NEWS

Vigilance is everything: Detailed regulations to avoid surveillance

Police are watching revolutionary organizations from the inside and from outside by getting their own informers to infiltrate the organization or by convincing or forcing old members to inform on their ex-comrades, either through torture, threats to family members or, more rarely, buying them out, or a combination of all three. The utmost vigilance is needed in recruiting members who should provide CVs which should be checked in depth. We need a strong information network and close contact with the people. (As we do not use official archives, information from people in the neighborhood is very useful, a very delicate job.) In case of arrest If one of our people is arrested, we must immediately break all contact with him and make secure all those people who had contact with him, abandon safe houses the member might have known about, as well as hiding places for material. The member who has been arrested has to give his comrades a period of, say, 24 hours before saying anything at all, to give the organization time to clear these areas. Then, the organization must analyze the reasons for the arrest and question all those who were in contact with that person. Instances of mistakes and negligence that are pinpointed and corrected, and the discovery of any police spies, are the positive results to be gained from a negative occurrence. No mercy should be shown to spies, however. Our next task is to take care of the family of the comrade who has been arrested, while exercising great caution, as it is certain the police will be watching close relatives. Lessons learned If the member is released quickly, we should be very careful. All safety precautions should be taken before making contact with that member, to ascertain whether he is being followed. We must analyze the reasons for the release, perhaps keep him under surveillance or give him false information. We should be aware that the police do not make use of any information immediately, but wait until they have enough to take effective action, that is, to break up the organization. If they realize, however, that we have discovered and neutralized its informers, then they will strike at once to make use of existing material. Finally, we should consider a priori that any comrade the police release is a spy. External vigilance This is done in three ways, using technical equipment, cars, on foot or a combination of all three. Technical means of surveillance are visual and aural. For example, if the police watch a house frequented by leftists, they could also take photographs. An apparently empty truck outside a house where we hold meetings could contain police officers photographing people entering the house. We deal with visual surveillance by watching neighboring houses, keeping curtains drawn, and watching cars parked in the area to see which ones are suspicious. We must avoid street photographers at all costs, especially when we are with other comrades. Aural surveillance is carried out with microphones or transmitters and receivers which are small enough to be placed anywhere and can even pick up conversations in a house next door or from the street. Telephone surveillance is done either from the exchange or from a transmitter inside the telephone itself. The only defense is continual vigilance. Any telephone or power company «technicians» coming to look at a «problem» in the house, or working outside the house should be treated as suspicious. If we feel that someone might be listening in on us, a running tap in the bathroom can drown out a conversation in the next room. Surveillance on foot This can be done either from a fixed point (a cafe, house, shop or parked car) or by following someone. We should use as many different routes as possible to arrive at and leave our homes and other places we frequent (work, relatives’ homes, meeting places). We should not be regulars at a cafe or restaurant and never shop from the same stores (for things like cigarettes and newspapers). We should always be able to recognize the people we meet every day as we leave our homes, particularly street vendors, newspaper sellers and other neighborhood types, so we can easily pick out the informers among the people we see regularly. For the same reason, we should also know which cars belong to our neighbors. Every morning we should have a look down the street and pick out anything unusual. One or more officers can follow someone, according to police capabilities. They always observe three rules – anonymity, effectiveness and continuity, in the sense that they must not lose sight of their prey for a second. They always try to hide their faces from the person they are following and, in general, try to remain unobtrusive. They often break the rule of anonymity in order to maintain effectiveness and continuity. In general, we should study the methods the police use and make our members familiar with them. We should know our routes in detail and find points (such as shop windows, an intersection or store) where we can keep watch on who is following us, and places where we could evade surveillance, such as cinemas, museums, stores or houses with a back entrance. Countersurveillance must take place at points known in advance and where we can justify moves such as looking back. The same applies to evasion. Our movements must be natural, letting those following us think they have lost us through their own error. It is very important to know the city inside out and to plan our movements. We must keep calm, as countersurveillance can sometimes turn into provocation. If we see that we cannot evade surveillance, we simply abandon the mission and find a reasonable purpose for our journey, such as the cinema. We must report anything unusual that we notice during a mission, even if it seems unimportant. Isolated incidents that are repeated at different places and times may have a logical explanation.