Proactive rather than reactive response to terrorism – Israeli Expert

The AFL Finals series is here now and soon the Spring racing Carnival will be upon us are. This is an interesting perspective from an Israeli expert Brigadier General (Res) Nitzan Nuriel. In principle we can only agree. It is the preparation and preparedness that will protect the public from harm.

Explosive detection and crash barriers are essential. And as was evidenced in the Manchester bombing it is the time AFTER a major event that provides a cover of chaos. Here is the article . Consider it realistically. You will note he does not focus on the ethnicity, religion or background of terrorists. Rather he addresses the most important consideration – how to effectively deal with such a threat.

How to Prevent the Terrorism Threat from Disrupting Concerts and Sports Events?

The suicide bombing that struck a music concert in Manchester, England last night claimed the lives of 22 people and left 59 injured. In a special column, Brig. Gen. (res.) Nitzan Nuriel discusses the challenges of holding cultural and sporting events under the shadow of terror threats.

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One of the objectives of terrorism is to spread fear (terror) and anxiety among the general public to the point of disrupting everyday life. Major sports events, along with mass-audience cultural events (music concerts, festivals and so forth) have always been, and will always remain prime targets for terrorists owing to the extensive media coverage they receive.

Characteristically, the time and place of such an event are known and publicized well in advance. Massive crowds flock to these events, the public transport systems serving the venue where the event takes place are crowded and overloaded, and the process where the audience enters and leaves the venue leads to massive bottlenecks. All of these characteristics make mass-audience events a serious weakness and a preferred target for terrorist attacks. The primary question the authorities face when specific warnings have been received of imminent terrorist attacks is whether or not the event should be allowed to take place, whether it should be postponed, canceled or relocated to a different venue.

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The Israeli sports authorities were compelled to relocate international tournaments originally intended to be held in Israel to the neighboring island of Cyprus against the background of complex security situations. Similarly, states/teams scheduled to compete against Israeli teams took advantage of the same circumstances by demanding that tournaments be relocated from Israel to other, safer locations.

Recently, we encountered three situations where the tension between holding the match as planned and the option of postponing/canceling it evolved into a practical challenge. These situations involved the Israeli national football team in a match against Albania on November 8, 2015, the Maccabi Nahariya basketball team in a rematch in the context of the Euro Cup and a match in Turkey involving the Israeli football team Hapoel Be’er-Sheva. These are but a few examples from recent times where the dilemma was reported to the public, as there were many other examples involving different sports.

It should be noted that the ISA (Israel Security Agency – SHABAK) is the government organ responsible for authorizing or refusing such sports events. The ISA is required, along with the National Counterterrorism Bureau, to consolidate and submit a specific recommendation to the minister in charge. Naturally, there is always tension between the option of surrendering to terrorism by canceling the event and the option of taking the risk despite the concrete warnings.

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The terrorist organizations will be delighted to succeed in attacking international sports events generally and sports events involving Israeli participants in particular. As far as they are concerned, having the event canceled, postponed or relocated is a victory of sorts, achieved through a relatively minor effort. All they have to do is publish a video or some other electronic message that specifically threatens the event, and the organizers will start sweating when they ponder the dilemma of whether to allow the event to go ahead as planned or cancel it. If we accept this scenario, then terrorism will be able to disrupt our life almost effortlessly, in a manner where we will no longer be able to hold any events. A fabricated warning of a bomb planted at the venue where the event is about to take place will be sufficient to cause panic and lead to a postponement or even to cancellation.

So – what should be the appropriate policy for such circumstances? What can the organizers do to avoid a situation where the plans, and life itself, are unreasonably disrupted?

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I believe that the strength and resilience of a society that values life and its own survival, the risks notwithstanding, are measured – among other things – by its ability to maintain a planned routine of events. Does a basketball game or a football match justify taking risks involving human lives? Is it justified to take a risk when facing a tangible threat only to uphold the slogan “we will not allow terrorism to win and disrupt our life”? I believe that the organizers on behalf of the country hosting the match, game or performance should prepare in such a manner as to allow the event to take place almost under any circumstances. The proper way to accomplish this goal is to employ a system of advance preparation that analyzes the threats and develops a reasonable solution for every possible threat. There are no full-proof, 100% solutions, but a 100% effort is required during the planning stage, as well as during the implementation stage so that the risk of allowing terrorism to prevail is minimized. Canceling an event should be the very last resort, invoked only after it has become abundantly clear that despite the planning process, certain scenarios had not been provided with adequate solutions, and only then should the event be canceled. In any other scenario, other alternatives should be opted for, like enhancing security, expanding the security loops and even relocating the event to a different venue. The fight against terrorism is a long-distance run, and as such, it demands that we take calculated risks.

Brig. Gen. (res.) Nitzan Nuriel is the former head of Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau.

Source: israeldefense.co.il

Bollards, Barriers or Both?

Currently the Federal and State Governments, along with appropriate City Councils (such as Melbourne and Sydney City Councils) have installed strategically, a series of large concrete bollards throughout each city. As well these same bollards have been installed near vulnerable infrastructure such as Sporting Arenas and Transport Hubs.

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It would appear that the main purpose of the bollards is to present a deterrent to any person attempting to drive through designated Pedestrian precincts. It has also been noted that these bollards, temporary as they are, can be moved up to 40m when impacted by a vehicle, as reported in the Herald Sun and The Age newspapers

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AML Risk Management understands that the authorities are preparing permanent vehicle impediments for such vulnerable positions. An associate of ours managed the outdoor displays featured in the Bourke St Mall for over 8 years. It is without question a sensible strategy. During that period there were 8 metre by 20 meter display units placed at the head of the Mall on Swanston St and Elisabeth St. Similarly there were large potted trees and floral units strategically placed. These units would have certainly restricted the driver who ploughed through the mall, but because of the nature of the mall and its functionality it would not have completely stopped him.

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The tram tracks and its vehicles cause the open central section to remain unprotected so once a vehicle gains access it can still be a menace with low levels of control available. Trucks still do morning deliveries and require access at this stage to the mall.

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AML Risk Management can now offer a solution for major gatherings and vulnerable infrastructure. A full range of effective tested and proven barriers is now available from our supplier; Meridian Rapid Defence Group. The units have been deployed successfully both in similar situations in US cities as well as in areas of conflict such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

For your interest we provide you the link on the Meridian Barrier Kits here. As you can see these units are far better designed with impact ratings, inbuilt portability and a proven track record of protection at the highest levels of alert.

AML is positioned now to deploy these units at short notice where required. The question is not ‘will such an attack happen?’, it’s ‘when will it happen?’. Sadly the proponents of ISIS have already indicated that Australia is a target. From our position at AML, it is better to be prepared, protected and aware. Your personal security is our business and our concern.