By Alex Jones
A SHOCKING new book gives insight into some of the world’s worst terror attacks of the past thirty years and introduces us to the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to prevent them.
Sobering but enthralling photos of the specially trained French agents show them expertly storming a train which is believed to be carrying a terrorist, members of the Israeli counter terrorism unit Yamam climbing down a building at night to face a dangerous criminal, and a US SWAT team clinging to the back of an armoured vehicle as they desperately hunt down an on-the-run bomber.
Judith Grohmann, an investigative journalist whose interest in global special units was sparked by her love for the 1998 Hollywood blockbuster The Negotiator, includes the stunning photos in her latest book Fighting the War on Terror, where the intrepid reporter joins the world’s fighting elite to understand more about the top-secret world of counter-terrorism, kidnap prevention, and stopping supplies of illegal narcotics over the last three decades or so.
“In all I spent two years with the teams from the world’s best police special units,” explains Grohmann.
“My conversations and experiences with them have provided an authentic behind the scenes look to which nobody, except those professionals involved, had ever been granted previously.
“Knowing that missions are carried out every day – many of them under conditions of the strictest secrecy – of which we will learn nothing about is exciting.
“I now understand much better why certain details are not filtered through to the public, and why police raids and certain operations must remain secret.
“On the one hand, the suspected perpetrators and their families might be warned and then try to flee. On the other, the constant criminal and terrorist activities would simply threaten to overwhelm us.”
Numerous tragedies and narrowly averted disasters on British soil are explored within Grohmann’s new publication, including the 7/7 bombings in 2007 where 52 people died and over 700 more were injured, Posh Spice’s near kidnapping by a murderous Eastern European gang, the London Westminster Attacks, and the bombing of Ariane Grande’s concert at Manchester Arena in 2017 which saw over 20 people slaughtered, many of them children.
Grohmann also explores a meticulously planned raid on a London house where six members of the Real IRA had based themselves, conducting a plan to blow up power grids across southern England as well as looking at how the British special unit SCO19 and Metropolitan Police considered and trained for every possible terrorist action in the run up to the 2012 Olympics, where over 40,000 people were deployed to keep spectators and participants safe.
The book includes a breath-taking real-life action sequence where British author Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, a controversial book involving the Islamic faith which saw him subjected to numerous death threats and assassination attempts, is rushed around Vienna in utmost secrecy. Decoy cars, secret agents and a body double are all deployed to protect Rushdie after Iranian ruler Ayatollah Khomeini placed a $3million bounty on his head for his ‘blasphemous’ novel.
Fighting the War on Terror covers most of the world’s special forces including the United States SWAT team, France’s Recherche Assistance Intervention Dissuasion (RAID), Germany’s GSG 9, Israel’s Yamam and Russia’s SOBR.
Grohmann explores several atrocities within her book, including the bloody massacre of the Charlie Hebdo murders in France in 2015 where 12 members of a magazine were shot in cold blood, the devastating explosion at the Boston Marathon in 2013, and the Chechen rebellion at Moscow theatre in 2002 where over 130 people were brutally killed.
The people at the forefront of dealing with these horrific events remain a source of great admiration for Grohmann, who learnt a great deal during her two years of research.
“Their missions are as secret as James Bond would wish, and they are always dangerous,” she continued.
“Each time they go out may be the last.
“But the men and women of the special units know no fear; during an operation there is no time for it.
“As a result, they are perfectly trained.
“On my visits researching for this book to special unit commanders of those countries involved, when I asked them what their message would be for people today, they answered without hesitation, ‘Tell them they should be more watchful in future’.
“They don’t want to foster any more fears among the general public, but rather to warn them to keep a closer watch on their surroundings.
“When I asked for their advice on what to do when an attack took place, the answer came again without hesitation, like a mantra: ‘Run, hide, tell.’”
Judith Grohmann’s Fighting the War on Terror, published by Pen And Sword Books, is available here.