Category Archives: Investigations

Master of Disguise Fools Airport Security

Now this one is interesting:

Canadian authorities are investigating an “unbelievable” incident in which a passenger boarded an Air Canada flight disguised as an elderly man, according to a confidential alert obtained by CNN.

The incident occurred on October 29 on Air Canada flight AC018 to Vancouver originating in Hong Kong. An intelligence alert from the Canada Border Services Agency describes the incident as an “unbelievable case of concealment.”

“Information was received from Air Canada Corporate Security regarding a possible imposter on a flight originating from Hong Kong,” the alert says. “The passenger in question was observed at the beginning of the flight to be an elderly Caucasian male who appeared to have young looking hands. During the flight the subject attended the washroom and emerged an Asian looking male that appeared to be in his early 20s.”

After landing in Canada, Border Services Officers (BSOs) escorted the man off the plane where he “proceeded to make a claim for refugee protection,” the alert says.

Click HERE for the rest of the story.

The full story has not come out yet, so we don’t know if this was a prank, reality show stunt or something more ….sinister.   On one hand he applied for what they termed “refugee protection” but part of this aren’t adding up.

Kidnappings up more than 90% in Mexico

The Mexican newspaper Milenio reported that during the first three years of Mexico President Felipe Calderon’s term, kidnapping reports rose an astounding 90 percent.

A total of 2,593 kidnapping reports were filed during former president Vicente Fox’s term, from 2000 – 2006. In turn, 2,455 kidnapping reports were filed from 2007 – 2009.

It should be noted though that the numbers represent reports of kidnappings instead of the actual numbers, which are most likely higher. In general policemen in Mexico are not trusted because of their corruption and ineffectiveness. In addition, when kidnappings involve rival drug traffickers, it is almost certain they will not involve the police.

Kidnappings are so rampant that many firms doing business in Mexico have kidnapping insurance. In December 2008 a contract employee of ASI Global, which provides kidnapping advice and rescue for companies worldwide, went missing. Over a year later he has still not been found.

For more on this story, click HERE.

Regarding the contractor of ASI Global, his name is Felix Batista, a  former US Army Major, and trained expert in kidnappings in that area of the world.  Felix was taken while in Northern Mexico conducting a lecture on how corporations can avoid kidnapping.  The notorious criminal gang, the Zeta’s are believed to be behind the abduction.   During the search the FBI found 18 OTHER bodies in a hidden grave, however none of them were Mr. Batista.

For more on the disappearance of Felix Batista, click HERE.

Utah Gov’s Security Detail Under Scrutiny

UTAH — Gov. Gary Herbert’s security officers twice last month became involved in his son’s pending stalking injunction in Utah County, according to newly released Orem police reports.

Nathan Gary Herbert, 39, has been accused of stalking the younger sister of someone he was charged with stalking in 2005. Aiona Butters says Nathan Herbert chased her out of the Orem City Library earlier this year. Last month, she told police that Nathan Herbert was leaving the Gold’s Gym in Orem, but upon seeing her, he circled her car several times and followed her back into the gym, a police report states.

After the last incident, Buttars requested a stalking injunction against Nathan Herbert.

But on the same day of the incident, in which Butters told police that bystanders at the gym came up to her and told her that Nathan Herbert had been touching himself while looking at her, the governor’s son went to the Orem police station to talk about the incident himself, according to a police report filed Aug. 4.

Later that day, the officer who had spoken with Nathan Herbert received a phone call from Lt. Jeff Anderson, who is with the governor’s executive protection detail. Anderson told the officer that the governor’s son “was concerned about the possibilities of this report hitting the news media,” the report says.

Anderson wanted to know what had happened, whether Butters and Nathan Herbert had spoken, and if their stories were consistent. The Orem officer informed the lieutenant that Butters and Nathan Herbert had given differing versions of the events.

“I told Anderson that if Nathan didn’t do anything wrong he wouldn’t have needed to come into the Orem police station,” officer C. Black wrote in the report. “This was the end of our conversation.”

A week later, Orem police responded to a reported violation of a stalking injunction at the same gym, 44 E. 800 North, where they were met by both Nathan Herbert and trooper Josh Workman, who was assigned to the governor’s Executive Protection Detail.

Workman told the officer who responded that he was there with the governor’s son to meet with the gym management about the stalking injunction and to be there in case there were any problems, a police report says.

Angie Welling, spokeswoman for the governor, said the governor does not direct when security is to be used.

“Governor Herbert trusts all decisions about the protection of himself and his family, as required by law, to the professional judgment of the Department of Public Safety and members of the Executive Protection Detail,” Welling wrote an in an e-mail responding to questions about the incident. “He does not direct those decisions, nor is he personally involved in them.”

According to state statute, “The Office of Executive Protection shall provide all necessary security and protection for the governor and the governor’s immediate family.” It does not dictate how old an immediate family member can be to still be under this order.

For full story, click HERE

Terrorism Dry Run?

Authorities in the Netherlands arrested two U.S. residents who arrived in Amsterdam on a flight from Chicago, after U.S. authorities raised concerns about items they considered suspicious in their luggage.

The two were passengers aboard United Airlines flight 908 on Sunday night and aroused suspicion because of items found in their checked luggage, the Homeland Security department said. “The items were not deemed to be dangerous in and of themselves, and as we share information with our international partners, Dutch authorities were notified of the suspicious items. This matter continues to be under investigation,” the department said.

A law enforcement official said investigators haven’t determined whether the items in the luggage, which included cell phones apparently attached to bottles of liquid, were an attempt at a dry run for a possible plot, or if the items were packed in that manner inadvertently. The men traveled to Chicago on flights from Birmingham, Ala., and Memphis, Tenn., then changed their flights, which prompted further scrutiny, the official said.

— Something was definitely up, and to me this sounds like a “dry run” to test the system.  Items found in one of the individuals checked luggage:

  • Cellphone taped to Peto-Bismol Bottle
  • Several watches taped togeter
  • 3 large knives
  • 3 Cellphones taped together

For the full (developing) story click HERE.

** UPDATE:  The men may not be charged as the items may have just been bundled GIFTS for relatives?

Blackwater Founder Relocates to Middle East

Erik Prince owner of Blackwater (now Xe) has reportedly left the United States to relocate to The Abu Dahubi.  Prince, left the country after a string of civil lawsuits, criminal charges and Congressional investigations singled out Blackwater or its former executives and other personnel.  While fighting these, his enterprises have amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts, mostly relating to the war on terror.   Current and former colleagues said Mr. Prince hoped to focus on security work from governments in Africa and the Middle East. They also said he was bitter about the legal scrutiny and negative publicity his company had received.

For the full story, click HERE.

See Related:  CIA Awards Blackwater 100 Million to Protect

See Related:  Blackwater Receives Afghan Contract

See Related:  Former Blackwater President Indicted

So what’s your take on this.  Is Mr. Prince on the run or just implementing a new strategy?

Mexican Mayor Killed By Bodyguard

The drug trade fueled violence in Mexico continues.

According to news reports, six police officers in Mexico have been arrested in connection with the murder of a mayor kidnapped early this week in the ultra-violent north of the country, local authorities said Friday.

The officers, including one who acted as bodyguard to Edelmiro Cavazos, the slain mayor of the town of Santiago, were paid off by a drug gang to facilitate the crime, the regional governor and the prosecutor, Rodrigo Medina and Alejandro Garza, told reporters.

Apparently his other bodyguard was overpowered and beaten but otherwise left alive during the kidnap attempt.

Click for the Full Story of The Mexican Mayor Killed by Bodyguard & Police and Violence Rises.

Pat Tillman Family at Odds with Military Over Death

With the upcoming release of a movie based on Pat Tillman: the football star who was killed in a friendly-fire incident in the Afghan mountains and the allegations of a massive bureaucratic cover-up, new information is starting to surface regarding his family’s disbelief that the incident occurred the way the army brass reported.

One letter written by Pat’s father and penned to Brigadier General Gary M. Jones (the man spearheading the investigation) as well as the Senate Armed Services Committee (which oversaw Jones’s work) reads:

“You are a General,there is no way a man like you, with your intelligence, education, military, experience, responsibilities (primarily for difficult situations), and rank… believes the conclusions reached in the March 31, 2005 Briefing Book.”

For links to the gripping story, click HERE.

Kidnapper Tries To Hire Bodyguard Firm to Help?

 

Still trying to get my head around this story, but apparently a man reached out to a well regarded executive protection firm and tried to enlist their aid in kidnapping a female co-worked.  Of course the firm reported it to the police and the man, a former convict was eventually arrested and charged.

Read the strange story HERE.

Industry Spotlight: EP Agent Benjamin Alozie

Icon – Behind the Bodyguard Business holds a spotlight where we feature someone in the Executive Protection, Security or Investigation industry.  Our hope is to provide some insight into our profession and also show newcomers & the media that people from all walks of life and all parts of the globe do this type of work with honor and pride. No it’s not like the movies, but it can be rewarding, thrilling, and yes, sometimes fun.

 

Agent Name: Benjamin Alozie

Home Country: France

What made you decide you wanted to get into the Protection industry? I got into this industry primarily for two reasons, first because of the nature of the profession, everything it embodies and stands for. Protective services profession is about honor, integrity, and loyalty. The profession is challenging, intriguing, fun, and sometimes very boring. Protective services, above anything else is a profession that put to the test your skill set as a master planner, facilitator, escape artist, and fighter constantly.

Secondly, because I wanted to be in a profession that age would never hinder me from practicing for as long as I want to either as an operator, instructor/lecturer or a consultant, hoping at say age seventy I still have a measure of good health and still physically fit. The protective service was just the right fit because as I tell people, protective services profession can be compared to a well-brewed wine that gets better with age.

Can you give us a bit of your training background and experience?

I have a very mixed training background and experience; which comes partly from, the Streets, Services Industry, Merchant Navy, Private Security, and Paramedics. I get very emotional talking about my training background and experience because my training and experience for this profession started from the most difficult parts of my life. The harsh realities of the environment I was born in to and grew up in and my parents thought me a lot.

I learnt to live by moral values such as honor, integrity loyalty and more from my parents. Before the age of ten, I learnt firsthand from my environment how to plan, escape, and fight. For example while some other privileged kids are picked from school each day by either their parents or a chauffeur, I trekked home from school because I had to plan the routes I would return to later that same day as a young street hawker as soon as I drop my school bag. I also learnt firsthand street survival techniques like how to escape from street gangs, kidnappers for rituals, and thieves because my survival, continued education, and family’s survival depended partly on me safely returning home daily with my proceeds from hawking. When escaping was not an option, I already had the will and mindset to fight to the death in self-defense if necessary.

I am a trained and experienced operations manager with over ten years in the services industry that left a regular job to join the Merchant Navy where I received formal training in paramilitary operations, seafaring, and Vessel security.

From Africa to professionally relocating to Europe and speaking four different languages, I have held positions such as head of security, protocol officer, non-uniformed and uniformed security officer, security guard, security supervisor, protection specialist, executive assistance and much more. I have worked for, events management company, diplomatic families, private security companies, VIP nightclubs, international organizations, international private schools, for some of the richest families and private high net-worth individuals in the world, and much more. I am currently an operator, consultant, and an instructor at Excel Security Solutions AG Switzerland. To achieve all these I received several specialized trainings and certifications from many recognized security and non-security training institutions, and I belong to many professional associations. As an example, I am a graduate from Dr. Richard W. Kobetz Executive Protection Institute (EPI) in Virginia and a member of the Nine Lives Associate (NLA), the British Bodyguard Association (BBA), National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) and more.

What are some of the Challenges with being in this field?

I can talk about several but I think the most challenging experience I can readily share with you is the lack of proper training. Lack of professionalism and professional ethics displayed by individuals claiming to be protection professionals during assignments are some of the visible side effects of this growing problem. This problem is such a challenge because it gives trained and dedicated professionals very bad reputations. I once had the misfortune of working on a detail with some untrained and unprofessional agent. From day one at work until I finally left that detail, with a well-worded reference letter I might add, I did not know peace. There were times I lost the motivation to go to work because I could not imagine another whole workweek experiencing personal attacks, terrible power struggles, gossiping, back stabbings, eye service, and many other bad behaviors from individual claiming to be protection agents. I must stress that money was not the issue because everyone earned well over 1500 dollars higher than what others offering the same services earned. The problem was more complex because it was a combination of lack of proper training, professionalism, proper mindset, professional ethics, basic social etiquettes and ultimately the lack of understanding of what real protection work is all about. The lack of proper training remains one of the biggest challenges with being in this field and it has become synonymous to unethical and unprofessional practices hunting this industry. This problem evidenced by the fact that the uninformed public and some VIP clients still see protection professionals as people with brawns and no brains, which in reality is not a correct characterization of a true professionally trained personal protection specialist. I am sure all our trained female professional colleagues completely disagree too, with this notion that this profession is all brawns and no brains.

Can you share a bit of one of your best experiences in the industry so far? Wow, I have many pleasant experiences to share but since you want only one, I will pick from my favorite list. While reading R.L Outman’s excellent book “The Art of Executive Protection” I stumbled on Dr. Kobetzs’ name and then decided to read all his work and then attend one of his classes in Virginia to learn his protective services doctrine from him and his team of experienced instructors.

Day one Dr. K’s opening speech, Let me quote him in parts “Welcome… this class will be demanding, challenging and rewarding but it is not for everyone… not everyone will graduate from this program by the end of the week…we are ready and I anticipate that you have arrived in good health, spirits and well rested in order to receive the maximum benefits from this training program… there is a wardrobe at the entrance, I urge you all to hang your egos in it and pick it up on your way out because we all have hung ours there before your arrival”.

Just after that, speech and two days into our training program something interesting, rarely seen happened. With the exceptions of two brothers that attended and a couple of students who knew each other prior to attending the class, the entire class of over forty students bonded and became one strong inseparable team of professionals.

Nearly 95% of the students in our class were well-trained professionals from different backgrounds. We had active law-enforcement officers, former military officers, and border patrol agents, protection agents, and security officers, paramedics, shooting instructors, personal assistants, I.T specialist, court clerks and more. So here, we were a class full of highly skilled professionals from different backgrounds. Amazingly, because everyone truly dropped their egos in that wardrobe we became one cohesive team of protection professionals. It was one the best experience because I learnt firsthand and reinforced my knowledge from some of this industry’s best brains that;

  1. Misplaced personal egos at all levels within the protective services industry is a destructive element to team building, to a protective detail and to professional advancement.
  2. There are many protection specialists out there doing this industry proud, regardless of the number of untrained individuals doing just the opposite.
  3. All trained protection professionals have one sole objective, which is to satisfy the client by getting the job done professionally as a team or as a solo operator without reckless loss of life.
  4. That having people from different background in this industry is unique because it adds extra perspectives to problems solving especially during mission planning and execution stages.
  5. That our different backgrounds such as law-enforcement, military, corporate world, paramedics, information Technology, and more are all just parts of the building blocks that make the professional protective services industry so unique.
  6. The combining of relevant skill set from other professions and applying it in the protective services is why trained protection specialists are a unique blend of brains and brawns.
  7. Finally, Dr. K was correct in saying this industry is not for everyone and that not everyone will graduate. Some students came to the training and then discovered who they are and what the profession is. The school had to stop some students from continuing the training because of some very serious behavioral problems they found out during training.

To someone coming up after you in the industry, what advice would you give? I will say to them, this profession is not for everyone, know yourself first and what this industry really embodies before you decide to come in. After assessing yourself and the profession, if you are convinced this is the right profession for you, then strive for excellence. Remember that to be a successful professional in this industry you must be a personification of everything the protective services embodies and you must start by getting quality training from recognized training institutions regardless of your initial background. Do not forget to network with professionals in the industry and then continue to hone your skills by training and retraining yourself intellectually and physically until you quite the profession.

If you are ready for the serious commitment, challenges, intrigues, and ready to step out of your comfort zone sometimes, while mastering or acting as a planner, a facilitator, an escape artist, and a fighter, then I say to you welcome to the protective services profession.


American Tourist Shot During World Cup

An American man was robbed and shot while in Johannesburg South Africa for the World Cup.  The 35 year old LA resident was on his way to his hotel in the affluent Sandton area when he was assaulted by four men.  He is currently hospitalized in stable condition.

For the full Associated Press story, click HERE.

During my time there on assignment, I found South Africa, and Johannesburg in particular to be a mass of contradictions.  Modern yet historical.  Friendly citizens with national pride, yet this undertone of fear that was apparent almost everywhere.

*In the article, they quote a police spokesperson as saying that the mans life was not in danger.  (Quick note:  Any time your shot and robbed, your life is in danger.)

See related:  World Cup Security Breakdowns

Security & Safety at the World Cup