Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The emergence of a Stand Alone Complex

The attacks in Orlando and Les Mureaux are part of an emergent Stand Alone Complex [1]

In a "Stand Alone Complex" the only thread connecting the criminals is that the profess a common motivation but there is no actual evidence of any kind of connectivity between their actions.

At the center of the "Stand Alone Complex" is a myth - in these two cases - it is the myth of the righteous warrior who goes down fighting against unbelievers.

This is a powerful myth that exists in many religious and ethnic groups. In the case of the Orlando and Les Mureaux tragedies, the myth is of an Islamist branding.

As there is no relevant information in either the choice of branding and no specific information that alludes to a sizable individual threat, one cannot predict this kind of crime. One essentially cannot predict what will happen in a situation where the individual/s performing the activity themselves do not know that they are going to do it. There is no paradigm for defeating this. No law enforcement option can truly embrace a "cold start" situation.

As the FBI's prior investigations demonstrate - the system of tracking for extremist tendencies is not sufficient to gain usable intelligence.

The only mitigation option currently viable is placing tactical containment on the situation immediately after it starts.

In the case of the Orlando police, it appears that an off-duty officer was able to challenge Omar Mateen after about two-three minutes of the first shots being fired.  As a result of this challenge, the officer contained Mateen freedom of movement and significantly restricted casualties. While the situation took a full three hours to completely resolve, most of the deaths occurred in the first few minutes between when Mateen entered the venue and when he first exchanged fire with an off duty police officer. This high fatality rate can only be attributed to Mateen using an AR-15. It would be difficult for him to achieve such a high kill rate with a lesser weapon.

The Orlando police were lucky that they were able to maintain a perimeter. The Boston police during the Marathon Bombing miserably failed at the perimeter security task and the perpetrators fled the area before police could isolate them. If there had been even one more attacker - the Orlando police would have found themselves quickly overwhelmed as the SWAT (what the Indians call a QRF) didn't reach the site until almost 40 minutes after first contact. US police forces are no better prepared for such a situation than their Bombay Police counterparts were on November 26, 2008.

The need of the hour is not self-serving tweets but a gradual increase in operational readiness of the QRFs that have already been formed.

To recap - there is no way to gain actionable intelligence about such events. The is a faint hope that automatic weapons and IEDs can be kept out of the hands of the mentally ill but the only real hope is that a QRF reaches the site and contains the situation.  Most places today do not have such rapid response capabilities. It is time to focus on building those with great speed.


At 6:35 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Oh for God's sake - don't these people know about google?


"Mateen’s name surfaced twice for FBI investigators in the run-up to the attack. After the first, full FBI investigation of Mateen concluded in March 2014, his name surfaced two months later in a second, separate FBI investigation of American suicide bomber Moner Abu-Salha -- who drove 16 tons of explosives into a Syrian government facility on behalf of Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front in late May of that year."



"According to one official, analysis of Mateen's electronic devices showed searches for jihadist propaganda, including videos of ISIS beheading.
"He consumed a hell of a lot of jihadist propaganda," the source said"

Umm.. Guys - This is all fine but... ISIS and the Nusra Front are on OPPOSITE SIDES in the Syrian Civil War.

The Nusra front is basically a Qatari intelligence front right now. It had some historical links to Al Qaeeda but after pressure from USG and its allies in Qatar - they sold those Al Qaeeda types out and joined forces with FSA and other Anti-ISIS and Anti-Assad groups in Syria. The Nusra front has never declared war on the US and *never* carried out operations at anyone other than ISIS or Assad regime targets. The Nusra-ISIS fights have been extremely brutal and no self-respecting Nusra Front activist would associate with an ISIS guy.

If Omar Mateen was loyal to ISIS (if all this bullshit about watching Jihadi videos and that last min 9/11 call professing loyalty to the ISIS emir is to be believed) - how could he have "deep ties" to the Moner - the American Nusra Front suicide bomber?

It doesn't add up.

The only conclusion is that Moner was a highly committed jihadi and Omar Mateen was not.

Since Omar also professed admiration of the Tsarnaevs - who incidentally have no connection to ISIS whatsoever - and he made an oath of loyalty to the ISIS Emir at the last possible minute... I am saying this entire ISIS angle is BS.

Omar is basically a homicidal sociopath who felt the need to seek notoriety by connecting his acts to the Jihadi agenda.

You can look all you want - if this is a Stand Alone Complex - there will be a million connections which will go exactly nowhere.

If this is a Stand Alone Complex - focusing on ISIS or "Radical Islam" will only increase the attractiveness of that label to the lone wolf types. You will see the opposite effect of what you are hoping for.

At 7:38 AM, Blogger maverick said...


"The thinking really preexists by months if not years before the actual carrying out of the event," O'Toole said. "We look for patterns of behavior and some of the things that we look for are lifetime pattern of basically being somewhat of a loser, not having accomplishments in life. The other thing we look for is a pattern of violent ideation."

I am deeply skeptical of what patterns they will find.

At 5:25 PM, Blogger GinC said...

Worth reading for some background ..

At 5:25 PM, Blogger GinC said...

Just re-discovering this :)

At 4:21 AM, Blogger Nanana said...

Mav, you would have seen Raj Chengappa on the tac nukes:


At 6:02 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear GinC,

Long time no see. I decided after much thinking to speak plainly about issues relating to TN burns. I felt too much had changed after Kim Jong Un's demonstration.

Dear Nanana,

No I have not read it.

With General Kidwai opining on the issue of tactical weapons - it is clear this is not a trial balloon being floated by I'bad. This is real world.

So now things are proceeding down the path I had alluded to earlier. The Pakistanis have moved into Plan RyAN type mode.

This is very bad news.

At 6:42 AM, Blogger Nanana said...

Plan RyAN - Pak will monitor activity or signals (including flase positives) of any potential Indian first strike? Even if India has a declared NFU policy? Thus India will always have to show that plans to visibily remain vulnerable to a counter strike? Madness

At 8:09 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I could not agree more.

But they are scared of all the rhetoric that has been spewed during the Modi election.

Unless Modi can transform himself from his Hindu Hitman image to a bumbling alzheimers patient who constantly talks about Aliens... I don't know how the genie can be put back in the bottle.

At 8:12 AM, Blogger maverick said...

And the worst part is that they have no real AWACS capability to monitor a majority of potential staging areas for India's nuclear weapons.

They can't keep an eye on these many sites.

Add the distrust of Modi on top of that and we have the recipe for a major communications breakdown.

When communication fails deterrence fails by default.

At 8:22 AM, Blogger maverick said...



The first responders did not directly engage the shooter. They were replaced by SWAT units after about 40 min of first contact.

During this time, the officers made no move to remove the wounded in the club. This most likely resulted in the loss of "Golden Hour" minutes and contributed to the high fatality rate.

At 6:38 AM, Blogger maverick said...

So it is leaking out that EMS was denied access to victims because the response units felt the area was not secure.

I think we will see to patterns emerge in the next few days.

Firstly OPD will have to admit that a number of people died in the crossfire between Omar Mateen and OPD responders.

And secondly OPD will have to admit that those wounded in the exchange of fire we largely left to bleed to death on the floor of the club as the special operations people assessed the situation.

This kind of situation had presented in Massachusetts during the aftermath of the Marathon Bombing. When the Tsarnaevs were intercepted by a mixture of police units, all the injuries suffered in the contact were the result of friendly fire. The Tsarnaevs never returned fire - the police responders failed to create a zone of convergent fire and ended up shooting each other.

For obvious reasons the details of these events were de-emphasized in media coverage.


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