Digital Version of November/December 2014 Print Edition
Game cartridges used as bomb detonators
Cartridges for popular video games were used by terrorists as bomb detonators, according to U.S. Government classified documents released on April 25 by WikiLeaks through the New York Times and National Public Radio.
A search of the documents, which contain information on the 779 people sent to Guantánamo Bay prison since 2002 and were made available in an online database by the two news organizations, revealed that two detainees at the facility mentioned modifying Sega game cartridges to be used as bomb detonators.
According to one document, a Pakistani detainee, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, discussed remote-control firing devices discovered during raids on Karachi in September 2002. "These were built inside black Sega videogame cassette cartridges to protect [them] and to make them appear innocuous," the document said.
Another detainee, Hassan Mohammed Ali Bin Attash, of Yemen, learned how to make bombs from TNT and C-4 in Khowst, Afghanistan. "The detainee was shown how to make remote detonators out of the game cartridges in Sega games," the document noted. He admitted traveling from Karachi to Quetta, Pakistasn with three to five Sega cartridges made into remote detonators where he delivered them to two Afghan males.
However, the detainee told his captors that "he never personally saw how the Sega remote detonators were made and never participated in their manufacture." He also maintained that "he did not initially know what the remote detonators would be used for."
The use of games by terrorists to cover up their malicious activities came to light recently in a novel, MMORPG, by Dutch author Emile van Veen. In the book, terrorists use online video games to clandestinely communicate with each other, as well as to practice their operations.