Wednesday, March 23, 2016

BBC: Ransom

Up to 100,000 Mexicans are kidnapped every year - and it's not just the rich who are at risk.

Plumbers, hairdressers, street-sweepers - anyone can be a target of capture, torture and even murder.

Millionaire ransoms are demanded - but with kidnappers accepting sums as low as US$500, it means no-one is safe.

This story about one kidnap contains strong language and upsetting scenes.

Victims' names have been changed.

...The negotiators will move into the victim's family house for the duration of the case, which can be a matter of days or weeks.

By staying inside they are available to give advice at all times. But it also means they can avoid being spotted by the kidnappers, who may be monitoring the property.

They will also be on hand to help the family deal with phone calls, to try to keep them thinking positively, and also, crucially, to help negotiate the ransom.

“This is a crime about greed, and it usually finishes with some money being paid,” says Morales.

...It's very unusual to have the opportunity to challenge a kidnapper on why he makes victims and relatives go through so much suffering.

Does he (the kidnapper) ever think about this? Has he ever felt any remorse?

Kidnapping is drastic, and quite cruel, but I don't feel any remorse at all. Sorry, I just don't.”

Crack (the kidnapper) is an example of how the booming business of the drug cartels in Mexico has spilled over into other crimes, such as kidnappings or extortions, sometimes to replenish their cash reserves.

Read more from the BBC [here]. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Video From Sydney Lindt Cafe Siege Conclusion

Cameras captured the moment the hostages fled the cafe as Man Haron Monis shot at the door.

The response of the NSW police, in particular their strategy of "contain and negotiate" with Monis as he held 18 hostages at gunpoint, was foreshadowed as a critical issue before the inquest by counsel assisting the Coroner Sophie Callan during her opening remarks on Tuesday.

Describing the "contain and negotiate" strategy as "at the heart of the police response", Ms Callan told the inquest the police's plan to storm was part of an emergency action plan, one which would only be triggered if a hostage was killed or injured.

...Police formed the "strong view" that the containment strategy could deliver a "peaceful negotiated outcome", the inquest heard.

"That view was based on matters such as Monis not having harmed any hostages, despite having threatened to do so, Monis not having reacted violently despite the escape of five hostages on two separate occasions and the fact that Monis' behaviour had not escalated despite most of his demands not being met," Ms Callan said.

Read more:

Sunday, March 20, 2016

NYT: A View of ISIS’s Evolution in New Details of Paris Attacks

In the immediate aftermath of the Paris terror attacks on Nov. 13, French investigators came face to face with the reality that they had missed earlier signs that the Islamic State was building the machinery to mount sustained terrorist strikes in Europe.

Now, the arrest in Belgium on Friday of Salah Abdeslam, who officials say was the logistics chief for the Paris attacks, offers a crucial opportunity to address the many unanswered questions surrounding how they were planned.

...Much of what the authorities already know is in a 55-page report compiled in the weeks after the attack by the French antiterrorism police, presented privately to France’s Interior Ministry; a copy was recently obtained by The New York Times. While much about the Paris attacks has been learned from witnesses and others, the report has offered new perspectives about the plot that had not yet been publicized.

...All the previous attacks by Islamic State fighters dispatched from Syria had relied on a single mode of operation: a shooting, an explosion or an attempted hostage-taking. In Paris, the attackers set off to do all three, realizing that this way they could overwhelm the country’s emergency response.

...The attackers seized cellphones from the hostages and tried to use them to get onto the Internet, but data reception was not functioning, Mr. Goeppinger told the police. Their use of hostages’ phones is one of the many details, revealed in the police investigation, pointing to how the Islamic State had refined its trade craft.

I suggest you read the full article [HERE].