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Mobile phones & terrorist attacks

Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
Posts: 1759
How does the simple mobile phone trigger a terrorist attack ?

The Madris bombing and more recently a train bombing in North Korea near the Chinese border is thought to be an attempt to murder Kim Jong-il, the country's leader. The chemical and oil cargo explosion killed 160 people.

Does the phone work like a timer and detonater ?


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fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11422
    
  16

I would imagine it would be pretty easy to wire a detonator to the speaker of the cell phone. all you'd have to do is call the phone and it would trigger the bomb. the battery on today's cell phones last a week if nobody calls them, so you could plant it and just wait until the right moment. i don't think there's enough power in the phone to BE the detonator, but i could be wrong on that. i would think it basically becomes the radio-trigger.

of course, the longer it's there, the greater the chance of discovery.
[ June 23, 2004: Message edited by: fred rosenberger ]

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Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
Posts: 1759
Thanks fred for explaining.

Would the police be allowed to jam mobile communications in the event of a terrorist attack and leave people already panicking unable to use their phones?

Should create more problems than this plan would solve IMO.
[ June 23, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Steve Wink
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Joined: May 13, 2002
Posts: 223
Originally posted by Helen Thomas:
Thanks fred for explaining.

Would the police be allowed to jam mobile communications in the event of a terrorist attack and leave people already panicking unable to use their phones?

Should create more problems than this plan would solve IMO.

[ June 23, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]


I think I read somewhere that the Madrid bombers used the mobile phones as timers - when the reminder went off so did the bomb. Shame they never got a wrong number when they were putting the bombs together...
Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
Posts: 1759
Originally posted by fred rosenberger:

of course, the longer it's there, the greater the chance of discovery.



From the article an attempt was made to assassinate the President of Pakistan
but communications were jammed in time. The mind boggles how they can tell if a phone has been wired ( to revert to trad speak as it were }
[ June 23, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11422
    
  16

Now, this is all speculation on my part, pulling from my unusual education/career path (Drama major to Math teacher to Airline Reservation agent to Java programmer). I don't KNOW this is how they did it, but it seems the easiest to me. i don't have a cell phone, so i didn't know they had reminders.

but basically, i think there are 3 components to a bomb: the explosive, the detonator, and the trigger. the explosive part is obvious. the detonator is what starts, or ignites the explosive. it could be electrical, chemical, or something else. but the explosive should NOT go off before the detonator lights it.

then, you need a way to turn the detonator on - a trigger. this, too, should be something you have absolute control over. you don't want the detonator going off before you're ready (the detonator itself can be powerful enough to kill you - i think the H-Bomb uses an A-bomb as a detonator - or vice versa).

the three components should be separate from each other. if you want a bomb powerful enough to do real damage, you either need a lot of weak explosive, or a little that is REALLY powerful (like c-4). of course, the powerful stuff is hard to come by. The oklahoma city bomber used several large barrels of gasoline and fertilizer. I would assume for something like Madrid, they had a phone wired to other stuff - it wasn't just a phone. So if they found a phone with wires coming out attatched to something else... it's pretty obvious.

then, you can always use dogs or machines to sniff for trace chemicals. for a phone to have enough explosive in it to do real damage, you'd need that specialized stuff, which (from what i think i've heard) is pretty easy to detect with the right tools.

re: police blocking calls - i don't think they could now, as a matter of policy. The technology exists, but is not allowed in the U.S.A. (as far as you or i know). You'd have to do some major law re-writes to get permission. And, like the article you quoted mentioned, it could also block the police, fire dept, military from communicating as well. I think there would be a lot of additional problems created.

Plus, there are so many OTHER ways to trigger a bomb. Parts from an RC car, a kitchen timer... heck, i think in WWI they used cigarettes. you tuck the fuse into one end, light the other, then have about 10 minutes until it burned down...
[ June 23, 2004: Message edited by: fred rosenberger ]
Steve Wink
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 13, 2002
Posts: 223
Originally posted by fred rosenberger:
Now, this is all speculation on my part, pulling from my unusual education/career path (Drama major to Math teacher to Airline Reservation agent to Java programmer). I don't KNOW this is how they did it, but it seems the easiest to me. i don't have a cell phone, so i didn't know they had reminders.

but basically, i think there are 3 components to a bomb: the explosive, the detonator, and the trigger. the explosive part is obvious. the detonator is what starts, or ignites the explosive. it could be electrical, chemical, or something else. but the explosive should NOT go off before the detonator lights it.

then, you need a way to turn the detonator on - a trigger. this, too, should be something you have absolute control over. you don't want the detonator going off before you're ready (the detonator itself can be powerful enough to kill you - i think the H-Bomb uses an A-bomb as a detonator - or vice versa).

the three components should be separate from each other. if you want a bomb powerful enough to do real damage, you either need a lot of weak explosive, or a little that is REALLY powerful (like c-4). of course, the powerful stuff is hard to come by. The oklahoma city bomber used several large barrels of gasoline and fertilizer. I would assume for something like Madrid, they had a phone wired to other stuff - it wasn't just a phone. So if they found a phone with wires coming out attatched to something else... it's pretty obvious.

then, you can always use dogs or machines to sniff for trace chemicals. for a phone to have enough explosive in it to do real damage, you'd need that specialized stuff, which (from what i think i've heard) is pretty easy to detect with the right tools.

re: police blocking calls - i don't think they could now, as a matter of policy. The technology exists, but is not allowed in the U.S.A. (as far as you or i know). You'd have to do some major law re-writes to get permission. And, like the article you quoted mentioned, it could also block the police, fire dept, military from communicating as well. I think there would be a lot of additional problems created.

Plus, there are so many OTHER ways to trigger a bomb. Parts from an RC car, a kitchen timer... heck, i think in WWI they used cigarettes. you tuck the fuse into one end, light the other, then have about 10 minutes until it burned down...

[ June 23, 2004: Message edited by: fred rosenberger ]


Plus there seems to be an endless supply of deluded people willing to become human detonators...
 
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