular case.

Given that some rogue weapons will be of US origin, does that mean that US tax payers fund not only the production of weapons, but also the cost of buying the same ones back again?

Something like that could really be taken advantage of....
posted by davehat at 7:48 AM on August 13, 2003


Given that some rogue weapons will be of US origin, does that mean that US tax payers fund not only the production of weapons, but also the cost of buying the same ones back again?

It also means that we supply material support to terrorists, and thus immediately after one of these rockets is used in an attack in, say, Buffalo, we will have to respond by bombing the hell out of, say, Cleveland.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:49 AM on August 13, 2003


Sounds fine^
posted by dhoyt at 9:18 AM on August 13, 2003


What kind of arms dealer wouldn't realise it was a dummy?

It wouldn't be particularly complex to critically disable a real one, such that you couldn't enable it without a manufacturing setup serious enough to build the damn things in the first place.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:12 PM on August 13, 2003


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