In the beginning it was simple espionage. One group wanted to know what
the other one was planning. Countries, corporations, tribes and gangs,
all of them used it. Every one of them knew the other was doing the
same and in the attempt to block the other group from having access,
they created the counter-espionage or counter-intelligence discipline.

For a long time this was a low-profile game on the margins of society. Spycatcher, Peter Wright’s book about MI5 – the British counter-intelligence apparatus – gives a pretty good idea of how this game was conducted a generation ago. It is obvious from his descriptions, that during his time there – until the seventies – they had a quite limited strength. The number of people they were able to follow in London’s streets was limited, and they have personal files on about two million Britons. The technological equipment looks ridiculous judged from the cellular, digital beginning of the 21st century. Nowadays, there is a file on each citizen.

Due to budget limitations they were barely able to track the Soviet activities on British lands. Bothering British citizens was not a daily task; in the whole book I found only one account of their ruining the life of an innocent civilian. However, secret services personnel use secrecy as a tool to cover-up their own errors and probably there were many similar cases. Back then, the thought of compensating the damaged man, who needed to leave his town due to rumors created by the counter-intelligence people, did not cross the mind of Peter Wright’s organization. Drunk with their endless powers, they just did not care.

The Soviet era was a relatively innocent one. Then two things happened almost in parallel. The Soviet empire collapsed (due more to its rotten structure than to the Star Wars Project), and the espionage and counter-intelligence machineries found themselves obsolete. They needed a new enemy, and a better one, that could not – by definition – be defeated. Being powerful people in mighty organizations with vast resources, they began fighting for their future and pensions. In parallel, an informatics revolution took place. Much more of our private lives became accessible to the intelligence world: credit cards, cellular phones and the Internet shone light into formerly obscure corners of our lives.

In an irony of history, the secret services used their near downfall into oblivion to catapult themselves into a position almost as strong as the one described in George Orwell’s 1984. That was achieved by using a combination of two false claims to gain the hearts of the politicians in charge of their cherished budgets. None of the claims were new, but this time they were skillfully used to create an unprecedented effect of almost global scale.

The first claim has been heard even from the mouths of top politicians and it says: “If you are not with us, you are against us.” In Israel, if you are not Zionist, then you belong to the Enemy from Within. “For he that is not against us is on our part” said Jesus (Mark 9:40), the exact opposite. Does that mean – according with this New-Age dogma – that since the Bible teaches the opposite, then the Bible is an enemy? Should someone reading Mark aloud go to jail?

The second claim includes two false clauses and roughly says: “If it is permissible to use all means against a foe, then it is also permissible to use them against an enemy from within.” In more than one aspect, this was the exact reasoning of Nazi Germany; yet, this is the ideology that has brought the massive infringements of Human Rights by most governments, especially those regarding our privacy.

This article does not aim to cover all the crimes committed against us by the counter-intelligence agencies. I dealt with the isolation and persecution of victims in my book Holygarchy. Here I will briefly touch methods of data acquisition and some basic defensive techniques we should all adopt.

In the new technological reality, the security services gained access to all the media mentioned above. Next time you pay in the supermarket with a credit card, think whether you really want the government to know which brand of coffee you prefer. Next time you leave home, think if you want the cellular phone company to know your location at all times or to secretly activate the machine’s microphone. Next time you use the Internet… well, the picture is clear.

However, the most dangerous method of data acquisition relies on a new kind of informant. I am not referring to regular watchers – static, semi-static or mobile. These are well described in Spycatcher and in A CIA Diary (the last by Philip Agee) and of relatively low consequences, unless you are being actively persecuted as I was. I am referring to actual moles, the type we are all familiar with from the Cold War era (for example Kim Philby, a Soviet mole within the British MI6 security services), that now work underground in their own countries.

These are people leading an almost-regular life, but who actively collect information for the security services. They are not professional watchers, nor are they simple informants running up and down the streets. Neither are they Kim Philby, despite the similarity in their roles.

Modern moles work within their countries and societies and are thus much cheaper to maintain. Since they are also easy to train, their numbers make up for their lowered quality. Instead of creating one Kim Philby, surrounded by a small ring of equally highly trained, supporting teamplayers, nowadays the security services place hundreds of cheaper, small rings; each one handling a single aspect of a much more complex operation. This fractioning of activities complicates their detection; nonetheless, they all share the same training and use the same techniques. After seeing them a few times they are easy to identify, and their activities can hence be thwarted.

Since these new activities were of domestic nature, they naturally fell under the counter-intelligence organizations wings. The process was further accelerated after the 9/11 event and since then the security services of most countries began cooperating on an unprecedented scale, creating thus a de facto almost global security service. That was accomplished without the approval of the People in any of the involved countries.

It is important to comprehend that these kinds of immoral activities are conducted for the main benefit of the Oligarchs. People like the Jacobsons and Arisons (see my articles about Dow Chemical, Literally Criminals and Holygarchy) enjoy a constant and active support by the Israeli security services, while my open criticism of the existing system (which is legal by any definition of the word) has been called by several moles “preying on the innocent.” Isn’t their ruining my life exactly that?

There are two actions I recommend taking to neutralize these activities.

The first is to clog the counter-intelligence machinery with contradictory information. This is very easy to accomplish and then it is very difficult for them to find the relevant data. For every minute spent at the Republican website, spend one at the Democrat’s. Better still, keep both windows open all the time. In addition, check your relations on a regular basis. For example, tell your friends slightly different versions of some event that may interest the security services (like your visit to the Republican website) and then wait for reactions. To friend A, say you are impressed with candidate B; tell friend C that candidate D has interesting views. Don’t touch the topic with anyone else and keep quiet for a while. There are several version of what may happen next; but if someone – that you may know well or see for the first time in your life – approaches you with some kind of issue related to candidate B, then your friend A is spreading around information about you. He may belong to the security services and a more careful test should be applied; in any case, he should not be trusted with sensitive information.

Following this line of action, it is important to either avoid routines or intentionally develop meaningless ones. The last are a subtle kind of activity – one of my favorites. For example, make a point of drinking a daily coffee at the same place. Most probably, such a place would be used in the event the security services want to make an unobtrusive contact. This is because it would have an easy access, your routine would allow careful planning and they know you like the place. Hence you would be pleased and relaxed while there – their favorite condition for conducting an unsuspected interrogation. But this time you are setting the trap; in such a location there are no casual encounters and that is what you should keep in mind.

The final action is more subtle. Each time I identify a mole, I begin a series of hints to let him or her know that I know. After this knowledge settles down on the surprised mole – most of them think themselves above detection – I begin a careful and complicated attempt to explain to them that they are serving the devil. Not one of their justifications – and I have a long list by now – is worth mentioning. It is interesting to note that if I continue the contact with the mole – it is better to know who is dirty around you and to control the flow of information there – usually they are arrogant enough to believe they passed a strange test of mine and that I consider them clean.

Behave like this for a while and your true friends would begin to shine with the light of a thousand tropical summer suns. The blessing of true friendship is worth serious thought and effort.

These are scary days. Some basic things in our global village went awry and we are more defenseless than ever. The situation will not change unless we take responsibility and take an active role – even if it is as small as overflowing the boiling bowels of hell with disinformation.

Reuven Schossen is an Israeli refugee living in Bolovia.

Published on October 20, 2006 at