Saudi Arabia’s top top religious leaders denounce terrorism

In a very interesting OpEd article in last Sunday’s “Washington Post”, David Ignatius reports that Saudi religious leaders have issued a powerful, but mostly unreported Fatwa denouncing terrorism.

The religious body issuing the Fatwa is called the Council of Senior Ulema. The Fatwa is described as being a tough condemnation of terrorism and the financing of terror – an act which some wealthy Saudis have been guilty of heretofore.

The fatwa describes criminal acts which are viewed as terroristic in nature; “blowing up of dwellings, schools, hospitals, factories, bridges, airplanes (including hijacking), oil and pipelines”. Interestingly, it doesn’t mention geographcal areas.

The Council stated that it viewed the financing of terrorism as “a form of complicity to those acts”. In an interview back in May, the Secretary General of the Council said; “the financier of terrorism is more often than not, more dangerous than the actual terrorist, since without funds, schemes fail and things do not take place”.

How is the May Fatwa being received by the West? It is said that to have impressed senior U.S. military commanders and intelligence officers, who were surpised when it came out.

Whilst it is not before time, this denunciation of terrorism by senior Arab clerics is said to have already had some impact. Extremists are rectingly negatively and see the fatwa as a threat to them and their operations.

Is it time to consider Mexico a hostile nation?

This sad story from the L.A. Times tells of a popular Los Angeles school teacher and community leader, Roberto Salcedo, being kidnapped and murdered while having dinner with his wife and friends in Mexico.

These past years we have become focused on radical islamic terrorists, but should not the drug and death dealing vermin on our Southern Border be also classified as terrorists? Not only do they terrorize their own citizens, but they have no reservations about kidnapping and murdering law abiding visitors.

If we have the ability to close down the U.S. Embassy in Yemen and call in successful air strikes that take out several suicide bombers, shouldn’t we also be able to call in strikes on Mexican terrorists? Like some other “governments” around the world who do not appear to be able to police their own country and problems, Mexico appears to have lost the plot when it comes to law and order.

Pouring billions of U.S. tax payer’s dollars into a country infamous for its corruption and disregard for human dignity doesn’t seem to be working. Perhaps the time has come to deal with the problem directly.

September 11 – 8 Years Later

It is hard to believe that 8 years have passed already since the terrible occurances of 9-11. CNN early news commented this morning about the change in the country since those days.

If we cast our minds back, we will recall how the whole country came together as one and divisions were erased overnight. Sadly, this is not the case today. Political parties and their followers are more divided than ever about issues such as healthcare.

The general public are less concerned about future attacks as well. Those of us in the security profession realize that there is no room for complacancy, however. Terrorists can attack just about anywhere at any time.

If you are travelling with a Principal, remember the most recent attacks in Mumbai and practice your own security measures even though the hotel or venue may already have security in place. Expect the unexpected and always be prepared to react.

It will be up to you as an E.P. agent to know the political climate when you travel and to advise your Principal on where travel should be avoided or an itinerary changed as the situation dictates.

The drunken driving ads on the television say; “arrive alive”, but it is our goal that we both Arrive and Depart alive.

They didn’t go away you know….

Listening to a discussion on CNN the day after President elect Obama won the U.S. Presidential race, made me think about what the terrorists may be thinking.

It really is fairly easy for the average citizen to push these thoughts out of their mind, but we should always keep it somewhere in our minds – close enough to recall it when necessary.

Bill Clinton was “tested” early in his Presidency as was the U.K.’s new Prime Minister – Gordon Brown. In PM Brown’s case it came 72 hours after the Election in Britain. How long may we wait to see something here..or overseas, but definitely aimed at inflciting U.S. casualties?

Bottom line – we should always remian alert and open to the idea that something could happen and we can not afford to drop our guard and think “they have gone”. Terrorists have great amounts of patience. They conduct surveillance right under the noses of their intended victims. As the old saying goes; “we have to be successful every single time – they only have to be lucky once”.

Senator Obama’s security concerns

It appears as if the authorities in Colorado are trying to down play the reported assassination plot of Senator Obama. Question is; how real was it?

It would certainly appear that the suspects were preparing for something out of the ordinary as they were reported as having a bullet proof vest and a high powered rifle with telescopic scope in their possession when apprehended. The fact that one of the them was described by his cohort as a “white supremist” who did not believe that a man of color could be the President of the U.S.A. is surely telling.

These three criminals were caught in much the same manner as the domestic terrorist, Timothy McVeigh. A dilgent policeman was doing his duty and pulled over the first suspect on a traffic stop. Some may call that luck, but having been a former Law Enforcement officer, I look upon it as good Police work. Many others might have not noticed the one little sign that made that officer suspicious and prompted him to check out the driver of the van.

That is why security can never rest. Whether it is foiling a potential terrorist plot or finding a child who has been abducted, we must always remain vigilant. It is a shame that there are those who believe a man is inferior based upon the color of his skin. It is even more terrible to realize that such a person would be willing to kill another based on racial hatred.

Unfortunately, this is a sad fact of life and steps need to be taken to thwart those disturbed individuals. Was this latest episode a non-event or by dismissing it are we attempting to sweep the shame of racism under the carpet? I for one, don’t think that we should take these warnings lightly. Afterall, it has been 45 years and people still debate the assassination of JFK. We still hear it being said that Lee Harvey Oswald was incapable of carrying out the killing himself.

I recently watched a documentary on the assassination of Robert Kennedy, produced on the 40th anniversary of his death. When interviewed, the brother of the asssassin claims that his brother was too nice a guy to do something so awful. The fact of the matter however, is that both Kennedys were brutally gunned down. I am sure it is something that nobody ever wants to see repeated.

Let us hope that whomever succeeds as President in November has a long and healthy Presidency and helps to allevitae the problems that have been piling up.

What do High School Killers and Terrorists Have in Common?

Department of Homeland Security studies show that the Columbine High School killers and the Virginia Tech gunman planned those attacks using the same techniques used by terrorists.

The study talks about the “7 steps” that terrorists take prior to executing an attack. The steps begin with; Surveillance, Acquiring information, Testing security, Acquiring supplies, Appearance of being “out of place”, Test run and putting everything into position for the planned attack/strike.

Is there much that ordinary civilians can do to thwart a Terrorist attack or High School killing spree? The answer is; MOST DEFINITELY. DHS advises that 25 possible school attacks have been prevented this year so far, due to attentive citizens noticing something that seemed unusual and then reporting it to Law Enforcement.

We should not be reluctant to report suspicious persons or circumstances. Every once in a while the media will run a story about a suspicious package being left behind in a taxi or public place. Many people will be afraid to report something like that in case it turns out to be a hoax. BUT YOU SHOULD REPORT IT, NEVERTHELESS. That “hoax” might very well be a “test/dry run” by terrorists to see if what they leave behind will be detected, or how long it will take to be reported. The terrorist/bad guy will most likely be timing the reponse as well.

Those of us who travel regularly can tell you how long an unattended backpack or shopping bag would be allowed to sit unattended in London or parts of the Middle East. A Police officer would never get angry at having to respond because; 1)they are happy to see it does not contain a life threatening device (that would threaten their life as well as the lives of the general public) and 2)they know that one day it will be the real thing and when that time arrives, they will be glad of the practice and the fact that the public are helping them to identify danger.

In these dangerous times, we should never forget that we are all in this together. There is no room for complacancy. Just because you think you are safe and on holiday – remember what happened in Bali. If you think you are safe because you are in a secured facility or an Embassy overseas, remember Oklahoma and the countless Embassies and Consulates where deadly attacks are becomming a daily occurance.

If something doesn’t look or feel right to you, there is a reason that you feel that way. Like the animals in the jungle, we are able to sense fear/danger in order to assist us with survival. The next time you report a suspicious activity, the life you save just might be your own.

Latest linking of Senator Obama to a ’70′s terrorist may damage his reputation.

We all know how important it is to have a good reputation and the price we pay when it becomes damaged. The latest reports linking Senator Obama with the 70′s radical, William Ayers, can not help him in his nomination bid.

William “Billy” Ayers was a member of the ’70′s domestic terrorist group: Weather Underground Organization (WUO). WUO were opposed to the Vietnam war and pledged to bomb the Capitol, The Pentagon and Police Stations after issuing a “declaration of a state of war” against the United States Government in 1970.

These days, Ayers is a professor at UIC. Apparently, Ayers and the Senator have served jointly on various Boards and have appeared on discussion panels together. Most likely Senator Obama failed to do the proper due diligence on his co-host and was unaware of his terrorist affiliations and involvement. Unfortunately for the Senator, many voters may not be so forgiving, especially when they realize that Ayers has recently made comments to the effect that he does not regret planting bombs and thinks he did not do enough. He even went so far as to state that he can not entirely dismiss the idea of planting a bomb today.

Last week during training of an Executive Protection class in Baltimore, I spoke about the need to keep an open mind when it comes to terrorism and to realize that terrorists come in all shapes, sizes and colors. I even discussed domestic terrorism and drew their attention to the Weather Underground. We should remember that terrorists will not always arrive looking as they do in television footage.

For instance, Timothy McVeigh could walk down any street in the U.S. prior to the bombing in Oklahoma and not one single person would ever have suspected him of being a home-grown terrorist. Everything (and everybody) is not always what it seems.