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Posted: 12/19/2005 7:11:45 AM EDT
Article in todays paper re: IED's being made with black cumin ( a freaking spice) and hydrogen peroxide.

My questions: Is this for real? Can someone tell me the physics behind this? How small/destructive can roadside IED's made from this possibly be? Granted I know nothing of explosives, but this sounds like a crock of crap.

What say you?

link

Common spice can be deadly
Mideast terrorists, Iraqi insurgents are using black cumin to make bombs


BY KNUT ROYCE
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

December 19, 2005


WASHINGTON - Cumin, the world's second most popular spice (after pepper), has become a staple ingredient in an unlikely but very deadly recipe: It is a key additive for powerful bombs assembled by Mideast terrorists and Iraqi insurgents, according to administration officials and counterterrorism experts.

It's not just regular cumin, commonly used in Mexican and Indian dishes, but black cumin, which has a stronger, more complex flavor and is grown throughout the Middle East, they said.



"When I first heard of it I said, 'Gee, that's kind of weird,'" acknowledged an administration official familiar with U.S. intelligence reports on the matter. He said black cumin has been identified in bombs manufactured by the followers of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida's point man in Iraq. "But it's not exclusive to that group," he said.

Another counterterrorism source, who asked that neither he nor his organization be identified because of the sensitivity of discussing terrorism explosives in a public forum, said the U.S. military in Iraq also is finding black cumin in improvised explosive devices, commonly know as roadside bombs, which have killed and maimed hundreds of U.S. troops.

The largest cache of black cumin found to date was more than 1,000 pounds of the spice discovered by Jordanian authorities last year in an al-Zarqawi-directed plot to blow up Jordan's intelligence headquarters, as well as the prime minister's office and the U.S. embassy, and release a lethal mixture of chemicals.

At a trial for the nine defendants earlier this year, the prosecution's explosives expert said the bomb-maker had no problem obtaining the cumin. He said the defendant visited a nearby spice shop several times and told the shop owner he needed the spice to make candy.

More recently, French authorities last month foiled a plan by al-Zarqawi-linked terrorists to blow up the subway and other targets in Paris. Christophe Chaboud, chief of the national police's counterterrorism unit, suggested that black cumin was to be an essential ingredient in the bombs by noting that one of the cell members had carted the spice all the way from Lebanon.

Brian Jenkins, a senior adviser and terrorism expert at the Rand Corp. think tank, said the exploitation of a commonly available commodity like cumin illustrates how the conflict in Iraq is providing an accelerated learning curve for insurgents and terrorists. "They are initiating 70 to 90 operations a day [in Iraq], or about 2,000 a month," he said. "This gives them ample opportunity for learning and innovation in bomb-making skills and the discovery of new ingredients they can use."

He said he was concerned that these new skills would soon spill over the Iraqi border and "improve the capabilities of terrorist groups worldwide."

A common denominator in the cumin bomb compositions discovered so far is hydrogen peroxide, a readily available chemical which, in diluted solutions, is found in food additives, hair dyes and other consumer staples. But in concentrated form it can be a powerful explosive.

Yet it needs a sensitizer to make it explode efficiently, typically organic matter such as charcoal, according to a government bomb expert who said he was unfamiliar with the use of black cumin because it has never been an ingredient in bombs analyzed from U.S. crime scenes.

The source who said black cumin is now a staple in Iraq roadside bombs confirmed that Mideast bombers appear to be using cumin as a catalyst to set off hydrogen peroxide bombs.

"Why black cumin? Well, it's something they've used before and it's something they're familiar with," he said. "There are other organic compounds they could use as well, certainly. But it's in the terrorist playbook, so to speak."

Link Posted: 12/19/2005 11:35:33 AM EDT
as a plasticizer or desensitizer maybe but it realy isn't an energetic compound or an oxidizer and I think it would be a crappy filler. Peroxides have been used as a homemade explosive for a long while but there so dangerous to make that most people get killed making or transporting it. The Palestiniens use it alot because you don't need a cap to make it propagate. I would just look at cummin as a key ID feateure to one groups device.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:00:32 PM EDT
I had a long talk with the most evil minded chemo bomber I know today. We agree that it can't be more than a low explosive at best. Not real sure what teh press is missing here......
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 2:07:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/21/2005 2:15:54 AM EDT by raven]
Makes no sense at all. The only thing that even remotely rings true is the use of hydrogen peroxide. That and sulphuric acid and acetone can be used to make an explosive compound that terrorists have used in Palestine/Israel and the UK. But they dont have to do that in Iraq, where there are shells and explosives all over the place to make IEDs.

Here are some other hits about black cumin and explosives

Chemical Weapons Plot/Jordan: Thirteen people are currently on trial in Jordan on charges of planning to bomb the headquarters of Jordanian intelligence in Amman with chemical weapons. Nine are in custody and four are being tried in absentia, including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Suleiman Khaled Darweesh, a.k.a. Abu Ghadiya, an Al-Qa'ida operative and senior Zarqawi aide reportedly killed by Iraqi forces near the Iraqi-Syrian border in June 2005. According to the indictment, Al-Zarqawi intended that suicide bombers would detonate vehicles filled with chemicals outside the intelligence headquarters. A Jordanian chemical expert, Colonel Najeh al-Azam, reportedly testified at the trial that a large quantity of plastic containers seized from the defendants contained hydrogen peroxide. Azam said the suspects planned to add ground black cumin to the solution, which would have made a powerful toxic explosive substance that would have caused death, illnesses and blindness. One of the suspects, Azmi al-Jayousi, confessed that his group had plotted the chemical attack under instruction from al-Zarqawi; he later told the court that his confession was coerced. In July 2005, media reported that the nine suspects in custody admitted in court that they planned to target "infidel collaborators of the Americans and Israelis in the Jordanian kingdom." Defendant Hussein Sharif reportedly told the court: "Our Sheikh Abu Musab Al Zarqawi said that if we had chemical weapons we would have hit Tel Aviv and the traitor collaborator (Jordanian) regime." Two other defendants named were Hassan Omar al-Samik and Anas Samir.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 6:18:35 AM EDT
Thanks for the feedback guys.

This sounded like BS, but hey, figured it was worth a reality check from people who might actually know what they are talking about.

A peroxide cumin bomb sounds like something a dumb bleached blond terrorist chef might cook up.

Seems that that reporter was handed a bad story, and he ran with it.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 7:57:46 PM EDT
Liberal press, what do you expect, quality reporting? LOL
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 5:30:20 PM EDT
The insurgents in Iraq don't need to cook up much of anything, there seems to be no end to old Russian mortar and artillery shells to rig up. Every IED I ran into was old Russian ordnance.
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 7:53:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By LeatherneckOIF2:
The insurgents in Iraq don't need to cook up much of anything, there seems to be no end to old Russian mortar and artillery shells to rig up. Every IED I ran into was old Russian ordnance.



Same here. I could take you to a spot that is so full of pits of buried 152 shells it woudl take around 75 tractor trailers to haul them all off if you filled them to the roof. No need for anyone to make anything here.

We find and destroy so much ordnance it is not even funny.
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 12:49:43 PM EDT
You can't make shape charges with precast explosives like artillery shells unless you got the know how to steam it out. Which is what is beginning to show up. So the mark my words the homemade shit is out there. You will see it more and more.
Garand_Shooter are you EOCA.
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