Female Bodyguards Get the Job Done.

Those who think that Bodyguarding is a job best left to men – think again.

The Dublin City Herald recently ran a story about Lisa Baldwin, from Dublin, who is a female Personal Protection/Close Protection Specialist based in the U.K. Ms. Baldwin is in high demand by Middle Eastern clients who wish to have their women and children protected by female agents.

That is exactly why SEXTON EXECUTIVE SECURITY(www.sextonsecurity.com)designed a Middle East E.P./C.P. course that will be held in the U.A.E. from the 11th of October through the 18th. The President, John Sexton summed it up as follows; “We saw the need for agents from all over the world to be able to train in the Middle East and to experience the culture,tradition and religion first hand”. “Middle Eastern clients are extremely important to our industry”, he added “and it behooves all agents involved in providing safety for these families to become conversant with every aspect of their lives in order to be able to offer the best protection possible”.

SEXTON will also have a group of female trainees attending their Executive Protection course in San Diego, California in December. Lisa Baldwin is described in the Herald as being “one of the world’s few female bodyguards”. Many women around the world now recognize that by undergoing professional training like Ms. Baldwin, they can be assigned to prestigious contracts and make a very lucrative living.

Ms. Baldwin’s petite stature does not prevent her from succeeding in a mostly male-dominated industry. “You realise you’re not in Iraq, you’re in London”, she advises. Very true. Smart protectors understand that the Art of Personal Protection is about using your mind and not your brawn. The differences between working in Iraq and London/New York/Dubai are like night and day.

Unfortunately, if the agent does not receive proper training, they may very well fail to realise the difference. There is one type of training needed for a Hostile environment such as Iraq or Afghanistan and a completely different one for the corporate/private sector. A security contractor coming fresh out of a hostile environment will often find it extremely difficult providing protection in a covert, “grey man” style.

Fortunately for them, Sexton Executive Security’s focus is on private clients and their E.P./C.P. corporate training program can help those returning form overseas contracts to make the transition smooth and profitable.

In the corporate/private family world, you don’t have heavy weaponry to rely upon but as Ms. Baldwin states; “Its all about the mind and prevention”. Like the old saying goes; “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

"Would you feel safe with this man looking after you?

That was the caption under the picture of Rocker,Ted Nugent, in last Tuesday’s Guardian. Nugent had volunteered to be Sir Paul McCartney’s “Bodyguard” when he played a concert in Israel.

Unfortunately,this is what our industry has to tolerate. Many people, from broken down celebrity deer hunters to jail guards think that if you know how to shoot a rifle or open a gate for inmates to go to the yard, it automatically follows that you know everything about protecting the life of a executive.

So, Ted Nugent knows how to play guitar and shoot deer. Just what part of that background would equip him to keep the former Beetle safe in the Middle East? It is certainly not like Mr. Nugent is trying to pull the wool over our eyes when it comes to any specialized training he may have received. “I’m Dirty Harry with a ponytail”, claims the singer.

First of all Mr. Nugent, “Dirty Harry” was a film produced by Hollywood to entertain people, not a “training aid”. Secondly, even if we were to stretch our imaginations and consider Harry Callaghan’s actions, we would recall that the character was a Police Detective and as such, would have undergone rigourous training at a professional Police Academy.

Refering to reported Islamic Extremist Death Threats made against McCartney if he insisted on playing the concert, Nugent informed us that he “will not bend or waiver to Voodoo Religions or Whackjobs”.

It is unknown whether or not Mr. Nugent thinks that Islamic Extremists come from Haiti, but if he is serious about a future career in Executive Protection, we would advise him to attend our upcoming course in Dubai next month where he will not only learn first hand the Art of Personal Protection, but he will also learn about Middle Eastern Cultures, Tradition and Religion.

Unfortunately, there’s no way of predicting how much culture we may be able to pass on to Mr. Nugent, as the course is only a little over a week long. We will also be teaching etiquette and which knife and fork to use when attending a formal event with your Principal. That’s right Ted, you don’t get to tear the meat from the bone with your hands.

Someone call the U.A.E. and let the Hilton know that we may have to stay longer than planned.

How safe is "safe"?

Everybody talks about how safe it is in Dubai. Yet the murder of Lebanese pop singer, Suzanne Tamim would indicate otherwise.

The unfortunate singer appears to have been the victm of a well orchestrated murder plot. It is believed that her killer, alleged to be a former Policeman, was paid $2 million to kill her. If the local rumours are true, then she would have had an idea that the person behind it was capable of such an act.

One wonders why people who are in the public eye sometimes do not consider their personal safety. No doubt, denial has much to do with it. Some probably refuse to believe that they are that “important” to require personal protection, while others have difficuly believing that anyone would want to harm them.

I would hazzard a guess that the latter is what happened to John Lennon. Lennon was the epitome of peace and love, yet a crazed lunatic saw fit to shoot him in the back for no reason other than he knew it would bring him fame.

Sometimes it is detrimental to overthink things. Just because we have noble thoughts, does not mean that the rest of the world thinks in a similar manner. We literally need to always watch our backs.

Danger in Dubai?

Those who come to Dubai could be forgiven for thinking that this is an Oasis in a peaceful desert. In reality though, they would do well to remember that this Oasis is located in the middle of a volatile region.

I came to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates a week ago to promote an International Executive Protection course that we are holding here later in the summer. While it is true that most citizens in the U.A.E. are law abiding, there is potential here for opportunists to turn that around. Anyone who spends anytime here, especially in the vicinity of Dubai, will see that it is an extremely wealthy area.

I was talking to an ex-pat business man last night at dinner and he made the comment that a friend of his could not get the attention of the Valets at a local club recently because he was “only driving a Porsche 911″. The valets were too busy finding premium parking spots for the Bentleys, Aston Martins and Ferraris. This is why Sexton Executive Security is opening an office in the U.A.E. We believe it is only a matter of time before cunning criminals realize how much money they could make from kidnappings, stealing luxury cars/chop shops and a host of other crimes.

Then yesterday morning something else happened. One of the Embassies released a terrorist alert warning for the U.A.E. Despite the fact that this is the Middle East, alerts like this are not common. Afteralll, this is a shopper’s paradise where vistors can spend thousands of dollars on a hotel suite for the night. Now we have begun to compile a list of Executive Protection Specialists with current passports who are available for International assignments.

Don’t let the bright lights fool you. This is not Kansas Dorothy. Keep your eyes open and like they used to say on Hill Street Blues; “let’s be careful out there.”

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.

The power of communication.

I think many of us fail to realize the extreme importance of communicating in a way that ensures we are understood.When I was working for the United Nations in different countries around the world, I would often be told by other UN staff that they were surprised that they could actually understand what I was saying. Apparently, they had met other Irish and could only understand a few words here and there. That was easy for me to understand. As the Deputy and later Chief of the United Nation’s Special Investigation Unit, it was of the utmost importance that people could understand me. Imagine questioning a person who was facing deportation back to their country for an alleged crime. It would be unfair to them if I didn’t make my self understood, even if it meant that I had to slow down my fast Irish speech and leave out the Irish slang words (that very few people around the world can ever understand).

I was in Dublin last weekend, passing through on my way to the Middle East. The big topic was the Irish referendum on the Lisbon treaty. It seems that the country was fairly evenly divided by those who were; voting yes, voting no, did not know. I wasn’t that terribly sure what it was all about so I asked my sister and her husband. They had to admit that the whole thing was rather unclear and that the Politicians didn’t do a great job of explaining. Then I met up with my brother. He too was not 100% about the importance of a “yes” or “no” vote. I got the impression that Ireland might lose their National identity if they voted “yes”, so I left thinking that “no” was the way to go.

Apparently the rest of Ireland thought so too, as I am sitting in my hotel room in Dubai listening to the BBC and Sky news talking about the after effects of Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon treaty. That got me thinking. The only time we really ever had any problems with a client involved communicating, or a lapse on somebody’s part. It is amazing how large the repercussions can be when you are talking about a whole country. Next time you are involved in a negotiation, remember the Lisbon treaty and make sure you know what is at stake. You could be avoiding a costly mistake.