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

Evolv – a better solution.

AML can now provide the Evolv Body scanning equipment for fast processing of large crowds. Each unit has throughput of 700 people per hour.

Watch the video here

Guidelines to protect Australians from terrorist attacks in stadiums, shopping malls and public transport hubs

NEW guidelines to protect Australians from terrorist bomb attacks in sporting stadiums, shopping malls and public transport hubs have been released.

The Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee has released the guidelines to help governments and businesses prepare for a possible improvised explosive device in places of mass gathering.

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter Terrorism, Michael Keenan, said the guidelines were to guard against the threat of IEDs and were not in response to any specific threat.

“We want to ensure places of mass gatherings are equipped to contribute to the collective national effort to manage any IED threat,’’ Mr Keenan told the Herald Sun.

“Sadly as we have seen overseas in recent months, crowded places, such as public transport hubs, shopping malls and entertainment precincts, can be vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

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“While Australia’s threat level remains at probable – which means credible intelligence, assessed by our security agencies indicates that individuals or groups have developed both the intent and capability to conduct a terrorist attack in Australia – the incidents overseas highlight the need to be prepared.’’

Crowded places such as public transport hubs are vulnerable to attacks. Pictures: Tony Gough

According to the guidelines, violent extremists and “disgruntled individuals’’ have specifically identified mass gathering places as attractive targets both in Australia and overseas.

They warn that terrorist attacks against targets in Western countries with similar security environments to Australia typically involve the use of small portable devices, devices hidden in vehicles, or mixed-mode attacks where terrorists use explosive devices and other weapons, usually firearms.

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“A terrorist attack in Australia using IEDs is likely to be low cost, involve minimal training, and make use of precursors that are widely available (eg from hardware stores, chemists and agricultural supply stores) and can be bought without raising suspicion,’’ the guidelines warn.

“An IED target is often chosen for its high symbolic or economic value, its potential to generate casualties and public anxiety, or its ability to gain media attention.”

The guidelines give details of how buildings can be made more resilient to IED attack, including by creating “stand-off’’ space to stop vehicles getting too close to buildings.

“Strategically placed objects such as spheres, planter boxes, seats or bollards on the pavement at entrances to (places of mass gathering) can provide extra protection from unauthorised vehicle intrusion as well as increasing stand-off distance,’’ the guidelines say.

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They further give advice on how to identify suspicious behaviour but warn it is not an exact science and nervous behaviour might be “typical for other settings, such as attending a job interview”.

“Consider these behavioural signals: continuous scanning of an area, unusual perspiration, heavy breathing, fidgeting, rubbing hands, pacing, clock watching, exaggerated yawning, avoiding security/uniformed officers,’’ it suggests.

The guidelines follow similar documents on terrorism in public places and active shooter guidelines.

Source: Herald Sun