The point of activism is to bring about a desired change in society. Before an activist, or a movement, can achieve anything several questions must be answered. Part of the answer is finding out what obstacles exist and they can be overcome. Good information is key for good decision making. If we are to be revolutionaries we need to be proactive, systematic and methodical in our intelligence gathering. If we are to be successful, it makes sense to emulate what works rather than reinventing the wheel. So, let’s take a look at a basic intelligence gathering technique used by the military, and see if we can adapt it to suit our needs.
While good intelligence is critical in combat, it is also key in all aspects of human action. Businesses need good intelligence to determine what investments to make in a competitive market. Charities need good intelligence to determine the kind and quantity of aid needed by their community. Agorist activists are by definition at odds with the State. Knowing how to gather good intelligence on the State is crucial to our success.
The most basic form of intelligence gathering is reporting what one sees. The SALUTE report is a standard seven-line intelligence report on opposition which is taught throughout the US Armed Services. SALUTE is an acronym that stands for, “Size, Activity, Location, Unit identification, Time, Equipment”. It’s designed to be quick, accurate, and in the order most important when assessing enemy forces. Designed for combat, it is ideal for use in any scenario where time and accuracy are of the essence. Suppose activists wish to report on the movements of police or other government agents during a demonstration. Or, if high risk activism isn’t your cup of tea, suppose a soup kitchen experiences an unanticipated rush of patrons, and decisive action must be taken to reallocate resources and prevent delays. By monitoring the habits of the opposition while conducting business, Agorists can reduce the chance of being caught.There are countless applications for such a technique.
A report should be brief, accurate, and clear, with facts distinguished from opinions. It may help to write down what you intend to report before hand, to insure a flawless delivery. It is important to say what you need to say, and get off the line, so that your organization can receive data from other members.
It is important to provide an accurate count of what you see. A “squad size element”(a squad is 8-12 soldiers) is too general, as different services and militaries are organized differently. Instead, report the specific number of troops seen. “Ten foot mobiles” is a superior report. The number of the opposition is important in activism as well. The number of officers stationed at a suspicionless checkpoint could influence the activists’ response. If a political speech has six security guards on site, sending twelve pamphleteers instead of three could make a huge difference.
What is the subject doing? Are they patrolling, setting an ambush, placing mines? Are they alert and ready for a fight or comfortable and unprepared? For the activists, knowing whether a parking enforcer is pouting or hitting a victim with a baton makes a difference. If an audience is seated or preparing to leave is important.
The military likes coordinates, however most activists will not have a GPS device. They might not even have a map. You can always describe the subject’s location. Are they on a road, near a village, in a valley etc. Are they stationary, as in police road blocks, and speed traps, or in motion? If applicable, report their direction and speed as well as their location.
Most armies, police and even private organizations have logos. However, if the subject is not wearing a uniform, or displaying a unique sigil, you can describe their garb. What kind of shirts, pants, hats or body paint does the subject have? Street gangs have colors that identify them. Or perhaps you know the subject by name if you are tailing a specific person.
Report the time you saw the subject, not the time you’re sending the report. For clarity it is better to use the 24 hour clock. Times should be given in local or Universal time. Include the date if it’s relevant.
The military typically reports to the weapons observed, but describing any of the subject’s gear could be relevant. It could speak to the subject’s activity if it isn’t clear to the observer. It takes time to learn about all the kinds of weapons there are, not to mention all of the other kinds of gear out there. Knowing what you’re observing is just as important as observing.
The observer making the SALUTE report may also report their own location, their intention in placing the report, and their own course of action in response.
In many instances the different aspects of the report may overlap. The format of the SALUTE report is meant to be easy to execute, and easy to understand. It is a formula, and while it may be possible to report the necessary information in other ways, the SALUTE report is designed for efficiency in conflict.
The SALUTE report, or some modified version of it, could be used on Twitter, Porc411, or any other method of communications activists use. And the organizations with the most up to date, relevant information, the one which gathers good intelligence, will make the best decisions to advance their Cause.