Insight Intelligence Group
Are we learning from terrorist attacks overseas and are we as individuals doing enough? Find out the opinion of Insight Intelligence’s Managing Director and security-intelligence expert, Mario Bekes.
However, most people spend less time thinking about threats to our own security here in Australia. This has led me to ponder about the possibilities of “what if?”
“What if” an identical security breach or terrorist attack, similar to ones overseas, happened in our backyard? The question that is always on my mind is, “What did we learn from the last terrorist attack and are we are actually willing to learn from it so it does not happens to us?”
Unfortunately, we do not always seek these answers until lives are actually lost.
Brussels and Lahore are two of the latest on a list of terrorist attacks with identical targets – the general public. People that gather on mass are the easiest targets for terrorists. At the same time, civilians are the most difficult to protect due their diversity, the sheer physical size of areas and the number of people in a particular location.
The main difference today compared to the terrorist attacks of organisations like the IRA in Ireland and the Red Brigades in Italy are that these had more of a well-defined goal. The latest attacks are some of the bloodiest that we have seen directed towards the general population. There is no particular target, more than just to be a part of a Western, or non-Islamic State supporting, society.
Australia is an island state/country and the Australian Government has great resources to protect its borders from foreign extremists, however it is quite likely that those who are prepared to cause damage are already here. If an attack does happen, I suspect it will be identical to the previous overseas ones, where civilians are gathered on mass at a random time or place.
Saying that, there are many experts in the media and private sectors who are talking about the prevention of terrorism after an incident has occurred. Incidents can be prevented or minimalised if lessons are learnt. It is not just the government and their agencies who can learn, but we as a society need to learn from this as well.
The general public need to carry out our own risk assessments or even apply some kind of intelligence analysis. You may ask why? To put it simply, we are the ones constantly communicating with each other via social media, we visit and travel to many places and we are constantly on the move. This means we see and hear things that can warn others and law enforcement agencies.
On the surface, it would seem that we are not learning enough from overseas events. My hope is that the government intelligence gathering behind the scenes is getting increasingly effective. Applying crime prevention through environmental design methods is key and the government may also benefit from utilising the resources of private investigative/intelligence companies.
Government services cannot be in all places at once and know everything. The public is always somewhere, seeing something and hearing things. The most proficient way to protect lives, properties and our way of life will come from improving awareness and training for the general population.