Wednesday, January 31, 2018

8 Things You Need To Know About Terrorist Decision Making

The following is from the influential UK-based CREST website and well-known terrorism researcher, Paul Gill. 

Paul Gill gives a breakdown on eight things terrorists consider when making a planning an attack, from an analyse of over 80 terrorist autobiographies

Terrorists from a wide array of ideological influences and organisational structures consider security and risk on a continuous and rational basis. Of course, the rationality of terrorism has been long observed. Traditionally, authors considered the rational adoption of terrorism as a strategy or a tactic. More recently, and perhaps more interestingly, they have examined the kinds of rational decisions and behaviours that underpin the planning and commissioning of a terrorist attack.
Our recent research for a CREST-funded project on terrorist planning and decision making in the context of risk, led to us analyse over 80 terrorist autobiographies. Here are eight lessons from our study.

4. Internal feelings

Subjective factors play a large role in terrorist cost-benefit analyses. Many accounts of the planning phase note internal feelings of ‘tension’, ‘stress’, ‘frayed nerves’, ‘doubt’, ‘frustration’, ‘paranoia’, ‘fear’, ‘inborn sense of danger’, ‘premonition of disaster’, ‘highly sensitised’, ‘hyper-aware’, ‘anxious’, and ‘scared’. Such feelings were also common during the commission of an attack. Attackers note physiological reactions like ‘hand shaking’, ‘heart thumped like a drum’, and an ‘inability to sleep.’
Read more [HERE].

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Why Mental Delusions Are Hard To Break

Understanding the psychology and the perspective of the subjects that you engage is is critical to being successful as a crisis negotiation (That's empathy!). The following article is from the great PsyBlog.

Well-known mental delusions include Capgras syndrome, in which a person thinks all their loved ones have been replaced by impostors.

The reason people find it difficult to break free of mental delusions or hallucinations is down to faulty ‘reality testing’, one psychologist argues.
Well-known mental delusions include Capgras syndrome, in which a person thinks all their loved ones have been replaced by impostors.
Hallucinations and delusions can also be caused by serious mental health problems like schizophrenia.
Part of the brain normally checks strange ideas against reality.
However, said Professor Philip Gerrans, the study’s author, this doesn’t always happen:
“Normally this ‘reality testing’ in the brain monitors a ‘story telling’ system which generates a narrative of people’s experience.
A simple example of normal reality testing is the person who gets a headache, immediately thinks they might have a brain tumor, then dismisses that thought and moves on.

Read the full article [HERE]. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Lubbock PD negotiators compete in crisis negotiation competition in San Marcos

... Young said another component is the personal nature of what the negotiator team does.
“We’re there to try and help people as much as they’ll allow us to help them,” he said. “I think the citizens benefit from knowing that the police department is not here just to put people in jail or to kick in doors, but we’re actually here to try and help people on, sometimes, their worst day.”
Read more [HERE]. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

NYT: At Least 5 Killed in Afghan Hotel Attack That Trapped Hundreds of Guests

KABUL, Afghanistan — Five people were found dead in Kabul’s largest hotel on Sunday morning, as authorities hunted the surviving attackers of an armed group that stormed the hotel hours earlier, trapping hundreds of guests during fighting that raged all night.

As the fighting took place, Mr. Rauf and hundreds of other guests spent the night hiding in rooms, wondering whether they would live or die. They were still there at dawn Sunday as sporadic gunfire continued, and most were still alive.

“Why can’t the police rescue us?”

More from the New York Times [HERE]. 

An eyewitness has told the BBC of the terrifying moment gunmen burst into Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel restaurant on Saturday.

The man, who is not being named for security reasons, said he was spared after saying he was an Afghan. 

"Where are the foreigners?" they shouted.

Fourteen foreigners are confirmed to have died, along with four Afghans.

"They were wearing very stylish clothes," he said. "They came to me and asked for food. I served them the food and they thanked me and took their seats. Then they took out their weapons and started shooting the people."

Read more from the [HERE].

Friday, January 19, 2018

Book Review: Held Hostage

(Review By Scott Tillema) I’ve found an exciting read for negotiators who enjoy learning from an experienced practitioner! Dennis Flynn, formerly of the Las Vegas PD, shares a collection of stories from his time as a police negotiator in his new book, Held Hostage.

What I love: Dennis isn’t the usual war-story teller, he provides true instruction for those of us looking to learn about what happened, and more importantly, why. Also, he shares interesting experiences that many of us don’t have, and probably never will!

For example, chapter 4 engages readers about a jumper from the Stratosphere, a 109 floor hotel. Instead of a full SWAT call-out, only negotiators were deployed. That will get you thinking about the limits to your BATNA awfully quickly. Dennis shares the details of that negotiation, all the way down to what he was wearing and why.

He talks about forming a bond with the man in crisis. A bond. That’s the key word in crisis negotiation, and without it, we have no influence, which is a huge problem when you have no other real options. It’s no surprise a veteran negotiator in a major US police department can clearly identify this as his goal and discusses in depth how he works toward it.

The section concludes with a dedicated “lessons learned” section. With every tip, I think of how any of us could apply these suggestions to our own work. Its clear, important and actionable. Another piece I love here is the admission his team was naive to safety practices of high angle rescue. How many of us professionals willingly admit we don’t know everything? That’s refreshing and real for the reader because we’ve ALL been in a situation where we say - well here’s a new one!

This is only one of 10 different incidents presented to the reader in “Held Hostage”. The author includes photos from each of these situations to help readers visualize each story, and they also underscore how real these incidents are. It's an easy book to pick up when you have only a few minutes! For both the interested observer, and the trained professional, you’ll enjoy this book!

Check out the book [HERE]

Check out reviewer Scott Tillema's article on Principles of Negotiation [HERE] and his TEDx Talk [HERE]. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I Was a Crisis Negotiator for 23 Years. Here’s What It’s Like to Talk Down an Armed Hostage Taker.

I found this article posted on the on California Association of Hostage Negotiators (CAHN) Facebook page. I highly recommend checking and liking their page.

Gary Noesner, the former chief of the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit, on the virtues of self-control and active listening.

The most damaging thing for a hostage negotiator is losing self-control. If you can’t control your own emotions, how can you begin to influence someone else’s? If you get angry at what the person has said or done, if you overreact when they don’t follow through on what they said, if you overreact to a verbal attack, that’s self-defeating and self-destructive.
The first task of a negotiator is to bring down the emotions. We use a diagram in training that looks like a child’s teeter-totter. On one side you have “emotions,” and on the other side you have “rational thinking.” When emotions go up, rational thinking goes down.

...Rather than just say, “We can talk about all this later, put your gun down,” you say, “Tell me what happened. I can see you’re upset.” You’re not agreeing with him, you’re just saying: I understand how you feel.
Read more from [HERE]. 
Visit the CAHN Facebook page [HERE]. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Hero police officer spends 4 hours talking young man out of suicide

IDAHO FALLS — A humble police officer acted as a father figure while persuading an armed young man not to take his own life Friday.

Idaho Falls Police Officer Bart Whiting spent four hours talking with the man, which ultimately resulted in a peaceful outcome.

“It was a very tense situation that could have ended very poorly,” Idaho Falls Police spokeswoman Holly Cook told

Read more and watch the video [HERE]. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Suspect in 30-hour standoff demanded ‘thousands’ in cash from 10-year-old boy’s mother

A 30-hour standoff that involved a 10-year-old boy being held against his will at an apartment complex in Liberty Twp. began with the door being opened for the suspect.
Donald Tobias Gazaway, 31, was let into the apartment late Friday night by residents of the apartment in the 700 block of East Hamilton Place, according to Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.
...During the standoff, Gazaway raised the garage door up and down and turned the car lights on and off.
“And occasionally he shot at us,” Sheriff said.
About 20 shots were reported fired during the incident.
Read more [HERE].