Terrorism: May 24, 2001



In Chechnya, the rebels have been using suicide bombers more frequently. Russian intelligence experts and criminal investigators collected considerable information on how the suicide bombers operate. The Chechens received several million dollars last year to finance a suicide bomber unit. The Shahid (suicide attacker) battalion was formed as a result. The Iranian backed Hizbollah provided advice on how to run the operation. There were a few differences from Hizbollah methods in Lebanon and similar groups in Palestine. Chechens are not as devout Moslems, for one thing. So religion could not be depended on as much when recruiting suicide bombers. Locals who have lost a limb or an eye proved to be a good source of recruits. As with Hizbollah, people with mental problems are also useable, as long as their disability does not make them incapable of learning how to handle the explosives and following instructions. Widows or unmarried women who have lost their parents are another source of recruits. In Chechen culture, such women face bleak prospects. People who have been condemned to death by religious courts are given the option of being a suicide bomber to atone for their crime and provide some cash for their families. Another source of volunteers are men who have lost many family members to Russian troops and are keenly aware of the Chechen tradition of revenge. The region is cursed with many blood feuds and the Shahid battalion offers are pretty certain way for anyone to settle a blood debt against the Russians. As an added inducement for all volunteers, the rebels provide cash payments ($500-$1,000) and promises to take care of surviving family members. There are also some volunteers from Arab countries, but these are more expensive. These payments eat up a lot of cash, as does the expense of setting up training camps and providing support and equipment. False documents have to be obtained to get the suicide bombers through Russian checkpoints. Vehicles have to be provided for car and truck bombs. There is also the staff of the training camp and other specialists to guide the bombers to their targets, and scout them before hand. Even with all this preparation, there is sometimes a shortage of volunteers. The Russians suspect that in some cases non-suicide bombers, especially people who aren't too bright, are given bombs with timers that go off prematurely and escape routes that do not work. In response to all this, the Russians have developed a profile of suicide bombers and drilled their troops on how to react when a potential suicide bomber is spotted. Several suicide bomber attacks have been thwarted as a result. Some Shahid battalion camps have been found and raided. But even the Russians admit that dealing with suicide bombers is very difficult. You rarely capture a suicide bomber, so you don't have much opportunity to interrogate them. Much of the information obtained by the Russians comes from nailing the recruiters or other support troops in the Shahid battalion.

May 23, 2001; A four million dollar Department of Defense contract has produced a formidable, cheap and easily built terrorist weapon. It's a portable EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) device. EMP was first encountered when it was noted that nuclear explosions created a blast of electrons that would wreck electronic equipment. When micro chips replaced vacuum tubes in the 1970s, it was noted that the chips were even more vulnerable to EMP than tubes. It has long been theorized that one could build a cheap, portable EMP device. But until now, these devices have been rumors. The DoD contract, using two experienced engineers, was meant to see how easy it would be to build such devices using "Radio Shack" grade components. Tests so far have proved the device is real. All you need is the right engineers. The components are relatively cheap and available from a well stocked electronics store. Tests are continuing to see what range and destructive power devices of varying sizes have. Details are secret, for obvious reason, but demonstrations are being given to members of Congress. This will make it easier to get money for buying electronics protected against EMP. EMP proof electronics are more expensive, although not outrageously so. But civilians are unlikely to pay an extra 20-50 percent for EMP proof PCs and cell phones. This means that EMP devices in the hands of terrorists can be a major problem. A few vans rolling around Wall Street with EMP blasters could shut down the international financial system for days or week and cause millions of dollars of damage. EMP blasters at airports could cause airplane crashes. Aimed at hospitals, medical equipment could be destroyed, causing the death of


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