Thursday, September 22, 2011

The chase for evidence

The Counter terror comunity is obssessed with the gathering of evidence that will help to convict terror suspects in court.
This obssession has some serious side effects on how we are fighting terror threats.
must admit that terrorists do not care much about laws and regulations, but they are very good at abusing the legistlation system and democracy to their purposes.
.Collecting evidence process has became a complicated, diffuse, and bureaucratic thing. It seems that we missed the point of this process along the way.
As we see it, when it comes to counter terrorism the process of collecting evidence is crucial for the follow purposes:
To use as a tool to find terrorists and prevent their attacks.
The evidence material to be collected should help us in understanding an knowing our enemy especially while dealing with more loosely affiliated, transnational terrorist networks who are difficult to predict, track, and penetrate.We have to remember that their funding and logistical networks cross borders, are less dependent on state sponsors, and are harder to disrupt.They make use of widely available technologies to communicate quickly and securely.
The fact that Intelligence and law enforcement communities lack the ability to prioritize, translate, and understand in a timely fashion all of the information to which they have access empphasize the role of evidence material as Intelligence instrument.
Intelligence derived from evidence materials can provide indispensable warning and supports all aspects of  counterterrorism operations, including military and law enforcement operations. Such intelligence is a necessary complement to that derived from human sources.
Terror acts should not be included in the range of criminal offences. As long as they are, the evidence material and the process of gathering it for the purpose of a conviction in court will only continue to complicate the war on terror.
The increase in the liability of individuals, under counter terror laws, to be subject to detention or imprisonment without evidence of criminal guilt being led and proved against them in court is undesirable, but they are necessary evils in the war on terror.
Remember: if you don't stand for something you will fall for anything!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The riskful Arab spring

It is interesting to see this term - the Arab spring-  over and over again. The use of the word spring can indicate that this "spring" has a lot in common with weather prognoses as no one can realy say how long it will take before this spring will become into a radical Islamic storm.

Egypt - the revolt in Egypt that gained a huge support from the western world has created a dangerous and unstable situation both in north Africa and the south of Israel. The Muslim brotherhood and Salafi extremists gained power and freedom to operate and the current military regime is experiencing difficulties to control them.
This situation placed the Sinai peninsula as a green house for Islamic terror groups that are using this space as an arsenal storage as well as a jumping off ground for executing terror attacks.


Lybia - since NATO launched its operation to unseat Qaddafi,and the huge aid it provides to the new regime, it become clear that this regime is pro Al Qaeda, Salafi extremists and global Jihad. One of the reasons for this aid is the thinking that in the long term these extremists will embrace moderation and democracy.
These trends are indicating a deep misunderstanding. The thinking that in the long term the Radical Islam elements will become moderate is effecting the way that western countries, the E.U. countries for example, are reacting to the radical Islamic groups and populations that positioned within these countries. Avoiding confrontation with these groups and ideas now will make things harder in the long term.
A passive reaction to terror threats and acts by democratic countries is an open call for terrorists and extremists.

Monday, August 29, 2011

August combined terror attack in south Israel - processing the intelligence

What we know from OSINT ( Open Source Intelligence ):
  1. There were Intel. reports prior to the attack that indicated where and when it will take place.
  2. Some early reports related to specific locations were used by the terrorists to prepare the attacks.
  3. The complexity of the terrorism climate in the Sinai desert was continiously evaluated and monitored.
  4. The terrorism infrastructure in the Sinai desert is challenging for the intelligence organizations.
  5. The terrorists prepared the attacks for a long time, some of the preparations took place inside Israel around the locations in which the attacks took place.
Lets see what we got here.
  • The Intel. was accurate enough and the Israeli security forces were deployed to the area before the attacks. The reports pointed high propability for attacks along about 100 km route by the border between Egypt and Israel.
  • Some scenarios and reactions situations took place prior to the attacks.
  • The political relations with Egypt played a major role while different operative reactions regarding intercepting the attacks were discussed.
  • One of the options was amilitary special operation in Sinai desert targeting the terrorists.
  • Based on prior terror attacks and M.Os related to the P.R.C.and other extreme Islamic terror groups  the possibility of kidnapping soldiers or civilians was consider as the main goals of these attacks.
  • The weather conditions, ( foggy weather ), on the day of the attacks were the same to those who were under the kidnapp of the soldier Gilad Shalit.
The peace treaty between Israel and egypt has a major role in the way the decisions makers in Israel were reacting and preparing to this threat.
The will to strength the current regeime in Egypt before and after the attacks may be an important lesson in counter terrorism.
By not responding correctly to terror threats as a result of different conciderations,  the decisions maker are creating dangerous precedents. It is done on a global level and in many countries.One of the reasons to this trend is that the decision makers lack the relevant knowledge and the understanding regarding the socio-cultural and the personal behavior background of terror groups or individuals.The same happens with half done counter terror operations - such as operation Cast Lead in Gaza. The main goals were to stop the fire from Gaza strip into Israel and the other was to destroy smugling tunnels and by that stop the transfer of weapons and persons into Gaza strip. The operation itself conducted within a very narrow window of international politics oppertunities. The short term objectives regarding the two main goals above were achived but as for the long term objectives the operation failed to achive them and the situation became even worse. Hamas became stronger, Iran and Hizbulla got their share as major players, radical Islamic terror groups have established themselves in the area and their and al Qaida influence is being enhanced.We can say that Gaza strip amd the Sinai peninsula are transforming into an innovative and challenging theater for counter terrorism.The fact that the Sinai peninsula is a part of Egypt has a lot to do with the socio political situation within Egypt and the influence that the Muslim Brotherhood has on the main players in this new theater.
We see the presence of power players as Iran, Hizbulla, the global Jihad, Salafi Jihad and other active players in this theater very potent in terms of terror activity but we also think that both Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood are not fully aware of the threats that these players are representing for them as new regimes in this area.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Background of Salafi Jihad in GAZA -Sinai

Though the first prominent assault by Salafi-Jihadis inGaza occurred before the Israeli withdrawal in August and September 2005, it was not until the period of anarchy caused by fighting between Fatah and Hamas in 2006 and 2007 that such groups proliferated and their attacks became widespread. These, however, were directed mainly  at symbols of Western or un-Islamic influence within Gaza, such as internet cafes, music shops, video stores, hair salons and pharmacies.Since Hamas took over and restored security in Gaza, Salafi-Jihadis have had much less freedom of manoeuvre. The faceless groups that sprung up and  claimed responsibility for attacks during the period of post-election turmoil– Jund Allah (God’s Soldiers), Suyuf al-Haq (Swords of Righteousness), Jaysh al-Quds al-Islami – Tandhim al-Qa’ida fi Ard al-Ribat (Jerusalem Islamic Army – al-Qaeda Organisation in Palestine), Fatah al-Islam fi Ard al-Ribat (The Triumph of Islam in Palestine), Jund Muhammad (Soldiers of Muhammad) and Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (Supporters of Jerusalem) – have mostly disappeared. Somemembers have been killed and imprisoned; others are underground or have new Salafi-Jihadi affiliations; still others, having renounced old beliefs, joined or rejoined established factions. Of the groups that have persisted or since arisen, two have stood out in size and significance: Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam) and Jund Ansar Allah (Soldiers of God’s Supporters). The former participated in the 2006 abduction of Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit and the kidnapping over the following year of several foreign journalists; the latter attacked Israeli troops while riding explosive-laden horses in June 2009 and confronted Hamas at the Ibn Taymiyya Mosque in Rafah two months later. Both groups have unsuccessfully challenged Hamas, and both have been led by militants once allied with it. Jaysh al-Islam came to prominence during the chaotic interval following Hamas’s 2006 electoral victory. Hamas found the group useful at first. But as it revealed its sympathies with al-Qaeda, it became a liability, and Hamas, after taking over Gaza, swiftly took action against it. Jaysh al-Islam was formed by members of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), one of Gaza’s larger militant factions, around the end of 2005. It is led by Mumtaz Dughmush, a former member of the PA’s Preventive Security Organisation who for years allegedly had been contracted for militant operations by both Hamas and Fatah. He comes from one of Gaza’s larger and more powerful clans, which controlled the Sabra neighbourhood of Gaza City until Hamas took it by force in September 2008. A Hamas official claimed Dughmush was deranged, illiterate and obsessed with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the deceased leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Dughmush was reputed to be unafraid of confronting the PA in the years before Hamas took over Gaza. According to a leader of the PRC, of which he was once a member, he had close ties to senior Qassam Brigades leaders, for whom he sometimes did “dirty work” for which they preferred not to be blamed. These operations embroiled him in “personal fights” he did not want the PRC dragged into, which is one reason he left the organisation. In April 2006, Hamas appointed the PRC’s founder, Jamal Abu Samhadana, as chief of oversight of the interior ministry and head of the Executive Force, a policing unit established in Gaza during the tug-of-war over security forces that followed the January 2006 legislative  elections. Around this time, according to PRC members, Samhadana and members of the Qassam Brigades began digging a tunnel for a large kidnapping operation inside Israel, but he was assassinated in an Israeli airstrike, on 8 June 2006, before the operation could take place.71 Samhadana’s tunnel was used just under three weeks later, when members of Hamas, the PRC and Dughmush’s splinter group, Jaysh al-Islam, kidnapped Shalit. Two Israeli soldiers died in the operation, as did two Palestinian militants, one of them a member of Jaysh al-Islam, which announced its existence the following day. At the time of the abduction, Jaysh al-Islam had not revealed any signs that it intended to conduct the sort of attacks against Westerners that would cast Hamas’s past collaboration with the group in an unfavourable light. But seven weeks after Shalit’s capture, it seized two journalists working with Fox News (U.S.), called for the “liberation of Muslims detained in American prisons” and forced the hostages to convert to Islam before letting them go. Hamas said it had received assurances that similar acts would not recur. The following year, after its March 2007 capture of Alan Johnston, a British reporter for the BBC, Jaysh al-Islam demanded the release from UK custody of an al-Qaeda-affiliated Palestinian-Jordanian cleric, Abu Qatada al-Filastini (Omar Mahmoud Othman), whose recorded sermons were found in a Hamburg apartment rented by oneof the 11 September 2001 hijackers, Muhammad Atta.Crisis Group Middle East Report N°104, 29 March 2011
We'll be back soon with an opeartional review and conclusions regarding the terror attack that took place on august 22 in south Israel.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gun policy and the July 23 massacre in Norway

Nordics set sights on gun control after Norway attacks
STOCKHOLM — In the Nordic countries, where hunting is popular and firearms are plentiful, the twin July 22 attacks that killed 77 people in Norway have spurred lawmakers to consider tighter gun laws.
But change will not come without resistance in a region where hunting is viewed by many as a cultural heritage passed down from Viking ancestors, and sport shooting is a favourite pastime.
Finland, which has one of the world's highest gun ownership rates at 1.5 million firearms for 5.3 million people, has reopened the debate on arms control just two months after new, stricter laws raised the firearm licence age from 15 to 20 for short weapons and 18 for hunting guns.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j2UmRo2D-cxGW-2hToaMRupUL_Zw?docId=CNG.f86f7de5aa4632fa5f9294df8b17a703.561
I wonder how no one of the Norwegian folk who are living around the island where the massacre took place didn't think to take his or her gun and go out and check what is going on. I'm talking about folk with licensed guns of course.
The easy thing to do is to tight gun control, it is cheap and convenient. We all know that criminals and terrorists are applying for gun permits before executing their crimes and we are all sure that a harder gun control will stop them of using guns....
Wake up, the bad guys will get any type of gun if they need it. You will be surprised to know how easy it is to smuggle guns into the Nordic countries, not to mention explosives, you don't even need to carry it on you.
so instead of making law abiding citizen's lives harder, lets start with some firearms education so folk who have guns will know how to use them when their community is under attack.

Monday, August 15, 2011

About Trickle Down Economics and failures in Counter Terrorism

Trickle-down theory is based on the premise that within an economy, giving tax breaks to the top earners makes them more likely to earn more. Top earners invest that extra money in productive economic activities or spend more of their time at the high-paying trade they do best (whether that be creating inventions or performing heart surgeries). Either way, these activities will be productive, reinvigorate economic growth and, in the end, generate more tax revenue from these earners and the people they've helped. According to the theory, this boost in growth will ultimately help those in lower income brackets as well.
Governments have engaged in massive amount of tax cuts for the rich, deregulated businesses, and all sorts of things to encourage these people to invest, because they now have more money. They can spare more money. They can invest it. And then that argument was this wealth will eventually trickle down throughout the society. So maybe in the beginning you are getting a smaller slice of pie because you are giving more to the rich guys, but eventually the absolute size of your slice will be bigger.
"People have been drilled into thinking that there is equality of opportunity and whatever comes out at the end should be accepted. But the effects of not having equality of outcome are felt by the next generation. It is not simply that you don't have enough money; if your parents are from a certain background, you don't even aspire to another background. You can ameliorate some of these things through the school system, but not all of them." (Proff.Ha-Joon Chang).

It seems that more and more concepts and theories fail the reality test, and have a role in igniting overwhelmed violence. It is important to re evaluate our fundamentals concepts, theories and methods when dealing with counter terrorism.

One subject that the Oslo attacks in last July and London riots have in common is the way both incidents surprised and overwhelmed everyone who was in charge to warn and be prepared for such incidents.
A few questions arise about the preparedness for such incidents:

1. Are the intelligence agencies are updated not only when it comes to intelligence gathering technologies, but also about the way they are processing it?
2. Is it possible that the agencies who are in charge to provide solution for such incident are not flexible     enough to provide rapid solutions to different types of continuously changing threats?
3. Did anyone understand the connections between the socio-economical, and socio-demographic characteristics and the development of such threats?
4.Is it possible that the Intelligence agencies and other C.T agencies missions and work are too influenced by political correctness/sociology and social climate ?
5. The purpose of Process Intelligence service is to make available a service interface for processing tactical intelligence information information association, information correlation and information fusion. Processing Intelligence information is mainly a manually performed process, which uses various types of software tools for producing a final report. One part of the processed intelligence reports is an assessment of the most likely scenario, the estimated next actions of the target/s. This assessment is made by the intelligence function - 
I believe that the Intelligence function needs to test, review, and change this and other functions that are too sensitive to discuss in this forum.
More important is to inovate and develop in order to have a better inteligence services.
Feel free to contact us for question or more information.


 


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Between counter terror and the London riots

"Preparing for the consequences
9. The PREPARE strand is concerned with ensuring that the UK is as ready as it can be for the
consequences of a terrorist attack. The key elements are:
 Identifying the potential risks the UK faces from terrorism and assessing their impact;
 Building the necessary capabilities to respond to any attacks; and
 Continually evaluating and testing our preparedness – e.g. by frequently exercising to
improve our response to incidents and learning lessons from incidents that do take
place.
3
RESPONDING TO A DEVELOPING THREAT
10. Within this framework, as this paper describes, a great deal of work has been done since
2003 to develop and implement plans and programmes to strengthen counter-terrorism
capabilities at all levels of Government, the emergency services, business and the wider
community. Parliament has legislated to support this effort. Terrorist activity has been
disrupted, including through a number of successful prosecutions in the courts.
11. While good progress has been made, at the same time the threat has grown and it has
changed in character. It has both domestic and international dimensions. The terrorist attacks
in London on 7 July 2005 brought home the risk of suicide attacks by British citizens.
Following those attacks, the Government has worked with others to step up and deepen the
counter-terrorism effort.
12. The Prime Minister set out a twelve point action plan on 5 August 2005 principally focused
on strengthening powers to tackle those committed to facilitating and promoting terrorism and
on strengthening community integration. A widespread consultation exercise was launched
with the Muslim community. Other steps have been taken to accelerate the development of
counter-terrorism capability.attacks in the United Kingdom in July 2005, when nearly simultaneous
explosions on the Underground network and a bus in London killed 52 innocent people and
injured over 700 others.
33. Second, the threat comes from a variety of groups, networks and individuals. These range
from larger groups organised around clear hierarchic and bureaucratic structures, to much
looser and smaller groups of like-minded individuals. These different elements often cooperate
and assist each other, but often also pursue separate goals.

49. The first area of action to counter radicalisation lies in addressing structural problems in
the UK and elsewhere that may contribute to radicalisation 

In particular, we are working with communities to help them discourage susceptible
individuals from turning towards extremist activity.

Our understanding of the new terrorist networks continues to improve. Since September
2001 there has seen a significant shift of Government resources into the business of gathering
and analysing information on the threat and configuring departments and agencies in the most
effective way to address it. While we are taking action to build an ever better picture of
extremist activity within the UK, our understanding of the threat still remains inevitably
imperfect.

Public safety is the top priority for the Government, the police, and the intelligence
agencies.

96. The PREPARE strand of CONTEST is concerned with ensuring that the UK is as ready as
it can be for the consequences of a terrorist attack.
97. Achieving this involves developing the resilience of the UK to withstand such attacks. This
means improving the ability of the UK to respond effectively to the direct harm caused by a
terrorist attack, and in particular to those individuals affected by it; to recover quickly those
essential services which are disrupted by an attack; and to absorb and minimise wider indirect
disruption. We will measure our success by whether we reduce the impact of terrorist attacks
on British citizens and our way of life.

99. The key elements of PREPARE are: identifying the potential risks the UK faces from
terrorism and assessing their impact; building the capabilities to respond to them; and regularly
and honestly evaluating and testing our preparedness, including through identifying lessons
from exercises and real-life events. "

 The content was taken from: http://www.iwar.org.uk/homesec/resources/uk-threat-level/uk-counterterrorism-strategy.pdf 

Countering International Terrorism: The United Kingdom's Strategy.

So let review this Strategy:

"Building the necessary capabilities to respond to any attacks; and Continually evaluating and testing our preparedness ."

  1. I think that the riots can simulate multiple terror attacks. The aftermath in terms of damages and lost of  public trust is even worth. As for public opinions, while it easier for the public to accept the aftermath of a terror attack and cooperate with the authorities, in this case the public witnessed helplessness and lost the trust they had in them , if at all.

  2.  "Continually evaluating and testing our preparedness"?

  3.  ..."when nearly simultaneous
    explosions on the Underground network and a bus in London killed 52 innocent people and
    injured over 700 others". - simultaneuos attacks..... are we prepared for them, and all we have seen during the last days were only riots....

  4.  ..."the threat comes from a variety of groups, networks and individuals" - who missed these networks and individuals? Did anyone missed a threat?

  5. "The first area of action to counter radicalisation lies in addressing structural problems in
    the UK and elsewhere that may contribute to radicalisation" - you can figure it out by yourself...

  6. "In particular, we are working with communities to help them discourage susceptibleindividuals from turning towards extremist activity"  - maybe we worked with the wrong communities?

  7. "Since September 2001 there has seen a significant shift of Government resources into the business of gathering and analysing information on the threat and configuring departments and agencies in the most
    effective way to address it" - this business failed, only it was using tax money we are paying....

  8. "Public safety is the top priority for the Government, the police, and the intelligence
    agencies."
    - Does anyone feel safe now?

  9. "The key elements of PREPARE are: identifying the potential risks the UK faces from
    terrorism and assessing their impact; building the capabilities to respond to them; and regularly
    and honestly evaluating and testing our preparedness, including through identifying lessons
    from exercises and real-life events" - very interesting....








Wednesday, August 10, 2011

London riots and the BlackBerry Messenger connection




A safer London?



Let me characterize the current threat environment as we see it and the challenges we face in understanding and getting in front of the threat:
Reports monitored from sources in London indicate that preliminary investigations by London Police into riots in parts of the city showed that young adults had been using BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) extensively to coordinate the riots.
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) appears to be the favoured method of planning the unrest that has swept across north London since Saturday evening. Unlike text messaging or Twitter, BBM is a free, private social network where almost all messages are encrypted when they leave the sender's phone – meaning that many messages are untraceable by the authorities.
BlackBerry devices, cheaper and more widespread than iOS or Android smartphones, are owned by more than a third of British teens, according to a study. BBM — an instant message service for BlackBerry owners — is free, instantly available, one-to-many, and the authorities can’t immediately trace it. BBM users must exchange PIN numbers, which keeps their conversations private.
BBM conversations are encrypted as the traffic never leaves the BlackBerry infrastructure.
BBM offers delivery and read notifications.
BBM can be set up for internal use only on BES enabled handhelds. (Added security.)
BBM doesn't require an "account" to be set up on some public service somewhere which could possibly become compromised.
BBM can be audited by BES administrators which makes it more attractive than public IM clients in secured environments.
You can easily send pictures, files, audio, contact info, etc. over BBM.
BBM is pre-loaded on all BlackBerry devices.
BBM is "always on" and doesn't use as much battery power to run as third-party IM clients.
BBM has proven to be quite stable and is not the cause of memory leaks that plague other third-party apps.
You can easily change your BBM handle at will without your contacts needing to re-add you to their contact list.
BBM conversations and contact lists can be backed up locally to media card, or remotely via email. (With BBM 5)
BlackBerry Messenger gives BlackBerry users a quick, easy way to send instant messages to each other using their PIN codes. It's free and, unlike with e-mail, users can carry on several conversations at the same time. They also can chat with a group, see contacts' availability, send files and track message status.

With most instant messaging services, you download software that becomes the client on your computer or smartphone. That client connects to the provider's server, using a proprietary protocol for communication. Once you've logged on, the client sends the server your connection information (IP address), your computer port number and the names of everyone on your contact list.
The server creates a temporary file with connection information for you and your contacts. Then the server determines which contacts are logged on and sends that information to your client, as well as letting the contacts know you're available. After that, the server is no longer involved, and all communication is between your client and that of your message recipient.
With BlackBerry Messenger, however, the server stays involved as it would if you were sending e-mails.
what you'll need to use BlackBerry Messenger:
  • A Java-based BlackBerry
  • A BlackBerry Internet plan, or data plan, so you can send and receive PIN messages through Research in Motion's servers
  • Your PIN code -- to find it, go to "Options," then "Status" and finally "PIN"
  • Blackberry Messenger software -- if it's not already on your BlackBerry
The Indian government’s internal security and intelligence services cannot break the encryption of the device, which makes countering terror threats and national security matters difficult - especially for a region which faces constant threats and attacks from domestic Maoist insurgents and extremist Islamic groups.
 RIM has said the security architecture for its enterprise customers is based on a symmetric key system whereby the customers create their own key and only they possess the copy of the encryption.
RIM says the security architecture for customers was designed to exclude RIM or any third party from reading encrypted information under any circumstances.
The BlackBerry Enterprise Solution is designed so that data remains encrypted (in other words, it is not decrypted) at all points between the BlackBerry device and the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Only the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and the BlackBerry device can access the data that they send between them. Thus, third-parties, including service providers, cannot access potentially sensitive organization information in a decrypted format..
 It can be easily integrated into I.E.Ds and you'll understand the threats you'll probably face in the field.






Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Counter Body Boobytraps - solution ( at the end of this article )

"It's very hard to deal with a bomb remotely [using a robot] if it's around someone's neck, so you're going to have to go there and manually disrupt it yourself as a bomb disposal operator," Mr Hearn said.
At this point, once the type of bomb was determined, the technicians would have sought specialist advice, he said. NSW Police said it received advice from British military experts and the Australian Federal Police.
What was left of the collar bomb found on the body of Brian Wells after it exploded following a bank robbery. What was left of the collar bomb found on the body of Brian Wells after it exploded following a bank robbery. Photo: AP
"You would [then] get your screwdriver out and your pliers and you'd take it apart ... there's a possibility you can set off the bomb if you don't know what you're doing and you get it wrong," he said.
"But that's why they went to so much trouble to get intelligence and information about the bomb before they went down there."
Mr Hearn said the technicians would have tried to release the person from the collar before attempting to defuse it either manually or with a robot. It is not clear if a robot was used in this case.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/mosman-device-hoax-how-bomb-squad-would-have-cracked-it-20110804-1icqo.html#ixzz1UVuOjMZB


Here you can find a solution we are selling and using in our Advanced Hands On  training : http://www.openvision.us/
Please contact us for more info.
Training and educating E.O.D specialists is critical in the fight against IEDs.
Our CIED capability must be highly adaptive and cognitive in its response as well as being directed by a strategy that is properly mission related.
We have to be able to change our S.O.Ps , tactics and techniques according to a continuous changing threats. Relying on technology won't provide the needed solutions. Purchasing more and more tools and equipment while not focusing on training means risking the operators that dedicated themselves to C-IED work in more than one aspect:
  1. As we are trying to keep up with  the endless stream of equipment we have to invest time in learning and training with these products in order to become familiar with them. This time could be spent on training on more improtant subjects that can really affect our professional level and capability. Sometimes we get the feeling that someone is just sending equipment to the teams at the front without understanding our real needs or the challanges we are facing.
  2. We always want to keep it simple. When you are geared up with so much equipment it's a bit confusing what to choose for immediate use. 
  3. When you have so much of sophisticated tools you need to spend a lot of time getting to the point. You can operate them while using rheir full operating range what ends in spending your time jumping from one gadget to the next. Worse- you won't use this equipment when you really need it because you don´t trust it - remember the time issue.... you were busy dealing with more important things...).
  4. The attempts to try and match new equipment to every threat we might face creates new threats. We must remember: it's the E.O.D specialists who makes all the difference not the equipment they use.
  5. Preparedness doesn't means bying more equipment, it means education, training and reviewing current S.O.P.s , methods and tactics due to current threats.
Keep safe!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Special forces helicopter shot down in Afghanistan

Our hearts are filled with sorrow for the families of the American soldiers who perished in the downing of a helicopter in Afghanistan.
May they rest in peace

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Solutions (part 2)

Recognize -Detect - React
When dealing with solution, specialy for MCI (Massive Casualties Incident), we have to keep it simple for anyone who is involved, and I mean everyone.
We can take an active shooter incident for example - How many schools are preparing their pupils or students how to react to this threat? I'm sure they are training their pupils to other incidents like fires but ignoring todays reality and current threats. I can continue and ask how many cops, I mean patrol, are trained to react to an IED attack? After all they are among the first responders....How many medic teams are aware to threats they might face during or after incidents such Oslo or Mumbai?
In every M.C.I course or training that I'm teaching, and it doesn't matter if it's for civil authorities , law enforcement or military, the first step is to ask: what are we looking for? What are the most relevant and current threats we have to RECOGNIZE? To answer this question we have to start with recognition - know the threats you may face out there.
REACT - How to react to those threats. The reaction depends on your role and the situation you are experiencing at a certain moment.
Don't sit and wait for someone to help you  - be proactive and make the first step. Do something!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A wake up call!

Its about time to understand the big difference between cultural diversity and terrorism diversity and I hope it is not too late....
What I mean is the trend to justify terrorism support or activity as part of cultural diversity, political freedom, cultural freedom and so on.
By creating a political and social climate that accepts the presence of such "cultural diversity" and justify - ignore - avoid to confront - those cultural goups we are building a greenhouse for terrorism.
The minute we create situations in which police and fire brigades are avoiding to establish law and order in some parts of major cities for example, we are inviting other elements to establish their own law and order. From this moment and on there is almost no way back.
The minute we allow people to make the fundamentals of democracy into tools and weapons in order to promote terrorism and non democratic "culture" we pave the way for terror.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Solutions

Know your enemy.
O.K but what is it all about?
We have to learn how these individuals or group are thinking, proccessing information and acting, know their world and accept the fact that we should be ready and prepare to deal with some big unknown issues.
 I'll try to highlight some facts that have  major effects on our preparedness for such incidents:
  • Individuals or very small groups who are operating "alone" - they are not realy acting alone, we are just nor fully understanding their interaction with different social circles that will help them in their mission. they still need to interact with the "outer world" on different levels (contact me regarding my lecture : " Understanding the Unorganized, Home Made Terrorist" ). These guys are hard to be categorized into psychological profiles or social groups what face us with the fact that we must adjust our intillegence functions according to the threat and not trying to fit the threat into our existing systems.
  • Motivated or triggered by a mixture of socio - political ideologies and personal agenda, in some cases with personality disorders.
  • High planning capabilities both strategic and tactic - directly effect their preparations stage. Understanding how the are planning and preparing their attacks has a major role when dealing with iterception work.
  • Highly motivated with flexible thinking and acting - the ability to rapidly shift between M.Os before and during an attack (contact me for more info regatding the - " reacting to unpredictable threats in C.T operations" workshop ).
These are only few examples of what Know Your Enemy is all about.
Hope you found it useful

Monday, August 1, 2011

The reactions to the attacks

Shock - the local agencies were in shock, we could see it on the news. No one new in the early stages what happened . O.K there was an explosion, but what exploded, a VBIED? A suicide bomber? A delayed device? All that is a cruical information that affects the operational reaction to the attack. Now how can we know that no one had a clue about what happened? The scene was not evacuated - everyone had access to the scene and I mean everyone...no one checked the victims to see if they were related to the attack, no one was sweeping the area for more threats and so on. Bringing in the army to do what looks like police job is another proof.
The questions now are:
Are we prepared for the next attacks?
Do we have a better intelligence?
What should we change regarding S.O.Ps (standard operatinal procedure), methods and tactics? and I don't mean buying more equipment and gear up - these are not solutions!
See you all next times with some suggestions for some solutions.
Keep safe!

Oslo bombings - a summary

You probably read all the headlines and reports in the media, so I won=t repeat it.
One man show - was monitored for a while by the authorities.... we'll talk about it later.
A combined attack - VBIED, active shooter, probably some IEDs that we don't know about them.
Well planned - the M.O is indicating on high quality planning and preparations, both in targets and tactics selection.
A classic case of counter terrorism falling asleep!
Lets make a short analysis of this incident and try to come up with some conclusions and lesson learned.
  1. The overall coverage of terror organizations - islamic or not in Norway, wasn't updated and upgraded with the potential threat - this is not an impulsive act of terror, this is a long term running operation.
  2. the fact that this individual was screened by the intelligence organs in Norway but neither found or labaled as a living threat indicates that the system didn't upgrade their resources and tactics to face the reality. The days of big and organization oriented terror groups are changed. Al Quaida is at it's best an umbrella organization that doesn't have control over all of its branches or supporters. Nowdays we are talking abou very small groups who are operating independently, a kind of home made mini terror organizations, highly dedicated to their goals and well aware to the counter measures different agancies have in their arsenal for dealing with them
  3. Threats assessment was based on electronic gathered intelligence - ELINT - that was high proccessed technologically. Someone neglected the HUMINT - the human intelligence. O.K we can say that to inflitrate a target organization like these is very complicated and hard, but aint that what intelligence is all about.?
  4. We can say that in a country like Norway  - high individual freedom and open democracy makes life hard for the security organs. Think again - it may encourage these groups and individuals to act more freely while planning their attacks and by that making it easier for the security organs to detect it, I won't get too detailed about it - we don't teach the bad guys new tricks!
  5. Terrorism is not an Islamic branding project - we've just seen it a few times done by others who have nothing to do with Islam and they did much better when talking about the outcomes....