As you know, Guardsmark is a Memphis-based company, with our headquarters located only a block from here. We are now the sixth largest national security service and are in the $100 million revenue category. We are in 73 offices from coast to coast, and have 7,000 employees who provide security services in over 400 cities.
The reasons for our growth since we started 23 years ago are as many as the security problems that face our society today. Guardsmark deals with the effects of all these problems, in one way or another. Let me give you an overview: * Violent crime increased 12% and property crime rose 7% in the first six months of this year, the largest increase since 1980. Aggravated assault alone increased 14%.
By the age of 27, 40% of Americans have tried cocaine.
* On any given day, as many as 1,740 children are held in adult jails, many for such offenses as running away from home.
* One out of every 24 blacks in this country will be killed before reaching the age of 24.
* Bank fraud and embezzlement losses for the first six months of 1986 were $894 million, compared with $841 million for the entire year in 1985.
* Annual gross income of organized crime in the U.S. will probably exceed $50 billion this year, that equates to 1.1% of GNP.
* Up to 15 million women in the United States–one fourth of the adult female population–and over one million children have been physically or sexually abused.
* Revelations of municipal corruption–naming judges, police officers, city commissioners, and political party leaders–have cast a shadow over such cities as New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.
* Computer crime costs American business and industry anywhere from $20 million to $45 million a year.
Guardsmark has grown so fast because our clients know that the companies that are least protected are those that will suffer the most. Most of our business now comes from Fortune 1000 Companies in such major cities as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Another of their prime concerns is terrorism. Terrorism is growing at a rapid rate, and is a major reason for our growth. We make it a point, to hire former agents of the FBI, CIA, Secret Service and military intelligence. But we have also developed our own sources of intelligence that have proved consistently accurate in their assessment of the terrorist threat.
And that threat is growing. Comparing the first six months of 1984 to the same period this year, terror attacks worldwide increased from 165 to 246–a 49 percent jump. Last year alone there were 67 attacks against businesses, leaving 23 dead and 160 wounded. This year there have been 87 attacks directed at American targets. In the United States alone in 1985, 23 terrorist attacks were prevented by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. Even the halls of Congress are now protected by magnetometers.
The specter of terrorism is forcing all governments and businesses in Europe and Japan to change the way they operate. The United States Government and major corporations have also responded by increasing their security measures. But a real understanding of the menace has yet to penetrate the American business community. Partly, that lack of understanding stems from American provincialism. The strife between Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims; the reasons for the war between Iran and Iraq; the forces striving for domination of Lebanon–it all seems so foreign, so distant, so difficult to see the whys and the wherefores. But understanding alone will not save us. The French have a saying: “Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner.” To understand fully is to forgive fully. The academics still have not reached a consensus on the definition of terrorism. But like the late Justice Potter Stewart, who knew pornography when he saw it, we can define the terrorist.
He is the Jordanian who hands a bomb to his pregnant fiance’e as she boards a jet in London. He is the Palestinian aboard the Achille Lauro who murders a 69-year-old man in a wheelchair. He is the Japanese who throws hand grenades indiscriminately in an Israeli airport. He is the American who can find reasons to plant bombs even in a place like Coeur d TAlene, Idaho. The terrorist may be political, and he achieves martyrdom for the revolution. Or he may be a religious fanatic, and he achieves paradise for dying in the holy war. Or he may be an anarchist maniac, and he achieves the thrill of destruction. Terrorists – – and they are not all men — have no regard for the niceties of civilized society. They observe no rules of engagement. They recognize no boundaries–whether political or moral–in gaining their ends.
And what are their objectives? Sometimes, it is ransom. In the decade from 1972 to 1982, they collected between $125 million and $250 million in ransom. That’s a pretty decent size operation.
Other times, they want to force release of imprisoned or convicted terrorists. The September bombings in Paris fit this mold.
Sometimes, it is revenge, as any number of attacks aimed at Israel indicate. Still other massacres are staged simply to gain publicity. A bloody hijacking — such as the Pan Am incident in Karachi, in which 22 people died and over 100 were injured — quickly becomes a media event. Terrorists thrive on publicity to keep their causes before the public eye. Terrorists also launch attacks to affect or change the policies of governments. It was a terrorist attack that drove the American Marines out of Lebanon.
What we will see much more of are attacks upon business. Colonel Qaddafi of Libya is still licking his wounds, but plans are now being made to remove the insult to his “honor” brought about by the American raid on Tripoli last April 15. Our sources report that Qaddafi is aiming at U.S. Government targets. But there are indications that Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian terrorists will attack American businesses and individuals.
In the October 15 edition of The Lipman Report — an exclusive executive newsletter with a circulation of 28,000 that is published by Guardsmark monthly — we reported that Abu Nidal has recently deployed from 60 to 80 of his operatives in Europe. Abu Nidal is not a minor antagonist. In the last two years alone, his group–the Fatah-Revolutionary Council–has killed 181 people and wounded 200 more. His attacks are both bloody and spectacular: machine guns and grenades in Rome and Vienna airports; indiscriminate murder of passengers on an airliner on Malta; grenades thrown into an Athens swimming pool full of handicapped British tourists. Think of what just one crazed, committed, suicidal terrorist can do! Airlines, communications switches, computer facilities, energy grids, monuments of Western culture — all are threatened. Imagine 10 or 12 or 15 squads of terrorists acting in concert, launching attacks that occur within days of each other, in Paris — and Bonn — and Rome — and Brussels — and Lyons — and London.
This is not idle speculation. The evidence of Syrian support of terrorism was so clear to Great Britain that she severed diplomatic relations with Damascus. The evidence against Libya was so clear that we bombed Tripoli without declaring war. The French are so worried that they are now requiring visas — an abrupt change in a country to whom tourism is so crucial.
What can be done to stop terrorism? There are essentially five strategies for dealing with terrorism. All bear a price, some of which are heavier than others.
The first strategy is to appease the terrorists. This we might think of as the “gangrene” theory: To save a foot we cut off a toe. But that doesn’t stop the spread, and it becomes necessary to cut off the foot to save the leg. Appeasement is a poison that ends up corrupting the entire body politic. And it doesn’t work, as France has discovered recently. For complex political and economic reasons, from a sense of historical importance and from a fierce desire to be a major world power, France has tried to maintain its influence in the Middle East. It has done this by siding with the Arab states against Israel, by releasing terrorists from its jails, and by trying to reach a an accommodation with both terrorists and the states that sponsor those terrorists. For years, the arrangement worked. Even as recently as April, France refused the United States permission to fly over French territory in the bombing raid on Tripoli. But in September, the French paid for their accommodation of terrorism when, in a period of 10 days, five bombings in Paris killed 10 people and injured 162. The French learned the meaning of the old saying, “He who sups with the devil must use a long spoon.”
The next strategy is related to the first. This is the “scarecrow” theory, on the model of the farmer who says to the crows, “I don’t care what else you do. Just don’t eat my corn.” In this scenario, the government reaches a tacit or explicit agreement with terrorists. The terrorists agree to avoid all terrorist actions within the country and the government turns a blind eye to everything else. This includes transporting weapons, harboring of suspects, exchange of funds, and so on. France has also tried this strategy. Scarecrows work no better than amputation. The third theory is to remedy the cause. This theory sees terrorists as basically oppressed minorities who believe they have no legitimate avenue of redress. Once their grievance no longer exists, they will become proper business people and model citizens. They will lay down their arms and return to the plow, peacefully working their fields. What this theory refuses to recognize is that terrorists are not politicians who try to achieve consensus and reach common ground. Terrorist demands bear no relation to reality, no grounds for compromise, no reasonable approach to the settling of differences. It is all a zero-sum game to them. They reject compromise on principle.
The fourth strategy is to crush terrorism unilaterally, ruthlessly, brutally, while still sparing as many innocent lives as possible. This theory realizes that it is impossible to stop terrorism without paying a price. That price includes never — under any circumstances — negotiating with terrorists.
Negotiation in and of itself is a victory for the terrorists. The price also includes a realization that innocent people will be hurt no matter how surgical the air strike, no matter how be hurt no matter how surgical the air strike, no matter how careful the planning, no matter how good the intelligence. Ruling out on the front end all military action against terrorists merely gives them a shield. The language of the terrorist is force, and it is a language we must learn to speak. Negotiation, compromise, the meeting of minds, peaceful settlement of differences–these are methods of diplomacy, the settlement of differences–these are methods of diplomacy, the methods of civilized society. They don’t work against terrorism. . The last method is to combine the firmness and resolve of crushing terrorism unilaterally with efforts at international cooperation. Only recently have the nations of Europe and Japan begun to coordinate their anti-terrorist activities. The steps are halting but they are nevertheless real. Political pressure against Libya and Syria is building and their operatives are begun to coordinate their anti-terrorist activities. The steps are halting but they are nevertheless real. Political pressure against Libya and Syria is building and their operatives are are halting but they are nevertheless real. Political pressure against Libya and Syria is building and their operatives are against Libya and Syria is building and their operatives are beginning to lose their sanctuaries. Severing diplomatic relations allows the host country to shut down the embassy, a direct hit at the terrorist’s nerve center. Through embassies of countries like Libya, Syria and Iran, terrorists receive weapons, money, passports, and intelligence.
The Western nations must also coordinate their means of bringing economic pressures to bear. Denial of landing rights for national airlines and docking rights for ships are obvious measures. Cutting off all trade and export of technology would also carry the message to the sponsors of terrorism.
Other kinds of cooperation among the target nations would have great effect. Exchange of intelligence, common anti-terrorist training, and development of a cohesive and defined anti- terrorist doctrine should be at the top of the list.
Common to all these strategies is that of an active defense on the part of government and business alike. Terrorists, like all criminals, look for vulnerabilities and opportunities. Sophisticated security methods can not only protect against terrorist action, they can also convince the terrorist that there are easier pickings elsewhere. The “active” part of such a defense comes through cooperative arrangements among companies. Security networks could be of several varieties. One such network was formed some months ago by major corporations with facilities in Brussels. Other networks might be formed by airlines, or hotels, or by the tourist industry in general.
In the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, these things seem so foreign, so outside of our experience that we tend to read the headlines and go back to our business. But it is not business as usual anymore. Terrorism is a fact of life, and we need to get used to it. Even if Libya, Syria, and Iran–which also supports terrorists– were not in the picture, terrorism would not simply disappear. Direct Action in France, the Red Army Faction in Germany, the Red Army in Japan, Los Macheteros in Puerto Rico and numerous others–all are groups that operate independently. These groups are small and function as cells, with few links to the others. Intelligence on their operations, funding, and personnel is limited. Defeating them will be no easy task.
Put these independent groups together with state-supported organizations, and you can see the difficulties we face in the years ahead. That most terrorist attacks up till now have occurred overseas is no reason for us to be smug or complacent.
Complacency is exactly what the terrorists expect. They include it in their planning. Uninterrupted attacks would lead us to maintain constant alertness. The terrorists know that. So they wait until we drop our guard. Abu Nidal is the master of this technique. His attacks come in clusters. The outrage and fear that follow result in heightened security–for a while. But the attacks stop, a “phony war” ensues, and our attention wanders. Then he hits again.
Where is the next terrorist target? That is impossible to predict. But we can narrow the choices. Considering Abu Nidal’s methods of operation and support network, any country bordering the Mediterranean would be a good bet.
It is often said that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” That is nonsense! That kind of moral relativism is both self-defeating and irresponsible. Such a comment represents a refusal to discriminate between what is right and what is wrong. It is moral cowardice, which weakens the will and saps the strength. It is not insightful; it is not profound; it is not even intelligent.
Terrorists do not fight to free people, but to subject them to the iron will of the terrorists, who choose who will live and who will die, which planes will land safely and which will explode in mid-air, which political leaders will survive and which will die in the street. There are no sanctuaries from terrorism. Innocent men, women and children have died in airplanes and on yachts; in airports and train stations; in restaurants and department stores; in their homes and even in places of worship.
It is time to bring it home to the terrorists, before they bring it home to us.