Once again, the capacity of free Western societies to create inventions is trumping the brutality of the Islamist terrorists, who seek to restore a seventh century steady-state society, based on the "perfection" of Shari'a law. God-given gifts of intellect trump lunatic application of allegedly God-given dogmas laid down for nomadic tribes almost a millennium and a half ago.
David Brin, of the website Israel21C, reports that a Tel-Aviv based company, Acro, has completed production of a peroxide-based explosives tester which can quickly and positively identify TATP explosives. In case you have forgotten, this is the category of explosive that Richard Reid attempted to detonate as a shoe bomb. The peroxide-based explosive Triacetone Triperoxide was also used for attacks on London's public transport, the Madrid train bombings, and many suicide bombs in Israel.
According to the inventor of the device and Acro's scientific adviser Ehud Keinan, the handheld, disposable ACRO-PET provide a viable method of combating the TATP threat and is designed for any kind of security agent - from soldiers in Iraq to airport security people.
"It's for anybody who finds suspicious powder and goes 'what is that?' - whether it's policemen or soldiers - it may not happen every day, but it does happen frequently," Keinan told ISRAEL21c.
The ACRO-PET is the culmination of over 20 years of research by Keinan, an associate professor at the Technion in Haifa, and a former professor at the Scripps Research Institute in California. The origins of that research sound like something out of a spy novel, as Keinan recounts it.
"About 20 years ago, I got a late night call from someone in the Israeli secret service - the Shabak - who asked me to help in a national effort to combat a new phenomenon in terrorism, improvised explosives. At that time TATP was very new - the first known incident was a bombing by Palestinian terrorists against Israelis at Beit Hadas in Hebron in 1980...."
This is symbolic of the race between civilization and barbarism, or between innovation and regression, if you will. Jack Risko, of Dinocrat.com has written extensively on this central dynamic of the conflict shaping our times. It deserves far more attention than it has gotten elsewhere.