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.

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: