Counter-surveillance and anti-surveillance

Our H.E.A.T. courses are designed to teach attendees the ability to survive and operate effectively in Hostile Environments.  Although Hostile Environments are typically characterised by emerging markets and emerging countries, Hostile Environments exist anywhere there is a risk of loss of liberty, life and limb.  Whilst the most obvious Hostile Environments include Outer Space,Antarctica and areas with erupting volcanoes, your own home country could become a Hostile Environment.

In South Africa, the acquisition or use of certain information could be construed as a “threat to national security” and could get the holder of such information arrested and imprisoned.  Imagine you are a journalist in South Africa and have access to information that a senior political figure used bribe money, from the controversial 1990s Arms’ Deal, to furnish their home.  The information you have confirms that contractors were paid generously from an account into which commercial agents working for the arms’ suppliers had paid substantial “commissions”.

Before publishing such information, the senior political figure could utilise the state’s resources and place you under surveillance.

What is Surveillance? Read more

Kidnap and Ransom: five strategies to escape

Kidnap and Ransom have been used as a means of extortion for millennia.

During the 1st century B.C. many noble Romans were kidnapped by pirates but they made a mistake with Julius Caesar.

During his kidnapping, the future Roman “Dictator perpetuus” treated his captures as subordinates and actually insisted that they increase their original ransom demand.  On his release, he promised his captures that he would return – to their surprise, he did and crucified every one of them every hundred metres along the Appian Way. Read more

Types of Rifles: ammunition and parts

There are a number of common types of rifles available today and they can be split into two, defined by what ammunition they fire.

Long before the rifle was issued to soldiers, the musket was the most effective way of knocking down the enemy.

By igniting gun powder a heavy lead ball was propelled down a large smooth bore tube with limited accuracy.  But, the lead ball could penetrate a wall as well as a suit of armour. Read more

Fishing in the wilderness: Five Techniques

Although there are different views from survival experts regarding trapping or catching food, most of us agree that fishing is one strategy that is worth trying.  Most fish you can catch are edible, easy to cook and tasty to eat.  However, as with any activity by understanding the principles you can be handsomely rewarded for minimum effort.

The advantage of open water, the sea and rivers is Read more

Types of Pistols: revolver and semi-automatic

One of the most common characteristics of a Hostile Environment is not the aggressive nature of people around you, but the haphazard emptying of various weapons.

Often, the local populations express their grief or glee by firing bullets into the air, into the ground or at any object whether moving or not.  This puts you in the firing line and you need to understand how to survive a shot because dodging a bullet is not a realistic option.

Before understanding how to treat a gunshot wound, you need to understand the types of pistols that you might face in a Hostile Environment. Read more

Survival Shelters

In the priorities of survival, as taught during our H.E.A.T. courses, protection from the elements is a # 1 consideration.  In a survival situation, especially in a Hostile Environment, personal protection must be your top priority.  Therefore, you need to know how to build the different types of survival shelters.  Sometimes, inclement weather can cause you greater problems than any perceived threat from government surveillance or dangerous disease.

If your clothing becomes wet and there is wind, the chill factor will make you cold very quickly.  Coupled to low energy, because of a lack of food, your morale will drop and being cold, wet and hungry could kill you.

Likewise, in the desert, lack of adequate clothing and exposed skin can result in dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and death.

Notwithstanding the use of an effective layering system for your clothing to counter various weather conditions, you will also need to consider the different types of shelters that you can use in either urban or rural environment.

In an urban environment, shelters Read more

Survival Duct Tape

During our H.E.A.T courses, attendees often ask what are the most important pieces of kit to pack when traveling to a Hostile Environment. 

Although we discuss the design of survival kits and grab bags on Day One of the course, and issue a H.E.A.T. survival capsule™ to all attendees, experience has shown that the “redneck repair kit” is a useful item in your gear bag.  The redneck repair pack was a phrase coined by Jim Berg and Tim Nyberg who have written several books about duct tape.

The redneck repair kit contains 2 items- a can of WD-40 and a roll of duct tape.  Adhesive tapes have been in use since the early 18th century when rolls of cloth tape had an adhesive coating on one side and were stiffened with dried urine from cattle.  Hospitals used a tape made from Read more

The five most dangerous anti personnel mines

Recent stories in the Egyptian press have disclosed that vintage anti personnel mines in places like Tobrouk andEl Alamein (scenes of battles during World War II) still claim the lives of locals.

The bulk of mines still used around the world are neither self-deactivating nor self-destructing, which suggests that future generations will be experiencing the same problems of unexploded ordnance as that faced by Egyptians today.

The mine was first conceived during siege warfare in the Middle Ages.  When attacking an enemy castle wall, a fire was positioned at the end of a tunnel dug out by the attacking force.  When the fire was lit, the tunnel supports burnt and both the tunnel and the wall collapsed.  For this reason, moats were dug around fortifications to prevent this type of tunnel and fire attack.

Later, the fire was replaced by an explosive charge and by the 20th Century, most mines were triggered by foot or by vehicle.

In the 21st Century, landmines are still triggered by foot or vehicle pressure and there are five types of anti-personnel mines which are in common use today.  The thinking behind such mines is twofold:  one, to dictate the direction of travel by the enemy through controlled detonations; and two, to incapacitate a soldier which will require two buddies to remove him and themselves from the battlefield.

The following most dangerous anti personnel mines are the ones found in Hostile Environments: Read more

Dirty Bomb and What to do in case of explosion

What to do if a weapon of mass destruction (WMD), such as a dirty bomb,  lands in your street

The decision by the Big 5 (US, Russia, UK, China and France) to renounce their obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty is just one of several steps towards the realization of a nuclear war. Israel’s targeted assassination programme against Iranian nuclear scientists has hardened Iran’s determination to create a nuclear weapon.

Iran, North Korea and other countries have engaged in nuclear proliferation which has prompted policy changes for the use of nuclear weapons. Whether the use of such weapons is “limited”, the ongoing war against terror and ideological differences between the West and the rest of the world, suggests that a nuclear detonation, even if only a “dirty bomb”, might be witnessed within the next generation.

If a “dirty bomb” does explode in your street, you will need a strongpoint to retreat into. Read more

What is Anthrax and Four Steps to avoid its risks

Not all Hostile Environments are situated in emerging countries with poor infrastructure, corruption and inadequate law enforcement.  Sometimes, a Hostile Environment exists within the workplace, especially when anthrax is sent through the post.

Many people though still wonder:  what is anthrax exactly? Read more