Return to the lessons of Beslan

It would appear that last months post titled “Mass slaughter in our schools: the terrorists chilling plan” got quite a bit of attention. There were those of you who took it seriously and then there were the moonbats who foamed and frothed (most of them got moderated too). For those of you who took it seriously I have more information, for those of you who didn’t maybe this will wake you up. Then again it’s difficult to revive dead brain cells.

We have This article originally published in the Observer about British concerns over a Beslan style raid.

MI5, police and SAS practise for a ‘Beslan’ siege

Jamie Doward and Antony Barnett
Sunday February 4, 2007
The Observer

The intelligence services fear that Britain could be subject to a Beslan-style siege, with multiple hostages forced to plead for their lives on camera.

Whitehall sources have said that the threat is considered so credible that MI5, the police and the SAS have conducted at least two mock counter-terrorism exercises to work out how to deal with such an eventuality.

The last exercise, shortly before Christmas, took place at an RAF base near Chester. Five police forces were involved in an operation that envisaged an international conference being stormed by terrorists, who then held a group of children hostage in a creche wired with explosives.

Now the scenarios they are training for don’t involve schools per se. However it should be obvious to all that the possibility is not one that the British are ignoring.

Operation Northern Synergy saw a number of police chiefs assume the Gold Command – ultimate responsibility for co-ordinating the response. The commanders liaised with the government’s Cobra committee, which is activated during times of national crisis. In the scenario the terrorists were equipped with mobile phones and a satellite uplink that allowed them to beam pictures of the hostages on to television screens. The operation ended with a decision to send in the SAS.

‘This scenario is something that is very much on the radar screen,’ said one counter-terrorism source. ‘We have envisaged a British Beslan for several years.’ Beslan in south-west Russia was the scene of a horrific siege when on 1 September, 2004, 1,200 schoolchildren and adults were taken hostage by Muslim terrorists. The siege resulted in the security services storming the school and the deaths of 344 of the hostages.

Growing fears that domestic terrorists could seize hostages in Britain and parade them on television and websites were underlined last week when police conducted a series of raids across the West Midlands.

Nine men were arrested under suspicion of attempting to kidnap a Muslim soldier. There were claims last week that the alleged plotters intended to film the soldier pleading for his life and then behead him, but security sources say that they cannot confirm the details.

While the above foiled plot is not a Beslan style scenario it should give everyone pause. To kidnap and possibly behead a soldier in his own country is a bold move for a terrorist.

However, it is thought they are studying the similarities with an alleged plot in Canada that was disrupted last year. Last May the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested 17 men who were allegedly planning to storm the country’s parliament, take hostages and behead the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. It is known that those behind the alleged plot in Canada had links with terror suspects in Britain.

‘We know from the plot in Canada that terror cells have been considering plots to kidnap high-profile individuals,’ a senior counter-terrorism official said. ‘We have to be alert to the possibility that Islamic extremist groups may be considering many forms of attack, including kidnappings or taking hostages on a large scale. Dame Eliza [Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5] has always made it clear that the threat we face comes in many different forms.’

A spokesman for the RCMP declined to comment on whether it was liaising with its counterparts in Britain. ‘We cannot comment on operational matters,’ the spokesman said.

A beslan style incident in the Canadian Parliament. How many of you heard about this plot getting foiiled? How many of you took the news seriously?

Birmingham’s Muslim community held a meeting last night to discuss the aftermath of the police raids, amid growing criticism of the way in which the media reported the case…

True to the script there is the race card being played. I wonder if Britain has their own version of CAIR? I would guess they probably do, and it’s likely they both have the same playbook.

So what do we here in the land of the (not quite) free, the home of the (very few) brave do about these threats? How do we protect ourselves, safeguard our liberties, keep ourselves and our children safe, and keep the terrorists from winning?

First we don’t start by yanking our kids out of schools and homeschooling them. Now if you want to do this to be sure your kids get a better education (and they likely will) than the ones offered at the kiddie corrals we call schools that’s fine. However, to do it out of fear of a terrorist attack is plain silly right now. Even the incidents where students bring guns to school, while spectacular news stories, are quite rare and injuries are not very significant. (Statistically speaking of course) The minute you change how you do things the terrorists win. So what do we do?

We start by safeguarding our Constitutionally Guaranteed Liberties. I get sick of hearing people on the radio saying “I don’t mind giving up my freedoms if it keeps me safe.” Yeah, be sure to mention that to the guard as you’re herded into the concentration camp “for your safety.” Instead of giving up our freedoms we should be taking back the ones we have surrendered and exercising them. The cornerstone of our rights is the Second Amendment. I believe that it is in the Second Amendment that we will find the means to keep the terrorist at bay here in the United States. But before we do lets look at how our “more civilized” neighbors across the pond are preparing for this eventuality.

The setting up of a permanent SAS unit in London was prompted, in part, by the threat of a terror kidnapping similar to the alleged plot in Birmingham, it has been disclosed.

It emerged only a week ago that an elite unit had been placed on 24-hour stand-by in the capital to respond to a terrorist attack.

The threat of a “close quarters abduction” was one of the main reasons for moving a cadre of the crack troops down to the capital, according to Whitehall sources.

The idea is that they would be able to carry out a “hostage release operation” within minutes of a target being seized.

“The authorities have decided that the kidnapping threat is now such that it is the most likely thing that is going to happen,” a Whitehall source said.

“London and the South East is the most likely area. An SAS unit has been moved into London where they are likely to be in a better position to respond.” (story)

I must applaud their response. They are taking the threat VERY seriously. However, how long will it take them to get on-site? A response would literally have to be within minutes while the situation was still very dynamic. The Commandos would have to be intimately familiar with the terrain the action is taking place in, have real time intel etc. Otherwise a slaughter will ensue in a mass kidnapping scenario.

Now I do not mean to denigrate the fine personell of the S.A.S. they are professionals to the very core. But my opinion is one response team is not enough. Bringing this scenario back to the United States it would be my opinion that every area that has an incident response team (SWAT) consider keeping a small force on duty at all times. They should train regularly at the area schools, convention centers and anywhere else where large groups of people are likely to be. However once again their response to a situation could still take too long. What is needed is on-site first responders. People who can gather information, report intelligence to response teams and if possible and necessary take out the threats immediately.

The idea of arming teachers to protect our schools has long been a controversial one. Some critics claim teachers would quit their jobs if they had to be armed, others say that the presence of a gun alone is enough to put the young skulls full of mush in jeopardy.

First off the idea of arming teachers is not one where all members of the faculty and staff are forced to go about their business armed. On the contrary. The idea is that they be given the choice. Those that do chose to be armed should receive training on par with a reserve Police Officer in the areas of firearms handling, use of force, and weapons retention. Additional training should be highly encouraged and an extra stipend should be paid to the volunteers for their offering an additional service to the school. The stipend would serve to give the individuals the means to pay for ammunition, range fees, holsters, belts and various sundries related to their armed additional duties.

Additionally those individuals who so desire and qualify should be allowed to go to higher level training up to and including training with local SWAT teams. The purpose of this would be to have people in the school who are familiar with SWAT tactics and the officers themselves. Allowing better coordination and intel should SWAT be needed.

As for the idea that having qualified, armed, and trained individuals at a school would increase the risk to the children’s lives; that is nothing more than sensational fear mongering. Yes, there is a small risk that something could go wrong. However, there is a greater risk of those little prodigies dying in a car or bus wreck on their way to school.

Remember, these folks have the same level of training as an armed police officer. Should the uniformed police officer or plain clothes detective be forced to disarm before entering school grounds lest they increase the risk to children’s lives? If the answer is no, then how can you justify disarming a teacher with the same level of training?

Comments are closed.