Preventative Measure - Gamal Newry
Know who your friends are, as your enemies will reveal themselves
By Gamal Newry
May 4, 2011 - 2:15:07 PM

I am of the opinion that the death of Osama bin Laden at this point in history has very little affect on the current global terrorism community. In fact his killing has the potential to be of more harm than good. Certainly from a political standpoint it gives the current President a good boost, never the less terrorism is here to stay. Terrorism despite its fanfare and apparent ‘awing’ of the public is and will always be a criminal act. An as all criminals do, the terrorist seeks to use fear to accomplish their goals and draw attention to their particular cause. The events over the weekend regarding the capture of the ‘Most Wanted Man’ in US history can provide many great lesson for us here in the Bahamas regarding the crime situation and creating a safe community if only the perception of the same. 

But before we dive in, for those of you cannot be bothered, I will give you a heads up as to what lessons I believe can be learned from this ‘historical event’. The lessons learned are:

1.       Know who your friends are, your enemies will reveal themselves.

2.       Crime in the long the run does not pay, however the ride can be pretty sweet.

3.       There is nothing wrong with a little aggressive persuasive discussion.

I can, as I am sure many of you can, recall what you were doing on that dreadful September morning back in 2001. It is amazing how time flies as it is now ten years ago that the world watched the airlines crash into New York's World Trade Center. This is how public knowledge of the name Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda began, but definitely it was bin Laden's first appearance in the global community. He and his group were in fact already well known to the United States.

Osama bin Laden was on the world intelligence radar more than 15 years, from the Carter, Reagan, Clinton Administration, in fact an opportunity existed for the former US President Clinton to give the go ahead back in 1998. However they were unable to mobilize and Clinton declined to do so. At the time the US had invested much financial and human capital into the region and it appears that it became a decision based on timing, logistics, and priority, unfortunately as they say hind sight is 20 / 20.

So here we have a known and wanted terrorist, as by this time Al Qaeda had already orchestrated 2 attacks on US Embassies in Africa, yet no action was being taken to aggressively subdue and capture the individual, thus allowing the group to gain courage and intensity into what we saw happen in September 2001.

Quite similarly we have the same condition here in The Bahamas, as we have our own type of terrorism. Citizens are afraid and are being intimidated by criminals and the current violent crime trend. The police and government officials indicate they often know the offenders and worse yet know where they are; however it appears that government and its agencies are powerless to deal with the matter. What does this say to the ‘domestic terrorist’, the young man and woman walking, driving and living in our communities, who we call friend and family. I believe just like the other bin Laden’s of the world; boldness and recognition is being sought after, so they too are planning their own 911 event. They will become bolder, and openly aggressive and violently challenge what we call civilized.

But alas what can be done about these individuals who seek to corrupt our way of living by jeopardizing our safety? Put them jail and throw away the key you say? I say first you must catch them, and secondly let’s really consider this whole concept of jail.   It took the most powerful country in the world nearly 20 years to catch one man, so do we have 20 years? I think not, and really that amount of time is unacceptable, but it appears that unless friends and neighbors are prepared to give up friends and neighbors we are in for a long ride.  The dilemma of course now is determining who are really yours friends as opposed to those who are just giving you lip service. That is to say Bahamas, how many of us are really dedicated to benefit of the nation as opposed to those of us who are only concerned about selfish gain no matter what?

What can we learn from the Pakistani government's apparent friendship with the United States; who prior to September 11, were known to be promoting and encouraging Islamic radicalism via support of terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. However, by their seeming cooperation by giving the US access to airspace and land operations, they somehow became an ‘alley in the war against terrorism’. Never mind the US writing off several million dollars in debt owed by this country. But bear in mind that the Osama bin Laden had close relationships with Pakistan ISI (their equivalent to the CIA) and the Taliban. The November 2001 Wall Street Journal states,

 “Despite their clean chins and pressed uniforms, the ISI men are as deeply fundamentalist as any bearded fanatic; the ISI created the Taliban as their own instrument and still support it.”

Further in his book ‘Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001' Steve Coll states, “According to notes taken at the meeting, Clinton says he had 'asked repeatedly for Pakistani help to bring Osama bin Laden to justice… [Sharif] promised often to do so but had done nothing. Instead, the ISI worked with bin Laden and the Taliban to foment terrorists.' "

I may be strongly criticized for this statement, but really folks, have we seen any major decrease in crime by a policy of public participation?  Frankly, who you think is your friend is not your friend, and my neighbor is only concerned about my well-being if he / she feels it will benefit them. This is unfortunate in a country the size of The Bahamas that it appears that criminals are getting away with murder. Certainly this is not true for all of our relationships, however there is enough of a deficiency to really make one wonder.

Next week our discussion will continue on this point: Are the criminals getting away...does crime pay?

Gamal Newry is the President of Preventative Measures, a Loss Prevention and Asset Protection Training and Consulting Company, specializing in Policy and Procedure Development, Business Security Reviews and Audits, & Emergency and Crisis Management. Comments can be sent to P.O. Box N-3154 Nassau, Bahamas or, email  or visit us at

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