Doing Business in Afghanistan….Bring a Bodyguard

As if security was not already a big enough concern in Afghanistan, a new document has surfaced that could make doing any kind of business in Afghanistan that much more dangerous and potentially lethal.

A report from TVNZ discusses the disturbing new information coming to light.

The document which was discovered in July, contains a directive issued by an Al Qaeda advisor; Mustafa Hamid. In the directive, Hamid calls on the Taliban to start kidnapping foreigners as well as foreign military personnel.

This new kidnapping blitz is believed to be a tactic to force foreign Governments, in particular the U.S., to release terrorists in a type of “prisoner exchange” program. This idea is no doubt fashioned after the type of prisoner exchange operating between Palestine and Israel.

The bottom line is; if you are fortunate enough to have landed a Govt. contract or are planning on visiting Afghanistan as part of a private initiative, think long and hard about your personal security.

Proactive measures are ALWAYS more effective than reactive ones. Effective in every way – from a P.R. point of view, to a financial one – it will be many, many times cheaper to pay a professional Personal Protection Specialist to protect you for a week or two whilst in a dangerous city or country than it will be to negotiate a ransom, which may start in the millions of dollars.

Raid in New York City for Al Qaeda Operatives

The attached FOX news item is a very real reminder that terrorists are living amongst us. A suspected Afghan terrorist living in the mid west visited what may have been an Al Qaeda cell in NYC.

A recent poll showed that fewer Americans are worried about a future terrorist attack, eight years after “9-11″. This is not shocking, but is to be expected. Even horrific memories begin to fade with the passing of time – especially for those who did not lose a relative or colleague on that terrible day.

What is more disturbing though, is the fact that many people believe there is little chance of a future attack due to; (a)the passing of 8 years without a subsequent attack in the United States and (b)security is so vastly improved that the terrorists “don’t stand a chance”.

Incidents like today’s raid in Queens shows us that the threat is real and is still here. Rather than feeling comfortable with the passing of time, we should be concerned that the more time goes by, the closer we are drawing to the next attack – which most experts will tell you is inevitable.

Remember; Complacancy Kills.

Why a Security Job is the Ultimate "Job Security".

I can’t help but find it amusing everytime a potential student for one of our security courses asks the question; “Will I be able to get a job after graduating from your training?”

I find it hard to believe that there could be people out there who are not aware of the growth in private security or the fact that positions formerly held by Police or Military are now being filled by private security companies.

The tens of thousands of private security contractors assisting the military in places like Iraq and Afghanistan are one example, but every time you look around, you can see more and more evidence that private secuity is growing in leaps and bounds.

I remember when I first went to play golf in Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, several years ago. The gates were all manned and controlled by soldiers. These days access is totally enforced by a private security company.

As long as there are hate groups and hate filled individulas, whether they call themselves; White Supremists, Al-Qaeda, Arian Nation, Black Panthers, Anti-Government separatists, or a host of other names, there will always be work for personnel with a good knowledge of security.

The more knowledge and experience you possess, the more you can seek to charge for your services. A client recently told me that they hired an out-of-work lawyer about a year ago for their company. Apparently, a few thousand got laid off in Washington D.C. the same week, so the market was flooded with job seekers with law degrees.

The next time you hear of someone losing their job in a law firm, or an auto plant, or a financial institution – tell them about the security profession. It might not be the world’s oldest profession, but it is certainly one of the most stable – in good times and in bad.

How will the prison system handle Guantanamo Bay prisoners?

In a letter to the editor in last Saturday’s Washington Post, Colbert I. King raises an interesting point.

The writer tells the story about a D.C. native, Keith Barnes. Mr. Barnes was murdered in a Federal Prison in 2005. Barnes had plead guilty in 1998 to second degree murder and consipracy to commit armed robbery.

Barnes agreed to cooperate with the authorities to help convict his three co-defendants. As a reult of his cooperation, two of the others were convicted to 50 years and 54 years to life, respectively. D.C. inmates incarcerated in Federal Prisons where Barnes later served time, discovered his location and stabbed him 106 times.

Apparently in each prison, the authorities were alerted as to his identity and were under orders to keep other inmates away from him. He himself knew of the danger and wrote letters from inside prison. The question now remains; if the Federal Prison authorities could not keep an inmate safe from D.C. inmates who had ordered a “hit” wherever Barnes went, how are they going to control a bunch of battle hardened Al Qaeda insurgents?

FBI Director Robert Mueller is not taking the matter too lightly. He has warned that even if they are sent to maximum-security Federal Prisons, Gitmo inmates may radicalize other prisoners and threaten National Security.

With so much at stake, let us hope that the politicians do the right thing. Some might think that they could do worse than send them into the desert in Arizona and let them watch the weather channel in pink underwear all day.

Come to think of it, what is wrong with that as a solution for all prisoners?

Mayhem in Mumbai

The total number of casualties rise in the financial capital of India after terrorists attack multiple locations.

The latest figures suggest that at least 100 people have been killed and as many as 900 injured. Radio and television reporters are saying that it has all the hallmarks of an Al-Qaeda attack. Locations included a railway station, a cinema, the Taj Hotel, and another very popular restaurant.

It appears as if the terrorists singled out Westerners as they are reported to have taken British and American tourists hostages and brought them up to the 18th floor of the hotel. This evening the hotel is on fire and the fate of the hostages is still unknown.

The good news for some, is that they were able to escape form the hotel in the confusion. It appears that the terrorists could have numbered dozens of heavily armed men. This is definitely not a random attack but a well planned and executed operation aimed at causing mass casualties amnd hitting India’s financial markets in much the same way as Wall Street was attacked on 9/11.

We do not hear that much about India’s terrorist problems in the West but I was made aware of it when I was invited to India to speak on Security matters this time last year. I have since that time made clients and potenital clients aware of the security situation.

There has been much outsourcing to India and many U.S. businesses are sending personnel over there as a result. Those who can afford to have their own professional security protectors should consider that option very carefully. It could very well turn out being more of a necessity than a luxury in these dangerous times.

Perhaps it should be "Homeland Insecurity" in Britain.

I was listening to “Euronews” in Dubai this afternoon and surprised to hear that a second British Government official had lost Top Secret papers on the train – two in less than a week.

Like a lot of people, I misplace things all of the time. Sometime it can take me several minutes to find where in the house I left my car keys. There is of course a huge difference here. My keys do not contain classified details about Al-Qaeda operations. Wouldn’t you think that the first incident earlier in the week would be a major wake-up call? Wouldn’t you hold on to those papers for dear life, knowing that by leaving them behind somewhere, not only were you jeopardizing your future career and retirement plan but also the safety and security of the Nation as a whole?

Those of us who have to fly regularly are probably a little bit more annoyed than some others. I was standing in a security line in Heathrow Airport last Monday trying to get to the gate for my flight to Dubai and the whole line was at a stand still due to the security checker examining a beverage bottle belonging to a passenger who was arguing that it was small enough to be taken through. It seemed to go on for hours.

I only wish that the Top Secret Papers debacle had occurred before then. I know I would have told them that they would be better off spending their time looking for misplaced sensitive Govt. documents than scanning the contents of a water bottle. Of course, I probably would have been arrested, questioned for hours and maybe even deported.
If only the Wright brothers could see how it all turned out.