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.

Article by Dr. Qanta Ahmed highlights the attrocities that radicals inflict on their own communities

The Huffington Post carries an article written by Dr. Qanta Ahmed about an internet beheading in Pakistan that she witnessed online.

We are “used” to hearing about well known figures like journalist Daniel Pearl’s beheading, but there is not much coverage of average people being beheaded by their own communities. Dr. Ahmed sheds light on this brutal practice and shows how young children are being taught how to commit murderous acts by vile and dangerous adults.

She comments on the obscene irony of people’s outrage of disrespectful cartoons, yet these same offended protestors are content to sit quietly by as fellow countrymen (and women)are led out to public areas where their death by mutilation is witnessed by large groups of spectators.

Read the attached article and ponder on the fact that it is not only “foreigners” who are targets of these hate mongers. There appears to be no depth to which they will not sink – from poisoning little school girls, to hacking off young men’s heads and worse still, using young boys to carry out their dirty work.

Are DynCorp the "New Blackwater" and How Long Will it be Until They Have to Change Their Name?

Of course we know that you can’t believe everything you read, but this article found linked to the International Analyst Network (an online portal for analysts in the area of Counter-Terrorism),makes for very interesting reading.

A few thoughts jump to mind after reading it. Firstly, could those moving around Pakistan to accomplish whatever was their goal, not have done it in a more discreet manner?

Secondly, are Blackwater, or Xe, or whatever they are called this month, really such a key player that they have to keep popping up all over despite the fact that they carry around some pretty heavy baggage?

I think the fact that they hired Wackenhut to watch their backs over there is nothing short of comical. Are funds really that tight? I mean, I know there is a world wide recession, but really…Wackenhut?

Gitmo to close down in ’09?

On the face of it, President Obama’s executive order to close the terrorist detention camp in Cuba may seem like he is not that tough on terrorism. There are even those who are heralding this as the end of the War on Terror.

It is too early to jump to conclusions, however. According to Ben Feller, the Associated Press writer, the administration is also planning a study of more aggressive interrogation methods that could be added to the Army Field Manual.

It seems that the President is looking to “play by the book” and in this case, if the book needs to be hardened, it sounds as if that is what will happen.

Another sign that he may not be as soft on terrorism as some would think are the recent air strikes in Pakistan. These came during his first 48 hours in office. Looks like he has hit the ground running.

If you are headed to Pakistan – watch your back

So much goes on in the murky world of Polictics that we often do not know what is afoot until long after the fact. Take a look at today’s bombshell for instance.

Everyone seemed to be shocked to hear that North Korea came clean about their nuclear weapons capability and were rewarded by the lifting of some sanctions. This is a total “180″ from their behavior not that long ago when they were flexing their nutrition-deprived muscles and thumbing their noses at the rest of the world.

This in turn is making me wonder about the threats from Afghanistan’s President Karzai to Pakistan. President Karzai has been very vocal regarding Pakistan’s involvement in his country’s border area and his warnings suggesting Afghanistan’s intent to attack their neighbor seems to be starting to agitate the Paskistani authorities. Which makes me wonder….is Karzai’s theatrics a way to open the door for his U.S. protectors to launch an attack on the Pakistani border?

If this is the case, than Americans travelling to Pakistan should really consider if they need to be there and if they do, they should give serious consideration to their safety while there. We were recently contacted by a U.S. company who had business in Pakistan and rightfully so, they were worried for their safety. There are no doubt, many sympathizers in Pakistan, especially near the Afghan border who have little love for America or it’s citizens. Further strikes (no matter how justifeid they may be), will only heighten this dislike/distrust.

If you are headed to that region, be well aware of what might lay ahead and plan accordingly.

Fears that Bhutto assassination will further destabilize Pakistan and the region

The news has been filled with images of rioting in the streets all over Pakistan since the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. We are paying particular close attention since we were contacted by a client last week to provide an executive protection team to accompany their executives to the troubled country in the New Year.

There are many theories floating around as to who is responsible for the assassination. The Musharraf Government is blaming al-Qaeda, who definitely stand to gain from instability and chaos in the region. Then there are those who blame Musharraf himself. In this article by Reuters, they speak about America being responsible for coaxing Ms. Bhutto to return to Pakistan and once again particpate in the political scene.

Whatever comes about in the weeks and months ahead, one thing is for certain – businesses who have a need to send staff members to this dangerous part of the world need to take every precaution. The first thing to seriously decide upon is the need. Is it imperative that you travel at all? If the answer is yes, then make sure that you hire professionals who have an abundant knowledge of overseas assignments. In addition, make sure that they have good local knowledge and local contacts where you will travel.

The world is not getting any safer anytime soon. Preparation and knowledge is the key. Be informed and be prepared.