Friday, July 17, 2009

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 situation was easing up in Indonesia and that their men in country should be able to get themselves home.

Six of those men did. Four did not. They were hacked up and/or executed on some jerk water island in the South China Sea. As I later found out the families of the left-for-dead were suing for tens of millions of dollars. I'm sure in retrospect that $2.5 looked cheap.

The fact of the matter is this. Regardless of where and why when the shit hits the fan its going to probably be up to you to get yourself (and anyone with you) home. Or at least out of the kill zone.

"Ridiculous" you say. "I'm in my hotel room right now in the Republic of Freeistan and can see the U.S. Embassy from my window. Its just over a mile away, and I ran a mile in seven minutes this morning on the hotel treadmill."

If rioting breaks out between you and the embassy getting there might be tough. If a civil war breaks out good luck. Especially if you're an American.

Why?

Regardless of what you think or who you are, right now in world history the U-S of A is the biggest kid on the block, With that comes the burden of being blamed for everything wrong.

But there is also something else you should realize.

Behind every coup and riot there are literal conductors to these orchestras of disaster and war. And since every leader wants international press coverage for their cause they riot and wage war in front of the American Embassy.

No one is going to let you yell "time out" so you can stroll in the very front gate they are trying to tear down. In fact they may ask you to be their guest at gun point.

The international airport that is also just a few miles away is the other big target. Again, big targets =big press coverage. Bad guys use things like youtube, myspace, facebook, and Fox News to get attention. Because like you they are fighting for their survival, good, bad or otherwise.

Now that KR&E Insurance policy you were advised to get doesn't seem so ridiculous. In it there are usually provisions that say for this much $$ we will send in men with guns to get you to a private airport and out of the country, negotiate your return, etc. But you or your boss thought it was absurd. After all this was just supposed to be a five day spearfishing trip in the Caribbean.

The sun has gone down, and your on the roof of your hotel by the pool listening to the crackle of automatic weapons fire and the wailing of sirens. The signal to your iPhone is cutting out, and you're relatively certain the news feed from CCN reporting two streets up just showed soldiers gunning down the citizenry. This was supposed to be paradise, now its a free for all.

So you have to improvise and start thinking hard, mean and fast, because you and your co-workers or spouse and the kids are alone, and you've got a Swiss Army knife. That carry conceal permit in your wallet doesn't have reciprocity in the South Seas and your SiG 250 and AR-15 are back home in the basement.

So how do you get out? What do you pack? How can you improvise weapons to get better weapons? How do you steal a car to get to the airport or the border?

Flight & Fight Part II: Bugging out and Arming up....

Fly Weight

A few years back I decided to scale back my armament when I traveled by Air on "low risk" jobs by leaving my 1911 at home and, p...