Excerpt: “As Christians all across the country are processing this week’s events involving the acts of Robert Aaron Long, our heads are filled with questions. Along with the media and the rest of Americans, we mourn the victims and wonder about this shooter’s motivation, in hopes that understanding what led him to his confusion and …
Security & Emergency Response
This week in history, on 1st March 1562, the Massacre of Vassy took place, beginning 36 years of the French Wars of Religion and use of the word ‘massacre’ as we know it. Symbolic politico-religious spaces and furious, mass casualty
attacks against defenceless (often worshipping) civilians characterised this period. Like many historic uprisings, what preceded such incidents in England and France were creeping cultural-religious restrictions imposed by the nation
state. For the persecuted, co-existence looked increasingly unlikely and the choice seemed to be system destruction, doom, or departure.
Funnily enough, the 1st of March was also the day Pioneer Missionary Hudson Taylor landed in Shanghai in 1854. Taylor popularised the approach of missionaries living and dressing like the people they seek to evangelise.
Community-building efforts by a church in modern Virginia also relied on a nuanced understanding of populations to achieve growth (Ponder, 2021).
CTCB State of Play Newsletter No. 7 explores political violence as a human behavioural pattern: In cults, culture, and scene-making materials. The role of authority figures, often those deemed to have special knowledge or morality,
features prominently. Public figures and cleverly publicised texts can catalyse and cohere widespread dissatisfaction and aggression into movements against a defined evil.
Historic incidents of terrorism and suicide extremism are able to violate the status quo of societies and initiate a restructuring of relations and authority. This means chaos for the incumbent or dominant culture, and manifest dreams
of progress for the oppressed. As the saying goes, “Blood makes the grass grow greener,” yielding a bountiful harvest for survival.
The anti-scenic effect of an abnormally violent event for most leads to a sense that: This is not Paris (Saint Medard riot, Applebaum, 2015), this is not America (Capitol incident in Carlin, 2021), and this is not New Zealand
(post-Tarrant, picture in Thorpe, 2019). For some, it may be a call to “March Forth”.
We hope you enjoy the March fifth issue, and have provided a summary and some extras for the material recommended in Theme 1, as the panel discussion is quite long.
Credit to Christianity Today for the service ‘Today in Christian History’
Porter, D. (2021, February 23). Reading While Not Black. Christianity Today.
This week’s CTCB State of Play Newsletter No 6 addresses hybrid power arrangements, opportunistic criminal activity in areas of reduced state sovereignty, and societal and police paramilitarisation. Soft power initiatives, diffused social hierarchies, and security voids seem to be contributing to the phenomenon of cultural militarisation and citizen militia formation. It is interesting to note …
Security-By-Design – Stakeholder Conflict Resolution In our interview with a land transport security manager, the project design phase was identified as their most difficult work issue. The sheer number of parties involved in a contemporary building project, as well as the uncertainty surrounding human threats, can make it difficult for an appointed professional to get …
Certified Counter Terrorism Practitioners work in a variety of industries, including land transport security. The CTCB was able to conduct a brief interview with a former Certified Practitioner, and ask a few things about their experience in the field in Southeast Asia. Public transit terminals and vehicles have been attractive to terrorist organisations seeking mass …
This week’s CTCB State of Play Newsletter No. 5 addresses the arrest of a Great Replacement teen acolyte in Singapore, the lack of percentage-based perspective in the presentation of terrorism and terrorists, and how digital and cryptocurrency markets influence support and activities. Some
excerpts of terrorist manifestos are provided, which enable placement of the current strategic landscape into an enemy’s strategic perspective. Hopefully, wider use of such documents by practitioners will be able to mitigate policy backlash and rationalise intelligence resources.
Latest prevalence and youth participation rates may need a re-look in terms of messaging design and delivery, and consideration as to how to compete with violent ideologies in addressing the same cognitive vulnerabilities.
As the causes and levels of terrorism participation are so varied, disentangling who to punish becomes harder. As far as counter-terrorism practice goes: What’s best to focus on? Entire entities or individuals? Someone involved in flagrant public displays like Enrique Tarrio, or lurking peripherals like
McVeigh, Breivik, and Minassian?
The technologies capable of countering and facilitating terrorism continue to evolve rapidly, encompassing social media, messaging apps, and cryptocurrency. When combined with global socio-political upheaval, gathered data looks less and less representative – the wildness lies in wait. This has
significant implications for the viability and ethicality of data led intelligence and punishments going forward, especially as the mass-threat approach will necessitate dependence on non-human analytics.
P. S., if you would like a little extra, here are some helpful concepts with simplified definitions. The ideas may be useful for you as you go through the materials for the week.
Reinforced Grouping: A loose affiliation experiences hostility or exclusion. They then move closer to those with shared beliefs or identifiers for protection and to fulfil economic or social needs – as simple as having someone to talk to. This happens in ‘extremist’ forums, prisons, urban gangs, or as a
result of profile-based policy. It is mostly a reactive process.
Altruistic Punishment: The willingness to punish a social or moral norm violator increases when the punisher perceives them as similar to themselves, or as from within their own group. Consider how churches reacted to the Singapore attack planner, and how Muslim nations and religious leaders
condemn jihadists, or how so many of the most publicly radical and violent ‘anti-fascists’ are white, including the Weather Underground. A practical motivator of this is a desire to prevent negative stereotyping and collective treatment / punishment.
Collective Punishment: As an extreme example, burning down a village for harbouring two militants. Nowadays, this occurs more in the policy realm via terror group designation or untargeted sanctions.
Entitativity: How alike members of a ‘group’ are perceived to be. The media has a large role to play here. If a movement is presented as undifferentiated, with limited knowledge of or attention to individual variation within its membership, willingness to collectively punish increases. It has overlap
with aspects of dehumanisation.
Proactive Aggression: Aggression exists in two forms, reactive and proactive. Definitions of terrorism generally mean the proactive kind, so the specific acts are planned in advance. Mobs, riots, and spontaneous or escalatory confrontations do not quite count as proactive aggression, neither does
‘armed and ready’. There is usually also an instrumental aspect, as in, ‘I shall do this to achieve this’, although moral violence formats like punishment (e.g. kill the useless, shallow femoids) can occur too.
Iraq today is not the country it was four years ago. Senior officials in the incoming Biden administration, many of whom — like the president — are familiar with the country from their days in the Obama administration, will find a much-changed country.
The usual major themes in political violence continue to affect global governance. Intellectual resistance to control & censorship approaches are currently limited, hence the rise of ire
and will to physically object and retaliate amongst disenfranchised publics.
The week’s CTCB State of Play Newsletter, No. 4, touches on the advantages and disadvantages of free speech versus censoring crackdowns. Whether this is ultimately accelerating or
mitigating aggregate violent incidents is unknown, but the effects on public spaces are changing best-practice for urban design in the developed world.
Previously relying on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) for security against jihadist and school shooter attacks, the changing trend of mass unrest will determine a
new format of political violence. Riots and barricade-sieges versus lone actor attacks may rise proportionally, for example. It will take a variety of context-based information, perhaps
from conflict zones or traditional architecture, to determine what physical structures will generate better sociopolitical norms and facilitate peaceful state and public actions.
Lastly, some food for thought on a brain structure that plays a role in threat learning, detection, and response. The amygdala and its effect on information processing and aversive
behaviour is probably one significantly involved in political radicalisation. Due to current circumstances of uncertainty, prolonged stress, and media sensationalism, this organ may be
becoming more influential in the minds of people around the world.
As Iraq enters 2021, an economic crisis looms on the horizon, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the drop in oil prices. For months now, signs of this crisis have surfaced through delays in payment of public salaries and pensions, and most recently, a decision by the Central Bank of Iraq to devalue the Iraqi dinar, pegged to the U.S. dollar, by 23%.
This week’s CTCB State of Play Newsletter No. 3 touches on themes linked to the Nashville bombing (25/12/2020) and theories on the future of war.
First, we cover airborne drones. These military and commercial-grade devices display an incredible variety of uses, including as navy escorts and pre-attack surveillance tools for violent
extremists like Brenton Tarrant (15/3/2019, NZ). Applicability to counter-terrorism is mentioned with regard to physical secuirty.
As urban functions grow more complex and security threats become harder to predict, it is fundamental for cyber and physical architecture to be secured-by-design. This is with a future
of irregular warfare in mind. Security consultants play a critical part in the design and operation process, their task to reduce vulnerabilities growing ever more technical and
cross-disciplinary. Difficulties with time, terrain, and task equipment mean that the security industry is one of the front-runners in a turn towards virtual learning.
Lastly, on a slightly more ‘positive’ note, the newfound strategic allure of cyber and data targets may lead to fewer attacks on civilians. However, this poses challenges for event framing
The issues highlighted in this week’s readings and Theme 2 underscore the importance of professional competence in physical security advisory and consultancy roles. To learn more
about design considerations such as redundancy, perimeter systems, and setting acceptable risk levels, we offer Webinars and short courses. For those who meet eligibility requirements,
there is the CTCB’s Design and Implementation of Physical Protection Systems (DIPPS) or Certified Physical Security Consultant (CPSC) course.
This week’s CTCB State of Play Newsletter, our second issue, takes a special approach –
Sources regarding American military doctrine, defence industry reformatting, counter-insurgency, and projections about the future of
warfare – urban & information – are considered. Viewing counter-terrorism and response to violent extremism as ‘amongst other
instruments’ for long-term national security may yield greater efficiency and sustainable efficacy. Lessons learned from other
components, and disparate spatial and temporal contexts, seem to be transportable.
Human terrain of the information age and considerations for internal policing are the CT-trinity’s critical component. City structure and
infrastructure are set to function as targets, platforms, and opportunities for destabilisation and violent dissent, abetted by
geographically unbound info-comm technologies. It becomes increasingly important to weigh the ideological and political ramifications
of urban form, and the participants, items, and vision on a public agenda. Finally, as governments deal with complexity by relying on
increasingly complex unmanned systems, the terror group approach in stronger states mimics urban war best-practice by
decentralising, with loose and opportunistic shared vision for autonomous capability.