Tuesday, December 20, 2016

'Captive in the jungle' An Account From A Hostage Held By Terrorists

The last photo taken of Marites Flor and Robert Hall, only days before they were captured.
The last photo taken of Marites Flor and Robert Hall, only days before they were captured.

Marites Flor was held hostage in the Philippines alongside Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall. She survived. They didn't. This is her story.

...Flor had known how dangerous the Islamic State-affiliated militant group was. But up until then, the militants had lied to them constantly about whether they were going home or not. By Christmas. Before the New Year. Every date they set came and went, so she didn’t believe they would follow through with Ridsdel’s execution.

...Now, months after her own release, Flor gave her first wide-ranging interview to VICE News over Skype, shedding light on the harrowing ordeal she and the hostages who did not make it endured. She revealed new details of just how close the Philippine military was to the Abu Sayyaf camp — at one point, the gunfire exchange between the militants and the army was so close, Flor could smell the smoke — and a $1 million ransom offer by the Ridsdel family that fell short of the captors demands.

Read more from Vice.com [HERE]. 

Monday, December 19, 2016


Martin Michaels is the pen name of a police lieutenant in Silicon Valley whose specialty is hostage crisis intervention.

...Our coffee break was interrupted by our radios blasting tandem alert signals. A teenage boy had just threatened to stab his mother at a local housing project. Back to work.

More information was broadcast over the radio as we headed that way. The boy was African-American, 6′2″ and 260 pounds. He had threatened to stab his mother with a large kitchen knife when she tried to make him go to school.

...The mother displayed symptoms of aggression and paranoia and was physically trying to stop the officers from entering the house to speak with her son, demanding they speak to him through her. I was able to eventually calm the mother down and she changed her story. 

Her son now never threatened her with a knife — he had only threatened to harm himself.

Now dealing with two different stories, both involving a weapon and erratic behavior, I rushed to re-brief my sergeant and go over the plan of contact: 

“We will have a negotiator talk to the teen from behind a shield,” I said. “Under no circumstances are we going inside the apartment. 

We need to defuse the situation and treat this as a mental-health intervention case, not a crime.”

Read the full story at OZY.com [HERE]. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Chained up alone in the dark for five years hostage Terry Waite only communicated by tapping on the wall in code

96 foreign hostages were taken and held during the Lebanon hostage crisis between 1982 and 1992 and ten of them died in captivity - British church envoy Terry Waite survived.

Held hostage for four years in solitary confinement, Terry Waite had no one to talk to, no pen to write with, and no books to read.
A quarter of a century on from his release, the man who endured 1,763 days in captivity is still making up for lost time.
Read more from the Mirror [HERE].

Friday, December 16, 2016

Kidnapping for ransom works like a market- How it is organized is surprising (Washington Post)

Economists and social scientists often think about difficult economic transactions. Surely, one of the trickiest possible transactions is when ransom-payers try to bargain with kidnappers to get a hostage back. In an article recently published in Governance, I look at how the business of kidnapping works. Here is why kidnapping involves some tricky business relations, how private sector institutions work to resolve them and why governments have a harder time preventing kidnapping from escalating.

Kidnapping is hard

There are three important factors that make transactions between kidnappers and ransomers difficult — problems of trust, problems of bargaining and problems of execution.

Read more at the Washington Post [HERE]. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Inside Look: How Hostage Negotiators Break Through the Mind Game

When there’s a life-or -death crisis, one word or one look can make or break the situation.

That’s why crisis negotiators are trained to get inside the minds of people in distress.

It's an intense job and really takes a special kind of person to want to do it and do it well.

On Nov. 2, Fadel Jabado, a father of six, allegedly shot his wife and son to death, and then his attorney.

Miami-Dade Police Crisis Negotiator Victor Millian was dispatched to a location where Jabado was held up. Millian was literally the last line of communication where anything could have happened.

“One of the things he kept telling us from the minute I started my conversation, he wanted us to kill him he wanted to be suicide by cop, he implored me,” said Millian.

Read more from NBC 6 [HERE].

Friday, November 11, 2016

Pirates on the high seas haven’t gone away, they’ve just changed their tactics

This year has been the quietest on the high seas since 2008, as incidents of piracy have decreased. But that drop belies a change of tactics. Instead of hijacking vessels, pirates have turned to kidnapping. The last three years have seen a rash of kidnappings targeting ship crews, especially on Africa’s west coast and parts of Southeast Asia.

Between January and September this year, 44 kidnappings were tracked by IHS Maritime & Trade, a risk and analysis firm. That’s more than double the 19 kidnappings recorded in 2015, and more than four times as many incidents in 2014.

Read more from Quartz [HERE]. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Captive: New Netflix Doc on Hostage Taking

Captive is the first of the next wave to emerge and deals with the grim world of hostage-taking. Split into eight parts, each episode explores hostage situations from not only the perspective of the captive, but everyone else involved, including the hostage-takers, families, negotiators, and government officials. The series has been produced by Lightbox, with The Bourne Identity director Doug Liman also contributing heavily.

“Hostage taking is an issue that people are familiar with, but apart from those directly involved, nobody really knows much about,” said Lightbox’s Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn in an interview with Variety back in May.

Read more from HighSnobiety [HERE]. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Orlando Nightclub Audio Clip

(ABC news)- Police negotiators talking to the Orlando nightclub gunman at first weren't sure if the person they had on the phone was actually in the Pulse nightclub, according to audio recordings released Monday after a judge ruled they should be made public.

The audio recordings between police negotiators and shooter Omar Mateen don't stray from transcripts of conversations released previously by the city of Orlando. But they do capture something not in the transcripts: police officials strategizing among themselves about how to talk to Mateen, who hung up several times during the 3-hour standoff at the gay nightclub.
Read more [HERE].
Listen below:

Monday, October 31, 2016

Active Listening Skills From NYPD Hostage Negotiators

Members of the NYPD engage people in crisis situations on a daily basis where the men and women of the Department continually use crisis communication skills and tactics to resolve these incidents in a peaceful manner. For the month of September and October the NYPD is promoting the use of these skills through a social media campaign that will also be promoting awareness of mental health illnesses and how help is available. The NYPD reached more than 220 million people on social media last year and see this as an opportunity to raise awareness of effective skills that can help people as well as services that are available.

The NYPD encourages everyone to help raise awareness of suicide, mental illness and how it is easy to help someone- you don’t have to be an expert. The first step can be as simple as engaging a person in conversation and encouraging them to talk to you. That is what “Talk To Me” means- starting a conversation with someone who might be in need of help.

You can help by using the hashtag #TalkToMe on social media, following us on Twitter at @TalkToMe, sharing our content that is posted on the channels listed below, raising awareness by posting on your social media, and finally by checking in with someone that might need help.

Why "Talk To Me"?

HNT Skills: Instead of saying...

Here's a snippet from article from a person who has a mental illness. She shares some tips on things she would prefer hearing instead of "get well soon."

From the perspective of crisis/hostage negotiators, this could be helpful when developing a communication strategy as the suggested can help build rapport and trust.
There are other things you could say that aren’t as triggering and are more validating to someone who is chronically ill…

1. I know how hard this is for you.

2. I’m here for you.

3. Take care of yourself, and let me know what I can do.

4. I can see you’re struggling, and I want to help.

5. You must be strong to have battled this every day.

6. I’m sorry you’re hurting.

Read the full article [HERE].

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Julie Chen Reveals Her Great-Grandmother Was Kidnapped and Murdered by Bandits

Julie Chen's family story will forever serve as a life lesson.
While on The Talk Thursday, the 46-year-old news anchor revealed a terrible family story that still haunts her to this day. Chen shared that her great-grandmother and aunt were both kidnapped and held for ransom by a group of bandits. Because Chen's grandfather was a successful and wealthy businessman, the bandits demanded payment or else they would murder her family members.
"Because he was wealthy and well-known, this put a target on his back. People knew who he was, so bandits one day kidnapped his elderly mother and one of his teenage daughters—my mom's sister," she explained. "These two women were held hostage and the bandits said that they would kill them if a large ransom wasn't paid for in exchange.

Read more at E! [HERE]. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

WPD negotiator details talks between suspect following standoff

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Wichita Police Department's Crisis Negotiation Team was called out at around 2:30 Friday morning for a standoff to help a woman that had a gun to her head.
This came after a short police chase that left one sheriff's deputy in the hospital. Behind all of the lights and sirens, negotiators began their work by talking with the officers that were already on scene.
"At this point we decided to go into a coaching phase where we actually coach the officer instead of taking over the negotiations because he'd already developed the rapport," said Christian Cory, a member of the negotiation team.
Read more and watch the video [HERE]. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Jurors hear FBI crisis negotiator's calls to refuge holdouts

FBI negotiator Marc Maxwell testified Wednesday that he tried to listen to the concerns of the last four holdouts at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in late January and early February, establish a rapport and show some empathy with the hope of coaxing them toward a peaceful outcome.
Jurors heard recordings of four calls that the FBI agent had with defendant Jeff Banta, between Jan. 27 and Feb. 4., as Banta, co-defendants David Fry, Sean Anderson and his wife Sandra Anderson huddled in the refuge's west end encampment, which occupiers dubbed "Camp Finicum.''
Read more at OregonLive.com [HERE].

Monday, October 3, 2016

"Talk To Me" - The NYPD's Suicide Prevention & Mental Illness Awareness Campaign

NYPD “Talk To Me” Campaign Raises Awareness For Suicide Prevention & Mental Illness

Social media being used to share crisis communication skills, dispel myths, connect people with services, and more

Members of the NYPD engage people in crisis situations on a daily basis where the men and women of the Department continually use crisis communication skills and tactics to resolve these incidents in a peaceful manner. For the month of September and October the NYPD is promoting the use of these skills through a social media campaign that will also be promoting awareness of mental health illnesses and how help is available.

The NYPD reached more than 220 million people on social media last year and see this as an opportunity to raise awareness of effective skills that can help people as well as services that are available. They NYPD encourages everyone to help raise awareness of suicide, mental illness and how it is easy to help someone- you don't have to be an expert.

The first step can be as simple as engaging a person in conversation and encouraging them to talk to you. That is what "Talk To Me” means- starting a conversation with someone who might be in need of help. You can help by using the hashtag #TalkToMe on social media, following us on Twitter at @TalkToMe, sharing our content that is posted on the channels listed below, raising awareness by posting on your social media, and finally by checking in with someone that might need help.

Why "Talk To Me"?

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Status Report on the Implementation of Executive Order 13698 Hostage Recovery Activities

From DNI.gov:

To ensure accountability for the reforms mandated by the E.O. and PPD-30, the E.O. directed that within one year, NCTC, in consultation with the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), provide a status report to the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism on the implementation of the E.O.. The E.O. directed that the status report will be informed by consultation with stakeholders outside of the USG, including former hostages and hostages’ families and will, to the extent possible, be made available to the public. This Status Report responds to those requirements.

Download the report HERE.

Statement on Hostage Recovery Activities

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on the Status Report on the Implementation of Executive Order 13698 Hostage Recovery Activities

From WhiteHouse.gov- Last year, President Obama ordered comprehensive updates to U.S. hostage recovery policy and signed an Executive Order to organize more effectively our efforts so we are best postured both to bring home U.S. nationals held abroad and support their families. Since then, we have brought under one roof law enforcement, intelligence, and military experts at the Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell, where they work side-by-side to develop and pursue recovery strategies. Moreover, the President designated a Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, who coordinates our diplomatic efforts abroad. The interagency Hostage Response Group is ensuring that all of the elements put into place last year are working together as a team and receiving any guidance and oversight that they need. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

More than just talk: Police discuss how words can diffuse situations

The No. 1 element in being a successful negotiator is you have to honestly care about the person on the other end of that phone,” 
Whitley, a 13-year member of the Danville Police Department and a crisis negotiator for around nine years, said. 
“My sole focus at that point and time is talking to him.”

For five hours, Danville Police were on the 100 block of Marshall Terrace negotiating a peaceful end to a hostile situation.
Andrew Steven Petrick, 35, was wanted for grand larceny and forgery warrants. When police attempted to make an arrest that morning around 10 a.m., he went into a residence and would not surrender.
Petrick told police he had a firearm and would not come out.
Read more from GoDanRiver.com [HERE]. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Nigeria Describes 3 Failed Negotiations With Boko Haram on Kidnapped Girls

DAKAR, Senegal — Two and a half years after more than 200 girls were kidnapped from a school in northeastern Nigeria, the government on Friday described for the first time the failed efforts to negotiate for their release.

Nigerian officials revealed that talks had been underway since July 2015 between the government and Boko Haram terrorists to gain the release of the girls taken from a school in Chibok. The talks began shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari took office.

Three times the negotiations were derailed, in one instance at the last minute even after...

Read more at the NY Times.com [HERE].

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ex-hostage tells of terror as friends beheaded in Philippines

A Norwegian former hostage on Sunday described his psychological torture as he heard his friends being beheaded by Islamic militants during a year-long captivity in the southern Philippines. 

A heavily bearded and gaunt Kjartan Sekkingstad, who was released on Saturday by the feared Abu Sayyaf group, also said he narrowly survived military attacks against his captors, with a bullet piercing his backpack. 

"Basically, I've been treated like a slave, carrying their stuff around, time to time abused." 
Read more [HERE].

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

New Melle Native Writes Book on Crisis Negotiations

Doering Book photo web 2016-09-11 11.38.35_resized.jpg

Patrick Doering is a police Lieutenant with the Lake St. Louis Police Department and a skilled hostage/crisis negotiator. He recently published his first book: Crisis Cops — The evolution of hostage negotiations in America.

Patrick started his law enforcement career in Lake St. Louis about 20 years ago. As a new officer, he often looked for new and interesting training classes to attend, and soon decided he wanted to find a “niche” in which he could develop some specific area of expertise. One day he saw a flyer for a class called “Initial Response to Hostage/Crisis Situations.” He didn’t think the likelihood of ever being involved in such a situation was very high, but the class sounded “cool” so he signed up.

Read more from Boone County Connection [HERE].

Read more about the book and purchase it from Amazon [HERE]. 

Crisis Cops: The Evolution of Hostage Negotiations in America

(From Amazon.com)- Hostage/Crisis negotiations is one of the most demanding and stressful jobs in law enforcement. Crisis Cops will put you into the action, whether it be a bridge jumper, hostage taker or suicidal subject. 

These are the origin stories from the early beginnings of Hostage/Crisis negotiations throughout the country. From New York to Los Angeles you will see how Hostage/Crisis negotiation evolved into the art form that it is today. some of these stories may make you laugh, cry or sweat bullets. 

This isn’t what you see on television, these are real stories, from real negotiators who have saved hundreds of lives throughout their careers. You will hear how their teams got started, what hurdles they had to overcome and most importantly you will hear stories from the negotiators that were there in the moment.

Read more and purchase the book by Patrick Doering [HERE]. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Abu Sayyaf's Malaysian hostage pleads for help in phone call to media

A Malaysian hostage held by the Abu Sayyaf militants sent an SOS message, pleading for help as he has been starved and beaten up.

Wednesday, Abu Rami, Abu Sayyaf spokesman called The Star from Jolo island, southern Philippines, and passed the phone to the 32-year-old hostage for sending a message to the Malaysian government.

"I'm a hostage from Malaysia. My name is Mohd Ridzuan Ismail. And I'm asking for help from the government and my boss to rescue us as soon as possible," he said in Bahasa Malaysia.

Read more from the International Business Times [HERE]. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Nine months in ISIS captivity, a Rudaw journalist’s story

Massoud Aqeel and Farhad Hamo, from Qamishlo, were two freelance journalists covering the war with the Islamic State in northern Syria.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Transcripts of 911 calls reveal Pulse shooter's terrorist motives

The conversations between the Orlando Pulse nightclub attacker and Orlando PD negotiators was made public recently. The release of this information provides insight into the interaction between a negotiator and subject and how the skills taught in crisis hostage negotiation course are used, even in dire situations such as what occurred in Florida.

In particular, note the use of active listening skills such as reflect/mirroring, moving from large/abstract conversations to the situation at hand, and open-ended questions. 
From the article:

The transcripts were made public after the Federal Bureau of Investigations approved releasing calls or records not exempt under Florida public-records law. The city did not release the 28 minutes of audio from which the transcripts were written.
At 2:48 a.m., the negotiator called Mateen, who was holding hostages inside the club. Throughout the calls, Mateen said he committed the attack to “to stop the U.S. air strikes” on Iraq and Syria.
Here's an excerpt from the transcript. I highly recommend you read the article and the full transcript at the links below. 

SUSPECT: ...They are killing too many children, they are killing too many women, okay? 
NEGOTIATOR: I understand that. Here is why I'm here right now. I'm with the Orlando police. Can you tell me what you know about what's going on tonight? 

SUSPECT: What's going on is that I feel the pain of the people getting killed in Syria and Iraq and all over the Muslim (unidentified word). 
NEGOTIATOR: Okay. So have you done something about that? 
SUSPECT: Yes, I have. 
NEGOTIATOR: Tell me what you did, please. SUSPECT: You already know what I did. 
NEGOTIATOR: Look, I'm trying to figure out
how to keep you safe and how to get this resolved peacefully because I'm not a politician, I'm not a government. All I can do is help individuals and I want to start with helping you. 

Read more from the Orlando Sentinel [HERE] and read the transcript [HERE]. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Is Obama the Last Hope for American Hostages?

Team Obama is pushing hard to free the seven Americans being held hostage in the Middle East. Would a President Trump or Clinton do the same? Hostage families fear not.

(TheDailyBeast)- The families of Americans held hostage in the Middle East are used to counting the days their loved ones have been in captivity. But now, they’re counting the days left in President Obama’s administration—and are fearful that if some deal isn’t brokered to bring their family member home before he leaves office, the window of opportunity will have closed.

Two U.S. officials told The Daily Beast that these efforts have been making slow but steady progress. And in a sign that the FBI in particular is trying new approaches, the bureau has contacted at least two journalists with contacts in the Middle East and asked them to provide information that might assist in individual hostages’ cases, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter. That’s a major change for the FBI, which has faced criticism from lawmakers and some family members for not acting aggressively enough.

...The period between now and Jan. 20 is “the best chance we have” to free captured Americans, a person familiar with one hostage’s case said.

Read the full article [HERE]. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

In a Shift, U.S. Includes Families in Hostage Rescue Efforts

... Perhaps most important, the government has designated officials — many of them senior — to talk with the families. During the period starting in mid-2014 when the Islamic State was beheading large numbers of captives, family members repeatedly complained that they did not know who in the American government was in charge or whom to call with questions. Many times, they received conflicting information.

Among the families who criticized the government’s actions was that of the slain journalist James Foley. The family did not learn of his beheading in 2014 until being told by a reporter. Mr. Foley’s mother accused the government of showing a lack of compassion and threatening prosecution if the family paid a ransom. She was not consulted before the military attempted a failed raid in Syria to save her son.

The improvements since then seemed to be clear to Sam Farran, 55, a security consultant who was freed last year after being abducted and brutalized in Yemen. “My family says the F.B.I. was good,” he said.

“They were on the phone with them on a daily basis,” he added. “So that provided some relief that they were engaged. This is one good thing.”

Read the full article from the NYTimes.com [HERE].  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Stress & Crisis Hostage Negotiation

Stress is something synonymous with the world of crisis and hostage negotiation. Stress is expected but when unchecked and unaccounted for, it can lead to spontaneous actions, foolish moves, inaccurate assumptions being made, and potentially violence.

As with much of what I post here, I try to incorporate the "science" with the "practical" work being done by negotiators. The following ten articles are all grounded in research and can be helpful from a understanding the physiology of stress, how to manage stress, and how it impacts decision-making.


A Guide To Managing Stress in Crisis Response Professions
Behavioral, physical, and emotional/psychological reactions to stress; cycle (p.1-2)

How Anxiety Affects Your Decision-Making Skills
New research points to the connection between bad choices and anxious personalities.

Decision-Making Under Stress: The Brain Remembers Rewards, Forgets Punishments
It's counterintuitive, but under stress we tend to focus more on the rewards than on the risks of any decision.
A new review shows that acute stress affects the way the brain considers the pros and cons, causing it to focus on pleasure and ignore the possible negative consequences of a decision.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Emails Show ISIS Appeared Eager to Release Kayla Mueller for Ransom, Expert Says

Even after a failed U.S. Special Forces hostage rescue mission in Syria, the launch of hundreds of coalition airstrikes and the subsequent video beheadings of three hostages, ISIS offered hope to Carl and Marsha Mueller that made them believe paying a ransom could still bring their captive daughter Kayla home, emails from the family's negotiations show.
But a former senior FBI agent told ABC News that U.S. government negotiators missed the likely final opportunity to free the last American in captivity for ransom almost two years ago, which ISIS said was "still a possibility" in its last email to her parents before her death.
"I think the Muellers have a right to be upset," said retired FBI chief hostage negotiator Chris Voss, who reviewed 27 emails exchanged between ISIS and Kayla Mueller's parents for ABC News' "20/20."
“Carl would say we need to make an offer, and then the [FBI-authored] email would not have anything about an offer in it,” Marsha Mueller told ABC News.
“We were like sheep. We were following what the government told us to do. We had no idea,” Kayla’s father Carl Mueller said in the couple's interview for ABC News' "20/20” segment, “The Girl Left Behind.”
...Not making a ransom offer to ISIS -- which would have been, in fact, legally allowable under a Bush-era presidential directive -- was the biggest missed opportunity to free Kayla, said Voss, the retired FBI agent.

Read more from ABC News [HERE]. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Helping Someone In An Anxious State

The following is from The Mighty Site, a website where people with mental illnesses share their own stories. This story can serve as a reminder of how effective the core crisis communication skills such as active listening can be utilized to assist someone who is experiencing the following:

Often times, when I’m in an anxious state, I can’t hear the words you say to me because the thoughts in my head are much louder. Sometimes, I don’t need you to say anything. Just hug me. Just sit with me. Just be there for me. That’s all I need when I’m spiraling.

Please, don’t disregard my worry and fears. It just makes the situation worse for me. If you tell me you locked the door, I have to check it. If you tell me you’re going to do something, then please, do it. I may ask you four or five times just to make sure. I know it can get frustrating for you, but it’s what I need to feel secure, to feel like I can put my faith in you. Please, know I don’t think you’re a liar. I just need to feel like I have some sort of control of my mind.


The above passage also reminds of why we might have to repeat ourselves, the importance of being patient (not problem-solving, not judging) and slowing things down.

Read the full story [HERE].

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Psychology of Kidnapping

(www.NPR.org) Police recently found a teenager near St. Louis who had been held captive for more than four years. Kidnappers often manipulate their victims and convince them not to escape. Forensic psychologist Stephen Golding talks with Alex Chadwick.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Prison, Terrorism & Crisis Negotiation

ISIS Attracts Ex-Cons, Creating A New Brand Of Jihadist

Nearly all of the men implicated in last week's attack in Brussels and the November rampage in Paris have something in common – they are ex-convicts.

The two brothers thought to have blown themselves up in suicide attacks at the airport and metro station in Brussels spent time in prison. One was convicted of assault and bank robbery, the other took part in a carjacking.

Read more from NPR.org [MORE]

Ripe for radicalization: Federal prisons 'breeding ground' for terrorists, say experts

“We have never been faced with such a large number of terror inmates before,” said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., during a recent Homeland Security Committee hearing on countering violent extremism in prison.

King and others say the federal Bureau of Prisons must do a better job of monitoring and, if necessary, isolating inmates who could radicalize others behind bars.

Read more from Foxnews.com [HERE]. 

European Prisons Fueling Spread of Islamic Radicalism

Convicted terrorists sit atop the social pecking order in many facilities, using jail time to plot new attacks or groom petty criminals for jihad

Read more from the WSJ.com [HERE]

French Prisons are ‘Radical Islam’ Terrorist Universities

Read more from Briebert.com [HERE]. 

Hand drawings of Islamic State flags found in cell of teen who plotted to pack kangaroo with explosives on Anzac Day

  • Sevdet Besim planned to run over and behead a police officer last year
  • Radicalised teen also allegedly planned to strap a bomb to a kangaroo
  • Been in prison since he pleaded guilty in June to terror-related charge 
  • He has since drawn ISIS flags and kept newspaper clippings on the group 
  • His defence said he renounced his support for the Islamic State    
  • Decided on attack after his friend Numan Haider was shot dead in 2014
Read more from the DailyMail.co.uk [HERE].

French Prisons Separate Inmates To Prevent Radicalization

For many French Islamist terrorists, radicalization started while serving time in French prisons. Sociologist Farhad Khosrokhavar says some young Muslims see radicalism as a way to strike back at a secular society.
Read more NPR.org [HERE].

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Twelve Questions with Lance Burdett, NZ Hostage Negotiator

Twelve Questions with Lance Burdett

As New Zealand Police's top crisis negotiator, Lance Burdett led negotiations with Jan Molenaar during the Napier siege. His book Behind The Tape reveals how he talked 'the mad, the bad and the sad' back from the brink.
1 What are your key techniques when negotiating with a suicidal person?
Often people get a fright when you start talking to them because they have no idea how they got there. You've got to find out the trigger and stay in that zone - I call it the death zone. Then you find out what's kept them going - that's the hook. Maybe they love their dog, their family, something else - talk to them about that, then go back a bit deeper into what got them there. You take them from the hook to the trigger as you slowly work through their journey. It's a delicate dance. We use active listening skills; asking open-ended questions, using their own words and acknowledging emotions. We don't get people past the depression. It's just what I term shake and take. Most negotiations take one to two hours, the hard ones a bit longer. If it goes much longer it's unlikely to end well.
2 Some of the people you've tried to talk out of suicide are criminals - child molesters and cop killers like Jan Molenaar. How are you able to feel empathy for them?
Read more from the NZ Herald [HERE]. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Handling Stress In Crisis Situations

The following research-based tips might help crisis negotiators and others who continually work in crisis and stressful situations.

Try These Two Mental Techniques To Feel Less Time Pressure
Both techniques can reduce that anxious, rushed feeling on a daily basis, research finds.

It can feel like we have less and less time to get the things done that we want.

But there are two easy ways to increase the feeling of having time.

The first — slow breathing — is simple enough to do (see the end of the article if you would like some instructions).

The second is reframing stress and anxiety as excitement.

This can be done by simply telling yourself that you are excited.

Read more on the simple exercise from PsyBlog [HERE].

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The bone-chilling story of survival, from Jihadi John's ransomed hostage

Daniel Rye, 26, was on the trail of missing journalist James Foley when, in 2013, he was seized in Syria.

For 13 months he was beaten and tortured by British-born IS thugs. With him were hostages John Cantlie, Alan Henning and Foley himself. 

Rye survived, and what follows is his account, the most intimately detailed ever from inside an ISIS jail, described in terrifying but utterly compelling terms by writer Puk DamsgÃ¥rd… 

More from the Daily Mail [HERE]. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Hostage: Normandy Church Attackers Made My Husband Film Execution of Priest

An 86-year-old woman, one of five held hostage Tuesday at the Normandy church, said the attackers had handed her husband Guy a cellphone and demanded that he take photos or video of the priest after he was killed. Her husband was in turn slashed in four places by the attackers and is now hospitalized with serious injuries.
The attackers took hostages at the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in France’s northwest region of Normandy, during morning Mass. After the priest was slain, both attackers, at least one of them a local man, were killed by police outside the church. The exact timeline of the attack is still unclear.
Read more from the Blaze [HERE]. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Normandy Attack: Psychology & The Attacker

Adel Kermiche (pictured right and left, in 2011), 19, has been named as one of the two ISIS knifemen who stormed into a church in Normandy and cut the throat of an 84-year-old Catholic priest Jacques Hamel before being shot dead by police
He outlined about his frail psychological state, saying he was regularly in hospital after suffering deep depressions and 'other mental problems'.
Kermich said: 'I am a Muslim grounded in the values of mercy, and goodness - I am not an extremist'.
Saying he 'couldn't get up' without saying two prayers every morning in his prison cell, he claimed he wanted to become a mental health nurse, and settle down with a family.
'I want to get my life back, to see my friends, to get married,' Kermich told an examining magistrate in the psychological reports leaked to Le Monde newspaper.
Kermiche spent his time in prison mixing with other terrorists, including another young Frenchman who had spent 18 months fighting with ISIS.
Despite this, he managed to convince those compiling the report that he should be given yet another chance.
The judge overseeing Kermiche's case, said the teenager was 'aware of his mistakes', and despite 'suicidal thoughts', was a good candidate to be reintegrated back into society.
He was once a sports-mad teenager who loved the Simpsons and Rihanna while friends considered him something of a peacemaker when arguments broke out.
But Normandy priest killer Adel Kermiche, 19, became 'bewitched' by radicals in a matter of months and even lectured his own mother on conduct.
Pictures taken of a younger Kermiche show him wearing a T-shirt with the slogan 'I know HTML (How to meet ladies)' - a joking message that plays on the HTML computer language used to create web pages.

Kermiche reportedly had four siblings, one of whom was a doctor while friends said he would normally be the first to 'break up any argument'.

But he became radicalised in a matter of months following the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris last January when 12 magazine staff were slaughtered by jihadists.

Kermiche's mother, said to be a professor, revealed that he had started going to a mosque more often before lecturing her on her conduct, the Sun reports.

She said: 'He said that one couldn't exercise one's religion peacefully in France. He spoke with words that were not his. He was bewitched.' 

Friends said he eventually would not reason with them and merely quoted back verses 'from the Koran'. 

Read more from the Daily Mail [HERE].