Posts Tagged security

Disaster Response: Ebola And The Need For Security

I wanted to put this one out there because of the recent news about Ebola and it’s spread. According to the CDC, their worst-case scenario is that we will see over 500,000 cases of Ebola infection in Africa by January of next year. This is by far a greater projection than others have given, and this should give pause. The current death toll according the WHO is 2630 people as of  last thursday.

With that said, an increase in casualties will further push the fear and panic element of this disaster. That, and with poor education and rumors being spread, horrible consequences can happen. A specific example is the killing of Ebola response workers in Guinea. Because there was a rumor within the village that these workers were the ones infecting the village, a riot ensued and these poor folks were killed with sticks and stones by an angry and fearful mob.

A couple things that come to mind when it comes to the security side of this disaster response. When people panic, they will do what they can to survive. They will either destroy that in which is a threat, or they will run away.  Fight or flight. Most will try to escape those areas that have high numbers of Ebola cases. When they see the bodies or hear on the grape vine of what is happening, they will want to leave these areas and that is a natural response.

Why is this important to note? Because those who want to leave these areas, could very well have Ebola and not even know it. They will want to survive, and they will do what they can to bypass quarantines and borders and blocking forces, all so they don’t get stuck in these virus zones. If they are fearful of aid workers or are not educated on the causes of Ebola, then fear will absolutely cloud their thinking and rationality.

Another example of the security problem vs the spread of the virus, is what happened in a slum in Liberia back in August. Police were tasked by the government to seal off a slum that had 50,000 people in it so they could contain an outbreak. You can only imagine the kind of fear and anger that these police had to deal with in such a situation?

So how do you prevent the spread of a virus like this, with a panicked population hell bent on getting away from the thing? Or how do you prevent these people from killing aid workers? Education of course. But it takes something else, which will give the aid workers comfort to do this dangerous work.

That is where private security, and of course law enforcement and military comes in. Someone has to protect these aid workers as they fight to educate locals or sift through these local populations to find infected people. Someone has to guard the quarantine centers so infected folks do not leave, or terrorists do not come in to steal infected bodies. Someone has to help secure the refugee centers or the disaster response centers?

Which brings up another issue to think about. There are many terrorist organizations out there that would love to have a biowarfare agent like Ebola. With an infected martyr, they could literally spread their weapon called Ebola wherever they wanted to spread it. This reality alone should motivate authorities to do all they can to secure the bodies or secure quarantine areas.

So you have the fight or flight mechanism in play to spread the virus, and you have the criminal/terrorist angle that can spread the virus. The answer to prevent this spread, will require security in one form or the other. And it has to happen now! And if Ebola goes airborne, because it has genetically changed through all of these infections, then securing the infected really becomes important.

I should also note that I have been getting private messages from contractors involved with the security side of stopping this disease, and all of these concerns I am talking about are front and center. My response to these folks is that private security can certainly respond to a disaster like this,  but it needs information and incentive. The quality and quantity of that private security is also dependent upon the desire to properly screen and select individuals for the contracts, and they need assurances that if they get infected while on the job, that the will get the best treatment possible for survival.  One model of success for how fast private security can respond, was the 2005 Hurricane Katrina response.

As this disaster continues to unfold, we will see how the response goes. I imagine there will be an increase in demand for security and logistical services, and I am sure this industry will answer the call. If any jobs come up, I will post them. If you are an NGO or whomever that is in need of private security, please feel free to comment below this post and I will allow you to advertise. Or I can start a new post as a Job alert. I am also watching FBO because the US just dedicated 500 million dollars and 3,000 troops to help contain this. So there is some movement and concern here. -Matt

World Health Organization website here.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention website here.

 

Liberian security forces back in August blockade an area around the West Point slum as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in the city of Monrovia.

 

Ebola Worst-Case Scenario Has More Than 500,000 Cases
By Caroline Chen, Brendan Greeley and Kelly Gilblom
Sep 19, 2014
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa could spread to hundreds of thousands more people by the end of January, according to an estimate under development by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that puts one worst-case scenario at 550,000 or more infections.
The report, scheduled to be released next week, was described by two people familiar with its contents, who asked to remain anonymous because it isn’t yet public.
The projection, which vastly outstrips previous estimates, is under review by researchers and may change. It assumes no additional aid or intervention by governments and relief agencies, which are mobilizing to contain the Ebola outbreak before it spirals further out of control in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
“CDC is working on a dynamic modeling tool that allows for recalculations of projected Ebola cases over time,” Barbara Reynolds, a spokeswoman for the agency, said in an e-mail. “CDC expects to release this interactive tool and a description of its use soon.”
The World Health Organization said last month that the outbreak could reach 20,000 cases before being brought under control. That projection is already outdated, WHO spokesman Dan Epstein said today in a phone interview.
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Industry Talk: Afghanistan To Disband The APPF!

U.S. Army Col. Jane Crichton, a spokeswoman for the U.S.-led coalition, said there had been no immediate impact on security.
“We are not aware of any decisions or significant changes to support that affect the coalition in the near-term,” she said. “We are evaluating possible courses of action, including providing our own security or using contract security, among others. At present, the APPF is still providing convoy security escorts with no plan to cease.”

This is big, and good riddance. The APPF was a joke from the get go, and more than likely the money earned by this venture was squandered away by a corrupt government–hence why they are disbanding it. Also, I had been getting reports over the last couple weeks from contractors saying that APPF guards were not getting paid and that there was rumor that this was going to happen.

Now the question is, how will this security vacuum be filled? Well, that quote up top says it all. Either these clients will just pack up and go home, or if they decide to stay, they will be requiring contract security. Which I am sure there will be plenty of companies willing to step in and do this.

Although there is one caveat with that statement. The Afghan government has been seizing weapons and communications gear like crazy for the last several years, and it could be very difficult for companies to get that stuff back to do the job. So going back to the corrupt government theme, I could see lease or rental type agreements for weapons or some kind license scheme that will cost oodles of money for companies to get set up.  Who knows, but at least the APPF is going away.

If anyone has other elements to report about this development, let me know in the comments. Especially if security becomes an issue because of the way this has worked out. There is still a war going on and I imagine if APPF guys are just walking off post because they are not getting paid or are fed up with the whole thing, then that will not be cool. What a mess….

It also reminds me of the mess with the TWISS contracts in Iraq. When the Ugandans would not get paid or whatever forces being used were not getting paid, they often had walks offs and labor strikes.  Meaning guards not showing up to posts. Several times, contingencies in Iraq required military folks to step in to do these jobs as labor issues were being handled out in the field. So as this APPF thing develops, I imagine we will see similar acts if they are not getting paid and there is confusion as to who will pay them or whom they work for.

Another point is perhaps they will not like being rolled into the MOI or being made into a military unit or police unit. Perhaps the ANA or ANP will not like having to dip into their budgets to pay for these APPF salaries. Who knows…. -Matt

 

 

Afghanistan to Disband Crucial Guard Force
March 4, 2014
By Nathan Hodge
The Afghan government is moving to dissolve a crucial guard force that protects military supply convoys, international aid programs and foreign installations, creating new uncertainty over security as the U.S. and its allies withdraw.
The Afghan Ministry of Interior said in a statement Monday that Kabul would disband the Afghan Public Protection Force.
While APPF is a government agency, its services are paid for commercially by the clients, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development. It replaced a host of private security contractors.
Top Afghan officials recently issued a directive that would disband the force and fold it into the Ministry of Interior. But U.S. and coalition officials say it is unclear how, exactly, the Afghan government plans to implement this new order—and who will take over the job of protecting internationally funded reconstruction projects.

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Executive Protection: So Who Does Warren Buffet Use For Security?

This is a great show on the protective details of the rich. Have you ever wondered who protects guys like Warren Buffet?

In the video they identified Clark International as the folks that Mr. Buffet uses. Pretty cool, and if the Oracle of Omaha chose them, then they must have the juice.  Buffet is the king of finding quality companies and investing in them for the long haul. According to the video, Buffet has used Clark International for several decades now. -Matt

 

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Industry Talk: Amazon Fires German Security Firm Amid Probe

An Amazon spokeswoman in Germany said the company had ended its relationship with Hensel European Security Services “with immediate effect.”
“Amazon has a zero tolerance limit for discrimination and intimidation and expects the same of other companies we work with,” spokeswoman Ulrike Stoecker said in an email to The Associated Press.

There are a few really key points for the industry to look at with this one. So let’s break it down as to what is at issue. First, a documentary group brought forth the poor working conditions in an Amazon facility in Germany. Amazon is an American company and has a global presence, to include in Germany (it’s second largest market next to the US). This particular facility was staffed with foreign temporary workers, and especially during the holiday seasons, and the HESS security company was contracted to watch over the operation.

Obviously the documentary film was designed to show Amazon in a bad light and point out some poor practices of the company. What is interesting though is that the film also went on to target the security company Amazon hired.

First, Amazon should have known better. Whomever was tasked with vetting security companies for this particular facility, did a pretty poor job. Why would you hire a company with the acronym HESS (remember Rudolph Hess?) in it’s title, and that allows it’s employees to dress like Neo-Nazis wearing known gang clothing? Even if they are effectively doing their job as per the contract, the visuals of such a thing, as well as the name of the company, has effectively put a big target on the back of Amazon by it’s competitors.

Now Amazon is in damage control mode and this HESS security company has been fired. To emphasize why this is so damaging, just look at how much business Amazon does in Germany. Quote:

Damage limitation in major marketplace
Amazon recorded sales of 6.8 billion euros ($8.4 billion) in Germany in 2012, making it the company’s second-largest market after the United States. The company is Germany’s leading e-commerce business with an online market share just below 25 percent.
Many Germans called for boycotts or protests after the broadcast. A petition endorsed by the Verdi trade union, responsible for those Amazon staff seeking union representation, had garnered more than 3,000 signatures as of the early hours of Saturday morning.

Now that last part might be a key thing to mention here as well. A foreign company that employs foreign temporary workers, does not look good to those in Germany who would like to have those jobs. More than likely, these foreign temporary workers get this kind of treatment because the company is investing so little in their welfare. Meaning Germans would probably not accept such working conditions for such a job, but foreign temps from poor countries probably would, and do.

It is also an embarrassment to Germany, for a foreign company, that is allowed to operate on their soil and treat workers like this. So here comes the boycotts and the public outrage and a cut in market share in Germany. Although who can compete with Amazon is the question, and to Amazon, it is merely a matter of correcting the wrongs. We will see.

As for the lesson learned for security companies? Choose your company name wisely and actually care about how your employees or contractors operate. If they are wearing gang clothing or some other offensive clothing that would present the client company in a bad light, then maybe a policy should be in place to regulate that. Or if your company uniform sends the wrong message, then maybe you should re-evaluate what is more appropriate for that contract/mission. The brand, the image, the actions of it’s people–are all things that need to be carefully thought out and managed. Do not embarrass the client.

The various clients of security companies need to wake up as well. Amazon is a huge company, but there is no excuse for them to make such poor decisions in vetting.

My advice for companies is that the security company you hire is representing you, so do your due diligence and ensure you have a company that will not only protect you and your assets, but also protect your good name by not being an embarrassment. -Matt

 

Amazon fires German security firm amid probe
By FRANK JORDANS
Monday, February 18, 2013
Online retailer Amazon reacted to mounting criticism Monday by firing a security company named in a German television documentary about alleged mistreatment of foreign temporary workers.
An Amazon spokeswoman in Germany said the company had ended its relationship with Hensel European Security Services “with immediate effect.”
“Amazon has a zero tolerance limit for discrimination and intimidation and expects the same of other companies we work with,” spokeswoman Ulrike Stoecker said in an email to The Associated Press.
A documentary shown on German public television channel ARD last week showed staff of the security company — whose initials spell out the surname of Adolf Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess — wearing clothes linked to Germany’s neo-Nazi scene. It also interviewed people claiming they were intimidated by the security guards, who were stationed at a holiday camp where the temporary staff were housed.
Story here.
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Amazon scrambles after damning German documentary
February 16, 2013
Online shopping giant Amazon is on the defensive in its second-largest market after a critical investigative report. Local labor authorities say allegations of employee mistreatment severely damage Germany’s image.
The state of Hesse’s labor agency on Friday said that Amazon’s apparent treatment of Spanish staff deeply damages Germany’s reputation.
“The allegations that were broadcast are very serious and affected me greatly,” head of the Hesse branch of the Federal Employment Agency, Frank Martin, said in a statement. Martin called on Amazon to clear up the “currently non-transparent working practices” as quickly as possible.
A public television documentary on ARD, whose title roughly translated as “shipped out!”, looked into working conditions for seasonal staff – mostly from outside Germany – brought in to deal with the Christmas rush at Amazon’s German outlets.

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India: Topsgrup Showing An Appetite For Risk

TOPSGRUP is a leading ISO 9001:2008 certified, Total Security Solutions group offering bespoke security and safety solutions to thousands of delighted customers across the world and employs over 93,000 trained human capital assets. TOPSGRUP offers a holistic approach to mitigating enterprise continuity risks across India and the United Kingdom and has ambitious plans of expanding to other corners of the world including Australia, Asia, China, Africa, Europe and USA. TOPSGRUP operates out of 120 offices around the world and is globally headquartered in London, United Kingdom. -from their brochure.


This is a great article on a company making some moves in the world of security. India’s Topsgrup is definitely growing, and ever since the Mumbai attack, private security has been a boom over there. For some background on the company, here is an older ‘company spotlight’ post that I did on them. -Matt

 

India’s Topsgrup: appetite for risk
November 23, 2012
by Neil Munshi
Not every company would be happy to have a prominent right-wing extremist on its roster of clients. But for Topsgrup, India’s largest private security company, Bal Thackeray – leader of the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena political party and one of the most powerful men in Mumbai before he died this month – was just an ordinary Joe.
Thackeray, a man who in life – and, it turned out, in death – could pack the streets with fanatical multitudes at short notice, entrusted his travel in his waning days to ambulances provided by Topsgrup.
He was one among the company’s 8,000 private and corporate clients, which include other leaders of India’s elite and many of its biggest companies such as the Tata Group, ICICI Bank and the Times of India. Topsgrup also provides security at events including Indian Premiere League cricket matches. In July, it completed a £19.5m acquisition of the Shield Guarding Company of the UK, in which it bought a 51 per cent stake in 2008.

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Africa: LAPSSET–A Massive Oil Project That Is Gaining The Attention Of PMSC’s

G4S said it was looking at oil and gas based prospects in countries like Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria and South Sudan, where a huge oil pipeline could be built through Kenya to a port there in order to bypass bitter disputes with neighbouring Sudan.
High potential mining opportunities are also in countries such as Botswana, Ghana, Namibia and Tanzania.
The company expects to move into Ethiopia, Libya, Somaliland and South Sudan in the next year…-Interview

…To reduce its reliance on Khartoum, the South Sudanese government has announced a 2,000 km pipeline, at a cost of $3bn, through Kenya to its port of Lamu. G4S is one of the companies vying to help secure this vital source of South Sudanese revenue… -separate source–see below

I had picked up on this project through some stories I was reading in regards to the future of this industry. That the companies are looking for business in resource rich Africa, and much of that business revolves around energy related projects.

This particular project grabbed my attention, just because of how ambitious it is and how involved the security for it would be.  Because once this is up and running, all aspects of LAPSSET will be a big target for criminals and terrorists. Especially the 2000 km of pipeline they plan on building.

So this should require the services of multiple PMSC’s to help in all aspects of securing this thing. I also imagine that some kind of oil police apparatus will have to be established, which will then require training facilities with instructors. We will see how it goes, and if any readers have any other details about this massive project, feel free to comment below. -Matt

 

 

Lamu Port and Lamu-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor
The Lamu Port and Lamu Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) aka The Lamu corridor is a transport and infrastructure project in Kenya that when complete will be the country’s second transport corridor. Kenya’s other transport corridor is the Mombasa port and Mombasa – Uganda transport corridor that passes through Nairobi and much of the Northern Rift.
The project will involve the following components:
-A port at Manda Bay
-Standard gauge railway line to Juba (capital of South Sudan)
-Road network
-Oil pipelines (Southern Sudan and Ethiopia)
-Oil refinery at Bargoni
-Three Airports
-Three resort cities (Lamu, Isiolo and Lake Turkana shores)
The project was initially conceived in 1975 but never took off due to various reasons. The project was later revived and included in Kenya’s Vision 2030. LAPSSET cost was estimated to cost $ 16 Billion in 2009. Recent estimates arrived after studies now put the cost of the project at between US $ 22 Billion and US $ 23 Billion.
The timeline of the project is not clear including when it started and when it should be finished. Some projects like the Isiolo-Merille projects began in 2007. At the peak of the project, between 2013 and 2018, it is expected that the Kenyan government will be spending about 6% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product or 16% of its annual budget on the project. The project is in turn expected to contribute an additional 3% increase in Kenya’s GDP by 2020.
Key towns in the project are Lamu & Isiolo in Kenya, Juba in Southern Sudan and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
Wikipedia for LAPSSET here.
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Lamu port project launched for South Sudan and Ethiopia

March 02, 2012
There have been protests against the port by some environmentalists and residents of Lamu island
Construction has begun on a $23bn (£14.5bn) port project and oil refinery in south-eastern Kenya’s coastal Lamu region near war-torn Somalia’s border.
An oil pipeline, railway and motorway will also be built linking Lamu to South Sudan and Ethiopia.
Newly independent South Sudan plans to use Lamu as its main oil export outlet.
A BBC reporter says security concerns for the project may explain the presence of Ethiopian and Kenyan troops in Somalia aiming to pacify the region.
‘Biggest African project’
Kenya’s leader Mwai Kibaki launched the project along with his South Sudanese and Ethiopian counterparts, Salva Kiir and Meles Zenawi respectively.
“I have no doubt that this day will go down in history as one of the defining moments – when we made a major stride to connect our people to the many socio-economic opportunities that lie ahead,” AFP news agency quotes Mr Kibaki as saying at the inauguration ceremony.
Known as Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor (Lapsset), it is expected to be completed within four years with initial costs coming from the three governments and plans to attract international investment.
Steven Ikuwa, the administrator in charge of Lapsset, told the BBC the scale of the plans was huge.
“I am proud to say this is one of the biggest projects that we are carrying out in Africa.”
The BBC’s Noel Mwakugu in Lamu says there are worries about the impact of the project on Lamu district, which is one of East Africa’s most beautiful and relatively unspoiled environments along the Indian Ocean and includes a cultural heritage site on Lamu Island.
“Lamu is a living heritage. Already Unesco has declared Lamu a World Heritage Site – as an endangered site,” Mualimu Badi from the Save Lamu group told the BBC.
“If 500,000 people come to work as workers, we stand to lose that status.”
Mr Badi also said local residents fear they would be made homeless by the project as most people in the area are unable to prove their right to live in their homes.
In response to these complaints, Mr Kibaki has announced that residents will be issued with land title deeds and his administration will provide training for 1,000 young people to prepare for future opportunities presented by the port.
Oil export alternatives
Our correspondent says Lamu’s 32-berth port will be five times larger than Kenya’s only other Indian Ocean port, Mombasa – which has been struggling to serve the needs of landlocked countries to the south and west of Kenya.

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