Category Archives: Safety

ICON CEO Elijah Shaw Talks Executives & International Travel Security

 

The Star Tribune Business Section ask ICON Services Corporation CEO, Elijah Shaw about his views on Executive Protection and International Security.

Q What risks do corporate executives and the rich face?

A Domestically, they face the same challenges everyone faces but they are in a higher-income bracket and have the resources to help mitigate those risks. Just going to Times Square in New York City to watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop includes the potential of terrorism or even a stick-up robbery. We offer suggestions on how to mitigate that risk. Whether it’s a high net-worth individual or a corporate executive, they are a commodity that needs to be protected. We try to illustrate the potential risks.

Q What about their families?

A In this information age and with the rise of social media, your movements can be tracked. Executives are told not to have a Facebook page but that seldom gets passed along to the family. So you have your 16-year-old daughter telling her friends on Facebook that the family is poolside in Cabo and on its way to Disney World and that information is out there. We have to think like bad guys. The motive could be kidnapping. You don’t want to smother a client with too much information. But you want to illustrate what can happen.

Find the full article in the Business Section of the Star Tribune by clicking HERE.

 

Earthquake Survival Tips for Bodyguards

Imagine you are on an assignment with  a client and suddenly there is an earthquake.  As Executive Protection Agents, we are taught to prepare for the unexpected, however mother nature has a way of putting any type of preparation to a test, and a natural disaster of that scale would certainly apply.

Before the Earthquake:

  • Determine safe zones in the area you are in.  There is no such thing as downtime in our profession, and just as we identify potential threats, we can also mentally catalog safe havens for cover.  Examples would be seeking shelter beneath a strong desk or pressing your client flat up against an interior walls.
  • Make sure to avoid windows large mirrors, hanging objects,  and heavy furniture.

During the Earthquake:

  • Keep hands on your client.  A persons natural inclination in a situation is to just pick a direction and run, or cower in place  — both decisions might be fatal.
  • If you are indoors, stay there. Quickly move to a safe location in the room such as under a strong desk, a strong table, or along an interior wall. The goal is to protect yourself from falling objects and be located near the structural strong points of the room. Avoid taking cover near windows, large mirrors, hanging objects, heavy furniture, heavy appliances or fireplaces.
  • If you are outdoors, move to an open area where falling objects are unlikely to strike you or your client. Move away from buildings, powerlines and trees.
  • If you are driving, pull over to the side of the road making sure to avoid stopping on or under bridges and overpasses, or under power lines, trees and large signs. At this point the vehicle is the safest place.

These tips apply to the Protector as well as the Protectee, remember you are no good to a client dead.

Additional information HERE.

 

What Happened to Lara Logans Security?

Security Professionals always look at incidents of violence perpetrated against public figures with a slightly different perspective than the general public.  Such was the case when I heard about the tragic story of CBS News Corespondent Laura Logan.  The journalist was a victim first of detention by the Egyptian authorities and following her release and return to the region a brutal assault by a mob.

The offical account goes as such:  The evening of the attack, Ms. Logan, 39, the network’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, was covering the celebrations in Tahrir Square in central Cairo with a camera crew and an unknown number of security staff members. The CBS team was enveloped by “a dangerous element” within the crowd, CBS said, that numbered more than 200 people. That mob separated Ms. Logan from her team and then attacked her.

I, as well as scores of my peers, have had first hand experience dealing with massive crows that are whipped into such a frenzy that you can feel the threat looming, so much so that it’s almost a tangible thing.  At that point, independent of even the clients wishes, a decision must be made to leave the area for the safety of the Protectee.  You might get chewed out or even fired later, but your client will live to tell the tale.  After initially hearing this story, the obvious question to me was, exactly how did her secuirty team become seperated from her?

While researching I stumbled upon outtakes of an interview Ms. Logan conducted with Esquire Magazine, conducted after the detention, but before the assault, that appeared to shed a little more light on the incident:

Esquire:  On whom she was traveling with:

Laura: “I’m not the only one going back, my producer is coming with me. And with my husband. We made this decision together. And with my boss.”

Esquire: On the precautions they’d be taking:

Laura: “We’ve made sure that the Egyptian embassy in the U.S. knows we’re going. They’re fully aware of it. They know what our purpose is, that we’re journalists. We’ve made every effort to try and get media accreditation before we left, but the embassy said because of the backup they couldn’t [get it to us], so they’re trying to help us on the ground. There are no surprises here this time. It is a better plan. Again, it’s not foolproof, you know?”

Esquire: On worrying about a repeat scenario:

Laura: “Sure, of course you can never discount [that], it would be foolish to discount that possibility.”

Esquire: On traveling with private security:

Laura:No. We are not. It’s been so chaotic. I think we do have a security person on with us now, on our team, but I haven’t had a chance to even address that.” (emphasis mine ~ES)

While in no way placing the blame of the assault on Laura Logan herself, I do think at least at the time of the interview, security was an afterthought.   There may or may not have been a trained agent from the states with her, and if there was, his available resources may have been minimal.  It is also likely that a local(s) could have been used, at which point the vetting process could have been anywhere on the scale of “bad” to “very bad’.  It is also possible that none of this was the case and the network provided Mrs. Logan with an equipped team of seasoned security professionals qualified to go into a potential hot spot with their primary responsibility of protecting their client — not of making sure she got an award winning news story.  It’s possible, but based off of my personal experiences, unlikely.

This is a story i’ll be following with great interest, and it is my hope that corporations placing their employees in hostile situations overseas begin to recognize the value of being proactive with security.  Sadly, Laura Logan has paid a high price for that lesson.

~Elijah Shaw

FAA Loses 100,000 Planes???

The Federal Aviation Administration is missing key information on who owns one-third of the 357,000 private and commercial aircraft in the U.S. — a gap the agency fears could be exploited by terrorists and drug traffickers.

The records are in such disarray that the FAA says it is worried that criminals could buy planes without the government’s knowledge, or use the registration numbers of other aircraft to evade new computer systems designed to track suspicious flights. It has ordered all aircraft owners to re-register their planes in an effort to clean up its files.

About 119,000 of the aircraft on the U.S. registry have “questionable registration” because of missing forms, invalid addresses, unreported sales or other paperwork problems, according to the FAA. In many cases, the FAA cannot say who owns a plane or even whether it is still flying or has been junked.

Full stop.  I think this one is worth repeating:  “the FAA says it is worried that criminals could buy planes without the government’s knowledge, or use the registration numbers of other aircraft to evade new computer systems designed to track suspicious flights”… This of course is just my opinion, but I think the emphasis should be less on if I have a soda in my bag going thru the airport scanner and more about the exact location and ownership of OVER ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PLANES!?!


For the full amazing story click HERE.

8 Killed in Mexico Near Tourist Hotspot

Eight people died early Tuesday after attackers hurled several Molotov cocktails into a Cancun, Mexico, bar.

Six women and two men, all Mexican nationals and employees of the tavern, were killed.  The matter is  now under investigation by judicial police.

Eight men hurled the explosives at the bar and fled in vehicles, the release said. No shots were fired.  The tavern is just 5 kilometers from the city’s tourist stretch.

Think I need to repeat the last part:   The tavern is just 5 kilometers from the city’s tourist stretch.

The violence in Mexico is getting worse.  Travelers thinking that sticking to the tourist areas will keep them safe, may want to strongly consider additional precautions

For the story, click HERE.

Travel Risk in War Zones

USA Today does a good piece on corporate employees working in war zones around the world.

“The nature of the job takes Nelson to unsafe parts of the world.  A legion of globe-trotting Americans face a similar situation, as a global economy has thrown them into the most remote regions of the world, where they’re exposed to war, natural calamity and a risk of terrorism and kidnapping — not to mention disease and petty crime.

In pursuit of new clients and suppliers, U.S. companies of all sizes and interests — ranging from Halliburton to Marriott and Starbucks— are sending more employees on hardship assignments and taking new, aggressive steps to protect them from an ever-changing range of threats. Several recent events — the murders of Western aid workers in Afghanistan, the three American hikers imprisoned in Iran, the massive flooding in Pakistan and the killing of tourists on a bus in Manila on Monday — continue to serve as stark reminders of the perils travelers face overseas.

“Most multinationals and even medium to small companies have to push into emerging markets,” says Bruce McIndoe, president of iJet, which provides global security services and intelligence reports for corporate clients.

About 10% of employees who are transferred from the U.S. are assigned to countries that are considered “dangerous or have harsh conditions of living,”

For the full story, click HERE.

Bulletproof T-Shirts?

First we reported Bulletproof Polo’s, and now an a Fruit of the Loom that can stop a bullet?   The University of Carolina has reportedly created a breakthrough that would allow an ordinary T-Shirt to become “wearable armor” by splicing the carbon in the cotton with boron, the third hardest material on the planet.

Me personally?

I think I’m going to wait until all the beta testing is done.

For the full story on Bulletproof T-Shirts, click HERE.

See related:  Bulletproof Polo’s

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

Surveillance Detection Training Course

ICON & MULTI TIER SOLUTIONS

Surveillance Detection Course

July 28th – August 1st, 2010 (Minneapolis, MN)

Proactive Surveillance Detection for Executive Protection, Security Managers & Counter-Terror Professionals

Icon Services Corporation together with Multi Tier Solutions Ltd. are proud to present a unique 5-day course focusing on detecting stalkers, potential kidnappers and  pre-attack surveillance, thus stopping a hostile act in the planning stages.  This course greatly benefits those in the corporate and law enforcement sectors with special emphasis placed on detecting terrorist activities and crime across all environments.

As global pioneers in the field of defending against terror, Israel based Multi Tier Solutions, CEO Ivor Terret has teamed with security expert Elijah Shaw and Icon Services Corporation to deliver a realistic course tailored to counter threats faced by security and law enforcement organizations worldwide.

This is an advanced course for protection managers, security consultants and field personnel.

For more information or to attend click:  SURVEILLANCE DETECTION COURSE


Security and Safety at The World Cup

South Africa Times Reports:  South African intelligence services have been accused of being slow to react to warnings of terror threats to the 2010 World Cup

The US Congress counter-terror caucus was briefed on threats to the tournament.  Ronald Sandee, director of the NEFA Foundation, warned the US Congress that:

  • Pakistani and Somali militants are running terror training camps in northern Mozambique;
  • Trainees from these camps may have crossed into South Africa to join or form cells planning World Cup attacks;
  • Surveillance and strike teams planning attacks are well established in South Africa. Terror groups involved include al-Qaeda and their Somalian allies, al-Shahaab
  • Simultaneous and random attacks are being planned during the World Cup

On Wednesday, the National Joint Operational Centre was activated at an undisclosed military base in Pretoria. It is co-coordinating the deployment of all South African security and intelligence structures to ensure a safe World Cup, including 24-hour protection of teams and officials.

According to two insiders, a watch-list of 40 terror suspects has been drawn up.  Police have neither confirmed nor denied the arrest or watch-list.

For the full story:  Click HERE.

It’s tough finding the balance between safety & security along with access & convenience at a world sporting event such as the World Cup.  Lot’s of moving parts, lots of players.   ~ES