The founder of HALO Corporation, Brad Barker, provided an inside look at kidnapping & trafficking, along with accounts of rescue and recovery. He founded HALO as a private agency that works with state and local agencies to offer safety and security, as well as humanitarian assistance (his team was deployed to New Orleans to assist after Hurricane Katrina). Barker, who hosts the TV program Kidnap & Rescue on the Discovery Channel, includes a number of ex-military special operations officers on his team. Kidnapping has unfortunately become a huge growth industry on a multi-national level, with cartels or crime syndicates often collaborating with local gangs, he reported.
He detailed a number of different types of kidnapping, beyond just kidnap for ransom-- there is kidnapping for extortion, in which someone seeks to gain a business advantage; shorter-term kidnapping where the victim's ATM accounts are drained over a number of hours; and even "virtual kidnapping," where, for instance, parents are told their child has been kidnapped, when in actuality they haven't been. The United States has an excellent infrastructure to combat the threat of kidnapping within its borders, but once a victim is taken out of the country, its capabilities plummet, and that's where HALO has proven especially useful working with law enforcement in countries such as Mexico, Barker explained.
He described a successful case his team worked on, in which a wealthy man who owned several homes in the US and Mexico, became a target, with cartel members kidnapping him and taking over his house in Baja. Teaming up with Mexican law enforcement, HALO was able to take back the house, arrest the criminals, and get the man returned safely. Instead of ransoms, kidnapping for trafficking, and the sex trade is on the rise, with sexual images and videos of victims being sold on the Internet for additional income, Barker said. He also cited how many crime syndicates have become tech savvy, employing IP tracing to find (and sometimes kill) people who expose their illicit activities on blogs and social networks.
'Banksters' & Deregulation
First hour guest, Professor William K. Black discussed Wall Street 'Banksters' and their efforts to roll back controls placed on them. The 2008 banking collapse was driven by fraudulent "liar's loans," and was some 70 times worse than the Savings & Loan scandal of the 1980s, he noted. Yet, while many bankers were criminally prosecuted in the S&L scandal, no financiers faced criminal charges in 2008, because of governmental deregulation enacted since the '80s.