Master “Secret Work”

One subject that I’ve long been interested in – though not in any particularly serious fashion – is that of the “black arts” of spying, espionage, and so on. Commonly referred to as “tradecraft”, the field is dominated by paranoid conspiracy theorists, anecdotes, and dubious-looking “instructions” of uncertain provenance. For all I know, a lot of the information out there might actually be workable, and an accurate representation of contemporary “tradecraft”; I simply have a hard time taking people seriously when they begin talking raving about the “New World Order” or “black helicopters”.

One thing that has always struck me about most of these instructions – which tend to circulate in USENET newsgroups a lot – is that they all tend to gloss over or omit what would seem to be the most pertinent actual details. Don’t believe me? Go search the web for, oh, “surveillance detection route” or “surveillance evasion”. You’ll find dozens of sets of “instructions”, few of them useful.

I recently came across another set of these “tradecraft” instructions – one which is unusual for a number of ways. First, it sort of has a provenance, and is apparently attributable, at least to a (now defunct?) group. Secondly, it originates from outside North America or Western Europe, which is – if nothing else – something of a novelty in this field. Lastly, though, it contains just enough details that it’s, at least theoretically, of more than just academic interest – you could perhaps, should you so desire, actually learn something potentially useful from it.

While not exactly earth-shattering, How to Master Secret Work at a minimum makes for some interesting reading, if you’re into this sort of thing…

Published in: Geekiness, General, History, Security | on March 10th, 2008| 1 Comment »

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  1. On 3/15/2008 at 6:24 am Watching Them, Watching Us Said:

    Try the more up to date

    A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc – 62 pages )

    by experienced direct action political activists and campaigners, who operate under lots of mobile phone and CCTV camera surveillance etc. in the United Kingdom.

    It is not just professional intelligence agents or dissidents who have to take Cold War espionage Moscow Rules precautions these days – so do whistleblowers, investigative journalists, and perhaps, political bloggers.