Newsletter June 2017
Newsletter June 2017
Global terrorism continues to change lives across the world, from Afghanistan to London, Manchester, Melbourne and Paris there is no place that that is not impacted on some level. As of June 7th 2017 the global attack tally reads as 544 and 3704 fatalities.
With constant news focus it becomes easy to feel worried and overwhelmed, but put into perspective the risk of being caught up in such an attack (especially in the west) is extremely low.
One should remain vigilant but have confidence the Intelligence services are working tirelessly to keep us safe, thankfully they detect and negate many more attacks than are perpetrated.
Below we’re going to cover some topics that have recently come up again and again, the topics we are asked the most questions about given recent events, in no particular order we hope to provide talking points and advice, some “food for thought” which may assist with the reader having a heightened sense of awareness or vigilance.
Why attacks on Bridges?
As an attacker looking to cause maximum death or damage, a bridge, as with any narrow street (Berlin Market) or coastal pathway (Nice attack) does not allow for easy escape, the victims have minimal exits and are only able to run the length of the bridge, stand vulnerable at its limits or jump over the side. None of these options are ideal in terms of evading the attack and thankfully now in London barriers have been installed on multiple bridges to protect pedestrians from vehicles mounting the pavement.
Knives and Vehicles
Why the sudden use of knives and vehicles? Well, the obvious answer is that they are highly effective and easy to obtain, with little training, investment or terrorism experience a would be attacker is able to cause large scale death and destruction and put fear into the general population, how can we be safe anywhere? is the seed they wish to sow.
Such low tech attacks are not new, but they have been on the increase in recent years, likely this is due to their effectiveness but it’s also due to the difficulty of obtaining explosives and firearms, especially in Western Europe.
Fake suicide vests
In the recent London Bridge attack we witnessed the use of fake suicide vests, many outlets have speculated that the terrorists wore these with the explicit purpose of guaranteeing Martyrdom, they knew they’d eventually be shot and killed by Police.
Whilst it’s likely they wanted this to occur we feel it may have not been the sole purpose, rather we feel they were looking to cordon and control victims, to take them as hostages, a long drawn out siege would have maximum propaganda value, would tie up police and emergency services, would dominate news channels around the world and would ensure their message was heard, this exploitation is a major phase of the terrorist attack cycle, in this instance it would seem they greatly underestimated the resilience of those being attacked and the swift response of those sent to martyr them, the exploitation phase is still there, but not for as long.
First minutes of an attack
What should you do if you are caught up in a terror attack? The first minutes are generally both the most dangerous and the most exploitable in terms of escaping, things go from zero to crazy quickly but if you can keep you head together then you stand a much better chance or surviving. The UK government advice and recent campaign RUN, HIDE, TELL has been pushed hard.
We have seen some mocking of this, but in all honesty as simple as it sounds it’s likely the best way to improve your odds. Ultimately unless you are armed, trained or experienced then what can you do against a determined attacker? Running gives you a dam good chance of evading, if it’s a knife attack then distance from the attacker is key, if it’s a vehicle attack then running at 90 degrees from the oncoming vehicle will improve your chances, a suicide bomber (if seen) of course, again distance will help, it’s as simple as getting out the way, people may mock this, but ultimately it works.
Spotting a suicide bomber
A question often asked is how one would spot a suicide attacker, having the ability to detect and evade is valuable but also creates a moral dilemma, what do you do once you have detected them? Do you try to tackle them and risk a detonation? Do you calmly walk to safety knowing they might kill others? Do you shout from the rooftops to warn others thus causing panic and a possible detonation? As an unarmed civilian in a public setting a suicide bomber is not easy to nuetralise.
Unless you are absolutely sure of your ability to stop the detonation (unlikely) then as harsh as it sounds, your only real option is to move away and contact the Police immediately, tackling them or shouting to warn those around you is likely to cause immediate carnage, sure if you can discreetly warn as many as possible then do so but the best chance of protecting everyone is to tell the authorities, a police marksmen or the bomb squad will have the best chance of dealing with the situation safely.
In airports and at important infrastructure security services and those employed to protect are often trained in behavioral analysis techniques, some tell tale signs for someone carrying an explosive device are outlined in the graphic below, there is no fool proof way, no silver bullet but employed with other detection methods and intelligence it can increase chances of detection.