Politics & Policy

Terror Train

Madrid attack reminds the world there's a war out there--everywhere.

If you’re wondering how the Islamist terrorists got enough explosives to kill 198 Spaniards and wound 1200 more, many maimed for life, here’s a dispatch from the daily news report of Radio Free Europe which may be an answer.

#ad#According to the Czech Republic news agency, CTK, Czech police seized “hundreds of tons of imported, military-grade plastic explosives and detained two men on weapon-trafficking charges on March 10.” The police, no doubt sensitive to protocol, failed to identify the country from which the shipments originated but a Czech newspaper spilled the beans: The country is Sweden and the shipment was 328 tons of explosives. 328 tons! Might have blown up all of Madrid for all I know.

The Czech daily, Mlada Fronta Dnes, further reported that the suspected seller was supposed to have destroyed the explosives but instead exported them–but to whom? Who needs 328 tons of plastic explosives? The newspaper doesn’t say. It adds that the alleged buyers of the 328 tons of plastic explosives “were two Czech businessmen who intended to reprocess the explosives for resale.” But to whom? Al Qaeda, or intermediaries? We know who the buyers are, I assume, but who were the end users? And more, who in Sweden is making plastic explosive and how could 328 tons get loaded onto to a vessel unobserved, without anyone asking questions?

Anyway, not to worry. The “businessmen” now under arrest are going to be tried under Czech law as well as under the 1991 Montreal Treaty prohibiting weapons trafficking. Have a good day.

Arnold Beichman is a Hoover Institution research fellow and author of Anti-American Myths: Their Causes and Consequences.

NR Staff — Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

Most Popular


God’s Will as Something to Laugh About

President Trump’s decision to appoint Larry Kudlow director of the National Economic Council was a big deal for free-market conservatives. The administration is not just picking up a competent policy wonk with significant experience and instincts in macroeconomics, but also adding a five-star talent in ... Read More
Politics & Policy

‘We Will Reduce Abortion’

Conor Lamb’s success has revived interest in “I’m personally opposed, but.” It’s a rhetorical convention — a cliché, really — that many Catholic Democrats have resorted to ever since Mario Cuomo popularized it with his speech at Notre Dame in 1984, as Alexandra DeSanctis explained a few days ... Read More


In a recent issue, we published a piece on Dante Della Terza, the great Dante scholar at Harvard (now in his nineties). Today, we have an expanded version on the homepage. After the magazine piece was published, I heard from Mark Helprin, the novelist, military analyst, and political writer. I had no idea he had ... Read More
Economy & Business

CRISPR Will Make GMOs Ubiquitous

Labels multiply in supermarkets faster than salmonella at a convenience-store sushi bar. It’s important to keep up; we should all be well-informed eaters. But the onslaught of clean food, natural products, sustainably produced, gluten free, butterflies everywhere, and GMO-free sea salt are just too much. The ... Read More

The Pope Francis Challenge

An unforced error from a Vatican communications office the other day drove me a little something like crazy. The nature of the unforced error is that it is wholly unnecessary and typically distracting. And so it was. Days before, as the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’s election as pope was approaching, a ... Read More