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man on the bridge by  Edward Munch

Worst case scenario

Worst case Scenario thinking in security.

Risk management involves mitigating against real and current threats, here the word “real” plays a crucial part in this conversation.

The effect of news media on our perception of threats cannot be underestimated so its best to remember a few things about the news media. firstly, the news media is competitive environment whereby  profit demands being first and overwhelming in coverage. It also must develop a narrative that captivates the audience. the prime narrative in this equation is fear, another is sensationalism. The combination of these and the growth of the social media and its ability to further amplify the worse aspect of the news media coverage of certain event brings us to a point of collective “worse case thinking” .

In the case of normal man and woman in society this only leads to increase anxiety and paranoia which  harms the individual’s quality of life. In society, the effect are hysteria, xenophobia and willingness to forgo long established civil liberties, all adding to negative trends in society and potential abuse of power.

The impact that concerns us as security specialist is exemplified by Dick Cheney who was the vice president in G.W.|Bush’s administration. Whereby he advocated that a %1 potential of AL Qaeda arming themselves with a nuclear weapon was to be treated as a %100 certainty to create adequate response. while at first look based on our instance reaction we may be inclined to agree,on  a professional  we must logically realise to change a very low probability to an absolute certainty is purely a great flight of imagination and mostly emotional .This is not based on correct mitigation of a threat and management of risk. The immediate effect is simply focusing attention on the remotest of possibilities and devoting undue amount of attention and resources, at the cost of dealing with more current and real threats.

In society this leads to overt measures , increase in intrusive security protocols some of which is alarming to the public & does not deter attacks but merely changes their nature .

The impact on the state of mind of security personnel, specialist , planners and interactions with their normal environments and the basic of their jobs is far more detrimental than can be measured.

Simply that fear itself, one of the very thing we are to guard the rest of the society against and create a sense of security and normally which are some of prime reasons we are employed , fear takes control  of  us and inevitably leads to over sights , over reaction and failures  .

lone wolf

Lone Wolf

This is a name given to the type of attack that causes the security professionals with the greatest challenge.

It’s a paradoxical name as wolves generally act in packs. The lone wolf will have only  loose connection to identifiable organisations or persons who pose security threats, he might have been influenced by ideas, individuals or self-generated delusions.

The lone wolf follows no particular pattern in particular though it has been suggested after some study that many suffer from mental and social disorders.

They come from the general population and do not belong to a particular social and racial group.

The lone wolf does not belong to a command structure, he decides and he plans and he carries out the act.

Their motives can be staggeringly varied political, religious, seeking fame or playing out a fantastical delusion based on all of the conceivable motives.

Lone wolf can be a white supremacist, Jihadi or just an angry young man!

This as can be understood very  difficult to detect and responded to in a timely manner in fact luck can be the biggest factor in detecting such individuals, that leaves responding which can only be based on speed , efficiency and dedicated units in the right place and the right time ,here is the element of luck again!

The terrorist groups have not be slow in utilising the lone wolf and very carefully do not connect directly and concentrate on using social media to agitate ,call out for acts or radicalise and praise.

They have had a head start on use of psychological techniques in order to motivate individuals to commit extreme acts of violence on others and on themselves.

They have also manage to create a lone wolf mentality in small groups, where small group will act in complete independence and randomness with almost no tangible association or connection with an identifiable organisation, this is different from the small cell system of old where at least one person in the cell had a veiled connection to an organisation and targets and timing and logistics would be sourced or directed and a leader or a commander could be identified upon examination.

The mass trolling for data and intelligence across all communication networks social and other wise by governments and their agencies is an attempt basically  to get Lucky!

 

armed police

Met police anti-Terrorism unit

Anti-Terrorism unit

The Met police has responded to the changing threats from terrorism by creating military style unit which are reputed to be over hundred strong. This unit have been involved in wide scale anti-terrorism drills conducted in London on 30th of June 2015.

This unit’s creation has been inspired by the lessons in the latest attacks on major civilian targets around the world.

The units name is counter-terrorism specialist firearms officers (CTSFO).The units has been equipped with new weapons and has been training along the side the military to sharpen its skills and also learn a completely new set of methods .

If one examined the Mumbai attack or the Nairobi attack one can identify the task at hand, both were exemplified by being attacks in major cities that had random seeking of targets of opportunity in populated centres ending with hostage taking to prolong the newsfeed and maximise the impacts.

Countering these type of attacks requires rapid decisive response using deadly force to reduce causalities hence they have provisions to travel by fast boats and have been trained to use helicopters both for travel and rapid rope descent if need be.

To be effective against such attacks officers also need to be operating in and out of uniform in a wide dispersal arrangements as these kind of attacks have shown that it’s no longer high value targets in the traditional sense that need to be protected and reached rapidly but shopping centres, high streets, railways or any random points on the map.

This is because worldwide publicity can be gained regardless of value of the targets in any classic sense but by sheer brutality married to hunger of media and the general public with their access to social media to promoted it instantly.

The facts are that despite all the planning and training or intelligence activities the Lone Wolf attack are extremely difficult to counter.

Poorang

isel flag

Call it by its name! ISIS,ISEL,Dayesh ?

Call it by its name!

The ongoing issue of what to call ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), ISEL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)or Dayesh (Arabic name “in the plural form ‘Dayesh’  means bigots who impose their views on others.”  )

Dayesh is the name used in the region to describe this organisation , it was also adopted by US military, French government and Australians. The British and many international news media however seem to be reluctant to use this and insist on using the various version that include Islamic and state as adjectives!

However we are beginning to see in UK first signs from the governmental level in the way the organisation is referred to.

This change of approach is the first sign of multi-level approach to counter the organisation who are very media aware and effective in manipulating press and social media.

For this approach to work the international media and social media organisations need to play their parts.

More importantly the governments need to be clear where the traditional source of support and finance have been for this organisation and bring to bear pressures and more importantly make hard choices as to who to formulate new alliances with in the region the USA seem to have made some choice on this level by their tentative conversation with the Iranians who were one of the first in the region to confront this organisation and its brothers in arm.

The public campaign that must be waged has to start with naming the source of the ideology that has been the driving force behind this terrorist organisation which are the  Wahhabi and Salafi sects of Islam which are the dominant and state sponsored in Saudi Arabia and some of the small states in the Persian gulf region .

Poorang

poorang

IRAQ back on the agenda

Iraq back on the agenda

Despite great deal of national reluctance to participate in military adventure overseas the western governments find themselves with new challenges in Iraq.

After over 4000 dead and 32000 injured many suffering lifelong injuries, the Americans are understandably hesitant added to this is their political differences with the present Iraqi regime.

Despite all this Americans have started delivering humanitarian aid delivery via air drops and targeted bombing of ISIS positions .This has been explained as an effort to stop a potential genocide. Assessments indicate that the USA action is in fact in support of their Kurdish Allies in Iraq. USA has publicly drawn a red line for ISIS by stating That ARBIL the capital of Kurdish semi-autonomous area which houses American diplomats will be defended. This is also a to block IRAN in building up its relationship with the Kurdish ruling class.

ISIS is the latest manifestation of militant hard line Islamic movement who derive their beliefs from the WAHABI and SALAFI sects that originate from Saudi Arabia. 22.9% of all Saudis are SALAFI with the majority of the rest being WAHABI  also  46.87% of Qataris consider them selves to be SALAFI  . These two countries are  reputed by observers  to be the major donors and supporters of the ISIS.

There lies the major challenge for the west in particular USA who will inevitably will find itself on the opposite side to some of their allies in the Middle East. One of the challenges that this creates for USA is in the important field of public information as it finds itself where it cannot publically identify and react to the main sponsors of ISIS. In sharp contracts to their position and actions over UKRINE

The event in Iraq also bring about the behind the scene collaborations between IRAN and USA as IRAN has already been involved in fighting ISIS using air power and special forces.

ISIS is increasingly seen as a more radical substitute to Al-Qaeda and having taken territories in SYRIA and IRAQ it is also seen by radical all over as a successful force and a preferred option to join.

Iraq’s own future as a unified state seems to be hanging on a knife edge and many observers view the possibility of it being divided along religious and ethnic lines as real possibility.

This is seen by many as a far better option than a single failed state.

One thing is for sure while IRAQ drama plays out the new participant ISIS will play an increasingly prominent role as a brutal new comer.