Car bomb discovered in Castlewellan

The BBC are reporting that an army bomb disposal team has discovered 300lb of homemade explosives in the boot of a car in Castlewellan, County Down. The security alert began on Tuesday after a telephoned warning of a bomb in the village. Despite the reference to a warning “to a newsroom” none of the reports have identified any organisation as claiming responsibility. Adds via NCM in the comments, some more details here

The callers claimed the bomb was originally intended for the nearby British army base at Ballykinler but that it had been abandoned.

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  • NCM

    300 lbs. of explosives seems like an awful lot to use for a demonstration device, which this sounds like this was intended to be. (i.e. “See, we can still make bombs and this would have gone off had we been in the proper mood”). Also interesting is that the decision was apparently made by the folks who planted this that this device wasn’t supposed to go off, suggesting that there is some realization on their part that setting off a 300 lb. car bomb right now might not exactly have the desired political effect. But the dynamic here strikes me as analogous to conspicuous consumption by folks trying to let the world they have money to burn: spending $1500 on dinner and $20000 on a watch just to let other people know they can. And here, spending 300 lbs. of explosives, a large amount, just to let others — rivals, enemies, and potential supporters — know there’s more of that where that came from. Or at least that’s my guess. Either that or this was a double-dog dare gone horribly awry.

  • This would have achieved a lot had it gone off. Presumably it didn’t due to a combination of incompetence and sabotage by police action.

  • NCM

    “Presumably it didn’t due to a combination of incompetence and sabotage by police action.”

    If so, the key word in all this could be “homemade” in the phrase “homemade explosives.”

    Looking at GoogleMaps, the mentioned intersection itself is fields and hedges but within 500-1000 ft. to the northeast is an industrial-looking building of some sort. Either that was the target OR this device was left in the middle of nowhere so that if it did accidentally go off, it would take out some hedges and maybe set a field on fire but not devastate a populated area and kill and injure civilians.

  • Fair enough. Also possible they spotted something that spooked them and left it there for that reason?

  • NCM

    Ok, I was curious so I did some more digging:

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/car-bomb-found-near-northern-ireland-school-14165186.html

    “The callers claimed the bomb was originally intended for the nearby British army base at Ballykinler but that it had been abandoned.”

    *Brilliantly*, the device appears to have been left about half a mile northwest of St. Patrick’s primary school [http://www.locallink.ie/view.php?i=5087193]. Like nothing possibly bad could have come out of that…

  • well if they were that bright, they wouldn’;t be involved in whatever organisation did it in the first place I guess.

  • Driftwood

    And very, very close to where the PSNI car was attacked at Mayobridge. Probably linked. It couldn’t possibly have got near Ballykinler Camp.

    Bravado on a small bunch of wannabee guerillas. They probably are more of a hazard to themselves and their neighbours than anyone else.

  • NCM

    I’m guessing they were unfamiliar with the area where they abandoned the car, hence their apparently “vague” description of where they left it… which would also explain why where they left it wasn’t such a good location after all, though superficially it must have seemed so since the road must have looked pretty rural at the point they stopped.

    I don’t think they’ll be a song about this one in 30 years.

  • 6cp

    What a bunch of morons. The Nationalist and Republican community had better ‘out’ these psychopaths before we have another Omagh.

  • rapunsel

    Doubt very much they were unfamiliar with the area at all. Known to be some dissidents about Castlewellan. Bomb left in populated area just outside town and near main road which is very busy with traffic from Newry , Hilltown etc. Thing is , questions must be asked here about the PSNI action,

    residents were allowed to come and go and were not moved out of any homes although I’m not sure how close any homes were

    This has been going on since Tuesday!

    Are we expected to believe that the PSNI couldn’t find the car and attempt to deal with the bomb and that it took them 5 days?

  • Danny

    If members of these tiny groups knew that their [intended] violent actions would result in the treatment meted out to traitors like Charlie Kerins, Thomas Harte and Tom Williams, they’d be even more ineffective. But this is 2009 and there’s only so much that can be done.

  • ??

    lets just give them the 12 grand and get it over wtih

  • NCM

    Rapunsel, it sounds like from media reports that the car with the bomb has been worked on in-place for the past 5 days and traffic was rerouted.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/7862438.stm

    “For five days [people in the area] have been worried and suffered massive inconvenience, having to take long detours to get to work or bring children to school.”

    Unless it was the intent of the would-be bombers, leaving the bomb for police really wasn’t very smart, I’d imagine, for many reasons. Undoubtedly, leaving a fully-intact car bomb for police gives tons of forensic evidence and all sorts of useful intelligence and information and I imagine the PSNI and military experts have been meticulously going over and photographing, etc. everything, both for purposes of later prosecution and to learn everything that can be learned about the bomb-making capability of the folks that left this.

    The more that comes out about this, the more I believe this was a poorly planned and hastily-aborted scheme and not a deliberate demonstration of capability (e.g. conspicuous consumption). But I’m just an arm-chair watcher from afar and have no particular insight into these sorts of things so who knows what the heck the story is here…

  • Harry Flashman

    I recall a similar incident in Derry in 2000 I think. On a Sunday morning a red Vauxhall was left abandoned mounted on the pavement of Victoria Road a main arterial route into the city. It was only on Monday that the police announced that it was in fact a bomb and then preceded to take two days to defuse it causing massive disruption.

    Now it goes without saying that the people who bear ultimate responsibility for these things are the ballbags that make the bombs in the first place. However if, as I suspect is the case, the cops play silly buggers with the bombs (since when did it take days to defuse simple home made bombs? In the 1970’s they knocked them off in an hour or so) then they need to stop it right now.

    We don’t need another Omagh.

  • USA

    I do think the public is entitled to ask questions, and receive a response on why it took so long to deal with this device. Personally, I expect the cops were engaged in a forensic and intelligence gathering exercise, and that is why it took 4 days to deal with the bomb.

  • NCM

    Several hours to defuse, several days to gather intel.

  • Lurganite

    The cops wanted to examine the bomb thoroughly probably to see how advanced their bomb making skills have gotten, hence why a controlled explosion was not carried out on the device.

    In other news, the conties went wild tonight in Craigavon, burnt a bus, fired up to 10 shots at police who then retreated, 4 roads closed off and and the area covered in debris.

    Got some footage on the phone of said loopers 🙂

  • NCM

    “In other news, the conties went wild tonight in Craigavon, burnt a bus, fired up to 10 shots at police who then retreated, 4 roads closed off and and the area covered in debris.”

    In all seriousness, I wonder if these guys feel any embarrassment beforehand when told by their leaders that their primary target is going to be a city bus?

  • Scaramoosh

    It’s amazing what wounded price can lead people to do – and all in the name of Mother Ireland.

    It’s time these deluded backwoodsmen/mafiosa thugs, crawled back into their holes, and came to the realisation that their futile little lives are dominated by a pointless desire to kill.

    SCUM.

  • Archie Purple

    What was it Brendan Behan once said about Republicans and the split?

    However, the ‘dissident’/ Real IRA are merely the current Sinn Fein / IRA’s Second / Third Team, still doing the ‘hard cop’ part, whilst Gerry and the ‘peacemakers’ pretend to be democrats.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I do think the public is entitled to ask questions, and receive a response on why it took so long to deal with this device.

    As long as the public aren’t being cunts and trying to shift the blame for the bomb away from the people who planted it.

  • Pete Baker

    Comrade

    Keep it civil.

  • J-lo

    Children, come on now- do you really think that the police and military are going to walk up to a bomb and defuse it given the high chance of it being a come-on for a secondary device? We all know how the terrorists love to kill ATOs

  • Billy

    Comrade

    I have nothing but contempt for the people who did this.

    However, I don’t see why asking the question makes anyone a c**t.

    If the PSNI simply stated that they had very quickly made the bomb safe and that the rest of the time was spent on forensic examination, I don’t think that it would compromise national security – after all, that’s what we would hope and expect that they were doing.

    It would, however, go a long way to alieviating public concerns.

  • Kilian

    Can anybody offer a psychological precis of what is the rationale driving these actions?

    In this current climate, ie the ‘war’ is over, everybody’s doing their best to get along in life and provide some semblance of peaceful existence not just for their own children, but to those of the other side. Guerilla actions have seen their day, and there is a political will of mutual respect (not perfect for sure, but no longer hateful).

    Given the worldwide media exposure of Hamas, Taliban etc…and Guantanamo, etc etc….

    What on earth is it, in our countries, that inspires people to set bombs against an invisible, indeed non existent enemy???

    Why would anyone engage in an act like Omagh mk 2?

    Has anyone got a reasonably clinical opinion ??

  • Earnan

    Drink addled morons with nothing going on in their life getting delusions of grandeour.

    For them the mysticism of the fighting and dying for the “republic” is their 72 virgins

  • eranu

    “Can anybody offer a psychological precis of what is the rationale driving these actions?”

    killian, heres my take. it seems to me that republicans have got themselves into a position where they think that they have to be constantly fighting, causing friction in communities between Ps and Cs, attacking anything british, and generally doing something to destroy a peaceful atmosphere. its seems that they need to be constantly up to some disruptive task. if any length of time goes by with the news and current affairs being all ‘normal’ things, then they seem to get into a bit of a distressed panic, all unsure of themselves in a weird peaceful world. i cant help thinking of documentaries about ww2 sailors whose ship has been sunk and they have spent days trying to stay afloat in the sea constantly kicking their legs in the water. eventually they get picked up and are hauled onto a boat but they are still kicking their legs. it had become ingrained in their minds to keep kicking their legs or they would die. it seems to me that atleast a large chunk of republicans seem to think that if they stop being on the attack then they will stop being republicans or something.

  • kilian

    Thanks Eranu…

    Is there a consensus that this is in fact a ‘large group’, or indeed ‘republicans’?

    Learned behaviour I can accept, being difficult to stop the habits of a lifetime, but this is beyond ridiculous.

    On that narrow spectrum between freedom fighter and terrorist, there have been many acts over the years that fell soundly towards the latter half of the range,while some others were open to argument or opinion. Now- I can understand(literally rather than empathetically), a residual or even deep seated negative emotion among groups on either side towards perceived elements in the other….
    But to follow up on these with an Omagh sequel,(or anything remotely akin to a terrorist act) is akin to highjacking a cessna and flying it into Canary wharf under the premise that somehow this will help.

    There isn’t a whiff of a mandate,surely anywhere within Catholic/Republican/Nationalist quarters for any action like this— is there?

    HELP!!!

  • kilian

    Thanks Eranu…

    Is there a consensus that this is in fact a ‘large group’, or indeed ‘republicans’?

    Learned behaviour I can accept, being difficult to stop the habits of a lifetime, but this is beyond ridiculous.

    On that narrow spectrum between freedom fighter and terrorist, there have been many acts over the years that fell soundly towards the latter half of the range,while some others were open to argument or opinion. Now- I can understand(literally rather than empathetically), a residual or even deep seated negative emotion among groups on either side towards perceived elements in the other….
    But to follow up on these with an Omagh sequel,(or anything remotely akin to a terrorist act) is akin to highjacking a cessna and flying it into Canary wharf under the premise that somehow this will help.

    There isn’t a whiff of a mandate,surely anywhere within Catholic/Republican/Nationalist quarters for any action like this— is there?

    Comment?