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CrJ 132 Chapter Six Hostage Taking & Negotiations. General thoughts on hostage taking Dramatic increase in last decade 2K reported – may be many more Increase in criminal/psychotic episodes Instant media coverage from anywhere Multiple demands for release:

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CrJ 132 Chapter SixHostage Taking & Negotiations

  • General thoughts on hostage taking

    • Dramatic increase in last decade

      • 2K reported – may be many more

    • Increase in criminal/psychotic episodes

    • Instant media coverage from anywhere

    • Multiple demands for release:

      • Free prisoners – Money – Prison reform – Political change – Political asylum


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Hostage Taking & Negotiations

  • Earlier History

    • Richard the Lionhearted

    • Nazis in Czechoslovakia

  • More Current History

    • Columbia FARC & FLN – Ransom

    • Political Hostages

      • Israeli soldiers - Hamas & Hezbollah

      • Saddam in 1st Iraq War - Human Shields

      • Russian theater & Chechen rebels


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Hostage Taking & NegotiationsModern Political Hostage Taking

  • Four Objectives

    • Large sums of ransom $$

    • Media attention & national or international recognition

    • Grassroots community support

    • Weaken free enterprise system by intimidating foreign investment

    • Free political prisoners in swap


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Hostage Taking & NegotiationsTypologies of Hostage Takers

  • Many models -use text- Table 6.1

    • Based on motivation of hostage taker

  • Poland suggests:

    • Psychotic hostage takers

    • Criminal hostage takers

    • Political hostage takers


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Hostage Taking & NegotiationsPsychotic

  • Mentally deranged – Often suicidal – Angry – Seeks personal recognition – Often estranged from family – Barricaded suspect

  • Usually wants media exposure

  • Has considerable power because he/she is so unpredictable

  • Hard to negotiate with – Irrational


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Hostage Taking & NegotiationsCriminal

  • Fleeing felon – Prison inmate riots – Extortionist kidnapper – Barricaded suspect

  • Generally, most rational & predictable – seek to avoid arrest

  • 60% of all U.S. hostage situations

  • Fleeing crime scene & police arrive

  • Negotiation easier than with psychotic


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Hostage Taking & NegotiationsPolitical Hostage Taker

  • Social protestor, religious zealot, seeking vengeance, air hijackings

  • Reasons may be political, social, religious, or ethnic crusader

  • Strong commitment to ideology

  • Seek publicity & often prisoner release or payment

  • Often irrational, commitment to the “cause” – Preconceived demands & identified limits


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Hostage Taking & NegotiationsWhy Motivation Matters

  • Different motives require different responses

  • Different motives may require different negotiators

  • Different motives may involve different government agencies & ops.

  • Responsive actions driven by motivation -- helps coordinate tactical responses & strategies


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Hostage Taking & NegotiationsGeneral Negotiation Guidelines

  • Play for time - Initial minutes critical

    • Confusion, fear, unexpected response

  • Play for trust

    • Rapport with hostage taker

    • Reduces likelihood of harm to hostages

    • Self-disclosure – Empathy – Good listening – Personal interest in hostage takers problems & feelings – No outright rejection of demands


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Hostage Taking & Negotiations General Negotiation Guidelines

  • Play for the “Stockholm Syndrome”

    • Unconscious emotional response to the experience of victimization

    • Positive feelings of hostages toward hostage taker

    • Reciprocal, positive feelings of hostage takers toward hostages

    • Negative feelings toward police by hostage takers & hostages


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Hostage Taking & Negotiations“Stockholm Syndrome”

  • Not present in all hostage incidents

    • Absence of negative experiences during the incident (no beatings, rapes, etc.)

  • Not present if hostage taker dehumanizes the victim (beheadings)

  • However, with time, a bond of empathy often grows between victim & hostage taker


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Hostage Taking & Negotiations“Stockholm Syndrome”

  • Negotiators foster SS by:

    • Checking on health of hostages

    • Discussing family issues with “Perp”

    • Requesting information on treatment & condition of hostages

  • Stockholm Syndrome often saves lives of hostages & hostage takers

    • Police must resist early application of deadly force


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Hostage Taking & NegotiationsLondon Syndrome

  • A hostage or hostages continually challenges the hostage takers

    • Physically or verbally challenge

    • Threatened – “ Just you wait!”

  • Don’t argue with hostage takers, because normally they eliminate you

  • London incident – Achille Lauro incident


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Hostage Taking & NegotiationsGuidelines for Hostage Events

  • Trained negotiator is essential

  • Well-trained, elite response force

  • Media cooperation

  • Clear chain of command

  • Identification of response personnel

  • Identification of hostage takers and numbers, if possible


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Hostage Taking & NegotiationsGuidelines for Hostage Events

  • Avoid shifts in location if possible

  • Keep relatives away – audience

  • Totally nonnegotiable

    • New weapons, explosives or ammo

    • No exchange of hostages

    • No concessions without something in return

    • No drugs, narcotics or alcohol


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Hostage Taking & NegotiationsNegotiator Strategies

  • Play for time

  • Tricks are deceit are dangerous tactics – more successful with psychotics & criminals

  • No promises you can’t keep

  • Preferred style is one of mutual concession -compromise, problem solving, and “give & take”


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Hostage Taking & NegotiationsHostage Rescue

  • Question - When to use force?

    • Mixed record of successful results

    • Perfect timing & surprise

    • Hostage lives at risk

    • “Disproportionate Force”

    • Expect media “second-guessing”


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Hostage Taking & Negotiations U.S. Attempt - Not Successful

  • Iranian hostages & rescue attempt

    • 53 Americans captured at Embassy – during rescue, location was unknown

    • Multiple services involved – equipment problems & coordination difficulties

    • Ambitious, daring rescue plan

    • 8 rescuers died – bodies left behind

    • Great propaganda victory for Iran

  • No test questions on “Good Guys”


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Hostage Taking & NegotiationsOther Rescue Attempts

  • Rescue at Entebbe Airport

    • Great Israeli intel & insight & surprise

  • French Aircraft at Marseille - GIA

    • Killed 3, released women & children

    • Attempt to create a “flying bomb”

  • Peruvian Embassy Party - tunnels

  • Russia and the Chechen hostage takers at the Opera – poison gas


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Hostage Taking & NegotiationsSurviving a Hostage Taking

  • Most critical times are capture & release

    • 75% casualties during rescue/release

  • Remain calm & don’t panic

  • Avoid unnecessary movement/noise

  • Don’t argue & show cooperation

  • Long captivity - exercise, maintain humor - establish routine & empathy


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Hostage Taking & NegotiationsOutlook

  • Will continue to escalate:

    • Cost-effective extortion & ransom

    • Publicity - Palestinians, Chechens, etc.

    • It works, expect in countries with efficient police, trusted by populace

    • It works, except with repressive govts.

  • Effective deterrence:

    • Security & “no-ransom” policy



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