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Chapter 3


Hostage Survival

MCRP 3-02E Terrorism

The Individual's Guide for Understanding and Surviving

3 Your Role as a Hostage

4 You may never become a hostage, but if you do, remember that 96 percent of all hostages walk 5 out of the ordeal. Knowing how best to survive improves your changes. In a hostage survival 6 situation, it's just that, survival. It is not a game. It's real, and death is real. Your role as a 7 hostage is to survive -- not to kill the terrorists, not to get you or your fellow hostages killed. If 8 you can survive with honor, God bless you. If not, welcome back. But don't do or say anything 9 that will cost your life or a fellow hostage's life.

10 Why Take Hostages?

11 Hostage-taking has been used to gain control for centuries. This crime will remain an effective 12 method of gaining control as long as we value human life.

13 The media has been paramount in advertising "how to" instructions for future hostage-takers. A 14 hostage may be one who elicits widespread publicity. Terrorists are not going to kidnap 15 someone and then not tell anybody. The higher the status this individual enjoys, the greater the 16 publicity the event will create.

17 A hostage may be chosen because he is prominent due to a job, social status, or simply nationality 18 as an American. A hostage may be hated by his abductors. Terrorist groups may blame him 19 directly for any setbacks they may have suffered or may foresee disaster in the near future due to 20 his work. The U.S. advisors in El Salvador, especially combat advisors, are despised by the 21 terrorists of the Frente Faribundo Marti Para la Libercion Nacional (FMLN).

22 Sometimes a victim is chosen because he is valuable to someone other than our government; e.g., 23 families, hometown friends, or employers. Families have paid ransoms. Contribution drives were 24 started in the hostage's hometown to collect the ransom. Sixty million dollars was paid to the 25 Montoneros of Argentina for the release of the Born brothers. Paid by their father, this ransom is 26 the record paid for group release. Exxon paid a record $14.2 million for one of their executive 27 held in Latin America. Civilian firms are forced to pay ransoms because if they do not pay, 28 employees won't want to work overseas.

29 The hostage may be seen as a threat to the terrorists. In Colombia, the terrorist groups M-19 and 30 the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC), who make more than $100 million each 31 year from cocaine sales, could target special agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

32 Hostage-Takers


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