Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 17, 2009

Jakarta Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels hit

Filed under: Preparedness and Response,Risk Assessment,Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Philip J. Palin on July 17, 2009

“At least nine people, including some foreigners, have been killed in two bomb blasts at luxury hotels in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, police say. One explosion hit the Ritz-Carlton, ripping off its facade, and the other the JW Marriott. At least 48 people were injured,” according to the BBC.

Marriott International – operator of both hotels — has what may be the strongest security program in the hospitality industry, and one of the best in the private sector overall.  It also has one of the strongest American brands and, as a result, is near the top of the terrorists’ target list.

Yesterday, ironically, Bill Marriott’s blog was entitled, “What’s in the Marriott name?” For terrorists, the answer is an innately soft target that is closely identified with the United States. 

Today’s attacks will receive considerably more media attention — especially in the US – than the June attack on the Peshawar Pearl Continental and part of the reason is the power of the Marriott brand. Eventhough those who bombed the Pearl have specifically threatened an attack on Washington DC.

Two weeks ago the New York Police Department’s counterterrorism office released a comprehensive document entitled, “Engineering Security: Protective Design for High Risk Buildings.”  Among its many good recommendations is:

To mitigate the risks associated with explosive or other devices detonated within a building, the NYPD recommends that owners of Medium and High Tier buildings with controllable population flows implement screening systems. The NYPD’s recommendations relating to screening systems span three general categories: people and hand-held bags, delivered packages, and vehicles.

This — and much more — was being done in Jakarta.   CNN quotes one long-time guest of the Jakarta Marriott as saying, “I just don’t know how someone could get in there with a bomb, given the level of security and screening that people have to go through.”  Some early, still unconfirmed, reports suggest  the bombs used were brought into the hotels piece-meal over several days and then assembled.

Mitigation measures, such as those recommended by the NYPD, remain unusual in the United States and will remain unusual until there are a series of successful attacks here.

In the two weeks after Stephen Johns murder at the Holocaust Museum I made a spotty and informal survey of security guards at privately owned buildings in Washington D.C.   I was unable to find even one security guard whose supervisors had responded to the tragic event by communicating anything to Mr. Johns’ peers across the city.

Recent news reports suggest this may also be true of the 13,000 private security guards employed by the Federal Protective Service.

Few of us want to live and work in the equivalent of a high-security prison.  But our tendency to deny real risks – while there is still an opportunity to mitigate the risks – only increases our risk.

Two suggestions:

  1. Just as there are (contending) national and international model fire codes, let’s get serious about developing — and more importantly  adopting — design and construction codes that address a range of catastrophic risks.
  2. Just as most jurisdictions require minimum licensure requirements for real estate brokers, hair dressers, and acupuncturists, let’s develop and  meaningfully deploy minimum licensure requirements for private security personnel.
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4 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 17, 2009 @ 8:04 am

The post says pretty much it all but question I have is why always nearly simultaneous hits? Is this to demonstrate coordination skills or something else. Sorry any injured and dead and probably all complete innocents. Will this end the hotel business? No but it does indicate travelers may be more watchful in Islamic countries.

Comment by christopher tingus

July 18, 2009 @ 9:59 am

The victims of the Indonesian bomb blasts have clearly been the victim of outright – murder – of innocent souls created by the Lord. These individuals are all God’s children as you see their legs and bodies strewn across the lobby. What a pity!

These so called fundamentalists and others, mostly unemployed and sometimes uneducated “thugs” and nothing more, place mask over their face and often hide behind some premise that their dispicable actions are done according to the Koran which scholars, not the thugs who prefer to do very little with their lives other than plan and kill innocent human beings, scholars dictate that the Koran does not dictate any such killing and professes Love and Respect, quite the contrary of these biblical self-serving illerates….

You Mr. President need not reach out with olive branch to the Muslim community at large….It is the Muslim community which needs to swat each and every one of these murderers mocking the Koran.

The Koran nor the Bible I follow as a Greek Orthodox Christian or any words of the Lord and his Son professes harm to any fellow man, woman and child. To those that prefer, it is not virgins you will meet, but the wrath and fury of the Lord as he makes judgement and casts you to hell….

In fact Mr. President, instead of your willingness to attest for the sins of the west, convey a message that all must not necessarily embrace one another, yet at least have respect for similarities and differences….Killing and hate crimes as portrayed in just such displays are just that and nothing more for no one should cast stone and all should strive to better understand one another….

There are 6.9 billion human souls that have been created through the Love of the Lord and those that prefer to kill innocents and spill the blood of even their own i.e., Nada, a display of precious Persian blood of a beautiful young woman willing to stand tall against oppression spewn across a roadway onto Ahmadinejad’s “Brutes of Theran” as I refer to them for they have done so before the eyes of the Lord and at least from my perspective of the near future, the German-led EU will address these “Brutes of Tehran”.

Even you Mr. President with your condoning abortion has the blood on your hands and should read more closely why you should repent….Murder is murder and all is done before the weeping and outraged eyes of the Lord! No one has the right to take a Life, only the Lord.

It is time for America to cast away the notion of being the goody guy and send a clear message to the entire 1.4 billion Muslims to clean itself from within and rid itself of those that prefer to recruit their own youth to commit cowardly, evil and dastardly deeds on other human beings no matter their perspective and for the record, no one has even asked their opinion, only to prefer to slay in cold, savage attack….Enough is enough!

Yes, the west has its pornography, its addiction to drugs, however I have seen soem of the same in the Middle East, seeing children with guns as well as other weaknesses as I have walked the streets of Jericho, Hebron and Cairo…

The woman are simply abused by “man’s law” and disrespected as an individual and contributing members of society equal in every way to a man and in fact, Blessed to assure the next generation before the Lord. The despair and hopelessness found on the streets of Palestine and throughout many localities in the Middle East after these thousands of years, is attributable to the narrow perspective of men…

When will MIT be invited to open a campus in the centre of Palestine sponsored by the petrol megabucks of the filthy rich Arabs including the “Thugs of Tehran” who moved their gold holdings to be protected in the far East…when will other universities and scholars, large corporations be invited not only to Amman, but to Palestine to afford hope to the young. Young people whether in Israel or Palestine who must go out for an outing or to the very few playgrounds with automatic weapons to thwart those who may attempt to kill God’s children.

Stop the rocket attacks. Stop the bomb making. Pick up a book about your own people and read it. Read the Love found in the Koran, not what some cleric with self-agenda claims….Meth labs are found here in this country in Wyoming and in New Jersey. Drugs, the lack of transparency in governments here and yonder, their accountability as servents to the people, not the master must be demanded.

The clock is ticking not only in your evil bombs,
but in the manner in which greed, arrogance and just plain lack of respect for civility, for lawlessness plagued the streets here in the west for decades early on in this great Republic’s history and good always overcomes the bad for the Lord will not permit his creation to be destroyed by you the evil doers….

We are aware there will be other bombs for you prefer death and destruction for you have very little to contribute at a roundtable in wisdom.

Yes,the “fiat dollars” are being printed by the Federal Reserve and central bankers and while the lack of transparency is evident when $750Billion disappears upfront to take care of Paulson et al and we have a Governor that prefers taking romantic strolls on the streets of Argentina versus Charleston.

We watch AQ and the Taliban making further inroads and despite our efforts as “guests” to help people assert themselves to demand respect for individualism and rid them of oppression and let Mr. & Mrs. Citizen Joe assure you that our young brave soldiers far from home are only “guests” and should be treated as such for if you cannot govern yourselves and prefer to align yourselves with the “Thugs of Tehran” then let it be so…The soldiers will be gladly called home and we will do whatever necessary to sustain and promote ourselves just as we see China preparing to lead the world in the 21st century stockpiling oil, precious metals, resources for the Chinese understand your and (our) weaknesses….

Stop the bombing. The children, God’s offspring deserve more than your slanted and self-serving perspective. As one grows older, certainly the value of Life becomes quite apparent and the fool-hearty ways of youth become obvious.

We here in this great Republic, the United States of America comprised of the most charitable people, a hard-working people who fled the King’s oppression of taxation and fee, taxation and fee, came to this found this great country, America, to establish law and principles under God! Today, we have a new administration whose intent is becoming more and more evident and the populace is beginning to question this socialist mentality for the solution is not more taxes and fees, but accountability and transparency and in your country, with its vast history and pride of people, it is not bombs, the killing of innocent men, women and children no matter what passport they hold, it is enriching the soul with repentence and knowledge and patience in striving to understand one another in clasp of respectful handshake to one another. Nothing more, nothing less!

God Bless humanity for those that seek its demise walk among us and so far we turn our cheek to these cowardly acts against mankind. Look in the mirror and get a Life!

Christopher Tingus
64 Whidah Drive
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645 USA
chris.tingus@gmail.com

Comment by Tech

July 18, 2009 @ 10:22 am

These bombings seem to never stop. It needs to be solved once and for all to stop all these innocent people dying.

Pingback by Dead or alive: Noordin Mohamed Top and Baitullah Mehsud | Homeland Security Watch

August 8, 2009 @ 5:34 am

[...] Noordin Mohamed Top is thought to be the mastermind behind the July attacks on the Jakarta Marriott and Ritz-Carlton. [...]

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