Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How Stanley Alpert Survived a Kidnapping [Video]

The NYPD and FBI both agree that Alpert should not have survived his kidnapping; Alpert shares with us the strategies he used to stay alive.


Stanley Alpert is a former federal prosecutor and the author of "The Birthday Party," a memoir about how he survived being kidnapped on his 38th birthday. Alpert spent 25 hours held hostage by men who offered him drugs and threatened to kill his father, but he eventually convinced them to release him. Using clues he had memorized while captive, Alpert then lead FBI and NYPD agents to his kidnappers within mere hours. Alpert is also an environmental lawyer and a former federal prosecutor.
Big Think's interview with Alpert, in which he recounts his experience and gives advice about how to survive a kidnapping, is part of our Ultimate Survivor Stories series.
More at BigThink.com [HERE]. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

When active-shooter event became hostage situation, police made tough call

Dawn was nearing, and police had a tough decision to make. They faced a terrorist holding hostages in a bathroom. He’d shown a willingness to slaughter innocent people. An unknown number were dead or dying inside Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.

Negotiations by phone with the gunman, Omar Mateen, had gotten nowhere.

“He really wasn’t asking for a whole lot, and we were doing most of the asking,” Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Monday...

“There was a timeline given, and we believed that there was imminent loss of life that we needed to prevent,” Mina said. “It’s a tough decision to make knowing that people’s lives will be placed in danger by that, our officers’ lives would be placed in danger.”

Gary Noesner, the retired chief of the FBI negotiation unit and author of “Stalling For Time: My Life As An FBI Hostage Negotiator,” said authorities face a tricky situation when a gunman is determined to die: “If they obviously don’t want to live, the most clever phraseology in negotiations are not going to get you the outcome you want.”

Read more from the WashingtonPost.com [HERE].

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Hostage Negotiation & Orlando

Did the police do the right thing?

The official timeline of the siege includes a lengthy pause of two hours or more between Mateen's initial assault, in which most of the victims were killed, and a final gun battle in which he and others were killed. During that interim period, police said Mateen had stopped shooting and was talking to 911 dispatchers and hostage negotiators, raising a potential opportunity to end the bloodshed. But while they talked, an untold number of victims were lying wounded or dying in the club.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina has defended his approach, saying it was worth the risk to talk to Mateen because it may have saved more lives — and once it became clear the Mateen was going to start killing again, authorities moved to take Mateen out. Many police experts agree, saying it struck a difficult balance between force and negotiation.
But the details of what happened during the siege's middle period remain unclear.
Read more from NBCnews.com [HERE]. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

‘Kidnapping is the easiest crime to commit’: Hostage threat grows as ISIL inspires copycats, expert says

It’s like a high-stakes game of poker, except there’s no walking away from the table. That’s how Alan Bell describes what happens when a Canadian is kidnapped overseas and held for ransom.
Bell is a former British special forces operative who has both kidnapped and helped rescue kidnap victims. In a recent interview, he talked about the dark and dangerous dance between negotiators and hostage-takers that takes place far more often than many Canadians may realize.
“Kidnapping is the easiest crime in the world to commit,” says Bell, who now runs Toronto-based security company Globe Risk International, which helps companies develop kidnap-response plans. “And everybody knows it. Organized criminals know it. Terrorists know it. Guerrillas, they know it as well.”
While actual statistics are difficult to find because most cases go unreported, it’s safe to say that most Canadians will never be kidnapped for ransom while travelling overseas. However, it’s widely believed the number of cases is on the rise, and Bell says there are two reasons for that.
Read more from the NationalPost.com [HERE]. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Paris Police Officer, Wife Killed During Hostage Situation/Terrrorist Attack

Larossi Abballa claimed allegiance to ISIS and called for more attacks in video posted after double murder
French terror suspect reportedly streamed attack on Facebook Live
French President François Hollande described as "unquestionably a terrorist act."

...David Thomson, a Paris-based journalist who specializes in French jihadism, said in a series of tweets Monday that Aballa streamed a video from inside the home on Facebook Live. Citing multiple sources, French news station BFM TV reports that Abballa swore allegiance to ISIS in the 13-minute video, and showed images of the two victims.

According to Thomson, the three-year-old son was behind a couch as Abballa streamed the video, with the suspect saying, "I don’t know yet what I’m going to do with him."

Abballa also posted photos of the victims to his Facebook account, Thomson said, and called for more attacks on policemen, prison guards, journalists, and rappers, citing some by name in the video. He later said that the UEFA Euro soccer tournament, currently underway across France, "will be a cemetery." Two Facebook accounts associated with Abballa have since been suspended.

Read more from the Verge [HERE].

More reports:
BBC: Who is French Police Killer Larossi Abballa?

French jihadist police killer 'was loyal to Islamic State group'
The man who killed a French police couple at their home near Paris was responding to calls by so-called Islamic State (IS) "to kill infidels", police say.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Orlando Attack Became A Hostage Standoff


From the NY Times:

The police, by now swarming outside, had established communication with Mr. Mateen, but it was unclear what they discussed. Heavily armed members of the SWAT team took positions around the building while other emergency medical workers rushed the wounded to a hospital, which was just a block away.

Finally, around 5 a.m., the authorities took action.

They breached the wall of the isolated room with an armored personnel carrier known as a Bearcat.

“That is when the shooter opened the door and started shooting outside,” Mr. Dyer said.

One officer was shot in the head, but was not seriously wounded because the bullet struck his Kevlar helmet.

From the Washington Post:

Authorities declined to offer details. But a senior U.S. law enforcement official said officers delayed their assault on the gunman because the active-shooter scene turned into a hostage negotiation once the gunman called 911. For three hours, the gunman was on the phone with police and no shots were fired.

...“That is when you do wait,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not an authorized spokesman. “It was appropriate.”

Police ultimately chose to end the standoff because of concerns about the health and safety of dozens of people who were injured and trapped inside. Officials at nearby Orlando Regional Medical Center said at least nine people died at the hospital or were dead when they arrived. It was unclear whether anyone was injured during the gunman’s final shootout with officers, although authorities said that one Orlando police officer was shot but his Kevlar helmet saved him.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Shooting, Hostage Situation in Orlando

A heavily armed assailant opened fire in a packed Orlando nightclub early Sunday in a massacre that killed 50 people, the most deadly shooting spree in U.S. history.
Mayor Buddy Dyer said 50 people were killed and dozens more wounded in the attack at Pulse Orlando, a gay club just south of downtown.

Police Chief John Mina said the tragedy began at 2:02 a.m., when three police officers engaged in a gun battle with a suspect outside the club. A hostage situation then took place inside, and a SWAT team was called in, Mina said. Police received updates from patrons trapped in the club, and decided to storm the club at about 5 a.m.

Read more [HERE]. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

More from the Sydney Lindt Cafe Siege

Sydney siege inquest told plan to trade radio time for hostages never put to gunman
Head negotiator stands by belief plan was too dangerous and breached policy not to negotiate with terrorists

A plan to negotiate the release of half the hostages trapped inside the Lindt cafe in exchange for
Man Haron Monis getting radio airtime was never put to the gunman.
It has been revealed that just two hours into the siege the NSW police assistant commissioner Mick Fuller approved negotiations for the release of half the hostages in exchange for agreeing to Monis’s demand he be allowed to speak on the ABC.

But the head negotiator, who on Monday denied undermining his commanders after the proposal was never put to Monis, said he stood by his opinion at the time that it was too dangerous and conflicted with a standing policy to not negotiate with terrorists.

Sydney siege: primary police negotiator had no experience in hostage situations

Senior sergeant identified as ‘Peter’, who also had no counter-terrorism experience,

Sunday, June 5, 2016

In This Corner: Never Split The Difference

In This Corner 
By Lynne Kinnucan

“I was intimidated.

“I’d spent more than two decades in the FBI, including fifteen years negotiating hostage situations from New York to the Philippines and the Middle East and I was on top of my game.  At any given time, there are ten thousand FBI agents in the Bureau, but only one lead international kidnapping negotiator.  That was me.

“But I’d never experienced a hostage situation so tense, so personal.
‘We’ve got your son, Voss.  Give us one million dollars or he dies.’”

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

First hand account of surviving one year as a ISIS hostage

When four former hostages came together this month for their first reunion since they were freed, at different times, two years ago, it was a celebration of friendship forged in the most threatening of circumstances, a remembrance of an agonising ordeal.
They played this game in their own individual ways to preserve themselves, and some semblance of human dignity. Federico Motka, an Italian aid worker, lowered his gaze and raised his guard to avoid his captors' efforts to demean him. French war correspondent Didier Francois pushed back and stared them straight in the eye. Danish photographer Daniel Rye Ottosen, an elite gymnast, did the splits to convince them he was not a spy. French blogger Pierre Torres took beatings, but satisfaction, from ignoring their orders.
And they played this game together, helping each other endure their ordeal, as IS guards of different nationalities deployed diverse tactics of physical and psychological torture to try to break them. Only one, Daniel Rye, was subjected to such brutality that he tried to take his own life - but the guards stopped him, and his fellow hostages brought him back to health.

Read more from the BBC.com [HERE]. 

Listen to the recorded broadcast [HERE]