October 12, 2009

Good News: Nuke Physicist Helping al Qaeda Caught


A man of unknown religious persuasion, of course. Probably a Unitarian. There is a substantial Unitarian minority in Algeria, right?

And yes, the Large Hadron Collider at Cern which he was connected to would be the same one from Angels and Demons. I'm not sure it's irony, but it's ironical that the terrorist behind the plot in that novel/book was a Christian -- a person in a group that is statistically least likely to be a terrorist.*

Not that you could actually build an anti-matter bomb; and his colleagues at Cern claim his job was not one that would bring him into contact with any material that could be used for explosives.

His ties to terrorism should be classified as aspirational. Meaning, he seems to have been gung ho for al Qaeda in North Africa but he had not yet made the transition from fan to player.

But still, dude! A nuclear physicist working for al Qaeda would not be considered a good thing.


The 32-year-old French scientist of Algerian descent, who had also been employed by British government laboratories, was allegedly in contact with the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a mainly Algerian militant network that associates itself with al-Qaeda.

“In his exchanges with the AQIM, he spoke of plans for attacks in general, but we’re not talking on an operational level, it was not a case of means or dates,” a magistrate, who asked not to be named, alleged....

The physicist was seized hours before he was due to travel to Switzerland, where he works between Cern, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, near Geneva, and the Federal Polytechnic Institute, in Lausanne....

Before he worked at Cern? He worked for the Brits at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory as a nuclear physicists.

And it looks like his brother was involved, too.

I'll leave this as your exit quote on the banality of evil.

A colleague described the physicist as “a considerate person and exceptionally clever” man. The colleague, who did not wish to be named, said the physicist had been unwell this year, and was on leave from February until July because of a bad back.
*Note to Dan Brown: Actually liked the book -- much better than DaVinci. And I suppose a book about Muslim terrorists wouldn't be all that intriguing. I mean, a plot where the terrorists are Muslim. Who didn't see that one coming!

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:57 AM | Comments |