Terrorist-proof Toilets in Moscow

<a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Toilet_blue.svg">Paul Robinson</a>/Wikimedia Commons

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Porta-potties seem to be inviting security threats this month. From toilet tipping in the Vancouver hockey riots to plastic thrones set ablaze with diesel fuel in Stedman, North Carolina, it’s beginning to sound impossible to poop in peace. But soon, there’s one security breach Moscow residents might not fear while unburdening themselves in city-owned toilets: terrorists.

Moscow city officials are considering the installation of self-maintaining, solar-powered, and terrorist-proof toilet cabins, as reported by the Moscow Times. This Swiss Army knife of a potty is made of a fibrous concrete that can withstand a bomb blast. Demonstrated as part of Moscow’s Clean City expo in June, “its appearance can be modeled to fit the architectural surroundings, even in the old part of the city,” the Times reported chirpily. My takeaway: If I’m ever in Moscow and feel the ground trembling, I’ll dive into the nearest loo.

To put this wacky security measure in context, here’s a roundup of offbeat terrorism busters:

  • In 2004, Walt Disney World erected hydraulic-powered, steel anti-terrorist barricades similar to those used in the White House and US Embassies, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The “Happiest Place on Earth” is now equipped with a reminder of morbidity so powerful it can stop a “20,000-pound truck bomb traveling 70 mph.”
  • Scott/WikimediaScott/Wikimedia


  • Indiana bought a $59,000 hovercraft in 2007. The state’s counter-terrorism funds paid for the vehicle, and officials struggled to explain how the hovercraft’s water, ice, and snow rescues could combat terrorists. Stoaberg/WikimediaStoaberg/Wikimedia

  • When an Asian elephant named Dondi died at Southwick Zoo outside Boston, Mass., some of Florida’s anti-terrorist watchdogs were on heightened alert, as Mother Jones reported in May. The watchdogs, Central Florida Intelligence Exchange, filed a report: “The group In Defense of Animals (IDA)  has filed a complaint with the USDA to urge an investigation into the death.” Somehow, filing a complaint with the USDA is now akin to planting the seeds of terrorism. 
  • Amerune/WikimediaAmerune/Wikimedia


  • US Patent 6591786 is a dog ear implant that would allow a human to direct the canine remotely—and get Fido to fetch terrorists. Proposed in early 2002, the patent includes hypothetical scenarios that would have the dog record stealth videos. The pup could also plant “Flash bags,” which are “munitions devices that create loud noises and bright lights, for the purpose of distraction.” Search through the patent’s diagrams for yourself below: 


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend