15 February 2011

Pepper and Hydrogen Peroxide Bombs?

I've been following the 7th July Inquests via the J7: 7/7 Inquests Blog. As the inquest has unfolded the J7 group have revealed some absolute shockers that are being simply ignored by other media sources. For those following the blog, if I mention things such as the curious case of the Jag and leading prosecution evidence in other trials that "simply does not exist", you'll know what I mean.

However, throughout all of this process I've always accepted the general thrust of the official narrative. I do appreciate that the official narrative has some very serious shortcomings such as putting the bombers on a train to London that was cancelled but I haven't allowed this to lead me to doubt various threads of the narrative.

But now I'm beginning to doubt one of these threads.

That is, I'm beginning to doubt the nature of the bombs: namely, were they really a mixture of concentrated hydrogen peroxide and pepper?

It was thought that the bombers bought bottles of hydrogen peroxide, concentrated the hydrogen peroxide by boiling away water, and after cooling back, mixing the hydrogen peroxide with pepper to form a slurry. The slurry was transported to London in rucksacks cooled by freezer bags packed amongst the contents. Subsequently the rucksacks were detonated by the bombers.

From the perspective of a chemist, the preceding paragraph has a number of flaws. When hydrogen peroxide is heated it begins to decompose. Hydgrogen peroxide is prone to catalytic decomposition from materials such as rust, metals, metal salts, the list goes on - see Brethericks Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards, which suggests that heating up hydrogen peroxide in a saucepan wouldn't be wise. Mixing the concentrated hydrogen peroxide with an organic substance (pepper) is fraught with hazards; not least that it would be anticipated to react with the organic material in an uncontrolled chemical reaction.

But simply saying that these decompositions and thermal runaways would happen is not possible.

To understand what I'm trying to say, look at the pictures at the other side of this link,
175 Times and then the Catastrophe
the link shows the results of a reaction that wasn't particularly safe. The point is, the unsafe process was run 175 times before the catastrophe.

Getting back to the hydrogen peroxide bombs: although on paper their preparation - from start to finish - shouldn't have been possible, maybe the bombers did manage to do it. Maybe if they had done it one more time, like the chemical plant example above, it would've ended in disaster. From the information given, it isn't possible to know.

The above analysis was gleaned from newspaper and internet reports prior to the inquest.

Now, courtesty of Mr Clifford Todd we have clearer details of what is known about the 7th July bombs because of his contribution to the 7th July inquest, beginning at p38 line 7 of the 1st February 2011 hearing transcript, afternoon session.

Reading the details of his contribution one comes to p58 line 2 where we have the following exchange between Mr Keith (the questioner) and Mr Todd,
"2 Q. You then turn to consideration of the main charge, the
3 hydrogen peroxide/piperine mix, but you've covered that
4 area to a great extent already.
5 You concluded, in essence, in relation to all four
6 scenes, that despite the absence of traces of piperine
7 at the scenes, the absence of any other recognised high
8 explosive, together with the material found at
9 Alexandra Grove, led you to conclude that the main
10 charge was an improvised mixture, a home-made mixture of
11 pepper and hydrogen peroxide?
12 A. That's correct, yes."
I don't believe there is sufficient evidence to come to the conclusion that the bombs were hydgrogen peroxide/piperine mix. A working hypothesis may be that the bombs were a piperine/hydrogen peroxide mix but this isn't a conclusion. The 'absence of traces of piperidine at the scences,' could be because there wasn't any there in the first place and considering the sophistication of the analytical equipment available to the forensics department is the more likely explanation. '[T]he absence of any other recognised high explosive,' means that an explosive was used that was not recognised; I appreciate that this is trite, but it doesn't mean that the piperine/hydrogen peroxide mix was used.

To state that the explosive charge was a piperine/hydrogen peroxide mix is multiplying entities beyond necessity. The narrative would gain a lot more credibility by stating that the nature of the explosive charge was not known.

This would lead to the evaporation of the scepticism around the processing and associated hazards of concentrating hydrogen peroxide and mixing it with an impure organic substance.


There is another piece of evidence that would shed a lot more light on what the alleged bombers were doing at the purported laboratory at Alexandra Grove.

During the proceedings, evidence was lead (p3 line 24 - p4 line 2 of the 1st February Session of the Hearing) in order to connect the alleged bombers to Alexandra Grove. One piece of evidence found at Alexandra Grove was a piece of paper with Tanweer's handwriting on it which contained a chemical formula. Unfortunately this evidence was not made available for publication, for all we know it could give the proportions of pepper to hydrogen peroxide; similarly, it could give the procedure for making piperonal from piperine using hydrogen peroxide, alternatively it could be about anything else.

Lastly, I have alluded to the question of whether or not Alexandra Grove was a drug factory or a bomb factory. I will leave analysis and discussion of that question for another post.


  1. Thanks gyg3s

    What if we throw into the mix this little lot (leaving aside the implausibility of 3 men and 4 packed rucksacks in that space as well, and all the faffing about constructing these devices from the boot of a Micra in broad daylight during a busy commuter period whilst parked next to a car park ticket machine and exit):


    Which IIRC Clifford Todd doesn't analyse, but these were described during the Jean Charles de Menezes Inquest.

    A couple of quotes from the JCdM Inquest:

    20 Q. Did you tell them that examination of that scene was
    21 ongoing, but that a brown sludge had been found in the
    22 bath? Examination indicated that it was not explosives.
    23 Porton Down had indicated that it was not a biological
    24 substance but they weren't sure what it was, and had
    25 said it might be some kind of insecticide?

    Page 159
    1 A. They did, yes.


    19 Q. Then the flat items, I will hold those up again, you
    20 were about to say they are the bottom of?
    21 A. Basically like a soft drinks bottle, 1.5-litre,
    22 whoever -- the perpetrators had cut the bottom of the
    23 bottle and used it like a container, put cling film on
    24 it and put the organic peroxide explosive inside of
    25 that, sir.

    Page 131
    1 Q. Then to the left, those four items, I have a mock-up of
    2 one here, can you describe them for us?
    3 A. Yeah. Basically they were sheets of what looked like A4
    4 paper that had been tightly wrapped, and inside of it
    5 was a quantity of organic peroxide explosives and then
    6 heavily taped with the earthing tape that you can see on
    7 the example there.
    8 Q. To make effectively a sort of slimmish tube of the
    9 material; is that it?
    10 A. Yes.
    11 Q. So when you managed to look inside the bag you were able
    12 to see those items?
    13 A. Yes, sir.
    14 Q. Then they are taken out and photographed. Did you x-ray
    15 them?
    16 A. I x-rayed the four devices to the right of the actual
    17 screen itself, basically because with the other items
    18 you could clearly see inside of them and that negated
    19 any sort of threat inside of those. But with the other
    20 four items, especially the ones with the cables going
    21 inside, I wanted to see if there was any initiator
    22 inside, and when we took the x-rays of the two with the
    23 cable, they found flash bulbs which will be a typical
    24 igniter for, as it was, TATP explosives.
    25 SIR MICHAEL WRIGHT: That's the four jars or whatever they

    Page 132
    1 were?

    19 Q. The flat packages?
    20 A. Yes, sir.
    21 Q. Did you take a sample from one of those?
    22 A. Yes, sir.
    23 Q. You did, all right. Ordinarily, would items like this
    24 be taken away to the laboratory and be examined there?
    25 A. No, not at all, sir, they were far too dangerous to

    Page 133
    1 actually move any sort of distance and the forensics --

    5 Q. As far as these were concerned you were saying?
    6 A. The nature of the explosives, because it is so
    7 sensitive, is far too dangerous to move any distance at
    8 all, and obviously the forensic scientist would have
    9 refused to take it into the forensic laboratory, just
    10 because of the nature of how dangerous it is so they
    11 wanted --


    Clifford Todd never mention TATP does he?

  2. @Bridget 21:34
    "Clifford Todd never mention TATP does he? "

    No but Mr Keith does, see p44 line 14

    "14 Q. What are the differences in terms of the quantity of
    15 HMTD required to make a viable explosive device from the
    16 primary explosive substance which was used in these four
    17 bombs, namely triacetone triperoxide -- I'm sorry,
    18 hydrogen peroxide/piperine mix?"

    There is also another exchange on p49 (same link above) lines 19 (where Mr Keith asks whether or not any TATP was present at the sites of the explosion) and, line 23 where Mr Todd explains that no TATP was detected.

  3. So someone isn't telling the truth (p62) Clifford Todd:

    [quote]25 Q. But there were at least four improvised explosive


    1 devices found in the Nissan Micra?
    2 A. Yes.
    3 Q. What were they, in essence?
    4 A. They were a variety. The photo was shown or some photos
    5 were shown earlier. Those devices, they were all
    6 subject to render safe action, so we never saw the
    7 complete devices. However, we did get some examples --
    8 we got a sample from one before render safe action,
    9 which was HMTD, and on the remains, after the rest had
    10 been rendered safe, we also found traces of HMTD.

    11 So those devices certainly -- certainly some of
    12 them, and most probably all of them, contained HMTD as
    13 their main explosive charge.[/quote]
    Does Clifford Todd say HMTD because, apparently, no TATP was found at Alexandra Grove?
    Yet Codename Neil says:
    [quote]12 And because they were going for a suicide mission, they
    13 decided to collect all the explosives together, just put
    14 them in the car and take them with them. Once again,
    15 there was evidence of TATP explosive at the bomb-making
    16 factory in Leeds. The other four devices --[/quote]

  4. @Bridget 20:38

    "Does Clifford Todd say HMTD because, apparently, no TATP was found at Alexandra Grove?"

    I see your point - the discrepancy as to what Todd tells us at the J7:Inquest and what 'Codename Neil' said at the JCdM inquest.

    Another one of the "shockers" as I've been calling them (and my shock is genuine). It looks as though oversight by the Intelligence and Security Committee has failed.

    It looks as though, Bridget, you've caught 'Codename Neil' in a lie; a lie that the Intelligence and Security Committee is designed to prevent happening; a lie that the fourth estate should be pointing out.

    Apologies for not helping sooner, Bridget.

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