Sunday, March 31, 2019

Weissberg Chair Simon holds Q&A on kidnapping, hostage situations involving journalists

...In his responses, Simon illuminated America’s “no concessions policy,” popularly understood as an official refusal to negotiate with terrorists. This policy was cemented under President Richard Nixon, and is often defended as a way to keep Americans safe while abroad. According to this argument, if terrorists knew that America would pay ransom for its citizens, then Americans would be seen as more valuable, thereby increasing the odds that they would be kidnapped.

According to Simon, there’s no real data to support this argument.
Read more [HERE].

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The business of kidnapping: inside the secret world of hostage negotiation

Kidnapping and ransom insurance was created in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until the 60s that it began to really catch on, following a spate of kidnappings in Europe by groups such as Eta in Spain, the Red Army Faction in Germany and the Red Brigades in Italy. The appeal was simple: in the event of a kidnapping, the insurance would provide reimbursement for ransom payment.
There were caveats to prevent fraud and to ensure that the existence of the policy did not actually increase the risk of kidnapping. The first was that the policy had to be kept secret. In fact, it could be voided if its existence became public. The concern was that if the kidnappers knew of the policy, they would demand more money.

Read more [HERE]. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Why U.S. policy toward negotiating with terrorists may be risking Americans’ lives

  • Judy Woodruff:
    One of the arguments that is made about all this is that, when you pay, when you say you are willing to pay, you run the risk that you are encouraging more kidnapping, more hostage-taking in the future.
    How do you answer that?
  • Joel Simon:
    Well, first of all, I started, when I did the research, with that assumption. It's logical.
    But the data just doesn't support it. Kidnapping is really a crime of opportunity. And there is no evidence or very little evidence to suggest that kidnappers are checking passports, and your nationality is going to determine whether you're kidnapped or not, regardless of the particular policy that your government has.

Read more [HERE].