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“Lipstick and Eyeshadow on a Pig” + “Nail Polish” April 21, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Industry News.
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Since I am heading to the Piracy event in Hamburg, Germany this week and (here is a plug…will be speaking on Cybersecurity), I thought it appropriate to re-post this particular post with some added commentary. You can read the previous posts on vetting armed security here.  I have added four techniques used by companies to project a skewed image.  I call them: “Sitting With Cool Kids” ; “Wining and Dining”; “Bravado Impresario”; and “Rambo-ing a Client”.

This is a bit off topic but I think it is interesting.   In a previous life I used to manage number of competitive intelligence projects for clients. It is field I find fascinating and very interesting and I put quite a bit of time into learning about CI and it’s application.  Today I was reminded of a CI signal and thought I would pass on.  When I was a younger man I liked to race my motorcycle around the streets and highways of Texas.  I remember my friend told me once: “Never race a car or bike that has a primer paint job.”  I asked why and he said: “Because they don’t care about looks and they put all their money into motor.”  It makes perfect sense in street racing and in business.  One of the trends that I look for is companies suddenly “painting their car” or announcing that they are about to “paint their car” for no real reason.  While companies should always be focused on improving their marketability, often a radical change like a total re-branding or a shiny new website suggests something more sinister.   Often these changes are calculated to occur at an opportune time like right before a major industry event.   (more…)

Geopolitical Context of Piracy; Dr. Heather Mark April 18, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Industry News, Piracy & Maritime Security.
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Since I am traveling to Hamburg this week for a piracy event (pirates like “ARGHH MATEY!” type)…not software pirates….to provide my readers with some piracy info, I am publishing the whitepaper:  “The Geopolitical Context of Piracy” by the illustrious Dr. Heather Mark.  This paper has an interesting history.  At one point the paper was ‘borrowed’ by a person who proceeded to publish the paper as four articles which he attributed authorship to himself.  Plagiarism is alive in 2012 😉  Fortunately, the organization who published the articles recognized something was amiss and contacted Heather.  Please read the paper….good info…No doubt the person who “borrowed” the paper will try to once again pass it off as his own as the event…

Published Articles: – “Geopolitical Context of Piracy” February 24, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Industry News, Piracy & Maritime Security, Uncategorized.
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UPDATE:  The company that published the articles contacted Heather and has agreed to pull the articles off their website.  This is good news and shows that the copany is interested in ensuring their readers get original work from the original author.   In an interesting twist, the company representative stated that, when asked, the party who submitted the articles stated “unequivocally” that it was their work.  Considering that the company pulled the articles, Heather has a PhD and background in defense, and political economy, and has published over 100 articles, scores of whitepapers, research briefs and other material as well as possessing the original whitepaper from which it was taken, I think the readers are savvy enough to know the actual author of the work.  It certainly seems unlikely that a person who has never published a single article or other document would embark on something as complex as: “the Geopolitical Context of Piracy” for their first foray into writing.

Two years ago my wife, Dr. Heather Mark wrote a whitepaper on the Geopolitical Context of Piracy that has since been broken into its component sections and published verbatim as 4 different articles without any form of attribution to her.  She was contacted by the organization that published the articles today to ask about her work and attribution.  To assuage any concerns that it is indeed her sole work and not anybody else’s work here is a copy of the whitepaper. “Understanding Modern Piracy; Geopolitical and Regulatory Considerations”….the first section is titled: “Geopolitical Considerations”, the next section is titled: “Current Anti-Piracy Efforts”.  Heather is a brilliant person and a tremendous righter writer (thanks to Heather’ brother Bill for pointing this out;).  There are times that I certainly would like to “borrow” her work and claim it as my own.  I would certainly appear smarter and more informed than I actually am.  As professional writers (yup, we actually get paid to write;) it is disturbing when someone uses your work without attribution.

Kudos to the company for maintaining the integrity of its service and evaluating the content and writers.

Egypt States Position on Armed Guards and Weapons February 22, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Industry News, Piracy & Maritime Security, weapons and tactics.
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UK P&I Club released a bulletin that outlines Egypt’s position on armed guards and weapons within Egypt and its waters.  Below are the salient points of the letter received from the Egyptian Government:

“1) The Egyptian Government forbids the presence of any Weapons / Armed Guards on
board of commercial vessels as per the rules and regulations of the International Maritime Organization. (more…)

“Lipstick on a Pig”- Vetting Armed Security Part 3 February 21, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Piracy & Maritime Security, Risk & Risk Management.
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The recent event where Italian military personnel killed “suspected pirates” off the coast of India should provide an exclamation point to shipping companies on the need to carefully evaluate the armed security protecting their vessels.  While military personnel were involved in this particular incident, it is simply a matter of time before private military contractors make the same mistake.  This post is part 3 of a series of posts on vetting companies.  You can read the previous posts here and here.

One of the tactics being employed by many companies within the maritime security arena, and especially those with little experience, is to promote the fact that they are “ICOC signatories” as evidence of their professionalism and expertise.  While there is little debate that the ICOC is a step in the right direction toward gaining some form of control over a growing industry, the ICOC is NOT and should NOT be viewed as anything more than what it is. Using the ICOC as any basis of evaluation of a security company is both dangerous and short sighted.  All companies should be signatories of the ICOC.  That being said, the ICOC is not intended to be a governance document or standard.  The purpose of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Companies (ICOC PSC) is to: (more…)

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