Friday, July 29, 2005

Long Beach Airport Adds 100 Cameras

Long Beach Airport (LGB) is implementing a sophisticated wireless video surveillance system that will enable three separate Long Beach Airport security operations centers to simultaneously monitor 100 cameras viewing distant sites, including secured airport areas, public parking lots and roadway tunnels.

Expect more cameras in and around public places to come.

Big Money for Security Contractors in Iraq

All Four London Bombers Caught

It is being reported now that British police believe they have caught the four men suspected of trying to explode bombs on London's transport system last week after armed raids today in London and an arrest in Rome.

If It's Too Good to Be True...

I was recently asked to review a self-defense instructional DVD series. The person that requested the review had already purchased them and wanted to know what I thought of the techniques being shown. Reviewing a set of DVDs after their purchase is a little unusual, since most people rely on reviews before they plunk down their hard cash.

The DVD covers were very plain and didn’t offer a lot of information about who had produced them so before I could schedule some time to review the actual DVDs, I went to the Web site shown on the box and began reading. The story of how this instructional series came about was fascinating. The instructor on the DVDs was afforded an incredible opportunity to work with some of the most advanced special forces soldiers on the planet. This group, combined with other sources provided by the government, eventually hammered out a program that kept only the most effective and most deadly techniques while eliminating all of the techniques that were found to be ineffective. The result was a system that could take any person – regardless of size, athletic ability or experience -- and turn them into a formidable fighter.

I was hooked. This is exactly what I had been looking for my whole career. And there were a large number of endorsements from real people from some of the most respected law enforcement agencies and military units in the country.

Since this program was developed on government time with government money and was highly sensitive, it was considered a secret. So the only way this instructor could offer it to the public was to hide his identity…

Okay, you can probably guess…

The series is a complete joke. Parts of it are actually funny. I’m pretty sure they were not meant to be amusing, but I had to chuckle. I should have known that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are a lot of techniques on the DVDs, many which are traditionally taught and are usable, but they are standard fare. And they are not especially well executed by the mystery instructor. Definitely no secrets here.

Afterwards I picked just one of the endorsements given on the Web site and called a contact in that same agency. Officers in that department don’t seem to know the name on that endorsement. Are you surprised?

Here is my list of marketing phrases which should be red flags when looking for self-defense instruction or information:

“You don’t have to fear any man”;
“Rapidly hard-wire techniques directly into your brain”
“Automatic response”;
“Secret techniques”;
“Allows even the smallest person to instantly dominate any fight”;
“Quickly and effortlessly”;
“Guaranteed complete control over your opponent”;
“The one mistake every streetfighter makes”;
“So deadly that it cannot be taught to the general public”.

Don’t get fooled by the marketing hype. Self-defense and personal protection are areas that professionals strive to perfect over decades of intense study. If you’re not a professional, there are strategies and techniques which you can learn and there are self-defense products you can buy which can afford you a base level of protection in a fairly short amount of time.

But it won’t be effortless. Expect to devote time and sweat developing the skill and the will to defend yourself and your loved ones.

Now go out and train.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Mexico Travel Advisory

Southern Border Entry Point for Terrorists?

The Christian Science Monitor says Federal agents are facing an emerging crisis along the southern border as non-Mexicans were crossing over in record numbers and they were helpless to stop it. Some of these illegals come from countries with terrorist ties and most were set free soon after being captured. There is increasing evidence that terrorists are planning to cross into the U.S. through Mexico. Terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has suggested it would be easy to infiltrate the U.S. through the southern border may be planning to broaden his campaign to include strikes in the U.S.

Millenium Bomber Sentenced; Could Serve Only 13 Years

Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian terrorist convicted of plotting to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport on the last evening of 1999, has been sentenced to a 22-year prison sentence. Although prosecutors had asked for a 35-year sentence, U.S. District Judge John Coughenour structured the sentence so that Ressam could serve just 13 to 14 years of the sentence.

Coughenour's message to terrorists: go ahead and kill us. On American soil. You'll only have to serve 13 years if we catch you.

CCTV Cameras Aid London Bomb Probe

The United Kingdom has some 4 million closed-circuit television cameras and news reports suggest that the average citizen is captured on film by about 300 cameras per day. The cameras are located on streets and in parks, airports, schools, shopping malls, and parking lots. Authorities have reviewed 15,000 surveillance tapes so far in relation to the investigation.

That's one of the reasons why the British police have been able to arrest so many suspects following the London bombings and why they are able to post the photos of suspects so quickly for the general public. Of course, the superb intelligence network in Britain is another prime factor.

New York police officials are currently on hand in London evaluating how the investigations are going. Look for more CCTV cameras in big American cities soon.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Count on Bomb Attacks for U.S.

According to the FBI, more than 88 percent of terrorist attacks in the United States have been explosive or incendiary bomb attacks.

If the past has been any type of indicator and the types of attacks being seen in the UK, Spain and elsewhere are indicators -- we can expect that terrorist attacks on American soil will be bomb attacks. Look for suicide bombers targeting citizens and truck/car bombs targeting facilities, infrastructure and symbolic icons.

Taser Used in Takedown of London Bomber

British police arrested four men in central England in their hunt for the suspected bombers in the failed attacks on London's transportation network. One arrested was one of the four alleged terrorists wanted in connection with the attempted bombing at Warren Street station-- Yasin Hassan Omar. Sky News reports that he was taken down with a "stun gun" in the Hay Mills area of Birmingham before being transported to London's high-security Paddington Green police station. Department of Homeland Security sources are saying the takedown was accomplished with a Taser.