What does Bonfire Night mean to you?

In the UK on Thursday 5 November (and undoubtedly beyond into this weekend) many of us will be marking Bonfire Night.


There will be hundreds of public and thousands of private party’s across the country. It is an excuse for many to get toasty around a blazing bonfire, eat some heart-warming food, enjoy a few drinks and watch a spectacularly colourful firework display. However not everyone remembers how this tradition started.


On 5 November 410 years ago members of the Gunpowder plot including ‘Mr Guy Fawkes’ were arrested while guarding explosives plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords.  It was enough to have reduced the House of Lords to rubble, according to expert opinion at the time — their intention was to murder King James I.  At their trial on 27 January 1606, eight of the survivors, including Fawkes, were convicted and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.


Since 1605 UK citizens celebrate the foiled plot and the King’s survival. People still light bonfires and when the Observance of 5 November Act was introduced this gave way to a ‘thanksgiving’ style public day of celebration.


Given I now work in the defence and security industry it is a fact that four Century’s later there appears to be plenty more individuals (and groups) who are intent on causing terror. Motives to murder and destroy haven’t fundamentally changed… only often the ways in which they achieve this aim.


Guy Fawkes was reportedly discovered with 36 barrels of gunpowder, which would have taken some real planning and work to co-ordinate but today his modern day equivalents are arguably more resourceful.


Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) do not need to be complex to be effective, providing the tactics of emplacement are sound. What has become more complex is the terrorist network themselves along with the ease with which information can be shared across international boundaries and languages.


Today fundamentalists and extremists can take advantage of a wealth of open source information to enhance the effectiveness of their cause – and with so many factions and extreme views across so many borders the problem is much harder to define and ultimately solve.


At Kirintec we understand the whole range of threats and in reality our electronic countermeasures and other C-IED capabilities are in-use on a daily basis around the world, as we help facilitate responses.


So while Bonfire Night may be a topic of conversation this week in your office, think about modern day equivalents of Fawkes and how important it is that they aren’t given opportunities to murder.


At Kirintec we base our Counter-IED efforts on the formalisation of 6 key operational activities:

  1. Predict
  2. Prevent
  3. Detect
  4. Neutralise
  5. Mitigate
  6. Exploit

Understanding the threat that exists, underpins the success of any countermeasure to be deployed.