On Jamming.. and not the Bob Marley kind

2015-02-19 08:38

The briefcase Remote controlled improvised explosive device jammer used in the National Assembly

We're Jamming, no, not the chilled kind Bob Marley spoke of. Jamming signals. Its become quite obvious that the State Security Agency has used a mobile jamming device, come frequency blocker of sorts. Many questions have been asked about this and not many answers have been forthcoming. So in the spirit of uBuntu and in freedom of expression here is what I've dug up on these devices.

RCIED jammer similar to the one used in Parliament. Used to protect against IEDs being detonated on radio frequencies

So what is the device called that got journalists riled up and MPs shouting "bring back the signal"? Its called a RCIED,portable Briefcase Jammer (RCIED stands for Remote controlled Improvised Explosive Device) and its main function as you can plainly see is to jam the signal for a remote controlled IED. It has many other functions also, like prevention of information leakage through intercepting equipment during a variety of situations, creating a Radio Frequency Protected Zone in or around a building, and in prisons to stop unauthorised use of cellphones. Or in the case of South Africa, block all forms of comms within the National Assembly and to piss off Yusuf Abramjee.

How do they work? In short it creates interference on specific radio frequencies, like Cell Phones, radios, walkie talkies and Remote controls like the ones used in flying model airplanes or hobby drones. Some of these devices have a range of up to 1km. Very useful if you're driving in a convoy and someone wants to blow you up with a cellphone detonated Improvised Explosive Device.

Why is the SSA's statement not believable?

Minister of State Security David Mahlobo

The Minister of State security David  Mahlobo had the following to say:

" The State Security Agency (SSA) was responsible for the threat and risk assessment and supporting the SANDF efforts to enforce the airspace security. The airspace security plan was also properly approved to supply security measures against low speed, low energy threats as well as the drones with minimal disruption to commercial aviation and related aspects"

A DJI Phantom can carry quite a bit of weight image @DIYDroneSafety

Okay so they were enforcing "airspace security" and the plan was to secure against low speed/energy threats like drones? The idiots didn't think that clearly did they? Because only in the Chamber, was the signal jammed. For those of you that have seen or flown an AR Drone or DJI Phantom you know the range of these things, and flying on into the National Assembly would be one hell of a task! But what about when the President was taking the salute outside the chamber? That would  makes sense wouldn't it? Some nutcase flying a drone with an IED attached (yes this is possible) landing on the president and BOOOOM!

Me nearly getting nailed by my own Parrot AR Drone 2.0

David Mahlobo covered that also "Counter-threat measure was prolonged beyond the normal operational requirements", meant only to last between 18:35 and 19:00 when the president was in transit and taking his salute outside the House.Problem with that was that only IN the National Assembly was the signal jammed. As Paula Chowles from ENCA pointed out on the evening. So the President would have been a gonner had said nutcase existed.

In the Chamber

Out side the chamber.
Both Images @Paulachowles twitter feed

What about Missiles and that sort if thing? Well a RCIED jammer doesn't block that kind of thing. So that's not it either.

What's becoming evident is a paranoia, by the SSA and those in the security cluster. I served in the National Ceremonial Guard for some time, and never in all my SONAs (every one between 07 and 2012)  or events where we were literally on top of the president did we ever experience mobile phone jamming. And we got bored waiting for hours for him to arrive a mobile phone is great at killing time during a speech.

So please Mr Minister of State Security, stop lying to us. We aren't idiots. Telling the truth is sometimes just easier.

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