Category Archives: current events

Rock Band Victims of Virtual Kidnapping in Mexico

 

The members of the Basque indie-rock band Delorean are safe after having been victims of what police are calling a “virtual kidnapping” in Mexico City, reports El País. The quartet, which was in town to play the local edition of Montreal’s MUTEK festival, was last seen Sunday at the Four Points hotel, in the city’s Colonia Roma district. Police sources say that an unidentified caller phoned the band’s family members in Guipuzkoa, Spain, claiming that the band was being held captive and demanding a ransom of 5 million pesos (roughly $380,000), setting off an international effort to find the musicians.

The kidnappers phoned the musicians and, after passing themselves off as Mexican police, indicated that they were at risk in their current establishment and that they should move to another hotel. Once they were in the second hotel, the kidnappers confiscated their cell phones. Later, a member of the gang contacted a family member of one of the musicians and demanded a ransom payment for their liberation. An updated version of El País‘ story, however, said that the caller claimed to be a member of Mexico’s notorious Zetas gang who advised Delorean member Guillermo Astrain that there would be a shootout at the hotel, and they should move to another hotel for their safety.

Click HERE for the full story.

For more background on the rise of “virtual kidnapping” in Mexico check out the excellent article in the New York Times, HERE.

1381230528_971096_1381258589_noticia_normal

An Open Letter to the Bodyguard Community on Domestic Violence Prevention

An open letter to the Close Protection Community:

 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Here’s a sobering fact: there are 145 incidents PER HOUR in the United States. I have always had an opinion that every Protector should have a cause, and to me this is a natural one given the nature of our profession.

For seven years I sat on the Board of Directors of the nations oldest shelter for women who were victims of domestic abuse, so that I could get a better understanding of the challenges they faced and offer some unique perspectives coming from our specialized outlook.

Besides the things I did internally with the organization, it helped shaped the direction of the nonprofit I founded called the ISC-Safety Net Which provides free security services to victims of Domestic Violence and the shelters that serve them.

Dozens of protectors have joined me over the years in contributing to the project, and the Safety-Net along with other organizations such as Angel, founded by Mark James of Panther Protection, plan to be more impactful in the upcoming year.

So this month, I challenge you to apply some of the methodical thinking and problem solving that comes with working our craft to help reduce the above number even if it’s only by one digit.

After all, we do call ourselves, “Protectors,” right?

 

Elijah Shaw

 

Elijah Shaw, ICON & ESI (redux)

20130904-145941.jpg

Recently wrapped teaching at Executive Security International (ESI). The inside joke was the lack of sleep I was going off of after having had to fly there immediately following the MTV VMA’s and an (unscheduled) client charity event.

One of the things I tried to impress upon the students is that in segments of the industry, your schedule is no longer your own, it’s your clients schedule, and often you have to adapt accordingly.

The Return

 

Apologies for the lack of updates on Bodyguard Blog.  The one thing we have always stressed is that the blog is an insiders look into the Executive Protection business.  That encompases staying actively involved in the craft, not talking about something you did 20 years ago (or never).  For the last few months I have have been on assignments that have taking me  literally around the world and back. I’ll try and get some posts up in the upcoming weeks that speak to some of the experiences (with respect to confidentially and OPSEC of course).

1040305_10151749034421882_1729856246_o
Real World vs. Textbook

 

 

 

 

Student Review of ICON Executive Protection Training

 

As part of my continuing training, I recently attended the ICON Executive Protection Academy Celebrity & VIP protection course directed by Elijah Shaw.  As I am sure others have done, I completed a great deal of research on viable programs that I felt would provide training and education in the executive protection field.  Additionally, I viewed numerous video links that provided examples of the training and the instructors providing the training.  As a consequence of this review, I chose ICON and applied for acceptance into the program.  What followed is a training experience that will remain with me forever.  The first part of the first day of class was the usual getting to know your instructors, the outline of the program and the introduction of the fellow attendees.  However, what quickly followed was an intense submersion into the realities of the protection specialist, especially as it pertained to those dealing with the world of entertainment.

To say the instructors were knowledgeable would be an understatement.  Each instructor was a professional and the base of knowledge provided was extensive and varied, with an obvious grounding in reality based protection operations. Many of them were awarded master degree with scholarship.  Each instructor was a current operator in the field and brought their own unique perspective to the class.  Each complimented the other instructors in providing a true picture of the world of executive protection in this demanding field; this was a true example of professionalism.  The candor and expertise of each presenter was the cornerstone of the program and took each of us, as students, through a step-by-step process.

Screen Shot 2013-03-27 at 10.20.42 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This ICON program is one for those seeking a clear and accurate picture of the world of celebrity protection. Each day progressed further and further in its scope ranging from the requirements for the protection specialist remaining in good physical condition to dealing with the methodology of attacks. In between these two ranges were multiple hands-on exercises that emphasized the physical and mental requirements necessary to protect the client.  These techniques reinforced the necessary skills that one will be required to employ while performing protection operations.

The final group exercise was exactly what it implies, an in-depth culmination of training applications in a very “real world” protection operation. It provided the opportunity for each of the students to apply what they have learned and to obtain feedback immediately on operational preparedness and application. The experience was one that could not be replicated in the classroom and was invaluable in the learning environment.

The final individual exercise was the capstone event that provided individual assessment of the agent. The event scenarios exampled possible situations that may be applied in a single protection detail and forced the executive protection specialist to make numerous decisions affecting success or failure. The overall effect provided reinforcement of lessons learned.  This capstone event fostered a positive feedback program that ensured a unique and positive learning environment.

For anyone considering an executive, VIP or celebrity protection program, I would recommend the ICON Executive Protection Academy.  The real world experience, the caliber of the program and the caliber of instructors provide, in my opinion, one of the best programs available.

Screen Shot 2013-03-27 at 10.18.00 AM

 

Rodney Andreasen, ICON Alumni

Rodney Andreasen is currently a County Emergency Management Director in the state of Florida directing emergency operations and response.  He served 21 year on active duty in the United States Air Force performing numerous duties including security operations and educational training and development.  He currently holds certification as a Florida Professional Emergency manager within the state of Florida and national certification as a Certified Emergency Manager. He holds masters degrees from the Naval Post Graduate School, Auburn University – Montgomery and the University of Southern Mississippi.

 

 

To learn more about the program or enroll in the ICON Academy Executive Protection Training Courses, click HERE.

 

2 Real Bodyguards Review Olympus Has Fallen

Elijah Shaw of ICON Executive Protection & Harlan Austin of BodyguardCareers.com carved some time out of a busy work schedule  to watch a private screening of Olympus Has Fallen, the new film from the Director of Training Day. What’s the verdict? Check out the 1-minute review on the video then meet me back here.

Spoiler SPACE

 

 

I can sum it up like this…  The movie Die Hard, but this time in the White House.  Only problem is, Die Hard did it better, much better.  I tried hard to look at it like JUST A MOVIE, however, it was pretty hard to put aside the fact that it makes the United States Secret Service, DC Law Enforcement, The Capital Police, The Military –including the US Special Forces, all look like 3rd graders playing laser tag.  Plus there were plot holes wide enough to drive a truck into.  Wait, they did drive a truck into it.  Uggh.  Oh, and the Plane crashing and the Washington Monument collapsing “World Trade Tower-Style”…  Uggh.

What do you think?

 

 

 

Combating Domestic Violence from a Different Angle

 

Last night marked the end of an era.  After 6 years, my term as a member of the Board of Directors came to an end with my final board meeting at Women’s Advocates.  For those of you were are not familiar, Women’s Advocates is the United States oldest  shelter for women who are victims of Domestic Abuse, providing support for the women and their children, as well as actively seeking solutions to break the cycle of violence.

I originally began my association with the organization as part of my ISC-Safety Net program.  A service conceived by me to provide free security services to victims of domestic violence.   While working alongside Women’s Advocates I was honored when the Executive Director asked me to consider serving on their board.  After passing the selection process, I then became immersed at looking at the issue of Domestic Violence from a different angle and was recommitted to doing my part to make a change.

elijah and raeone

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to serve on an efficiently running board you know it’s a lot of work, combine that with the challenges of running ICON and of course the heavy client-related travel that i’m involved with, and you can see I had my hands full.  Much respect to my fellow board members for their professionalism and attention to detail.  I learned an enormous amount.

Of course just because my time as a serving board member has expired, I will still be providing support for the organization, notably in increasing awareness of Women’s Advocates – More Than A Safe Place Luncheon and Fundraiser  held in Minnesota May 23, 2013 in St. Paul, Minnesota.  For more information click HERE.

Additionally the ISC-Safety Net program is still in effect, with some very exciting news to be released in the upcoming months.  For a bit of background on the program, catch the news coverage HERE.

WA Gift

See related- Bodyguard Supports the Fight Against Domestic Violence 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Executive Protection Training

The ICON Executive Protection Academy is happy to announce that by all accounts our first training course of 2013 was a success.  As previous alumni of the program will tell you, each class we try and introduce something different into our core curriculum, and i’m happy to say the tradition continued.    In keeping with our promise to deliver contemporary training by instructors that don’t teach “theory” but are actively involved on a full time basis in  the art of Executive Protection, working the craft day in and day, out around the world.

Special thanks to  Mark James:  Internationally published author and CEO of Panther Protective ServicesEric Konohia:  CEO of BPI SecurityBenjamin Alozie:  ICON Director of International Operations , and Raffaele Di Giorgio:  CEO of Global Options and Solutions for your assistance in a fully immersive and engaging course. 

 

Photo Jan 29, 9 55 31 PM

 

** Next Course Dates **  

March 20-24th, 2013 (5 Day Celebrity & VIP Protection)

Maarch 25-April 3rd, 2013 (10 Day Advanced Executive Protection)

 

IMG_0756

 

It’s also no secret that training is expensive and the market is competitive.  To assist with that we have developed a pioneering special finance department  which offers the opportunity for installment payments as well as full scholarships.  Click HERE to learn more.

 

For more information on the programs click HERE.  **Also, just ask and we’ll put you in touch with previous graduates of the program.  Ask about their experiences while at the class, and more importantly, if the program assisted them professionally upon completion.

South Africa CEO of Chrysler Shot

Chrysler’s South Africa CEO was wounded during a robbery outside Johannesburg over the weekend.

Three men attacked Trent Barcroft and his wife, Cathy, on Saturday afternoon after hitting the couple’s Jeep Grand Cherokee from behind, according to media reports and Chrysler SA spokesman Richard Sloman.

When Barcroft stepped out of the car to inspect the damage, Sloman told MSN Autos, he was shot in the abdomen and the three men from the other vehicle stole his watch, wallet and cellphone; they also stole a handbag from his wife, who was unharmed, reports said.

Full Story HERE.

The question to ask is, Could it have been prevented?

*** The above is a preferred method of carjacking and robberies and they have been doing it in South Africa for years, so much so that they have it to a science.  What is troubling is aside from the absence of an Executive Protection Team, is that it appears that Mr. Barcroft, was not aware of these practices to the degree where he had an effective plan to counter.

I asked Benjamin Alozie, the Director of Global Operations for ICON, and an individual with extensive experience in protecting High Net Worth Individuals in Africa, his initial thoughts on the incident-

“There are several tactics robbers employ to stop their victims in places that makes it difficult for the robbers to set up road blocks (Ambush). The one used in this case is a very classic one, bump your car from behind because they know your natural impulse will be to stop, get out of the car angry as hell with the driver that just bumped you. A couple of things to note here is that most criminals are more security aware than their victims so most operations for them are very successful. I have warned clients about how and when to stop when bumped from behind. The environment you are bumped into in is more important for your safety than the bump itself. Remember that if you have a comprehensive vehicle insurance that the bump can be taken care off and if you are a CEO of an organization such as Chrysler one would hope that you have been properly advised.”  

sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more of my thoughts on the matter, click HERE.

Grammy Stage Crasher, Nuisance or Security Threat?

 

So remember the guy that tried to Kiss Will Smith in the mouth last summer?

Same guy who crashed the stage during Adele’s acceptance speech Sunday.  (He also snuck into the Grammy’s and got a 2nd row camera seat before making his way on stage besides JLo and Pitbull).  CLICK HERE TO VIEW.

Adele

How did I know this before the news even broke to the national media? Because I kept a file on the guy that I reviewed before heading to the Ukraine with a client last year.

5f755b843cbc11e2b9ed22000a1f8cd8_7

Ask yourself, what if the guy tried to plant a kiss on one of the entertainers that were on the stage?  Would anyone (outside of the artist) have been able to prevent that?  This is why I believe the job is so much more than just standing around waiting for something to happen and then reacting.

This particular incident is an excellent example of why the protective agent’s role has to include Protective Intelligence and is still very necessary even with the presence of  event security.   The mantra of Celebrity Protection and Executive Protection is to “Protect the Client from Harm”, that means protecting their physical well being AND their image.

For additional analysis you can contact me HERE.