Executive Protection Operations in Taiwan – 6 Key Considerations

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By: Michael Mancino

Conducting executive protection operations in Asian countries as an English speaker presents a multitude of challenges not found here in the United States. I hope to be able to share my experience in living and working in Taiwan so that it may assist my fellow protectors navigate the waters in a potentially unfamiliar setting.
 
Naturally, this is a topic that could span dozens of pages, but here I’ll attempt to narrow down the 6 most likely obstacles one may face if travelling with a client to Taiwan.
 
Some things you should consider when travelling in the area include:
  1. Political Considerations
  2. Language Barriers
  3. Secure Transportation
  4. Local Support
  5. General Crime
  6. Population Density
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1. Political Considerations

Taiwan is a vibrant democracy but the political climate can be contentious at times. Most notably, there is much strife between China and Taiwan as to whether Taiwan belongs to China. The Taiwanese government operates the country as an independent nation. However, there is ongoing concern over the “One China Policy” and how this affects international relations with Taiwan. Officially, Taiwan is not recognized as a sovereign nation by the United States due to a 1976 diplomatic communique switching recognition from Taiwan to China. Unofficially, the United States has maintained a healthy economic relationship with Taiwan.
 
The political strife that is present between Taiwan and China’s government does, to some degree, filter down to the people. There are divisions among the political parties which cause rifts, particularly when it comes to reunification with the mainland. It is not uncommon for political protests to break out during election times. However, they generally remain peaceful, causing mostly commuter inconvenience.
 
As an executive protection professional traveling to Taiwan with a client, it would be wise to know whether your client, or those your client may be dealing with, have a public stance on the issue. If they openly support either side, they may open doors to disruption by activists.
 
Avoiding travel close to election periods may be wise, but if not possible then contracting with quality local support that keeps abreast of the ongoing political climate is essential. Depending on budget and timeline, consideration should be placed to including local language social media and web monitoring to the ongoing threat assessment.

2. Language Barriers

The official language of Taiwan is Mandarin and Chinese. While you will find a multitude of people who speak acceptable English, verbiage and cultural nuances may inhibit your ability to effectively communicate specific needs as they relate to your security operation.
 
Most travelers are content to get by with their dictionaries or Google Translate. In my experience, many of these applications fail to accurately capture regional differences. Therefore, you should attempt to secure at least a part-time translator that has verified experience and is familiar with both the local dialect and regional distinctions from your area of the world.
 
Many of us may take for granted the significant differences in English dialects. Take for example, American and British English – there are numerous phrases and vocabulary that may seem completely foreign to one another. Even in the United States there is vocabulary and slang that is not universally understood. Thus, it is imperative that when hiring a translator or interpreter we verify that they are familiar with our particular brand of speech. I’ve dealt with individuals in Taiwan and Hong Kong who were completely fluent in English by all standards, but they had a hard time understanding my communication in English.
 
Ideally, we should look for those interpreters that also have knowledge or experience in security, military, law enforcement or executive protection. A combination of these skill sets, as well as acceptable fluency in the host country’s language, are rare. An acceptable alternative would be one that has experience working alongside government figures or high-level corporate clients.

3. Secure Transportation

Transportation in the major hubs of Taiwan, particularly the capital city of Taipei, is an adventure at best. Traffic conditions are extremely crowded on most major streets and consist of scooters, taxis, buses and personal vehicles. While the traffic laws are similar to what we find here in the United States, they seem to be more of a suggestion than a rule. Don’t expect most drivers to care that pedestrians have the right of way. Public transportation is one area where most of the major cities shine, particularly Taipei with its robust system of subways and above ground electric trains.
 
“Black car” services are available but the quality and skill of their drivers is questionable at best. Much of the time they are on the same level as the area’s taxi drivers. I’m lucky to say that I’ve never experienced any kind of incident while utilizing either of the services, but it can be a white-knuckle experience.
 
As most of us should be aware, black car service and secure transport do not always go hand in hand. I have met scarce few in Taiwan that can boast of any type of dedicated security driver experience that work on a for-hire base. Also, the horror stories regarding those that claim to be security drivers abound.
 
One of the most memorable is of an A-list celebrity that was travelling to Taipei for an upcoming event. The celebrity’s security detail secured the services of a local security driver for airport pickup and transportation to the hotel. The shenanigans began almost immediately as the driver was late to pick up, forcing the client to stand in the open amidst a gaggle of gawking fans. If you have ever travelled to Asia, you might understand how nerve wracking that would be for their protector.
 
The drive from the international airport to downtown Taipei is anywhere from 60-90 minutes along a decent highway surrounded in many places by mountainous jungle. About halfway back to the city the hired vehicle ran out of fuel forcing it to pull off the freeway. No secondary transportation was prepared and the client was forced to sit and wait for a replacement. Ultimately, they made it to the hotel, only to be greeted by a local “executive protection specialist” who promptly rushed the client to secure a once-in-a-lifetime selfie.
 
Fortunately, there are several individuals that have the chops necessary to execute a good executive transport, but they are not easy to find. Networking with local resources is essential as many of those that provide these types of services do not actively advertise. If you’re having trouble locating the right resources, feel free to reach out to me, or The ASA Group, anytime for guidance.
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4. Local Support

Like secure transportation, quality local security support is hard to come by. Taiwan has little regulation on the security industry in general and even less on executive protection. There are a slew of individuals that claim to be experts in executive protection and boast experience ranging from military to government work. However, there often seems to be a lack of dedicated training.
 
It should go without saying that all local support that you would consider adding to your dedicated detail should be trained and vetted before beginning a service relationship.
 
Harking back to the earlier section on the language barrier, it is extremely important that if you hire local support you are able to communicate with them. It would be unwise to hire a local agent that is not demonstrably fluent in English. An understanding of English terminology as it relates to the security apparatus is crucial for effective execution of the detail. Take the extra time and arrange a Skype meeting so you can hear how the person communicates. Writing skills in an email are not sufficient to determine someone’s level of fluency.

5. General Crime

Fortunately, Taiwan is not considered a high-risk locale. The OSAC (Overseas Advisory Council) reports that crime in Taiwan is extremely low at only 1.3%. A robust surveillance apparatus is thought to contribute to the deterrence of violent crime. At the time of this writing, the violent crime rate against foreigners is extremely low at .01%. As a protector, this is good news. But these low statistics should not make you assume it makes for an easier protective detail.
 
What Taiwan lacks in violent crime it makes up for in petty crime and fraud. More often than not, petty thefts of personal items occur in crowded areas such as the mass transit stations, night markets, and other crowded shopping areas. Thieves take advantage of the dense crowds in these places and use them as cover to get up close and personal – making their crimes that much less detectable.

Phishing

Taiwan has a particular brand of fraud that has become a huge problem. Criminals contact an individual telephonically, often claiming to be a representative of an official body such as police, other government agency or the victim’s bank. Similar to phishing, the fraudsters will present a convincing argument to elicit personal and financial information that can be used to steal one’s identity or personal funds.

False-Kidnapping

Another type of fraud that is more and more common is false-kidnapping. I have personally witnessed an alleged kidnapper call the parent of a student that is newly living away from home and claim to have kidnapped them. The frantic parent generally tries to contact their children via cell phone only to either have the call go unanswered, or in most cases, the offender answers the phone as they had stolen it in preparation for the fraud. The caller offers to return the victim safely in exchange for an amount of money or threatens bodily harm. More often than not the victims end up paying a lump sum of money via bank transfer to the offender out of fear for the safety of their loved one. In the case I witnessed we were fortunate that the offender had not anticipated the loved one was safely living in New York City at the time of the call.
 
Most others are not so lucky. Other variations on this theme include claiming to be involved in a car accident that the victim’s loved ones caused. The offender will threaten police involvement unless money is paid, or calls placed to parents of children where the offender will pretend to be the child and cry over the phone asking the victim for money to get them out of a bad situation.
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6. Population Density

As a protector, you may find the population density difficult to deal with at times. While not quite as bad as some places in mainland China, personal space is at a premium, and it is not uncommon for people to be so densely packed in an area that you are in direct contact with several people at once. For those traveling with notable clients, such as celebrities, this density can prove a unique challenge as adoring fans have a tendency to swarm. Public transportation should be avoided wherever possible as these are usually the places with the highest density.
 
When making public appearances advance work is crucial. Lines are generally ignored in Asia and Taiwan are no exceptions. Many times, simple preparations that we may take for granted as security personnel, such as layers of stanchions or barriers, are overlooked, or improperly placed. Having a well-planned out route of ingress and egress for foot and vehicle travel is critical as swarms of individuals will mob around you in an attempt to snap that perfect selfie.

Executive Operations in Taiwan, Final Takeaways

The above are a few of the more prominent considerations you should consider when traveling with a client to Taiwan.
 
I hope that I’ve lent some insights to:
• Political Considerations
• Language Barrier
• Secure Transportation
• Local Support
• General Crime
• Population Density
 
Naturally, this is not an exhaustive list and your preparations should begin well in advance of the intended travel time.
 
If you find yourself in need of local support, advice or referrals, we would be happy to speak with you and offer our assistance in any way.

Michael Mancino

Michael Mancino is the owner and founder of TSR Associates, LLC. TSR Associates is an executive protection and investigations company based in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas which provides executive protection, threat assessments, and a host of related services.

Mr. Mancino has unique skills such as fluency in Mandarin, Chinese, continuing certification as an Emergency Medical Technician, Tactical Combat Casualty Care certification and military medical training. With these specialties, we provide additional services in Mandarin translation, whether verbal or print, and advanced medical support. He has lived and travelled in Taiwan extensively, which made him an ideal choice to give his insights and expert knowledge on important considerations when conducting EP in the region.

SD Enabled Security

 

By Ami Toben

This article originally appeared on Ami’s blog, www.protectioncircle.org and is shared with the author’s permission

Surveillance Detection (SD) is thankfully receiving increasing amounts of attention in recent years, as more and more industry professionals (and even some non-industry professionals) are waking up to its potential benefits.

As positive as this development is, it does create the need to abolish some misconceptions regarding SD, and to better explain how it can actually benefit real-world protective details.

In order to detect the subtle indicators of hostile surveillance, SD operators must first be well versed in surveillance operations. Generally speaking, these indicators consist of subtle correlations to the target, and possibly some subtle mistakes that might only be apparent to an SD operator who knows what to look for. It’s possible that the detection of these subtle indicators will take quite a bit of time, requiring a number of fully dedicated SD operators; which is one of the reasons why SD operations are so costly and still not all that common (though more common than before).

Now, let me make what might be a contested claim—for anyone who’s dedicated to conventional or even low profile security (including EP), even if it’s on the highest level, surveillance detection, in its purest form, is not exactly open to you. I hasten to add that this is not because of training or experience, but because of the necessity to operate covertly—without which, a potential surveillance operative would be able to know who and where the operator is, and therefore, not allow the operator to detect any subtle indicators of surveillance. It’s not a question of skill, it’s a matter of not being able to be in two places at the same time while simultaneously performing two very different roles. So, for the same reasons you can’t direct traffic at an intersection while simultaneously taking an aerial photo of the area, you can’t perform physical security (including EP) while simultaneously providing SD.

Lest you think I’m only picking on individual operators, it’s important to understand that SD is much more determined by operational parameters than it is by the individual’s skill and motivation. As qualified as a security operator might be, absent a functioning covert SD program, you’re probably not going to end up with real surveillance detection.

The good news is that even though individual qualities might be insufficient by themselves to constitute a full SD program, they can get you closer to what can be termed SD Enabled Security, which, for many organizations, turns out not only to be more realistic, but much more useful, cost effective and desirable.

The process of learning SD enabled security is not entirely different from that of pure SD. The biggest difference comes in the implementation part of it, and in the realization that if surveillance is conducted at a high enough level, we cannot realistically expect an overt, or even low profile, SD enabled security force to detect it. What we can expect, however, is to deter it.

The idea here is to combine a number of actions that will be viewed unfavorably by hostile surveillance operatives. Perhaps the most basic of these is an active projection of visual control over the area around the target, which, depending on the situation, can include an attempt to detect (and possibly acknowledge) any person spending time, or even just passing through, the area (regardless of whether or not they exhibit any surveillance indicators).

It’s important that a particularly large amount of attention be paid to the vantage points around a target. These vantage points can be plotted out by an SD professional, performing what’s called ‘Surveillance Mapping’. This special attention to the vantage points can include (but is not limited to) careful observations of people at those locations, casual acknowledgements of these people, and even polite verbal engagements.

Note that this idea of Surveillance mapping doesn’t necessarily have to entail a prolonged and comprehensive process. If a principle will be staying at a certain hotel, for example, various vantage points, both outside and inside the hotel, can be mapped out by an SD enabled advance team in a relatively short amount of time. These potential vantage points then receive special attention before, and while, the principle is in the hotel. This, of course, applies to the residence and workplace as well; where even more attention and time should be invested.

Keep in mind that a well trained surveillance operative would probably assume a vantage point only after having established a solid cover and cover story; making it unlikely that he/she will be conclusively detected by an SD enabled operator. Nevertheless, when even a skilled surveillance operative is observed, acknowledged and verbally engaged (possibly in more than one location), a strong message is being sent—namely, that security understands where to look and what to look for, and that planning, much less executing, an attack might be too risky and difficult.

It’s also important to note that there can be quite a few variations on the theme of SD enabled security, and that in addition to, or instead of, the proactive deterrence channel, a slightly more covert and reactive channel is also available. There is, as always, way more than one way to skin the hostile surveillance cat, and more than one way to combine security and surveillance detection.

 

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Three Ways Intelligence and Analysis Adds Value to your Organization

Meredith Wilson is the CEO and Founder of Emergent Risk International LLC

​Risk intelligence is a fast growing private sector profession, aided by growing complexity in the economic, social, and geo-political environment. As organizations struggle to wade through increased threat and risk information and still stay focused on their mission, more are utilizing intelligence providers or building in-house research and analysis functions. Here are three ways this can drive value and increase an organization’s success. 

Targeted, relevant intelligence analysis promotes informed decision-making.

Not all information is intelligence. Not even all high quality information from vetted sources is intelligence. What makes it intelligence is its relevance for the consumer and its ability to further the mission of the organization. A quality intelligence consultant or in-house organization can develop analysis that provides crucial insights for decision-makers by ensuring it is directly relevant to the needs of the decision maker and organization. This can range from tactical information that allows incident management teams to extract employees during a crisis, to management decisions to enter into a business partnership agreement with a foreign business partner. In both cases, and many others, having the correct, most relevant intelligence can be the difference between a negative and positive outcome. 

Forward-looking intelligence analysis drives effective strategic planning.

 When organizations build a strategy, whether for growing business in a new country or constructing a plan for protection of assets, a lack of understanding about the political, social, and security context can render those strategies inefficient at best and a failure at worst. Targeted intelligence, based on the company’s specific goals and footprint, can help decision makers understand the environmental context by providing ground truth and hard data about the area of interest. This information and analysis will help justify a budget decision, orient new market strategy to the appropriate cultural context, and promote cost savings by avoiding mistakes based on erroneous assumptions about the operating environment. Intelligence can also be utilized to help decision makers understand business and government leaders they will work with in a new market, and provide context about relevant political and security issues that will shape the business environment down the road. 

High quality intelligence creates competitive advantage by empowering organizations to identify mitigation measures in environments where competitors can’t or don’t.

Organizations that truly understand ground truth in challenging environments are often able to work safely and effectively in these environments through careful information gathering and mitigation strategies. This intelligence and analysis will help organizations reach beyond the headlines, to understand what their true priorities should be in country. For example, while terrorism has dominated headlines as a top concern for business in France this year, the biggest problem for business in France has actually been almost daily labor protests and work stoppages that have delayed supply chains, shut down businesses, and made business travel in, out, and throughout the country difficult. This distinction earned the country the number 16 spot on a list of the top countries with themost civil unrest – a higher rating that Afghanistan. While both issues require a degree of planning and mitigation strategy, the chances of harm caused by a terror attack in France remain statistically low and disruption is generally minimal except in the immediate vicinity of an incident. Utilizing intelligence to pinpoint key disruption points, build resilient supply chains and plan for delivery of enough product to withstand significant labor and strike disruptions, however, could be crucial to cost savings and remaining competitive in the French market. 

Intelligence adds value.

Simplified, intelligence analysis is really the provision of research and analysis that utilizes robust methodology to ensure integrity, credibility and better outcomes in decision making. While its increasing inclusion in good business practices is a sign that business leaders are starting to understand how powerful a tool intelligence can be, many companies have yet to move away from utilizing gut instinct to guide decision making. As we face increasing global uncertainty, this type of strategy will imperil not only revenue and operations, but most importantly, human lives. Given the relatively modest investment required to acquire high quality research and analysis, or even better, build an intelligence function within the organization; we expect the trend towards intelligence driven decision-making will only continue to grow in the coming years. 

Security Theater: A Dangerous Placation

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An Opinion Piece by Michael Mancino
www.tsr-associates.com

Security is both a feeling and a reality. The propensity for security theater comes from the interplay between the public and its leaders.

When people are scared, they need something done that will make them feel safe, even if it doesn’t truly make them safer. Politicians naturally want to do something in response to crisis, even if that something doesn’t make any sense.

-Bruce Shneier

In light of two recent attacks in Florida in the last two weeks I feel it’s important to address a topic that is widely discussed in the security world that most people outside of it are woefully ignorant of.

Security Theater.

We’ve all seen security theater at work. Look no further than our own illustrious TSA. In fact, the quote at the beginning of this opinion piece was spoken in the context of that organization. When we go to a club, a sporting event, even a restaurant, we are often witnessing security theater. Too often our venues attempt to give the impression of safety and security by using flashy uniforms, big men in tight shirts, fancy titles and expensive machinery that most of the staff have no idea how to operate.

Unfortunately, our society is beginning to learn the hard way that such measures are largely ineffective against a determined attacker.

Part of the problem in the security industry stems from an overall lack of training and quality of the guards that are fielded. I challenge anyone to find more than a small handful of individuals working at these events or venues that are career security professionals. More often than not the front line people are chosen because of their looks or their associations with whoever happens to be hiring.

Those of us who make security and safety our lifestyle experience no end of frustration.

We understand that effective protection requires brains, training and forethought. Security theater lacks much of this. Going back to the two incidents in the last two weeks illustrates this well.

Christina Grimmie, the Voice singer who was gunned downed while signing autographs, was not a megastar. I’m not going to sit behind this keyboard and speculate to motives her agent, or manager, or whoever, had in not providing adequate personal protection. What I will do is stress that anyone in the public eye is prone to targeting.

Being that she was at a performance venue there was almost certainly some form of ‘security’ present however it was most likely for show. The assailant was able to walk up to Grimmie and fire on her from a very close distance. Properly trained security personnel could, and should, have identified this individual as a threat or at a minimum discovered the firearm on his person before he was able to enter the venue.

A trained executive protection professional may have identified pre-incident indicators leading up to the attack and avoided the incident altogether.

As far as the Orlando nightclub shooting goes, the only mention of security is two bouncers and an off duty police officer. One of the bouncers, former Marine Imran Yousef, is credited with saving multiple lives. His training and experience in the US Military undoubtedly aided in his reactions and decision making.

Generally, bouncers are not hired for their intensive training in the security industry, and that needs to change. Most clubs will hire bouncers based off of their appearance, whether or not they can handle themselves in a fight or because they know someone. Off duty police officers are often used in clubs, however they are not always the best choice. Police officers are extremely well trained when it comes to reacting to threats, engaging with disruptive persons, etc and are undoubtedly an excellent deterrent and an excellent resource if it hits the fan, however a properly trained security professional arguably receives more training in assessing threats, threat mitigation, and pre-incident indicators than does your average patrol officer.

Again, I have no desire to Monday-morning-quarterback these situations but I take this opportunity to stress that our society needs a change of perception. Dangerous people exist. Whether a lone crazed gunman obsessed with a celebrity, or a terrorist out for blood, violence can and will happen.

As a society we must understand that true safety requires professionals that are able to identify, mitigate, avoid and respond to threats properly. Security theater as it exists now is dangerous and it will certainly be paid for in blood.

I, and all of my associates, am more than happy to assist an organization in discussing their needs. More importantly, we are eager to illuminate those areas that are so often missed when mitigating a threat.

82 security workers hired for Euro 2016 are on terror watch list

Reshared via RT
A new shocking twist in the Euro 2016 saga has emerged just days after stark warnings ISIS would make the event a target. It turns out 82 of the people hired for security posts on the football cup are on French terror watch lists.
FILE PHOTO © Khaled Abdullah

The Directorate General of Internal Security (ISB) has screened a total of 3,500 individuals already hired for the job of ensuring the safety of visitors, according to Le Point. Those among the 82 found on the watch list could by definition either belong to a terrorist group, such as Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), or have a history of questionable behavior or extreme beliefs on either the left or right.

According to French authorities, some 90,000 personnel in total will be on duty during Euro 2016, including the stadiums, fan zones and on the streets. Of those, 77,000 are police and gendarmerie, while the rest comprise security and military personnel, as well as 1,000 or so volunteers.

“Such a unique event in exceptional circumstances requires extra security measures,” Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told journalists.

In the meantime, French President Francois Hollande admitted that the risk of a terrorist attack taking place during the Euro 2016 football championship exists.
“This threat will last for a long time. But we must do everything to ensure that the Euro 2016 is a success,” the French president told radio France Inter on Sunday.

The French had made promises that the championship would be entirely secure, and the Mediterranean resort of Nice is set to spend about €1.2 million on preparations, which is almost half the €2.5 million budget, according to Le Point. The city will host four matches.

Each football team will also be given 17 police officers and two agents with France’s elite special forces for extra protection.

Russian police officers will also form part of the international operation deployed to maintain order during the championship. Six specially trained officers will be sent to France, while the need for more rank-and-file boots on the ground will depend on how far the national team gets in the tournament.

Governments of nations with ardent football fans have been warning citizens to exhibit caution, following warnings by members of the intelligence community that the Euro cup increasingly looks like a high-value terrorist target.

“Euro Cup Stadiums, fan zones and unaffiliated entertainment venues broadcasting the tournaments in France represent potential targets for terrorists,” the US State Department said in a warning to its traveling fans. That statement came following intelligence warnings that the Euro, along with seaside resorts and areas with a high concentration of people are all potential IS targets.

Embassies and consulates in Paris have also been reinforcing their premises with extra staff and security.

France has seen a wave of horrific terrorist attacks in recent months that leave many understandably worried about the prospect of security at the upcoming championship, to be held across 10 French cities, starting on June 10.

https://www.rt.com/news/345469-euro-football-terrorist-watchlist/

A Fraud Committed Upon the American People: Fake Health Insurance Plans

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By: George Northrop, MD www.tsr-associates.com

The total amount spent on healthcare in 2016 is projected to be well in excess of 3 trillion dollars. Of this, up to 270 billion dollars will be diverted away from American pockets by health care fraud. These swindles will cost each United States resident over $800 this year alone. To put this in perspective, this amounts to approximately $70 per month. In effect, each of us pays the equivalent of a high-end mobile phone bill to health care fraudsters every month. And the problem is only getting worse.

Of all of the current forms of fraud, one stands alone by virtue of its sinister nature: Fake Health Insurance Plans. Crooked plans promising top tier service and benefits often deliver nothing at all once policyholders attempt to avail themselves of their benefits. Victims face bankruptcy and homelessness due to such blatant scams. The ultimate extent of Fake Health Insurance Plans is currently unknown, however they have become extremely pervasive, saturating nearly every state. In fact, some fraudsters have been so bold as to run television ads with 800 active telephone lines selling phony coverage. As usual, the elderly, infirmed and uninsured suffer most. However, due to the absurd complexity and uncertainty of the U.S. health insurance market, all Americans remain at risk.

Criminals exploit confusion over health care insurance and health care reform to their advantage. While they buy mansions and take expensive vacations, honest, hard-working Americans see their health endangered and their lives stolen away by debt. Governmental agencies and private insurers attempt to combat these criminals, but bureaucracy and inefficiency too often prevail. Even when criminals are prosecuted, victims are rarely reimbursed in a meaningful or restorative way.

Hiring a Private Investigator who understands and specializes in health care fraud is a powerful mechanism by which victims may pursue legal and financial satisfaction. This is especially true when the legal system seems too slow or overburdened to assist victims within the timeframe that they require. Prosecutable information obtained by Private Investigators on behalf of victims can often be used to the advantage of the victim and ensure that he/she is at the front of the line with regard to reimbursement. It also ensures that victims have the chance to face their tormenter and explain to them what needs to be explained prior to justice taking its course. And this is the right of every American.

If you have been or suspect that you are the victim of a Fake Health Insurance scam, contact TSR-Associates. We have a medical doctor on staff to answer your questions and formulate a plan to help. Together, justice can be found.

I Know My Rights!!! Or Do You? A Look at the Current Generation and Rights

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By Deputy Gage Donnell

It seems like every day you turn on the news and all you see is someone, somewhere, getting their pants all bunched up over something. This article is to help shed some light on issues that have plagued us these past several months.

Now in order to understand what I’m about to outline (not challenging your intelligence) we must look at the progression of an incident. I recently spoke with a Dr. of political studies on the 5th Amendment and how it applies to John Q. citizen. I add that I am a cop….police man, the 5-0. I do not have an advanced degree in political underwater basket weaving. But I, unlike my counterpart, have applied this in several years worth of convictions through arrest and blah, blah, blah.

His interpretation of our rights within the 5th Amendment was that being a U. S. Citizen gives you the right to not, under any circumstance, give out your name, DOB or SSN to a requesting Law Enforcement Officer. I stated that this only applies when the encounter is consensual and you are not a suspect, witness or victim of a crime. He could not wrap his head around this so he threw out a scenario…..which by the way is the first sign of someone trying to justify something they can comprehend to themselves. Anyway, He opened with:

“So if you, the police, have a search warrant for a person….you’re telling me this means he/she has to identify themselves to you? Furthermore, if you stop me for a driving infraction, I have to identify myself even if I’m not pulled out of the car?”

The answer folks: YES.

First off, in any state there is no such thing as a search warrant for you….only arrest warrants. Search warrants are for your property, place or curtilage. That’s why, when writing one, you outline in great detail what you are looking for, where it is you are searching and why.

An arrest warrant is used to search your person, hence ” Search incident to arrest”. The only warrant out there which includes something within you is a search warrant for your blood, such as those used in a DUI. But even then, it’s for your blood and the same search guidelines apply.

Next if you are wanted for a crime, a suspect in a crime, etc. you must identify yourself to L.E. or you risk an arrest warrant for impeding an investigation.

If you are stopped, you don’t have to be in handcuffs to be detained. Case law supports that merely clipping your driver’s license to my person could make a reasonable person believe that he/she is detained. When the lights come on, you are detained….Now, once your ID is returned and your stop is concluded, any conversation with the officer/Deputy is now consensual.

So on to rights, At the end of the day if you are being questioned by police, it’s not because of race, religion or sexual orientation. It may be because a crime has occurred involving one of those categories but that is all. Police do not wish to be talking to you…really….we prefer intercepting crimes before or during the incident, not standing at your house at 4am asking questions we really don’t want to know the answer to. We like being proactive….don’t you? that’s what you pay for right?.

So with some of those things in mind, a look at the current generation is something to consider. Kids today think Law and Order is something to waste their time or jam them up on a personal level. I had a 13yo tell me that that he hates cops because all we do is arrest people and make life hard. I politely said, how about my partner that did CPR on an infant while going to the hospital? Or the Cop that pulls the man dying from smoke inhalation out of the burning car before the fire department arrives? He freaked out and apologized, but it shows that the only way to fix this is through education of these young minds about their rights and how they came to be instead of using them as a tool to sue a police agency.

This topic is an open forum based and I would love some feed back….lets keep this conversation going!

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Off Duty! Never: Thoughts, questions and tips on improving officer safety off duty

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by deputy Gage Donnell

Going to the store, movies or a restaurant can become exhausting when you are the guy with the gear.

Its not bad to be the cop that leaves the house off duty with everything shy of a grappling hook, but  are there ways to improve our loadout without needing pockets for pockets or a go bag built into our shirt?

When I go out, I usually have, at minimum, a firearm, knife and the usual keys wallet and phone. However some days will dictate, if it’s nice out and I want to wear some cargo pants or the threat level at a location I’m going to is higher, I usually don a little more. Extra mag, small flashlight and some type of less lethal tool.

It’s good to think about gear and how to place it so that it’s somewhat inconspicuous but first we must look at a few things.

Let me side step and point out that putting Thin Blue Line stickers on your car and wearing nothing but the latest and greatest in 5.11 isn’t really inconspicuous. In the Army you could pick out a private by the clothing: jeans, affliction shirt and his summer tan boots. That is the equivalent to the boot cop, tan 5.11 pants and a badge related shirt. Oh and don’t forget the right or left hip bulge.

So, back on track, what can we do to offset the ever-changing world of threats? First we must look at ourselves and then look outward at our family and what we can control within a 6 to 8 foot bubble.

How about our loadout? If we are going to the 7-11 we probably don’t need more than a weapon and a spare mag. Yes some will say “be ready for anything” but its just not applicable when you want to remain a Dog in Sheep’s wool.

If something breaks bad, we the defender are not sticking around to duke it out. We stop the threat and seek cover. Family and self come first. We must remember that just because we are armed doesn’t mean it’s the end all fix all.

Whenever you bring a gun into a store, parking lot or place of commons you have just placed a gun in play. Just remember that and you will have an edge in the OODA loop.

Next comes emergency action plans. Does your wife/husband or kids know what to do if mommy or daddy need to go to work? Rehearsing plans is a good way to ensure your focus is on the threat and not the family. It could be a safe word that means “go the other way” or a gesture that means “act like you don’t know me”. Then go out and spot check them, walk though a store and randomly drop the word and see how the family reacts. Then if you wish to upgrade and the spouse can handle it, look at team movements. What can we do to react to the threat and also ensure the lives of those around us?

Psychological preparation.

This is key. You might be prepared ’cause it’s your job but your wife or kids are not. We must explain that if something breaks bad, we must all be prepared for what is ahead. Explain that if you’re not in your jurisdiction, you all may be detained and questioned. This, and how to deal with the sight of death, is something hard to talk about but is a topic that should be discussed.

Gear.

Remember: the equipment you carry is something that could save your life or the life of your family. So yes, aim somewhat expensive. The quality may be better and thus last longer. Its not everyday you get into a incident, thus the equipment you use will sit and usually only be used in training and with a family can be little.

– Surefire makes some 6P series lights that are compact and durable. usually around $85.00 to $100.00

– Vexor MK3 from Zarc professionals makes a extremely strong OC spray at around 17.5 SHU and if you know what SHU means, you know that’s no joke $15.00

– Hornady Hollowpoint Critical Duty ammo, great for not over penetrating but has stopping power. usually around $25.99 – $32.99

– My new favorite for a carry knife is the Spyderco Roadie. Its a sheepfoot-style blade ground from Böhler-Uddeholm N690Co steel, a high-performance stainless steel alloyed with cobalt, molybdenum, and vanadium. Its not fixed blade but has a closed profile of 2.99″ and opens up to an aggressive 2.09″ blade making it ideal for quick deployment cuts. $79.95 MSRP

These are just some of my favorite carry tools and I hope this is a conversation that may shed some light. I plan on doing more reviews of the equipment on this list and if you have anything you need research for, please contact the admin.

 

Thanks for the time

10-8 in service

 

 

Taliban 2.0

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As the war on terror rages into its 14th year gains and losses echo throughout the campaign. In Afghanistan the Taliban was swiftly defeated only to reemerge a short time later. Questions abound as to why the Taliban has been able to regroup and reemerge as a significant threat to stability. Our ally, Pakistan, has also been under the microscope by US intelligence officials and has even been accused of aiding the Taliban domestically.

The relationship between the Taliban and Pakistan is a long and convoluted one. Depending on the point of view, the Pakistani government has been a steadfast supporter, or a staunch antagonist, to the Taliban. Currently, there is some question as to whether or not the Pakistanis are playing both sides of this conflict; supporting America as an ally in the Global War on Terror (GWOT) or helping the Taliban by providing intelligence support and safe haven.

Determining what role the Taliban plays in Pakistani politics and whether or not there is a greater threat to their current government and its support for US interests is a daunting task. To begin, it is important to look at the history of the two before analyzing current trends.

Brief history of the Taliban and its relationship with Pakistan

The Taliban emerged as part of the Mujahideen movement during the Soviet invasion which began in 1979. In 1994 the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan shortly after the ejection of the Soviets. With the promise of restoring peace and security in Pashtun areas surrounding the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Taliban rose to prominence and enforced strict adherence to Sharia law.

Pakistani funding and supply was critical to the Taliban movement and its rise to power. With assistance in the form of weapons, military training and financial support the Taliban was able to capture several Afghan cities. In 1996 they successfully took control of Kabul.

During the Taliban’s reign prior to the US invasion, from the 1990’s to 2001, Pakistan was one of only three nations that recognized the legitimacy of the regime, the other two being Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. At the height of their involvement, the Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence agency, (ISI), was supplying the Taliban with hundreds of military advisors, small units of their Special Services Group, and thousands of Pakistani Pashtuns to man its infantry. Following international condemnation for harboring Al Qaeda terrorists responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, they were the last country to break diplomatic ties with the Taliban.

Pakistan/Taliban relationship post-GWOT

Since the beginning of the GWOT there has been suspicion that Pakistan has been playing both sides; an ally to the US on one side and secretly aiding the Taliban on the other. In general, the central Pakistani government has been the supporter of the United States, while the ISI is accused of, at best, being sympathetic to the Taliban cause and at worst, giving them aid.

A 2012 study published by NATO alleged that, following their toppling by coalition forces, ISI support for the Taliban was crucial to their reemergence in 2004. Without Pakistani assistance, it said, there would have been no hope for rebuilding a Taliban capable of combating the US and her allies.

Allegations of ISI involvement with the Taliban predate the 2012 NATO report. In a leaked report in 2006 the British Defense Ministry stated

“Indirectly, Pakistan through the ISI has been supporting terrorism and extremism.”

In 2008, Afghan officials accused the ISI of plotting a failed assassination attempt on then President Hamid Karzai, as well as insinuating their involvement with a terrorist attack on the Indian embassy. Indian officials also laid blame the attack on the ISI. In 2009, Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates said in an interview with 60 minutes:  “To a certain extent, they play both sides.”

Taliban/ISI political influence in Pakistan

Accusations this year have brought up the idea that the ISI, which is responsible for dealing with external threats to the country, has been increasingly meddling with internal politics. Insiders accused the military and the ISI of stirring up political turmoil amidst accusations that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif came to power via fraud.

Representatives Imran Khan and Tahir-ul Qudri accused Sharif’s government of rigging elections. Khan’s former party president, after being removed from power by Khan, stated that the party has been working closely with the ISI to undermine Sharif’s government with the promise of new elections should he be successfully ousted.

Pakistan political expert Aqil Shah said the military establishment is stirring up violence to send a message to parties not to meddle with them lest they face severe consequences. By manipulating anti-Sharif representatives the military seeks to position itself to be an arbiter for change. Once Sharif is out of the picture the ISI and the military can exercise greater control over the political process.

Stepping in to fill the void in poor areas lacking healthcare infrastructure, education and civic amenities, the Pakistani Taliban, or Tehrik-i-Taliban-Pakistani (TTP) has a long and enduring presence along the outskirts of the country in the federally administered tribal areas (FATA). Other accusations that the ISI and the Taliban are in bed spring from the perception that the Taliban is affecting the political process via intimidation.  According to liberal politicians, Pakistani Taliban have been increasing their attacks on the liberal parties. A former official from the Awami National Party stated he was forced to leave Karachi after 25 of his offices were threatened by Taliban forces. A senior Karachi police officer said that the Taliban are swiftly expanding their influence amongst the poor suburbs as well as the city center.

The Awami National Party (ANP), The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) have all been targeted for their secular platforms and opposition to Islamic extremism. As a result, they are unable to run effective campaigns and voters are intimidated come election time. They inevitably suffer defeat at the polls due to diminished support thus increasing TTP influence.

The Taliban’s influence is not limited to political persuasion, however. In suburbs across Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial hub, Taliban “courts” have emerged to settle disputes amongst residents. The fact that these courts are operating at all suggests that the public is becoming increasingly tolerant and sympathetic to Taliban presence. Their influence has the potential to shift political support in their favor as they extend into major cities like Karachi. Such power shift is a major concern for the US and its allies since they rely heavily on Pakistani support in the tribal regions.

Recognition of the Taliban is not limited to a growing number of Pakistanis either. In the summer of 2013 the government of Qatar agreed to let the Taliban open an office in Doha. This office is complete with the Taliban flag flying high above its doors and signs proclaiming it to be representative office to the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”. The concern with this is obvious. Rather than treating them as a terrorist group responsible for the Afghan insurgency, the Qatari government is essentially acknowledging the Taliban’s legitimate claim to Afghanistan. This acknowledgement could do irreparable damage to the US backed government in Afghanistan and help to legitimize the Taliban struggle internationally.

Ramifications of increased Taliban influence in Pakistan

Should the TTP gain enough influence in the Pakistani government it could spell disaster for US operations in the GWOT and specifically in operational capacity throughout the Afghan and Asian theater. Pakistan has been an ally to the US in the sense that they allow us to conduct some operations along and across their borders. They are also recipients of billions of dollars in US aid meant to combat extremism within their own nation. As the US continues to draw down its forces in Afghanistan other questions have emerged: what role will Pakistan play in the Afghan theater and what is the military to do with the thousands of tons of supplies and equipment left in the country?

As we are now seeing in Iraq, the void created by a vacating US military could potentially leave significant assets to an enemy should they take the fight to a weakened post-US government. Pakistan and Afghanistan haven’t enjoyed the warmest of relationships since the toppling of the Taliban. Should the Taliban in Pakistan gain enough power and influence over the Pakistani government it is conceivable that their support for the Afghan Taliban will increase. With such support from the Pakistanis, the Afghan Taliban will be a serious threat to the stability of the fledgling and relatively weak central Afghan government.

A Taliban-controlled Pakistan could also spell disaster for regional stability. Pakistan is suspected of having hundreds of tactical nuclear weapons. Should the Pakistani military and the ISI ultimately back a coup in the country, and the TTP come to further prominence, the risk of these tactical nuclear weapons falling into Taliban hands is unacceptable. Many have speculated that the US has a contingency plan for dealing with such a threat, however top defense officials have denied such a plan exists and said that these reports are oversimplified.

A nuclear Taliban would most likely result in instant conflict. It is highly unlikely that India, Pakistan’s biggest foe in the region and a nuclear power itself, would allow such an eventuality. The ISI is suspected of supporting terrorist actions in the disputed Kashmir region of India and Taliban influence over the ISI could increase such support and lead to further escalations. To add insult to injury, Pakistan receives significant aid from China. This aid is often viewed as an annoyance to India since China and India do not have the warmest of relationships either. Furthermore, in 2013 Pakistan handed over control of the Gwadar port to the Chinese Navy. The port is a significant strategic asset to the region. Commerce flows in and out of the port annually. Control of the port by China could also mean hosting of significant Chinese military assets in the region.

In any event, Taliban influence or control of the Pakistani government is an eventuality that all interested parties should be wary of. Pakistan’s potential to meddle in the affairs of post-US Afghanistan, possession of nuclear weapons, poor nuclear security and relationships with international players that are not friendly to Western interests could destabilize an already fragile region. The vacuum created by vacating US forces could be filled by any number of unfavorable regimes from the Afghan Taliban to the Chinese. In any event, destabilization of the region would mean significant injury to US economic and strategic interests.

Sources

http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/editorial/why-pakistan-is-still-important-to-the-us

http://www-pub.naz.edu/~aamghar6/History%20of%20the%20Taliban.htm

http://www.dw.de/pakistans-new-isi-chief-and-the-militarys-face-saving-act/a-17948121

http://www.dw.de/analyst-pakistans-military-seeking-to-destabilize-government/a-17893659

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/06/09/4-reasons-the-pakistani-taliban-is-winning/

http://www.cfr.org/pakistan/pakistans-new-generation-terrorists/p15422

http://www.cfr.org/pakistan/isi-terrorism-behind-accusations/p11644#p1

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/26/world/asia/26isi.html?_r=0

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63647

http://www.dw.de/taliban-want-their-sympathizers-to-win-elections/a-16778547

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-11451718

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-21343397

http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2013/08/26-pakistan-influence-over-afghan-taliban-riedel

http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21586865-violence-undermines-hopes-reconciliation-islamists-cold-shoulder-sharif

http://southasia.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/05/05/pakistan_s_tactical_nukes_threaten_stability_in_south_asia

http://www.hindustantimes.com/comment/analysis/pakistan-s-nuclear-security-faces-insider-threat/article1-1231378.aspx

http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/why-almost-nobody-likes-news-about-pakistani-nuclear-security/