Overseas travel could be more dangerous following Bin Laden’s death.

While the U.S. (and other Nations) rejoices following the news of Bin Laden’s death, those about to embark on overseas travel, especially those holding U.S. passports, should exercise extreme caution.

Not only has the State Department issued travel alerts (http://www.emergencyemail.org/newsemergency/anmviewer.asp?a=1058&z=1 ), but a plethora of INTEL and Govt. types have also issued warnings concerning the need to be aware of the possibility of retaliatory attacks.   It is too simplistic to feel that Bin Laden’s demise will bring about the downfall of Al-Qaeda.  

Whilst it is true that the A.Q. organization will be “leaderless” until they can find a suitable replacement, this does not mean that they are not capable of inflicting serious casualties to “get back” at those who have denied them of their leader.  This can be looked upon as a type of “wounded animal” syndrome. 

Speaking on CNN’s “Piers Morgan” last night, former NYC Mayor, Rudy Giuliani said; “in the short term we are in more danger, but in the longer term, we will be safer”.  The question remains however; ”how long is “in the short term”?  I have an immediate vested interest in trying to understand the viewpoint of these grieving radicals, since I will be flying to a volatile part of Asia next week.

My advice is not to take chances with your safety.  If travel can not be avoided or postponed, focus intently on your own personal safety and on the safety of those you send overseas – whether employees or family members.  This reminds me of a call I received from a potential client last year. 

He and other staff members were going to Pakistan to form a joint venture involving a lucrative project for his company.  He was concerned for their safety and asked about bringing U.S. bodyguards on the trip.  The host company in Pakistan told him that they would provide the foreigners with local security.

Having worked around the world on many International assignments, I was experienced in how certain countries train their personnel.  I advised the potential new client to bring experienced U.S. security personnel as part of their team.  The busines owner was concerned that he might insult his new business partners if they discovered that they had brought their own security consultants. 

This is why it is important to find a highly experienced security consultant and LISTEN to what they tell you.  There are ways to include highly trained and experienced security personnel with your staff so that they blend in as engineers or legal assitants or whatever else may be your business.  What you should NEVER do, is to to compromise your safety or the safety of your employees.   

If something happens, what effect do you think it will have on your company’s reputation?  Ask yourself is it worth it.  Our advice to you is not to rely on local resources, but to bring those experts with you – either openly or covertly.  Remember that training standards in many other parts of the world are nowhere near the level that they are in the U.S.

Kidnap Expert Becomes Kidnap Victim

In last Thursday’s New York Times, Marc Lacey wrote about an interesting incident which took place in Mexico recently.

Back on Dec. 10, an American, Mr. Felix Batista was abducted outside of El Meson restaurant in Saltilo, Mexico. What makes this particular kidnapping remarkable is the fact that the victim was himself, a security consultant specializing in resolving kidnappings.

There have been many kidnappings at popular restaurants in recent times. If a person frequents a restaurant regularly, it is only a matter of waiting until they return. Even the waiting/surveillance can be easily outsourced for a few dollars.

It is ironic that prior to being kidnapped, Mr. Batista had addressed a gathering of prominent entrepreneurs on steps to take to avoid being kidnapped. One wonders if this was a case of; “do as I say, not as I do”, or were other factors involved?

Mr. Batista was the third anti-kidnapping expert to have been abducted in Coahuila State. During his security seminar down there he informed the attendees that kidnappers generally avoided foreigners. Perhaps he became careless thinking he himself was safe as a foreigner.

Be careful about dropping your guard, especially in high-threat areas like Mexico. Do not become overly confident or complacent. Never think that it “couldn’t happen to me”, because you may just be the next victim.