Category: Tradecraft

The Fifth Column’s tradecraft section contains all of the how-to guides on subjects that you won’t see discussed in any traditional news outlet.

Tradecraft: 50 Survival Myths Debunked

(SurvivalSullivan) – One paradox of survival is that many of us have been conditioned to do the wrong thing. Between movies, survival shows, and just everyday modern society, most people would not last a day in a survival situation. Until you really do your research and put that knowledge into practice, your mind will send you […]

Tradecraft: Temporary Survival Shelters

In an outdoor survival situation, think clearly and try not to panic. It is a different experience than watching carefully selected highlights of shows like “Survivor” or “Naked and Afraid”. In reality, the best way to survive an unanticipated emergency is to learn what to be ready for and practice doing it, before you need […]

Tradecraft: Snares for survival

(SurvivalSullivan) – If there is any exercise in patience, it is snaring wild game, particularly the rabbit. Snaring involves learning by trial and error and knowing your quarry. Snaring is the most successful when you take the time to arm yourself…

Tradecraft: Introduction to OpSec

(TFC) – Operations Security sounds like something that would only concern spies and special operations soldiers. The reality is that since your government is likely spying on you, even if you “have nothing to hide”, OpSec concerns you. It’s a…

Tradecraft: Counter-Intelligence Background Checks

(TFC) – Counter-intelligence is critical in many fields. Proper counter-intelligence can stop industrial espionage, it keeps activists safe, it can secure religious organizations, and it is used by governments every day. One of the most important pieces to any counter-intelligence…

Tradecraft: Prepacked Bug Out bags

A recent trend in emergency preparedness has led to dozens of companies offering prepacked bug out bags. It’s so prevalent, in fact, The Fifth Column has been asked why we don’t have our own line.

They’re easy enough to produce. There are even companies that allow other companies to purchase their bags and rebrand them as their own.The reason we don’t have our own line is simple: retail bug out bags are a farce. You have to build your pack to match your needs and skill set. There’s a slight exception to this rule. There is a company that sells a variety of starter packs. They don’t market them as bug out bags, they don’t tell you it’s everything you need to survive the end of the world, they aren’t even an equipment company. They’re a food company.

Tradecraft: The Book Cipher & Other Old School Techniques

More than 48 hours ago, a message was posted in an article on The Fifth Column. Readers were asked to break the cryptogram. At the time of writing, the message remains unreadable. At least one person with training from the NSA and three hackers associated with the Anonymous collective have made the attempt. It doesn’t use advanced cryptography or anything like that. It didn’t even require a computer. It was made using a multi-layer cipher. The key component of the cipher is a modified book cipher, sometimes called a Beale code.

In this installment of Tradecraft, we will be discussing how to manufacture your own cipher systems. Multiple ciphers will be discussed, and they can be combined to create your own system. You are only limited by your imagination. Some may be asking what about the NSA supercomputers? Can’t they crack it? Maybe. Later this week, a new message will be rendered and we will encourage our readers to tweet it directly to the NSA in the hopes of getting a response.

How to rescue yourself from a natural or man-made disaster

Preparing for a natural or man-made disaster is crucial. It must be done before the disaster strikes. Whether it’s a fire out West, a flood in Louisiana, a blizzard in the Northeast, a riot in Baltimore, a pollution-related disaster, or an all out civil war, you can prepare and you can survive. It’s up to you though. Every major incident in the last few years has demonstrated clearly that the government will not come to your assistance quickly, if at all.

Preparing to rescue yourself isn’t difficult, it isn’t expensive, and it isn’t time consuming. You don’t have to have to become a survivalist to survive. You just have to plan.

Understanding the difference: Terrorism, Insurrection, and Guerrilla Warfare

Due to the continued plunge into “The War on Terror” and the different conflicts the West has started, become involved with, or prolonged; a series of terms have lost their meaning. The meanings are important. It is fundamentally impossible to understand the nature of many of today’s conflicts because the terms defining them are muddled and lead people to believe a cookie cutter response is appropriate.

The response that may destroy an organization engaging in guerrilla warfare will strengthen a terrorist group. In some cases a certain response can turn a guerrilla group into a terrorist group. The tactics used to disrupt a terrorist group will typically have little or no impact on a mature guerrilla group. Understanding the definitions of political violence are essential to understanding a world steeped in it.

10 Rules for Surviving an Insurgency

This article was prompted by a reader question. It was a simple question, but the phrasing of the question made me take notice. So much of what I write in regards to tactics is for people who already have a good base of knowledge. This wasn’t a question about how to perform a technically advanced maneuver. It wasn’t posed by a militant. It was posed by a mom. “Will you write an article on how to survive an insurrection?” The question isn’t about how to fight and win an insurgency. It wasn’t about how to overthrow a government or complete some revolutionary goal. It was simply asking how to make it through.

These guidelines are for people who don’t want to become involved. They are for those who are simply getting caught in the crossfire of the revolutionary fervor circling the globe. Many of those I asked for input for this article were a bit snippy. Statements like “they should get training” or “they need to pick a side” were common. As I have pointed out repeatedly in articles dealing with insurgency, untrained or undedicated people do one thing really well in combat: die. It’s not our place to force people into conflict. More importantly, we need to remember why these revolutions occur and why militants take the stands they do. A John Adams quote springs to mind: