|Lisa Kudrow before her plastic surgery|
He gives a history of modern terrorism, starting in the 1960s with the Weather Underground bombings, the masacre at the Munich Olympic Games, and the seizing the OPEC headquarters in Vienna.
He poio9nts out that these earlier attacks were on relatively soft targets at the time, and that as security measures have hardened targets terrorists shift to relatively unprotected targets.
For individuals he argues that all you can do is be on the lookout for behavior that might indicate a terrorist is in the planning stage and report suspicious activity you might see as well as maintaining a situational awareness in venues that might be targets.
The beginning of his Stratfor article is excerpted below, with a link to the full article at the end of the excerpt.
As for the article's Hot Stratfor Babe, since Scott Stewart was stressing the need for situational awareness, dumb blondes naturally came to mind. That's convenient because, due to the locale of a lot of Strafor articles, most of the Hot Stratfor Babes end up being brunettes, a fact which surely corks off some of my regular readers so any chance to select a blonde is always welcomed by me.
Enough jibber-jabber. With that criteria in place the article's Hot Stratfor Babe was an easy choice -- Lisa Kudrow, who has made quite a career of playing dumb blondes on TV and in the movies. I actually don't know much about Ms Kudrow's career, having only seen her work in passing, but she seems to do a fine job of playing characters that are dim-bulbs.
Since I don't really have anything to say about Lisa Kudrow, I'll just end with a blonde joke:
A blonde was driving home after work, and got caught in a really bad hailstorm. Her car was covered with dents, so the next day she took it to a repair shop.
The shop owner saw that she was a blonde, so he decided to have some fun. He told her to just go home and blow into the tailpipe really hard, and all the dents would pop out.
So, the blonde went home, got down on her hands and knees and started blowing into her car's tailpipe. Nothing happened. She blew a little harder, and still nothing happened.
Her roommate, another blonde, came home and said, "What are you doing?"
The first blonde told her how the repairman had instructed her to blow into the tailpipe in order to get the dents to pop out.
Her roommate rolled her eyes and said, "HELLLLOOOO!!! You need to roll up the windows."
The Persistent Threat to Soft Targets
By Scott Stewart, July 26, 2012
In the early hours of July 20, a gunman entered a packed movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and opened fire on the audience that had gathered to watch the premiere of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. The gunman killed 12 people and injured 58 others. Though police are looking for potential accomplices, the attack appears to have been conducted by James Holmes, a lone gunman who, according to some police reports, may have had a delusional fixation on the Joker, a violent villain from an earlier Batman movie.
On July 18, just two days before the Colorado attack, a man reportedly disguised in a wig and posing as an American tourist in the Black Sea resort town of Burgas, Bulgaria, detonated an improvised explosive device hidden in his backpack as a group of Israeli tourists boarded a bus bound for their hotel. The blast killed five Israelis and the Bulgarian bus driver and wounded dozens more. It is unclear if the incident was an intentional suicide attack; the device could have detonated prematurely as the man placed it on the bus. In any case, the tourists clearly were the intended targets.
The Burgas attacker has not yet been identified. Based on his profile, there is some speculation that he could have been a grassroots jihadist. However, it is also possible that he was acting on behalf of Iran and that this attack was merely the latest installment in the ongoing covert war between Iran and Israel.
While these two attacks occurred on different continents and were committed by people with different motivations and objectives, they nonetheless have one thing in common: They were directed against what are referred to in security parlance as "soft" targets, or targets that do not have much security. Soft targets are much easier to attack than hard targets, which deter attacks by maintaining a comparatively strong security presence.
Evolution of Targets and Tactics
In the 1960s, the beginning of the modern terrorism era, there were few hard targets. In the 1970s, the American radical leftist Weather Underground Organization was able to conduct successful bombing attacks against the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon and the State Department buildings -- the very heart of the U.S. government. At the same time commercial airliners were easy targets for political dissidents, terrorists and criminal hijackers.
Nongovernmental organizations were also seen as soft targets. The Black September Organization conducted an operation targeting Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games, and Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal, and his compatriots seized the OPEC headquarters in Vienna in December 1975.
Embassies did not fare much better. During the 1970s, militant groups seized control of embassies in several cities, including Stockholm, The Hague, Khartoum and Kuala Lumpur. The 1970s concluded with the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the storming and destruction of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. The 1980s saw major attacks against U.S. diplomatic posts in Beirut (twice) and Kuwait.
Just as the Weather Underground Organization attacks prompted security improvements at the U.S. government buildings they had targeted, the attacks against U.S. and other embassies prompted increased security at their diplomatic missions. However, this turned into a long process. The cost of providing security for diplomatic posts strained already meager foreign affairs budgets. For most countries, including the United States, security was not increased at all diplomatic missions. Rather, security was improved in accordance with a threat matrix that assessed the risk levels at various missions. Those deemed more at risk received funding before those deemed less at risk.
In some cases, this approach has worked well for the United States. For example, despite the persistent jihadist threat in Yemen, the new embassy compound in Sanaa, which was completed in the early 1990s and constructed to the strict security specifications laid out by the Inman Commission in 1985, has proved to be a very difficult target to attack. However, as embassies became more difficult to attack, militants turned to easier targets. Often this has involved targeting diplomats outside the secure embassy compound, as was the case in the 2002 assassination of U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley in Amman, Jordan, and the April 2010 failed suicide bombing attack against the motorcade carrying the British ambassador to Yemen.
Transnational groups also changed regions to find softer embassy targets. This shift was evident in August 1998, when al Qaeda attacked U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Similarly, during the 1991 Gulf War, Iraqi agents attempted to conduct terrorist attacks against U.S. diplomatic facilities in Manila, Jakarta, Bangkok and Beijing -- far from the Middle East. The February 2012 attack against an Israeli Embassy employee in New Delhi is an example of both changing the region and targeting an employee away from the security of the embassy.
There was a similar trend with airliners, which initially were very vulnerable to attack. After many high-profile hijackings, such as that of TWA Flight 847, airliner security, particularly in the West, was increased. But as security was increased in one place, hijackers began to shift operations to places where security was less robust, such as Bangkok or Karachi. And as security was improved globally and hijackings became more difficult in the 1980s, attackers shifted their tactics and began using improvised explosive devices against airliners.
In response to security measures implemented after bombing attacks in the 1980s, attackers underwent yet another paradigm shift. In December 1994, Philippine Airlines Flight 434 was attacked with an improvised explosive device that had been carried onto the aircraft in separate components, assembled in the plane's restroom and left on board when the attacker left at an intermediate stop on a multiple city flight. This attack was a dry run for a plan against multiple airlines called Operation Bojinka. The operational mastermind of Bojinka, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, would later plan the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
Read more: The Persistent Threat to Soft Targets | Stratfor