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Showing posts from July, 2009

Dark Arts for Good Guys: Where there's smoke

Despite what you may think about evacuating out of a city that has erupted into chaos there is actually a lot of waiting. Hours of it. The world is crashing down. Except where you are. Down the street people just like you are running for their lives while you sit in your room on the sixth floor drinking coffee. Waiting for the right time to bug out.

While thoughts of leaving the room under the cover of darkness hoping to knock someone with a gun in the head with that crowbar may dance in your head, the odds aren't in your favor.

That doesn't mean be idle. When you are outgunned you have to out think them. Thinking tactically is constructive. It keeps your mind from running wild and going into a panic mode. It also gives you a creative outlet to incite fear into your enemy. There comes a point when your defensive thinking has to become offensive thinking. Sometimes that is with a gun, but first and more often its with your head. A defensive mind set tells your soul "just le…

Dark Arts for Good Guys: Flight Plan

When the brain kicks into the Flight or Fight response (i.e. from an environmental stressor) your sensory cortex sends a signal to the brain stem. The instant your brain kicks out of homeostasis and into high gear, your alertness to the situation and the environment are more attuned than previous.

The longer or more intense and prolonged the situation is causes activation in the sypathetic region of your autonomic nervous system (This is how adreneline gets dumped into your system).

When this occurs your body physically responds in several ways. Pupils dialate, digestion of food in your stomach slows down or stops, there is an acceleration in your heart and breathing rate. Skin can go pale, flush or bounce back and forth. The mind and eyes get tunnel vision. This is why we threat scan. Rotating your head left to right pulls you from this and can save you from being blind sided.

The same holds true for not having a good plan to get out. While it may be very exciting to rush from the hote…

Dark Arts for Good Guys Series: Fight & Flight pt II

There can be difficulty in illustrating the point of how bad total social melt down can be, with you stuck in the middle. The best advice in this area I can give you is to watch the movie Black Hawk Down that depicts the Battle of Mogadishu.

<--photo of the U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya 1998

Don't watch it from the line of sight of the soldier or the war lord, but rather the people ducking for cover as they run across the street in the back ground. Cause friend that's you.

To start with know where the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is in whatever country you are going to. It sounds like a given, yet its surprising the number of Americans who travel and assume there is an Embassy nearby.

To put it in perspective, Indonesia has two American stations, one is The Embassy in Jakarta and the other is the Consulate in Surabaya. However, Indonesia is comprised of 17,508 islands, of which 922 are permanently inhabited. Sooo there can be sometimes a bit of distance between you and so…

Dark Arts for Good Guys Series: Fight & Flight Flight & Fight Part 1

I woke up this morning to the headlines "Suicide blasts at Jakarta Ritz".

The headline hit home.

My second thought was of the attack on the Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai last year by members of Lashkar-e-Taiba . I had spent a few nights there in 2007.

But my first thoughts were of the Spring of 1998 and the Indonesian 1998 Revolution that centered around the resignation of President Suharto .

For two weeks in May that year, I was part of a small contingent of guys that were on 24 hour stand-by to do emergency evacuations for ten American paper mill executives on two Indonesian Islands.

The U.S. based company was trying to assess the particulars of getting their men out of the country in the most efficient manner (read: cost effective). If memory serves I think the cost thrown at the company to extract their men by us was $2-$2.5 Million dollars.

After day in and day out of green lights and red lights the operation was ultimately scrapped.

The Client said they felt like the situat…

Dark Arts for Good Guys Series: Bribery part II

Preface: This series is leading in a direction. Stepping stones so-to-speak. Its ultimately about you having to get yourself (and maybe others) out of a singular bad situation or a situation that is escalating (think traveling abroad and experiencing total social collapse even if its only for a short time).

Sometimes rules go out the window. Sometimes rules no matter what prevail, but you have to step outside of those rules to prevail.

Bare in mind I said prevail, I never mentioned not being scarred (mentally or physically) from the situation or paying the consequences for your mis-deed regardless of your honorable intention to do nothing more than "Get Home."

But that is what this series is about: Getting Home

Bribery often denotes the thought of cash, and usually lots of it. Traveling with excessive cash can be problematic. For one, there can be the lack of it. Some of my clients could easily get a wire transfer for $100,000.00. I'd have to put my house up for it.

So like a…

The Dark Arts for Good Guys Series: Bribery

According to Black's Law Dictionary bribery is the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in discharge of a public or legal duty.

And it goes by many names, Baksheesh in Africa, Mordida, dash, spiffs, "fines", tea money, "processing fees", cadeau, payola, gifts, etc. For the morally uptight who don't travel the world, you think "not me." Well Ned Flanders let's just recognize that the rules of the world were set up before you got there, and not everyone loves Jesus like you and me.

Currently one of the biggest and most and acceptable forms of bribery occur in over seas adoption. I'm not talking about illegal child deals, but rather actual government officials and real legitimate orphanages. The current rate of "extended paper work fees" in Guatemala run between $5000.00 and $10,000.00 and China's go from $10,000-$20,000.

For the sake of this articl…

Dark Arts for Good Guys Series

When you exist in a world that is relatively stable and law and order are the rule, it is easy to sit back and condemn the actions of others if you have never been there. To most Americans the thought of bribery is immoral and is a bridge that won't be crossed.For others who operate in a "different" climate you have to learn to adapt and think outside the box in an immediate fashion. Missionaries and Mercenaries all over the globe understand this, as does anyone who works covertly.

The first time a roadside soldier or police man in a poor and rural area tells you that your paper work is not in order and he's going to have to detain you. Its probably time to grease the wheels a bit. But there is an art and a protocol to bribery. Too little its a problem. Too much and you may have a much bigger problem.

So often we refuse to learn and utilize information that is other wise deemed immoral or just wrong. However there can be places and time when such knowledge can not only…