Carlos Marighella and the Need for Surveillance Detection

Carlos Marighella and the need for Surveillance Detection are inseparable; his impact on the executive protection and secure transportation profession is immeasurable.

Since the mid-sixties, his book “The Mini-Manual of the Urban Guerrilla,” written more than 50 years ago, outlines the methodology used to conduct a successful ambush.

The Mini-Manual has been a must-read for terrorist groups worldwide. The book emphasizes the importance of pre-attack surveillance and describes the attack planning process in detail.

His book and the methodology outlined are important to all Security Drivers and all those who supply Secure Transportation. The Mini Manual describes the ingredients necessary for a successful ambush. 

Carlos states that for an ambush (including vehicle ambush) to be successful, the attackers must have all of the following four ingredients working for them. 

They are:

  • Surprise
  • Better knowledge of the terrain
  • Greater mobility and speed than the enemy
  • Total command of the situation.

“And to have all four working for you, surveillance must be conducted up to the time of the attack.” Those are his words – not ours.

The good news is that we have their pre-attack planning process in writing – the bad news is that many tend to ignore it.

If all or part of your duties requires providing personal protection, the ISDA suggests reading Carlos Marighella’s book “The Mini-Manual of the Urban Guerrilla“. If you Google his name you will find many sites selling it or as a free download.  Understanding how, when, and where an attacker is likely to conduct surveillance as well as how to plan, manage and conduct effective surveillance detection operations is an essential tool for security providers. Consider a Surveillance Detection training program on your list of to-dos. To be effective, the training program must include the above subjects and supply you with hands-on experience.  

Simply said – history has shown that in many situations, surveillance detection is not just the best protection; it may be the only protection.

Additional Material

For those interested in furthering their knowledge on the subject, two books they might find worthwhile are Surveillance Detection, The Art of Prevention by Laura Clark, and Surveillance Zone by Ami Toben.

For those involved in Secure Transportation, we strongly recommend Joe Autera’s book The Professional Guide to Planning, Managing, and Providing Secure Transportation.