Lions in the Brush
On the Anatomy and Guidelines of Cell Structured Resistance
The following piece is not intended to promote, condone, or advocate any sort of illegal activity. The intention is to analyze and identify the anatomy of a strategy commonly used in subversive activities to ensure anonymity and minimize the possibility of detection. This piece does not pretend to have any ideological or philosophical associations and is merely a rough guide on how cell structured anonymity operates with maximum plausibility for success. The tactic was first introduced by intelligence officer Col. Ulius Louis Amoss in 1962. Amoss created the tactic under the belief that communists would take over the United States, and that this method would ensure the chances of a successful resistance if that would have occurred. The method has been greatly expanded on since then and adopted by many groups, from the Animal and Earth Liberation Front and white supremacists, to Islamic extremists and beyond. My intention here is to lay out some guidelines from its development over the years. One may be tempted to be eclectic with these guidelines, and pick and choose what’s applicable in a given situation; however it is recommended that, if one wants to maximize one’s chances of success, these guidelines be strictly followed. In the end, it is up to you. Only you can decide what risk you choose to take or not take for your own sake.
Why choose cell structure?
People may have many reasons for keeping some things they do and believe a secret, whether it is risking the loss of a high profile career, or one’s positive public image. In fact in this political climate, laws could change so that you become a “criminal” or “terrorist” for engaging in activities that were legal at the time. In fact laws could change that could make your views or associations illegal. Thus, it’s better to be safe than sorry. This piece is about safety, and ensuring to the best of one’s ability that you and others can remain anonymous and undetected in chosen activities, regardless of your personal reasons for that anonymity.
Above ground activity vs. covert cell structured activity
In most case scenarios there either is, or at least should be, a barrier between those who engage in above ground activity and those who engage in covert, cell structured activity. Some characteristics of above ground activity would be making social media posts aligned with ones honest political, ideological, or philosophical views, attending riots or rallies, authoring material that can in any way be traced back to you, adding those aligned with your views on social media, becoming involved in public projects that align with ones related views, etc. Those who engage in cell structure (covert, underground) however do not engage in or associate themselves with these types of activities, at least not in ways that take chances of being traced back to said individual(s). For those who engage in underground activity, it is ideal to refrain from any traceable online activity that would admit oneself to being associated with the types of views related to the choice of activity one engages in, as well as to never attend rallies, public meetings, protests, riots, etc. The person who engages in cell structured activity almost always leads a completely double life, often pretending to endorse opposite views (posting Gandhi quotes and favoring electoral politics on social media that are the opposite of their views, for example).
Even if this should be common sense, it should be reiterated that these two paths (above ground and underground), are not compatible with one another, and it is often in the best interests of those involved in underground cell structure activity to either avoid at all costs or at least sever all ties to those who openly share the same views. To put simply: “You can’t have your cake and eat it too”.
The cell vs. organization
We're going to use the term “organization” loosely here, because however this also applies to groups that wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves belonging to an organization, but in many ways, still fall into the same structure (as is the case with many self styled “anarchists”). The organization, or “scene”, can easily be infiltrated and erased without a terrible amount of effort. All it takes is either an infiltrator to gather information to identify those involved, or failing that, “enhanced interrogation” (i.e. torture) or other effective methods of coercion (convincible threats to loved ones for example), to extract information concerning a particular group and their activities. Organizations or any other large group collaboration or association is obsolete in its ability to survive any real state repression. The anatomy of cell structure, however, fosters immunity to these counter-strategies, or any and all counterstrategies in most circumstances.
There are two types of cells, sleeper cells and phantom cells. The sleeper cell consists of one lone wolf individual; the phantom cell however is made of no more than 2-5 individuals. Anything beyond 5 members risks falling into the same pitfalls as the organization, and begins to lose its solidity and causes it to be more vulnerable to infiltration, thus compromising its effectiveness. More importantly, cell structure differs from the organization in that, if one cell is taken out and/or compromised, it remains physically impossible for that to have any effect on any other cell. If we drew one big circle or pyramid (the organization), imagine if it only took one pin to stick into the organization block to destroy it. In the case of cell structure, the only way to destroy the cells would be to pin them each one by one, which means you would need to first locate and identify each and every one, and pick them off individually. The chance of successfully identifying all of those unknown numbers of underground cells is usually quite small. This is what gives cell structured resistance its near invincibility. We will now address another benefit of this method: invisibility.
What happens in the cell stays in the cell
This is probably the most important guideline to ensure effective cell structured resistance. That which happens in the cell stays in the cell. What does this mean? First and foremost it means no pillow talk, no bragging, accepting and reaffirming that you are not in it for glory or to make a name for yourself, because if you are, that’s what aboveground resistance is for. Go join a protest, get beaten up by the pigs, and use the story to get laid or to give you higher social status amongst your upper-middle class anarchohipster friends, because that’s not what this is about. This isn’t to say that releasing untraceable communiqués, for whatever reason of your choosing, isn’t acceptable. However, that has nothing to do with personal glory either, which is why they are “untraceable”. This entails taking a big risk within itself, and if you choose that route, you better at least have very strong computer and physical OPSEC.
Otherwise, you should not mention a word about the cell even to your partner, unless they’re in the cell as well. You don’t talk to close friends about it, you don’t mention it to your mother, your father, or your siblings.
What if one of them turns on you? What if they are confronted and tortured or otherwise coerced into giving information? What if they mention it to someone else? There should be no “what ifs”. What goes on in the cell stays in the cell. If you have loose lips, can’t lead a double life, or otherwise are needy for someone to listen to all your personal struggles, then I’ll repeat: go the easy path because this isn’t for you.
Another major difference between cell structure and organization is that people you bring into a cell must uncompromisingly be those who you can trust with your life. It would be ideal that they are people you've known intimately in person for many years. It would also desirable to have potential future cell members undergo a series of tests in the recruitment process to ensure that they have what it takes, or that they are not a state agent. This would include making sure that the person doesn’t have loose lips, a weak heart, a weak mentality, that they won’t crack under pressure, won’t turn on you out of moral scruples, etc. It is very important that only the most solid, unbreakable, dedicated and loyal individuals join the cell.
Further assuring anonymity
The growth of technology and surveillance culture has made anonymity difficult in recent times. One thing that needs to be addressed and considered is the concept of “paranoia”. One must be paranoid!!! Take every precaution you can to avoid detection. One major issue that we face today, which I think is dangerously overlooked and often not taken into consideration, is the probability for electronic devices such as cell phones to be used as surveillance and tracking devices, even when powered off. The ability exists with cell phones to even listen in on conversations through walls. As I mentioned earlier, some may label such a precaution as “paranoia”, but I repeat again, be paranoid! Whether leaked information concerning the NSA is accurate or not, the possibility certainly exists that if others are not listening directly to your conversations, certain keywords may send triggers and flags to government agencies through the devices. The following are precautions to take in avoiding these pitfalls all together.
When discussing anything related to cell activity, do so far, far away from any cell phone, maybe put all cell phones, laptops, and tablets inside a vehicle and park it down the block. Beware, even some new TVs now are capable of listening to conversations. It is highly recommended that when doing anything related to cell structure activity, devices are to be left at home, with trusted friends, or stash them in the bushes, even if running errands related to the activity such as purchasing any needed material. It’s also highly recommended that most if not all activities you partake in be done only in cities or towns that you are not known to frequent, the farther you need to travel, the better off you'll be. I can’t stress this enough, don’t engage in activities anywhere near where you frequent!!! Also use cash at all times, this should go without saying. Aside from these fundamental guidelines, it’s recommended that you always take all necessary precautions, be highly observant of your surroundings, be mindful of cameras that can especially record license plate numbers and study ways to dodge surveillance and be untraceable. Though somewhat outdated when it comes to considerations of new technology, the book, Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors by Rex Feral has plenty of useful information on how to avoid detection. The book is banned from further publication, however ebook formats are available online, particularly p2p programs such as can be found on slsknet.org. There you can search for all sorts of keywords in relation to building an arsenal of knowledge that should produce results for many more ebook downloads. [Of course, it is recommended to at least use the TOR browser and similar means to ensure safe(r) surfing for materials of this type.]
The cell answers to no one but itself
Those who engage in cell structured resistance have absolutely no one to answer to but themselves, no organization to judge its conduct, and no leader or collective to persuade or control its behavior. The cell acts entirely out of its own independence and individuality. As far as strategy, tactics, intentions, goals, philosophy, conduct, etc., it is entirely for the cell to decide its influences and course of action. This causes strategy to become unbound, which allows for near limitless potential for strategic intelligence and imagination. Some cells may choose to align more with one specific ideological current or philosophical perspective; this however is at the sole discretion of the cell, as it is entirely under no one else’s authority but its own. I’ll end this piece with a recommended song, and that is “Agent of Destruction” by P. Paul Fenech from the album “International Super Bastard”.
-- el borracho (nömad warfuk)