Connections: Bali/Wood


    by Joe Girard  © 2012


1.     The Earth

It is the only water current that flows completely around the globe, closing on itself like a circle.  Pushed by constant westerly winds, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current flows eastward around the pole – appearing as a clockwise rotating carousel, that is, if you could look “up” at the pole.

Cruising in the latitudes 50-60 degrees south of the equator, the ACC transports more water by volume than any other current in the world.  As such, it serves as part of the world’s weather dynamo.  Its boundary churns against the more placid southern boundaries of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, spewing forth a ceaseless supply of sea swells.  Like a perpetual motion machine, the waves keep coming; ceaselessly moving north; north to the tropics.

Polynesians and Melanesians rode these waves on boards for countless generations.  When westerners learned of surfing as a fun sport, they flocked to the exotic lands of the South Pacific, with their attractive combination of waves, weather and scenery.



2.     The Plan

What a stupefying thing it can be when a plan comes together. Blindingly brilliant, glowingly bright. It can even blow you away.  Especially one that takes a long time to conceive and gestate, pulling together connections across international boundaries.


3.    We Need a Hero
     It occurs just infrequently enough that it can take your breath away.  It can tease and delight the mind with playful games of “what if” possibilities.  A young person appears fresh on the scene loaded with so much potential – intellect, energy, drive and personality – that we wonder if they will be a great force of good for mankind: Perhaps a creative scientist, a break-through researcher or doctor; or a leader of people?  Or a tremendous role model. Would it be too much to hope that such people raise children too?



4.    Historical Context

     When the Carnation Revolution hit Portugal in 1974, that country had the oldest overseas empire of Europe, dating back to the explorers of the early 15thcentury and the reign of Prince Henry the Navigator.  This bloodless revolution, noted for citizens putting carnations into soldiers’ gun barrels and button holes, the Carnation Revolution not only changed Portugal from an autocratic dictatorship into a constitutional democracy – ending the rule of Antonio Salazar – it accelerated Portugal’s desire to unburden itself of the great cost of maintaining what remained of its extensive worldwide colonial network.  That year, Portugal granted independence to its East Indies colony on the eastern half of the island of Timor. 

     The western half of Timor had been a Dutch colony – part of the Dutch East Indies – until Indonesia’s formal independence in 1949.  The Netherlands was unable to hold the colonies after the great wave of nationalism spawned by the atrocious Japanese occupation during World War II and, after an ugly war, eventually granted Indonesia its independence.



Figure 1. Extent of the Portuguese Colonial Empire


Figure 2.  Region of Timor


The Set Up
The Plan II

     The Genius’ plan included himself and five major accomplices.  A central core of four secured the necessary materiel – items like cell phones, a large van and a motor bike – as well as planned and coordinated the events, site surveys and site selection.  Two others would be sacrificed to the cause. 


The Heroine II

     Fiona Wood was born in 1958 in the small, historic market town ofPontefract, in a hard-working coal mining district some 30 miles southwest of the great walled city of York, the third of four children.  From a young age she was an eye-catcher, with not just with her stunning, neck-craning good looks, but also as a speedy sprinter with Olympic aspirations. And she was a scholastic prodigy, able to grasp and explain abstract concepts well beyond her years in fields such as mathematics and physics.  After five years in a Quaker school, where her desire to serve mankind was cemented, her family steered her toward medicine. 

     Wood completed her undergraduate studies in Anatomy and Neurology in only 3 years in London, at St Thomas Hospital Medical School, at age 20, with First in Class Honours.


Historical Context II

No sooner had Portugal freed East Timor from her status as colonial territory than she claimed her place among the independent nations of the world. Indonesia responded by invading and annexing East Timor as its own province. Despite Indonesian investment in infrastructure, deep dissatisfaction and alienation ensued, manifested in a decades-long near-continuous civil war – East Timor refused to release her claim for independence; and Indonesia refused to relinquish its grip.  Much of the world, including the US and Australia, did not recognize Indonesia’s dominion over East Timor.  As a matter of political convenience, they still officially considered her part of Portugal’s “empire”, which meant they didn’t offend emerging Indonesia by recognizing East Timor’s independence either.

     The Indonesian military invaded in 1999 as a response to Timorese brashness.  Much of the new infrastructure was destroyed, thousands were killed, and over 300,000 were forcibly moved and re-patriated to West Timor as “refugees.”


     The Heroine III

Wood completed her medical degree in London in 1981, and went on to further medical studies, internship and residency to become a surgeon.  In the meanwhile, Wood met and married fellow surgeon Tony Kiereth, a native of Perth, Western Australia.  In 1987 they moved to Perth with their two children. There she continued medical practice; soon after arrival she moved to the area of plastic and reconstructive surgery for accident and burn victims.


     Historical Context III

Through the millennia, fanatic religious devotion has spawned many groups prone toward aggressive radicalism in pursuit of political goals.  As the sun set on the century – the 20th  since the Common Era – such dreadful human passions proved to be unchanged.  Jamaah Islamiya (JI), a violent neo-Jihadist Indonesia-based Islamic group saw Western favoritism toward East Timorese independence as an affront to their goal of forming a huge Islamist state encompassing all of the Indies, Thailand, Singapore and even the Philippines.   

     A partnership was formed between JI and al Qaeda (AQ) in 1998, affording JI the opportunity to train in terrorist activities in the AQ safe-haven, Afghanistan.  They soon began seeking soft targets in order to terrorize the west.  As “the plan” was first coming together, additional motivation soon arrived: The US-led invasion of Afghanistan removed the Taliban, put AQ on the run, and JI lost their training facilities. [12]


The Heroine IV

Wood earned her fellowship from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), specializing in plastic and reconstructive surgery in 1991 – becoming Western Australia’s first female plastic surgeon.  She continued her focus on healing for acute burn victims and scar reconstruction.  In 1992, she was named head of the burn unit at Royal Perth Hospital.  She also began serving as clinical professor at the School of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Western Australia, and director of the Western Australia Burns Service.  And she continued having children.

     Beginning in 1989, Wood joined doctors world-wide who were studying and researching how burn wounds heal, and how to accelerate the process.  The need for speed, it became clear, was intense: such wounds are extremely painful in the weeks until healing can begin, and the longer healing is delayed the greater the pain, the greater the scarring.  In the meanwhile, complications often led to death. Scar tissue is frequently extremely painful, even years after “healing.”

      Wood began working in the lab of local scientist and friend Marie Stoner, borrowing time in her lab experimenting with skin cultures. 

     In 1992 a local school teacher, who had suffered horribly severe oil burns over 90% of his body, arrived at Royal Perth.  Wood turned to the emerging technology from the United States that she had been working on: using harvested healthy cells that had only been cultured a few days … the theory being that a clean wound – human flesh – is a better culture environment than what can be conjured up in the lab.  Instead of growing fully developed confluent “skin sheets”, which usually take about 21 days to culture, pre-confluent (i.e. not fully cultured) skin cells were applied directly to the wound. [Unfortunately, I was unable to find much about how this case turned out].

    Based on optimism gained from this experience, Wood and Stoner founded the McComb Foundation to raise funds for further study and treatment of severe burn victims. They also formed a commercial enterprise – the biotech company C3 (for Clinical Cell Culture) – the profits of which would flow to the McComb Foundation.

   Over the next ten years  – until that fateful day –  they continued their efforts, building upon each success, and developed the process of aerosol-based “spray-on skin”: using an aerosol spray to deliver skin cells that had been recently harvested from the patient’s own healthy skin (to minimize chance of rejection) and cultured only a few days.


Where: Location, Location, Location

     The island of Bali is home to over 3-1/2 million people, mostly Indonesians. Its many regions, from beaches to mountains — each bedecked in its own beauty — form a symphony of wonder, drawing visitors from around the globe. In the world of art, it is a haven for those who appreciate sculpture, painting, native dance, metalworking, music, and leather work.  Its natural beauty includes mountains, dormant volcanoes, jungles, and picturesque idyllic beaches.  Bali attracts enthusiasts of water sports and marine exploration, as its waters are exquisitely beautiful for divers and snorkelers.  Sipping fruity cocktails and people watching are also very popular beach activities.

But, among all its water centered activities, Bali is most well-known for its spectacular surfing.  Waves, virtually unimpeded, roll up directly from the Antarctic.  Seasonal breezes shape the waves into swells that would entice any wave rider.

     Combined with its flowers, temples, friendliness, spas, and archaeological attractions, Bali is easily the most desirable tourist destination in Indonesia.  It is particularly attractive to well-off westerners from Europe, Australia … and the US.  Resorts abound, and western investment greases a flourishing local economy.

     A town that attracts the most tourist splurging is Kuta, with its proximity to the island’s main airport, beaches and active night life.


Figure 3.  Kuta, on the Island of Bali


Figure 4.  Bali, part of Indonesia



Historical Context IV

     United Nations intervention helped bring the Indonesia/East Timor conflict to an end beginning in 1999, when they conducted a referendum which clearly showed the population’s preference for independence.  In May, 2002, East Timor finally gained its full independence, becoming the only Asian nation principally of Portuguese tongue.  It became one of only two predominantly Christian (in fact Catholic) nations in Asia – the other is the Philippines – and began using the US Dollar as an official currency.  All of this further exasperated Islamist groups like the JI.


The Plan IV

To the security guards, he looked like an ordinary tourist with a camera; little did they know he was actually there to “case the joint.”  

The soft targets must be clearly western.  This had been the genius’ idea – Mukhlas’ idea – since 1986 when JI was first coming together.  The victims must be “innocent” and utterly defenseless – in order to cause the greatest terror possible.  The best would be affiliated with the US or Israel.  European and Australian related targets were of course considered, but of only secondary interest.  

     Sites worthy of consideration included embassies and consulates, Christian churches, Jewish synagogues, and schools – schools for children of English-speaking expatriates.  They were all scoped out, surveilled and cased for logistics and damage potential.  What target would be the juiciest?  Full of youthful targets, and make the West feel totally vulnerable?  Of course: a night club.  Timing would be everything … the plan was coming together.



     Among terrorists, the explosion is highly effective.  A rapid exothermic chemical reaction that has a high energy density – via conversion of solids into gases, heat and pressure – is desirable.  But high energy density is not the only thing required.  Gasoline has a high energy density, but produces a relatively ineffective explosive.  More important than energy density is the rate at which energy is released.  The choice then is detonation.  This occurs when the rate at which the chemical reaction moves through the explosive is at the speed of sound for that material. 

     Ammonium Nitrate and Fuel Oil (AN/FO – the explosive used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing) has a moderate energy density, and can be detonated with a propagation wave speed of about 3,200 meters per second.  Ammonium Nitrate and Fuel Oil are fairly easily available: one is a common element in fertilizers, the other used for heating and cooking.

       Not so available, but of higher energy density (although still less than gasoline) is 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT).  When detonated, TNT has a much faster detonation velocity of 6,940 meters/second.  Triggering the detonation is usually done by a smaller amount of another detonation explosive.

     Both of these (ANFO and TNT) are notoriously unstable, and can explode prematurely due to improper handling such as unintended shock or careless mixing.  This happened to the girlfriend of President Obama’s friend Bill Ayers, Diana Oughton, who died in a TNT-based nail-bomb assembly accident in 1970, when she and Ayers were part of the terrorist group Weather Underground. 

     If a large amount of space is available, a simple yet highly explosive reaction can be built around Potassium Chlorate (PC), a highly reactive oxidizer. It is fairly easily available, as it is used in large amounts by several industries. With even mild amounts of heat, it becomes highly reactive with any fuel, and thus it must be handled with great care. Depending on its fuel and fuel/oxidizer ratio, PC has detonation velocities similar to ANFO.

     The US-developed “plastic explosive” C-4 (and its British cousin PE-4) are much more highly desired by terrorist organizations.  Very safe and stable, it will not even explode when set on fire.  It has the highest energy density, by virtue of the extra Nitrogen atoms in the basic benzene-like ring of its primary molecule, RDX (1,3,5-Trinitroperhydrotriazine, or cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine). When detonated, it has an astounding velocity of 8,100 meters/second.  C-4 is very safely moldable into almost any shape: it can be pressed into small openings, cracks and holes without detonating, or fit around the lock of a safe. It can be used as a detonation trigger for other detonation explosives. And, it also molds and fits well into a vest, leaving room for an outer shell of ball bearings and nails.

Figure 5. The Nitrogen rich RDX Molecule


Location II

     At 8.7 deg south latitude, Kuta, near the southern end of the Indonesian island of Bali, has an almost perfect climate to be a huge draw for tourists. The high tourist draw season is July to early October; that’s the dry season with almost no rain, regularly clear skies, daily highs near 90F, and light sea breezes that come in soon after sundown to drop temperatures to the mid-70s or even a tad cooler – a temperature at which a light jacket would not attract much attention, especially in a crowd of partiers late at night.

     Kuta still attracts many foreign visitors as the dry season comes to a close. Mostly the young – the twenty-somethings – who are drawn to its role as hub on one of Bali’s best backpacking trails; and they’re drawn to its fantastic surf, beaches and nightlife at places like the Sari Club and Paddy’s Pub, which – conveniently for bar hoppers – are almost directly across the street from one another on Jalan Legian (Legian Street).  Particularly popular was the Sari Club – known affectionately to regular vacationers as “SC”, or “Surf Club.”



 * * * The Unfolding * * *   

     The Al Qaeda connection proved very fruitful.  They provided training in explosives, target selection, logistics for operations as well as for acquiring and stockpiling explosives.  They also provided access to C-4, which the US had left with the Mujahedeen when they abandoned Afghanistan at the close of the Soviet occupation.

     “The Plan” began final formation in August, 2002.  Final fund raising for vehicle and explosives acquisition was achieved through an armed robbery of the Elita Indah Gold Shop in West Java.  In September, a large L300 Mitsubishi van was purchased.  Over one tonne (1000 kg; 2200 lbs) of Potassium Chlorate (PC) was purchased at one time – without alarm! – at the Tidar Kima chemical shop on Java.  The PC was sent in small shipments of 50 kg at a time (so as to avoid arousal of suspicion) to the Kuta bus station – picked up at the rate of one or two packages a day.

      By October 6, all the major parties, the van, twelve large plastic filing cabinets with four drawers each, and the explosives were together in The Hotel Harum, in Denpasar, about 12 km northeast of Kuta, on Bali.  They made final plans, then moved to a nearby apartment to build the bombs.

    In mid-afternoon on October 9 there was a small explosion in the bombers’ rented apartment in Denpasar.  The Potassium Chlorate had been mishandled. Unfortunately – although loud – the explosion was not severe enough to end the operation, or to cause an Oughton-type event.  Alarmed neighbors did not bother to call police.

       On October 10, they bought a small motorcycle, a Yamaha FZ1R.  Most of the principal players left the island to establish alibis, leaving four operatives on Bali – Imron the operations lead, and three final accomplices, Idris, and two suicide bombers: Jimi and Iqbal.
     * * *
     The United States Department of state has four major presences in Indonesia:  The embassy in Jakarta, on the west end of Java; the Consulate General in Surabaya in east Java; a Consulate in Meden on the Island of Sumatra; and a Consulate Agency on the island of Bali, in Renon, a suburb on the north end of Denpasar.
    * * *

     October 12, that lamentable day, began in southern Bali as any other day had begun that tourist season.  To a careful and lucky eye, for about 30 minutes before dawn, Mars and Mercury appeared in tight conjunction – creeping across the brightening eastern horizon – barely visible through the haze of the high humidity.  Mercury “the messenger” was bringing a warning of foreboding for this day: he was escorting bloody red Mars – the god of war – into the day’s skies.

     Well within the tropics – closer to the equator than the Tropic of Capricorn – Bali’s days are brightened with about 12 hours of sunlight year-round.  But to youthful tourists, with a tendency to party late into the night, that hardly seemed to matter.  To locals, however, the slight lengthening of days in spring, with the shift to western breezes, signaled that the dry season and tourist season was about to end.  The “money making” season in Indonesia’s richest tourist region was about take a rest, giving many locals a chance to do the same.  Only, tourist season was about to end in the way that none of them could possibly have imagined.


     Yes, Saturday October 12 arrived as a stellar day for Bali: tourists would be out in great numbers, enjoying nearly perfect weather, temperatures in the mid- to upper 80s, light clouds and the usual party atmosphere.  Shorts and sandals were the preferred attire.

* * *


         In Perth, Western Australia, some 1600 miles almost exactly due south, the spring day began earlier, cooler and drier.  A steady southern breeze would bring high, clear skies and a somewhat chilly day that would reach only into the upper 60s (F).  

* * *

     In Denpasar that mid-afternoon, Imron and Idris began a final confirmation of the cell phone operation, and performed a final check on the packing of the Mitsubishi L300 van and the Yamaha motorbike.  Puffy clouds began to grow, and light westerly breezes kicked up.  They could feel the barometric pressure drop a bit; or was that the excitement they were feeling?  Perhaps there would be rain, or more likely a short, soft sprinkle.  Would that affect the plan’s operation?  Can’t think about that now.


     The sun slinked beneath the western horizon, thinly veiled by sparse clouds amid muted rumbles of distant thunder. The waxing moon appeared almost directly overhead – not quite the crescent of the prophet anymore.  Everything assuredly in order, Imron called Idris, Jimi and Iqbar to mahrib – evening prayer.  It was a time to sanctify what they were about to do, and for each to commit themselves to their fate before Allah.

        Imron and Idris checked the delivery motorbike.  Now dark — save for the street lights and the beckoning neon and LED business signs of Denpasar — Imron headed off across town on the Yamaha, followed by Idris on another motorbike.

       Just before 8:45 PM, October 12, Imron pulled into the massive roundabout at the junction of the busy boulevard Jalan Puputan Nita Mandala Raya and Jalan Hayam Wuruk.  He turned north and motored about 1 kilometer to the intersection of Hayam Wuruk Street (named after a famous 14th century Javanese King) with Jalan Pakis Haji.  At that intersection is a traffic signal, which happens to be right near the US Consulate, in Renon, that Denpasar suburb.

This was the time: Imron faked a mechanical breakdown of the Yamaha FZ1R motorbike near the Consulate Agency.  He used the ruse to hide a 5-kg bomb near a walkway outside the Agency.  The intent of this small bomb was not to cause death or destruction; it was to make clear that the terror to follow was directed primarily at the United States.


Figure 6.  Statue of I Gusti Ngurah Rai (Leader of the Indonesian independence movement) in the center of the Denpasar Roundabout



     At about the same time, 24 degrees latitude directly south and in the same time zone, Fiona Wood finished reading to her youngest child, a girl, affectionately called “Number Six.”  She wondered a moment where the older two children were: probably out on dates.  After checking on her husband and their three other children, who were watching a movie in the family room, she slipped into her home office to review patient files.  Then, as was her nightly custom, she would go over the lab notes from the past week. 


     After planting the explosives near the consulate, Idris picked up Imron. They returned to the apartment.  They then instructed Jimi and Iqbar – Iqbar with his vest – to climb into the Mitsubishi L300.  With Imron at the wheel, they slowly and carefully drove the 12km to downtown Kuta — followed by Idris on the other motorbike.  In the back of the van was over one ton of carefully placed Potassium Chlorate (PC), with aluminum powder and sulfur as fuel; all packed within the 48 plastic filing cabinet drawers, bolted to the floor of the van.  The cabinets were surrounded by 100 kg of TNT, interwoven with C-4 detonation triggers.

      Imron parked the Mitsubishi some 30 meters from Paddy’s club, and from “Surf Club”, on Jalan Legian (Legian Street), near the T-intersection with Jalan Kuta.  He then left Jimi and Iqbar in the van and joined the final principal operative, Idris, who had again been following on the other motorbike.  Imron made a cell phone call.  Moments later, 12.5 km away in Renon, the bomb he had placed near the US Consulate exploded, harmlessly.

      After signaling Jimi, Imron and Idris rode the motorbike to a few blocks away.  Jimi – an inexperienced driver with no training – then began to very slowly drive the Mitsubishi van the final 30 meters toward Paddy’s and SC, eventually parking the car on the wrong side of the road in front of SC.  This caused a traffic snarl on the street.  At 11:05PM Iqbar jumped out and strode into the tourist-crowded Paddy’s Club.  As instructed, Jimi dutifully locked all the van’s doors.  

     Imron gave Iqbar about 30 seconds to get fully inside the crowded Paddy’s. He patiently marked the seconds on his watch.  Underneath Imron’s jacket was a vest.  In the vest was a cellphone.  If Imron did not have the courage to trigger the detonator, Imron would do it via phone.   As Imron was about to place the call, Iqbar arrived at a large and enthusiastically dancing crowd in front of the DJ’s podium in Paddy’s.   His hand went inside his jacket to the vest.  His thumb found and depressed a trigger, completing an electrical circuit.  Instantly about 1 kg of C-4 detonated.  The C-4 was surrounded by 10kg of TNT, which also subsequently immediately detonated.  The TNT was surrounded by ball bearings and nails.

    The sudden explosion in a dense crowd killed eight instantly.  Spot fires broke out.  Lights, glasses and bottles were smashed by the concussion. Scores of patrons, many injured, some on fire, ran out of Paddy’s and into the street. 

     “Accidental First Responders” were the people passing by, people caught in the traffic snarl, and nearby bar-hoppers.  Cell phones immediately beckoned Police and Fire officers.  More cars stopped to lend assistance.

    Iqbar stood by coldly, still about two blocks away, his cell phone ready, to make sure that Jimi’s van would perform as planned.  From his Al Qaeda training in Afghanistan, he knew the minimum safe distance. 

     Within moments, scores of patrons ran out of the Sari Club, across the street from Paddy’s.  They had heard the blast, windows had rattled, there was commotion outside, but they couldn’t quite tell what had happened, especially with that large Mitsubishi van in the way.

    As the patrons from Paddy’s and Sari’s Club streamed out to the sidewalks and street, Iqbar thought: now is the time.  He pulled up the pre-programmed number on his cell phone.  Not necessary.  Jimi pushed a button in the van. Nearly 100 C-4 detonation triggers in the back of the van went off.  This detonated the TNT, which in turn detonated over a ton of Potassium Chlorate.  The blast was enormous. 

     It remains to this day the most deadly terrorist attack in Indonesia in history: 202 deaths.


Figure 7.  The day after.  Looking down the street.


      There are five major hospitals in southern Bali: four in Denpasar and one in Kuta.  They were overwhelmed.  In addition to the 202 deaths, there were about 250 seriously wounded.  Shrapnel.  Shredded limbs.  Burns.  Very severe burns.  The burn injuries of twenty-eight were so severe they were not treated; triage had limited hospital attention only to those who could be saved.  They just didn’t have the staff or the expertise to handle so many severe cases.

     There are four Medical Evacuation services on-call for Bali with connections to Australia.  It’s quite a long way from the airport near Kuta to Perth.  They’d have to move fast.

     Sometime in the wee Sunday morning hours, in Perth, Western Australia, a phone rang. 

    An odd accent: “Dr Wood?”

    A weary Aussie accent: “Yes?”

    “I am calling from Bali, Indonesia.  There has been an unspeakable tragedy. A horrible, terrible tragedy.”

    “What can I do?”

    “Can you and your staff at Royal Perth take 28 severe burn patients?”

    Without hesitation: “Yes, of course.”

      “They are on their way. They will be there in five hours.”





 *** Epilogue ***

     Many of the victims of the Bali bombing were killed by the explosion itself; yet many more were killed in the fires set off by the explosion.  In all, People from different 22 nations were killed. In addition to 88 Australians, 29 Britons died, as well as citizens from Germany, Sweden, Portugal, South Korea, South Africa, Canada and of course Indonesia. Only seven Americans were among the dead. They had been the primary targets.  So much for all the advance work.

    Many of the victims were local Balinese who worked at the clubs, lived nearby, drove taxis waiting outside the clubs, or just happened to be walking by.



     Jamaah Islamiya apologized for killing so many non-Americans, especially Australians.

     JI almost immediately was recognized internationally as a terrorist organization and remains so to this day, as they continue to kill and terrorize innocent people from Indonesia, to Singapore and to the Philippines.



  •     Immediately after the bombings, the Indonesian Government formed an independent Special Forces — a new Paramilitary Gendarmerie — called “Detachment 88.” It is assigned specifically to fighting Islamic Terror, and bringing terrorists from JI to justice.  It went fully operational in 2003, substantially funded by the United States and Australia. 

D-88 has had great success in locating, and bringing to justice, all the principal operatives and major suspects who contributed to the Bali bombing. They have had continued success in fighting terrorism since then: identifying and deterring plots before they form, and bringing the full force of justice on those who carry out terror.

D-88 training is achieved in close concert with veteran Special Forces personnel from both the US and Australia armed forces, through each nation’s State Department’s Diplomatic Security Services, as well as the CIA, FBI and Secret Service.  D-88 is closely tied into international security intelligence services in order to help identify potential terrorist activities before they occur; and track perpetrators after they occur.

Indonesia, as an amazing archipelago of over 1,800 islands, stretching about 1,000 miles, is a very diverse country.  There are activists in various regions striving for various levels of autonomy: from home rule to full independence.  Most notably in Western Papua, where segments of the independence movement are quite violent.  Sadly, D-88 has been called in to stem these movements, often by violation of habeas corpus and, if internet rumors are to be believed, torture.




ð  It normally takes 21 days to culture enough skin to begin grafting to a third degree burn.  By this time many victims have already suffered tremendously, will have the beginnings of terrible scars that will lead to a life of pain, or … have died.

     Twenty-one days after the 28 severe burn victims arrived at Royal Perth, an astounding total of 24 had been released.  The remaining four were released soon after.  Wood’s and Stoner’s “spray on skin”, after only a few days of culturing, was a miraculous success.


·            Fiona Wood was named Western Australian Person of the year in both 2004 and 2005.  In 2005 she was also named Australian of the year.  She has been voted by the public as the Most Trusted Person in Australia six consecutive years (2005-2010) and she’s been identified by the nation as a National Living Treasure.


·         Wood had patented her method in 1993 and soon thereafter co-founded a private commercial company to promote it worldwide. Royalties are used to fund further research into burns treatment through her McComb Foundation, which she simultaneously founded, to pursue her goal of scarless healing.

In 2012, the McComb Foundation was renamed the Fiona Wood Foundation. The business she and Ms. Stones founded, C3 has recently been acquired by Avita Medical, which continues the commercial development and marketing of spray on skin, and continues to fund her charitable foundation.


·         Dr Wood remains a Clinical Professor with the School of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Western Australia, and the Director of the Western Australia Burns Service.


·         Wood continues her efforts to further improve “spray on skin” technology.  Her goal is total scarless healing of burns. 


·         Wood is respected around the world having published many dozens of papers on her research in what is now called “skingeneering.”


·         In March 2007, following the crash landing of Garuda Indonesia Flight 200, she and her team assisted in the emergency medical response for burn victims.




·      East Timor, independent since 2002, is officially called “Timor Leste”, which is of course Portuguese for “East Timor.”


Joe Girard © 2012

Note: with gratitude to my wife for edits and structural suggestions

è Comments welcome at and

Joe’s other essays at essays


Some final notes and images …

The Indonesian Archipelago


Dr. Fiona Wood


Wood, With Children



Outside Paddy’s Club

Memorial Wall.  At former Paddy’s Club location.

Name Plate of Victims on Memorial Wall.


Some of the references:

[1] Homeland defense on explosives:

[2] Fiona Wood quickie bio:

[3] Wood’s company is now owned by Avita Medical.

[4]Spray on skin technology.

[5] Wood Biography:

[6]Many, many sites on the 10-yr anniversary of Bali bombings.

[7] The JI/AQ/Afghanistan connection.

[8] Excellent Aussie piece on the bombing timeline:

[9] Kuta Climate:

[10] McComb Foundation becomes the Fiona Wood Foundation:

[11] Easy availability of Potassium Chlorate bomb information on the internet:

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