Who messed up the Software ???

The Enemy Within ... How real is the threat of returning IS fighters to the UK and Europe?

Anti terrorism street furniture is becoming a regular feature of City centres throughout the UK

Julian Bray Broadcaster, Journalist and Aviation Security Expert is addressing the 2017 Security Expo Conference, Olympia London.

This is an abridged extract from his overall presentation and makes the case for a fundamental 'bottom up' re-evaluation of all elements of security expenditure, at all levels, from supranational to small family firms, suggesting that it should not be regarded as a stand-alone cost centre but considered as a legitimate integral cost of production, or delivery of a service, either public or private sector.

Julian Bray suggests this should logically be a core component of the revenue protection process.

In addition, should it result in increased revenue streams by employing exceptionally effective security processes, then the security related budget should likewise increase as a direct percentage of the increasing revenues. In short a gift that keeps on giving...    Please check against delivery. 

Whatever takes place elsewhere, and outside of our chosen orbit, we must consider immediate priorities ensuring our own security strategies and associated protocols are firmly in place. Importantly that we also directly own and control the strategy employed.
Our continuing concern also has to be the threat of terrorism and all that comes with it. It’s taken a good three years to drive out or as the BBC now claims assist the departure of Islamic State from Raqqa. 

But that was yesterday, as we now hear that :

The BBC has now uncovered details of a secret deal that let hundreds of IS fighters, their families and munitions evacuate from Raqqa, as the BBC says: “Under the gaze of the US and British-led coalition and Kurdish-led forces who control the Syrian city.”

The convoy included some of IS's most notorious members and - despite reassurances - dozens of foreign fighters. Some of those have spread out across Syria, even making it as far as Turkey.


But back to recent events. VAW Vehicle As a Weapon seems to be the current favoured method against soft targets. 
Some domestic warriors on a jihad never went on the overseas journey, but thanks to distance learning ie instruction by smart phone, internet, i-cloud and usb sticks by mail.

Literally mountains of cash has been invested over the years by the funders of terrorism. There is clear international political advantage in causing mayhem.

As Islamic State implodes in Iraq and Syria, the question uppermost in security circles has to be:  What will happen to its battle hardened fighters?

The changing fortunes of IS has major implications for local, national and global security. Our own individual response to the threats presented, materially determines the outcome.

But is this getting through to our politicians, main board directors, HM Treasury and neo-governmental organisations?  I really don’t think so. 
Security in a commercial context can no longer be regarded by civil organisations as a prohibitive cost centre, especially in events involving arenas or airports where many people gather or transit through, commercial aviation, public transport and shopping malls, the list of soft targets for terror is disturbingly long.
Security budgets, much work harder, be effective at all levels, and recognised as such by our leaders, be they multinational, main board directors, or the head of a family firm. We must ensure line managers and heads of departments, embrace and understand security issues as an integral part of their own function. 

Security in the 21st Century urgently needs  increasingly pin-point targeted resources, even recorded on the company books as a … revenue related profit centre, ….and I’ll return to that thought in just a minute.  

Government can assist:  however they and local authorities have effectively washed their hands of direct intervention by slashing domestic police budgets, penny pinching on military resources, appointing regional Mayors, or simply the MOD (Ministry of Defence) being serially unable to fiscally manage large projects, without invoking catastrophic financially ruinous major changes triggering penalty clauses, but its public money so who cares? Well guess what, we all do!

There is also the fact that multi service corporations such as SERCO and G4S are mopping up most of the essential day to day services we rely on at local and national levels.

Don’t get me wrong this is not a pop at SERCO, and others like it, but really how many diverse services can they properly deliver? It has to be more than a balance sheet operation. People are the core of all its activities and services, sadly the skills in many areas are simply not there.

Not helping matters is Michael Fallon aged 65, suddenly packed up his tent, over what has been dubbed #hashtag kneegate, and set off a veritable scatter gun of allegations…

Suffice to say, it is still the case that people in this country remain innocent until proven guilty in a Court of Law.

The new Defence incumbent, Gavin Williamson, a former chief whip no less, and a former SpAd. A Special adviser to David Cameron, parachuted into a safe seat seven year ago.

Fronting his first NATO press conference it is clear Mr Williamson still has a steep learning curve and years of media presentational training in front of him. His initial brush with the media wasn't that impressive.

Michael Fallon had I believe no connection or knowledge of the military, nor had former PM David Cameron, so its no great surprise to hear that the new Defence Secretary also has no military background or bearing to speak of.  

But raising the profile of Security and related matters? Just how, you might well ask?

We’ll start by effectively rebranding the whole discipline as:


Effective security enhances revenue protection.

Well resourced, continually refreshed and implemented security protocols, will guard your bottom line and promote cashflow by protecting revenue generation.

Financial Directors will tell you, any break in continuity or production is cripplingly expensive, and for smaller businesses with borrowing and bank rate on the rise again, possibly catastrophic.

Disaffected workers facing a sudden loss of income, long-term unemployment or losing the very roof over their head, creates the prime targeted breeding ground for likes of IS, and those who would wish us harm.

Consider some 30,000 foreign nationals joined IS specifically to fight. Make no mistake, these are now professional battle-hardened individuals, armed with a range of sophisticated subversive military skills and a driven mindset.  

Along with established and sophisticated internet based instructional networks which  give them additional device making skills, using materials that can be purchased by anyone from a retail shed operation, builders’ merchants, local cash and carry outlets or even we hear with unintentional assistance from Ebay and Amazon.

The recent New York, Vehicle as a Weapon, outrage and the use of a rental hire Home Depot truck shows how easy it is. (just 19 bucks for 75 minutes gets you a pick up truck)..

The software used by Amazon and e-bay innocently connects items or components based on worldwide relational buying patterns and in part generated on screen as a sponsored link package.

In short, a complete home terrorist shopping list ‘accidentally’ generated, its easy as easy as entering: ‘bearings, pom...., oatmeal, Irn bru, and hairdressing peroxide”  That by the way will not make a viable device and is purely for illustration purposes. 
The fizzy drink alone is probably all you need.

However, we hear, moves are already being put in place to frustrate these digital lists, but the genie is already out of the bottle, our job is to recork it and quickly.

Make no mistake, IS returnees, will effortlessly blend into any neighbourhood, at a time when neighbourhood policing has all but vanished, due to police budget cuts.

Norfolk Police recently announced that all PCSOs - one time the backbone of neighbourhood policing - an invaluable grassroots intelligence network - are to be axed. For the same overall funding, 80 Police Officers will be recruited or maintained. 

Simply Norfolk thinks neighbourhood PCSOs are almost just as expensive to run as fully qualified warrant holding police officers

IS has a long-established support network throughout Turkey, which is playing a key role in extracting foreign fighters from Syria. 
Turkish authorities are belatedly addressing this. But these are driven souls, both male and female. Some returners still in their late teens, but all with a very different and mature mindset.

They could well now continue their campaigns, by this I mean carrying out terrorist attacks, they see as a justification to avenge the demise of the "caliphate". 

A UK government spokesperson backed comments by a departed minister who said "in almost every case" British Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq must be killed.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics, International Development Minister Rory Stewart actually said IS militants adhere to an "extremely hateful doctrine" and "the only way of dealing with them will be, in almost every case, to kill them."

Directly quoting the BBC website: Responding to [Rory] Stewart's comments, a government spokesman said they are in line with the stated position of Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, who earlier this month told British IS fighters: "You have made yourself a legitimate target and run the risk, every hour of every day, of being on the wrong end of an RAF or USAF missile.

The spokesman added: "Nobody should be in any doubt about our determination to fight and defeat Daesh terrorists, regardless of nationality.

"Anyone who does travel to Syria, for whatever reason, is putting themselves in considerable danger - particularly if they are fighting for our enemies." 

This however overlooks the stark reality every UK subject that travels usually through Turkey to Syria and offers themselves up as a fighter for a cause, also leaves an embedded close knit wide ranging family network back in the UK.

An assessment by US counter-terrorism suggests, that some foreign fighters will stay on in both Syria and Iraq. But what credence should we in the aviation, transportation. Mass people moving, ports and related sectors give to this ever changing scenario?

Is the current round of sporadic terrorist related incidents, any worse than the relentless day-to-day IRA UK mainland and Northern Ireland  bombing campaign during the 70’s and 80’s?  

Has the current generation forgotten this or have we who experienced it been lax, in not highlighting the dangers?

The UK security service MI5 chief reported that fewer than expected of the 800 Britons who joined IS had returned recently and that at least 130 had been killed. My numbers from several sources are much higher.

Its not too difficult physically leaving the "caliphate", there are well established ‘home run’ routes mostly through the 822km 510 mile border between Turkey and Syria.

Its widely accepted in security circles, the further East you travel, security fades and tends to be not so efficient or driven, and mainly the preserve of related family members, as plumb tasks are routinely parcelled out to favoured parties.

Its true the Turkish Authorities have upped their game, but mountainous terrain, well resourced and financed, smuggling networks render the border a minor deterrent, for those truly determined to infiltrate Europe.  

Many experts now suggest IS will morph into a lethal insurgent force using low tech, alarmingly simple tactics including: VAW (vehicles as weapons) pressure cooker explosive devices, and spontaneous  ‘lone wolf’ uncoordinated ‘off-radar’ events, by that I mean no, or at best little, advance intelligence can be gathered. 

We need to be ready to counter all of this.

As for ‘lone wolves’ so far, in the main, terrorist attacks are the result of cells or ‘sleeper’ style relational team efforts. 

Reliable sources maintain that Foreign fighters have been over-represented among militants in the =battles of Mosul and Raqqa.

True many have been captured, rounded up and are now on Trial in Iraqi courts, but this legal process creates additional legal and moral dilemmas for their countries of origin, mainly as the death penalty is still on the table..  

Neighbouring countries, such as Jordan and Lebanon, have similar fears.

A strong presence in Libya, has built up, where US sources suggest some 6,500 fighters are present, not forgetting several hundred in Afghanistan. Areas of the Philippines and the DOC Democratic Republic of Congo are being partly infiltrated by fighters linked to IS ..

North African countries are particularly vulnerable - Tunisia, some 6,000 of its citizens left to join IS - the highest per capita rate in the world.

The threat to Europe

European authorities consider the return of some of the estimated 6,000 European foreign fighters a major security concern.

While significant problems still exist, European authorities have improved intelligence sharing to better detect returning fighters.

BREXIT fall out may unhinge all this as will the impending Germany Snap Elections. Zimbabwe now free of Mugabe may present a new terrorist breeding ground – the threat map is constantly changing.

Improved co-operation with Turkey, means some militants are now arrested before they get any further.
But many others are reaching Europe illegally, or by posing as refugees - as some of the November 2015 Paris attackers did.

But most foreign fighters will come to Europe legally, often using their genuine European passports. 

If detecting them is a problem, working out what to do with them is equally fraught.

The UK Home Office, said that in 2016 the 400 British foreign fighters who had returned from Syria and Iraq, only 54 were convicted.

Similar dynamics can be observed throughout the continent.

In some countries, joining a terrorist organisation or fighting in a foreign conflict were not criminal offences at the time when most individuals travelled to Syria.

Several countries have since introduced new laws which, cannot be applied retrospectively. 

Even in countries where such actions have long constituted criminal offences, authorities struggle to gather the evidence needed to build a strong criminal case.

So where is our blueprint? We can no longer leave all security matters to external consultants, creating tick box systems and protocols. We need to control the overall strategic purpose and future pathway.
The new breed of terrorists just don’t conveniently fit into traditional systems.  We individuals, with whatever job title, must regain ownership, only employing experts to tighten up systems and to close loopholes - not to run the whole show as clearly has been the case to date.

The equally important day to day security regimes are logically down to all of us.  However we all need to mix it up a bit…anticipate the unexpected, and abandon linear ‘block and bowtie’ methods of implementation.
Think of the task as an essential core element of revenue protection and nothing to do with, or an ancillary branch of health and safety.

That is the very strong message I need you to take back to your boards and financial directors. It is a money making, revenue protecting message.

The fewer the number of incidents, stoppages, sabotage, production halts and passengers or clients being upset, bumped off flights, injured or killed the better. We’d all agree on that?

The stark fact is that by eliminating or at least minimising security risk or anticipating those risks, then your revenue is not only protected but will actually increase, just as the aggregate cost of production or providing a service will show a financial improvement.

Consider your security spend as a percentage or production component, so logically the more you take in as revenue, the more, not less, should be spent on security resources. It is simply a gift that keeps on giving. 

The detail of this concept is already being rolled out through corporate events and developed plans/modules for company internal cascades and I’ll be back to tell you all about it. 

Make no mistake, what I am asking you to do is not an easy sell. 

But this is not a battle, but a challenge by turning what seems to be a very unsexy cost centre into the more glamourous concept of revenue protection. 

The railways, have been doing this for years, and collecting unpaid or dodged fares at the full standard rate - certainly more revenue protected, than a promotional discounted fare - the passenger could have acquired before travelling. The alleged offender is effectively paying for the revenue protection officer in addition to the averaged out rail fare.  Pure Genius…but the ticket bilking loss to railway operating companies is still currently running at £200million a year…

Finally, the big reveal:


Strategic Intent

Empower your internal trained staff
Concentrate resources, bid for more.
Understand the thinking of potential targets -mind games if you like. What are they thinking, and why?
REVENUE PROTECTION the new mantra. Everything you do is to protect revenue streams, make certain everyone understands this concept.
Internet and information technology. The Computer Misuse Act is a powerful piece of legislation. Make certain you and your lawyers are well boned up on the detail. Denial of Service Attacks are on the increase. When did you last change passwords, or possible unwittingly use unlicensed or ripped off copy software and operating systems? The NHS is still on Windows 7. Government stopped support and updates several years ago, on the grounds of cost!
Terrorist activity: Be constantly prepared for the unexpected, and physically be ready in your area or workplace. Own your strategy, don’t farm it all out to external firms !
Yesterday: departing employees and employment history. Was the departure amicable? Has outplacement been well carried out? Is there any outplacement? How bitter is the ex-employee?
And as for MATTERS ? It all matters. That is why we are here.

JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert ... Travel & Holiday Guru www.aviationcomment.com,  ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121  ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment,   ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476

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