It is important not to get caught. The information in this chapter comes from experienced monkeywrenchers who have studied police science, law enforcement officers from several agencies, and military veterans who have served in "unconventional" units. Don't take this chapter of Ecodefense lightly. It may be the most important chapter to you in this entire book.

You may find some redundancy here. That is deliberate. Security rules are so important that we want to hammer them home till they become second nature to the serious ecodefender. As monkeywrenching becomes a more serious threat to the greed-heads ravaging Earth for a few greasy bucks, they will force law enforcement agencies to crack down on Earth defenders. You can stay free and effective, by carefully keeping security uppermost in your mind.

 Since the publication of the first edition of Ecodefense, several prominent monkeywrenchers have been arrested and jailed. One, Howie Wolke, received six months in a tiny cell for pulling up survey stakes. He has publicly stated that he was caught because he was careless and let his security down. Don't follow his example to the slammer.

Dave Foreman, one of the editors of Ecodefense, was arrested in 1989 as the target of a major FBI operation to "send a message" that monkeywrenching wouldn't be tolerated. Four other Arizona activists were also arrested and ulti­mately served time. Two, Peg Millett and Mark Davis, were still in the federal penitentiary when this edition went to press. Even the most sympathetic observer would have to admit that all of the people involved in this case vio­lated numerous security guidelines discussed in this chapter as well as com­mon sense in their dealings with undercover FBI agents and informants. Although dozens of FBI agents were employed and over two million dollars spent trying to entrap the Arizonans, poor attention to security gave the G­men the openings they needed.

The Forest Service has also begun special anti-monkeywrenching training for their law enforcement specialists. Park Service and Forest Service cops have been identified at Earth First! and other conservation group meetings. They are taking monkeywrenching very seriously. But they can't touch you if you rigorously practice the security precautions in this chapter. Carelessness will put you in jail.

Because of the crucial need for good security practices by monkey­wrenchers, we have expanded and updated the material in this chapter. Read it. Study it. Make it second nature-like buckling your seat belt when you get into your car.


Target Selection

Most operations worth monkeywrenching consist of a long chain of events ranging from the corporate boardroom or government office to actual field activities. Before selecting a target for monkeywrenching, gather as much information as possible on this "chain of command." Research may reveal bet­ter targets, or point to the most vulnerable link in the "chain." Newspapers and magazines, as well as physical surveillance of buildings, storage areas, work sites, etc., will help in the selection of targets.

Proper intelligence gathering efforts will insure fairness. Do not lash out blindly at targets without first making an effort to understand the overall situa­tion. Make sure that an action is fully warranted and well deserved. There is a difference between monkeywrenching and plain vandalism. In recent years, that difference has been ignored in some cases. Some targets of monkey­wrenching, like the Santa Cruz power line in 1990, were not warranted. Of course, some of these questionable ecotage incidents may have been done by government or industrial agents to give ecodefense a bad name.

Most damaging projects on public lands are more or less analyzed in public documents by the managing agency (Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, etc.). These documents-environmental analyses (EAs), envi­ronmental impact statements (EISs), land management plans, timber plans, etc.-are available free to the interested public and have fairly detailed infor­mation, including maps, on offending projects. Merely by contacting the National Forest or BLM District office in question, you can get on a mailing list to receive such reports.

Of course, the serious monkeywrencher may not want to be on such a mail­ing list due to security considerations. If possible, have a trusted friend, who does not plan to engage in monkeywrenching, get on the mailing list and then give the documents to you. Perhaps you have a trusted contact in an envi­ronmental group who gets such documents and who can pass them on to you. Maybe you even have a trustworthy contact within one of the offending gov­ernment agencies-if so, for added security and her own safety and integrity, never, never let her know what you plan to do with the information. If you do not wish to involve friends or acquaintances, however indirectly, you might receive the information from the agency under an assumed name at a post office box or addressed to your alias in care of one of the private mailing ser­vices, found in big cities, which provide confidential forwarding of mail. Or you might even go to government offices in person, well in advance of intended "hits." If asked to fill out a request form, use a fictitious name and address (don't forget the name you give them!). Before going into an office to request information, leave your wallet with your IDs in your car, so that you can hon­estly say, if asked, that you left it in your car. If they persist in asking for ID, you can tell them you'll go and get it, leave the building, and never go back. Note: avoid going in person to request information that later might prove incrim­inating if you are likely to be recognized by anyone in the office.

Much of the work done by Federal agencies is contracted out to private indi­viduals and small businesses, generally on the basis of competitive bidding. Examples of this include some survey work and timber stand exams. It is possible to obtain information about many such projects by getting on lists to receive announcements of projects as a potential bidder. Again, it may be best to have someone else get this information to protect your security.

Federal agencies will release their mailing lists under the Freedom of Information Act. This means that corporate gumshoes or "Wise Use" thugs can get addresses of conservationists who ask to be on Forest Service, BLM, and other agencies' mailing lists. Of course, law enforcement agencies have access to such mailing lists.

Any method of obtaining timely information on environmentally destructive projects in your area of interest is valid, so long as you do not compromise your security in the process. A great deal of useful information on potential targets for monkeywrenching can be obtained from periodicals. Publications of conservation groups, especially local and regional, are obvious sources of such information, but don't forget trade and industry publications, either.

Local newspapers are an excellent source of information on what sort of development is currently going on or planned-this goes for big-city dailies as well as rural weeklies. (The latter often report regularly on government timber sales, permits for oil and gas exploration, and local mining activities.) A good place to read a variety of publications without compromising your security is the periodical section of your public library.

If you are interested in more detailed information, such as the names of individuals owning a business or a particular piece of property, a little bit of investigative work in the library or at the county courthouse can usually pro­duce results. City directories or business directories (such as Cole's or Polk's) may tell you who lives at a specific address or who owns a business. In most states, the office of Secretary of State usually maintains records of cor­porations incorporated in that state. You may be able to obtain copies of these records for a nominal fee. Finally, your city or county recorder has public records on deeds which show who owns what land or buildings. The tax assessor has public records of property taxes which also indicate ownership of all properties. Also, the "Grantor" and "Grantee" books record all real prop­erty transactions alphabetically by names. Anyone can ask to see this mate­rial.

Finally, mining claims on the public lands are a matter of public record. They are usually filed at the county courthouse. These records are also kept at the state level by the BLM.


* Repeated monkeywrenching of a certain target may cause the offenders to take increasingly drastic measures to protect their investment. For example, if you monkeywrench open bulldozers by the side of the road, the engine com­partments will probably be locked the next time you come by. If you cut the locks and do your work, they'll probably put the machines behind a fence somewhere. If you cut the fence and wrench the equipment again, they'll probably hire a guard. Now it's getting expensive.

The point is, the offenders are always vulnerable somewhere, and if you keep hitting them where they're most vulnerable, sooner or later it will affect their operations. Obviously, this means more persistence and hard work on your part.

In the case of the above fenced and guarded bulldozers, perhaps you can still cut the fence or spike the access road or cut their power lines or hit their main office or alter their billboards. Do whatever it takes to make it too expen­sive for them to continue ravaging Earth.



Thorough planning for every step of the operation and all feasible contin­gencies will keep you out of jail. Every team member must fully understand the work to be done, individual assignments, timetables, radio frequencies and codes, routes to and from the scene, etc.


Even the best of plans can be quickly disrupted by unforeseen events. Coping with and adapting to such problems is the ultimate test of one's mon­keywrenching abilities.

The target should be reconnoitered in advance. If an urban target, know the layout of all the roads you might use during your withdrawal. Otherwise, you might find yourself at the end of a dead-end street while trying to make a quick escape. If you are planning a night operation, familiarize yourself with the tar­get during both day and night. Landmarks visible in daylight may not be so at night, and certain security measures (lighting, security guards) may be used only at night. If your target is in remote country, know the location of all trails, roads, and natural drainages in the vicinity, in case you have to make alternate escape plans.

If it becomes necessary to use written notes and maps in preparing for an action, destroy all such paperwork before commencing work. The best way to destroy paperwork is by burning. Indoors, paper can be burned in a fireplace. Absent a fireplace, burn in a large pan or bucket (place under a kitchen stove hood exhaust or a bathroom fan). It may be preferable to burn such material outdoors in a shallow hole. Since intact ashes can be analyzed in the labora­tory to reveal something of their contents, even ashes should be crushed and disposed of. Outdoors, grind up the ashes and bury them. Indoors, flush them down the toilet.

The Team

In selecting people for an operation, keep the number involved at the mini­mum necessary to get the job done. Although some activities are fine for a lone monkeywrencher, the small group of two to five members is most effec­tive. (Some very experienced and effective monkeywrenchers, however, argue for doing everything alone.) The group provides mobility through a driver, security through a lookout, and the sympathy of a friendly ear to relieve the inevitable tension of the underground. Usually it is just too dangerous for an individual to engage in sabotage and look over her shoulder at the same time. So begin your organized monkeywrenching with a close friend who shares your values. Start small, with the simplest plans and easiest targets, until you learn to function as a team. (If you do not have an entirely trustwor­thy partner, it is better to operate alone.)

Recruiting new team members begins with evaluating your close friends as prospects. Bear in mind, however, that not everyone is suited for this sort of activity. A monkeywrencher should be able to function well under stress, but no test has yet been devised to determine who is likely to crack under stress and who is not. The persons doing the selecting simply have to use their best judgment. Avoid the faint-of-heart, the excessively paranoid, and the not­ quite-thoroughly committed. Avoid the casual acquaintance you only see at a protest rally, especially the ones who "talk tough." Such people may well be police spies or agent provocateurs. Government use of such infiltrators is widespread, both here and abroad. In Britain the authorities have attempted to infiltrate anti-hunting groups, and have even set up sham groups of their own to stage violent acts to discredit their opponents. In the US, cases in which the FBI or other police agents have infiltrated radical groups and even encour­aged or participated in criminal acts are too numerous to mention-the histo­ries of the anti-war and civil rights movements are replete with such stories.

The success or failure of law enforcement often lies with the informer, known in police circles as the "confidential informant" or "CI" These are usually indi­viduals "turned" after their own arrest, who aid the police in exchange for favorable treatment. Such persons produce perhaps 90 percent of all criminal arrests. (In the "Arizona Five" case, there was one full-time professional FBI agent operating undercover, several FBI agents who attended Earth First! par­ties or demonstrations, and at least five confidential informants and perhaps a dozen. These people were active during 1988-89; an undercover Tucson police department officer was unmasked at a Mt. Graham demonstration in Tucson late in 1992 [his automatic pistol fell out of his hippie day pack], three and a half years after the Arizona arrests.) The best way to avoid the informer is to work only with close friends, ideally of many years' acquaintance. A tight-­knit group of friends, loyal to each other and careful to minimize leaving evi­dence at the scene, is virtually impossible to penetrate and apprehend.

Throughout history, secret societies have reinforced group cohesion with an oath for secrecy and loyalty. The oath of secrecy was so successful during the Luddite uprisings in early 19th-century England that oath-swearing was made a capital offense! Although it is not necessary to have a formal initiation with a swearing-in ceremony, it is important that group members openly and directly declare their willingness to protect one another. Psychologically, the act of swearing loyalty is of far greater value than the mere assumption of the same. The memory of such a moment can provide an added ounce of strength under police interrogation (when most groups come unraveled).

Once you have singled out a prospective recruit, use casual conversations to gauge the depth of her commitment to defending Earth. If all goes well, you will next proceed to carefully introduce the topic of monkeywrenching into your conversations, perhaps with the aid of a news broadcast or newspaper story dealing with environmental sabotage. This will help to measure whether feel­ings about conventional law and order might override deeper moral concerns. Be patient. Never rush a recruitment. It may take months to find out that a certain friend is simply not suitable as a team member.

If all goes well, you will eventually suggest doing a "job" together-perhaps something simple like spray-painting slogans on the outside walls of an offend­ing land rapist. Do not, under any circumstances, tell the potential recruit that you have had experience in such matters. If she gets cold feet at the last moment and backs out, she will still have no knowledge that can harm you.

Once your first hit is successfully completed, you are bound together by shared danger and experience, and you may consider introducing the new recruit to the team. If the recruit seems paranoid or expresses doubts during or after the first hit, wait until she has a bit more experience before introducing her to other team members. The ideal recruit responds with excitement and enthusiasm to the rigors of direct action, but is not reckless.


* Some experienced monkeywrenchers argue against working with one's spouse or significant other-in case of a romantic breakup in the future, he or she may turn on you. They also argue against minors participating. Other experienced ecodefenders have long operated with their spouse or romantic partner; some with their children ("kids can be a great cover"). It depends on the individuals.

* Some experienced and effective monkeywrenchers have done all of their work alone.



The team will most likely be carried to the vicinity of the target in a motor vehicle (see also the section on Mountain Bicycles in the Miscellaneous Deviltry chapter). Whether it be a motorcycle, car, or truck, it should look ordi­nary, and lack anything that might be conspicuous-such as a special paint job, provocative bumper stickers, or personalized license plates.

On most operations, one should not stop directly in front of, park near, or repeatedly cruise past the target.

When exiting the vehicle, do not slam the car doors. Instead, push on the door until it partially latches. The driver can stop briefly after leaving the target area to close doors properly. In rural and suburban environments, it is gener­ally best to drop off the team well away from the target and let them walk to it cross-country. In built-up areas, the drop is usually made closer to the target to avoid being stopped by police patrols when walking down city streets. The aim is to avoid having a casual passerby witness the drop and later report a description of you, your car, or your license plate.

Parking near the target is usually dangerous. After the drop, the driver should leave the area immediately and stay away until the agreed-upon time for pick-up. Keeping the vehicle moving in evening traffic on major streets or highways may be the safest way for the driver to pass the time. If you choose to park, do so only in busy areas near restaurants or movie theaters where you will blend in with the crowd. Avoid operating in the early morning hours when traffic is so light as to make you stand out. The best time for urban operations is usually from nightfall to midnight.

In a rural or sparsely populated area, it may be more dangerous to drive after dark, and you will want to conceal the vehicle by parking it in the woods or on jeep trails adjacent to the highway. Have such a parking place selected beforehand so you do not have to cruise around searching for a place to park out of sight.


When a team is dropped off, it has a designated length of time to finish its work and withdraw to the pick-up point. The location selected for the pick-up usually should be different from that of the drop, in case the drop was observed. Timing is important, and the driver must not have to rush and break speed limits to arrive on schedule. If the team does not make the first pick-up run, the driver will return at pre-determined intervals of fifteen minutes, a half-­hour, or whatever.

If police are in the area, both the team and driver will go to an alternate pick­up point a few blocks or a few miles away, and up to several hours later if nec­essary. If danger from police is imminent, team members will conceal their tools for later recovery and leave the area without anything incriminating on their persons.

After a successful pick-up, the vehicle should leave the area at normal speed. Once safely away, the team should stop briefly to put all tools or other incriminating items out of sight.

In order to avoid leaving tire tracks as evidence, the pick-up vehicle should not leave the paved surface of the road. Of course, this may not be possible in rural areas or on forest roads. If you are parking the vehicle, it may be possi­ble to sweep away tracks (both human and vehicular) with a broom or branches.

The duration of a "drop and pick-up" type of operation may be anywhere from a few minutes for an urban "hit" (such as the delivery of a bucket of raw sewage to a corporate office) to several hours or possibly even days for a complex action in the field, such as major tree spiking or road destruction.

For recognition of the pick-up point, the team can mark the spot by setting a pre-determined object on the shoulder of the road (such as a discarded oil can or beer bottle); but permanent landmarks, such as bridges, culverts, road signs, or mileage posts, are better. The pick-up vehicle can carry an extra light, like a powerful flashlight, on the dashboard so that the team will recog­nize it on its approach run. Use the brakes as little as necessary, since brake lights can be seen from a great distance. One can avoid too much use of the brakes by stopping more quickly and using the parking brake more. The seri­ous monkeywrencher might consider vehicle modifications (see section on Vehicle Modifications in the Vehicles and Heavy Equipment chapter).

Radio communications are valuable to coordinate the pick-up, or to advise the driver to use the alternate pick-up location due to unforeseen troubles. (See the section on Radios later in this chapter for appropriate equipment.) Again, the alternate pick-up can be anywhere from a few hundred yards to a couple of miles from the primary pick-up point; but it must be out of sight of the primary pick-up point, out of sight of the target, and preferably, on an entirely different road.

Night Operations

Begin by reviewing your plan and equipment. Leave any unnecessary items behind. Do not carry any ID, wallets, loose change, or anything else that might identify you or make unnecessary noise. (A college student was arrested for monkeywrenching a bulldozer in Colorado in 1992. His checkbook was lying beside the sabotaged machine.) If you are carrying a car key, use a safety pin to secure it to the inside of your pants pocket.

Before heading into the dark, allow your eyes to adjust to the dark. Five minutes in the dark without looking at bright lights is the minimum necessary, and it's best to wait half an hour before entering a dangerous area. Any bright light can temporarily ruin one's night vision. If it becomes necessary to look into a lighted area or to use a flashlight, cover one eye so as to retain some night vision in the other. Using a flashlight with a red lens filter will not damage your night vision, but beware that even a red light will be visible from some dis­tance away. When looking at something at night, do not stare directly at it. Everyone has a blind spot in the center of their field of vision. It is easier to see an object at night by keeping the eyes constantly moving than by looking directly at it. Practice by taking walks at night. And eat your carrots!

Travel at a steady pace and avoid running in the dark. Lifting knees higher than normal when walking will reduce the chance of stumbling over rocks, roots, and low branches. To avoid being hit in the eyes by low branches, extend one arm in front of your face and well ahead. This is a safe way of "feeling" your way in the dark. If you must run, focus your attention on the ground just two to three steps in front of you and run at a slight crouch. The crouching position keeps you from taking long strides, which is dangerously uncontrollable at night. Concentrating just a short distance ahead alerts you to the smallest hazards, which are usually the ones that will trip you. Again, keep one arm extended to protect your face. Practice moving at night without a flashlight before you find this necessary on an action.

The sense of hearing becomes much more important at night and will often reveal as much or more than the eyes will. Always pause for several minutes before entering a dangerous target area to listen for the footfalls of a guard or passerby. Make sure your hat does not cover your ears, and cup your hands behind your ears to help pick up faint sounds. An ear to the ground won't help.

Communication between team members is best done with hand signals. Tap someone on the shoulder and point to possible danger sources. If you must talk, cup your hands over your friend's ear and whisper. Night bird sounds, like owl hoots, should be used as danger signals only, to avoid excessive use. In addition, whistles worn on a cord around the neck can provide emergency sig­naling when the team is spread out over a large area. All team members should be assigned numbers or fake names for emergency shouting at night.

-Etta Place


  Exposure to bright sunlight on the day before a mission can impair your night vision. Wear sunglasses in bright sunlight to prevent this.

• Get in the habit of walking around your home at night in the dark to become used to moving and seeing in the dark. Practice walking without a flashlight when camping.

Military Movement

Direction and Distance

If the target is in unfamiliar terrain, or you expect to be in dim light and dense vegetation, bring a compass. Backpacking and other outdoor stores sell a wide variety of compasses, and instruction books on how to use them and topographic maps.

You will improve your compass skills if you can reliably estimate your dis­tance of travel. Learn how to count your pace, as in infantry training. Measure a distance of 100 feet, pacing the distance several times, and counting the paces of the right or left foot. Practice this in dense vegetation and on other rough terrain, to master staying on a predetermined direction and distance while going around obstacles on the route.

The direction and distance to a particular terrain feature or human artifact (e.g., road junction, hilltop) can be easily determined from a topographic map during planning, using the scale and a protractor. Note that conversion of the map angle to a magnetic (compass) angle is important. This conversion is typically shown at the bottom of topographic maps.

An easy method of keeping track of pace count is to mount small flexible plastic discs on a small section of cord. The discs should be mounted so that no free movement can occur on the cord. During the movement, one disc is moved from top to bottom at each pace count of 100. This simple device is commercially available and cheap at places where military supplies are sold. This device allows you to concentrate on other aspects of movement.

Alternate Assembly Areas

These are predetermined areas where the team can regroup when rapid escape is necessary, and separation of people is likely. These areas should be determined during planning, utilizing map and recon information, and should always be at natural or man-made terrain features easily recognizable during limited visibility conditions.

In choosing alternate assembly areas, consider availability of concealment along the routes thereto, and distance; remember: the team will be carrying equipment, and visibility may be low. Consider the feasibility of destruction or concealment of incriminating evidence at the reassembly area. Select an alternate route to safety, too.

The prearranged signal to reassemble at an alternative area should be clear to all members of the separated team, but meaningless to any observers. Non­verbal signals may be preferable to radio codes, due to reliability and speed. Smoke grenades or modified flashes could provide secondary benefits.

Silent Communication

Plan visual signals that convey messages to separated members without being conspicuous. The typical military movement commands may have value due to the simplicity of the hand and arm movements. Some large bookstores have titles dealing with military leadership development.

A rendezvous of team members at night may arouse suspicion if members signal with noise as they approach. A visual signal instead, such as a taped pattern on the red lens of a microlight, provides positive identification, and could save time and embarrassment by preventing the accidental rendezvous with a noisy raccoon or an alert security guard.

-Dan Shays


Limit each team member's knowledge of operations to what they need to know. You can't slip and talk about something you don't know about. This will protect your associates as well as yourself.

Don't discuss your illegal activities on the telephone. Not even on pay phones!

Avoid storing potentially incriminating tools, clothing, shoes, paint, and doc­uments in your house or apartment. (This includes maps of the project in question.) If possible, hide them in the woods or in a rented storage locker (rent one under an assumed name). If you must keep anything potentially incriminating at home, hide it well. Keep in mind that a remote corner of your property away from your house can be legally searched without a search war­rant.

In a 1988 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Bill of Rights provision against illegal search and seizure (Fourth Amendment) does not apply to garbage. Justice Whizzer White said that citizens do not have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" for their garbage, even when it is sealed in opaque bags. The upshot is that police do not need a search warrant to go through your trash.

Destroy potentially incriminating materials:

Tools - Periodically dispose of all tools that leave a distinctive mark (pry bars, bolt and wire cutters, etc.), and replace them with similar items from a dif­ferent manufacturer. Right after a particularly "heavy" job is a good time to dispose of tools, but it is not the only time you should take this precaution. Remember, the cost of replacing tools is far less than what a good lawyer would charge you for an hour of legal services. Tools may be disposed of in dumpsters, buried in remote rural locations, or dumped into a deep body of water. Buy only well-known, popular brands of tools so an unusual purchase does not stick in the mind of the salesperson.

Papers, maps, and documents - Burn completely and crumble the ashes. Bury or flush down the toilet the crushed ashes.

News clippings, diaries, addresses, etc. - Do not keep any newspaper clippings about monkeywrenching. Mention nothing of possible relevance in your diary, calendar, Day-Timer, or other notes. Do not have addresses, phone numbers, or names of other monkeywrenchers in your address book, Rolodex, or even on scraps of paper. Such addresses and notes constituted major evidence against one of the defendants in the Arizona Five monkey­wrenching trial.

Paint - Dispose of in dumpsters. (Avoid fingerprints on paint cans.) Don't neglect to dispose of rags or clothing that may carry paint spots.

Shoes and clothing - All clothing should be laundered as soon as possible after a job. Clean boots and shoes as well. This can help remove incriminating dirt, fibers, plant debris, and the like. Pay particular attention to grease spots from heavy equipment. If in doubt, dispose of shoes and clothing. These items can be discarded in dumpsters, buried, or burned, as appropriate. Be especially wary of shoes. A distinctive footprint often can be positively con­nected to the shoe or boot that produced it. Shoes found in their homes were used as evidence against two of the defendants in the Arizona Five trial.

Don't worry about the cost of replacing tools, clothing, and the like. Freedom is priceless.

Clean your car - After using a vehicle on a job, vacuum the floor and wipe off the seats to get rid of incriminating soil, grease, etc. Don't forget to clean under floor mats, cracks in seats, etc. After vacuuming, dispose of the bag, or better yet, use a vacuum at a commercial self-serve car wash. If you've been driving on unpaved roads, thoroughly wash the vehicle's exterior too. Don't neglect the underside of the vehicle, especially the wheel wells and inside of bumpers. A self-service, commercial car washing establishment is a good place to wash and vacuum your car. Incidentally, spreading a little mud on your license plate before an operation to prevent it from being read at night is a good idea, so long as you are operating in an area in which mud would not seem out of place. Use common sense, though-a muddy plate on an otherwise clean vehicle would probably attract suspicion.

Remove floor mats before an operation so they don't accumulate evidence. Replace them after the car has been vacuumed. Clean behind the front part of the doors under the hinges and between the front part of the doors and the body. Dirt accumulates there. Do all of this after the car has been profes­sionally washed. Then go to a self-service car wash and re-wash the entire car. Be sure to direct the high pressure water and soap under the chassis and in the wheel wells. Consider changing the air filter. If witnessed, this compul­sive car cleaning may be suspicious. Try to be inconspicuous.

Never carry anything incriminating with you if it is not essential. After com­pleting your mission, resist the temptation to carry out survey stakes, survey­ors' flagging, stolen or damaged pieces of equipment, and the like. If you are stopped and searched (whether by an actual law enforcement officer or by an irate miner, logger, stockman, or whatever) such items would likely be legally admissible as evidence against you.

Always have a story prepared to tell the police if you're stopped in the target area. Keep it short and simple and avoid unnecessary details.

Operate with a small group of trusted friends, and never have more people on an operation than are absolutely necessary.

Assign each member of the team a fictitious first name or number for opera­tional use. Numbers may be best, since fake names may be more confusing. Memorization of these nommes de guerre will take concentration and practice; otherwise, during the stress of an operation it will be too easy to revert to using real names. Never use your fictitious names in public when not on a mission.

Limit talking when on an operation. Practice a few simple hand signals in advance, at least if there will be enough light to see them during the operation.

Avoid nights of the full or nearly-full moon. A quarter to half moon should ordinarily give enough light for night movement.

Don't keep a diary or other written records of illegal activities. Don't get drunk and shoot off your mouth down at the corner bar. Bragging has put more people in jail than any other factor.

If you are engaging in serious monkeywrenching, avoid overt political activism, rallies, demonstrations, and the like. When the police begin looking for suspects, they will begin by consulting existing records of activists, espe­cially those with records of arrests and convictions. These records are very detailed, never destroyed, and are available to any police agency requesting them. Investigative detectives will visit known "hangouts," attend workshops and demonstrations, and make "radical" statements to elicit invitations to clandestine circles. The head of the local Sierra Club chapter or another "respectable" environmental group may be questioned, and she may cooperate fully, even to the point of suggesting suspects. (Some mainstream conserva­tion groups, like the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, have offered substantial rewards for monkeywrenchers in a futile effort to gain credibility with politicians and industry.) Keep a low profile.

Let knowledge be your greatest ally. Go to the public or university library and study police investigative techniques.

Avoid patterns. This is easier said than done. You will tend to establish pat­terns as to type of target, days of the week on which you are active, times at which you strike, etc. Police investigators will look for these patterns and can be surprisingly good at predicting one's moves. This can lead the unwary monkeywrencher into ambushes. Make a conscious effort to keep your actions as random as security permits. Periodically "lay low" for awhile. If you suspect that the police are investigating your activities or conducting stake­outs, cease all activity for a few months. Limited personnel and budget will force the authorities to assign their investigators to more pressing matters.

Such interludes are good times to dispose of tools, intelligence files, and other possibly incriminating materials. Be clean as a whistle in case investiga­tors get a lead on you, or otherwise become suspicious enough to haul you in for questioning or obtain a warrant to search your home.

A final rule: Don't hurt anyone. Respect all life.

-Fearless Fosdick

Disposing of Evidence

Recent arrests have included the seizure by police of large amounts of material as "evidence" from suspected eco-raiders' homes. Carefully observe all security precautions for disposing of evidence. After any job in which you may have left tool marks from pry bars, screwdrivers, wire cutters, and the like, immediately use files and emery cloth to alter the tools' prying/cutting edges to prevent a positive "match" between your tools and evidence left at the scene. This must be done before the tools are stashed away. If you've used something like spray paint or glue during a "job," get rid of any remaining and replace it with a different brand for the next action.

Have a well-rehearsed drill for disposing of evidence in an emergency. If you don't have a stove or fireplace for documents, you should have a sheet of metal or metal container in which you can burn documents without burning your house down.

If you must leave your house to dispose of tools and other evidence, make a dry run first to check for ambush or surveillance before taking the tools out of your dwelling. Have at least two emergency plans for disposing of tools. Dumping them in water is best, but only if they cannot be seen from above. Don't dump things in a stream in the dark only to find that in daylight the objects are easily seen! Select your dump spots ahead of time (and beware of places where the water level rises and falls). Plan both your approach and departure routes. Though it's best to scatter the tools about in the water, do it quietly from the edge of the water. Loud splashing noises may attract the attention of an unseen passerby.

If a watery grave is not available, tools can be buried in remote spots (ideally, several spots), or tossed from open car windows while driving down remote highways (after having been cleansed of fingerprints, of course). Items tossed from vehicles should be thrown far back in the brush where hunters and casual passersby are unlikely to find them.

Don't wait for an emergency situation to find your disposal sites-plan ahead.

If you prefer to temporarily bury your tools between jobs, either on your own property or at a remote site, consider the following:

- Decoy pieces of scrap metal can be buried at many spots around your cache to mislead and discourage searchers using metal detectors.

- Avoid burying at night. Even if the use of a flashlight doesn't betray your presence, you may have a hard time returning the ground to a normal appear­ance that will pass muster in daylight.

- Be careful when burying or digging up your cache, even if it's in a remote location. Sit down and watch and listen for awhile, then move on to another spot and repeat, before commencing digging operations. Your burial site should be a location where you cannot be observed except from close up. Be wary for hikers, hunters, or other passersby.

- Getting out of a car with a shovel and heading into the woods looks suspi­cious. Use a folding entrenching tool (found at military surplus stores) that fits into your pack, or even a small backpacker's trowel designed for burying human waste.

- Encase your tools in several layers of sealed plastic bags to protect against moisture.                                    - Frozen ground can be a problem in winter. Bury shallow in winter. Mixing salt with the covering soil can limit freezing problems somewhat.

- If you are caught at a burial site, claim that you were just walking by and saw something sticking out of the ground. If you took proper precautions when you buried your tools, there will be no fingerprints on the tools or bags. Of course, if you are carrying a shovel, you might have some explaining to do.

- Never bury tools used in ecotage on your own land or that owned by friends or associates. Police agencies are experienced in the use of metal detectors to uncover buried caches. You can throw off metal detectors by burying metal tools in old landfills that have other metal present or by scattering nails and scrap metal through the soil where you do bury your "monkeywrenches."

-Pinky Burns

No Evidence

After any act of ecotage, it is essential that there be no evidence-in your possession or at the site of the action-that could link you to the "crime." The basic principles for eliminating all potentially incriminating evidence are:

1) Don't leave anything at the site that can be connected with you.

2) Don't take anything away with you that can be connected with the site. More specific suggestions include the following:

- Wear coveralls or common work clothes. Should a button or another frag­ment from practical clothing of this type be lost on the site, it would be unlikely to arouse suspicion. Use common work gloves, such as cheap cotton ones.

- Minimize what you wear and take with you onto the site. The less you carry, the less likely you are to drop something which might later be used as evidence.

- Remove fingerprints from everything on your person before you enter the site-even such internal parts as flashlight lens, bulb, and batteries; radio bat­teries; and the insides of cases and tool boxes. Authorities will fingerprint any possible piece of evidence they find, in every conceivable place you could leave a fingerprint.

- Don't leave footprints. Wear common work boots or shoes. Cover them with a cloth bag or wrap to blank-out the sole. Cotton duck canvas and burlap work well for this, and are easily disposed of.

- Don't leave tire tracks. Use a common brand, size, and style of tire. Avoid damp or muddy ground. Generally, if you stay on compacted roads that site workers use, tire tracks shouldn't be a problem. If you must drive where tracks will be conspicuous, sweep with a branch or broom; or drag a large branch tied in such a way that it can be released quickly while driving. This last technique is often ineffective on wet ground.

- Use top-quality tools. Tools that break cause injury and leave evidence. Use common US brands such as Proto, Thorsen, Challenger, Utica, Bonney, Wright, Snap-On, New Britain, SK, Diamond, Ridgid, H.K. Porter, Channellock, Craftsman, etc. Avoid tools made in Taiwan or Hong Kong.

- Use a stone or file to dress-up after use the working surfaces of tools like wrenches and bolt cutters that leave distinctive marks. Better yet, remove the broken bolts, nuts, chain-link pieces, and other fragments of metal that you have cut; discard them off site.

- Anything written should be either innocuous or coded. It's safest never to write anything related to the action.

- Use deliberate "false evidence" with great care, if at all. If no real evidence is left behind, the scattering of false evidence is a waste of time. It can also backfire and/or get innocent persons in trouble.

- Remove dirt, grease, oil, paint, etc. from tools and clothes as soon as possible. Use an ultraviolet light to check for special marker dyes. If you sus­pect a special marker dye, dispose of the article. Clean tools of plating chips or paint chips before and after the action. (Remember that if you worked on your green car yesterday with the same wrench, and you leave green paint on the bulldozer, it may be incriminating. Likewise, if you have yellow bulldozer paint on your wrench.)

- Think. The length of your step is evidence. Your blood is evidence. Watch for infrared cameras or any strange electronic equipment. Don't photo-docu­ment your action (surprisingly, some people do!), and never tell anyone who doesn't need to know.

- Avoid creating suspicion in the first place. Act normal. Use clothing and equipment that have other legitimate uses. Don't hide anything that wouldn't be hidden under normal circumstances. Use big tool boxes that can be used to hide things in a "legitimate" manner. Prepare your story/alibi in advance.

-The Shadow

Written Records

While written records are the classic security mistake that leads to many convictions, you may occasionally have to keep simple notes when planning a mission. Avoid obvious references to targets. A monkeywrencher's note "Uranium mine turnoff milepost 149.3" can become a nature lover's "beautiful rocks m.p. 149.3."

A written note on a cigarette paper can be easily eaten, balled up and dropped, or hidden in clothing seams. Write only with pencil (No. 2) in case you have to swallow your work. Another suitable paper type is the edible paper made of starch fibers that quickly dissolves in water. It is sold in nov­elty/magic shops and on the novelty/gag racks at some tourist junk shops. It can also be purchased from mail-order outfits like Johnson Smith Company, 4514 19th Court E (or PO Box 25500), Bradenton, FL 34206-5500. Ask for their catalog. Practice with this paper before using it and learn to keep the 'pieces small.

Most important: remember that any paper or cardboard underneath the slip you're writing on will carry an impression of your letters (and make dandy evi­dence in court). Impressions can also be left in other relatively soft materials such as a wooden table used to write on. Writing on a piece of glass or mirror is a good way to avoid such traces. -Mata Hari

Avoiding Arrest

If you have been active in one area for any length of time, the police will consider baiting a trap to catch you. In setting a trap, the authorities will look for any patterns you may have inadvertently set. Perhaps you only work on certain nights. Perhaps you hit certain targets more than others. Perhaps your routes of approach and withdrawal to your targets are known. Monkeywrenchers have narrowly escaped from police traps on some occa­sions simply because they were silent and alert, while the opposition was bored with weeks of fruitless waiting. The best way to avoid traps is to hit your target one time only, but with maximum effectiveness.

Sometimes a trap will be baited by deliberately leaving heavy equipment temptingly parked along rural roads. In such a situation, chase cars will be carefully hidden in the area, often on back roads and dirt lanes, sometimes one on each side of the "bait" but a good distance away, ready to intercept suspect vehicles. If you see such a tempting target, be careful! Instead of striking immediately, scout the area carefully ahead of time, carrying nothing incrimi­nating.

In cases where construction equipment has been successfully sabotaged repeatedly, the owners will often move it at night to a more public location, such as a roadside, to facilitate protection by police or private guards. Look for the vehicles of private security guards, which may be concealed among the pieces of heavy equipment.

Be aware that monkeywrenchers may run afoul of the law in a completely unexpected manner. Don't break speed limits when going to and from an oper­ation-you could fall victim to a speed trap or police radar. A simple rule to follow to prevent most routine traffic violations is to have the front seat pas­senger (i.e., the person in the "shotgun" seat) watch for road hazards, and caution the driver if the car exceeds the speed limit. If the driver is over-sen­sitive about this, she shouldn't be driving.

Another conventional law enforcement activity to which unwary monkey­wrenchers could fall victim is the local game warden on the lookout for jack­lighters or poachers. A tactic used frequently by game officers is to park on a hill that allows a long view of a road often used by poachers at night. Drive by the local office of the Department of Fish and Game to learn what type of vehi­cles the game officers in your vicinity use. If you are out on a job at night and think you have spotted a game officer in the vicinity, scratch your operation and wait for another night. These men and women are providing a valuable service in fighting poaching and should be helped, not hindered or distracted. Also, game officers are full-fledged law enforcement officers with all the power of the state behind them, and may enforce other laws besides game laws. Since they may stop you at night, never carry rifles, spotlights, or anything else that might make you look like a poacher when on a monkeywrenching operation.

Keep in mind that every time a law enforcement officer stops to check any suspicious person or thing, a record is made of the event. Even if you are just briefly stopped and then released, that record may later be used to place you near the scene of an illegal activity. If stopped by a cop before you hit a tar­get, cancel the mission. If stopped after you have already carried out an oper­ation, go to special pains to destroy all evidence as soon as you arrive at a safe location.

-Tra v


* When placing lookouts, consider all possible routes of approach. Place lookouts to cover these.

* The growing popularity of monkey business is also making it more danger­ous. Here's a method of approach that has proven safe for day or night, by one person or a group.

1) Always observe from a distance first. Because daytime is riskier, stay well away and use binoculars. Day or night, hide in deep shadow and don't let shiny or brightly colored objects betray you. Watch for as long as you can, especially if a parked vehicle nearby might indicate a watchman in the area.

2) If all appears quiet, you're ready to do a "walk-by" to either spot a watch­man or trip an ambush. We usually put on our new monkey shoes at this point, but carry nothing incriminating. The idea is to be clean if you're stopped. Quietly, but out loud, practice the casual and friendly answer you'll give when confronted. (Practicing your comments silently in your mind is not nearly as effective as practicing them out loud. All good public speakers, singers, and other performers know this.) Scout as hikers, bird-watchers, young lovers, or the like.

3) Walk past-but not through-the target area, glancing about casually (in daytime from behind sunglasses) for sign of trouble. If no one confronts you, sit down a short distance away and continue to look and listen.

4) If you are still uncertain, do a dry run to trip an ambush. Pause at the tar­get, like a bulldozer, and pretend to be doing something to it. Do not actually touch it. If caught at this point, you can just explain that you've always liked big machines and were curious. You've committed no crime.

5) Since the Freddies will read about this, add a final step of leaving the immediate vicinity and hiding nearby to see if anyone emerges to check whether you've actually done any damage. Or have a hidden lookout watch.

6) If all is still clear, go to work.

-Safety First


Light Reflections

Light reflections off the face are rarely a problem in night-work. Still, if for certain jobs you feel reflections could be a problem, tone down bright spots by rubbing a little burnt cork across the forehead, on the cheekbones, on the top of the nose and on the point of the chin. Never spread the blacking all over the face-hitting the aforementioned high spots lightly is sufficient. This form of night camouflage is rarely used, mainly because it makes the user stand out, and anyone observing an individual so made up would almost certainly con­clude that they were engaged in some illegal activity. In certain wilderness operations, however, it may even be beneficial to use camouflage face paint (available at sporting goods and bow hunter supply stores). How-to books for bow hunters may be your best guide. Anyone using either of these techniques is advised to carry a couple of packets of moist towelettes (like "Wash 'N Dry"). These should be carried carefully safety-pinned into a pocket (make sure that the pin does not pierce the inside of the packet, or the towel will dry out). After an operation these can be used for quick cleanup. Camo face paint is easy to remove if you put a thin layer of baby oil on the areas to be camouflaged before applying the face paint. This is at least true for the military stuff and possibly for bow hunter face paint.


Proper footwear is important. Remember, shoes and boots leave prints which may constitute valuable evidence. Such prints do not produce leads on suspects, but they do constitute physical evidence that might be matched up later when other means produce a suspect. Cheap tennis shoes that can be thrown away after a major job or series of minor hits are ideal. If it's not too awkward, one can buy shoes a couple of sizes too large and wear extra pairs of socks to fill them out. This will confuse the investigators who may photo­graph and/or take casts of footprints at the scene of the "crime." If good trac­tion is not critical, obtain shoes with smooth soles. If you do not throw your monkeywrenching shoes away, at least avoid wearing them for any other pur­pose. Do not ever wear them around your home, since the dirt around your house and driveway will be the first place that the authorities will look for matching footprints.

For some operations, lightweight shoes will be impractical. For work in rough terrain or at night, where the danger of falls and sprains is real, sturdy boots are generally called for (though some people even backpack off-trail in light­weight running shoes-one possibility is to tape your ankles before wearing running shoes for night or rough ground work). Since it may be costly to throw away boots after a "job," one might consider covering the boots with oversize socks (dark for night-work). Carry several pairs if operating on hard or stony ground. Dispose socks after an operation, since minute fibers will have been left as evidence. You could also make boot coverings out of heavy canvas.


• It is hard to determine just how effective footprints are as evidence. During the Arizona Five Trial in Prescott, the FBI lab specialist could not definitely match a very clear print to one of the shoes seized. The testimony indicated shoe prints were vague and indefinite evidence. In contrast, there have been recent claims that podiatrists can not only match a shoe with a track but can positively identify the foot in it, presumably from pressure points, weight, and so forth. Whatever the reality is on shoe prints as evidence, it is unwise to keep shoes worn during any serious ecotage operation, and absolutely fool­hardy to keep them in one's home.

• Do not wear anything on your feet to disguise your tracks that may seri­ously impede your speed of movement or maneuverability. Strapping boards to one's feet ("Air Bakers") has been proven to make a monkeywrencher help­less.

• A recent arrest in Utah shows how law enforcement relies on evidence like footprints. Ecodefenders must never let their curiosity cause them to leave incriminating footprints near heavy equipment and the like. You can get stuck with something you didn't do.

• Here's one monkeywrencher's recommendations on footwear: "To be ready on a moment's notice, I buy different brands of cheap canvas shoes. The newest pair goes into my backpack. I use them for fording streams, but I back into the stream with them on and erase the footprints behind me. Once my hiking boots are back on, I smear out the canvas shoe prints on the bank where I exit the stream. This way, I can be ready for a spur-of-the-moment hit, knowing that I left no prints behind me that can be linked to the scene.

"Once a pair of these ten-dollar shoes have left their prints at a hit, I never carry them again in daytime when escape is difficult. They are then reserved only for nighttime escapades, and not even worn around the house (I don't want to leave nasty old footprints in the flower bed by mistake).

"Out here in hostile territory where redneck cops can get a search warrant quicker than a turd gets flies, these shoes are either stashed in the back­woods or put in specially-built hiding places inside the homestead."

Editor's Note: The precautions enumerated here seem worthwhile, with one exception, and that is the propriety of keeping shoes that have left a print at a "hit" anywhere around one's dwelling (or place of employment or whatever) no matter how well hidden. If you are suspected by the authorities, they may well tear your house completely apart looking for "evidence." You should weigh the cost of a cheap pair of shoes against the cost of months or years behind bars, and choose accordingly.



Never underestimate the importance of proper clothing. What is good for one type of operation might not be for another. Urban or rural, day or night, season of the year-all of these factors affect what type of clothing is best.

As a general rule, avoid the exotic and unusual. One should not stand out. Dress like the locals, be they construction workers, loggers, or corporate executives. It may be necessary to blend in with the local scene to escape from the target area. Dress and cut your hair like the locals. Women should avoid halter tops, short shorts, or other outfits that make them noticeable.

Camouflage may be of many types. For a wilderness operation (tree or road spiking, for example), consider traditional, military-type camouflage clothing, which ranges from expensive, tailored gear available from fancy sporting goods firms to used, genuine military uniforms sold by "war surplus" stores. Military camouflage comes in many patterns designed for different geographi­cal regions, such as woodland pattern or desert pattern. Consult the special­ized literature, such as military training manuals on camouflage or how-to books for bow hunters (which also give instructions for using camo face paint).

For many operations military-type camouflage is not only unnecessary, but might actually make the monkeywrencher stand out as suspicious. In opera­tions around construction sites or machinery, coveralls and a hard hat might be best. A monkeywrencher so attired might pass for a worker if seen. Used coveralls can be purchased for a reasonable price at many linen supply com­panies. The serious monkeywrencher might purchase several pairs, in differ­ent colors.

Some plaid patterns are nearly as good as camouflage and fit right in with local styles. Pendleton "Black Watch" plaid is good in coniferous forests. Some brown plaids are good in arid environments. Janitors, mechanics, and the like often sport a grayish-green work shirt. It's good in a variety of land­scapes but especially in sagebrush country.

Dark clothing is the rule for nightwork. Long sleeves protect the arms and cover light skin (visible on moonlit nights). Avoid too tight clothing that restricts movement, and too loose clothing that snags on branches, barbed wire, and the like. If stealth is particularly desired, nylon and plastic clothing should be avoided, since it makes a "swishing" noise when one moves. Wool is quieter than cotton. However, woolen garments are particularly susceptible to leaving fibers behind. Brush, cactus, barbed wire fences, and even rough brick can snag" clothing and cause the ecoteur to leave fibers. Although it is unlikely that investigators would find minute clothing fibers left at an outdoor monkeywrenching scene, you should nonetheless avoid unusual, exotic clothing, and should consider discarding clothing after a particularly "heavy" operation.

Used clothing stores such as those operated by Goodwill or the Salvation Army can be sources for cheap, throw-away clothing (don't set a pattern of frequently buying such items at one store and becoming known by the clerks). Again, coveralls (dark) may be best, although "work" shirts and pants are probably adequate.

Many commercial laundry detergents contain chemical "brighteners" that increase the reflectivity of clothing (ever notice your sleeves glowing under a "black light"?). Avoid these when washing clothes to be used in secretive activities. Only actual laundry soap, like Ivory, will leave you with the wonder­fully dull and dingy look while still getting out those telltale body odors. All detergents will increase the reflectivity of your clothing, and will make you more visible to night vision devices. (See the section on Eyes of Night.)


Gloves are a must to avoid leaving fingerprints. Each type of glove has its own characteristics:

LEATHER - Good, highly durable, and suited to general purposes. However, leather can leave distinct prints like fingerprints, especially if it becomes contaminated with oil or grease.

CLOTH - Not as durable as leather, but adequate for most work, and cheaper. The low cost makes it practical to dispose of cloth gloves after an operation; a desirable thing to do. Cloth patterns can be left under the same conditions mentioned above for leather.

PLASTIC OR RUBBER - Usually good for light work only. They will make one's hands sweat. When disposing of this type of glove, one should keep in mind that the insides carry a perfect set of one's fingerprints. Burning them in a fire insures thorough destruction by melting.

Regardless of which type you use, dispose of any manufacturer's labels before heading out. Make sure your gloves cover the entire palm, as any part of the palm can leave distinctive prints for investigators.


* Some monkeywrenchers argue that cotton gloves are better than leather. Because leather is cow skin, it has a grain as unique as a human fingerprint. A good "gloveprint" can be positively linked to a specific glove taken from a sus­pect. The cotton glove is a woven material whose prints might be linked to a certain manufacturer, but only anomalies like tears or manufacturing flaws will connect them to a specific glove. Most important, since you can purchase cotton work gloves cheaply, you can afford to buy and properly dispose of several pairs a year, rather than be tempted to keep expensive leathers for "one more job." The thinnest cotton gloves (like photographers use) might on rare occasions leave a fingerprint, but heavier cotton work gloves will not. To further confound law enforcement, buy a different brand of glove each time, and never dispose of evidence at or near the scene of a hit.

* Dispose of your gloves very well. Like hats, they most likely contain an arm or hand hair which can be traced positively back to you (assuming you're caught near the scene of the crime or are "questioned" later). If you are pur­sued, it may be tempting to simply toss away gloves with incriminating paint, grease, etc. on them. Better to take a moment to bury them (ineffective if dogs are on your trail), or to continue to carry them until escape is assured and then dispose of them safely by burying or burning. Disposing of gloves near the crime scene should be done only if capture appears unavoidable and immedi­ate.


Headgear is important in some situations for warmth and disguise. Knitted wool watch caps are both commonplace and comfortable. Wide brimmed hats hang up on brush and tree limbs and should be avoided. Ski masks and ban­dannas can be used for disguise, but their use may constitute an additional violation of the law. Do not lose your headgear at the scene of an action. It will contain samples of your hair.

If you have long hair, tie it back. Ponytails and braids can be stuck down inside a coat.

Vehicle Camouflage

For lower visibility, paint your truck, van, or whatever one color with a good automotive "semigloss" or flat paint. Good colors are white, yellow, orange, green, or brown.

You may want to install a CB antenna or two, even if you don't have a CB radio, in order to blend in with the local bumpkin proletariat.

Paint the wheels the same color as the vehicle, or else flat black. Avoid tires with raised white letters, and any other custom accessories. Avoid "suggestive" bumper stickers on the vehicle. An American flag decal or NRA sticker might be a good idea, if you want to fit in with the local "good of boys." (Scotch tape them to the inside of a window so you can later remove them.)

Cover packs or other camping gear with a plain canvas tarp. Tool boxes, torches, and other "working gear" left out in the open are a good idea if you wish to look like you belong on the job.

A set of official-looking magnetic door signs might also be useful in order to look like a contractor of some sort who has business in the area. Magnetic door signs are instantly removable or installable. This helps disguise your vehicle.

Make sure your registration, driver's license, and vehicle identification num­ber are all legal. A recently-purchased car might not be in the computers yet, and thus could give cause to detain you. If ownership of a car can't be estab­lished, that alone is sufficient cause for a police agency to obtain a search warrant for the car.

Tires, windshield, blinkers, and brake lights should be in good condition, to avoid giving the authorities probable cause for stopping you.

Switching license plates is not advised. Make sure that your front and back plates match. Incidentally, in the West, Idaho plates are the hardest for offi­cers to read, while Utah plates are very legible. Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and California plates all fall somewhere in between.

-The Invisible Man


* Many ecodefenders claim it is safer to monkeywrench out of state than in one's own. This is not true for activists with California license plates-they are considered fair game by most non-California badge wearers who get their jollies by hassling residents of the tarnished golden state. In California, however, out-of-staters are rarely bugged just because of their origin except for those with Mexican license plates.

* If you have suggestive bumper stickers on your car, you can cover them with masking tape and duct tape while "on the job" or visiting unfriendly towns like Escalante, Utah. Cover your sticker with masking tape first, then cover the masking tape with duct tape. The masking tape will protect your bumper sticker from being peeled off or torn when the duct tape is pulled off. When your need for maintaining a low profile is over, simply peel off the duct tape and there is your bumper sticker proclaiming its message to the world. If you are serious about security, however, you will remove such bumper stickers from your vehicle while on the job.


* Before you go into the woods at night, check your running shoes, clothing, pack, and other equipment for reflective patches and remove them. For example, many running shoes today have reflector stripes on them to make runners along roads at night visible to cars. To check, dress exactly as you would for nightwork, stand to the side of a road, and have a trusted friend drive down it with the headlights on as you turn around-if anything you are wearing reflects light, she should notice it.

* Campmor offers in their catalog what they call the "world's quietest pack." It is touted as, "The pack when you don't want to be seen or heard. Made of 26 oz., water resistant, virgin wool. This pack will not pull, thread or catch. Forest green color blends into the woods nicely." Sounds like it was made with mon­keywrenchers in mind!


Keep the number of tools used in an operation to an absolute minimum. Useful tools may include adjustable pipe and crescent wrenches, hacksaws with spare blades, heavy duty wire cutters or bolt cutters, pliers, pry-bars, screwdrivers, and crosscut saws. Especially noisy tools should be avoided. Hammers fall into this category, although they are essential for certain types of work, such as spiking. Chain saws are usually out of the question for any clandestine type of activity. Insulated handles (tape may be used for this) minimize the sounds of tools clanking together.

If you are carrying only one or two tools, secure them to your wrist or belt with a short cord, to prevent loss by dropping them in the dark. Otherwise, carry tools in jacket pockets or in canvas bags slung from the shoulder or attached to the belt. If bags are used, they should be easy to open and close. Before heading out, shake the bag to insure that the tools don't rattle or bang together. A dark towel or rag can be used to deaden any noise. A towel will also prove useful if you need to cut wire: drape a couple of layers of towel over the wire and then cut. The towel will deaden the sound of the wire separating. Be sure the ends of a taut fence wire don't snap back and cause noise. A shallow cut followed by flexing the wire back and forth should allow the wire to separate quietly. Practice.

Choose tools of common manufacture and buy them with cash at large retail outlets or discount houses where the cashier is not likely to remember you. If asked for name and address, even for a warranty, give false information or none at all.

If you must buy special tools, materials, books, or the like by mail, don't leave a "paper trail" for investigators to follow. Don't use charge cards or per­sonal checks. Send postal or bank money orders instead, and DO NOT fill out your name and address in the part labeled "sender." Remember, bank accounts are accessible to the police, and provide a detailed account of pur­chases, travel, and even political opinion. All checks cashed, by law, must be recorded on microfilm. A basic step in police investigation is to gather com­plete bank records of all possible suspects and co-conspirators. Your bank does not tell you when they hand over copies of your records to a police agency. In the Arizona Five case, the FBI secretly acquired complete bank records for the accounts of Dave Foreman, Earth First! Journal, and the Earth First! Foundation, well before any arrests.

Microscopic marks left by tools can sometimes be used to link a specific tool to the scene of a "crime." Also, paint flakes or other material from a "crime scene" may be found on a tool and used as evidence to link that tool to a spe­cific site. Because of this, too, it is prudent to dispose of tools regularly and to replace them with tools of a different brand, size, or type.

Before beginning a "mission," prepare the tools to be taken by donning gloves and wipe them free of fingerprints with a rag. Store the "clean" tools in a bag to prevent accidental handling (cloth laundry bags are good). All surfaces must be wiped off. In the case of a flashlight, for example, you must be certain that no prints will turn up on batteries, bulb, reflector, or any other part you might have handled.


CUTTING TOOLS - For cutting chainlink fence, small (14") bolt cutters work well. For something smaller, try the Sears 8" wire cutter with compound-action jaws. Fence tools should be used for cutting barbed wire. Most wire cutters and fence tools will cut chicken wire and hardware cloth, but they are slow. If you anticipate much of this type of cutting, tin snips or compound leverage sheet metal shears are faster (available from Sears).

WRENCHES - If your project involves removing bolts, you may want to scout the job ahead of time. Investigate the bolts and nuts so that you can bring the right tools. Adjustable wrenches work for most jobs, but others require proper sized wrenches, hacksaws, or other tools. Measure the dis­tance between parallel sides of the bolt head or nut. Are they standard or met­ric? Copy any markings you find on the bolt heads. What do they mean? If they indicate that the bolt is heat-treated or case-hardened, they cannot be cut with bolt cutters and require special hacksaw blades. Are the bolt heads and nuts square or hex (6 sided)? Are they standard type or will specialized tools be required to remove them? Notice the placement of the bolts and nuts. Can you reach them with crescent, end, or box wrenches, or will it be neces­sary to bring socket wrenches and extensions?

Place a few drops of Liquid Wrench or Penetrating Oil on the nuts and bolts during your recon so they can be more easily removed later, but wipe off the drips and use a product with a minimal odor so you don't tip off workers or security guards. Be careful during recon not to be seen; later on your work night, if anything seems abnormal, figure you were seen. Cancel the job and slip away.

Based on your recon, use crescent, end, box, or adjustable wrenches if bolts are accessible. If you must use socket wrenches, use 6 point sockets for hex bolts/nuts since 12 point may slip if the head is worn. Eight point sock­ets fit square nuts and bolts. These are available from Sears, Snap-On, and others. If the bolt studs protrude very far through the nut, you may need to use Deep or Bolt Clearance sockets. Six point deep sockets are readily avail­able but 8 point deep sockets are only available from Snap-On.

Drive tools may be necessary for difficult nuts and bolts. Very large bolts may demand 3/4" or even 1 " square drive tools. These are heavy. When removing bolts, block the head or nut with a crescent or pipe wrench or another socket. Use a breaker bar (cheater) to loosen the bolt. When the bolt is mov­ing, put a Ratcheting Adapter (Snap-On #S67) between the socket and the breaker bar and finish pulling the bolt or nut. Two short lengths of pipe joined with a coupling will make your cheater easier to carry and conceal. If you anticipate using heavy force on nuts, select thick-walled, heat-treated Impact socket wrenches. Heavy duty Slugging wrenches are also good. A hammer­ operated Impact tool can be used to loosen stubborn screws and bolts, though this is noisy.

Power tools, chain saws, and oxy-acetylene or propane torches all bear serial numbers (sometimes not readily apparent). A tool such as these dropped at the scene of a hit can be traced from the manufacturer to the retailer who sold it. Leave no paper trail linking you to the tool purchase.

A Fanny Pack For Monkeywrenchers

This fanny pack system allows the eco-raider to work without the loss of speed and agility that backpacks cause. This set-up has been developed and field tested over several missions and works quite well. However, others should experiment and develop a system that suits their own specialty and style of ecotage.

Wear the pack on your fanny until you need something, then turn it around your waist so that the compartments of the pack are in your lap. This way you don't need to remove the pack which is important so you don't lose your toys.

See the illustration.

Note 1: The upper compartment should be used for gloves and kerchiefs. Note 2: The main compartment should hold the basic kit. Take only what you may need. Some examples are:

- Food                                                                                                                        - Survival equipment (space blanket, matches, maps, gauze pads, antisep­tic, wet wipes, water purification tablets, etc.)                                                                  - Flashlight                                                                                                            - String and ropes of small diameter                                                                    - Super glue (if used frequently, keep it in your pocket)                                        - Whistle (dog and regular)                                                                                    - Spikes and a hammer                                                                                         - Tools (fence tool, pliers, adjustable wrenches, etc.)                                           - Kerchiefs                                                                                                                - Blaze orange vest with reflectors (to blend in with hunters or construction crews)                                                                                                                 - Caltrops                                                                                                             - Spray paint

Note 3: A rock climber's chalk bag is convenient for carrying items used more frequently. The bag closes with a draw string. Uses include storage of:                                                                            - A radio (scanner or walkie-talkie)

- Camera

- Water bottle

- Marbles or caltrops

- Flashlight and/or tools

- A container with grinding compound or sand.




Flashlights may be essential for night operations. See the section Eyes of Night later in this chapter. Watches are needed to coordinate the timing of actions, drops, pick-ups, etc. Any reliable watch with a lighted or luminous face will do. Particularly useful are waterproof digital watches that feature an alarm, a stop watch with an alarm, and a timer with an alarm. Get one with a button to light the face. Black, of course. A flexible terry cloth wrist sweat­band in a dark color, available at sporting goods stores, will cover up the tell­tale light and protect the watch from abuse.

Every team member should carry at least two quarters (in separate pockets to prevent noise) for emergency phone calls. If you become separated from your team or miss a pick-up, you may need to walk to a pay phone and call for an emergency pick-up. (Set up such an emergency phone number with some­one on duty at it as part of your planning.) -Shade Tree Mechanic




A radio is perhaps the best tool a monkeywrencher can have to avoid getting caught. Radios allow you to place a lookout miles away on a mountain top or along an access road. This changes warning time from moments to minutes and allows a clean getaway. Beware, though, that use of any radio equipment for illegal purposes or to aid anything illegal is a violation of FCC regulations and is therefore a federal offense. Take this into account especially in cases where the act of monkeywrenching itself is relatively minor in the eyes of the


Types of Radios

CBs - A basic piece of radio equipment is a full-power (5 watt) citizens band (CB) hand-held transceiver ("walkie-talkie") with multichannel capability (preferably all 40 channels), an internal 12-volt battery supply, and a high-low power switch.

Five-watt transmitters have an effective range of from one to a dozen miles or more depending on local terrain, weather, and electrical interference. Greater power is rarely necessary, and even with this amount of power you could be overheard by the wrong people in many areas. Thus use the high-low power switch to save batteries and minimize the chance of being overheard.

CBs are recommended because they are relatively cheap, easy to get, and common enough to look only minimally suspicious. Also, because they work in the low frequency AM mode, their signal bends easily and is thus more suitable for rugged terrain than higher frequency FM.

A 12-volt power requirement for the radio allows the unit to be plugged directly into a vehicle electrical system for mobile use. For portable use, the power supply is usually either eight standard AA size alkaline or ten AA nickel­ cadmium batteries in series. Alkaline batteries have about twice the electrical capacity of nicads and cost about half as much, but they cannot be recharged (I've read that some kinds of alkaline batteries can be recharged, but I've never seen them). Nicads can be recharged hundreds of times, offsetting their initial cost of about three dollars apiece.

Nickel-cadmium batteries are especially convenient when they can be charged from a vehicle's electrical system. A special charger for this purpose can be built for less than 10 dollars from parts obtainable from any Radio Shack or other electronics store. Using a transistorized voltage doubler circuit solves the problem of the vehicle battery being the same voltage as the radio battery pack. Complete plans can be found in the 1982 edition of The Radio Amateur's Handbook, and assembly requires little knowledge of electronics. Small, portable solar battery chargers are now available from stores and cata­logs specializing in energy efficient items. Such a solar battery charger could be used in the field to recharge radio batteries.

Regardless of whether they are charged on a standard home battery charger, on a vehicular battery charger, or in a solar recharger, nicad batteries should be fully discharged before recharging each time. If they are only partly discharged before recharging, they tend to develop a "memory" at that point and may not provide service beyond that point in the future.

A basic radiocom set-up can be purchased for about $100. This includes a mobile CB for vehicle mounting (as low as $40 new through Scanner World) and a hand-held transceiver with choice of three crystal-controlled channels (as low as $60). Even without shopping around for the best price, you can get good quality equipment for a total cost of under $200. As always, think of this cost in comparison to $50-100 an hour in attorney's fees.

PAGER - Some types of radio equipment other than the regular CB "walkie ­talkies" may be appropriate for monkeywrenchers. One relatively low-cost system includes the pager-type alarm systems designed for use as a "silent" car alarm. These consist of a compact CB band transmitter and pager-type receiver that beeps when a signal is received. A lookout can use this as a one-­way communications system to contact a team of saboteurs. Avoid the Radio Shack alarm of this type, as it is underpowered and virtually worthless for this application. The best model is the "Page Alert" available at large auto parts stores. The transmitter can be mounted in the vehicle permanently, as for an alarm use, or can be made more portable. For portable use, carry the transmit­ter with a portable CB antenna (commonly available magnetic or gutter-mount types) and a portable 12-volt power supply. This portable power supply can be made by wiring two 6-volt lantern-type batteries (the large ones) together in the following sequence: Connect the positive (+) terminal of one battery to the negative (-) terminal of the other; connect the remaining positive and negative battery terminals to the appropriate positive and negative leads as indicated on the wiring instructions for the transmitter. Tape the batteries together, side-­by-side; place them in a small cardboard box and fit the box into a small pack or pouch for easy carry.

If you intend to use the transmitter from a vehicle but do not want to mount it permanently, use the same types of antennas mentioned above, but instead of the battery pack, wire the unit to a cigarette-lighter type plug (available at any electronics store) to enable you to set up quickly and easily.

To transmit, simply flip the switch "on" and the unit will send out a signal for five to ten seconds and automatically shut off. The signal transmission can be repeated by flipping the switch "off" and then "on" again. The "Page Alert" sys­tem broadcasts at four watts and has a range (ideally) of one to two miles. Test it in the field to determine realistic ranges. Also, keep in mind that the pulsing signal sent out by this unit can be picked up by other CB radios and even by TV sets if they are close enough to the transmitter.

On the receiving end is the pager-type receiver about the size of a pack of cigarettes. The unit has a clip on the back for affixing to a belt, but this is most unreliable when put to rough use. It is best carried in a shirt or jacket pocket with a button-down flap. When the signal is received, the pager will emit a loud "beeping" tone until shut off. This sound can (and should) be muted by putting several layers of electrical tape over the small opening on top that emits the tone.

Although this system allows only one-way communication, a system of repeated transmissions can be used as a crude form of sending two or three different messages (pre-arranged). One of the chief advantages of this sys­tem is that you can set it up for under $150. One warning should be noted, however. The pager-type receiver cannot be relied on to receive transmis­sions inside a building containing large amounts of metal in walls or frame.

WALKMAN-TYPE - Yet another kind of radio equipment that is becoming increasingly popular is a short-range unit, the size of a cigarette pack (designed to be carried on the belt), equipped with lightweight headset and microphone. Look for a unit that allows you to choose between a "push-to-talk" switch and a "VOX" switch (this activates the microphone automatically at the sound of your voice). These units are available from Radio Shack as well as survival supply houses.

These "walkman" type units have a maximum range of about a quarter of a mile under ideal circumstances (rarely achieved under field conditions), so they are not suitable for all operations.

Practice and Use

Practice with radio equipment before undertaking an operation. Learn, especially, how buildings and topography affect the range of your equipment. A pre-mission "dry run" to test radio communication may be a good idea on some jobs.

A very real danger with radios is that a casual listener or radio buff may pick up your transmissions and become suspicious. Due to the vagaries of radio transmission, such a listener might be miles away. To make such interception meaningless, develop a simple code that will make your conversation sound commonplace, even boring. NEVER, use real names on the air. Be wary, ­sheriffs and rangers often have CB scanners in their cars.

Perhaps the greatest danger in using radios on an operation is the chance that security guards or passersby might hear the user's voice (rather than the transmission itself). Using the earphone headset of the "walkman" type radios will keep the messages you hear from being overheard, but the sender's voice is another matter. To keep your voice from carrying, cup your hand around the mike and hold it as close to your mouth as possible. Speak in a low voice, slowly and calmly, pronouncing all words very clearly. If you have trouble hearing or being heard, remain calm. Never raise your voice, as this will be more likely to reveal your location than to help the transmission.

The larger portable CB units ("walkie-talkies") with their external speakers present a greater danger of being overheard. Nevertheless, they are valuable for operations requiring long-range communications. A few precautions with this type of equipment will lessen the chances of being overheard. A small terry cloth towel (dark color!), worn like a scarf under shirt or jacket, or carried in a pouch with the radio unit, can be used to muffle the sound of your voice. When transmitting and receiving, follow this procedure: Post other team mem­bers as lookouts, and to warn you if your radio or voice is too loud. Sit down cross-legged or kneel down with your back to the area of greatest danger. Cover your radio and head with the towel and/or a heavy jacket. Bend low to the ground, keeping the antenna straight up, and switch the set "on." Avoid long transmissions. Always use pre-arranged codes.

When using radios for key parts of an operation, such as calling the pickup vehicle after a mission is completed, always have a backup plan in the event of radio failure. (Your driver might swing by the pre-arranged pickup point at cer­tain times, or automatically fall back to an alternate site.) Pre-arranged times for radio checks (example: every half hour at ten minutes and forty minutes after the hour) will help to insure proper radio links and build confidence.


* Try communicating with a code of clicks on the mikes instead of a possibly identifiable voice.

* Lookouts equipped with radios can improve your security greatly!


Radio Fingerprints

Every radio is unique; in fact, the term "radio fingerprint" is sometimes used, referring to minute variations in the transmission (frequency variations?) detectable each time the same radio is used. Sophisticated techniques are certainly necessary to identify a certain radio, and one's radio traffic would have to be recorded and analyzed. Nonetheless, that this is possible makes radio security all the more important.

Because of this, limit the number and length of all radio transmissions while on the job. Encode your conversation so it doesn't sound suspicious.

If you use a CB radio or walkie-talkies for covert activities, do not use the same radio openly. Comparison of the "fingerprints" from recorded radio traffic during a monkeywrenching operation with that from the CB in your vehicle, for example, could be the link necessary in court to convict you.

Military Surplus Radios

Army surplus PRT-4s (the RT stands for "radio transmitter"), PRR-9s (RR = "radio receiver"), and PRC-25s provide a low-cost, high quality communica­tions system which might be of interest to monkeywrenchers. The PRT-4s and PRR-9s are Army squad radios that operate in the 47-57 megahertz bands. The transmitters use two 9-volt batteries (alkalines are a must!) and the receivers use either four 1.5-volt n-cells or a 9-volt battery with a 6-volt adapter. The transmitters put out about 450 milliamps of power which seems pretty good when you consider that the radio shack headphone mini-radios put out about 100 milliamps. Range for the PRT-4/PRR-9 is easily 1 1 /2 miles line-of-sight. Two PRT-4s with two PRR-9s cost the military $1,600 but can be pur­chased surplus in excellent working condition for $150 plus shipping ($5).

Since these radios were constructed for the military, they have been con­siderably over-engineered and can take plenty of abuse. Transmitters have worked even after klutzy paratroopers dropped them from a thousand feet! Since these radios do not have an FCC approval stamp on them, it is illegal to use them-but not to own them. However, enforcement is difficult since the FCC would have to catch you in the act of transmission. Another advantage of these radios is that the transmitter and receiver are separate units. This allows two people to have a duplex system (i.e., I transmit on one frequency while I receive my friend's transmission on a second frequency). This decreases the possibility of someone scanning and picking up both sides of a conversation. Another advantage is that for another 70 bucks you can pick up a piece of equipment called an ID-1189 which is a test machine that allows you to change frequencies once you buy new crystals which are about $6 each.

Another advantage of the PRT-4/PRR-9 combination is that it can net with the larger 920-channel PRC-25. (A few weeks ago while out testing radios, I was in a river bed and easily transmitted and received transmissions with a PRC-25 that was over 5 1/2 miles away with three intervening ridges.) Unfortunately, the PRC-25 costs $650.

In the previous edition of Ecodefense, we reported that another military sur­plus radio, the PRC-77, had crypto-capability which would allow the user to encrypt their transmissions so no one could figure out what was being said if they overheard your transmissions. This is not true, we have learned. A sepa­rate piece of equipment is required to encrypt, and that item will never be avail­able legally. Nonetheless, the PRC-77 is one of the best and sturdiest radios. It costs about $800.

Military surplus radios are rugged, inexpensive for the quality, lightweight, and dependable.

Police Band Radios

It is hard to overstate the value of a radio capable of picking up police calls. These units can tip you off to surveillance or warn you of a patrolman or deputy dispatched to the scene of your recent hit.

Before buying, read. Look for books at your local library, bookstore, or radio shop. One excellent reference is The Complete Action Guide to Scanners and Monitors by Louis A. Smith II. It is published by Tab Books, a major "how-to" book publisher. Additional valuable reference data is found in the Betty Bearcat Frequency Directory, which has an eastern and western edition. These provide an extensive listing of frequencies, including many used by police agencies. Look for it at radio shops or in stores that sell scanners. Still another volume of this type is Monitor America, which contains fewer fre­quency listings but has a number of partial police radio codes which can help you understand police communications. An excellent source of police fre­quency information is the series of "call books" published annually by Hollins Radio Data. The nation is broken down into regions covered by ten separate volumes. As always, check all the radio shops in your nearest big city, where they retail for $6.95.

Perhaps the best scanner frequency listings are to be found in the "Fox Scanner Radio Listings." As of this writing, 28 area directories are available, with more in preparation.

Check for frequency directories at radio shops or with the mail-order suppli­ers that advertise in the amateur radio magazines available at good news­stands.

Radio specialty shops are often the most expensive source of these radios. Look for them at department stores or the catalog showroom type of store (like Best or La Belle's). Also, the ads in specialty magazines like Amateur Radio and Popular Communications can lead you to mail-order suppliers. Good units can now be bought for under $150. One low-cost supplier is Scanner World USA (10 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, NY 12208), with an extensive catalog of scanners, CBs, and frequency directories.

There are two types of radios for monitoring police calls. The older type is crystal-controlled, and requires buying a separate crystal for every frequency you wish to monitor. Because of the security problems associated with pur­chasing these crystals, this type of unit is not recommended.

Your best choice is a "programmable" scanner that has a keyboard on it which allows you to select the frequencies you want. Once programmed, these units will scan a large number of frequencies, stopping on one when a transmission is picked up. This can allow you to monitor just the frequencies that are important on a specific job or in a certain area (those of any combina­tion of city, county, state, or federal agencies).

Here are the major features to look for in a programmable scanner:

~ AC or DC power. This allows you to use the scanner both at home or in a vehicle.

~ 16 or more channels, to insure that you can monitor even the large number of frequencies in and around a city.

~ Search capability. With this you can search portions of the radio band, seeking out frequencies not listed in the directories.

~ Should be able to pick up the following bands:

30 to 50 MHz (megahertz) - VHF Low Band

144 to 174 MHz - VHF High Band

440 to 512 MHz -UHF Band

Most of the scanners made by Regency and Uniden have all these features and more. Again, though, make sure your scanner can take either AC or DC power.

Once you get your scanner, listen to it at home. Locate the important fre­quencies in your target area. In addition to local law enforcement agencies, you can seek appropriate federal agencies (Forest Service, Park Service, BLM, etc.) and the frequencies assigned to the forest products industry (in Oregon and Washington, for example, these can be found at: 158.145, 158.160, 158.175, 158.205, 158.220, 158.235, 158.265, 173.250, 173.300, and 173.350). The federal law enforcement agencies (like the FBI, DEA, and BATF) are extremely difficult to monitor. Even if you find their frequencies, they often use sophisticated scramblers, making the messages unintelligible. A source for the frequencies used by federal agencies is The "Top Secret" Registry of U.S. Government Radio Frequencies, by Tom Kneitel, available from Loompanics Unlimited, PO Box 1197, Port Townsend, WA 98368.

By listening at home, you will learn to understand much of the jargon you hear and to decipher the radio codes in use. Most common is the "10-code" that assigns meanings to numbers from "ten-one" to "ten-ninety-nine." Study the ten-codes in directories and pay attention to what you are hearing. Often an explanation of the call will be broadcast in plain English and in the 10-code. In the Forest Service, because of confusion over the 10-code among users, there is now a trend toward communications in plain English. The Park Service, on the other hand, continues to use a 10-code, perhaps because of its greater emphasis on law enforcement in day-to-day operations.

Police agencies may use codes based on the numbers assigned to various criminal statutes. For example, a "914" or "nine-fourteen" may refer to statute number 12-914 for, say, armed robbery. The statute books in the reference section of a public library will give you the statute numbers. Also, by listening to police radio calls and making notes, and comparing your notes to newspaper accounts of crime incidents, you can further break the codes.

Another informative type of scanning to try at home is listening in to the detective frequencies that carry surveillances. These channels are most active when detectives are usually at work, between 8 AM and 5 PM, Monday through Friday. You can, of course, hear some surveillances in the night hours. These detective frequencies are not as active as the standard patrol frequencies, so you may want to use your scanner's "lock out" option to elimi­nate the patrol calls while listening for the detectives.

When searching for police frequencies, note the frequency numbers as you pick them up. The locations you hear broadcast over the air will indicate whether you are listening to a city or county agency. When learning about the patrol frequencies, concentrate on weekend nights when police are usually busiest.

Once you have developed some proficiency in monitoring police calls, take your radio out in your car or truck for practice and testing on the road. Keep the radio within easy reach, with a cardboard box, paper bag, or something similar to conceal the unit. Listening in on police calls from a car is illegal in some areas, and is considered highly suspicious in all areas. Plug into the cigarette lighter for power, so you can quickly unplug and eliminate evidence that you were actually listening to the radio. Keep the radio hidden.

Scanner reception is vastly improved with a longer antenna, which you can attach to the external antenna jack. Again in the interest of secrecy, get the type of antenna that looks like a normal car antenna. These were invented years ago to protect mobile CB owners from thieves. You can buy a combina­tion CB/AM/FM antenna at a radio shop.

Another valuable scanner is the hand-held type suitable for use by a team on the ground or by a lone monkeywrencher. These are about the size of a walkie­talkie and have most of the features of the larger units. Their major weak point is their standard short "rubber duckie" type of antenna. Whenever possible, buy and use a longer and thus more effective antenna.

If the driver of a team's vehicle is monitoring police or agency calls, she should notify the rest of the team immediately by radio if it seems likely that the authorities are en route to the area. A note of caution is in order here: If you are using mobile vehicle units, make sure that you don't run down the car bat­tery if you have to park for any length of time. Experiment ahead of time to find how long you can listen to the police radio and your own CB system before the battery is run down to the point where your vehicle won't start. The driver may have to drive around for 15 minutes or so to recharge the battery.

It may be preferable to rig up an auxiliary battery for your radio system. The auxiliary battery should be wired in such a way that it never draws on your vehicle's main battery. An RV and trailer supply house can provide you with all the information and equipment, and even installation if desired (though for security reasons you should do your own installation). The auxiliary battery must be mounted in a ventilated area. Use a deep cycle storage battery rather than the usual car battery. Sears makes an excellent RV/marine battery.

-Guggy Marconi


  In your pre-operational checks, replace weak batteries or re-charge nicads. Always keep your batteries wiped clean of fingerprints.

  As with all your radio equipment, test your police band radio or scanner under field conditions before taking it on an actual operation.

Further Comments On Radios

An experienced monkeywrencher and radio user offers the following details

~ Auxiliary power packs (plug-in) for radios and other devices that have a power input jack can easily be constructed using battery holders (Radio Shack Number 270-387 and others), 9 volt battery clips (RS #270-325), and co-axial plug connectors (RS #274-1571). Be sure to get the correct plug for your device and to observe the correct polarity when making these external battery packs. It may be better to simply carry spare batteries, alkaline preferred.

~ Scanners. When working with scanners, be sure that you have the correct frequencies. The Betty Bearcat frequency directory has too many errors. Visit your local radio specialty shop and purchase a good directory. Use your scanner to hear the National Weather Service station in your area. Consult your frequency directory or try the following frequencies: 162.400; 162.420; 162.425; 162.475; 162.550. Mobile use of scanners is illegal in some areas. Federal law prohibits making use of anything you hear on a scanner for illegal purposes or to commit a crime.

~ CB Radios. Some 5 watt walkie-talkie type CB radios have an earphone jack which cuts off the internal speaker when an earphone is plugged in. This quiets communications. (Earphone: Radio Shack #33-177.) External micro­phones and shorter Rubber Duckie antennas are also available. (Rubber Duckie Antenna: RS #21-980.) Magnet-mount antennas for mobile use of scanners and CBs are available. They are easily and quickly removed when not needed or to avert suspicion.

~ Walkman-type two-way radios 49 MHz. Do not confuse these with the toy­type radios. Toy type: RS #60-4016. Real radio: RS #21-400. Maxon is a good brand. These units have an effective range of about half a mile. They are available as handi-talkie types or as Walkman-type units. The Walkman-type units with headsets operate in either push-to-talk mode or VOX (voice-acti­vated) mode. The handi-talkie models operate only in the push-talk-mode. Both are available in one-channel and five channel models. Available from Maxon Communications:




Handi-talkie model



Headset (VOX) model



Power source

9 volt battery

4 AA batteries


$30 each

$50 each

All units function on the same five frequencies. Order all one channel mod­els on the same frequency. Available from DAK Industries, 8200 Remmet Ave, Canoga Park, CA 91304.

Single channel models are slightly smaller and lighter. With these units you cannot accidentally get on the wrong channel. With the five channel model, if there is interference, you have an alternative channel. WARNING: Signals from these units can be picked up by scanner radios. Also, the 49 MHz band is used by some "Baby Monitors" or "Nursery Monitors" such as the Fischer-Price Baby Monitor. These baby monitors also produce interference which will dis­rupt all nearby communication on that channel. Some cordless telephones also operate on the 46-49 MHz band. You may want to avoid using these radios in urban areas. The Radio Shack #43-189 Rubber Duckie antenna designed for use on cordless telephones can be used on 49 MHz walkie­talkies. Units with telescoping antennas, properly mounted and connected, might work on headset-type units. Get a Radio Shack catalog from your local store.


Unusual CB Channels

The major drawback with CBs is their commonness. During an action in the Kalmiopsis during the Summer of 1987, CBs gave us reliable communications in difficult terrain, but jamming by loggers was annoying, and local officials lis­tened to everything we said. Here is a way to minimize these problems.

The Citizens Band occupies the part of the radio spectrum between 26.965 MHz (Channel 1) and 27.405 MHz (Channel 40). Most channels are 10 KHz apart, but some (Channels 3 & 4, 7 & 8, 11 & 12, 15 & 16, 19 & 20) are 20 KHz apart. Those cheap 3 or 5-channel walkie-talkies that you see at Radio Shack or at discount stores are crystal controlled. You can order crystals for any frequency you wish, in or near the CB band. By buying crystals for frequen­cies not designated as a CB channel, you reduce the chance of being over­heard or jammed. Of course, you can never be absolutely sure that you have a frequency to yourself, since there are sets around that can operate on any frequency. But these are not common, especially in rural areas, and are rarely installed in vehicles.

Try 5 KHz above or below one of the designated CB channels. Say, 27.120 MHz (which would be 5 KHz above Channel 13-27.115-and 5 KHz below Channel 14-27.125). This small separation of 5 KHz, though, leaves the possibility of interference from nearby channels, and due to the lack of selec­tivity of many of the cheaper CBs, you might still be overheard, albeit probably not clearly. Anyway, it would be better to pick a frequency between the chan­nels with 20 KHz separation. These frequencies would be 26.995 MHz (between channels 3-26.985 MHz-and 4-27.005 MHz), 27.045 MHz (between channels 7 and 8), 27.095 MHz (between channels 11 & 12), 27.145 MHz (between channels 15 & 16), and 27.195 MHz (between channels 19 & 20). These frequencies would give 10 KHz separation which should protect against interference from adjacent channels unless they are located very close by.

When you install (or change) the crystals in your walkie-talkie, retain one or two crystals for the official CB channels. Then you can communicate with someone using one of the newer CB sets which use a frequency synthesizer instead of crystals. These non-crystal sets can operate only on official chan­nels. Until about 15 years ago, all CB sets were crystal-controlled. It still may be possible to find one of these old sets cheap at a flea market or CB repair shop. If you do, install it in your vehicle and put in crystals matching the ones you have put in your walkie-talkies.

Custom crystals can be obtained through several sources. Ask at your local CB repair shop, or anywhere "good buddies" congregate. You can also write to Jan Crystals, 2341 Crystal Drive, PO Box 06017, Ft. Meyers, Florida 33906­6017. Ask for their catalog and price list.

WARNING: Transmitting on a non-FCC-designated frequency is illegal and would subject the guilty party to federal charges should they be caught. Luckily, the Feds have just about given up trying to police the CB. But using a radio in the commission of a crime, whether on authorized or unauthorized channels, would likely get their attention. BE CAREFUL.


Cellular Telephones

Cellular telephones are already replacing radios in localities where there is good coverage from base stations (there is complete coverage, for example, in almost all metropolitan areas). Cellular phones have certain advantages over radios, among them simplicity of use.

Cellular phones work to an extent in some rural areas. Some hunting guides are even using them on horseback! They report that from the crest of a ridge or top of a hill, cellular phones usually work in the backcountry.

When satellites for them are up, possibly in a couple of years, cellular phones may work virtually everywhere. At this point, they will be much more versatile than radios. (It may be expected that law enforcement, land manag­ing agency, and industry crews will be equipped with them.)

There are disadvantages, though. Each cellular phone has a number, of course. Thus there will be a record of ALL calls, such as with long-distance on conventional phones. Also, conversations can be picked up by anyone with a scanner for the proper frequencies.

-Alex Bell



A few mechanical aids may help night operations. The most basic is the flashlight. Small, pen-type flashlights can be easily carried and used when working on equipment, locks, etc. Larger flashlights may be easier to manipu­late with gloved hands. The lens should be covered with a couple of layers of electrical tape, leaving only a narrow slit to emit light. Best among the larger flashlights are the green plastic military types with the lens at a right angle to the body. The bases of these flashlights unscrew to reveal a spare bulb and two special lenses that can be mounted over the standard clear lens by unscrewing the "0" ring and popping them in. The translucent white lens con­verts the visible beam of light to a white spot suitable for signaling. The red lens allows the user to illuminate an object without ruining her night vision.

Military studies show that blue filters are even better than red filters-they illuminate without destroying night vision and they cannot be seen from a distance as well as red light. (Blue light might be bad for people with epilepsy, though.) Moreover, a red filter can make the brown contour lines on a topo­graphic map invisible.

Each member of the team should carry two flashlights-one medium and one small. A flashlight with a plug-in headlamp attachment may be useful when you need both hands for work. With this type of headlamp, the battery case can be kept in an inside pocket, warmed by body heat, for longer battery life. This can be important for cold weather operations.

Standard Optics

Binoculars and spotting scopes can help at night, especially for observing a well-lit area. At least a 50 mm objective lens (the lens closest to the object you are viewing) is needed for optimal light gathering qualities. Some of the better military surplus houses sell special binoculars designed for night use. On moonlit nights in open country, deserts, and in snow, binoculars are quite effective. Remember, bright moonlight can reflect off binocular lenses and compromise your position. Such reflections are very visible through "starlight" systems.

Infrared Spotting Scope

This device dates back to World War II. It consists of a battery-powered spotlight that emits infrared light (invisible to the unaided eye), and, mounted directly below, an image converter tube that allows the user to clearly see what the spotlight is illuminating.

This system allows you to see into dark areas. It is also the least expensive night vision system. Suppliers who advertise in "survival" magazines sell them for $600 to $1,400. Edmund Scientific Corporation (101 E. Gloucester Pike, Barrington, N. J. 08007) sells a unit for $1,195.

Infrared spotting scopes have disadvantages, too. The range is limited to what the spotlight can effectively illuminate-rarely more than 300 feet. A unit is bulky, and the user must have a strap or harness to prevent dropping and banging it while keeping one's hands free for climbing or other activities. An infrared spotting scope is also very visible to someone scanning the area with a starlight scope.

Starlight Scope

This Vietnam-era development uses a battery powered scope to amplify existing light from moon, stars, rotting forest vegetation, and ambient city light. Avoid first generation units, as later designs have an "anti-blooming" device that shuts the unit down if, light levels suddenly get high enough to damage the costly image intensification tube.

Advantages: A starlight scope can be used beyond the range of infrared scopes since the device is "passive" and does not rely on projecting a beam of light onto the area or object to be observed. With a starlight scope you can readily detect the presence of an infrared device, since the scope converts the otherwise invisible infrared light to visible light. Conversely, neither the infrared nor another starlight scope can detect a starlight scope, since it emits no radiation.

Disadvantages: Extremely high cost. Suppliers, like those mentioned above, will charge anywhere from $3,000-12,000 for units that vary from rela­tively compact hand-held scopes to goggle-type units that strap on to one's head. Expect to pay at least $4,000 for a good unit. Starlight scopes must have some light present in order to be effective. On a moonless, overcast night in the desert, a starlight scope may be useless. Even on a clear night, a starlight scope may be ineffective under certain conditions, as, for example, when the observer is on a hill looking down into a dark valley.

There is also some question as to the legality of these systems. Nevertheless, they are advertised in the survival magazines.

Using a starlight scope temporarily wipes out your night vision. The military usually operates in pairs when using them so that one person with night vision escorts the starlight user. This is important since your peripheral vision with a starlight is nil and you need someone to watch your backside while you scope.

Starlights do not slowly go dim when the batteries run down. Once the bat­teries fall below an operating power threshold, the device goes off instantly, without warning. Again, the two-person rule helps immensely because, if you lose power with no partner, you may find yourself without your starlight and night blind to boot.

If you can afford starlight goggles, you may find it useful to drive without lights, using your goggles. Of course, if the goggles lose power, you may have more excitement than you can handle. Dust, fog, or heavy rain reduce the depth of field when driving-like swimming underwater with your eyes open.

Whether walking, driving, or surveilling with starlights, shadows and bottom­less pits look the same. Military personnel have a number of accidents each year because of starlight scope users mistaking a gully or trench for a shadow or dip in the path. Also, things can hide in those holes that you cannot see with a starlight.

If you can get some of the new infrared chem lites, you can make dandy sig­naling devices, trail markers, and the like which will only be visible to those with starlights or thermals. We do not know what effect IR chem lites have through an I R scope.

Russian military night vision devices are now being advertised in Shotgun News at "very competitive prices." The release of sophisticated Soviet equip­ment on the US surplus market could make these items much more available for use by logging companies, private security outfits, and even monkey­


Thermal Imager

These are probably too expensive and difficult to acquire for monkey­wrenchers, but law enforcement operations may have them. Thermal imagers exist in hand-held and vehicle-mounted versions and are very effective. The key advantages of these passive night devices over starlights are:

1) They are much more efficient rapid scanning devices. Unless you're working in a herd of buffalo, all someone with a thermal has to do is scan across the terrain looking for the hot spots. 2) They are considerably better at seeing through fog, snow, rain, dust, or light vegetation, and can also be used during the day in such conditions. 3) They can be used on the darkest night.

Their disadvantages are:

1) Depending on the range and the particular device, it is often hard to make out the details (e.g., is that a cop over there or a deer?).

2) Many of the more portable types must be cooled using special gas cylin­ders. As the gases run out (usually a matter of hours), the sensitivity of the device drops, reducing its effectiveness and forcing the user to recharge it. When you're out of cylinders, you're out of night vision.

3) Thermals can be fooled by chemical heating pads, IR chem lites, fires, and the like.

4) Thermals are line-of-sight and they can't see through dirt, rocks, or thick trees. If your target isn't sitting on a field of flat grass, you should be able to plan an approach that negates the thermal's advantages.

Remember that neither a monkeywrencher nor a cop can be everywhere or see everywhere. Night devices can be a great help, but they can also create a false sense of security if relied upon too heavily.

Protection From Night Vision Surveillance

Those active in an area subject to law enforcement investigation and surveillance might encounter nighttime stakeouts utilizing sophisticated night vision devices. The most sophisticated of these will amplify existing starlight tens of thousands of times. This effectively turns night into day for the view­ers, but it does not penetrate into shadowed areas very well. The addition of an infrared spotlight allows invisible infrared light to penetrate even the shad­ows within the range of the spotlight.

Beware of ultraviolet brighteners in your clothing. These chemicals, which are now in all laundry detergents, make you glow in the dark to an officer quipped with night vision equipment. This problem is so serious that the US military specifies that no brighteners be used in, the manufacturing or cleaning of combat fatigues.

A commercial remedy is readily available in the hunting supply market. Hunters are trying to reduce their visibility to animals whose eyes are far more receptive to ultraviolet light than is the human eye. "U-V Killer" (and a deter­gent called "Sport Wash") can be found in better sporting goods and hunting supply stores, or, as a last resort. through the manufacturer: Atsko/Sno-Seal Inc., 2530 Russell St SE, Orangeburg, SC 29115.

When purchasing retail, simply pose as a hunter or the wife/girlfriend of a hunter. Follow directions carefully and set aside specific items of clothing that are specially treated for your nightwork. It won't make you invisible at night, but it will keep you from standing out like a neon sign.

Bionic Ear

The "bionic ear" is little more than an amplified microphone that plays back through a set of headphones, but it could be useful to the lookout listening for the footfall of a night watchman. A small parabolic dish that attaches to the mike for higher gain is usually available as an option for a small added cost. These devices are widely advertised in hunting magazines. Total cost is about $110 to $130.

The use of a shotgun versus a parabolic type microphone may be preferable due to the slim profile which increases the ease of concealment and transport. Several mail-order companies advertise kits and assembled models, typically in the $100 to $150 price range. These sources also list compatible inexpen­sive padded earphones. One disadvantage would be that the low light profile of a shotgun mike resembles an aimed weapon. This would tend to panic an unwary observer. However, in redneck areas, it probably wouldn't elicit a sec­ond glance.



Learn to track. Tracking allows you to locate trap sets where a trapper walks his line. It warns you of recent activity in your area of operations, such as surveillance or patrols by law enforcement. Perhaps most important, only by learning tracking can you learn proper counter-tracking measures-walking so as to leave a minimum of sign that can be followed by others.

Following is a brief summary of tracking methods as taught by the US Border Patrol and used in their pursuit of illegal border crossers. For detailed descrip­tions see Tracking: A Blueprint for Learning How by Jack Kearney (Pathways Press 1978) or Mantracking by Roland Robbins (Search & Rescue Magazine, 1977).

The only tools you will need are a straight walking stick, three to four feet long, and two rubber bands. Go to an area of loose, dry soil that has a mini­mum of rocks, grass, and brush. Tracks are easy to see under these condi­tions, and you should start easy to acquire the basic principles. The best time of day to practice is early or late, with strong direct sun at an angle (this makes the shadows in the tracks more visible).

Walk a straight line of tracks for thirty to fifty feet and circle back to your starting point. Now take your stick and lay it beside the first tracks as shown in Figure T-1. Place the tip of the stick at the heel of one track and position the rubber bands to mark the heel and toe of the previous track. This gives you the length of the track and length of the stride.

Move ahead to the next track by setting the stick alongside the route of travel to the next track, lining up the rubber bands with the heel and toe impressions. Near the tip of the stick you will find the next track. Repeat this procedure to the end of the line of tracks.

This approach may seem simplistic to some, but it is essential to start this way. Learning to track is not a game of successfully following a line of tracks. What is important is what you learn along the way.

Once you have mastered the above method, lay down a zigzag line of tracks and repeat the procedure. To locate the next track, sweep the tracking stick in an arc. The next track will be found somewhere along the curved line you make with the tip of your stick (see Figure T-2). DO NOT SKIP EVEN ONE TRACK. You are learning what "sign" looks like. If a track is hard to spot, get your nose to the ground and look for indicators: rocks or pebbles pushed into the dirt, thin cracks in the soil, a small lip of dirt that throws a shadow, a broken twig or bent blade of grass. You learn by studying EVERY TRACK. In difficult tracking conditions, these subtle indicators may be all you have to go on!

Only after you have acquired the ability to locate every track in easy terrain should you move ahead to more difficult circumstances like rocky ground, grassy areas, or tree shaded tracks. As you make it more difficult for yourself, you learn more-still by locating every track.

As you practice tracking, always put the track between you and the sun. The sun will throw shadows in the edge of the track making them visible to you while you stand or crouch. Try walking off to the side while looking over your shoulder (Figure T-3). Do not erase the tracks as you go. If you lose the trail, go back to the last clear footprint. While learning to track at a walking pace, use the tip of the stick to scratch a mark next to each verified track. You can then easily come back to the last clear track, get down and use your tracking stick as described above to locate the next track, and the next one, and so on.

Under difficult conditions, you may find only a slight heel or toe impression. This is why you use rubber bands to mark the distance between heel and toe. Regardless of how little evidence of a track you find, the tip of your stick will reveal the approximate location of the next track. (Figure T-4).

As you progress to more difficult tracks (perhaps set by a friend who gives you no clues as to where they ultimately lead), you will eventually lose the trail completely. To relocate, walk slowly in a circle about ten feet from the last clear track. Look closely for another sign. If necessary, move out five more feet and repeat. Work in ever larger circles until you find the tracks again. While learning, you may want to use the track diagram on a piece of paper to be sure you have the correct track. (The penciled diagram of the track showing the pattern of the imprint is used in law enforcement and search and rescue work; eco-saboteurs use it only in training, never in the field while at "work.")

Eventually you should practice following someone's tracks laid down at a jogging and running pace. Studying varying depths of heel and toe prints will teach you how to spot running tracks in the future.

Learn how to age tracks by studying a line of tracks over a period of time (ideally checking them every day). Notice how wind carries small debris into the track, how the edge crumbles with time, how heavy dew or light rain alters the appearance. Lay down tracks in damp and wet soil and come back after they're dried to learn from them. Sometimes just touching a track will reveal that they were laid down when the ground was wet (then think back to when the last rainfall was). With enough practice, the next time you're prowling around a bulldozer in the woods, you'll know when the last tracks were laid down, whether tracks walking past or around the machine indicate a security patrol, and whether tracks on nearby trails indicate possible surveillance teams lurk­ing in the brush.

Learning how to spot, follow, and age human tracks will help you in the study of vehicle tracks. This may tip you off to a motorized security patrol at a con­struction site, or lead you to the ideal choke point to build a road or trail block against ORVs.

Since a lot of monkey business occurs at night, you should practice spotting tracks at night. Here you will check roads or trails leading to a target site for signs of recent passage. A flashlight with a red lens (which won't ruin your night vision) held close to the ground, will throw shadows into tire or footprints. In the field, use this method ONLY in areas where you can't be observed from a distance, such as in thick brush, a low spot, or near a curve.

As you learn to track, you will learn what conditions are most unfavorable to tracking. Use this knowledge to minimize your own tracks. Never assume a pursuing tracker knows less than you do. You may have just walked across two hundred yards of slickrock, leaving no sign at all, but as soon as you step off into the dirt again, you'll start to leave some sign. They will know this also.

Recent reports indicate that federal law enforcement agencies are develop­ing methods of precisely measuring footprints for use as evidence. They want to measure not just the type of shoe you wear, or your approximate weight and height (determined by depth of impression and length of stride, respectively), but specifics of how you walk. To upset the evidence, vary your walk in and around the target (such as in loose soil around a bulldozer). Walk "pigeon­-toed" (toes in slightly) or try a "duck walk" (toes pointed out), to ruin some of the evidence. A thick piece of cardboard placed inside or outside your heel will alter your footprints subtly, but significantly. Twisting your foot as you lift it will smear your footprint. By walking on tiptoes and giving a sharp twist or pivot each time you lift your foot, you can leave tracks that look like old cow prints. As always, practice in daylight where you can study the effectiveness of your methods (then erase those tracks before you leave).

Tracking and counter-tracking skills are only acquired after considerable practice. Such practice can be a pleasant outdoors diversion or a challenging game among friends. Regardless, the above methods can enable a person with a little backwoods experience to track another human being and preserve her own safety during nightly activities.

-Natty Bumpo


* We hear that law enforcement agencies have a new method for lifting dust impressions from smooth surfaces. This may mean they can lift complete shoe prints from surfaces where nothing is visible to the naked eye. Such an ability makes the discarding of footwear worn during nightwork even more imperative than formerly.

Car Camping

Car camping while cruising the backroads is a good way to explore new country, and also affords unexpected opportunities for monkey business. A little forethought and planning makes possible all sorts of mayhem.

Among your most likely targets of opportunity are survey markers, claim markers, and heavy equipment. If you spot these while driving, do not stop, or even slow down. Someone may be nearby but not visible to you yet. Park at a considerable distance and take an innocent hike to scout the area thoroughly. While looking for possible problems and planning your activity, give serious consideration to whether the action warrants the risk. A decrepit dozer used to blade the road after gully-washing storms is hardly a worthy target. On the other hand, a machine being used to punch in some land-scam subdivision roads, or to "open" an untouched area to logging or mining, deserves your attention.

While scouting the area, stop frequently to "rest" and observe. Listen intently and use binoculars, if available. Plan your approach and withdrawal routes, as well as an emergency escape route that will lead pursuers away from your parked vehicle. Consider the best time for the hit. A pinpoint target like a bulldozer is usually best hit at last light or in the dark of night. Scattered targets like survey stakes and mining claim makers can be worked under good moonlight if you scout the area beforehand in daylight. If the moonlight is unfavorable (even a half-moon may not be enough light to locate stakes in the dark), you should next consider daytime. Sites may be less active on week­ends, but there may be more hikers, picnickers, and ORVers around then. Observe road and trail traffic closely. Do they look like workers, local resi­dents, or tourists? The pattern may change as the weekend begins or ends.

Seek sign of recent activity in the area. Study footprints and tireprints closely. Claim markers may be years old, or may have been put in last week.

Usually the best time of day for monkey business is early evening. The coming nightfall can provide concealment for your withdrawal. MOST IMPORTANT: in unfamiliar terrain, do not work at night unless you are sure you can find your way back to your parked vehicle! If in doubt, change your timing.

Always determine where danger may come from. Can someone drive up on you without warning? Can you be seen from a nearby hill or road? A hasty roadblock, with a rock or large branch, may slow an approaching vehicle long enough to warn you. Working with the sun at your back may conceal you from the view of passersby.

After considering all the possibilities, make a simple plan of action. Use your plan at the earliest opportunity. If you must remain in the area for a few hours .or more before your hit, keep yourself and your vehicle well hidden, but behave as though you are simply camping in the area. If someone stops to talk to you, or even regards you suspiciously, cancel your mission and enjoy your stay. There will always be other opportunities.

Most of what you'll need should already be with you-primarily sturdy and unobtrusive clothing. Special gear includes cheap canvas shoes and cotton gloves. Both are carried only for monkey business and should not be worn otherwise. Keep them separate from your other clothing. Both items can be purchased for not more than $10-12 at a large discount store. If you have a partner to assist as lookout, binoculars and headset-type walkie-talkies are valuable. A pair of these walkie-talkies (with a headset for hands-free use) can be purchased from Radio Shack for $50-90, depending on the model. Always pay cash and be prepared to give the nosy clerk a phony name and address (they ask for that to put you on their mailing list).

An empty plastic soda bottle is just a piece of trash in your car, but a con­venient carrier of sand for working on heavy equipment (wiped free of finger­prints, of course).

Because you are operating on unfamiliar terrain, be especially cautious. If you sense trouble, leave immediately.

If your targets are spread out widely, plan an efficient pattern of movement. Survey markers typically follow the projected paths of roads. Mining claim markers may mark the corners of one or more large squares of land several hundred yards on a side. Your scouting pays off here.

When you leave your vehicle, wear your normal shoes or boots and carry your special gear in a small day pack or similar bag. Enter an area where you'll leave no footprints (like a rocky or pine needle covered area). Switch to your monkey business shoes and put your others in your pack. Do not stash them-carry them with you.

Remember to pause frequently to look and listen, on your approach, during the action, and while withdrawing. Your nervousness may make you want to make a beeline back to your car after your work is finished. Fight this urge. Be absolutely sure you're not being followed.

Once you're back at your car, it is usually best to drive away. Your escape route must not take you past your target. Position your vehicle accordingly.

In most cases, you will want to leave the area by the same route you took in. You know this road is open and passable and you are less likely to get stuck or lost-considerations especially important at night. On the map it may look like a short hop to a nearby paved highway, but if you haven't driven the road you may find yourself stopped by a washout or other obstacle. Play it safe and backtrack.

Before driving away at night, disconnect your license plate light or smear your plate and adjacent bumper area with mud (make it look natural). This can save you a lot of grief if you pass a nosy or curious person. Stay calm, drive at a normal cautious speed, and be prepared with an explanation as to why you're in the area, and why you're leaving at night.

In a worst case, your work might be interrupted and you would need to flee to safety. Run in a direction that will lead pursuers away from your parked vehicle and circle back when you are sure you're not being followed. Teams must not separate in the dark.

Before you get back to your parked car, stop again in an area where you won't leave tracks. Switch back to your regular shoes or boots and bury your gloves and monkey business shoes in separate holes. Conceal sign of your digging (a quick way to do this at night is to place some branches over the dis­turbed soil). Approach your car normally. If someone is there waiting, tell them where you were (you may have dozed off after dinner and just awoken under a nearby tree). Ask what all the commotion is about. Be curious, or helpful. This can disguise the fear you feel. If all is quiet at your car, set up camp normally and go to sleep if you can. If you attempt to drive out when the enemy is alerted, they can easily stop you (unless there's a fair amount of traffic on the road). Weather out any possible storm as an innocent camper. They'll ask questions, and look around your campsite for footprints like the ones found at the target site. Knowing you're totally clean will make it easier to play the role of innocent. After other car traffic has come and gone, you can drive away casually. Remember that the first vehicles seen moving in the area after an interrupted hit will be regarded with most suspicion.

A final note: Because you don't want to have an untimely breakdown in the area after a hit, carry a good spare tire and whatever tools and parts your mechanical skills allow for.

-Laura Bullion


* Bird watching is a good cover and a good way to check around an area. Carry a bird book and binoculars. Be able to identify a few birds.

* Maps of the National Forest in which you operate are vital for planning approach and escape routes. Standard road maps from AAA or gas stations are usually far from adequate for back roads. You can pick up National Forest maps at ranger stations and other information sites. Often a National Forest headquarters will have maps of other, nearby National Forests, too. Hiking and backpacking stores often sell maps of National Forests in their region. Display maps are often posted in campgrounds. As a last resort, you can make a sketch map of backcountry roads from such a display. Maps are also avail­able by mail from Forest Service offices, but this may leave a paper trail. Numerous people stop and buy maps from Forest Service offices. Be sure you do not stand out as a memorable character. Look and act like a typical camp­ing tourist. Maps of National Park areas and BLM lands are available from their offices. A very good set of maps is the USGS 1:100,000 scale series. Back road and trail information is quite accurate, and topography and/or land owner­ship status is shown on the different editions. A national index is available from the U.S. Geological Survey, Box 25286, Federal Center, Bldg. 41, Denver, CO 80225.

Daily Routine

Because surveillance is likely to be employed against any suspected mon­keywrencher, make the counter-surveillance security check a part of your daily routine. Think of it as simply paying attention to detail. It enhances your appreciation of life and events around you.

Following are a few simple rules:

- Don't look around in an obvious manner. The trick is to spot the surveil­lance without the bad guys knowing it. If it's obvious that you look up and down the street every time you walk out the front door, or if someone following you sees your head twitch every time you look in the rearview mirror, you've blown it. Be patient-be cool.

~ Know your neighbors. If they like you they may tip you off to suspicious men asking questions or parked in the neighborhood. This also helps you spot strangers in your area.

~ Know your neighbors' cars. This makes it harder for a surveillance vehicle to be parked in view of your home. Be suspicious of any new vehicles (especially vans and other vehicles that can conceal a surveillance person in back). Surveillance vehicles are usually rotated, different vehicles in different locations. Be alert and participate in a Neighborhood Watch program if avail­able. See State-of-the-art Video Surveillance elsewhere in this chapter.

~ Be wary of any newcomers in your area, especially if they're in a house or apartment with a good view of your comings and goings. Empty houses and rentals may also be used as fixed surveillance posts.

~ Surveillance may only be active when you are, like after dark, or when an informer reports you're going camping. Heighten your awareness at these times, even if you're not up to anything.

~ Most cautious people only check for surveillance shortly after leaving home, work, or school. Most professional surveillance picks up after this to avoid being "made." Make your checks random.

~ Pay attention to cars and faces. A feeling that you've seen them before is usually your first warning. Don't stare in an obvious manner.

~ If you live in a remote area, concealed video cameras may monitor your home. Take walks in the area and be alert to new boxes on power poles, unexplained cables, or monitoring vehicles parked at some distance. Here especially, your good neighbor policy may provide you with a tip-off that authorities have asked your neighbors to use their home for surveillance.

~ Bumper beeper transmitters are used to give surveillance teams a good standoff distance to avoid detection, especially in rural areas where light traf­fic makes it difficult to maintain visual contact without being obvious. Keep your vehicle locked at all times, preferably inside a garage. Learn what the underside of your vehicle and the engine compartment look like so that you can occasionally check for suspicious additions. Use your routine night trips or trips to the country to check for surveillance. Stop in a remote area and wait to see what vehicles overtake you. If you pull off the road into a concealed spot, the following vehicle may drive by slowly or repeatedly trying to figure out where you've gone. Walk back to the main road quickly and watch from con­cealment for any such activity.

Run repeated surveillance checks before any mission.

Be suspicious of night-flying aircraft when you're out driving. They'll usu­ally maintain a healthy distance to avoid tipping you off. When out on a job, stop your vehicle in quiet areas, shut off the engine, and look and listen for air­craft. Repeat this check several times.

~ Using the drop and pick-up technique earlier described in Ecodefense makes even sophisticated surveillance very difficult.

~ The FBI will commonly use six vehicles when tailing a suspect. One vehi­cle will follow within sight for awhile, and then drop out as another takes over. The tailing vehicles will be in radio contact so all know where the suspect vehi­cle is at all times.

Routine checks for surveillance will enhance your powers of observation and greatly improve your monkeywrenching work. Be observant. Pay attention to detail.


Mental Conditioning

As a pastime, monkeywrenching is considerably more stressful than softball or good books. Stress reduction and improved work habits are routinely used to improve the performance of people in high stress jobs (such as police work). Mental conditioning can also increase your capabilities and heighten your security.

Stress is unpredictable. Armed forces the world over have spent millions of research dollars trying to develop ways of predicting which recruits will hold up best under extreme stress. These efforts have been largely unsuccessful due to the variety of mental processes involved and the wide range of circum­stances that may trigger stress. Stated simply, you do not know how you or your partners will respond to that ultimate moment of stress when the beam of a powerful spotlight catches you at night or the men at the door whip out their FBI credentials. The dangers of this uncertainty can be significantly reduced by simple exercises.

The following is not just empty theory. This writer has had extensive field experience and has felt or witnessed everything described below.

STRESS IS ALWAYS PRESENT. Even the most mundane tasks are stress­ful for the monkeywrencher. Though you may not be conscious of a minor level of stress, it is still there and still a danger. Example: You enter a furrier's shop on a scouting mission. Though you've done nothing illegal and you're not car­rying anything incriminating, your eyes wander about nervously, you startle when a salesperson comes up behind you unexpectedly, or you simply do not behave like an interested shopper. Because your behavior is a little unusual, the sales clerks remember you and describe you to police a couple of weeks later when the store is splashed in red paint.

LOW STRESS LEVELS MAKE YOU VULNERABLE TO HIGH STRESS. The nervousness present every time you go on a mission makes it easier for a sudden problem to overwhelm you. Example: You make your final approach to a bulldozer parked alongside a quiet road. You've been very cautious, stop­ping time and again to look and listen for signs of trouble. Your throat is dry and you're sweating just a little. Suddenly a voice booms out, "Hold it right there! You're under arrest!" You freeze in your tracks, rather than running, confused and uncertain where the voice came from. Then you are arrested.

Because stress is always present and dangerous, you must be willing to deal with it at all times instead of waiting until you're in a bind before trying to reduce your stress level.

While there are many kinds of stress reactions, the following are the most dangerous to the monkeywrencher:

TUNNEL VISION. This is a common form of high stress sensory distortion that causes you to focus intently on the most obvious danger to the exclusion of your surroundings. Example: You are watching a security guard's truck drive past on a nearby dirt road. You don't even notice the second guard walking up on your left in plain view.

BLOCKING OUT SOUNDS. Similar to tunnel vision, here you are concentrat­ing your attention on anticipated sounds while ignoring others. Example: Convinced you heard the sound of footsteps, you fail to notice the sound of distant highway traffic getting louder as a patrol car rolls up to your hiding spot.

TIME DISTORTION. Time may seem to slow down or speed up, either way giving you inaccurate information with which to deal with your problems. Example: You drop flat on your stomach in the tall grass after seeing a moving silhouette in the nearby trees. Waiting perfectly still for what seems like a couple of minutes, you slowly rise up to leave. In reality, only fifteen seconds have passed and you're staring into the face of an unfriendly Freddie. duck out of sight from an approaching car that stops a short distance away. Time seems to stand still. Your fear mounts rapidly while you wait for the car to leave. Seconds later you jump up and dash off recklessly into the night. The driver at the stop sign sees you run off and notifies police.

LOSS OF FINE MOTOR SKILLS. Stress automatically prepares your body for large brute responses like running or fighting. Fine coordination suffers as a result. Example: Convinced you've been spotted, you hurry back to your parked car where you fumble with your keys and drop them in the darkness.

LOSS OF DECISION MAKING ABILITY. Even if you've successfully con­trolled the sensory manifestations of stress cited above, high levels of anxiety may override your normal ability to make correct choices. Example: While out spiking trees you narrowly escape an ambush by Freddies. After fleeing the area, you pause momentarily to catch your breath. Then you dash off once again, but instead of heading deeper into the woods, you inadvertently run directly to the trailhead where more Freddies are waiting by their parked trucks.

The market is flooded with books, tapes, and seminars teaching stress reduction. But closing your eyes or systematically relaxing muscle by muscle is impractical when the law is breathing down your neck and you must be totally alert to your surroundings. For this reason, a simple stress reducing breathing exercise may be most suitable for all stressful situations. In addition, it's something you can do in public without drawing undue attention.

A breathing exercise counters the rapid and shallow breathing that normally accompanies stress. By calming the body, it sends signals to your brain that things are okay, thus reducing mental stress. The key is to breath deeply and slowly.

Inhale deeply while counting "one-two-three-four-five." Hold that breath while again counting one to five. Now exhale completely while again counting to five. When your lungs are completely emptied, count one through five again and begin your next five-count breath. Repeat this process over and over; inhale, hold it, exhale, pause...

Practice this breathing exercise at home or in your favorite place in the woods. A calm and peaceful setting will help you feel the relaxation it affords you. Once you have learned this simple exercise, pause before your next scouting mission, or after your driver has dropped you off, or before the final approach to the target, and take a few moments to reduce your stress before facing trouble. Later, if you've just ducked out of sight of a passing guard, do this breathing exercise while observing your surroundings closely and waiting for an "all clear." Or, if you've just escaped a near capture, pause to control your breathing and consider your options carefully.

Another means of improving your stress response is VISUALIZATION. Because you will react as you have been trained to react, drill yourself repeat­edly on what you would do if... are suddenly caught in the glare of a spotlight from the left ... or the right...

... a car engine starts up nearby just as you climb down off the bulldozer. return to your pickup point to find the flashing lights of a police car. look out the window after hearing a knock at the front door and see

two men in business suits standing outside.

Visualize your complete response to the danger scenario. Imagine in detail-will you run or walk? Will you stop to pick up your keys before answer­ing the door? Will you hide nearby, or run as far as you can?

Make these mental drills a routine part of your monkeywrenching, adapting them to every changing circumstance. If trouble suddenly appears, you will have already taken the first step in proper decision making, thereby eliminating those first few precious seconds of indecision.

Finally, take a little comfort in knowing that successfully surviving one stressful situation will tend to make the next one a little easier to cope with. Stress reduction can give you the winning edge before, during, and after a dangerous mission. And don't stop just because the job is over. What if you're pulled over by a cop while driving home?

--Cool Hand Luke


Anti-Bugging Devices

A wide variety of devices for detecting room bugs, telephone taps, tape recorders or transmitters on people, and the like are commercially available. Because these instruments are sold largely for corporate security they are very expensive and likely beyond the reach of monkeywrenchers. The best way to guard against electronic surveillance or bugs is two-fold: 1) Do not draw suspicion to yourself; and 2) never discuss illegal activities over the tele­phone, in your home or office, or with anyone you do not completely trust.

The following may give you an idea of the remarkable devices available. International Logistics System, Inc., POB 25 (72 Ralph St), Belleville, NJ 07109 (201)759-0007, sells, among many items, a portable bug detector for $995, a counter-surveillance probe monitor for $2,995, various telephone bug detectors ranging from $995 to over $5,000, night vision goggles for $7,000­9,000, and so forth. TRD, Inc., 177 Main St, Fort Lee, NJ 07024, 1-800-USA­SWEEP, also sells room, telephone, and on-person bug detectors.

Phoenix Systems, Inc., POB 3339, Evergreen, CO 80439 (303)277-0305, also has a mail-order catalog offering bug detectors and other security devices. Their bug detector for transmitters in home, office, or car is only $129.95 and their telephone bug detectors range from $129.95 to $249.95. They also offer a variety of lock picking tools, tear gas and pepper sprays and grenades, smoke grenades, caltrops (about $2 apiece), and books and videos on lock picking and surveillance. Some of their other devices indicate what a monkeywrencher may come up against: a $60 booby trap tear gas dispenser (this might be on the big yellow machine parked temptingly on the timber road construction project), theft detection powder (about fifteen bucks), surveil­lance microphones and transmitters ($45 to $145), motion detectors ($40 to $50), and a $12.95 spray that makes envelopes briefly transparent but leaves no lingering markings or residue. Some of these surveillance tools might have value in certain ecotage operations.

Even if you cannot afford such devices, simply studying these catalogs can give a monkeywrencher a good sense of how electronic surveillance works and how pervasive it is. Keep in mind that ordering any of these devices or merely asking for a catalog could put you on a "usual suspects" list. (It is entirely possible that one of these outfits is an FBI front designed to identify the usual suspects.) Practice standard security as outlined elsewhere in this chapter. These catalogs also help you realize that bugs are not placed just by law enforcement agencies. Much bugging and surveillance of suspected ecode­fenders is probably done by industry, private security outfits, and the "wise use" thugs.

Law enforcement experts tell us that electronic counter-measures (ECM) is a job for trained and experienced professionals. Inexperienced amateurs doing "sweeps" for bugs will almost always miss a professional installation such as employed by the FBI. Do not, therefore, rely on any of the above equipment to successfully carry out a "do it yourself" de-bugging operation. This section is included only to give you an idea of the availability and variety of surveillance tools on the open market and how rife the practice is.

Electronic Surveillance

In addition to phone taps, microphone surveillance is also a law enforcement favorite. Microphones connected to tape recorders or transmitters are hidden in homes, offices, cars, and are worn by undercover officers and informers. Your. first line of defense against these efforts is coded and vague conversa­tion. Avoid using obvious or incriminating words and say no more than neces­sary. For example:

"Can you go out tonight?" (got a hit planned)

"Sure, you got something in mind?" (you got a target/plan?)

"Yeah, kinda like last month." (another heavy equipment job)

"Okay, meet ya at seven." (at the usual rendezvous)

Also, avoid conducting incriminating conversations in the same place time and again. Step outside the house into the backyard, walk down the street, or stroll off into the park. Microphones will only be hidden in the places where you are most likely to talk. Avoid the obvious.

Microphone surveillance of automobiles is more difficult due to noise, although it is often successfully practiced. Make it tougher by turning on the radio and rolling down the window before discussing business.

If you must discuss a job in your house or apartment, turn on a radio or TV or both and sit close together so you can keep your voice low and still be under­stood.

Get in the habit of hugging your close acquaintances when you see them. This makes it much more difficult for an informer or undercover cop to "carry" or "wear" a "wire" (hidden transmitter or recorder). These are usually hidden in the small of the back where a 'hug might reveal a strange shape. This forces them to find other places to carry the equipment, such as in a woman's purse or in the top of a boot. Michael Fain, the undercover FBI agent in the Arizona Five case, always wore cowboy boots because they provided an effective hiding place for his tape recorder. Women in our society can get away with more touching, and hence more discreet checks for surveillance gear.

A sure way to avoid tipping off a microphone surveillance is to avoid talk altogether. One person can be responsible for the target selection and plan, the others simply show up suitably attired and equipped for work but not knowing in advance what is to be done. Once briefed on the mission, no one is allowed to leave the group (when they might make a phone call warning).

Be wary of even a close friend who talks too much. Even someone totally trustworthy can be indiscreet enough to cause you serious trouble.

FBI Updates Eavesdropping Methods

According to an AP wire story in February 1992, the FBI is spending $82 mil­lion on a research effort to improve their capability to bug digital phone sys­tems (such as cellular telephones). The Pentagon is spending even more money on similar research. Evidently the FBI was caught with its pants down when drug dealers, Mafioso, and white-collar criminals began using cellular phones and over-the-phone transmission of computer data. Having fallen behind the times, the FBI has found it difficult to locate and unscramble such digital transmissions when they are part of a steady stream of thousands of simultaneous transmissions over the wires.

Wiretaps on digital transmissions need to be placed near the cellular phone or computer being used instead of at a telephone switching center, which is adequate for intercepting normal calls. This makes it more difficult to hide such wiretapping.

Therefore, a key element in the FBI plan is to improve their breaking and entering techniques ("Surreptitious Entry Program") to place bugging devices inside homes and offices of people they are investigating. Such gadgets and techniques will be designed to thwart security devices like burglar alarms and bug detectors.


It is well-known that the National Park Service has gone overboard on hiring people with law-enforcement training to be rangers. Not so well known is that the U.S. Forest Service and, to a lesser degree, the BLM, have also begun hiring more cops-F-men, we'll call them. Regular Forest Service and BLM employees are receiving considerable law enforcement training at special fed­eral centers. Even many old-time Forest Service and BLM employees are dis­gusted with this emphasis on law enforcement-particularly since many of these new agents are thugs who believe that everyone is an outlaw.

The Forest Service has a super-cache of law enforcement equipment in Bozeman, Montana. Some of this stuff is out of James Bond movies: auto­matic weapons, location transmitters to attach under private automobiles, motion sensors to place on trails or around logging sites, and night-vision equipment.

Forest Service law enforcement also has a "special task force" to be sent where needed. Unlike FBI SWAT Team agents who are uncomfortable in wild country, these Freddie hoods are probably good in the woods.

Under current practices, if a Forest Service or BLM law enforcement agent approaches someone to talk, it's very likely that they have a hidden mike and tape recorder on their person or nearby and are recording the conversation. This is perfectly legal and such recorded conversions are admissible as evi­dence in court.

In some National Forests prone to arsonists (many forest fires are deliber­ately set by loggers because "salvage" timber sales in burned areas have fewer restrictions than regular timber sales), surveillance cameras have been established. Monkeywrenchers should expect such surveillance in areas that have been hit hard by ecotage or where there are particularly controversial timber sales, road construction projects, and the like.

Approaching A Forest Site

Recent reports that the Forest Service has diverted substantial numbers of its narco cops to investigations of monkeywrenching calls for renewed secu­rity procedures. These officers have backwoods experience prowling around for marijuana patches and setting up surveillance to apprehend the cultivators. They are often dressed to look like people you might normally encounter in the woods. Be suspicious of everyone you observe in the area in which you oper­ate. Many of these "F-Men" are women, so don't relax your security when you encounter a female hiker while you are on a mission. Most such efforts, how­ever, are conducted by pairs or small groups of men. Their vehicles look like private cars and trucks.

Essential to avoiding the surveillance net is unpredictability. After working an area a time or two, stay clear of it for many months. Surveillance is expen­sive to maintain-too expensive for months of fruitless waiting in a potential target area. Where feasible, avoid using roads and trails to approach the tar­get as these are more likely to be watched.

Every time you're out hiking or camping, practice reading "sign," particularly footprints. Fresh footprints may be your first warning that someone else is prowling your target area. Keep abreast of the weather to enhance your ability to understand tracks. Feel tracks with your hand, as well as studying them with your eyes. A recent heavy rain may have washed out all but the newest tracks, while a hard track in dried mud may date back to a period following the most recent rain.

You can prepare roads and foot trails on a scouting run to warn you of movement later. Gently brush a small area clear of tracks, leaving it looking normal. When you come back later on a mission, check these clean spots for signs of recent activity. A two to three foot stretch on a footpath will be suffi­cient, while a mere six to twelve inches in the soft dirt of a road will reveal new tire tracks. Locate these clear spots near landmarks that will enable you to find them readily. In the dark, a small flashlight held close to the ground and shined across the dirt will produce shadows in new tracks.

Before engaging in an action, such as tree spiking, stash any incriminating items and scout the area for signs of surveillance (ranging from parked vehi­cles to funny looking men in camouflage). Move slowly and use your senses fully. A sound or the smell of a cigarette may tip you off before you see any­thing. You can either move openly, with props (like your tree identification guide book, camera, or binoculars), or secretively, staying in concealment, moving only short distances (quietly!) before stopping to listen and look. Circle your target area at least twice, once close in, and again at a distance just within earshot of where you'll be working. Approach anything suspicious for a close look, since you're carrying nothing incriminating.

Automobile Trailing

Forest Service law enforcement officers (F-men) are attaching inconspicu­ous devices to "suspicious" vehicles in order to follow their movements. These gizmos come in two varieties:

1) A flashing light on a wave-length that can only be seen with special gog­gles. They are worn by F-men in a following vehicle.

2) A radio transmitter. The following vehicle with F-men stays out of sight. Transmissions indicate general location and movement of the suspicious vehicle.

Drug Searches

The "War on Drugs" makes any association between drug possession and monkeywrenching more dangerous than ever. An increasingly popular law enforcement tactic is the roadblock, which has been employed everywhere from interstate highways to small roads in rural Utah. Similar to this is the so­-called "drug courier profile" which is a catch-all used to stop anyone who looks suspicious, or out-of-place, or is simply driving a vehicle with out-of-state plates. An alleged traffic violation like "following too close" or "changing lanes without a signal" is used to stop a suspect, run their driver's license and auto registration through the NCIC computer, and request "consent" to a search.

An attempt to intimidate you into allowing a search may begin with a simple question like "Do you have any firearms or drugs in your vehicle?" Avoid look­ing startled and always answer "no." Even if you're simply carrying an unloaded firearm in the back, if you don't answer "no" you may find yourself running afoul of a state law or local regulation you didn't know existed (and sure to ruin your vacation). Never consent to a search, even if you're com­pletely "clean." The first hand experience of witnessing a frustrated cop go through the motions to intimidate you is valuable for the monkeywrencher who may risk later encounters with law enforcement.

If you don't consent to a search, a drug-sniffing dog may be called in to pro­vide "probable cause." The dog will sniff around the door seals and trunk seeking a whiff of drugs. If the dog signals its handler that the smell of drugs is present, a lawful search ensues. In the absence of "probable cause" to believe a crime has been committed, the fruits of a search will typically be thrown out of court. Know your rights. Read If an Agent Knocks (available free from the Center for Constitutional Rights, 666 Broadway, NY, NY 10012, 212-614-6464).

Other variations on this law enforcement tactic include setting up road­blocks or signs announcing roadblocks up ahead and waiting back to snag anyone who turns around in an attempt to avoid the roadblock.

Suspects who are detained, either for an ID check or a vehicular search, may be placed in the back of a patrol car that contains a hidden microphone and transmitter that is monitored through an earphone worn by an officer standing some distance from the car. The idea is to eavesdrop on incriminat­ing conversations between suspects to obtain information and probable cause for search or arrest. Such bugging may be entirely legal. Whenever you are detained by police, do not say anything incriminating to a friend that you wouldn't want the police to heap.

-Dick Tracy


The best defense is a good offense. A good counterintelligence program is a must!

Everything that goes on in regard to protests, occupations, civil disobedi­ence, and other "out in the open" actions is well documented on film and video tape by government agencies so that the actions can be analyzed by law enforcement agents at a later date. During such actions they fill out forms to answer questions like: who are the speakers? any known radicals present? does the action appear to be a diversion? etc.

They record incidents of ecotage in much the same manner. All the informa­tion they gather is entered into a file that is constantly analyzed.

If you do the same-constantly analyze all related events-you are practic­ing counterintelligence. A good book on this subject is FM 34-60 (Army field manual) and you can probably find a copy in most larger military surplus out­


-The Plumbers



DNA "Fingerprinting"

The authors of an article published in February 1992 Science magazine endorsed so-called DNA fingerprinting as a reliable technique for identification of criminals. They said that DNA patterns extracted from blood, semen, hair, or body tissue can only overlap in identical twins. Such scientific confirmation makes it more likely that courts will admit DNA comparisons in criminal cases, thus making it even more important for eco-saboteurs not to leave parts of their bodies or their bodily fluids behind at monkeywrenching sites.

The Department of Defense is creating a registry of DNA patterns. Supposedly, they merely want to have genetic fingerprints on file of all military personnel so that body remains can be more easily identified. However, the FBI and other government agencies could gain access to such records to run computer matches of DNA fingerprints left at crime sites. The FBI already has 7.6 million DNA fingerprints on file in its computer banks. There have been proposals to secure DNA fingerprints from all children so that they can be identified more easily in abduction cases.


* Do not urinate near where you are monkeywrenching. It is possible that if urine-soaked dirt was discovered near a ecotage site, DNA analysis of it could incriminate you. Pee far away from any site of your nightwork. FBI agents boast, "If you even sneeze in a car that you've stolen, we can get a DNA trace from it." The FBI, of course, is notorious for exaggerating its abilities and com­petence, but such braggadocio may be true under certain circumstances. The state of California is already building a DNA database like the FBI's national database of fingerprints. Researchers report that when five DNA loci were used, there were no matches in the entire 7.6 million FBI samples. This indi­cates that DNA analysis is as effective as fingerprints in identifying someone.

Ultraviolet Tracing

Ultraviolet tracing materials are used to identify individuals who have come into contact with restricted objects or areas. They consist of powders or pastes, which are applied to an object or surface, that will be picked up on the hands or clothing of anyone coming into contact with them. These powders (usually used indoors) and pastes (oil-based for outdoors use) come in a vari­ety of colors to blend with background (the object they are being applied to). Under normal light they are all but invisible or appear to be ordinary dirt or grease. Under ultraviolet light these compounds effloresce, or glow. Thus, a check of the hands or clothing of a suspect will clearly indicate whether they have come into contact with the treated material.

The use of ultraviolet tracing against monkeywrenching is limited by several factors. Weather can wash the tracing compounds off the treated area or object. In addition, it is necessary to have a suspect in order to check the person and her clothing for the presence of the fluorescent material. Finally, it is time consuming and costly to treat a large area.

It has been reported that the Forest Service experimented with these tracing materials on trees marked for a controversial logging cut. The tree spiker can avoid problems by scrupulously avoiding direct contact with the bark of any tree. To set a spike, only a cheap throwaway cloth glove need come in actual physical contact with a tree. Avoid brushing a shirt or jacket sleeve on the bark. When the job is finished, isolate the gloves in a small bag. If they come into contact with your clothing, such as the inside of your pockets, they will spread the material. Dispose of the gloves correctly by burying them in a hole a great distance from the target (ideally on the drive out-stop briefly, step outside to a concealed place, and quickly bury-this will prevent their discov­ery by a tracking dog), or dropping them in a dumpster or other suitable spot (don't leave them in a bag that might bear your fingerprints).

Tracing materials are especially well suited to a set-up. Here a piece of heavy equipment or similar target can be treated and left in an open area as bait, especially if it is known that the suspect will visit or routinely pass by and be tempted. Be wary of anything that looks too easy or is located too close to where you live or travel. Be very suspicious of equipment that stays parked and is not regularly in use. Remember, though, this approach is only effective if you are already a suspect and are being baited. Do not fear it is widely employed.

Other precautions include:

4 Purchase an ultraviolet light to check your gloves and other clothing for the presence of tracer chemicals. Most of these materials respond to long wave ultraviolet light, though a shortwave light can enhance your certainty. Check the big city yellow pages for a "Lapidary equipment and supplies" listing.

 Mail-order suppliers (a last resort) can be found through ads in gem, mineral, and rock-hounding magazines. This includes companies like Ultra-Violet Products Inc., Box 1501, San Gabriel, CA 91778, whose 1990 catalog lists battery powered lamps at about $20 for long wave and around $30 for short­wave. (Don't bother with the cheap incandescent "Black Light" bulbs sold through novelty stores and catalogs.)

A good cover for owning such a light and for carrying it in the field is that of the prospector or rock hound. A rock hammer, sample bags or bottles, and a copy of any of the good rock and mineral field guides completes the look, though you should read your field guide or any of a number of books specializ­ing in fluorescent minerals (check libraries or lapidary stores) to be at least slightly conversant on the subject.

~ Avoid wool outer garments that might come into contact with a treated sur­face. The UV tracing pastes are very persistent once worked into wool fibers.

~ Wash your work clothes as soon as possible after any hit. This will remove soil and other material that may provide police with forensic evidence. If the clothing has any smudges or grease spots, clean these first with paper towels and gasoline or paint thinner. Exercise caution to protect yourself from vapors and the flammable hazards. Do not throw soaked towels or rags in a pile or trash can as they can ignite through spontaneous combustion. Spread them out to dry and dispose of them by burying or tossing in a dumpster, or by safely burning. The paint thinner or gasoline will remove most of the oil-based stain. Then apply a commercial stain remover before washing the clothes normally. For substantial grease stains (from heavy equipment "repair") launder again as needed.

~ If you detect fluorescent material with your UV light, remember to check anything else the material came into contact with, such as hiking/camping gear, car seat and floor, etc. Clean these surfaces and check again.

Advanced Fingerprinting Techniques

  New research has developed techniques that make it possible to lift usable fingerprints even from rough surfaces like paper bags.

• Law enforcement agencies have a cyanoacrylic vapor deposition tech­nique that can pull fingerprints from almost anything. This includes the insides of cloth gloves and even skin surfaces.

• There is supposedly an 80 pound backpack laser fingerprinter that can lift old or faint fingerprints from practically anything including tree bark. A private investigator working for lumber companies in North Carolina is reputed to use such a rig.

• A new fingerprinting technique, similar to a method biologists use to stain proteins, uses gold and silver attracted to latent protein in the fingerprint. Among the items from which it can recover fingerprints are wet paper, car­tridges, computer disks, counterfeit money, and adhesive tape. The FBI and Secret Service are both using the new technique. A Secret Service agent said it was the only technique that works on the adhesive side of tape, and claimed it was one of the five most important improvements in fingerprinting during the hundred years that fingerprinting has been used.

State-Of-The-Art Video Surveillance

Due to recent technological breakthroughs, an innocent-looking empty car parked down the street from your house or apartment may be providing police with round-the-clock video camera surveillance of your comings and goings as well as your visitors.

Agencies ranging from local police departments to the FBI are using this innovative approach to conduct surveillances in areas where an officer sitting in a car, or a more conventional surveillance van, would draw unwanted suspi­cion. A small camera lens is hidden on the vehicle so that it can be aimed at the target. This can be in a side marker or tucked inside a dashboard orna­ment. A bundle of fiber optics carries the image to a video camera concealed within a couple of feet of the lens (in the trunk or under a seat). Early models of this type then stored the video signal with a video cassette recorder (VCR). Even with a timed shutter recording one image every few seconds, this required routine servicing to pick up and replace the videotape. Usually an agent simply drove the surveillance car away, and it would be replaced by a dif­ferent vehicle, often parked in a different spot. The vehicles would be shuttled back and forth to provide the required video coverage of the target.

More recent developments allow the video signal to be transmitted via radio waves to a surveillance post. This surveillance post may be in a nearby gov­ernment office, the residence of a policeman or other government employee, or in a camper or motor home parked in the neighborhood. This allows the video surveillance vehicle to remain stationary for long periods of time, an especially useful feature when strangers coming and going might arouse suspicions, or where suitable parking spaces are hard to come by.

A video surveillance vehicle is carefully chosen to blend in with the neigh­borhood. An officer or agent will park the car in a predetermined spot, lock it, and leave it sitting empty. The driver may do this at night to avoid observation, or may feign engine trouble, look under the hood, and finally walk away as if to get help.

Your countermeasures include being aware of what vehicles belong on your street. Any new ones should be regarded with suspicion. Make a note of the vehicle's description, including make, model, color, and distinctive features. License plates are regularly shuffled by law enforcement agencies and are not a sufficient description by themselves. Watch for signs of activity around the car. Ask your neighbors about the car, feigning interest in buying a car like it. If you find the legitimate owner, avoid suspicion by asking how well the car runs and whether they're satisfied with its performance. (Keep in mind that this book is read by the authorities and may tip them off to your suspicions.)

Consider other avenues to conceal your comings and goings. Many resi­dential houses can be approached from the street or alley side, making effec­tive video surveillance more costly and difficult.

Rural residents can also be placed under similar video surveillance, with cameras and related equipment concealed on telephone poles, or in brush and trees. Of course, timber sale areas, trailheads, heavy equipment, and other sites in remote areas can be similarly watched.

Be sensitive to your surroundings without being paranoid.

Telephone Monitoring

The secretive and little-known National Security Agency (NSA) has the capability to monitor by computer all telephone calls in the United States. NSA shares its information with the CIA, FBI, and other agencies. Assume all pay phone to pay phone calls are monitored and can be traced if the people give out incriminating information. The NSA's monitoring computers are pro­grammed for certain words, phrases, or telephone numbers. For details, see the article on the NSA in the Summer 1989 issue (Number 32) of CovertAction. There is only one way to be absolutely certain that phone calls concerning monkeywrenching are not being recorded or monitored by the NSA-DO NOT USE THE TELEPHONE TO DISCUSS ANY ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES.

According to news reports, the FBI plans to spend $82 million over the next five years to develop equipment capable of intercepting and unscrambling digi­tal signals from over-the-phone transmission of computer data and conversa­tions over cellular telephones. The FBI's Surreptitious Entry Program (where agents break into someone's home or office) is developing devices to counter electronic alarms and other security systems that warn of intruders, so they will be able to break in and install the necessary equipment to intercept trans­missions from computers and cellular phones.

Surveillance of personal computer emissions, if not already taking place, will arise soon. All PCs (and, of course, larger computers) give off high frequency emissions which are easily intercepted and made readable. There are no laws prohibiting private or government entities from doing this. Even inexpensive equipment can pick up such emissions at a few hundred feet (the apartment or house next door, the van parked down the street). Greater distances require more costly equipment like pre-amplifiers, but are easily within federal bud­gets. G-men used to do break-ins to get membership lists, now they can get it all legally when a computer prints out address labels! Unfortunately, the shielding necessary for secure PC use is costly (it doubles the cost of the computer). Precautions include moving PCs to interior rooms and being aware of strange vehicles parked in the neighborhood. Apartments and business offices cannot be secure without costly shielding. Sensitive material should

be kept off the PC.

-J. Edgar Redress


* Telephone companies routinely monitor some calls as part of operator training.

* The police, many bureaucracies, and some media have technology that enables them to know the phone number someone is calling them from. This was just brought to my attention while I was talking to a reporter from a number he didn't know. He was going to check into something and call me back. I started to give him the number but he'd gotten it when he picked up the phone. Scary.




Undercover police activity has become a standard feature of the contempo­rary political terrain. Disclosures in recent years indicate that environmental­ist, anti-nuclear, and animal rights groups are likely to be targeted for surrepti­tious investigation. This can take many forms, from an inconspicuous stranger who turns up to help at a demonstration, to a trained "deep cover" operative who may spend years working inside a target organization. These operations can be launched locally by a police or sheriff's department, or by any of a number of federal agencies, such as the Forest Service, which now has the third largest law enforcement staff in the federal government.

Another major source of inside information for investigators is the "Cl" or "confidential informant." These informers can be private citizens recruited to infiltrate a group, or fearful members who turn on their friends (usually to save themselves). Without the existence of the Cl, or "snitch," there would in fact be very few arrests made for major crimes. However, Cls do have major short­comings from a police perspective, including their general unreliability, ques­tionable status as testifying witnesses, and frequent refusal to testify in open court. Therefore, the information garnered from a CI must be backed up by the testimony of undercover police officers or supplemented by an intensive police investigation (which may involve surveillance and the use of search warrants) to build a case without putting the informer on the witness stand. In fact, the use of a Cl in an arrest is usually not revealed, so the investigation may appear to be nothing more than competent police work.

Any monkeywrencher who suspects surveillance, should examine associ­ates, study who has access to information now believed to be in the hands of the police, notice anyone who suddenly attempts to distance themselves, and be alert to any other indication that investigators are receiving inside informa­tion.

The Undercover Infiltrator

Both government agencies and private companies are routinely involved in running undercover operations. Small police departments and private firms (ranging from the large agencies like Pinkerton and Burns down to the security divisions maintained -by large corporations and often staffed by former law enforcement agents) typically rely on the solitary agent to ferret out informa­tion which is then passed on to the agent's supervisors. Larger state and Federal agencies have the resources to mount far more extensive infiltration efforts. Major efforts entail a team approach, with extensive backup equipment and personnel to exploit the information provided by the undercover cop. The team's job is to protect the undercover agent and assemble a mass of evidence so that a subsequent prosecution doesn't rely entirely on the testimony of one officer.

The increasing sophistication of undercover operations has made it more difficult to spot these people. Today's undercover officer can look and sound like anyone. Many years ago, an undercover cop might be exposed when suspicious associates pilfered his phone bill from a mailbox and found that it listed numerous calls to a recognizable police phone number. Those days are gone as the quality and training of undercover operatives has improved. Only the crudest attempts to infiltrate, such as those occurring at demonstrations or other well-publicized events, are likely to be obvious due to the appearance or demeanor of the plainclothes officer.

There are two broad categories of undercover operative: deep cover and light cover.

A deep cover infiltrator "lives" the role. It may be someone with extensive experience in undercover work, or a young person selected from an academy training class. Novices are actually preferred sometimes because they have not acquired the typical authoritarian habits that might give them away as cops, and also because they are less likely to be recognized by regular cops in the field who might unknowingly reveal their identity in a chance encounter.

Deep cover operations are tightly compartmentalized within the investigating agency to prevent breaches of security or leaks by employees sympathetic to the group being infiltrated. These operations may be coordinated from isolated offices at training facilities like the FBI's Quantico Academy or the Federal law enforcement training academy (western branch at Marana, Arizona).

A deep cover agent is equipped with false ID (usually retaining the real first name so she doesn't forget to respond to her name), and a skeleton of per­sonal history, such as a business owner who will verify that so-and-so worked for them (and who will later notify the police that someone was inquiring). The agent's background may be kept close to the truth to prevent slip-ups. Finally, a deep cover agent may work a real job, rent a house or apartment, and live the role 24 hours a day.

An undercover cop working under "light" cover may also have a false ID, but will most likely go home to his family and "real" life (usually in another city). Sometimes narcotics officers and other specially trained agents will be called on for these assignments.

Going Undercover

Most undercover infiltrations begin when the operative presents herself as a willing volunteer and joins the targeted organization. Often a confidential informant is used to introduce the infiltrator into a group so that she will be more readily accepted. The Cl may then discreetly drop from the scene.

A high priority target organization may have a number of CIs and undercover operatives working at once, usually unknown to each other. Such multiple infil­tration is used to test the veracity of the information provided.

Undercover agents may also assume roles outside the target organization but designed to provide inside access. A favorite is to pass themselves off as "writers" or members of the news media, or even as someone hoping to pro­duce a documentary for public access television. A phony photographer or video camera crew will enhance the look of authenticity and make a record of people and actions for later use in identification and prosecution. This approach, when used at public gatherings, provides better quality information and photos than the old method of concealing surveillance cameras inside nearby buildings or parked vans. These undercover officers may also use this role to seek "confidential" interviews with monkeywrenchers and other under­ground activists. One of the Cls in the Arizona Five case played this role.

Another widely used undercover role is that of a utility worker or phone com­pany repair person. This approach is valuable for obtaining access to a sus­pect's living quarters or workplace. While inside, the officer can plant listening devices, size up the security measures for a later "break-in," or look for evi­dence of illegality that can be used to obtain a search warrant. If the suspect is a renter, the landlord's cooperation may be sought to obtain legal access without a warrant, to provide nearby facilities for surveillance, or to provide cover for an undercover officer who may act as a handyman or building super­intendent. If you rent, you should go out of your way to remain on good terms with your landlord. Even if your landlord doesn't tip you off to police inquiries, a sudden change in her behavior around you could alert you that something has happened to change her opinion of you, and that "something" just might be sudden police interest in you. The same rule applies to neighbors, employers, and co-workers. The people around you every day can provide the first warn­ing of danger.

If utility company employees come to your door seeking access and you didn't request service, you should request some ID first, and then call their office to verify their identity and their reasons for requesting entry. Look up the phone number yourself, since the number they provide could be as phony as their ID card. However, remember also that acting unduly suspicious might cause a bona fide repair person to wonder just what you might have to hide.

Yet another undercover role is that of the phony "lawyer" who contacts a suspect before the shock of arrest wears off in an effort to elicit information. This person may claim to be a lawyer, or may just use subterfuge to create that impression. You can, of course, ask for some ID such as a state bar member­ship card. The period immediately after arrest is a dangerous time. Even after you take on an authentic lawyer to represent you, you may want time to think about your situation before deciding how straightforward you want to be with your attorney. Contrary to the old adage, it is not necessarily essential that your lawyer know everything. For instance, your lawyer may not need to know that you're guilty, just that you intend to plead innocent.

Similar to the phony lawyer approach is that of the fake court official. This person may ask you for a statement or ask you to fill out a form (to be used for handwriting comparison). If someone like this approaches you, verify the per­son's identity before doing anything else.

If you are in jail, the prisoner sharing your cell may be an undercover opera­tive, usually a "jail-house snitch" who routinely seeks information for the authorities from talkative prisoners. Finally, the prosecution may attempt to place an informant in your legal defense committee.

Undercover Tactics

The first task of an undercover infiltrator is to gain unquestioning accep­tance within the group. Often she will play it cool, do volunteer work, and bide her time, awaiting opportunity.

The goal of undercover cops is to identify suspects and gather evidence for prosecution. They may volunteer for any job, just to widen their access to information. Often they seek clerical or leadership roles to extend their influ­ence and gain access to membership and contribution records. When the FBI was working to suppress the American Indian Movement, they had an under­cover agent working as AIM's head of security.

Sometimes, undercover agents may go beyond the identification of sus­pects and the gathering of evidence: they may actually encourage someone to participate in an illegal act, and then help the police set up the arrest of that person or persons (the classic "agent provocateur"). Don't make the mistake of thinking that this sort of thing is only found in spy novels, or went out of style with the demise of the Czarist secret police. There is a good deal of evi­dence to suggest that the decline of a number of radical groups in the U.S. in the 1960s and early 70s was speeded up by the judicious use of agents provocateurs (as well as simple informants) by both Federal and local police agencies. The undercover FBI agent in the Arizona Five case went so far with being a provocateur in his desperation to make a case, that he warned his supervisor he had "an entrapment problem."

One way these agents try to spot potential monkeywrenchers they can set up for arrest is to act especially radical and "talk tough" when around other members of the group. If someone responds, the agent will then provide ideas, information, or equipment to the monkeywrencher(s) to encourage specific illegal acts which can later result in arrests. Such agents may brag of having participated in numerous illegal acts, in order to attract recruits. In early 1989, a story unfolded about the infiltration of animal rights and environmental orga­nizations by several undercover operatives. In this case, the agents were apparently employed by a private security company whose clients included corporations under attack by animal rights activists for their abuse of labora­tory animals. In one incident, these agents appear to have helped engineer an attempted bombing in which an animal rights activist was arrested. According to Ecomedia Bulletin, a Toronto anarchist publication, one agent (Mary Lou Sapone) was on the mailing lists of numerous animal rights and environmental groups, including Earth First!.

Michael Fain, the FBI undercover agent, and several confidential informants in the infamous Arizona Five set-up, are classic examples of the above types of infiltrators.

The most valuable information an undercover agent can obtain includes admissions of guilt and plans for future raids. The agent will often seek to record this information for later presentation in court. The basic way to do this is to "wear a wire," either a small transmitter or a recording device concealed on her person. If this is deemed too risky, the agent may try to arrange an incrim­inating conversation in a car or room that has been bugged in advance. Any such recording is completely legal, requiring no warrant, as long as one party present (the undercover cop) consents to allow the recording. When pre­selected locations are used to stage an incriminating session, hidden video cameras using tiny "pinhole" lenses which are nearly impossible to spot may be used to make a record of non-verbal, but possibly incriminating evidence, such as the nod of a head, or the passing of a written communication.

Electronic recording has become so common that often police agents ques­tioning suspects openly will wear small recording devices.

If a suspect makes an incriminating statement in the presence of an agent when not under electronic surveillance, the undercover agent may then try to arrange a second incriminating conversation at a time and place when it can be recorded. Note: Contrary to popular myth, an undercover cop does not have to admit being a cop if confronted with the accusation.

Undercover operatives enjoy logistical support that greatly expands their ability to gather evidence. In addition to sophisticated electronics, they often use a wide variety of vehicles (usually confiscated) to allow unobtrusive surveillance.

Measures taken against suspects fingered by an undercover operative include the following:

  Physical surveillance of a suspect and her residence, which will continue during nighttime and other times when illegal actions are more likely to occur.

Video surveillance of a residence by cameras hidden in parked vehicles' or nearby buildings. Remote video surveillance has become especially popular in rural areas where the physical presence of officers may stand out. Cameras may be hidden in brush and trees, with coaxial cables run to a monitoring post (perhaps in a neighbor's house).

Trash may be searched for incriminating items, names, and addresses of associates, financial records, records of travel, etc. Trash may be either directly retrieved from the suspect's trash can, or retrieved later from the trash truck after normal pickup.

A "pen register" may be installed on the suspect's phone line. This device makes a record of all phone numbers dialed but does not record conversa­tions. Such a record may be useful in establishing a pattern of calling associ­ated with illegal actions, and in establishing a suspect's associates. Undercover agents, wanting to frame a leader with whom they have limited con­tact, will encourage an individual against whom they have incriminating recordings to phone the leader merely to establish evidence of contact in an effort to support conspiracy charges against the leader.

• Bank records may be scrutinized for signs of travel or incriminating pur­chases. These records sometimes may be secured unofficially, through the "good-old-boy" network, since many former law enforcement personnel end up in bank security posts.

• Utility company records may be checked. These might show valuable information, such as a drop in power usage which might indicate a prolonged absence at a key time.

• Authority to conduct "mail cover" may be secured from postal authorities. This involves the recording of all the information on the outside of letters and packages (without opening them to check the contents).

• A "bumper beeper" may be secured to the underside of a suspect's vehicle with wire or magnets. Such a device allows surveillance vehicles to track the suspect's movements from a safe distance so as not to betray the agents' presence.

Note that none of the above investigative methods requires a warrant. If the police can develop sufficient information (usually just a "pattern" of suspicious behavior) they can then obtain warrants for more invasive methods, such as phone taps, hidden microphones, and opening of mail. The FBI has very good success at getting permission from federal judges to install phone taps and room bugs based on elaborate and often fanciful conspiracy theories.

Private Undercover Operations

When private investigative agencies infiltrate a radical group, they usually assign operatives with little training, sent out on a "fishing expedition" to pass along any and all information on the activities of the target group. More experi­enced operatives may have a background in employee investigations and are generally "hired" by an established business to pose as an average employee while actually seeking information about theft, drug use, union activity, or any­thing else of interest to management.

Private operatives may use their real identities or fabricated ones. They routinely provide written reports to their employers to justify their job. Because they are not law enforcement officers, they are more likely to instigate or pro­voke others to commit illegal acts (such as the recent case involving animal rights activists alluded to above), conduct illegal searches and surveillance, and generally engage in the kinds of actions whose evidence would not be admissible in court. Private operatives also typically lack the costly support systems of police undercover agents, and can be more readily exposed.

These private undercover operatives have been repeatedly used against the environmental, anti-nuclear, and animal rights movements.

Confidential Informants

The confidential informant, or "Cl," is possibly the single most valuable tool used in law enforcement. Cls are obtained by a number of means:

Walk-in. These are disgruntled or disenchanted members of a target orga­nization who volunteer their services, for a variety of reasons. They may have joined a group with good intentions, only to become offended by what they see as overly radical tactics. Or they may be ambitious people who have been passed over for leadership roles and decide to seek revenge against those they think slighted them. Or they may be wackos who seek revenge against someone in the group for personal reasons, including romantic ones.

Tip-offs. The future Cl is indiscreet in talking of illegal exploits, and is overheard by someone not of the group, who in turn informs police. The police approach the future Cl, and are able to persuade her to "roll over."

Deal-makers. Someone who is arrested on a serious charge may try to avoid prosecution, or obtain a lighter sentence by agreeing to infiltrate a group to obtain information about other illegal activities. This often occurs with drug busts

Recruits. Known members of a target group may be targeted for recruit­ment by the police. The effort usually begins with a background check for signs of vulnerability. An individual who appears "weak" might simply be inter­viewed repeatedly by a persuasive officer until she agrees to cooperate. A conservative employer, perhaps one with a law enforcement or military back­ground, might be enlisted to help in pressuring the prospective recruit. In the past, for instance, the FBI has used interviews with employers to intimidate members of political groups.

Similarly, a spouse may be approached to aid in the recruitment. Veiled threats to children or to one's job security have often proved effective. Also, the parents of the would-be informer may be approached to secure their help. This approach may be particularly effective if the subject is, say, a college student receiving financial support from her parents.

People who have never been arrested, or young people heavily influenced by their families, are often more susceptible to becoming Cls than those with more experience.

Defense Against Undercover Activities

The danger posed by Cls can be lessened by observing the following rules:

Always use the basic "need-to-know" rule. This means that each member of a monkeywrenching team needs only the information necessary to carry out her specific task. Ideally, only one member of a monkeywrenching group needs to know the target in advance, and the others are informed en route to the target. In such cases, be suspicious of someone who suddenly has to make a phone call after learning the target or other plans. Obviously, it is not always possible to operate this way. In many operations, it is necessary that participants be widely scattered (lookouts, for instance) and have detailed knowledge of the terrain. Suffice it to say that such operations should only be undertaken by small groups of people who have known each other for years and have previously operated together.

Never belittle a fellow activist or excessively criticize their errors. Everyone makes mistakes. People who are unnecessarily embarrassed may become resentful and vengeful.

If someone expresses doubt about certain actions, don't involve her in those types of actions. If she has serious reservations, "ease" her out of the monkeywrenching group, but try to remain friends. Cutting her off completely may destroy bonds of personal loyalty and make it easier for her to inform on you.

If you have reason to believe that police pressure has been stepped up, lay low for a while. Your increased vulnerability at such times could provide the authorities with recruitment opportunities.

  Be wary of someone who suddenly drops out after introducing a new mem­ber. The new member may be an undercover cop.

If a member of the group is contacted by the police, for whatever reason, that member has an obligation to inform the group leader or organizer. The contact may be the first warning of a recruitment attempt.

  Be wary of any group member arrested on unrelated criminal charges, such as drugs. Such persons might have incentive to make a deal for their freedom.

Have no contact with the so-called "criminal element." Such circles teem with informers. A radical animal rights activist was once busted after buying explosives from a member of an "outlaw" motorcycle gang.

Be wary of "lost souls," mentally-disturbed individuals (sometimes it takes a while to realize that someone doesn't have all her oars in the water), or other people you feel sorry for and might therefore try to be friends with. The Cls in the Arizona Five case were all people whom folks in Arizona Earth First! pitied.

Double Agents

Be especially cautious when dealing with people who volunteer inside infor­mation from their position in the offending company, agency, or the like. Such people may be sincerely on your side, and if so, their information can be extremely valuable. But it is also possible that such people, particularly if they approach you first, are "double agents." A double agent will, under the pretext of helping your group, actually give you misleading information that can be harmful. Such a person may even try to set the group up for an arrest.

If you have such a "volunteer" and you think she might be useful to you, reduce the risk to any actual monkeywrenchers by dealing with her through an intermediary, who serves as contact person. The contact should be someone you know well and are sure is on your side, but who has never participated in illegal actions, and who has no intention of ever doing so. The contact serves as a "cut-out," passing on information from the volunteer informant and provid­ing a protective layer between the informant and the action group.

It is important that information only flow in one direction, from the informant to the action group. The informant, no matter how helpful, should never be told of plans or actions by the action group. This also protects the informant, in case of investigation by police or company officials. For this reason, you never make any written record of the informant's identity, lest this fall into the authorities' hands.

Because your contact person is exposed to the threat of arrest (especially if the informant really is a double agent planning a set-up) she must be mature and emotionally stable enough to stand up under interrogation to protect the identity of the action group.

If you have reason to suspect that your informant is a double agent planning a set-up, arrange to secretly tape-record meetings between your contact and the informer, in which the informant can be caught making provocative state­ments designed to incite illegal action. Such a recording could be quite valu­able in the defense of anyone charged with a monkeywrenching offense. However, any such tapes (or other evidence) should never be kept at home where police could use a warrant to seize and destroy them. Remote rural burial is perhaps the most secure option, so long as you encase the tapes in several layers of water-tight plastic bags.

Your contact should have solid alibis at the time of any action. Being in a public place where others will be able to provide later verification is a good way; being verifiably out of town is even better.

The contact should be very careful when passing information on to the action group. A pay phone to pay phone call, arranged at the last minute, is generally secure. Face-to-face meetings in open areas like parks are also usually secure from electronic eavesdropping. Pass information on verbally, making no written notes that can be seized as evidence, and on a strictly one-­to-one basis. If confronted, denials will be more convincing if the content of a conversation hinges on one person's word against another's. Another precau­tion is for the contact to pass on information as if it were idle conversation or gossip. If no illegal activity is actually discussed, it will be harder to prove that a crime has been committed.

Because legal, above-ground political organizations are most susceptible to infiltration by undercover officers, serious monkeywrenchers should not be involved in such groups, particularly those with militant reputations or believed to be sympathetic to monkeywrenching.

Exposing Undercover Agents

When dealing with a suspected undercover agent, be patient. Undercover operations can be very costly, and if they don't produce results, they may be discontinued or moved elsewhere. If an undercover agent fails to elicit any useful information after a considerable time, they may move on. Incidentally, beware of the person who moves constantly from one area to another. She could be an undercover agent fishing for opportunities.

Baiting is one way to expose an undercover agent. The "suspect" is pro­vided (seemingly inadvertently) with a bit of information so enticing that the authorities cannot resist acting on it. This could be the time, date, and place of a future action, or the location of some highly incriminating items. Of course, the action does not take place as planned, or the "incriminating items" are totally innocuous. If the suspected undercover agent is the only one provided with this information, and the police make the appropriate response, you have reasonable proof that the "suspect" is indeed an agent. If you have tipped the suspected informer to the details of a bogus action, you will need to have some method of spotting the resultant police surveillance or ambush without com­promising anyone; perhaps you could have someone just walk by as an inno­cent pedestrian or hiker.

The baiting method can be used with more than one person at a time by pro­viding each one with slightly different information (different locations, times, etc.) The response will indicate which person is passing information. Keep it simple!

Though undercover agents routinely participate in illegal actions to convince group members that they are bona fide, they are not generally allowed to insti­gate acts by their handlers for legal reasons. They sometimes break this rule, but doing so can weaken a case in court. If you want to "test" someone you suspect of being an undercover cop, you might provide her with the opportu­nity (and even materials) to commit an illegal act, but NO ENCOURAGEMENT. Use your imagination. A simple example would be something like this: With the suspected undercover agent in your car, park by a fur store. You have rocks, spray paint, quick drying glue, and the like in plain sight of the suspected agent. You ask her, "What do you think?" Let the person being tested totally instigate the action. If the person does propose to do something illegal, and is an agent, she has entrapped you by instigating the crime. However, in such a situation most agents will try to make an excuse for inaction, perhaps belittling the scale of the action or promising more later. Beware of this person in this future. (Don't give a suspected agent the opportunity to run to a pay phone before deciding what to do; she might try to contact her supervisor for instruc­tions.) Note: An undercover agent may risk committing entrapment on one action in order to insinuate herself with the group to get the "goods" on them for a later, more serious caper.

Remember that undercover agents usually "wear a wire" to record conversa­tions. If you really suspect someone of being an agent, and there is no way to keep the person out of a key meeting, you might consider "frisking" the people attending the meeting. Another method of detecting recording devices would be to use a small metal detector (such as are used by treasure hunters, and sold by companies like Radio Shack). However, in most situations this option is probably not feasible, since most people would highly resent such an inva­sive procedure, or consider it an affront to their loyalty. A better option would be to come up with an excuse for postponing the meeting, until you can check out the suspected agent by other means. Often an agent will have her recorder or a backup recorder in a day pack, purse, or briefcase. As long as the conversation takes place nearby (in the same room or vehicle, say) the recording is apt to be intelligible. In situations where undercover agents expect close personal or extended contact, such as a camping trip, exercise, or soaking in a hot tub, they may forego using a recording device lest they be discovered. (If anything incriminating is discussed while they are "unwired," they will refer back to the conversation later when they are recording, hoping to get the incriminating information on tape.) Or if they suspect they are suspected, they might manufacture a situation which "proves" they are not wired for sound.

Here are a few ways undercover agents may tip their hands:

·    Seeking information they do not need under "need to know" rules.

• Trying to get people to repeat incriminating statements made at an earlier meeting (so they can be recorded). If you are suspicious, say you were just joking when you made the earlier remark.

   Repeatedly casting suspicion on others without basis. This may be a smoke screen to keep suspicion off themselves.

• Showing an extremely shallow understanding of the issues. An undercover cop may know only what she has been briefed on. Some, however, are good talkers and can sound knowledgeable without really knowing an issue in depth.

• Making boisterous demands for action and belittling more timid members of the group. Because many cops have authoritarian, even violent personalities, they may reveal this inadvertently.

  Showing extreme nervousness, such as looking around constantly during an action. (They may be looking for the surveillance or backup team.)

• Slipping away to phone or meet supervisors or control agents. Such meet­ings may be brief, in a car at a public parking lot, for instance, or in a depart­ment store. Longer meetings, such as "debriefings" might be held in motel rooms.

·    Constantly "managing" the conversation to guide it in directions they wish.

• Mentioning another person's name when you refer obliquely to that person. (For the record, since the agent is probably recording the conservation; like­wise the next two.)

·    Working the time, date, or location into conversations.

  Explicitly stating incriminating things in response to vague comments from you or others.

  Manipulating conversations to try to get some kind of affirmation from you in response to their incriminating statements.

·    Regularly asking about other individuals (particularly supposed leaders).

·    Initiating conversations about monkeywrenching.

  Steering a conversation back to illegal acts or conspiracies when the con­versation moves on to legal and unrelated matters.

  Claiming to be a recovering alcoholic. This gives them excuses not to drink with you and possibly slip up on their covers while under the influence.

• Playing different roles with different people calculated to appeal specifi­cally to each individual's vulnerabilities or strengths. An infiltrator may play the role of just the kind of person you need in your current mental state.

• Setting-up a phony "hit" to enhance their credibility. They may arrange to attack heavy equipment, surveyor stakes, or other targets while witnessed by people they wish to entrap or whose confidence they want.

Remember that a typical way for a professional undercover agent to initially contact a suspect (group or individual) is to be introduced by a non-profes­sional informer already known but not suspected by the suspect(s).

Background Check on Suspected Infiltrators

Background investigation may uncover undercover operatives. Even the deep cover operative typically has only a rudimentary personal "history" to back up the false IDs. A basic background check through government records (a stock-in-trade process for private investigators) will usually expose the fab­ricated persona of the undercover cop.

Every normal person (including you) leaves a substantial paper trail as they move through life. To check someone, you need to gain access to such records.

Begin by using casual conversation to elicit details about the past of the potential recruit or suspected undercover infiltrator. Be wary of anyone who seems reluctant to discuss her past, her family, or her job history. Most undercover operatives will not want to reveal their real families to persons sus­pected of criminal activity (for good reason!). The key period in an agent's personal history may be the most recent years, which might be the years in which she has worked for the police department, Forest Service, Pinkerton Agency, etc. But even the earlier years in her life may provide leads to friends and relatives who know about her true current employment. The "investigator" needs to be subtle in talking with such people (casual conversation), patient (gather a lot of information over time), and thorough (your freedom may be on the line).

Once you have elicited some background on the potential recruit, search public records for confirmation. You will have to violate the basic security axiom of "no written notes," but be cautious in your handling and concealment of the information you gather. If your background investigation convinces you of the person's legitimacy, destroy the accumulated notes in the proper method (burning and crumbling the ashes).

As you begin the background check, you will find that laws vary from state to state with regards to what is, or is not, public record. The only uniformity in accessibility (or inaccessibility) is with federal records.

Dealing with bureaucratic records clerks can be frustrating, but be patient and friendly. Don't volunteer information. Some clerks will demand to know why you want the information. Tell such people that the records are public (if you know they are) and tell them you would prefer to work with their supervisor. This usually changes their attitude. If such clerks insist that the information you want is not public record, verify this by talking to someone else in the office, or call a similar office (county clerk, say) in another county.

Have a cover story. You could say you are doing genealogical research, or that you are working for a Realtor (out-of-town Realtor, of course). Or you might pose as a writer or researcher.

You can find out a great deal at the public library. Become familiar with city directories (such as Cole's). Libraries may keep files of high school and col­lege yearbooks. The county courthouse is a veritable gold mine, and includes tax and property ownership records. State government offices keep records on businesses, auto registration, driver's licenses, and driving records.

  Driver's licenses are probably the last thing you should check, since if an undercover agent has a phony license, she may have set it up so that if any­one checks on her license, it will trigger a warning to the appropriate police agency.

Remember that a record search entails looking not just at the one person, but at family, friends, and neighbors. Later on, you may find it necessary to approach these people in person or by phone to elicit information about the person whose background you are checking. For this approach you will need to manufacture a cover story. You could be an old school chum (with a name pulled off an old high school annual, say; this is risky in a small town) or a fel­low member of some club or service organization, or an old Army buddy. You might pose as a businessperson verifying a job application or a request for credit. Use your imagination, and be friendly, not pushy or demanding. If you've verified a former job by talking to the boss, you might pose as a former co-worker when approaching neighbors or family members.

A deep cover undercover agent may have a sketchy history, such as a business owner who'll tell you the subject worked for them. Because of this, you must take the time to dig deep. Beware of discrepancies and mysterious gaps. Don't be in a hurry, as a thorough check of someone's background may take months, and it may be necessary to travel to a distant city or state.

Private undercover operatives may use their real history, in which case you will need to ask around to find out about their current employment. If all else fails, you can ask something like, "Did she ever get that government job she wanted?"

For detailed information on how to conduct a records search, check a large public library for a copy of Where's What, the bible for such work. Or check for books on the subject in the Loompanics Unlimited catalog (POB 1197, Pt. Townsend, WA 98368).

You can also hire a private investigator to run a background records check, while you pose as a prospective yet suspicious business partner, would-be spouse, or the like. Get a cost for a basic records check first and make it clear to the investigator that you don't want word of it getting back to the target. Keep in the back of your mind, however, that if law enforcement becomes aware of the PI's inquiry, they may compel her to join their scheme. This is most likely to occur when a records background check delves into government maintained files like auto registrations and driver's licenses.

If all this seems like too much trouble, consider this: Undercover operatives are working right now within groups you are associated with. You can't be too careful. Of course, because of the risk inherent in such background checks, and the time and possible expense involved, it may be best to simply avoid any individual who elicits your suspicion to the extent that you feel a background check is called for.

Finally, the most certain ways to avoid being busted because of an informant or undercover agent is to work only with long-time trusted friends or to work alone and give no one any hint that you are a monkeywrencher.

To better understand undercover operations by the FBI, all monkey­wrenchers should read War At Home by Brian Glick, Agents of Repression by Ward Churchill, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse by Peter Matthiessen, and Break­ins, Death Threats and the FBI by Ross Gelbspan.

-Mollie Maguire


As the incidence and effectiveness of monkeywrenching increases, targets will be "hardened" with the addition of various security measures. A basic knowledge of how to defeat these security additions is therefore important to a successful campaign of ecotage.


Because of their low cost, various types of padlocks are used to secure gates, equipment sheds, and heavy equipment. Much earth moving equipment is designed to allow the owner to put padlocks on all the standard access points like fuel tank and radiator caps, oil dipstick, and transmission and oil pan filler tubes. In addition, many machines have metal doors that can be locked to block access to the cab or engine compartment. There are two methods for defeating locks. jamming or forcing.

JAMMING: Any glue that dries hard within a couple of hours is suitable for jamming locks. The "liquid metal" type is usually good. Whatever glue you use, force it into the keyway by one of two methods as seen in illustration 9.1. The syringe applicator (A) is very handy, but due to higher unit cost, should only be used where few locks are to be jammed. The large tubes can be modi­fied by drilling a small hole in the cap (B) to direct a narrow stream of glue into the lock. These are best when many locks are to be jammed. A single earth mover can have six to ten padlocks securing all vulnerable parts of it. See also the section on Lock Jamming in the Miscellaneous Deviltry chapter.

FORCING: A battery-powered electric drill with a new 1/8 inch high speed drill bit can be used to force open most locks as in illustration 9.1. Most keyed locks are pin-tumbler types whose basic operating principle can be seen in (C). When a key is inserted, it pushes up on spring-loaded pins of various lengths. When the tops of these pins are in perfect alignment with the "shear line," the entire "plug" in which the key is inserted can be turned and the lock opened. In most locks, all of these parts are made of brass to prevent corrosion, and its relative softness makes drilling easy. As you can see in (D), the drill is used to destroy the pins along the shear line. Be careful not to drill too deeply into the lock since this can damage the locking bar deep inside making it impossible to o0en. Drill in only to the depth of the keyway (3/4-inch in most padlocks). A "drill stop" found with the power tools in a hardware store can be used to pre­set this depth and prevent drilling too deep.



Inserting a pin, like a nail, will keep the damaged remains of the top pins above the shear line. Otherwise they will drop down and prevent the lock from opening. You may need to put the drill bit in a couple of times to chew up any pin fragments that might interfere with opening.

Finally, insert a narrow-bladed screwdriver (F) into the keyway and turn it to open the lock. Before using this method in the field, buy a cheap padlock or two and practice at home.


·   Large bolt cutters can be used to slice open a padlock.

• Some monkeywrenchers say a much easier way to remove unwanted pad­locks is with a crescent wrench. Just slip the jaws, from the side, over the brass body of the lock and twist. The hasp is made of hardened steel which is hard to cut but brittle. You can supposedly break a lock in seconds with an 8 inch crescent wrench (called a shifter in Australia).

• The use of lock picks can provide access to many outdoor and indoor secured areas and equipment. A basic set consisting of several rake picks, feeler picks, base keys, and torsion wrenches can take care of many pin cylinder type locks. The procedures and practice techniques are described in Lock Picking Simplified (Desert Publications, 1975) available from mail-order outfits like Loompanics. One monkeywrencher reports, "In the year since making my first lock picks, I have opened about 30 locks."

"The practice should focus on constant but light pressure on the torsion wrench, and judging the correct depth of insertion to insure that the farthest pin will be depressed. The door locks and padlocks used in my practice have usually been opened in less than a minute. Several rusty locks took consider­ably more time. However, the time used in attempting to pick these locks would appear to be justified before using destructive techniques. A small sec­tion of hacksaw blade used similar to a rake pick, can be used to open locks with small keyways."


Combination Locks

You may also encounter the combination-type padlock as seen in illustration 9.2. To "jam" these, pry off the dial face. Although this can be accomplished with one screwdriver, two make the job easier. First insert a narrow-bladed screwdriver behind the dial face (A). After it is pried up sufficiently, insert a second, heavier screwdriver (B) to finish the job. Without a dial face, the lock owner will be unable to open the lock without forcing it.

These locks can often be opened with the same drill and bit described previ­ously. Note how the notch in the shackle (D) is locked in place by a spring­loaded bolt (E). By drilling a hole in the back of the lock case directly over the bolt (F), you can insert a small nail and push the bolt back out of the notch in the shackle (G) and the lock will open.

Some expensive high security combination padlocks are designed to pre­vent prying the dial face off, and have two locking bolts, one on each side of the shackle. These can still be jammed by drilling a hole in the back of the casing and forcing glue inside.


Garages and parking areas for heavy equipment, and offices are often pro­tected by fenced yards or compounds. The most common type of fence is made of chain-link "fabric" with openings of 2 inches or less to make climbing difficult. Seven feet is the minimum effective height. Often a "top guard" is added, consisting of an angled brace (or two) holding either barbed wire or the newer barbed tape. These fences can be climbed with the aid of a ladder. If you plan to climb the fence without a ladder, wear tennis shoes for the best

The top guard wire can either be cut, or covered with a scrap of old carpet and climbed over. If you chose to cut it, use good bolt cutters. The newest type of barbed tape is reinforced with a steel cable core that wire cutters can­not cut, but bolt cutters slice right through.

It is also a simple matter to cut through the chain-link fabric, and a hole suf­ficiently large to pass through can be made in less than half a minute. Never buy cheap bolt cutters to do this, for they will eventually let you down. Remember that any cutting, unless hidden in a low or concealed spot of a rarely patrolled fence, will reveal your presence the next morning. By cutting only at the bottom (just enough to allow you to crawl under) you can minimize this problem. Also, you can carry a few scraps of wire to tie the fence fabric back to a semblance of its former condition, perhaps delaying discovery.

The gates on these fenced compounds can usually be quickly forced open with a 6-foot pry bar. In an emergency, a car or pickup truck can easily drive through either a gate, or directly through the chain-link fabric itself, sustaining little more than a few paint scratches.


* It is much faster to cut a hole in chain-link fencing than to try to get three to five people over the fence. When cutting chain-link fence, use small bolt cut­ters or a fence tool and cut the same vertical strand of wire repeatedly each time it slants to the left or right (not both). You will need to cut the bottom ten­sion wire also. Study how chain-link fences are constructed. Watch for electri­fied or alarmed fences.

* If chain-link fences must be climbed, running shoes with knobby soles help. The old Adidas TRX model was great.



The presence of security lighting often reveals the location of a sensitive target. The effectiveness of security lighting in bad weather is minimal. Time your hit accordingly.

If necessary, these lights can be knocked out, even if mounted high on a pole or the side of a building. An air rifle firing BBs can break an exposed bulb. It is best to avoid using air rifles firing either .177 or .22 caliber pellets, even though these are more effective, because these soft lead pellets pick up dis­tinctive rifling marks as they pass through the barrel and can often be matched back to a specific gun.

A slingshot is probably best for knocking out lights, but it requires practice to develop the necessary accuracy (see section on Slingshots in the Miscellaneous Deviltry chapter). Also, some security lights are protected by a piece of Plexiglas to deflect low-velocity projectiles.

Closed-Circuit Television

Before penetrating any fence, develop the habit of checking for CCTV surveillance. These cameras are mounted high on poles or the sides of build­ings to prevent tampering, and may be concealed by a round or box-like weatherproof covering. The effectiveness of CCTV surveillance is severely limited by bad weather. Also, right-angle corners of fences might create a blind spot through which you can quickly move. Study the layout carefully. To pre­vent blind spots at corners, some fences avoid the 90-degree turn and use three 30-degree bends at corners.


Although many types of alarm sensors are visible from the outside of a structure (like the metal foil on windows), some are not readily detected. The surest way to check for presence of an alarm is to force entry. This may trip lights, bells, or sirens. If it does not, there may still be a silent alarm system in place designed to summon guards or police without alerting the intruder. These can be detected by forcing entry and hiding a safe distance away to see if someone arrives to check out the target. Most responses occur within a half hour, usually substantially less.

Of course if your hit is to be quick, like breaking windows to toss in paint bags, an alarm will not deter you since you'll be long gone before someone arrives.

Before climbing or cutting fences, check to see that they are not wired to an alarm system. Any heavy wire or conduit attached to the fence from four to five feet above the ground (as seen in illustration 9.3 A) could indicate an alarm system designed to detect both climbing and cutting. If you look farther, you will find sensors attached at intervals (see B, C, & D).

These can be circumvented by digging under the fence, but you must be careful not to bump the fence. Another way to neutralize this type of system is to trigger numerous false alarms by shaking the fence and quickly leaving the area. Enough false alarms might bring about the shutdown of the system. Since high winds can trigger these alarms, windy nights are the best times to do this. In addition, numerous false alarms on a windy night can cause imme­diate shutdown, allowing you to enter later that same night.


* In urban areas watch for passive infrared motion and heat detectors. Several different types are currently in use. They can be wired to turn on lights, sound horns, or quietly notify a guard at a security station.


Most security guards work for only about minimum wage, and bring little enthusiasm to the job with them. A lot of them are pensioners seeking extra income, and retired cops. A surprising number are ex-cons and wackos who want to carry guns but are too unstable to be hired by police agencies. You never know what type you'll encounter, so always be cautious if you suspect they might be in the area.

Monitoring is boring, and the long hours tend to dull the senses. The guards who manage to stay awake often do so with the aid of television, radio, or mag­azines, all of which greatly hinder their effectiveness.

Some guards remain relatively stationary, guarding a specific building or heavy equipment parking lot. Others patrol irregularly, often using pickup trucks at remote sites. All have a tendency to hang out near well-lit areas or in the nearby shadows. Sometimes making a complete circuit of a target will reveal the silhouette of a guard's truck parked with a view of the target.

Always be patient when looking for security guards. The slightest sound or glow of a cigarette will often tip you off to their presence. If you have not been able to locate any guards, but are still unsure, use your flashlight or make some loud noise to see if you can draw them out. Make sure you have a con­cealed escape route handy.

If a guard is sitting too close to your target, you may want to consider using lights and noise to decoy him away-especially if your hit is to be a smash­ and-run type. Remember to close your eyes in those brief moments when using a flashlight as a decoy or bait, to prevent loss of night vision.

Among the tools useful in your check for guards is a flashlight equipped with a red lens, or covered with electrical tape so that it emits only a pinhole of light. With these you can illuminate small things without alerting a guard. Another useful piece of equipment is a good pair of binoculars. For maximum light ­gathering at night, they should have fully coated optics and an objective lens of at least 50 millimeters.

If, despite your precautions, you are surprised by a security guard or other self-appointed guardian of the mindless machine, your best option is immedi­ate flight. When running at night, keep one or both arms fully extended in front of you to prevent being slapped in the face by a tree limb or worse. A heavy jacket provides good protection from unseen obstacles. (This writer once ran full tilt into a barbed wire fence that was invisible on a moonless night. The fence bowed almost to the ground, then sprang back up, leaving me standing a bit surprised, but none the worse for wear thanks to the heavy army-surplus jacket I wore.)

Finally, an inexpensive, battery-powered device, worn on a cord around your neck, can make it difficult for a pursuer to follow you in the night. Pointed at a pursuer on a dark night, a compact strobe light (as is used as a flash attach­ment for 35 mm cameras) can cause him to lose his night vision. You, of course, should keep your eyes closed when flashing the unit. Many types are available, so shop around. Look for one that is easily operated manually (by a small push button) and can be used while wearing gloves.


* Tear gas type CS or CN, or electronic stun guns could be used to over­power a guard or watchman. This is illegal but as a last resort it might save you from the greybar hotel. Tear gas does no permanent damage. If you were ulti­mately arrested and convicted, however, you would probably face additional charges of assault and battery, thereby lengthening your stay in the greybar hotel. Use of such a device would at the least argue against probation, and likely would send you to a medium or maximum instead of a minimum security prison. While minimum security facilities are not country clubs, they seem like Club Med compared to a maximum security prison. Use of such devices, therefore, cannot be recommended.

* The absolute best approach is to run like hell.


Guard Dogs

In recent years, guard dogs have become a popular way of securing fenced areas in and around urban centers. Because of this, any fenced compound should be checked for the possible presence of these dogs.

Guard dogs are usually males, weighing 70 pounds or more, and of a working breed, German Shepherds and Dobermans being the favorites. Because of the recent boom in the guard dog business, quality has suffered. It is estimated that fewer than one in four German Shepherds is really suitable for this type of work. And since many clients base their choice on cost alone, they often get an inferior guard dog.

Guard dogs are often delivered to the site in the evening, and picked up in the morning. Surveillance can reveal the comings and goings of these vehi­cles. Also, many times a sign will be posted at a gate warning of the presence of guard dogs. In large fenced areas, guard dogs will work in pairs, the weaker dog taking his cue from the stronger.

Another way to check for guard dogs is to lure them into view. Well-trained dogs will not approach the fence, but will hang back or report to a specific place, or "station," to wait for the potential intruder to get well inside the fenced area. Despite this, they can usually be lured into view as a way to check for their presence. A "silent" dog whistle, available at all pet stores (illustration 9.4) is one way to check. Simply shaking the fence, or throwing rocks inside the fenced compound, simulating the sounds of an intruder, can bring a guard dog into view.



If the target protected by the dog is worth the effort, there are several ways to neutralize them. They are based on luring the dog to a selected area along the fence. Although these dogs are usually trained to stay back from the fence, and are further trained not to pick up food baits (called "poison-proof­ing"), the boredom of their job often makes them more amenable to luring. Meat baits delivered regularly to a certain area will establish a pattern of visits by the dog. Or, "house-breaking" spray, bought at pet stores, can be sprayed on a section of the fence. This imitation urine can make a dog curious, and cause him to mark his scent posts regularly. And of course, there is the classic bitch in heat which has proven the downfall of many a protection dog.

Following are some methods for neutralizing a dog lured close to the fence:

NOOSE POLE - The noose poles described in the Trapping section of the Animal Defense chapter can be used to snare an unwary guard dog. Since many of these dogs are trained by "agitation," frequently by waving a rag or burlap sack in their face, you should try to provoke them into grabbing a burlap sack offered on the end of a pole (illustration 9.5a). Once you have begun a tug-of-war with the dog, slip the noose over his neck and tighten (9.5b). Finally, pull the dog up to the fence, and secure him there with a sturdy piece of wire, a carabiner, or a heavy-duty leash clip (9.5c).

HIDDEN TRAPS -- Standard leg-hold traps can be chained to the fence and slid inside. Covered with a cloth, they will not be immediately visible to the dog. Use only the Victor "soft catch" type (illustration 9.6a) or a standard trap with added cloth padding on the jaws (9.6b). Kick the fence and make noise to agi­tate the dog, then lead him down to the section of the fence with the traps. Once the dog has been caught, leave the area immediately. He will settle down and wait to be released in the morning. The padding on the traps will prevent injury. Penetrate the compound at a different point and remain out of view of the dog when working.

TRANQUILIZERS - Dogs that will accept meat baits can be slipped tranquil­izers early in the evening, allowing you time for the drug to take effect. Adding a little garlic to a meat bait can make it even more attractive to most dogs.

The most effective tranquilizers for oral administration are the CNS depres­sants derived from Phenothiazine or Promazine. These include:

Propiopromazine HCL (Tranvet)

Triflupromazine HCL (Vetame)

Acetylpromazine (Acepromazine)

Chlorpromazine (Thorazine)


These are all rated "relatively nontoxic." Clinical dosages for sedative effect would be less than 100 mg for a large dog. Actual field use would require more, up to 600 mg. The effects will be noticed within 15 minutes of ingestion and include ataxia (loss of coordination) in the hindquarters, drooping eyelids, and eventually, lying down. Fullest effect can take from 30 to 60 minutes.

Tranquilized dogs are best snared and then secured by means of a chain and heavy clip. Lightweight snaps and nylon webbing are not sufficient to hold a large dog.

The aforementioned drugs are available by prescription only. You will need to have a sympathetic vet, or try to get tranquilizers from a vet by explaining that you are driving a friend's large dog cross country and that the dog needs sedatives before he'll ride in a car. Thorazine and valium are, of course, pre­scribed for humans, so they may be obtainable from other sources than veteri­narians. Many drugs are available without a prescription in Mexico.

FORCE METHOD - Using this technique, an intruder dresses and arms himself to meet the dog head on, if necessary, and frighten him off. A variety of gear and weapons make this possible. Police use variations of this method in raids where criminal suspects own vicious dogs.

Special Ladder - Illustration 9.7 shows a specially built ladder with widely spaced rungs that a dog cannot climb. This is an aid to escape, should that become necessary.

Protection Sleeve - Homemade protection sleeves are made of a thick inside layer of soft cloth and a durable exterior of heavy canvas or old car tire (see illustration 9.8). The sleeve is held out to the attacking dog, who will grab it and then become more vulnerable to blows or the effects of specialized weapons.

Full Protection Suits - Used to train guard and police dogs, these padded suits cover the body from neck to ankle. They can be purchased for several hundred dollars from veterinary and dog training supply houses (like Animal City, PO Box 1076, La Mesa, CA 92041). These are best worn with heavy boots, and a few trainers recommend a motorcycle helmet. They do provide excellent protection from attacking dogs, especially when combined with a pro­tection sleeve that the dog can pull off.

Stun Guns - Where legal, the electronic stun gun can be purchased over­-the-counter at pawn shops and some gun shops. The best models discharge over 40,000 volts at an amperage so low that they can be safely used (or so the manufacturers say) on someone wearing a pacemaker. They have a tremendous immobilizing capacity, and are best applied to a dog's nose after he has taken hold of the protection sleeve. (At the present time, these "stun guns" are being sold legally in Arkansas, and probably in several other states as well.)

Pepper Sprays - These are far more effective on dogs than tear gas (which is illegal in most states, anyway). The type the postal service uses is available through W.S. Darley & Co., 2000 Anson Drive, Melrose Park, IL 60160. Another brand is available through Bushwhacker Backpack and Supply Co., PO Box 4721, Missoula, MT 59806. These sprays contain the active ingredient of red pepper, and are the subject of research for "bear repel­lents." To be effective on a dog, the spray must be directed at the eyes. It does no permanent damage.

If Attacked by a Guard Dog

If attacked by a guard dog, observe the following procedures: Do not run unless you have a short way to go to safety and a good head start. Dogs can run very fast.

Shout "NO!!" as loudly as you can as the dog approaches-he may automat­ically respond to this command by hesitating or stopping. If he stops, com­mand him to "SIT!"

Offer your padded sleeve to the dog. Once he grabs it, use your pepper spray, stun gun, or your booted foot and a club to strike him on the nose, in the throat, or in the abdomen (just below the rib cage).

Retreat to safety when possible. Do so at a half-turn so you can keep the protective sleeve between you and the dog.

Most dogs will cease their attack if the victim stands perfectly still for a time varying from a few seconds to a minute. Some people have escaped by slip­ping out of the sleeve and letting the dog have it.

As a last resort, remember that a car or truck can be driven through a chain-link fence or gate to rescue someone attacked by a dog. -Major E.J. Allen


* A battery-powered shock rod or cattle prod could keep you from being attacked by a dog.


Any combination of error and bad luck may find you being pursued by police, security guards, or a suspicious citizen. Even if the pursuers are trappers, dirt bikers, loggers, surveyors, bulldozer jockeys, prospectors, or ranchers, avoid panic. While planning, you should have considered the possibility of pursuit, so you should know a good way to escape. If you must run at night, keep your head down and your arms extended ahead of you to block tree branches and to break a fall. Lift your knees high to step over small obstacles that might oth­erwise trip you. Stop running as soon as possible and listen for the sounds of pursuit. At night you can sometimes hide and allow pursuers to run past you. (Do not attempt this ploy if your pursuers are using dogs. For this eventuality, see the section on Tracking Dogs.) Do not lead your pursue,*s directly to where your driver is supposed to pick you up.

Pursuers following your footprints will have a difficult if not impossible task at night. Trackers working cross-country at night will be moving slowly, so you can outdistance them. Generally, if being pursued at night, you will want to stay in open areas to allow quick and quiet movement, and need not worry about leaving footprints.

When moving by day, use roads or hard-packed trails when out of sight of pursuers. Otherwise, step on rocks or clumps of grass to minimize tracks. Walking on the outside edge of your foot will also diminish tracks. Learning to follow tracks yourself will be the best way to learn how to avoid leaving any. (See the earlier section on Tracking).

Vehicular Pursuit

You may find yourself being pursued when in your vehicle. Again, your pur­suer may be a police officer, a private security guard, or an irate citizen. Even skilled pursuers can sometimes be safely eluded by the driver who keeps cool and plans ahead. However, it is unlikely that you will be able to outrun law enforcement vehicles. They know what they are doing. They also know they don't need to catch you-all they have to do is radio ahead and wait for you to screw up. You have a better chance, however slim, of eluding police than out­running them.

Remember that a high-speed chase can endanger innocent people, not to mention yourself. This is morally indefensible. Fortunately, simply outrunning the opposition is rarely as successful as outmaneuvering and outthinking it.

We were once actually pursued by an enraged citizen on some dark country roads. Unfortunately our trusty steed, an ancient automobile, could not go over fifty miles an hour. Our pursuer came howling down on us like a banshee and was fast closing the gap. Since we were unable to outrun him, our survival depended solely on our wits (two halves make a whole). Since our advanced planning had included a study of all the roads within miles of the target, we knew that just over the next rise were several small intersecting side roads. When the opposition was within thirty seconds of us, we topped out on the slight rise in the road and were briefly out of sight. In those precious few sec­onds, we jammed on the brakes and whipped off onto a side road. We then cut the headlights and coasted along slowly in the dark, finally stopping with the parking brake to avoid signaling our location with a flashy display of brake lights. (See Vehicle Modifications in the Vehicles and Heavy Equipment chap­ter.)

Our pursuer roared past moments later, in hot pursuit of a car that had been well ahead of us on the same road. Once clear, we turned our lights back on and left the area by the back roads.

This tactic can also be used in urban areas, especially if your pursuer never gets close enough to see what your vehicle looks like. Whip into a parking lot or even into the driveway of a house, shut off the lights and engine, and allow the pursuer to pass. Once it's safe, quietly leave the area in the opposite direction.

The trick of this and other types of evasion is getting out of sight of your pursuer. This can be accomplished by turning in and out of side streets and alleys. We have used this type of evasive maneuvering more than once to evade police cruisers in downtown business areas.

Those who try to rely on speed alone to escape police find that they can't outrun the radios used to alert interceptors and set up roadblocks.

In rural areas, forest and range roads may offer avenues of escape. If you have thrown your pursuer off the track, this may be a good time to rid yourself of any incriminating evidence. But don't just drive to the end of the road and then walk off into the forest or desert to bury the goods. An experienced tracker can detect what you've done after a brief examination. Instead, stop at some random point along the road, preferably at a spot where rocks, hard ground, or a thick bed of pine needles allow you to walk without leaving foot­prints. Make sure that nothing you dispose of could carry your fingerprints. Burn all papers, maps, etc. (Obviously, if you think a pursuer is still some­where in the vicinity, don't start a fire.) After disposing of the incriminating material, leave the area and play dumb if questioned.

Carry camping gear in your vehicle. If forced to hide out on a remote back­road, you can set up camp and pretend to be camping should any police inquire. If you are forced to take this approach, pay attention to details of your alibi. For example, don't say that you've been camping for a week if you have only one fire's worth of ashes in your fire pit.

If you are not discovered, get out your highway or forest map and plot the shortest, safest route out of the county (and possibly the state). Avoid driving through the county seat or other main towns, if possible, as this is where you are most likely to encounter a roving sheriff's deputy. Under dire circum­stances, you may want to arrange for only the driver to leave the area, and have a second vehicle, unknown to the police, come later to pick up the rest of the team at a pre-selected rendezvous site.


* Because of the danger of high-speed auto chases to yourself and others, the unlikelihood that an amateur can outrun or evade the police, and the addi­tional criminal charges for running, we discourage trying to escape from police in your vehicle. However, if this is something you want to be able to do, shell out the money and go to one of the professional driver schools that teach chauffeurs for executives how to evade kidnappers. See their ads in the backs of magazines like Police Gazette. Most important for vehicular escape is to know the escape routes beforehand. You should know the area and its roads better than your potential pursuer.


Self Defense

One of the most serious dangers faced by monkeywrenchers is the very real possibility of being assaulted by security guards (or more likely, by miners, ranchers, loggers, and other assorted yahoos) if apprehended in the midst of an operation. Should you come unexpectedly face-to-face with a real or self­-appointed guardian of the mindless machine, under circumstances in which no amount of talking is likely to persuade the guard of your innocence, the best policy is to turn and run. (Of course, if you're staring down the barrels of a 12­gauge double at five paces, running might be the last thing you should "do. In fact, if you do run under such circumstances, it may be the last thing you ever do.) Most of the people on the other side are dreadfully out of shape, and any good monkeywrencher should count it a matter of professional pride to be in top cardiovascular fitness. Being able to run fast, and for several miles can save your sweet ass.

There is a readily available tool that can greatly deter a pursuer, should you unexpectedly encounter someone at close range, without causing permanent injury. This is a small, hand-held, battery-powered strobe light (normally used for taking flash photos). Select a unit that will flash at a very rapid rate. Buy unobtrusively through a large discount house or catalog showroom.

A short strap or cord will allow you to hang the strobe unit around your neck or secure it to your wrist for quick deployment. If the trigger button of the strobe is exposed and easily depressed, use a thick, hard adhesive to build up, layer by layer, a protective ring around it. The ring should allow your gloved finger to reach the button, yet should protect the button from accidental discharge (as, for example, might happen should you be forced to lie down on top of the unit).

The strobe unit can be used on daring daylight raids to distract and tem­porarily blind prospective witnesses, but is most effective at night. Practice with the unit before taking it on operations, lest you trip it accidentally and reveal your presence.

When using the strobe at night, flash it several times at the guard or other individual who steps around the corner or pops up from behind a bulldozer. Remember, close your own eyes when activating the flash, or you will lose your night vision. Hold the light at arm's length out to the side. After a few flashes, turn away and run like hell.

If your flash unit can be set to repeatedly flash automatically, it can be left behind to distract pursuers. Lay the unit on the ground or roll it to the side before running. Don't do this unless you're sure that there are no fingerprints on the unit or on the batteries inside.

Do not attempt to use the flash unit if you are looking down the business end of a gun barrel. A sudden move on your part might cause a nervous guard to pull the trigger in panic.

Other devices may be of benefit in deterring pursuit. Tear gas sprays may be effective under certain circumstances, and will not cause permanent injury, but their mere possession is a felony in many states, and their use by a mon­keywrencher would probably be construed as an assault. The large spray units designed for use by law enforcement personnel are the only reliable ones; the small purse and key chain size devices may be ineffective. Some have suggested tear gas sprays be carried only for use against dogs, but even in this case you would be violating the statutes against possession, and pep­per sprays are more effective.

All in all, the best self defense is to be prepared, and to avoid sudden sur­prises. A carefully prepared escape plan (including alternate times and loca­tions for meeting with other team members or drivers), and a pair of good, strong legs will do more for insuring your continued freedom than any other fac­tor.

If you must restrain a guard or watchman, do not use his own handcuffs. Police and security guards frequently carry hidden cuff keys. Restrain the guard with heavy duty cable ties and duct tape. Call police anonymously to free the guard as soon as you are clear of the area. Of course, if you are later arrested, you may be also charged with kidnapping or assault and battery if you physically restrain a guard.

Cross-Country Evasion

Occasionally, problems of transportation or terrain may necessitate long cross-country travel in the course of a mission. As with a short-range mission (where foot travel is limited to a mile or two), spend the minimum amount of time necessary on the ground. To speed up your travel, consider using cross-­country skis in winter, and mountain bikes in other seasons. Hiking can be hastened by using back roads or foot trails. All of these methods carry an increased danger, since you may come onto searchers too suddenly to take evasive action. Because of this, it is often best to stash your tools in a spot where you can easily locate and recover them at a later date. Also, it is impor­tant to change your footwear, since searchers may have photos or diagrams of footprints to match up to the footgear of suspects. In the event you are stopped for questioning and searched, your "mission" shoes should be con­cealed inside a bag inside your pack. This may prevent a searching officer from being able to claim he was searching you for a weapon (as they can legally do) and just stumbled upon the shoes. In a real pinch, you can claim to have found the shoes discarded alongside the trail. You tried them on for a fit, and decided to keep them.

The legal latitude given police to search backpacks is not clearly defined, but court rulings have made it clear that a tent is not considered a dwelling, and no warrant is required to search it. The same probably applies to backpacks. Regardless, state clearly that you do not consent to a search, but never attempt to physically interfere with one.


There are two types of search a monkeywrencher might experience:

CONVENTIONAL SEARCH - Here the officer responding to a call or complaint searches the area quickly to see if any suspects are present. The police canine unit consisting of an officer and a trained police dog are highly effective at this. The responding officer and others may also cruise adjacent roads looking for suspicious activity, parked cars, or cars driving slowly through the area.

To avoid this type of search, leave the target area immediately after the mission. At the time of the pick-up or shortly thereafter, store all tools and incriminating items in the trunk, camper shell, or similar location where they cannot be readily discovered by an unscrupulous officer inventing "probable cause" to search your vehicle. As always, have a good story for being in the area (even if it's something simple like "just out partying"). The story must be short and simple. All members of the team must know it. Even on a roadside stop, officers sometimes split up the suspects and question them separately to look for differences in their stories. Be brief and you won't slip up. If pressed, repeat the same answers.

INTENSIVE SEARCH - An intensive search may be mounted if the authorities believe that the crime is serious, and that the suspects might still be in the area. A number of search methods which might be employed:

AERIAL SEARCH - Both helicopters and light planes can be used in con­junction with the search methods described below. Search aircraft are easy to escape if you observe basic precautions. If you hear or see an aircraft, con­ceal yourself immediately until you can determine its purpose by observation. Do not look directly at the aircraft if it is close. An upturned face is often very visible, especially against a dark background. Since movement also increases detectability, remain still.

The best way to hide from aircraft is to remain in shadows. On bright, sunlit days, the harsh contrast between light and shadow make it extremely difficult for searchers to see into shadowed areas. The airborne searcher is consider­ably more effective on cloudy or overcast days, and during the brief daylight time before sunrise and after sunset.

Lying down can expose more surface to the eyes of an observer flying over­head, so it's usually better to crouch or sit down. Don't panic if a search air­craft passes directly overhead. Most aircraft have a blind spot directly beneath them.

Lying under a camouflage tarp (or white sheet on snow-covered ground) can render you essentially invisible to spotters in an aircraft. Beware of your visi­ble tracks leading such airborne searchers to you under such camouflaged cover.

If a local police department does not have a helicopter, they can usually obtain the services of one from a nearby agency through a mutual assistance agreement. Learn which agencies in your area have helicopters, the frequen­cies they use (monitor the scanner for Air Ten, Copter 3, or Skywatch). Helicopters seldom fly in high winds, heavy rain or snow, or in heavy fog. Use this weather to your advantage.

CORDON - Authorities may set up roadblocks to check cars leaving an area (this method is usually employed when the suspects are thought to be armed). Authorities might cordon a backcountry area where suspects are thought to be by posting officers or rangers at trailheads leading out of the area. The way to deal with this problem is to avoid major trails, especially when within a mile or so of a road or trailhead. If you are "clean," you might try to bluff your way through, although you should recognize that even if the authori­ties let you pass, they will probably make a record of your presence.

SCRATCH SEARCH - In this method, small teams of searchers check only the most likely spots. Major trails, cabins, and the like are obvious choices. Search planning is usually based on the principle that the suspect will move downhill. Avoid this type of search by staying away from obvious landmarks, campgrounds, major springs, old cabins, mines, and caves.

SURVEY SEARCH - This type of search is designed to cover large areas quickly with aircraft, jeep patrols, and horseback patrols. Officers may be in plainclothes, attempting to look like ranchers, hunters, fishermen, and the like. Staying off major trails and roads will help you avoid this type of search. Be careful that you are not observed from a road. If you must cross a road, do so at a low spot or at a bend where you cannot be observed from any great dis­tance. While crossing the road, move slowly, erasing your tracks carefully behind you (see Tracking Search below). Remember that searchers might stop on a high point and use binoculars to scan the surrounding terrain.

SATURATION SEARCH - This is a highly intensive search method which usually involves moving a line of searchers back and forth through an area. This method is not commonly used because it requires a lot of people. It is sometimes used to search the immediate crime scene for physical evidence.

Keeping your tools in pouches and on lanyards prevents accidental loss and possible recovery by police during such a search.

TRACKING SEARCH - This method uses both human and dog trackers. Capable human trackers are rare. Still, some sheriff's departments and search-and-rescue outfits do have semi-experienced trackers on call. The best way to avoid a tracker is through speed and changes in direction. It's dif­ficult enough for a tracker to keep up with, much less overtake, someone walking at a normal pace. The tracker usually hopes to catch up with the poorly-conditioned subject taking a break or camping overnight. Also, track­ers may attempt to determine the general direction of movement and radio ahead for other teams to intercept the suspect along the trail or at road cross­ings.

Practice walking in ways that leave minimal tracks. You will learn that step­ping on rocks, gravelly areas, and small clumps of grass makes tracks difficult to spot. On soft soils, walk slowly, putting your entire sole down at once and lifting it in the same way. Most tracks leave distinct impressions when the weight is concentrated on the small surface area of toes or heel. Forget about walking backwards to deceive a tracker, as this only fools a rank amateur.

In areas where you cannot avoid leaving tracks, like the soft dirt in a road, erase your tracks as you go. Do not erase them with wide, sweeping actions, since this makes your trail all the more obvious. Carefully use your hand to brush out your tracks one at a time. This is practical only for very small areas where you can't avoid leaving tracks between areas where you don't leave tracks, such as a sandy area between slickrock.

If you will be moving cross-country for some length of time (say, eight hours or more) be careful not to leave a clear trail near the target. The beginning of your trail will be used to indicate the direction in which searchers will concen­trate their efforts. If possible, leave the target at right angles, or in the direc­tion opposite to which you eventually intend to travel. Circle back later, avoiding major trails that might be checked in the immediate area.


* If you can afford the risk of exposure, moving 100 or 200 yards along a paved road will often throw off a human tracker. This is especially true if your first steps back off the pavement are in a place where you can avoid leaving tracks.

* Among the Australian Kooris (indigenous people of Australia) were people who worked in the spirit world. These people were called "Kadachi." One of the tools of their trade was special footwear traditionally made from Emu feathers (a very fine, soft feather) held together with blood; the equivalent can be made with sheepskin from old car seat covers. With these shoes it was possible to enter and exit a camp without leaving tracks to be found even though the Kooris were and are renowned for their tracking.


TRACKING DOGS - Tracking dogs are probably more likely to be used in an intensive search than are human trackers. While a well-trained tracking dog can be a difficult adversary, they too have limits. As with human trackers, the best principle with dogs is to move fast and outdistance the pursuit. Tracking dogs can follow scent on the ground, both fresh human scent (in the first few hours, usually) and the scent of crushed vegetation and disturbed soil (which lingers much longer). They can follow scent trails in the air. Airborne scent lingers on calm days, and settles in low spots like ditches. They can distin­guish the scent left by different individuals. For example, a tool dropped at the scene can be matched to a specific individual in a line-up. For this reason (and others) never leave tools at the scene.

Most dogs can follow a trail that is less than 24 hours old (the record is over 100 hours). Here are a few methods which will make things difficult for a tracking dog:

Leave the target area by moving through a spot that is likely to be "contaminated" by the first people to arrive at work in the morning. When other scent trails are laid on top of yours, the dog often doesn't know which scent trail to follow.

Do not drop any articles like clothing or tools. If you must get rid of incrimi­nating items, toss them far off your trail, preferably into thick brush, deep water, or off the top of a cliff.

  Walk on roads (if safe) where the smells left by passing cars will both dis­perse and mask your scent trail.

  Travel in exposed, windy areas (if safe), where the scent will be dispersed by the wind.

Walk in areas that get direct sunlight. Direct sun kills the bacteria that pro­duce scent. Tracking dogs have been known to track people by skipping from one shady area to another, the sunlight having destroyed the scent in between.

Walk on dry sand and gravel, which have less bacteria to enhance the scent trail, than rich humus and thick vegetation, which provide ideal condi­tions for the tracking dog.

Contaminate your back trail with red pepper and pepper sprays (such as the postal service uses), and gasoline. Dust is also bad for the dog's nose, causing fatigue. The French Resistance reportedly scattered cocaine to foil tracking dogs (presumably it deadened their sense of smell) but this method is probably too expensive for anyone except movie stars and rock musicians.

Walk on the upwind side of cactus and rough ground that can injure the dog's feet and slow it down. In summer, walk through fields of seed-bearing grass (like foxtail) that will cling to your clothing. They will work into a dog's paws and possibly force the handler to abandon the trail.

Change directions at a sharp angle, ideally an acute angle back in the direction from which you came. Change directions on sections of easy trail or downhill stretches where the dog's speed and momentum will cause it to over­shoot the turn. Though the dog will likely find the turn, the handler may lose some confidence in the dog. If possible, change directions by walking with the wind. In this way, the wind will not carry your airborne scent back to your old trail.

Before changing directions, walk about in a small area, crossing and criss­crossing your trail. Imagine the confused look on the dog handler's face as the dog dashes to and fro. The dog may be following your trail, but the handler may think the dog has lost the trail and is casting about for a fresh scent. Repeat this procedure each time, you change direction. Eventually, the average han­dler will assume the dog has lost the trail and may terminate the search.



If You Are Arrested

If, despite all of your precautions, you fall into the hands of the police, remain calm and collected. What you say at this point may well make the dif­ference between being freed and imprisoned.

When dealing with police, be polite. An angry cop will go out of his way to make life difficult for you. However, being polite does not mean you have to acquiesce in everything the cop wants. Don't be intimidated by the uniform and gun. Never (if you still have any say about it) consent to a search of your person or vehicle. When asked, politely but firmly say "no."

Most police are well aware of their power to intimidate. They know that putting someone in handcuffs or driving them "downtown" is sometimes all it takes to make a suspect cooperate fully in incriminating herself. The shock of arrest, isolation from friends and family, and well practiced questioning are all designed to force the suspect's cooperation, confession, and the implication of others.

If you are arrested, do not talk to police until you have talked with your lawyer. You will be read your "Miranda" rights only if police officers wish' to question you. Do not be lulled into casual conversation; this is a standard method for lowering a suspect's defenses and causing a slip of the tongue. Your only safe answer to questioning is to politely tell the police that you have nothing to say until you have talked to a lawyer. Then say nothing, not even small talk. This measure alone may spare you from later conviction.

Don't believe the cops if they say it's too late at night to get a lawyer. You can call one any time (or else have one appointed when the courts open in the morning).

Watch out for the "nice" cop who wishes you would cooperate for your own good. His partner will often come on with the "tough guy" approach to make the "nice" cop seem friendlier still. Another classic ploy is to tell you that "we know everything, anyway." If the police really knew everything, they wouldn't waste time asking you questions. Sometimes the police will reveal a few bits of information and tell you that they are only trying to fill in "a few minor details."

Perhaps the most common ploy is to tell you that it will all go easier for you if you cooperate. In reality, your cooperation will only make it easier for them to convict you. Never forget that the interrogating officer is a trained profes­sional, in his own element, and that you are out of yours. If you try to talk your way out of trouble, you will probably only make it worse. Say nothing until you've seen a lawyer.

Even should you slip up and reveal something damaging to the police, you are under no obligation to continue talking or answering questions. In such an instance, when you come to your senses, stop talking immediately.

Before undertaking serious monkeywrenching, read up on a few pertinent points of law. Most important, read if An Agent Knocks, available free from the Center for Constitutional Rights, 666 Broadway, NY, NY 10012. This booklet gives the best and most accurate advice available on your rights to refuse to talk.

A book well worth reading is The Outlaw's Bible, by E. X. Boozhie. (In the second edition of Ecodefense, we reported it was available from Circle A Publishers in Arizona for $12.95 postpaid. They seem to no longer be in busi­ness. But some folks have ordered it through bookstores like Walden's for $11.95.) It tells you how a few extra precautions may maximize the protection of your "constitutional rights," something most people take for granted until it is too late.

-Clarence Darrow


* Never talk to the FBI. They usually come calling in pairs, and one is carry­ing a concealed recorder to catch everything you say. Don't try to outwit them. Ask them what they want, then tell them you have nothing to say. Warn your friends immediately after the agents leave, as they may be visited next. But be cautious when warning your friends! You may be under electronic or physi­cal surveillance and the FBI visit may have been designed only to spook you into leading them to your associates. They're crafty devils. Have a planned, innocent-sounding code phrase which you can insert into a pay phone or face­-to-face conversation to warn others that law enforcement is snooping around.


Although the secrecy so essential to monkeywrenching generally dictates against contacting outsiders about clandestine activities, it may on occasion be necessary to communicate with governmental bodies, target industries, or the media. Keep in mind that all of these contacts will be reported to the police, who will run down every lead in their efforts to identify and arrest you. At any face-to-face meeting with media representatives, there may be plainclothes police officers masquerading as reporters. Any written messages, even the envelopes they come in, will be chemically treated in the crime lab to reveal fingerprints. Any handwriting samples will be carefully filed and compared with samples of every suspect's handwriting. (In the Arizona Five case over a dozen individuals were served with subpoenas requiring them to not only pro­vide fingerprints to the FBI but detailed handwriting samples. A trained agent sat in a room with the person giving the handwriting sample and dictated many things to write, then print, and then all over again several times. The repeats were designed to ferret out any deliberate attempt to disguise an individual's handwriting. The feds were trying to match various postcards, notes, signa­tures, and other writing found in their investigation.) Telephone calls may be tape-recorded, and valuable voiceprint evidence may be obtained this way. All telephone calls to police agencies are routinely tape-recorded. (All phone calls made from jail cells are monitored and many are recorded.)

When dealing with the press or other media, never assume that they are interested in impartially presenting the facts to the reading or viewing public. Some news people will gladly turn you in to the police. Others, whose code of professional conduct will not allow active cooperation with the police, will nev­ertheless not hesitate to fabricate lies, distort truths, and seek out anyone who will provide a derogatory quote about your actions, if that will make a more sensational story. The truly impartial reporter/newscaster is unfortunately rather rare, and must be treated with care. (Nonetheless, there certainly are friendly, supportive, and professionally ethical reporters.) Never lie to the press. Never give information to the press that might reveal your identity, numbers, or intended actions. If asked revealing questions, politely say you cannot answer that question. When in doubt, leave it out.

The four basic forms of contact with the press and others, in descending order of security, are communiqués, telephone contacts, photographs, and personal interviews.


Never write a communiqué by hand. Anything you may do to disguise your handwriting can be nullified by an experienced handwriting analyst. It is much safer to use a typewriter (preferably a rented one), or better still, the classic method of cutting words out of the newspaper and pasting them up on a sheet of paper to make your message. Don't make the mistake of leaving the chopped-up newspaper in plain view or throwing it in the trash where police can easily (and legally) retrieve it. Take it out somewhere and burn it. An argument against this method is the classic criminal aura it carries.

Rental typewriters are available in a number of places. Libraries may be the best place, as you may be able to work in a carrel which provides a bit of pri­vacy. Some of the more sophisticated printing/photocopying establishments may also have rental typewriters. If you have to type in a public place, be sure to "bury" your message inside an innocent-looking text, in case someone looks over your shoulder. You can later cut out the text, paste it together, and pho­tocopy it under more secure conditions.

Do not deliver the original. You may have accidentally touched the paper and left fingerprints that can be revealed through chemical fuming in the labo­ratory. Another drawback is that a typewritten original (and possibly even a clear copy) can be linked to the exact typewriter that produced it. (It is particu­larly important not to deliver the original if you use the classic method of cutting words out of a newspaper and pasting them on a sheet to make your message.)

Photocopy the original communiqué and deliver only the copies. Use only a photocopy machine whose location or amount of use makes it unlikely that someone will accidentally observe what you're doing. If you are copying some­thing incriminating and someone walks up before you are through, calmly stand so as to block their view, or else gather up your materials and leave. You can always come back later. Copying machines are common, and are now found in libraries, post offices, and supermarkets, so finding a suitable one should be no problem.

Note: Don't use a copying machine where you are known, or near your resi­dence or place of employment. Don't repeatedly use the same copying machine. Investigators may be able to trace a copy to the exact machine that produced it, due to irregularities in the glass, etc. We have heard that copy machines may leave some other kind of identifying characteristic on photo­copies which can be traced to the specific machine.

Run off several copies of your communiqué. When finished, pick up the copies by handling only the outside sheets. Slip them in a folder or large enve­lope, and later (with gloves on) destroy the outside copies you touched. Never handle with bare hands the copies you intend to send. Do not forget to pick up your original before leaving the copy machine. If you fail to do this, somebody is likely to get quite a surprise!

The importance of taking precautions to avoid leaving fingerprints on both message and envelope cannot be overstressed. Recently a gang of arsonists in Boston was caught because part of a single fingerprint was uncovered by the crime lab on the inside (gummed portion) of a postage stamp on an enve­lope used to send a bragging message to the authorities.

If the copy machine you are using has an adjustment for lightness and dark­ness, set it as light as possible while still allowing the message to be readable. This is especially helpful in disguising the origin of a typewritten original. It also may help to make a copy, photocopy that copy, and then photocopy that copy to make a poorly reproduced copy that will mask the identifying marks of the typewriter used.

Delivering a communiqué can be dangerous, and should be well planned in advance. If your message could be construed as threatening in any way, you should avoid using the U.S. Mail, as this may needlessly violate Federal law. However, if you are simply sending a matter-of-fact statement of some action that has already occurred, you are probably not incurring any additional legal penalty. Certainly, using the mail simplifies delivery.

If you choose not to use the mail, there are a number of ways of delivering your message. You might tape your message to a door or bulldozer. Of course, wear gloves and leave no prints on paper or tape. For delivery to the press, you might leave your communiqué in a remote location, such as in a phone book in a phone booth, taped to the bottom of a garbage can, or in any number of locations. Once away from the area, call the newsroom at the newspaper or TV station and briefly tell the person who answers where your message can be found. Ask them to repeat your directions. Don't forget that any communiqué that you deliver to the press will be photocopied by them before being passed on to the police.

If you choose to mail your communiqué, make sure the envelope, as well as its contents, have no fingerprints or other distinctive identifying characteris­tics. You might type the address ahead of time on a sheet of paper with a rented typewriter, then Xerox the address sheet as described above. When you are ready to send your communiqué, you can cut out the address and glue or tape it on an envelope you have pulled from the middle of a package of envelopes, wearing gloves during this process. (Wearing gloves while using the rental typewriter would eliminate the necessity of using glue, but if some­one were to see you so attired they might be suspicious.) Once you have your envelope addressed and sealed, ready for mailing (be careful with the postage stamps-fingerprints!), place it inside another envelope for carrying until you are able to mail it. Always use a sponge to moisten stamps or envelope flaps­, saliva can be identified as to blood type and for DNA. When you are ready for mailing, take the inner envelope out (wearing gloves, of course) and drop it unobtrusively in a mail box far from your usual haunts. If you are operating in a rural area or small town, mail communiqués from some nearby large city, so as not to tip off your location.


To make it even more difficult to trace your photocopied communiqué, type through five sheets of paper and a carbon sheet to get the final result on a bot­tom sheet. Photocopy the bottom carbon copy. By using a cloth ribbon on the typewriter, this method makes unreadable the thread count which is part of typewriter identification.

Another way to get rid of the individual characteristics of the typewriter is to run it through a copy machine on a reduction cycle and then enlarge the reduced copy back to normal size. Use a common typewriter with a common typeface or an electric typewriter with interchangeable type heads or daisy wheels. If you use a rental machine, use one with a cartridge ribbon and bring your own. Take it with you when you are finished.

Burn your cartridge ribbon after you type your communiqué. Do not keep it around for future use. Your freedom is worth the cost of a new cartridge. One of the defendants in the Arizona Five case kept his cartridge ribbon and the FBI picked up his communiqué message on it. It was considered major evi­dence when introduced in the trial.

To prevent people from reading your letter without opening the envelope, wrap aluminum foil around it inside the envelope. This stops x-ray and chemi­cals used to look inside of your letter.

To grab paper without leaving fingerprints when wearing gloves would appear suspicious (such as making photocopies of a communiqué about mon­keywrenching at a self-service copy shop), simply grasp the paper with a binder clip.

 * Don't leave an unfinished communiqué in your typewriter when you go out to do the job! Amazingly, one of the "Arizona Five" did just that. He is serving several years in a federal prison. The prosecution gleefully waved the unfinished communiqué before the jury during the trial.

Advanced Communiqué Sending

With the new generation of typewriters, it is now safe to use your own type­writer for communiqués, and you may even send the original safely (use only common stock paper). Modern typewriters no longer use keys, and it was these keys that made letters typed on "old-fashioned" typewriters traceable. Modern typewriters use either typing elements (e.g., the "ball") or cartridge printwheels. The former sell for about $13 and the latter for about $25 apiece. (A brand new typewriter now costs under $300, and there is an abundant sup­ply of used ones.)

One can either (a) purchase an element or printwheel for each communiqué and then dispose of it or (b) use an element or printwheel specially reserved for communiqués, switching back to one's "normal" element or printwheel for everyday correspondence. Obviously, (b) is cheaper, provided the reserved element or printwheel is kept in a secure, secret place. Most elements and printwheels have no metal in them, and so can not be found with a metal detec­tor. These are the ones to buy. Of course, if you come under any kind of investigation, you should thoroughly and securely destroy your reserved ele­ment or printwheel at the earliest safe opportunity. Typed letters can be posi­tively matched to a particular printwheel or element just as they can to an old­fashioned typewriter with keys.

Cutting out words from a newspaper is even more time-consuming than it is boring. A simple alternative, which has the advantages of being quick, cheap, and untraceable (newspaper print can at least be traced back to the newspa­per from which it came) is to use a stencil, such as those often found across the middle of a high-school-type plastic ruler, or a plastic template that con­tains the letters of the alphabet (some computer templates have this latter fea­ture). Again, the stencil can either be disposed of after use or can be reserved only for communiqués. The advantage of the stencil over the typing element or cartridge printwheel is that the stencil is cheaper and you don't have to buy a typewriter to use it. The best writing instrument for a stencil is a felt-tip pen. If you use a ballpoint, do not write on a hard surface that will retain a permanent secondary impression of your message.

As long as you have used common stock paper and surgical rubber gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints, this is a safe communiqué to send. Also, it spares you of the need to visit a photocopy shop to make a copy to send. Use envelopes of the standard variety, and seal them with (and moisten stamps with) a damp sponge or a piece of damp tissue paper.

If you use ANY typewriter, destroy the ribbon after typing your communiqué, ESPECIALLY if it is a carbon, rather than an ink, ribbon. This is necessary because your ribbon records a perfect copy of what you have typed.

If you must use a typewriter with keys, keep the following points in mind: If the typewriter is a manual or a cheap electric, type with only one finger and hit each key with the same amount of pressure. With these typewriters, it is very easy to determine your typing ability; e.g., whether you touch-type or hunt-­and-peck and how well you do either. If you use a typewriter with keys, you must photocopy the communiqué and send only the photocopy. In addition to the extra security precaution of sending a third or fourth generation photo­copy, you might want to make your first photocopy by placing a piece of thick Mylar or Saran Wrap between the original and the photocopy platen. Anything to help obscure the typewriter's unique impressions will make it all the more difficult for your communiqué to be traced.

All in all, however, the element or printwheel typewriter or the stencil is safer. With the accompanying, related precautions, untraceability is virtually guaran­teed.

Equally important is to obscure your writing style. Write communiqués as if you were sending an expensive telegram. Do not attempt literary excellence. Terse phrases rather than complete sentences are best. Punctuate as little as possible, using only commas and periods, and these only when necessary to make your communiqué intelligible. Spell phonetically. In short, do nothing that will disclose any of your stylistic or spelling idiosyncrasies-and everyone has them. On the other hand, do not overcompensate by being positively cryptic. Be smart rather than "clever." The whole point is to provide informa­tion about what you did, and not about who you are. No clues are better than false ones, because the latter can give you away inadvertently. And, of course, REAL clues can be fatal. Just get your message across as simply as possible. Reporters aren't imbeciles. A simple, clueless communiqué will make perfect sense to them, yet leave the authorities with no leads to follow.

Editor's Note: There remain dangers of using your own typewriter even with a removable printwheel. There will always be the temptation for the impecu­nious monkeywrencher to retain a ribbon for future communiqués. No matter how well you hide it, a police search may find it. But let's suppose you promptly destroy your ribbon after each use and hide your printwheel. If it is discovered during a police search it may well be directly linked to a particular communiqué, despite whatever precautions you might take to render the printing less legible. And even if you discard a printwheel, the authorities may be able to determine from your communiqué the make of typewriter used, and if you happen to own one of those, that's a bit of circumstantial evidence. More than one person has spent their life in the slammer on the basis of a few pieces of "circumstantial" evidence.


* Evidence obtained from an Electrostatic Detection Apparatus (ESDA) is admissible in court. An ESDA detects and visualizes invisible indentations on paper. For example, if you sign a check on top of a piece of paper that is later used in a communiqué, the indentation of your signature could be made visible by an ESDA.

BLM Procedure for Ecotage Letters

It is always good to know one's opponent. A disadvantage of publishing Ecodefense is that it gives the destroyers of wilderness a window into the strategy and tactics of ecodefenders. Similarly, ecodefenders should study the tactics used against them. Monkeywrenchers should find interesting the following text of an August 28, 1990 memo on "Tree Spiking and Ecotage Evidence" from the Oregon State Bureau of Land Management Director to his district managers. It explains very well how agencies treat ecotage communiqués.

Recently the Eugene and Medford Districts have received letters from Ecotage groups claiming that timber sales have been spiked. Letters are of a threatening nature and generally outline the unsigned writers (sic) beliefs that timber is being managed improperly. At least one timber area in the Medford district has, in fact, been spiked. The letters which the district offices receive are, in fact, evidence which can help us find and prosecute those responsible for damaging Public Timber. We request that the mail service unit on each dis­trict or the first reader or receiver of threatening document (sic) do the follow­ing immediately on receipt of document or letter.

1. Do not handle.

2. Place in 9" by 12" zip lock plastic bag.

3.. Make copy of letter for your office needs through plastic bag.

4. Notify State Law Enforcement Office, Agent Kevin Freeman.

5. Send letter in blue envelope to Agent Freeman.

6. Place envelope in which letter came into plastic bag.

7. Send envelope to Agent Freeman.

Each person who receives or touches the original letter should write a statement outlining how they handled letter and whom they passed the original letter onto before it was placed in zip lock bag. Each person who touches the original letter may have to be fingerprinted in order to eliminate their prints from suspects for identification purposes. The fewer the persons who handle the letter, the more valuable the letter will be as evidence.

Your assistance is appreciated in this matter of investigative importance.

Telephone Contacts

Telephone contacts must be kept to a minimum, whether with press or others. Phone calls may be tape-recorded (even though you may request press not to do so, you can never be sure that they will honor your request). Phone calls can also be traced, should the authorities be listening. In the past, calls had to be at least several minutes long to be traced, but the tech­nology for this is improving. Some big-city police departments are installing computerized systems which have the potential to trace calls almost instanta­neously (911 systems, for example). In some big cities, phone companies provide customers with instantaneous tracing of "harassing" or obscene phone calls. Also, a "Caller ID" service is now available in some locations. With this service the number of all incoming calls is displayed on a special monitor attached to one's phone. Many reporters have this feature on their phones.

Given that this kind of tracing technology is now available for normal telephone customers, it should be assumed that law enforcement agencies, other gov­ernment agencies, corporations, and media can identify the telephone number for incoming calls.

For your own security when using the telephone, only use pay phones, and even then make your call as brief as possible. For added security, call the reporter/newscaster and instruct her to go to a specified pay phone, where you will call her within a specified time. Then call her from yet another pay phone. Get to the point right away and get off the phone.

Advanced Telephone Contacts

Because of the ease with which telephone communications can be moni­tored, telephones are dangerous for monkeywrenchers to use. Even coded conversations must be kept brief, and the code words routinely changed to avoid a pattern of suspicion.

Occasionally you may have to use a phone to engage in computer "games" or to notify the press where to find your latest communiqué. Here the phone trace becomes a danger. Never use a phone to threaten people-this is risky and cowardly. As discussed above, phone traces are much quicker with today's electronic switching. If you must use a phone, select a pay phone where you are not likely to be observed, either because it is secluded, or in a busy area where people (including potential witnesses) are in a hurry and not likely to linger long enough to be questioned by -police (such as outside con­venience markets). When using the phone, appear normal and average. Don't give potential witnesses anything distinctive to remember. Don't make eye contact with others (eye contact helps them remember you). Try not to park your car within sight of the phone. This would give more information for possi­ble witnesses.

Computer hackers can make traces more difficult and time consuming by routing calls through different electronic bulletin boards. You can also use an old bookmaker's trick called "backstrapping." Here you run your own phone wire from a terminal (the large multiunits at apartments and commercial cen­ters) or house protector (the simple two-wire block mounted on the outside of a house) to a remote and secure location. A successful trace will send police to the point of origin where your counter-surveillance will warn you in time to dis­connect and flee before your extra wire is discovered. Don't expect police to arrive in uniform with lights flashing-learn to spot unmarked police cars and suspicious looking loiterers.

An empty home, apartment, or business can be a good place to hook up. Don't worry about the owners being billed for long-distance calls-they'll con­test the billing when it arrives and the phone company will consider it an error. Don't draw undue attention when you run your backstrap wire. If you run it to a laptop computer in a car or van, use a long wire, park out of the direct line of sight, and be prepared to drop the wire and drive away casually. Carry a large magnet to quickly erase any computer disk on the chance you are stopped and your equipment seized.

For details on phone systems, consult the do-it-yourself telephone books. Many of them have illustrations of the systems you'll encounter.

As discussed elsewhere in this chapter, all telephone communications have the possibility of being monitored or instantly traced. The only absolutely certain way to avoid this danger is to not use the telephone for any illegal activities or to discuss any illegal activities.

Personal Interviews

A direct meeting with reporters is one of the most dangerous contacts a monkeywrencher can make. However, such an interview can help get your message across. The notorious ecoteur "The Fox" was once interviewed by Chicago's popular columnist Mike Royko with considerable advantageous pub­licity resulting.

If you do decide to take the risk of a direct meeting with a media person, exercise precautions. First, direct the reporter to a phone booth to await fur­ther instructions. Then have her go to yet another phone for more directions. In the meantime, have someone observe the reporter to make sure that she is not being followed, knowingly or unknowingly, by undercover police. Do not attempt to follow the reporter in your car, because if the police do have her under surveillance, their trained eyes will probably pick you out. If you think it is safe, finally direct the reporter to a remote rural location which gives you multiple avenues of escape. Hold the interview at sunset since the oncoming night will conceal your withdrawal from the area. Always wear mask and gloves to protect your identity. Don't even let your hair show, as this will tell an obser­vant reporter more about you than is necessary. Have someone concealed nearby to provide you with backup security. Never allow more than one newsperson at an interview.

Sometimes it is possible to arrange a spur of the moment interview at night. Do this only in familiar terrain so that if something goes wrong you can escape into the darkness. If TV lights or camera flash are to be used, save them until the end of the interview as they will likely draw unwanted attention.


Photographs of actions, delivered to the press, can be an excellent method of gaining media attention. Since photos can also convey information to the police, make sure there is nothing in the picture that can be traced to you. It is probably wiser not to have people in such a photo, but if you do, everyone must be well-disguised and lack distinctive clothing. Anything else in the photo must be of common manufacture and widely available.

If you do not have your own secure darkroom facilities for processing and printing, use Polaroid-type film only. Never entrust film from illegal actions to commercial labs. Many people have been busted for offenses after being turned in by a photo lab's quality control inspector or some "friendly" drugstore clerk. Destroy extra photos and negatives, and resist the temptation to start a scrapbook. Photos constitute highly incriminating evidence. In England, saboteurs who attacked the grave/shrine of fox hunter John Peel were undone by a random license plate check which led to a search warrant which turned up a mere one-half of a negative that the photographer was unable to destroy in time. This scrap of evidence led to further investigation which ultimately put the saboteurs in prison. -Corona Smith


* A number of monkeywrenchers and other activists believe that while it was necessary to inform the media about ecotage in the past, it is no longer neces­sary or wise to do so. Early publicity about monkeywrenching helped to raise the urgency of the debate about conservation issues like ancient forests, and to underscore the adamant opposition of many people to the destruction of wild places. That has been accomplished. In most cases, publicity about mon­keywrenching in the 1990s is counterproductive and no effort should be made to contact the media. For tree spiking, it is still absolutely necessary to inform land managers using the above safe techniques; otherwise it is probably best not to publicize your work. There are, of course, exceptions. Use your best strategic judgment.



The following tips come from experienced monkeywrenchers. Benefit from their on-the-job learning.

• Medicine for monkeywrenchers: Ecoteurs have fallen into ditches, scraped knuckles on heavy equipment, cut themselves on glass, and otherwise suf­fered numerous minor injuries. There is likely to be so much adrenaline pump­ing through your system that you scarcely notice the injury, but you should examine the wound at the first safe opportunity. A penlight flashlight can be carefully used for the examination. Each member of the team should carry a dark, clean bandanna to use as a bandage.

• Water: Monkeywrenching can be hot, dry work. Keep a water jug in your vehicle. If you carry a canteen on your person, remember that a partially full canteen can make a loud sloshing noise. If silence is needed, drink all of the water in your canteen or pour out the remainder when you first drink in order to keep it from sloshing and revealing your position.

• Psychology: Learn to play your hunches and be aware of subtle feelings. Life in the underground sharpens the senses to the point where you can develop a protective "sixth sense" that defies rational explanation. Dreams and "feelings" with no apparent basis in fact or observation have saved many an outlaw or monkeywrencher from arrest. Nevertheless, under no circum­stances should you allow "feelings" to become a substitute for proper planning. On the other extreme, make sure that neither you nor your associates slip into paranoia. If fears and pressures seem to be mounting, take a vacation.

Another type of behavior for which to be on alert, particularly among experi­enced operatives, is euphoria. This energetic, go-getting, "nothing-can-stop-me-now" attitude often follows periods of depression. The pattern will be acted out by even the most highly motivated individuals after prolonged exposure to danger. First comes a slow, creeping depression when the individual begins to question his or her basic motivation. It begins to seem as though nothing will ever change for the better, regardless of what one may do. After a few days or weeks, the mind snaps out of this way of thinking but then overcompensates by making the individual feel invincible. This is euphoria. Locked in its heady grip, experienced monkeywrenchers have been known to charge forward with­out taking even elementary security precautions. This is a dangerous state of mind, and team leaders, in their coordinating role, must remain on the alert for it (even in themselves!). The solitary Earth defender must carefully evaluate her own moods. A break or vacation will help to restore proper balance.

• Keep in mind that police, Forest Service and other government agencies, and industrial security specialists will study this book in the hope of developing countermeasures. Be thoughtful and inventive. Do not leave this book in plain view in your home or car.

• Remember that your abilities are acquired through experience. Re-read pertinent sections of this volume before attempting an actual operation. Start with simple tasks and easy targets, and only gradually work up to major mon­keywrenching.

• Experiment, improvise, and practice your techniques. Monkeywrenching is a highly creative field in the fight to preserve wild country. Use your imagi­nation!

• When driving in rough country or on jeep trails, try to avoid scraping bot­tom. If you scrape a rock, the paint chips you leave can be compared to the FBI's National Automotive Paint File to determine the year and make of your vehicle. Also, grease smears rubbed off on the high-centers of such roads can sometimes be linked to the remaining crud on the undercarriage of your vehicle. Whenever you leave such a sign, stop to brush it away.

• Get a black, dark green, or camouflage fanny pack and fill it with basic survival gear (space blanket, matches, candle, candy, pocket knife, first aid kit, small flashlight, etc.). Strap it around your waist as soon as you leave your vehicle for operations such as tree spiking in the woods. Do not remove it. In case you are confronted by Forest Service law enforcement agents or deputies, you can escape through the woods and know that you have all you need to get back to safety even if you have to spend several days in the back­country.

• If you need a backpack for an extended monkeywrenching mission, use a frame pack with the sides of the frame extending vertically above the top of the pack. Camouflage the frame with camo bow tape (sold in bow hunting stores) or paint. Use camo straps if possible. Jansport also makes a good belly band in an inconspicuous tan. The pack itself should be camo. (Some experienced monkeywrenchers argue that dull green or brown are better than camo for packs, straps, and frame.) Use it to carry anything incriminating. Next, get a camouflage day pack. Mount it over the frame pack with the day pack straps looped over the vertical uprights on the frame. This day pack is used for emer­gency gear in case you get into a bad situation. If that happens, dump the backpack into a bush or over a cliff. Take the day pack and take off. Try to retrieve your backpack later.

• Anyone who engages in ecotage should avoid becoming a suspect in the first place. This means not drawing attention to yourself by leading conserva­tion protests or becoming a public pain in the ass to government agencies or powerful corporations. Even if there is no evidence linking you with an act of monkeywrenching, if you are suspected and are enough of an irritant, some police, government agents, or corporate thugs are not beyond planting evi­dence on you or in your home (such as illegal drugs) in order to make your life miserable or to take you out of commission for a while.

• In 1989, the Mountain States Legal Foundation established a hot-line for gathering information on alleged monkeywrenching. That number in Denver, Colorado, is (303)837-8439. Calls are no doubt taped and traced.

• Some experienced monkeywrenchers believe deer hunting season is a good time to work. One writes: While it's true that there are more people in the forests, that large influx can provide a good cover for many activities. First, no amount of noise is suspicious if it's coming from a deer hunter's camp. Second, as long as you're carrying a rifle and have a license, you can go any­place and not be unusual. At the worst, somebody will just call you an idiot and tell you to get the hell off their land. This is especially so if you pretend to be an idiot or just plain lost. It's probably best not to carry bolt cutters, but there are lots of things you can do. Spike the trees around your camp, shoot power line insulators, spike dirt roads. Cutting fence is probably too dangerous at this time of year unless you do it in an area where you can't be seen and you can get away promptly. Some deer hunters carry hand-axes on their belts; we all know what can be done with a couple of strategic blows from a hand-ax.

• Carry a rock hammer and a brunton compass when you're out in the boonies. Then if some rancher or 4-wheeler asks you what you are doing, tell them you're a geologist on a field traverse. If they ask you any more ques­tions, say the company doesn't allow you to discuss the project with anybody. Have some phony business cards made up with a phony PO Box.

• During the summer of 1989, when the Burr Trail in southern Utah was being widened and paved, bait equipment was left out on the side of the road to lure monkeywrenchers. Armed men were hidden in the equipment, and one of the most expert and notorious trappers in the Southwest was hired to trap a mon­keywrencher. It was widely believed that this thug would have killed in cold blood anyone he caught.

• Beware of the carelessness that comes with success. Don't get lax. Law enforcement people may bide their time and wait for you to make a careless slip. Be unpredictable. After hitting a particular target for a while, drop it and move to something else. Engage in counter-surveiIlance.

  Loggers in northwest Montana have started a forest watch program to look out for monkeywrenchers. They may be using fire lookout towers to monitor timber sales. There has been talk of levying $1 for every thousand board feet of timber cut on the Kootenai National Forest to hire private security guards. Loggers claim they could raise $190,000 a year by that method.

* The September 1990 issue of Timber Harvesting magazine offers tips on protecting logging equipment from monkeywrenching or theft. They suggest:

-Hire retired or handicapped persons to guard equipment at night.

-Park equipment near a rural home on weekends and pay the residents to check your equipment.

-Lock fuel tanks, battery compartments, dash & side panels, filter housings, and oil and hydraulic fluid filler caps.

-If you can't lock up these parts of your equipment, have workers inspect their rigs before starting them up, especially on Monday mornings. Look for anything that might indicate tampering.

-Stick signs on equipment warning that booby traps of tear gas or sirens have been installed. The article states, "You may have a more creative solu­tion." Be forewarned, then, of potentially lethal booby traps.

-Park equipment 50 feet apart to prevent a fire in one from catching others.

-Insure equipment.

This, of course, indicates that monkeywrenching is taking its toll. All of these measures cost the operator money and/or time. Note particularly the suggestion of booby-trapping heavy equipment by potentially dangerous means.

* Because law enforcement investigations target specific groups or individ­uals known to operate in certain areas, change your MO (method of operation or modus operandi) regularly. Consider the physical evidence left at a scene and generally used to determine patterns. If shoe prints are left at the scene, buy different shoes at a different discount outlet, in different sizes, and con­sciously lengthen or shorten your stride when leaving obvious footprints. If you use spray paint, switch brands and colors. If you spray warnings or slo­gans, have a different member of your group do it, switch from upper to lower case letters, use your weak hand to vary the appearance. If you identify your actions with a group name, change the name. If you send written communiqués, have a different group member write them (forensic analysts study the style of writing looking for similarities in tone, grammar, and word usage to determine if two documents might have been written by the same person). If you've been sabotaging heavy equipment in a certain way, switch to a different method.

Most importantly, changes designed to throw off investigators must be thor­ough. Change everything on a specific date and be careful not to lapse back into old methods or materials. Pay attention to detail, as you can be sure investigators will. If you change everything but your shoes, leaving the same old footprints, all your efforts will be wasted. The illusion of more than one group working in an area will dilute the effectiveness of the law enforcement response.


• Injuries caused by carelessness, fatigue, lack of proficiency, or any other reason can endanger the whole group. If the injury is serious enough to require the care of a doctor or hospital, you might have to explain to the doctor and maybe to police. All team members must understand and agree on a course of action to be followed should an injury occur during a field operation. Preparation prevents confusion.

• Ecodefenders who wear glasses should use a head strap or keeper to pre­vent loss or breakage of glasses. Beware of light reflected from glasses and goggles.

• Monkeywrenchers should not smoke prior to or during work. Use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs before, during, or after work is very hazardous. Avoid con­tact with known drug users or dealers. Do not carry even minute traces of drugs. Current federal law is very harsh and the combination of monkey­wrenching and drug possession would send you up the river for a very long time.

• Some of the people who plant crops of marijuana on public lands are cau­tious, suspicious, and dangerous. They use trip wires, explosives, booby traps, guns, guard dogs, punji sticks, and other surprises to protect their crop and themselves from thieves and law enforcement officers. So that you do not mistakenly "trespass" on their plantations, do a careful daylight recon of the area. Pot growers sometimes put up "No Trespassing" signs near their farms. Watch out for strike forces of law enforcement and Forest Service officers as they conduct observations and raids on marijuana growers. Helicopters are often used to locate pot farms and to transport these strike forces. You may be sure these officers are more than happy to go after any ecodefenders they chance upon.

• If you notice more (or less) law enforcement activity in an area, postpone your job. Do not blunder into a search and rescue operation, or a police, mili­tary, or national guard operation or training exercise.

• When moving as a group, have one or more persons out front On Point as far forward as you can see. A point with a VOX radio may be the ideal entry and exit formation.

  Drivers must not give police any probable cause to stop them. In some cases, however, just being in an area may constitute enough probable cause.

  Avoid the appearance that your team is more than just casual friends. Avoid looking like a standing group of friends or an exclusive club.

  Do not conduct planning, practice, or training sessions where you could be noticed or observed.

• After an operation, debrief and evaluate. Discuss what worked well, what needs improvement and how this improvement should be initiated, group and individual errors and corrections, how to improve the planning for the next job. This meeting should be private and secure but should not draw the suspicion of neighbors, casual observers, or even family.


Chapter 8 Introduction Epilogue

Direct Action