anti-terrorism

How To Survive A Mall Shooting

If you’ve been following the news the last couple of days, you might have heard about the threat by the terrorist group Al-Shabaab against a particular “family” of shopping malls (blogged about this Sunday). The more I thought about the potential for a mall shooting, the more I wondered if there was anything out in cyberspace that might assist readers in surviving an active shooter situation within this type of environment. Enter SPIKE’s TV series Surviving Disaster from a couple of years back (blogged about here). In particular, the episode entitled “Mall Shooting.” For those of you who’ve never heard of the television series, from the SPIKE website:

What will you do when disaster strikes? Spike TV’s new original series Surviving Disaster, led by Navy SEAL Cade Courtley, vividly takes viewers through catastrophic scenarios and arms them with the knowledge needed to survive the unthinkable. Courtley tackles worst-case scenarios and equips viewers with the practical information needed to save their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. Whether the threat is natural or man-made or on a national or personal level, Courtley speaks directly to the viewers and guides them through a comprehensive, step-by-step process to not only survive the big picture disaster, but endure the many dangerous obstacles that may occur within each catastrophic event. While leading viewers out of danger, Courtley not only provides helpful tips and hands-on instruction, but swiftly points out common misconceptions and fatal mistakes. Unlike any other series, Surviving Disaster may actually save lives by providing actions that anyone can perform.

If Cade Courtley looks familiar, it may be that you recognize him from another survival TV series called America Unplugged that recently aired on the New Berlin, Wisconsin-based TV network The Sportsman Channel (blogged about here– good stuff). Or it could be from a different project of his.


“Who is Cade Courtley?”
YouTube Video

Getting back to Surviving Disaster’s “Mall Shooting,” from the SPIKE website:

A highly trained terrorist cell takes over a crowded mall in a military style siege. Navy SEAL Cade Courtley shows you how to survive a firefight using SEAL Team tactics and take on this well armed enemy by constructing improvised weapons, smoke bombs and night vision gear.

It’s been a few years since I watched the 42-minute production. But I think it still has a lot to offer should readers ever find themselves in a similar predicament. For example, I jotted down the following from the first part of “Mall Shooting,” after the terrorists had commenced their attack:

• Don’t play dead
• Spread out
• Priority is to clear the “kill zone” as fast as possible
• Move away from the kill zone, from cover to cover, avoiding mere concealment if possible
• If no clear exit nearby, escape through the back of a store to the fire-escape hallways
• If the exits from the hallways are blocked/booby-trapped, search for a different escape route from the mall, utilizing those “you are here” maps if necessary
• One possible exit could be the loading dock area, which might be difficult for the terrorists to seal off and a potentially-good spot for law enforcement/other rescuers to gain entry into the facility

Now, some of this might sound “basic” to a number of readers. However, Courtley did cover more “advanced” topics like:

• Individual/group movement (keep at least a foot off of walls because bullets could ricochet down their length)
• Obtaining makeshift weapons and gear from within the mall
• Ambushing terrorists
• Operating an AK-type rifle acquired from the bad guys
• Constructing a makeshift silencer for the captured firearm

There’s plenty more material in Surviving Disaster’s “Mall Shooting,” which you can view in its entirety over on the SPIKE website here.

Personally, I hope readers never have to utilize this information. That being said, I’m real glad SPIKE TV and Cade Courtley put it out there for the general public.

Know of other “how to survive a mall shooting” resources? Feel free to share it with everyone via the comment section.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Courtley’s SEAL survival guide…

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One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) Opens

“They should change the name from the ‘Freedom Tower’ to the ‘Never Going In There Tower.’ ‘Cause I’m never going in there. There is no circumstance that will ever get me in that building. Are you kidding me? My god. What do they have? Does this building duck? What are they thinking? Who’s the corporate sponsor, Target?

-Comedian Chris Rock, on Saturday Night Live this past weekend

One World Trade Center (its legal name/street address, but also called Freedom Tower) is now officially open in Lower Manhattan, New York City:


More ABC US news | ABC Health News
“One World Trade Center Opens, 1st Tenants Move In”
ABC News Video

As much as I hate to say it, there’s no doubt in my mind that the tallest skyscraper in the Western hemisphere (standing 1,776 feet) is a tempting target for terrorists. That being said, concern should really set in once the structure is fully-occupied, terrorism naysayers are trotting out “if it hasn’t been attacked by now it never will be,” and the weather/skies above Lower Manhattan are terrific- so As-Sahab (Al-Qaeda’s media wing) can get clear camera footage of the event.

But’s it’s not an assault directed solely against One World Trade Center that keeps me up at night. Rather, it’s the detonation of a nuclear device above/in Lower Manhattan that’s of grave concern.

If the bad guys can build it, I think there’s a pretty good chance they will use it.

All I can say is, I really hope the American intelligence and anti-terrorism communities can rise to the challenge before/when the time of attack comes.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Chicago Transit Authority Train Passengers Now Being Randomly-Screened For Explosives

Chicago Transit Authority train riders may spot something new at the stations in the coming weeks. From the ABC 7 (Chicago) website this morning:

CTA passengers are now subject to random screening for explosives at train stations across the city.

There is no known threat to the CTA, but Chicago police said the precautionary measure is another layer of security. The screenings went into effect Monday morning.

The Multi-Mode Threat Detector is capable of finding trace amounts of explosive compounds, officials said. A team of CPD transit officers will work at one CTA station a day with the machines.

A random number of people will be selected each time. For example, if that number were 10, every tenth person would be approached by an officer and the outside of his or her bag would be swabbed. That swab is then read by the Multi-Mode Threat Detector for the presence of any explosive residue…

“One CTA station a day with the machines.” “A random number of people will be selected each time.” Not exactly airtight security, but it’s a start when it comes to protecting passenger trains and their riders against potential terrorist attacks. And when I say “start,” I mean the bare minimum.

Which makes me wonder if it’s not all just for show- certain politicians and public safety types trying to give Chicagoland the impression they’re doing something to combat potential terrorism, when the reality may be that the measures taken might not be all that effective in stopping a determined bomber.

I hope I’m wrong. But checking around cyberspace, there’s no shortage of critics of the new security screenings. Bill Savage, a Northwestern University professor, wrote in an opinion piece on the Crain’s Chicago Business website last week:

Maybe this plan will deter any terrorist who happens to pick the one station a day being staked out. That terrorist will, of course, be too nearsighted to notice the cops. That terrorist will be randomly selected. That terrorist will be too tongue-tied to refuse the swabbing and then walk the half-mile to the next station that isn’t hosting our crack one-station-at-a-time anti-terror team.

Security Theater will keep us all safe and sound, and everyone will live happily ever after.

Pass the popcorn. This is going to be an entertaining show.

If Chicago is going to perform random screenings for explosives on CTA trains going forward, my wish is that they have a plan in place to develop the program to be truly effective in thwarting a terrorist attack- while ensuring minimal intrusiveness to riders. Otherwise, “Security Theater” might not be able to stop something like this:


Madrid Train Bombings
(Warning: Violent Images)
YouTube Video

God bless those people.

In the meantime, CTA train riders should know the random bomb screenings have now started to take place. It’s probably not a bad idea for commuters to factor in a couple of extra minutes for ride times in case they’re selected to be swabbed.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“CTA Adds Random Screenings For Explosive.” ABC 7. 3 Nov. 2014. (http://abc7chicago.com/traffic/cta-adds-random-screening-for-explosives-/378414/). 3 Nov. 2014.

Savage, Bill. “It’s not CTA security- it’s street theater.” Crain’s Chicago Business. 27 Oct. 2014. (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20141027/OPINION/141029821/its-not-cta-security-its-street-theater). 3 Nov. 2014.

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Authorities Concerned About ‘Lone Wolf’ Terrorist Attacks On Anniversary Of Osama Bin Laden’s Death

On May 1, 2011, Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs taking part in Operation Neptune Spear in Pakistan. With the one-year anniversary of his death fast approaching, intelligence agencies are concerned about a possible retaliatory strike(s) by Muslim extremists. Mike Levine wrote on the FOX News website this morning:

Just days before the one-year anniversary of Usama bin Laden’s death, federal authorities are telling partners around the country there is no specific, credible threat to the U.S. homeland but they remain concerned “lone wolf” terrorists could use the date to avenge the former Al Qaeda leader’s death.

In an intelligence bulletin issued late Wednesday, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Northern Command note that terrorist groups such as Al-Shabaab in Somalia, Northern Africa’s Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and the Pakistani Taliban have called for revenge against the United States for killing bin Laden during the May 1, 2011, raid on his hideout in Pakistan.

The bulletin says Al Qaeda or its affiliates would view an attack “on this anniversary as a symbolic victory,” especially in the wake of losses suffered by Al Qaeda through U.S. drone attacks and other efforts overseas.

In addition, according to the bulletin, authorities remain concerned that so-called “lone-wolf” extremists not already identified “will execute attacks with little or no warning on or about the anniversary of bin Laden’s death.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Levine added that the intelligence bulletin cited Al-Qaeda’s emphasis on symbolic dates to launch terror attacks, and that Muslim extremists might be particularly motivated to carry out a strike in retaliation for recent controversies including Koran burnings and the desecration of corpses in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, Steven Chase wrote about the concern over “lone wolf” terrorists on The Globe and Mail (Canada) website. From the article:

Richard Fadden, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, also acknowledged Monday that al-Qaeda’s switch to a sole-actor approach to inflicting damage is presenting a problem for Western anti-terrorist agencies…

Mr. Fadden predicted al-Qaeda’s recent embrace of smaller, leaderless acts of terror is a sign of things to come.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has as recently as last fall published an online magazine called Inspire that called for “open source jihad” and instructed readers to how to carry out their own attacks, he noted. “How to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom” was the title of article in the Summer, 2010, issue.

“My colleagues in Britain, Australia and the United States are of the same opinion: We are seeing an increase in the number of people who are acting on their own,” he said.

“When there are a certain number of people involved, there is a possibility of intercepting communications; the chances of errors are far greater. But when there’s one person who’s not talking to anybody, [counterterrorism agencies] have to be really lucky.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

In addition, Fadden pointed out that the “lone wolf” approach not only attracts the ideologically-driven, but those with “serious personal problems” as well- making them more unpredictable.

It might not be a bad idea ratcheting up one’s vigilance in the coming days.

Sources:

Levine, Mike. “Feds urge vigilance 1 year after bin Laden’s death.” FOX News. 26 Apr. 2012. (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/04/25/feds-urge-vigilance-1-year-after-bin-laden-death/). 26 Apr. 2012.

Chase, Steven. “Al-Qaeda switching tactics, CSIS warns.” The Globe and Mail. 23 Apr. 2012. (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/al-qaeda-switching-tactics-csis-warns/article2411810/?utm_medium=Feeds%3A%20RSS%2FAtom&utm_source=Politics&utm_content=2411810). 26 Apr. 2012.

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Anti-Terrorism Training For Civilians

I’ve been thinking about the “routine military training exercise” that’s been going on this week in the Chicagoland area and which I surmised could be related to counterterrorism. But what about civilians? Is there anti-terrorism training available to the rest of us? And is it something even worth contemplating?

I remember an article I read some time ago by Massad Ayoob, a captain with the Grantham (New Hampshire) Police Department and an internationally-known firearms and self-defense instructor. He wrote in the November/December 2004 issue of Backwoods Home Magazine:

We are a nation of hundreds of million of citizens, equipped with only a few hundred thousand police officers. Clearly, the cops can’t be everywhere at once. Obviously, any citizen should report suspicious behavior. That’s not paranoia or fascism; under the circumstances, it’s just common sense.

No, citizens won’t spot a guy in a kafiyeh setting the timer on a small nuclear device. However, citizens do spot smaller things that can have a bearing. 9/11 suicide squad leader Mohammed Atta allegedly got into a road rage incident en route to the original airport from which he flew to Boston to transfer onto the fateful flight that terminated at the Twin Towers. If a cell phone call to police had summoned authorities in time, the course of history might have been changed.

Now, if a man carrying a boxcutter and intending to slash throats, commit mass murder, and die himself that day should find himself embroiled in a shouting match with an angry motorist who appears about to call people who can “come and take him away,” he is not likely to just drive off. This is yet another reason for competent, responsible people to consider going armed.

Ayoob, who also authors the blog Massad Ayoob on Guns on the Backwoods Home Magazine website, added:

Self-reliant people prepare for storms even if there haven’t been any for a while. There hasn’t been a real storm on these shores since 9/11 at this writing, but the storm warnings are clear and urgent.

The Federal government is preparing for the next wave of attacks. So is local law enforcement.

This means that the rest of America needs to prepare for it, too.

So for Ayoob, who argued that an armed American public is an effective counter to terrorism, civilian anti-terrorism training definitely has value.

But where does one go to receive counterterrorism training?

Using Google I stumbled upon one school right off the bat- Crisis Response International (CRI). From their website:

C.R.I. is a Las Vegas, Nevada based company. We are owned and operated by Doron Benbenisty, a former member of the Israeli Special Forces. We have been operating for over 10 years in the United States and trained thousands of U.S. personnel and first responders in Counter Terrorism techniques. We are open to CIVILIAN, as well as Law Enforcement and Military personnel.

“CIVILIAN.” Now we’re getting somewhere.

While CRI’s bread-and-butter courses are Body Guard PSD, Professional Tactical Driver, Krav-Haganah, Surveillance Operator, and Transportation Marshall, anti-terrorism training open to civilians includes Active Shooter/Workplace Violence, Counter Kidnapping, and Counter Suicide Bomber/V.B.I.E.D. (Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device). “Average Joes” are invited to participate in the Active Shooter/Workplace Violence and Counter Kidnapping classes. From the CRI website:

Active Shooter/Workplace Violence:

Duration: 3 days Other Active Shooter courses are various lengths and costs.

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Active Shooter – The Israeli Method

Course Summary: This is our Main 3 day course, which is open to all. This course is one of the most successful and useful courses that we instructed in Israel, mainly to school staff, teachers and students. Students, Consumers, Office Workers, Restaurant and Nightclub employees that operate a large portion of their lives in a workplace environment can suddenly find themselves in very dangerous situations involving a determined and most likely suicidal Active Shooter. We have developed this primary course to assist personnel in dealing with this reality.

Primary learning modules: The course is broken down into THREE main modules:

Active Shooter Analysis
Defensive Tactics
Tactical Medicine
Tactical Shooting

Then there’s Counter Kidnapping:

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Course Summary: This course will teach you how to survive a kidnapping, carjacking, hijacking and other abduction attempts. This is the only training course in the world that can help prepare you to survive a kidnapping or abduction situation. In this course, the trainees will be exposed to sophisticated kidnapping techniques that are being used by criminal and terrorist organizations all over the world.

Who needs this course? Soldiers in high-risk zones, police officers, government special agents, populations that live in high-risk zones, journalists, wealthy or famous people, entertainers, business people, humanitarian workers, travelers, pilots and flight crew, ship crew, professional drivers, civilians and others. During the course the students will be abducted and kidnapped in various methods and will learn how to survive the situation.

Primary learning modules: The course is broken down into FOUR main modules:

Kidnapping & Counter Kidnapping Techniques
Defensive Tactics, Weapons Retention & Disarmament
Escape from Captivity
Tactical Shooting (air soft in the studio)

And for civilian first responders, there’s Counter Suicide Bomber/V.B.I.E.D.:

Duration: 4 days

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Course Summary: CRI is the first and only school in the world that offers the most complete and effective counter-suicide bombing and car bomb training that relies on combat experience from Israel. We offer an extensive training course that covers intelligence, intervention and deterrence, which includes realistic exercises.

CRI’s instructors have created and offered this type of training in Israel since 1996 to transportation companies, police and the armed forces. This type of training is offered only to members of allied countries of the U.S. and Israel. Acceptable trainees for this course are Law Enforcement First Responders, SWAT, Non-Swat, Federal and Military personnel. This course is a fully tactical course that covers suicide bombers, car bombs, booby trapped vehicles and IED’s 360 degrees.

Primary learning modules: The course is broken down into FOUR main modules:

Mindset of the Bombers
Suicide Bombers, Car Bombs & IED’s
Defensive Tactics
Tactical Medicine

Video GamesE3 2012Military Tech

“AOTS Goes to Anti-Terrorism School”
G4TV.com Video

Interesting. Well, at least we know there is anti-terrorism training available for us civilians.

Anyone know of other anti-terrorism instruction that’s out there?

Source:

Ayoob, Massad. “Armed civilians can help fight terrorism.” Backwoods Home Magazine. November/December 2004. (http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob90.html). 19 Apr. 2012.

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