Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bomb trigger

We can now start to get an idea of the very simple but ingenious way in which the Jordan bombs were activated. I think we can take as a given that the target of the bombs was the Palestinians, particularly the chief Palestinian spy, and the Chinese military officials. Besides killing the Palestinians, the bomb was intended to send a message to the Chinese that they shouldn't be dealing with the Palestinians (I'll leave it up to you to guess the identity of the only country in the world that might want to send that kind of message). Any other story completely ignores the fact that it is just too much of a coincidence that the Palestinian and Chinese officials died. The technical problem was how to manage the bombing so that the right targets ended up dead.

The civilian deaths were required to lay the basis for the suicide bomb fable. In other words, most people died simply to hide the identity of the real targets, as an attack against only those people would make the identity of the killers too obvious. The bombers needed a sure-fire way to ensure that the targets were together in a room pre-planted with the bombs, and that the bombs in the other hotels were detonated at the same time as the bomb directed at the real targets.

A timer wouldn't work, as no one could be sure when the targets would be together in the room. Cell phone triggers might not work, and a radio signal might be jammed (especially with all the spies about). So they came up with a clever low-tech solution. The bombs were pre-planted in the ceilings, and hooked up to the hotel electrical systems. As long as the power was on, the detonators were off. As soon as the power was interrupted, the detonators were triggered. Someone at the front desk in charge of booking the rooms booked the Chinese and Palestinians into the same conference room, made sure they were all in, and then used the house phone to call the hotel electrical room. The agent in the electrical room telephoned the other hotels to tell them to set off their almost simultaneous cover explosions which disguised the real target, and flipped the circuit breaker to the room containing the Chinese and Palestinians. Boom! An added bonus is that the darkness hid the real source of the blasts, allowing for the creation of the suicide bomber explanation. The Associated Press reports:

"A security official, meanwhile, said lights in sections of both the Radisson and Hyatt hotels went out just before the near-simultaneous blasts in apparently coordinated fashion. A man who was working as a disc jockey at the Radisson, where a Jordanian-Palestinian wedding reception was bombed, also recalled how the ballroom where the party was being held mysteriously went dark.

'The lights at the wedding hall went off seconds, maybe just one second, before the blast, although there was electricity outside the room in the corridor, the nearby lobby area and the reception,' said Fadi al-Kessi.

'For some reason, I looked to my right in the darkness and saw what looked liked lightning, then there was a loud boom. It felt like the explosion came from the ceiling, then people started running out.'"


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