Tuesday, January 05, 2010

PETN is Deadly, but Old Hat

AND it was engineered long ago which places the “brilliance” of the Yemeni al Qaida planners of the BVD-bombing on the intellectual par of a high-school chemistry student. The files of the Stasi reveal this interesting use of the stuff by Iraqi “diplomats” to EAST Berlin trying to kill Kurdish students in WEST Berlin prior to reunification.

On August 1, 1980, at about 8:30 A.M., detectives of the West Berlin police special action command watched Jaber and Mahmoud drive through the U.S. Army's Checkpoint Charlie, the diplomatic crossing point through the Berlin Wall. They were in a gray Mercedes limousine bearing East German foreign office diplomatic license plates CD-21-09. The West Berlin officers followed the Iraqis to the district of Wedding, where the Mercedes stopped. Jaber and Mahmoud got out of the car, and the chauffeur retrieved an attaché case from the trunk.

Both men walked a short distance to a street corner, where another man was waiting for the attache case. The third man was the Kurd who had tipped off the Syrians. After he walked away, the two Iraqis returned to their car.

When Jaber and Mahmoud were about to drive away, an unmarked police car stopped alongside the Mercedes and another stopped in front of it. Mahmoud reversed, sideswiped a parked car, and careened across the center strip dividing the road, but was blocked by another police car. Jaber jumped from the car and tried to flee. He was wrestled to the ground by detectives. Still at the wheel and trying to escape, Mahmoud rammed the police car. At that moment, a detective yanked the car door open and dragged the Iraqi secret service station chief out of the seat. A brief struggle ensued during which a loaded Walther PPK 9mm pistol with a silencer attached fell out of Mahmoud's jacket pocket.

The attaché case was taken to a bomb squad laboratory for x-ray examination. It was equipped with a coded numerical lock set on 0. Had another number been set, the bomb would have exploded in 44 minutes. Specialists dismantled the bomb and found that it held 575 grams (1.2 pounds) of pentaerythritoltetranitrate (PETN). Experts describe PETN as one of the most powerful explosives used as a base charge in sea mines, torpedoes, and antiaircraft shells.

- From John O. Koehler’s Stasi: The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police”

That they were using cover as diplomats to assassinate and used the DDR as a safe-haven apparently found little opposition among the SED leadership and the Stasi spooks who knew about it.

No comments: