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Personal Safety.

Terrorism. Personal Safety.

Terrorism is the main reason that people have taken a greater interest in all aspects of their safety while travelling. No international travel is risk-free, and in it never has been. But just because we have a greater awareness of threats today, this does not mean you should never travel abroad. If everyone stopped travelling, the terrorists would have achieved one of their objectives to frighten people into submission and hit the economy of the West. Not all risks are equal. And not all terrorism is directed at American and British people and firms. Terrorist threats come in many forms and from many sources of discontent. The feature common to them all is their effect on socalled soft targets. Violence and warfare is no longer constrained by the rules of war and military targets. Ordinary people are in the firing line. One of the main lessons from the 9-11 attacks in the USA is that aircraft are vulnerable to being taken over by a determined terror as a weapon for destruction and publicity. Terror groups thrive on the oxygen of global publicity, because it draws attention to their cause and they care little for the effect on the immediate victims who are powerless to influence any events or decisions that could advance the cause being pursued by the terrorists. This is different from kidnapping and hostage taking, where the victim is chosen for their connection to decision-makers. Either way those caught up in their acts are message generators. Anyone could become a victim of terrorism and there are no foolproof means of making yourself immune from the threat these days. All you can do is assess the risk and make your travel decisions on the best information and advice available at the time. Becoming paranoid is no basis for an adventure. No airline or government can guarantee 100 per cent safety, but then again a one per cent risk of a terror attack is not a basis for cancelling a trip. Look at Spain, a modern, prosperous industrialised country that is popular with a wide cross section of travellers and beach loving tourists. Spain has an active terror group in the Basque separatist movement, Eta, which threatens to draw attention to its aims by attacking economic targets such as the travel industry. Lets face it; terrorism could affect your adventure. This does not mean it will happen to you or that you should not go. You must keep the threat of terrorism in perspective. Assessing the risk is collecting together all available information and deciding how closely the threat should concern you. Clearly there are some places where an attack is more likely to happen than others. The biggest clue is whether there is a pattern of recent disturbances, and the state of play in the locality at the time. If theres tension, theres a greater risk, so the place is best avoided.

There is continuing unrest in Chechnya, parts of Israel, Kashmir, and various parts of Africa so a careful assessment of risk would lead you to avoid those particular places. But who would have said avoid Moscow, yet Chechnyan sympathisers blew up a theatre in the city in 2002? Who would have said, avoid Bombay, yet a bus was blown up there in the summer of 2033. No one has a crystal ball on terrorism. It is an essential part of planning an adventure trip that you research the destination and your route for known risks, especially if you intend venturing into areas not much used by foreign visitors. Advice on making a detailed risk assessment is provided in the next chapter. For travel information the Government advice services such as the FCO or US State Department web sites are the first places to look. Then there is information available from the national governments of the countries you intend to visit. The people on the ground can be a valuable source of information, and your tour organiser should be able to get in touch for the latest news. Local knowledge is vital for your planning; local people may know things that never reach the Western media. Quite often, terrorism is localised and large parts of a country are peaceful. This was very much the case in Sri Lanka where Tamil Tigers were fighting the government forces for control of the northern part of the island. In some countries, however, the general state of lawlessness poses a problem wherever you Travel. The intelligence services may have been aware that a terror attack was likely in Bali, Indonesia in 2002, and certainly it was well known that the country was tense, but no-one knew that the Sari Club would be hit when it was, to devastating and tragic effect. Terrorism happens. Its part of modern life, regrettably. The question is, how can you avoid being a victim? At least one of the lessons from the Bali Bomb applies to many adventure destinations, especially in areas where after the adventure you go to unwind and party a little. Ros Coward of the Ecologist magazine noted about the Bali incident There had been fights with locals over religious disrespect, and offensiveness to local culture. The lesson here is simple. Some people may need to act a little more modesty, with more grace, more attention to cultural, and religious, and political frustrations. Better behaviour of this kind will not only be greatly appreciated, but will build friendships and relationships that can last for years and give a greater understanding of both cultures. Not You? A recent survey of 1000 returning long haul passengers undertaken at London Heathrow Airport aged between 16- 30 provided an insight into how some people behave in other peoples countries 30% said they had done stupid things. 75% said they had drunk excessively. Nearly 30% said they had swum while drunk. Nearly 30% admitted to having casual sex. 2

Nearly 10% admitted to taking drugs. 30% did no forward planning. 30% had no travel or medical insurance.

Worth Knowing Many people assume that if they are in trouble that British Consular Staff have the remit to repatriate them or to get them out of gaol in any circumstances, and this is not the case. Consular staff may make a maximum loan of 100.00 to a DNB (Distressed British National) and there is no such thing as a get out of jail free card Some teenage and young people assume that their parents or family will pay their way for them if they are in trouble. This is not always possible. Parental influence in many countries is ineffective on any other level than a money transfer. Here are some suggestions for you Before You Go Research your route and all location as much as possible. Take note of Government Advice Be informed about current affairs Reassure your family and friends that you have carefully thought through your itinerary. Talk to them and spend quality time with them before your departure. Let them have ample chance to express their concerns and address them with care and consideration for their peace of mind. Give honest reassurance at all times. Promise to communicate regularly by each and every available means that they can use as well. Make sure that you research has been as thorough as possible.

To avoid being a terrorist message generator Undertake good sound research from the media and the Internet, as this will allow you to make your own assessments of perceived and real risk. Continued vigilance and regular reassessment while travelling. Do not be opinionated or over bearing with local people. Do not try to impose political or unsympathetic views on local people or other travellers. Show respect for people, their beliefs sacred places and their environment. Be vigilant and look out for suspicious people in areas preferred by westerners or where Americans gather. These may well become the new soft targets.

Civil Unrest Most trouble spots for civil unrest can be avoided. Demonstrations, political, industrial, and religious, are more than often noted in advance by the media. Simply avoid these districts. If caught out unawares either quit the area without looking panicked or make for a caf or place where you out of the main surge of the event.

Espionage Remember the plane spotters in Greece who hobby was documenting aircraft and their registration details. and the extent of their troubles when charged with espionage. Ensure sensible use of cameras, binoculars, mobile (photo) phone, and recording equipment should eliminate such obvious risk. Do not go nosing around restricted areas. Do not act suspiciously around government buildings, looking in littler bins etc Do not carry anything for anyone else. Even your friends, and certainly not any new acquaintances. You cannot be certain what you are carrying. It may have been tampered with in a way you cannot even begin to imagine, and could incriminate you beyond belief.

Death and Arrest At present more that 1,300 British nationals die overseas from a variety of causes each year; and 3,300 persons are detained by law enforcement agencies of which 1/3 are on drug related offences. Drug Running How it happens to you You may have been targeted as a narco-mule for weeks, by one or more people who have befriended you, or simply observed you without you noticing. The person/persons who have been targeting you are unlikely to be the people who will compromise you. They will have reported on your habits and movements. You may be having regular sex with them, even. The bag switch is a classic, often done at the hotel, or in the boot of the taxi. Accept no gifts: especially those that could have a dual purpose. You could be used as a decoy and will have been set up with the authorities. Everyone has a price. Any money you have accepted in such circumstances is likely to be counterfeit. Use reliable locking systems on your luggage. 4

Do not have an open to see label on any of your luggage. Do not carry anything for anyone. Even your travelling friends, and certainly not any new acquaintances. Never let your luggage out of our hands or sight (no matter what the circumstances.) Use your common sense. Be responsible for yourself and no one else.

Travel in Combat Zones Be aware that safe passage in one area could be real trouble or mean your death in another. (Do not have an Israeli stamp in your passport in Middle eastern countries) Always travel with the correct permits and permission of the relevant commanders. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of where the combat lines are. Make sure you understand the rules of engagement in place with the warring factions. Understand local customs, beliefs and their real and perceived threats. Never wander aimlessly around. Always look as if you have a purpose if wanting to see an official always try to know their name. Always stay alert, possessions packed, and always be ready to move very quickly Always sleep in well-protected places from shell, mortar attack and shrapnel. Carry all personal documents and relevant information with blood group and allergies with you at all times in a waterproof sleeve. Always have to hand or carry a comprehensive first aid kit with syringes, needles anti-biotics, painkillers etc Reduce hostage risk by always meet in public well lit places. Do not stand out. Dress soberly and conservatively. Be a good listener and be soft and mild mannered at all times. Never discuss politics Try to met journalists and photographers without getting in their way to assist with the above. Many of them you will find them at Mahogany Ridge (their regular watering hole or bar) Never carry too much money and disperse it about your person.

General Travel Hints Be aware of people acting suspiciously. Obtain comprehensive travel insurance. Read up on local Laws and Customs to avoid offence and prison. Do not Flaunt Wealth. Do not barter too aggressively.

Check what jabs and healthcare you need. Carry your own condoms. Drugs: be aware of the consequences. Keep your drink with you at all times. Drugs are sometimes used in rape and once added to a drink cannot normally be detected. Make copies of tickets, passport, insurance policy, itinerary and contacts, and leave a copy at home. Take sufficient money. British consular staff cant send you home if you run out. Consider taking a roam-enabled mobile phone with you or a prepaid call home card, and use email to keep in touch with home. Make a simple visual, then physical check in wheel arches, behind tyres, underneath, and in the tongue and grove channel of the bonnet of cars for explosive devices. Find out about local scams used on tourists Never carry packages through customs or onto planes for others Stay in locally owned hotels Eat in Locally owned restaurants Contribute to Local economy for example drink local beer?) Respect local dress codes, and think about what you wear Respect locals religious practices Do not doubt your senses, especially your sixth sense

4 unusual and useful (very inexpensive) travel gadgets Simple wooden door wedge to ensure that your bedroom door is properly locked when you are in it. Jiff lemon squeezer as an eye squirter for self- defence against physical attack. A shrill whistle to draw attention if potentially threatened. Emergency Phone Home card.

Airports/ Railway and Bus Station ~ Good practices These highly populated areas are potentially concentrated trouble spots. They are favoured soft places for terrorist acts of aggression, civil unrest, theft and places where conmen operate. A determined aggressor is unlikely to be put off by high profile security. Be vigilant and spend as little time as possible in public areas such as concourses, public waiting areas or shopping malls. In airports get airside as soon as possible. It is controlled space, and safer. Do not carry sharp or dangerous looking objects through security checks. Do not make "black humour type comments such as Of course I have a bomb in my bag! You will be arrested go to jail, and you will end up on the airline black list of undesirable flyers.

Be courteous at all times and co-operate with security staff they are there for your protection, and for no other reason. Do not leave luggage unattended. In congested areas, beware of being distracted by someone as your pocket is picked by someone else Never let your possession out of your sight. Do not carry travel documents, wallets and credit cards in obvious pockets such as the back of trousers or jeans.

Travel Company Warning! Some travel companies are still sending clients to difficult and remote locations with cursory attention to the political or religious situations, medical risks, and potential for crime. Make sure that you ask for briefings and updates of such information from them. Environmental Threats Natural Disasters, Floods, earthquake, hurricanes, and landslides, etc. are often over looked and can be even more catastrophic than the ones man makes solely for himself. Check for up to date information for the environments you are visiting and the historic environment events in the area as well, just in case you can see the possibility of a pattern arising that it would be as well to avoid. Travel Security Seminars These can be first class value for both aspirant and seasoned travellers alike. It is surprising what you will learn and what you will be refreshed upon. The most cost effective way to do attend a seminar is with a group of friends and have it tailored to your special needs. Course is not expensive and rate from 125.00 per person per day. Remember! Some of the best safeguards you already have! . Your Sixth Sense, Eyes, Ears and Smell.