The Coup failed miserably…
But as a win for Intelligence Analysts everywhere, the late (great) John McCreary provided a note to analysts, explaining;
The Six Conditions Necessary for a Coup d’etat.
Here’s what you need to organise your next political Coup;
- A group of plotters (you probs can’t go it alone),
- One or more gripes against the ruling authority,
- Guns! The guys with the most (or the best) guns usually win,
- A plan for controlling the centre of power,
- Operable vehicles, &
- An opportunity – the ruling authority is either absent or indisposed.
So, if you’re a country analyst these factors will be useful for possible indicators and warnings of violent internal instability.
Test Your Skills With this Analysis Challenge
Any reader who applies the six conditions above to a previous coup (successful or not) will receive a Free Coup Infographic Checklist I created. just reply with your answer and infographic a-hoy!
For a complete (and detailed) list of previous coup d’etat’s check out this Wikipedia link here.
We’ve all heard the expression, ‘many hands make light work’ – but when it comes to Intelligence, are two heads really better than one?
This week we consider the benefits of Crowdsourced Intelligence, and whether it can actually work! [Read more…] about Crowdsourcing Intelligence: Advantages, Disadvantages & Memes!
Welcome back Intel Analysts –
This week I stumbled across a little known photograph that took me down a rabbit hole of codes, ciphers and cryptic messages –
Read on to find the hidden code in this image.
Turns out, this photo contains a hidden message – a hidden code in plain sight!
William and Elizebeth Friedman had astonishing careers in cryptanalysis, and William is known today as the father of modern American cryptology (Source).
If you look closely, you’ll note soldiers are either facing forward towards the camera, while others are facing to the side –
Using the Baconian Cipher (or Bacon’s Cipher) the soldiers can be divided into groups of 5, and the secret message decoded using the A/B system.
Before I give away the secret message however, let’s take a quick lesson into how codes, ciphers and cryptography work.
Codes – Codes are used to translate whole words into other words, phrases or numbers.
Ciphers – Change the individual characters into numbers, alternative letters or symbols.
Cryptography – Is the art / science of writing and deciphering codes.
Cryptanalysis – the term used for the study of methods for obtaining the meaning of encrypted information without access to the key normally required to do so. I.e. the study of how to crack encryption algorithms or their implementations.
How Ciphers Work?
Ciphers have three parts,
- the plain text – the letters or words revealed after the cipher is decoded
- the cover-text – the message used to conceal the plain text
- the key – used to decode the cover-text to reveal the plain text.
The most famous of these is the enigma machine – which encoded German communications during WWII.
Bacon’s A/B System
Within the Baconian Cipher each letter of the plain text is replaced by a group of five ‘A’s, or ‘B’s – according to the key below:
In our context, Friedman employed the Baconian cipher with soldiers facing towards the camera, and others facing away.
The crucial part about Bacon’s system is that the a’s, and b’s do not actually need to be represented by the letters explicitly.
In his system, the a’s and b’s could be divided into any two distinct classes – such as fruit (e.g. apples & oranges) or open and shut windows in a photograph.
The secret message, hidden in plain sight was the famous Baconian motto “Knowledge is power,” but there were insufficient people to complete the ‘R’ (and apparently one soldier in the ‘W’ group looked the wrong way) –
William Friedman was particularly fond of this photo and kept this picture on his desk at home and in his office.
Bacon Binary System (Advanced) –
If you check out the Bacon system on Wikipedia it explains about using a binary set of numbers rather than the A/B system as described –
An advanced method of this cipher involves converting your coded message into binary code (1’s and 0’s) and overlaying it with a corresponding block of cover text.
Secret Message: “BACON TAUGHT ME HOW TO THINK”
00001 00000 00010 01110 01101 10011 00000 10100
00110 00111 10011 01100 00100 00111 01110 10110
10011 01110 10011 00111 01000 01101 01010.
Which can be hidden in a sentence of corresponding letters (23 blocks x 5 binary numbers = 115 characters).
I found a corresponding sentence from a random Wikipedia page on Selective Hearing:
“Selective auditory attention is a type of selective attention where ones auditory directed at things people are interested in hearing.” (115 characters)
Which looks like this when it’s broken up the text into blocks of 5 (to match the binary code):
Selec | tivea | udito | ryatt | entio | nisat | ypeo | fsele | ctive | atten | tionw | hereo | nesau | ditor | ydire | cteda | tthin | gspeo | plear | einte | reste | dinhe | aring
And then overlay the blocks of text with the binary blocks:
And finally, put it back together making the 1’s boldface within the sentence.
The cover-text is written as:
Selective auditory attention is a type of selective attention where ones auditory directed at things people are interested in hearing.
(Use the Bacon binary method to decipher the plain-text code from the cover-text)
Other Ciphers and Ways to Code Messages
Replacing letters with numbers
or a simple cipher like -e.g. A=1, B=2, etc,
The Pigpen Code
Can you decipher this code?
or perhaps most famous;
International Morse Code, used for communicating via electronic communication, with lights or sound – Morse code is probably the most well-known form of code / cipher.
- The length of a dot is one unit, whereas the dash represents three units.
- The space between parts of the same letter is one unit.
- The space between letters is three units.
- The space between words is seven units.
Can you decipher: – .. – / — ..- … – / -… . / …. .- .-. -.. / .-. . — . — -… . .-. .. -. –. / .- .-.. .-.. / – …. . … . / -.. .. – … / .- -. -.. / -.. .- …. …
For more on Wiliam Friedman’s Famous Photograph (and analysis) by the GC Marshall Foundation see the below video (5 mins)
Ok, you’ve got the brief –
You’re now an expert in codes so decipher the Pigpen code above – post in the comments once complete.
I often get asked for scenario and training materials –
So I thought I’d put together the following Intelligence Training Scenario.
You are a criminal Intelligence Analyst recently recruited to the Ontario Police Force in Canada.
You’ve been assigned to the State Intelligence Branch – with an operational focus on Organised Crime in Toronto.
After your first day at work yesterday, you were pleasantly surprised to have the computer network access you need, and access to all your systems.
Now to get down to business.
Your new boss, an Inspector within the Ontario Police informs you that the District Court is seeking to extradite a prisoner from a Quebec Prison to be sentenced for an assault charge.
He believes there may also be links to organised crime, but doesn’t have the full picture.
He provides you with the file on Hugo DeSilva and asks you to prepare a brief –
The inspector tells you to start by reviewing the documents included in the file.
He informs you that the articles in the brief are open-source news articles (in no particular order) and three Ontario Police Intelligence Reports for context also.
The inspector requests an initial brief by the end of the day –
Review the articles and Police Intelligence reports provided in the brief and using the comments section below, provide an initial assessment to inform the inspector what is going on?
- This is a made-up scenario using the articles as training material only.
- Just use what you’ve been given – there’s plenty to go off.
- Feel free to ask questions, put in collection requests and post images including link diagrams, timelines etc.
- The articles are in no particular order.
- Let me know if you have any issues – post in the comments or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Task – Review the articles and Police Intelligence reports provided in the brief and using the comments section below, provide an initial assessment to inform the inspector what’s going on.
NB: If you want to develop your analytical skills – Check out our Foundation Training Course.
Intelligence Analysis is a learned skill.
…All it takes a keen eye, an inquisitive nature and the ability to ask the right questions.
This comes with time and training.
But Where Can You Learn The Skills You Need To Become An Intelligence Analyst?
I often get asked;
- What courses are available for Intelligence Analysts?
- How can I learn the skills needed to become an Intelligence Analyst? and
- Is there any online training suitable for Intelligence Officers?
So this week, I’m sharing the BEST Intelligence Training Course Available Online.
This interactive course provides you with a great introduction to Intelligence theory, analytical techniques, and critical thinking!
All the important foundations for good Intelligence Analysts.
What if you had the skills to turn everyday information into quality intelligence?
Discover exactly how Intelligence Analysts collect secrets, collate data and process information to develop timely and accurate Intelligence advice.
Avoid information overload and gain the skills to ‘filter the noise’, by directing your intelligence collection and being able to draw the ever-important ‘so what‘ from your information.
Great News for Anyone Wanting a Career in Intelligence
With more and more information and data available each day – the demand for qualified and skilled Intelligence Analysts has never been higher.
Today, we need people who can cut through the noise. People who are able to understand issues and problem-solve to make accurate assessments.
Learn how information and fits and build the bigger piece of the puzzle.
Who is the Foundations of Intelligence Analysis Course Designed For?
It’s a complete introductory course for anyone interested in pursuing a career in intelligence or learning about the intelligence cycle.
This course is perfect for people interested in learning more about how Intelligence is created.
It teaches the basic principals of critical thinking, applying analytical techniques, and making accurate assessments.
Our course is designed to take you by the hand and walk you, step-by-step through the Intelligence Cycle – Just look at this cool graphic I made to illustrate my point!
Who’s this Ben Stark chap? (i.e. the course creator).
Ben is a 10-year veteran of Intelligence with a proven track record of tactical, operational and strategic expertise in Intelligence Analysis.
He’s a graduate of the Australian Army School of Military Intelligence and holds academic qualifications in Criminology, Policing and Criminal Intelligence.
Ben has deployed on multiple overseas missions to the Middle-East providing Intelligence support to conventional troops and elite special forces units. His experience includes Counter-Insurgency, Time-Sensitive-Targeting operations and Counter-Terrorism operations.
Today Ben is a Criminal Intelligence Analyst and contributes to the development of Intelligence Analysis with the Intelligence101 blog and his book, Essential Tradecraft For Intelligence Analysts.
** Ben will also routinely talk about himself in the third person to build credibility and authenticity with his audience. 😛
What is Teachable? (the site the course is hosted on)
Teachable is an online learning platform similar to ‘blackboard’ used by colleges and universities to host online learning.
The Foundations of Intelligence Analysis Courses is presented in a sleek and modern format with text, video and comments.
The course itself consists of 10 action-packed modules. Everything you need to take you from intelligence zero to analyst hero.
Lessons have dedicated activities to put skills into use and interact with other students while consolidating lessons learnt.
Foundation of Intelligence Analysis is Unique For 3 Reasons:
1. You’ll learn how to process information in a way that helps you think outside the box and develop your problem-solving skills.
2. Understand how Intelligence Agencies collect classified information (through HUMINT, SIGINT, IMINT, OSINT, etc) and turn it into advice for both decision-makers and door kickers alike.
3. Put on your analytical thinking cap by working through a real scenario and applying your Intelligence skills and new Analytical techniques.
By the time you finish the Intelligence Course you will:
- Have a comprehensive knowledge of the Intelligence Cycle and the Foundations of Intelligence Analysis.
- Be able to undertake Intelligence Inquiry by developing collection plans and writing Intelligence Briefs.
- Understand Intelligence Collection methods including HUMINT, SIGINT, IMINT, GEOINT, and OSINT.
- Compile Strategic Analysis and deliver Oral Briefings.
- Apply your Intelligence training to different roles and environments including Law Enforcement, Military, Counter-terrorism, & Open-Source Intelligence Investigations (including missing persons).
- Develop your critical thinking and learnt to use various analytical methods.
- Understand the impact of Intelligence in multi-disciplinary roles.
Without the course…
You could enrol in a four-year college degree costing thousands of dollars and read those dry-dusty academic textbooks.
You could browse to one of the thousands of government websites and try to extract the lessons from old operations and make sense of the various military pams.
You could subscribe to the Intelligence subreddit and join the online banter without really learning any skills.
Instead, Learn From Someone Who’s Been There & Done It
With a decade of experience and well-over 2000 quality Intelligence assessments I’ve learnt how to make the complex simple. It comes with the territory.
In this course, I distil my experience into ten online modules taking you through the foundations of Intelligence Tradecraft.
Try the Foundation Course for Intelligence Analysis for a full 30-Days, 100% Risk-Free.
Try the entire course. If you don’t LOVE it, I will personally refund 100% of your money back. I’ll even wear the credit-card processing fees.
Let me tell you exactly why I offer this unbeatable guarantee. When I first started learning about Intelligence, I felt overwhelmed.
I read all the books and reams of academic “Intelligence theory” which typically lacked any practical advice or real-life experiences.
How Do You Know If The Course Is Right For You?
Do you like secrets?
Do you like solving problems?
Do you like knowing more than others?
Do you want to feel morally superior to those operational folk who sit around and just talk shit all day?
Then I’d say Intelligence is probably for you! Get started with us today – Risk-free.
See What Our Successful Intelligence Analysts Are Saying –
Some people choose ‘information overload‘.
Others Learn Fundamentals for Intelligence Analysis
In Summary –
Thanks for taking the time to invest in yourself, and for enjoying the Intelligence101 blog.
I’ve loved putting together the course, and the feedback already (after only a short period) has been incredible.
Should you wish to learn more about Intelligence Analysis I really would encourage you to take the course, there’s heaps of great content (plus video and activities also).
If you’ve got any questions, or need any further information – please do not hesitate to email me directly.
I read / respond to every email, and love fielding readers questions.
P.s. If you’ve reached the end of the page and you’re not convinced I can teach you the Art and Science of Intelligence Analysis, it’s all good. There’s plenty of great articles on the blog –
But if you do think you’ve got what it takes, and you’re keen to take control of your future and your career – then get started with us today!