How Hostage Negotiation Works


Chuck Bryant

That's how you know I'm in the [inaudible].

Josh Clark

That's - that's his voice right there, Coolio.

Chuck Bryant

Uh-huh. This is double good luck.

Josh Clark

Okay. Well, good. Then this should probably be a pretty good podcast.

Chuck Bryant

Which means we are doomed.

Josh Clark

Yes.

Chuck Bryant

Josh, before we get going, can I just mention a little TV show coming up?

Josh Clark

The Road to Punkin Chunkin and Punkin Chunkin itself?

Chuck Bryant

Naturally.

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. And that, Josh, is Thanksgiving night. If you're bored after your turkey on the Science Channel at 8:00 p.m. -

Josh Clark

Uh-huh. Starting at 8:00 - 8:00 eastern time, right?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. So insert clever intro.

Josh Clark

Chuck, have you ever been a hostage?

Chuck Bryant

No.

Josh Clark

Nor have I.

Chuck Bryant

I would remember that, I think.

Josh Clark

I'll bet you would.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

Have you ever seen Inside Man?

Chuck Bryant

No. Is that - which one was that?

Josh Clark

Denzel.

Chuck Bryant

No. I didn't see that.

Josh Clark

Clive Owen.

Chuck Bryant

I wanted to.

Josh Clark

Dude, that is -

Chuck Bryant

Is it?

Josh Clark

In my opinion. I haven't seen Dog Day Afternoon, but I think it's the greatest hostage movie ever made.

Chuck Bryant

You haven't seen Dog Day Afternoon?

Josh Clark

No, Chuck. I'm not 70 like you.

Chuck Bryant

Oh, I forgot that they burned all the copies in 1985 when you were born.

Josh Clark

In the great fire started by Al Pacino.

Chuck Bryant

Dog Day Afternoon was gold. You should check it out even though it's -

Josh Clark

I will check it out.

Chuck Bryant

- you know a hundred-year-old movie.

Josh Clark

No. I'm sure it's good. That was Pacino at his prime.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

Yeah. Before he just went absolutely nuts.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

Well, okay, neither one of us has been a hostage.

Chuck Bryant

Or seen each other's movies.

Josh Clark

Right. But - no, we both have seen War Games.

Chuck Bryant

Oh, yeah, true.

Josh Clark

But I can imagine that if either one of us were a hostage, there would be a hostage negotiator outside.

Chuck Bryant

Right. I - I would be dead pretty soon, I think, if I were a hostage.

Josh Clark

A pizza delivery person could have delivered that - that segue better than me.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

In 30 minutes or less.

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

So yeah, Josh, let's talk about hostage negotiation. I can't say that word.

Josh Clark

Negotiations.

Chuck Bryant

Negotiations.

Josh Clark

Yes, Chuck, let's.

Chuck Bryant

It is - there's a few things going on. Usually, the hostage-taker is - wants something.

Josh Clark

They want money or they want to free their brothers that are political prisoners or they want safe passage or something like that.

Chuck Bryant

Right. Or they want some country to stop some policy it has.

Josh Clark

Sure. Sure.

Chuck Bryant

And usually, the target of the hostage-taker is not the hostage, but some other third party.

Josh Clark

Yeah. Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

But we'll - we'll get to the exception on that.

Josh Clark

Okay. Good. Because I was - I was chomping at the bit right there to get to it!

Chuck Bryant

I know. Finally, they are - hostages are usually only bargaining chips that have symbolic value.

Josh Clark

Right. Like for example -

Chuck Bryant

[Inaudible]

Josh Clark

a - the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

The hostages there had some serious symbolic value. They were Israeli athletes.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

And what kind of - what kind of terrorists had them?

Chuck Bryant

Well, the target was the Israeli government, clearly, not the athletes. They were the pawn, the symbolic pawn.

Josh Clark

Much like in the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

The hostage crisis that happened there over, what, a 24-hour period.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

A bunch of Palestinian terrorists took some Israeli athletes hostage, and they were targeting Israel.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

So these were very symbolic pawns, I guess, as you'd put them.

Chuck Bryant

Right. Did you see Munich?

Josh Clark

Oh, my god, that's a good movie.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, man, that was a good one. And so Josh, now we can move on to the phases of a hostage situation.

Josh Clark

Okay.

Chuck Bryant

The initial phase.

Josh Clark

So Chuck, yes. All right. Let's - let's dramatize this a little bit.

Chuck Bryant

Okay. The initial phase!

Josh Clark

Yeah. We're just a group of people hanging out in, say, a bank.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

We'll do a bank.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

And then, all of a sudden, a bunch of guys come through the door kicking off what's known as?

Chuck Bryant

The initial phase.

Josh Clark

Right, like you said already. Right? And what's the initial phase, Chuck?

Chuck Bryant

It is a initial stage of panic and violence where they -

Josh Clark

Usually.

Chuck Bryant

- subdue the hostages. And it's - it's very chaotic.

Josh Clark

So during the initial phase, they come in, "Everybody get on the floor. [Makes machine gun noises] Right?

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

And then, they bar the doors.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

And the initial phase is very brief.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

Did you like my machine gun?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. That was good.

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

Then comes the negotiation phase, and that's when Johnny Law comes on the scene. And that's generally called the stand-off phase.

Josh Clark

Right. And this is almost always the longest phase of a hostage situation.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. This is when all the negotiation is taking place, which we'll get to.

Josh Clark

This is when they send in pizza boxes with little cameras and people are - have to pee.

Chuck Bryant

Right. Sure.

Josh Clark

And the - the negotiator is saying, "If there's a pregnant woman in there, let her out," that kinda stuff.

Chuck Bryant

Right, right, right.

Josh Clark

Right?

Chuck Bryant

This is when people have to pee?

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

That's a good one. And then, the final phase is the - the termination phase, and you gotta few different results that can happen here. Either the hostage-takers surrender and they're arrested or the police kinda mount an assault and kill them or arrest them or their demands are granted and they get away.

Josh Clark

Yeah. And the second one is actually what happened - actually, a combination of two and three is what happened in - in Munich. As anybody who's seen the movie knows, the West German police are like we can't take these guys. We need to let them think that they are actually going to escape and get them to the airport.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

All the hostages were killed along with a pilot and a police officer, and the rest of the - the hostage-takers, the Palestinian terrorists, were killed, except for three who were captured.

Chuck Bryant

Right. And there -

Josh Clark

It was a blood bath, basically.

Chuck Bryant

Well, I thought they were hunted down later. Isn't that what Munich was about?

Josh Clark

The people who engineered it -

Chuck Bryant

Oh, okay.

Josh Clark

- were supposedly hunted down later by the Mossad.

Chuck Bryant

Right. Eric Bana.

Josh Clark

Yes, who is just clearly Mossad material?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, the Australian Mossad. So yeah, those are the three phases, and during the second phase is when the negotiator comes on the scene.

Josh Clark

Right. And if you've ever seen the movie, The Negotiator -

Chuck Bryant

Kevin Spacey.

Josh Clark

- you were clearly disappointed. But there was something that is very characteristic of hostage negotiation, and that is it's a very important point that the hostage negotiator not be the lead commander on the scene.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

And why, Chuck?

Chuck Bryant

Well, because - well, for a couple of reasons. One is that the negotiator doesn't need to be multi-tasking right then. They need to have all their focus on talking to and talking down the hostage-taker. That's one reason.

Josh Clark

That's part of it. They also - one of - one of the great tactics that hostage negotiators use is to stall, and they prolong the situation!

Chuck Bryant

That seems like the main tactic -

Josh Clark

Right.

Chuck Bryant

- is just to buy time.

Josh Clark

One of the - one of the tactics they use to create that tactic is to say, "Well, I can't make that call. I've gotta talk to somebody else." And if it's common knowledge that the hostage negotiator actually is commanding the scene, then that doesn't really work.

Chuck Bryant

Right. They'll say, "Well, you can pull the trigger on that because you're the boss."

Josh Clark

Exactly. And they're like, "No, no, no. Don't use that phrase."

Chuck Bryant

Right. That's in every movie. Every single hostage movie is that scene where they go, "Well, I just can't give you a 747 full of gold bars, dude. I gotta get clearance from Fort Knox and that's gonna take at least a day."

Josh Clark

Right.

Chuck Bryant

So you might wanna lower your demands, which is actually another reason they stall is to try and chip away at the - the demands.

Josh Clark

Right. So the - the negotiator's on the scene, and he's trying to prolong the situation. Like you said, they're trying to lessen the demands. They're also - they also stall and prolong the situation by getting the hostage-takers to focus on some minute and really unimportant details.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. I like this. They try to derail them.

Josh Clark

So like the 747, what kind of 747 do you want?

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

Does it - is it okay if it was built before 1998? Because we've got some that are built after that but then they have this seating arrangement and that might be a problem for you.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

And - and all of a sudden you're distracting the hostage-taker from the crisis at hand.

Chuck Bryant

Right. Then -

Josh Clark

And he's thinking about what kinda 747 he wants, you know?

Chuck Bryant

Exactly. I could just see the guy putting his hand over the thing and going what kinda plane do we want? He's asking about seat configurations. I have no idea.

Josh Clark

Right. Exactly!

Chuck Bryant

So all of a sudden they hang up, and then, you've bought some time.

Josh Clark

Right. And - and not only - not every hostage-taker wants a 747, but this can also be applied to even more minute details, like what do you want on your pizza? You know? Well, I mean, do you really want bell pepper because you're getting onion already and sometimes it's too crunchy. I imagine there's a point where if you're talking to a hostage-taker and you try the bell pepper/onion combo to stall they're gonna pick up on what you're doing.

Chuck Bryant

Or if they've read this article or ever - ever seen a hostage movie.

Josh Clark

Sure. That's another good point.

Chuck Bryant

Then they would probably be wise to say, "Well, it sounds to me like you're trying to buy some time here." Bang.

Josh Clark

Right. Bang, indeed, which is what the hostage negotiator does not want to happen?

Chuck Bryant

No. That's number two on their list. One is to prolong it, and while they're prolonging it, we should mention that they're trying to get information, as much information as possible, on who the person is, how many there are, what frame of mind they're in, if they're unstable, if they're violent, any kind of clue that can - that can help them out.

Josh Clark

Right. Because a - a hostage negotiator is going to talk differently. They're not gonna try that bell pepper/onion thing on like a very cool, calculated Clive Owen type.

Chuck Bryant

No.

Josh Clark

But they might on somebody who's like just out of his mind crazy because his wife is leaving him.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

Which is actually the most common hostage situation is a domestic dispute that's turned into some guy with a gun barricading he and his family in their home.

Chuck Bryant

Right. Yeah. You usually think of the big movie scenario with some foreign enemy taking all these people hostage, but it's usually just a - a regular old domestic scene. And - and the worst ones, man, the worst ones are those you see on the news where you see some dude's got a baby acting as a human shield.

Josh Clark

Who does that?

Chuck Bryant

You've never seen that?

Josh Clark

No.

Chuck Bryant

Oh, man, it's the - it's the worst. Watch some of those cops shows, those true crime shows.

Josh Clark

A baby as a human shield?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. It shows it.

Josh Clark

Do they have like a gun to the baby's head?

Chuck Bryant

These guys, it's like the dad is out of his mind and on drugs or something, and he'll have his baby. And it's just - it's the worst thing in the world to watch unfold.

Josh Clark

Wow.

Chuck Bryant

Very disturbing.

Josh Clark

I'll bet.

Chuck Bryant

In fact, don't go see that, Josh.

Josh Clark

Okay.

Chuck Bryant

Because that will keep you up at night.

Josh Clark

I bet it will.

Chuck Bryant

So that is the - the most common type of thing is domestic. But back to the safety of the hostages, that's number two on the list of the negotiator is to keep everyone in there alive.

Josh Clark

Right. I would think it would technically be number one.

Chuck Bryant

Well, prolonging the situation, I think, leads to number one, so it's - they're kinda tied.

Josh Clark

Right. So what you wanna do if you're a negotiator and you are chipping away at demands - first of all, you're trying to get the 747 out the window or the gold bars from Fort Knox.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

But you're really trying to get to the heart of what - what does this guy want? He wants a 747 and he wants gold bars. Well, he wants to escape, and he wants some money.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

So maybe it can be dealt with on a lesser level, but first, let's get you some food in there. But to get you some food, I need a hostage.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

You wanna get as many hostages out as possible, number one, to ensure the safety of the hostages, as you said.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

But number two, for if - when - when an assault comes, if it does come, there's a lot fewer hostages in there that the police need to not shoot.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

You know?

Chuck Bryant

Plus, the hostage - did you just say this? The hostage can turn - if they release someone who's like ill or pregnant, they can give them information, insider information.

Josh Clark

Uh-huh. Right. Like even to create an even more distinct psychological profile, that kinda thing.

Chuck Bryant

Right. Right.

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

I like the fact that you were talking about the - lessening the demands, like we can't get you a 747 and gold bars, and that really - I could see that throwing the hostage-taker into a tizzy if all of a sudden they have to decide, well, will you take a helicopter and a cashier's check, that kinda thing.

Josh Clark

Yeah. Well, actually, I hadn't thought of it before, but yes, yes, I will.

Chuck Bryant

Right. It might be a safe way to go. Will you endorse it beforehand?

Josh Clark

Right. Yeah. Let's go to the bank. Oh, I'm in a bank. Awesome, yes, bring me that cashier's check, please.

Chuck Bryant

So number three on their list is to keep everything calm. You don't wanna upset a hostage-taker.

Josh Clark

No.

Chuck Bryant

You wanna keep everything nice and chill.

Josh Clark

Especially following the initial phase, that initial assault. The guy's all jacked up on like adrenaline.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

He's a little crazy. All of a sudden, it's starting to sink in - if he accidentally took hostages, it's starting to sink in, like, oh, my god, I'm - I am a hostage-taker now.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

This is a little nuts.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

So you wanna keep the guy calm or the guys or the gals calm, especially if it was a - a Baader-Meinhof experiment.

Chuck Bryant

No idea what that is.

Josh Clark

It's actually the - there's a movie out, called the - the Baader-Meinhof Complex, I think.

Chuck Bryant

Really?

Josh Clark

And they actually introduce terrorism to the Western world.

Chuck Bryant

Wow.

Josh Clark

It was a group of Germans.

Chuck Bryant

Look at you.

Josh Clark

German radicals.

Chuck Bryant

Was Kevin Spacey in it?

Josh Clark

It's basically bored kids that introduce things like sky jacking and stuff like that.

Chuck Bryant

Wow.

Josh Clark

They were crazy.

Chuck Bryant

Crazy. So Josh, the fourth thing - and this is my favorite one, actually. One of the goals of the hostage negotiator is to get the hostage-taker and the hostages to work together, to give them some task where they have to interact, like delivering the pizza. So send out your - your most agreeable hostage that you trust the most to get the pizza and bring it on. So all of a sudden, the hostage-taker has to talk to the hostages and say, "Hey, we need you to go and get the pizza because we can't go within the - sniper range." And the more you get them interacting, the more chance that the hostage-taker sees the hostage as a human.

Josh Clark

Right.

Chuck Bryant

Instead of just blindfolding them and putting them in the corner.

Josh Clark

Right. Or - and shooting them in the head.

Chuck Bryant

Well, yeah, that, too.

Josh Clark

There was actually a - a very famous case of that in 1975. Some hostage-takers took over a subway train or a train in Holland, and a guy named Robert Degroot was about to be executed, Chuck. And apparently, they allowed him to pray first.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

And they heard him praying for his wife and children, and it got them so bad that they just couldn't execute the guy. So they actually fake executed him.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

The stand-off continued, and when it came time to execute more hostages, they didn't give them a chance to pray and just actually executed them.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. And I'm sure - they pushed him off the train and he rolled down the hill and like faked like he was dead.

Josh Clark

Right.

Chuck Bryant

And I'm sure the rest of the hostages were like, "Thanks, Bob."

Josh Clark

Yeah. Right. Degroot.

Chuck Bryant

Now we don't even - not only can we not pray, but we're getting a bullet in the head.

Josh Clark

Yeah. And I was thinking about that, like this is - you feel so removed from it. The weird thing about being a hostage is like no one plans on being a hostage. It just happens all of a sudden.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

And imagine dying on a train on some track in Holland by being executed by some hostage-taker during a stand-off. What a crap way to die.

Chuck Bryant

I know. You're right on the money there, brother.

Josh Clark

Yeah. So Chuck, I think - I think it's pretty damn pretentious of us to have not brought up Stockholm Syndrome, yet. Don't you?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. Go ahead. Identifying with your captor?

Josh Clark

Yeah. It actually came out of a bank robbery in, I think, 1980 or '81 in Stockholm, appropriately enough. And this - this bank robber's plan just kind of went to crap. And I've been like using pseudo bad words all day. It's stupid.

Chuck Bryant

Weird.

Josh Clark

This bank robber's plan kind of went to pot.

Chuck Bryant

Uh-huh.

Josh Clark

And all of a sudden, he was a hostage-taker. Right? Well, the stand-off continued, and strangely enough, the hostages started helping him. They were serving as lookouts. They were giving him advice on how to escape and how to deal with the negotiator and all that. And that's kind of odd, if you think about it. So why would - why would people suffer this, what they call Stockholm syndrome?

Chuck Bryant

Well, there's a lot of psychological reasons for it.

Josh Clark

Oh, yeah?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. A defense mechanism, a coping - coping type of thing!

Josh Clark

Well, yeah. If you feel powerless in a situation like that, you go to whoever has the power, and when you're a hostage, your hostage-taker has the power.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. And the other thing it mentioned, too, is that if you're not killed, and their other hostages are killed, you feel such a sense of relief that can actually morph into sympathy.

Josh Clark

It's kind of like remember we did the brainwashing podcast.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, absolutely.

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

Good one.

Josh Clark

Thanks.

Chuck Bryant

You wanna talk about countries and some famous non-negotiating countries?

Josh Clark

Yeah. Do you remember the '80s? It was like planes were getting hijacked everywhere, all over the place.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. It was a big thing. Uh-huh.

Josh Clark

Baader-Meinhof.

Chuck Bryant

Yes. The - the United States, Russia, and Israel are all very well known for having a non-negotiating policy with hostage-takers and terrorists.

Josh Clark

France had the opposite.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. It didn't work out for them, though.

Josh Clark

No, it didn't. France became very quickly a target for hostage-taking because France would apparently be like, "What do you want? Ha, ha, ha."

Chuck Bryant

Right. And apparently, sometimes - and this doesn't surprise me - the countries that refuse - quote, unquote, refuse to negotiate, there might be some secret negotiations that happen that they never let out because that would destroy their front that they won't negotiate.

Josh Clark

Right. And France also apparently had a little problem with forming agreements with hostage-takers, and then the hostage-takers would break the agreements, which is crazy. Can you believe it?

Chuck Bryant

What a bunch of louse.

Josh Clark

So there is a - there is an equilibrium. Chuck loves equilibrium, but there is an equilibrium between not negotiating at all and over negotiating.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

And I think that's what you're talking about. It's kind of like negotiating on the down low and never talking about it.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

And then, hunting the people down who did this and murdering them.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

So Chuck, let's talk about what happens when you just absolutely refuse to negotiate. As we've seen, actually, in the 21st Century, sadly enough, twice in Russia.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, a couple of famous occurrences there with the Muslim Chechen Separatists. In 2002, they took over a theater in Russia, threatened to blow it up, and so, the Russians go in and they -

Josh Clark

Under who?

Chuck Bryant

Oh, who was it?

Josh Clark

Putin, you think?

Chuck Bryant

Oh, okay.

Josh Clark

The guy who wrestles tigers with his shirt off in front of news cameras.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

Don't you - doesn't that bear his hallmark?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. They decided to storm the theater and send in some knockout gas instead of negotiating. And they ended up killing all - well, I don't know if it was all of them, but 129 hostages died.

Josh Clark

129 people from the knockout gas.

Chuck Bryant

From the knockout gas.

Josh Clark

That's not knockout gas. That's death gas.

Chuck Bryant

I think that's what they mean by knockout.

Josh Clark

I don't think so. No.

Chuck Bryant

They just don't want to call it death gas.

Josh Clark

Maybe so. My eyes are open now because I didn't realize that was a euphemism.

Chuck Bryant

The other one, Josh, was really, really sad. I remember this one well.

Josh Clark

Yeah. Me, too.

Chuck Bryant

In '04 when the same Chechen Separatists invaded an elementary school with guns and bombs and locked themself up in a gym, and Russia would not negotiate. And 300 of the hostages were killed.

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

That was awful.

Josh Clark

And half of them were kids.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

When they blew up the gymnasium.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. It was terrible.

Josh Clark

Well, listen up, Putin.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. But you maintain your toughness.

Josh Clark

Right. Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

We're not gonna negotiate. Just kill the kids.

Josh Clark

Yeah. Okay. So Chuck, you - you - you okay there?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. I'm good. A little riled up, but I'm good.

Josh Clark

Let's talk about a hostage situation that actually went relatively well, at least compared to Russia in 2002 [inaudible].

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. Go ahead and hit it. I know what you're gonna talk about.

Josh Clark

Well, there is a very famous incident at Princess Gate in London in April 1980. Members of the Democratic Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Arabistan -

Chuck Bryant

They might wanna change that name. It's not even a good acronym.

Josh Clark

It's a mouthful, isn't it?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

Basically, Arabistan is an Iranian province, and the group wanted to liberate it, clearly.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

And they were democrats, I guess.

Chuck Bryant

Maybe.

Josh Clark

But there were, I think, 20 of them, and they took - no, there were six of them, and they took 26 hostages at the US Embassy in London.

Chuck Bryant

Right. Yeah.

Josh Clark

At Princess Gate.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

So there was a - a stand-off that lasted quite a while. The hostage negotiator did this by the book, kept the hostage-takers focused on details like what kind of food do you want, that kinda thing.

Chuck Bryant

Right. I'm thinking Thai.

Josh Clark

Yeah. Maybe. I'm in the mood for Thai. I could go for a nice Curry Buna.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. That sounds good.

Josh Clark

That's Indian, though. That's good stuff, by the way, if you've ever had it.

Chuck Bryant

I'll try it.

Josh Clark

They actually did execute one hostage, but the other hostages apparently reported that this guy decided to get into a debate over Islam with Iranian terrorists, which you don't do in a hostage situation.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. Keep your mouth shut if you're a hostage.

Josh Clark

The negotiator actually did manage to get the release of two ill hostages. Maybe one of them was pregnant.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

Sometimes we replace ill with pregnant, which I don't understand.

Chuck Bryant

And they got info from them.

Josh Clark

Yeah. And so, basically, the one thing that really wasn't by the book was that the - the SAS got the - which are the special forces in Great Britain -

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. They're bad, dude.

Josh Clark

They are bad. I have a friend who's in that.

Chuck Bryant

Really?

Josh Clark

Yeah. I can't say his name here.

Chuck Bryant

Okay.

Josh Clark

They got the hostage negotiator to talk to the hostage-takers on the phone right before the assault, knowing the assault was coming, as a distraction.

Chuck Bryant

Right. That doesn't happen much.

Josh Clark

Not usually. And why?

Chuck Bryant

Because they don't let the negotiator in on this kind of information because they think that they would compromise the job just through maybe even inflection or tone of their voice. They would give it away.

Josh Clark

Right. I mean -

Chuck Bryant

Not on purpose, of course.

Josh Clark

No, no, certainly not.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

Very few hostage negotiators experience Stockholm syndrome, I imagine.

Chuck Bryant

That would be a bad negotiator.

Josh Clark

Yeah, definitely, just mentally crumble at the first sign of trouble.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

But this - it actually paid off. The hostage negotiator kept the - the lead guy away from the window, and the SAS stormed the building.

Chuck Bryant

Boom.

Josh Clark

Two tap, I imagine, five of the guys and arrest the sixth.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. Not bad, and I think they only lost one other hostage out of the 26, which is not bad.

Josh Clark

Which - no, but I mean, if you storm a building in a hostage situation, it's like, well, yeah, that guy lost his life and another guy lost his life.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

But it's like yeah, but that's actually a really good percentage, I would imagine.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

I mean, I wonder what - well, I - I would guess the 2004 Russian stand-off is probably as bad as it can get.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. I would say so.

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

One thing we mentioned there that I thought was pretty interesting was you mentioned the Stockholm syndrome, but that is actually a tactic that the negotiator will use, sort of - sort of a good cop/bad cop thing. They'll get on the phone or however they're communicating and say, "Yeah, you know, I actually" - they'll try and relate to them; "I kinda see where you're coming from. I understand. This police captain does not understand where you're coming from."

Josh Clark

Right. Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

"And he wants to mow you down. So talk to me, man, and we'll work it out between us."

Josh Clark

Yeah. Chuck, you would make an excellent hostage negotiator.

Chuck Bryant

I just realized that.

Josh Clark

I wish I had a hostage I could give to you right now. That was good.

Chuck Bryant

Oh, I'd just offer you a six-pack and you'd throw down your gun. It would be all over.

Josh Clark

Pretty much and some smokes.

Chuck Bryant

But that's a pretty cool trick there. I like that. Of course, again, this is straight out of the movies, so if any hostage-taker has ever seen any of these films, then they should be one step ahead of the negotiator.

Josh Clark

I would think so.

Chuck Bryant

I would think so, too.

Josh Clark

There was another example of not going by the book that I wanted to mention.

Chuck Bryant

What's that?

Josh Clark

In - in 1975 the US Consulate in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. There was -

Chuck Bryant

I don't know this one.

Josh Clark

There was a hostage situation and apparently the Japanese Red Army, or members of the Japanese Red Army, attacked the consulate and took hostages. So the terrorists actually called the - the authorities to tell them that they had the hostages, and some junior officer at the - at the embassy, elsewhere in the embassy, picked up the phone,and from that point on, for the rest of the stand-off, they wouldn't talk to anybody else but this junior officer.

Chuck Bryant

Wow.

Josh Clark

Yeah, who was not a trained hostage negotiator?

Chuck Bryant

All of a sudden.

Josh Clark

And it's just like, oh, god.

Chuck Bryant

Sure. Well, he probably has [inaudible] -

Josh Clark

I hate Mondays.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

Well, no, there was a negotiator on the scene like coaching - coaching the junior officer, but yeah.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. I also saw in the article where there's - there's always a second - a secondary negotiator on hand.

Josh Clark

Yeah. Because sometimes they freeze!

Chuck Bryant

Because - yeah, sure, because you're basically improv-ing. You gotta be quick on your feet and if all of a sudden you're going, "I had a - ba - da - da - ba" - you need someone to step in and say, "Tell them that we'll send them pizza."

Josh Clark

That first one sounded exactly like Kevin Spacey in The Negotiator.

Chuck Bryant

I didn't see that. Wasn't there some stupid twist where he was, in fact, in on it or something?

Josh Clark

I don't remember. I blocked it out of my memory.

Chuck Bryant

All right. That might have been Spoiler. Of course, you're supposed to say Spoiler beforehand, but whatever.

Josh Clark

Yeah. Well, we are pretty much done here with hostage negotiation. We're gonna leave a whole section untouched on becoming a hostage negotiator.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

You can find that in the article, How Hostage Negotiation Works. You can type in hostage, I imagine, in the handy search bar at howstuffworks.com, which means it's time for listener mail.

Chuck Bryant

No, no, Josh. No, not today!

Josh Clark

Okay.

Chuck Bryant

No listener mail. We're gonna do a little kiva update, like we are one to do.

Josh Clark

Okay.

Chuck Bryant

So you wanna go ahead and give the plug?

Josh Clark

Yeah, man. We started a kiva team, kiva.org, K-I-V-A dot org is a micro lending website, a socially responsible one, which means you don't make any interest on your loans but you can loan as little as 25 bucks to people in developing countries and now the US.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

Entrepreneurs who are trying to become self sufficient through their businesses, they're little tiny loans that make a huge difference elsewhere in the - in the world.

Chuck Bryant

Indeed.

Josh Clark

And we are kicking bottom on this.

Chuck Bryant

We are, man, and I am proud of the Stuff You Should Know army, because you guys are responding and this is really, really cool. We challenge the Colbert Report, or I like to call it the Colbert Report.

Josh Clark

Yes.

Chuck Bryant

And we actually made a video where we chastise them.

Josh Clark

Yeah, which you probably never see, but just know this. If you watch -

Chuck Bryant

[Inaudible] we're trying to give it to them.

Josh Clark

If you watch the Colbert Report, scoff while you watch it thinking of Chuck and I and the Stuff You Should Know Army.

Chuck Bryant

People are responding in a big way, and it's going great, and hopefully the Colbert Report will take notice because that will make even more money for kiva and it might get us on his show.

Josh Clark

Chuck is just chomping at the bit to get on his show so if you wanna join the Stuff You Should Know kiva team -

Chuck Bryant

Please do.

Josh Clark

- please do. You can go to www.kiva.org/team/stuffyoushouldknow. And that will take you right there, plus, there's a pretty picture of Chuck on there.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, me and Emily, actually. It's a picture of - we have - you know, she's on my team.

Josh Clark

I was talking about our picture.

Chuck Bryant

Oh, no, no, no. On the member page, though, if you're curious of what my wife and I look like -

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

- together -

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

- then you can surf through the member page until you find us.

Josh Clark

Good looking couple. Is that the one that's your screensaver on your iPhone, too?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. It's - it's one of the best pictures I have of us.

Josh Clark

It's very nice.

Chuck Bryant

Thank you.

Josh Clark

And how about the blogs real quick?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. We both run a blog, and I'm gonna - I've been a little lazy with it lately. I'm gonna get back off the schnide. You can access the blog on the blogs page, which you can find on the right side of the howstuffworks.com homepage.

Josh Clark

Right.

Chuck Bryant

I just barely spit that out. So that's where you can find it.

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

Go interact.

Josh Clark

Yes. Go interact. It's a pretty cool blog. We like it a lot. If you have an email or if your name is Iesha Tyler and you have never listened this far before in a podcast, you can send us an email to stuffpodcast@howstuffworks.com.Announcer: For more on this and thousands of other topics, visit howstuffworks.com. Want more howstuffworks? Check out our blogs on the howstuffworks.com homepage.