Self-Liberation 101, Lesson 7.2: The Marighella Cell: Principles of Operation

In the previous lesson, we outlined the fundamental modus operandi of Marighella doctrine. As is apparent from that discussion, the Marighella insurgency stands or falls based primarily on its cells. On the one hand, the reality of urban guerrilla warfare is brutal. Cells evolve via natural selection. The vast majority of urban guerrillas are killed or captured in their first year of operations. On the other hand, those who survive the initial winnowing process become increasingly skilled with the passage of time and, provided they do not become complacent, have a good prospect of survival in the long term. While the second and subsequent generations of guerrillas have far better chances than the first due to proliferation of guerrilla know-how via RCCs, the first generation must depend solely upon general concepts and their understanding of the environment in which they operate. This lesson will convey the general concepts. It is up to the reader to apply his or her understanding of the environment at hand in order to determine how the general principles should best be applied.

The key to victory for a Marighella insurgency is to maximize the number of active cells and to maximize the impact of each individual cell and each individual attack. Therefore, the first order of business is to form cells in such a manner as to maximize the chances of initial survival in the environment at hand. But this, in itself, will not ensure long-term survival. The successful cell continuously learns and adapts as the environment changes. There is no such thing as a “silver bullet” technique that always works. A cell that permits itself to fall into a set routine, for example by always planting its IEDs in the same few places, or by always firing its rockets from the same area, is unlikely to survive for long, regardless of its internal cohesion and operational security. With this in mind, let’s examine the various aspects of cell operations.


The organization of a Marighella cell varies greatly from instance to instance even within a single movement. At its smallest, the cell consists of a “lone wolf” warrior. The most common case is a cell consisting of 3 to 5 members. At its largest, a Marighella cell can have as many as ten or twenty people. In this case, it is often subdivided into sub-cells, with junior members knowing no one outside their sub-cell, while senior members know some or all of the other senior members regardless of sub-cell. Carlos Marighella himself envisioned a composite structure of two five-person sub-cells acting together.

The cell must always have a cell leader who sets priorities and provides motivation. While cell members are permitted to disagree with the leader and are encouraged to voice their opinions in an appropriate manner during planning and preparatory phases, the leader’s word is the final authority. A cell run by committee, not to mention a cell run democratically, is almost certainly doomed from the outset. At best, it will split into splinter cells. At worst, its members will get themselves killed to no purpose whatsoever. This having been said, it is generally very bad practice to run a cell dictatorially. Every cell member needs to have a functioning head on his or her shoulders. The survival and success of the urban guerrilla depend on wits and initiative to a greater extent than even the survival and success of his classical counterpart. Besides the fact that dictatorial rule breeds rebellion, brains long disused tend to atrophy. Those accustomed to following precise orders under the close supervision of a martinet tend to become completely lost when the unexpected happens and there is no one around to tell them what to do next. A cell that consists primarily of robotic followers carrying out orders to the letter in the manner of the uniformed automatons of a third rate conventional army is highly unlikely to survive for long.

The cell must also have a treasurer to keep track of its finances. In some cases, there is a secretary to keep track of decisions made and tasks assigned by the leader. If these two members are unable to keep all the necessary information in memory, which is likely, they must depend on records in some form. These records should preferably be strongly encrypted and stored in a manner that permits their rapid destruction at need. It is also important that the records be accessible to a designated successor should the cell member currently filling the role of treasurer or secretary be killed or incapacitated.

The cell might also contain some number of specialists such as bombmakers or snipers. If such do not exist when the cell is first formed, it behooves the cell leader to see to it that they are developed as rapidly as possible. Above all else, this applies to the manufacture of explosives, the design/assembly of electronic components and the incorporation of both into a finished improvised explosive device. For example, in order to deploy an IED disguised as a rock, a newly formed cell must develop:

• Resource acquisition skills needed to acquire necessary materials without drawing attention

• Artistic skills to make the foam/plastic outer shell that will make the IED blend into the terrain yet will not interfere with the trigger mechanism(s)

• Chemical skills needed to manufacture the explosives

• Electronic skills needed to design and build the circuitry

• Mechanical skills needed to design and build the arming safety timer

• Bombmaking skills needed to assemble a complete device integrating explosives, shrapnel-producing and/or armor piercing elements, trigger device(s), arming safety timer and outer shell

• Operational and planning skills needed to effectively develop a mission plan

• Leadership and discipline needed to effectively execute the plan

• Initiative needed to adjust to contingencies when things go wrong with the plan

• Tactical skills needed to place the device in the correct spot, trigger it if it needs to be actively triggered and film the attack

• Management skills needed to carry out an After Action Review and incorporate the lessons learned into subsequent training and operations

• Propagandist’s skills needed to turn the raw attack footage into an effective music video

• Computer skills needed to anonymously distribute the video online

Since it is extremely unlikely that all of these skills will be found in a cell at the onset of operations, it is obvious that the cell leader must ensure that whatever is missing is developed as rapidly as possible. The cell leader must also ensure that he or she understands the capabilities and limitations of his or her cell. Trying to do too much too fast is the second most common cause of death for urban guerrillas.

Given the diversity of possible cell structures, nothing else can be said regarding the organization of a Marighella cell except to note the obvious fact that a secret is more likely to be kept if fewer people know it. Smaller cells are more survivable. Larger cells are more capable. In the environment of the Holy Land, where Regime security services are highly efficient, smaller cells appear to be preferable to larger ones.


The most common cause of death for urban guerrillas is, of course, talking to the wrong person and/or at the wrong time; which brings us to communications. The first rule of urban guerrilla communications is “don’t talk unless absolutely necessary”. Dumb teenagers spend hours on end thumping their chests and bragging to their buddies how they are going to kill the enemy. Intelligent adults go out and do it and tell no one.

The second rule of urban guerrilla communications is “don’t talk openly”. No matter where he is or whom he is talking to, the successful urban guerrilla never calls things by their proper names if he can avoid it. The IED is not an “IED” or a “bomb”. It is a “present”, or “package”, or “baby”. The targets are not “targets” or “cops” or “kapos”. They are “groomsmen” or “guests”. And so forth. In every conversation, wherever and whenever possible, there is an innocuous, plausible surface meaning to disguise the true meaning. To the urban guerrilla, the walls always have ears. Those who forget this generally pay with their lives.

The third rule is “hide everything from everyone”. As much as possible, the cell must practice secrecy even within itself. Whenever potentially incriminating information is disseminated, even within the cell, the question must be asked whether the planned recipient(s) really need this information. The less a man knows, the less he can reveal, whether inadvertently or under torture.

In addition to these basic rules, there are some good practices that should be encouraged.

It is generally good practice for members to adopt and use a nom de guerre. This should not be some flashy moniker that stands out on a list, nor should it bear any relation to the guerrilla’s real name. Those who try to allude to their real name by using the same initials, the same first name and so forth, tend to discover that their allusions are quickly cracked by Regime analysts. The results are generally fatal to the guerrilla. The purpose of the nom de guerre is to serve as a disposable anonymizing disguise. It should be treated accordingly. Obviously, the use of multiple pseudonyms by a single guerrilla is a valid and useful tactic often resorted to in order to confuse the enemy or in order to make the movement appear larger than it really is.

It is also good practice within large cells to ensure that few members know the true names and addresses of many others within the cell.

If at all possible, cell business must never be discussed on electronic media, such as via phone or email. If absolutely necessary, one may use plausible scripted conversation to send codewords via the telephone or SMS (e.g. a conversation about the weather, about Torah study or any other topic that the two parties could converse on without it being out of character for them). When using scripts, it is important to take care to update them and to never reuse them without modification. One may also use stolen cell phones or anonymous prepaid cell phones/SIM cards where such are available.

Cell members must remember that cell phones emit a tracking signal at all times, even when turned off. The only way to stop a cell phone from emitting is to physically remove the SIM card and disconnect the battery or to place the phone in a faraday cage. Turning off the cell phone often does nothing and must not be relied upon. If faraday cages are used, they must first be tested by attempting to call the cell phone while it is inside the cage. If the exact phone being used in the operation cannot be used for such testing for whatever reason, an identical one (both make and model!) should be used instead. However, such testing still involves greater risk, as the exact components within each cell phone will vary from factory to factory and even from run to run in the same factory, due to the flexible nature of modern commercial purchasing. Manufacturers are constantly looking for the cheapest supplier who can meet their specifications. Components are obtained via just-in-time logistics from whatever vendor offers the best price at the present moment. This results in small variations between the performance of even nominally identical devices.

Since cell phones identify themselves by unique identifiers when communicating with cell towers, a specific cell phone can be used to accurately track a specific person, even if it is sitting unused in that person’s pocket. Therefore, great care must be taken when using cell phones in the course of tactical operations. Cell members must also remember that Regime eavesdropping systems contain software capable of cueing on specific keywords in a telephone conversation. To avoid being tagged for human processing, a conversation must not use obvious keywords. For example, if calling from the scene of a car bombing to confirm a successful attack, one may use the word “bomb” but one must avoid talking about “success”. On the other hand, when calling to confirm device placement before the attack, one should not use the words “car bomb”.

All other wireless devices are potentially just as hazardous as cell phones. Therefore, all the same considerations apply. Email and other forms of online communication are likewise fraught with risk and should be treated just as stringently as phone conversation. Email may be encrypted using GPG or other such strong encryption software. Throwaway accounts should be used when utilizing email. These accounts should be accessed only via identity-disguising services such as TOR. Note also that key rings for strong encryption software must be stored in a manner that enables their swift destruction in the event that Regime security forces are about to capture them (e.g. by arresting a cell member and seizing his laptop).

While we are on the subject of online communication, please note that web access from “public access” computers is not a panacea if the same computers (e.g. in the same library) are used habitually or in a regular pattern. Needless to say, when using a public computer where a log (e.g. a sign-in roster) is kept, cell members should avoid giving out their real name or any nom de guerre likely to attract attention (e.g. one associated with claims of responsibility for direct action). Also note that all public access computers are set up to record all activities of those using them. In some cases, a mere visit to a particular website may generate an instant automated alert to the system administrator or even a notification to the security forces of the Regime.

Finally, we must also address inadvertent communications. Cell members must avoid behavior or statements that appear to be unusual for the environment they are in. Most people are intelligent enough to avoid expressing dangerous political statements. However, some fall into the trap of expressing political statements that are the precise opposite of what they believe, but just as “extreme”. This, especially if it is a sudden change, will also attract attention. To remain safe, the guerrilla must appear, above all else, ORDINARY and UNREMARKABLE. Therefore, whatever sentiments the guerrilla expresses must be average for his environment. For a Jewish guerrilla operating in Eretz Yisrael, these sentiments might be quite different depending on whether he is operating in North Tel Aviv or Bnei Brak. Similarly, his appearance in dress and behavior must be average for his environment. Likewise, special care must be taken to disguise one’s activities from loved ones or friends who are not part of the cell. Great danger can ensue, for example, if a jealous wife, who thinks that her husband’s many “late nights at the office” portend an affair, hires an investigator to follow her husband around.

Finances and Logistics

While Carlos Marighella envisioned financing the cell via armed robbery, such a course of action is dangerous and often counterproductive. Cells can and should be financed via “legitimate” income whenever possible. This minimizes the chance of discovery and arrest. Since the primary weapon of the modern urban guerrilla is the IED, operational costs are fairly low. For example, if one wishes to produce a simple IED powered by a version of blasting gelatin, one needs to acquire sulfuric acid, nitric acid, glycerin or ethylene glycol, cellulose or starch, a small amount of petroleum jelly, some acetone, a mechanical safety timer, an electronic trigger, a power source and material to produce shrapnel and/or an explosively formed penetrator. One also needs some glassware, a large barrel and a freezer. At first, the list seems daunting. But it is not. The keys to urban guerrilla logistics are knowledge of the chemical identity of common household items and the ingenuity to use common items in uncommon ways.

Let’s take a look at the items on our list:

• Professional strength drain cleaner is often composed of pure or almost pure sulfuric acid. No one will look twice at a young man buying a few liters of drain cleaner (obviously, if he does it once a week for a month, he had better have a good cover story or go to a different store every time). Alternatively, one may acquire battery acid, which is also sulfuric acid but in a form that must be concentrated extensively by distillation. By combining potassium nitrate and sulfuric acid, one can produce nitric acid.

• Potassium nitrate is sold as stump remover and as fertilizer. If it cannot be obtained by purchasing it, it can always be produced from urine.

• Ethylene glycol is the primary active ingredient in antifreeze. The cheaper the antifreeze, the more likely it is to be nothing but ethylene glycol and water. Once again, antifreeze can be purchased in large quantities without attracting attention. No one will think that you are buying it in order to distill out the ethylene glycol rather than for the purpose of filling up a radiator.

• Cotton balls are an excellent source of cellulose. Cotton socks or t-shirts can also be used. It is best to avoid paper, sawdust and so forth due to the difficulty of thoroughly washing out the final product. While a young dati man buying several kilos of cotton balls will attract attention unless he does so over a long period of time and/or by visiting multiple stores, a gaggle of teenage dati girls buying several kilos of potato starch a few days before Pesach certainly will not. If asked about it, they can simply giggle about making Pesach cake for kiddushim at the schul.

• Petroleum jelly, of course, is Vaseline, available at any pharmacy. The fact that cordite is 58% nitroglycerine, 37% nitrocellulose and 5% petroleum jelly is not something the average pharmacy cashier thinks about when he sees a young person buying a jar of Vaseline.

• Trying to buy ten liters of acetone nail polish remover from a beauty supply store is likely to result in one being placed under surveillance. But a young man dressed in a paint-splattered old shirt and worn jeans buying ten liters of acetone paint thinner at a hardware store would not even attract a second look.

• A mechanical safety timer can be improvised by taking apart a cheap wind-up toy or by using a kitchen timer or some such.

• An electronic trigger device can be anything from a walkie-talkie to a cell phone to a garage door opener or a motion detector. As long as it can produce a spark on command, it is good to go. Of course, some modification will be required to get at the spark. One might even have to swing by an electronics store for some capacitors and such, but who tracks every hobbyist buying a few capacitors and whatnot, maybe some wire, flux, solder and maybe even a soldering iron? As long as the customer looks like any other customer in the store, the clerk at the register will flush the transaction right out of his memory thirty seconds after it occurs.

• Power sources are simply batteries. Motorcycle batteries are popular IED power sources, as they are small enough to be easily portable yet powerful enough for the purpose of causing detonation via spark or heated wire.

• Shrapnel material can be anything from ball bearings to nails. The plate for an explosively formed penetrator can be made by pressing a piece of soft iron, steel or copper into a concave parabolic shape. A better method is to use a series of metal strips five to seven times longer than they are wide, pressed into a parabolic shape and bonded together with epoxy to form the usual circular or rectangular EFP plate. If a shaped charge penetrator is desired instead, one can be improvised out of a heavy duty metal funnel or simply bent out of a piece of sheet metal.

As you can see from this list, a basic IED can be produced at very low cost. Therefore, there is no need to take additional risks by robbing convenience stores, much less banks. Funds legitimately obtained from businesses, jobs or even college stipends can be used to provide all the financing needed for successful urban guerrilla operations. If it is absolutely necessary to undertake “illegal” activities in order to acquire funds, it is preferable to undertake ones with the lowest risk first. Before the cell attempts to hold up a convenience store, much less rob a bank, it would behoove the cell members to consider whether the same or greater amount of money could be had by producing and selling quantities of methamphetamine or cannabis.

Insofar as the acquisition of war materiel, we have already noted that as long as cell members take care not to make purchases that seem unusual in character or in frequency, virtually everything they need can be bought in the form of seemingly innocuous household chemicals. The same is true when it comes to setting up covert facilities. Purchases of large quantities of laboratory glassware might attract attention. But if one mixes chemicals in beer pitchers and tall glasses instead of fancy chemistry set flasks and uses a hot plate or a camp stove instead of a Bunsen burner as a source of heat for distillation, one can acquire all the items needed for a covert explosives lab without ever stepping foot into a chemical supply store or ordering anything unusual online.

While we are on the subject of covert chemical laboratories, it is important to note the supreme importance of laboratory safety. Lab safety is not merely a means to avoid potentially lethal injuries, but also a means of camouflage. The urban guerrilla cannot walk around with explosives residue and chemical smells clinging to his clothing. Nor can he afford to go to the emergency room with obvious chemical burns, breathing problems resulting from the inhalation of toxic fumes, a nitroglycerine headache, much less the symptoms of nitroglycerine withdrawal, and so forth. Nor is an explosives lab likely to stay undiscovered by the Regime if there is a fire large enough for the neighbors to call the fire department, or if a small lab explosion blows all the windows and half the glassware out onto the street. Good quality safety gear such as goggles, gloves, respirators, aprons, fire blankets and appropriately rated fire extinguishers must be acquired if at all possible.

Some safety gear is relatively difficult to acquire without attracting attention. Foremost among these are safety showers, eye wash stations and fume hoods. All of these items must be built essentially from scratch. Luckily, none are particularly complicated pieces of equipment. Particular attention must be paid to the fume hood. In an urban environment, there are almost certain to be neighbors. Should these neighbors detect strange smells coming from the covert lab, they are likely to assume that there is a drug lab next door and call the police. Therefore, the fume hood should be designed to bubble exhaust through a tall column of water, or better yet pass it through a series of activated charcoal filters, before dumping it out into an exhaust duct. The exhaust duct, in turn, must not attract attention. If an air conditioning exhaust duct or a chimney is not available, care should be taken to disguise the outside end as something that belongs in the environment, for example a window-mounted air conditioning unit.

Before we move on to the next topic, please note that those new to laboratory operations must take care to build their skills using safe chemicals and entry level experiments before trying to manufacture explosives, poisons or drugs. Explosives especially should be made in small batches and all glassware should be thoroughly washed and dried between batches. Large containers full of water should always be at hand to “drown” the reaction at the first sign of trouble. If, for example, the dreaded red gas, nitric oxide, makes an appearance during the production of a nitric ester, one has only a very short time to dump the whole batch into a barrel full of water. If the water barrel is not within arm’s reach of the lab table or if the batch is so large that the container it is in cannot be picked up out of its ice bath with one hand and dumped into the barrel in an instant, beaker and all, one is likely to end up missing body parts, if not receiving a chastising face to face lecture from HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

Note also that when one is washing gear or disposing of byproducts, it is very important to ensure that everything is more or less at a neutral pH before it is dumped down the drain and that large quantities of water are used to flush the pipes afterward. Leaky pipes due to acid corrosion are bad enough. Pipes blowing up due to explosive residues can be downright embarrassing.

Another safety measure absolutely vital with homemade explosives is to store all final products in a freezer. Unless the services of a skilled chemist are available, it is highly likely that all final products will deteriorate and become more unstable over time. Cold will make the explosives less sensitive and will keep them stable longer. (Note that some products, e.g. nitroglycerine, become highly unstable during the thawing process and might explode.  These are products that should never be stored, period.  Anyone storing pure nitroglycerine instead of nitroglycerine mixed with nitrocellulose, nitroglycerine mixed with acetone or nitroglycerine mixed with dirt/sawdust/etc is a complete idiot who deserves the Darwin Award he will shortly earn.)

Target Discrimination

Though his enemies often label him as such, the urban guerrilla is not a mad bomber terrorist. His targets are carefully chosen in order to comply with the five rules of cell operations. Once again, these rules are:

1. Stay alive to strike again

2. Spread the symbols of The Cause

3. Generate an environment conducive to the creation of other cells

4. Make the Regime pay

5. Set the People against the Regime

Obviously, if the urban guerrilla is to set the People against the Regime, he must take care to attack the Regime and not the People. If he is to make the Regime pay, he must attack high-value targets before low-value targets. But he must not attempt to attack high-value targets before he has the skills to do so, so he must first practice on low-value targets. If he is to generate an environment conducive to the creation of other cells, he must provoke the Regime into indiscriminate, unrestrained brutality on the one hand, while eliminating all obstacles that prevent the People from choosing to confront the Regime on the other. If he is to spread the symbols of The Cause, he must take credit for his attacks. But if he is to survive to strike again, he must plan carefully, execute creatively and take credit anonymously.

In the environment of the Holy Land, the first task of any hypothetical Jewish Resistance built along Marighella lines would be to exterminate all those who stand in the way of the collision between the Jewish community and the Israeli State. Any “community leader”, “rabbi” or other pro-Israeli pied piper who advocates anything other than some form of confrontation would be killed. It does not matter whether the surviving leaders of the Jewish community advocate violent confrontation or non-violent confrontation. What matters is that they advocate confrontation and not accommodation. Needless to say, any “rabbi” who holds that Jewish soldiers must obey Israeli orders to carry out pogroms would likewise be killed immediately. Only rabbis who advocate refusal in some form, be it passive or active, violent or non-violent, would be allowed to survive. Those who once advocated obedience to illegal orders but now claim to have changed their minds would be watched closely and killed at the first sign of support for the enemy.

However, since among the pro-Israeli quislings there are many who have numerous addled followers, these killings would be carried out anonymously, without any attempt to take credit. If at all possible, the Resistance would go further and place responsibility for such killings upon the shoulders of the Israelis and their Islamic allies.

Only by thus cleansing the traitors from the camp of Am Yisrael b’Eretz Yirael can Jewish Resistance cell leaders create an environment conducive to the creation of other Resistance cells. The reason for this is that, once the only choice before the dati community is between non-violent confrontation and violent confrontation, the ultimate choice will always be violent confrontation. It cannot be otherwise, since the Israeli State will respond to non-violent confrontation with increasing violence as resistance to its antisemitic policies builds.

A special case among traitors are Regime informants. In this case, it would be imperative that the Resistance take credit for the killings. Any hypothetical Resistance would have to make crystal clear to all Jews that any collaboration, or even the appearance of collaboration, with the organs of Israeli repression, be it the Shabak, the Border Police, the police or the IDF, is punishable by death.

Insofar as other targets, the Resistance would, of course, kill IDF officers who order pogroms and Israeli politicians who advocate antisemitic policies. Israeli propagandists, whether “reporters”, “editors”, “media personalities” or owners of enemy propaganda organs such as HaAretz and Ynet would likewise be killed without mercy, generally in response to specific articles or public statements. In this case, the higher the target’s rank/visibility, the better. Collateral damage would be limited, as much as possible, to the target’s family, friends, coworkers and ideological fellow-travelers.

These attacks would do the most to accomplish the goals of the Resistance. They would simultaneously gather publicity, underline to the average Jew that the Resistance fights against the Regime and not against him, punish the Regime for its atrocities and provoke spasms of hysterical antisemitic violence from the organs of the Israeli State. They would also do wonders to rapidly silence the voices of Israeli antisemites, as most of these people are not particularly brave.

In extreme cases, any hypothetical Resistance would attack the enemy by killing or kidnapping the family members of prominent valid targets. Such action would be appropriate in response to outrages against Jewish women and children. After all, if a general orders a pogrom and, in the course of this pogrom, teenage girls are beaten with clubs and toddlers are thrown out of windows, why should the general’s loved ones feel safe? Let him feel the full brunt of the pain he inflicted upon others. The Resistance would emphasize that the guiding principle is “ten eyes for an eye”. Any Israeli outrage against Jewish women and children would result in tenfold Resistance retaliation against the women and children of the perpetrators.

Another special case would be Resistance action against those who endanger the lives of Jews by employing Ishmaelite labor. In this case, the Resistance would use threats and non-lethal action, such as beatings and attacks against property, in preference to immediate killings. However, if it would endanger the cell to use such non-lethal methods, killing without warning would be resorted to. In these cases, any hypothetical Resistance would make certain to not only take the credit for the action, but also to underline that the action was taken in order to punish those who provide parnassah to Ishmaelite murderers and bring them into Jewish areas to attack Jews.

Finally, the list of targets for any hypothetical Jewish Resistance would not be complete without mentioning the Ishmaelite Amalekites and their allies from among the Bnei Eisav, the so-called “internationals”. In this case, any hypothetical Jewish Resistance would employ unbridled terror. Age, gender and location would not matter, as all such persons would be valid targets. Of especial publicity value would be the capture, trial and showcase execution of “internationals”. One sign of the appearance of a developed Marighella doctrine Jewish Resistance would be the proliferation of videos in which “internationals” are made to confess their crimes, warn others of their ilk to stop attacking the Jewish People in the Holy Land, and are then killed in some brutal and painful manner so as to set an example.

The concept of collateral damage would not apply to Ishmaelites and “internationals” unless Jews could somehow be endangered as the enemy is attacked. In this case, the consideration would have to include whether or not the Jews involved voluntarily endangered themselves. If we consider, for instance, a cell contemplating a poison gas attack against enemy squatter camps in Yerushalayim, it is clear that the cell leader would have to consider the prevailing winds in order to avoid damage to Jewish neighborhoods. On the other hand, if the same cell contemplates a bombing of an Ishmaelite souk, clearly any Jews shopping there at the time the bomb goes off would have endangered themselves, and the cell leader would not be obligated to consider their safety.


Solid skills coupled with self-confidence in oneself, high initiative and high motivation on the part of each cell member are key to successful operations. These things can only be acquired and sustained through training. Therefore, training is key. However, the urban guerrilla generally faces a difficult problem. His funds and time are limited. He cannot engage in activities that appear suspicious. He has obvious difficulties finding a place and time to practice the skills he needs. Nonetheless, things are not as grim as they seem.

In the days of Carlos Marighella, the primary weapons of the urban guerrilla were the pistol and the submachinegun. The IED, while important, was a secondary weapon. Today, with the appearance of modern electronics, the IED has taken pride of place as the premier guerrilla weapon. This change in technological means of attack has made training much easier. Training in assembling and using IEDs can be carried out using dummy devices that contain all the components except for the explosives. For training purposes, the explosives should be replaced with clay or other such material of similar weight and volume to the explosive being used. These training devices should be constructed to give feedback, for example showing that the device is armed or has detonated by turning on an LED. Since no detonation occurs, training to arm and trigger the device can take place almost anywhere out of public view, including in one’s living room or basement.

Training to emplace is a more difficult business. For devices that require aiming, such as directional mines and explosively shaped penetrators, aiming can be practiced in almost any location, using scaled-down target silhouettes to simulate distance as appropriate. However, for IEDs that must be camouflaged after emplacement, training to emplace and camouflage the device can begin indoors but must, in most cases, eventually take place outdoors in order for individuals to be fully proficient at it. For this, it is generally necessary to take a field trip to an isolated area that has similar conditions to the target location. While some members of the cell stand guard, others practice. Needless to say, it is important to have a quick way to hide the practice device(s) and a plausible cover story, such as a picnic or camping trip, to explain one’s presence to any curious passerby or police patrol.

The best way to avoid the problem of camouflage altogether is to build the device in such a manner that it requires no camouflage. Examples include devices built to look like rocks, soft drink cans, paving stones, curbs, etc. Plastic-bonded explosives are especially useful in this regard, as they can be poured into a mould while liquid or shaped like clay while they are partially dry. If the cell has access to military explosives or can formulate its own stable plastique, things can get really interesting. The author’s favorite IED story is one of a group of British soldiers in Belfast who would stop every day by an open lot where a few Catholic laborers were slowly building a brick wall. The soldiers would ground their gear next to the wall and eat their lunch while leaning back against it. A few of their comrades would stand watch to prevent trouble. Unfortunately for the British, much of the “mortar” being used to cement the bricks into place was in fact a form of plastique and the “laborers” building the wall were members of an IRA cell. Needless to say, when the “wall” was complete, the British received the final surprise of their lives.

Insofar as training with firearms, Jewish guerrillas operating in the Holy Land would have an easier time than most. Those who have completed mandatory army service will have generally received at least some instruction in the use of firearms. Former combat arms soldiers, of course, will be fully proficient at least with rifles. Additional training and skills maintenance can take place at public firearms ranges if some cell members own “legal” arms. Tactical training can take place under the guise of paintball games. However, if training with “illegal” weapons is desired, it may be necessary for the cell to construct its own hidden firearms range. When undertaking such a project it is important to remember that no great distances are needed in order to practice with firearms. Distance can be simulated well enough with scaled-down silhouettes. Noise from the range should be muffled or disguised in some manner, for example by loud machinery operating nearby. It is vital that the range is constructed in such a manner as to absorb the bullets being fired, for example by lining the walls and floor of the target area with baskets or bags full of dirt. A meter of rammed earth should be sufficient to absorb bullets of almost any caliber. If only pistol caliber ammunition is being fired, substantially less will suffice.

Of course, the mind and spirit must be trained as well as the body. It is absolutely vital that cell members regularly participate in spiritual training sessions and mental exercises designed to sharpen their initiative and tactical skills and to strengthen their hatred of the enemy. For Jewish guerrillas this would mean, of course, appropriately themed Torah study in addition to the usual mock attack planning, political discussions and tactical vignettes.

Finally, one cannot overemphasize the value of building skills by undertaking less challenging operations. Whether the cell undertakes propaganda action, attack against infrastructure, non-violent direct action, non-lethal direct action, direct action proper or any other mission, the process of preparation, execution and recovery is the same. Whether the cell is painting graffiti on buildings or setting up to kill the prime minister, the same Eleven Steps to Victory frame its actions. Indeed, the last of the Eleven Steps, Exploit the Results, directly feeds back into training via the After Action Review.

A cell that cannot successfully plan and execute a covert poster pasting campaign is unlikely to successfully plan and execute a high-profile assassination. Attacks against soft targets are a means of training for attacks against hard targets. For this reason, newly formed Jewish Resistance cells in Eretz Yisrael would begin with propaganda and logistical operations as well as attacks against unguarded infrastructure, such as power lines leading to Amalekite squatter camps, and with attacks against the Ishmaelite Bnei Amalek themselves. They would progress to attacks against Jewish quislings and attacks against relatively vulnerable members of the Israeli ruling elite and its lackeys, such as junior military officers, policemen, media personalities, profiteers from Ishmaelite labor and so forth. Only after solid skills in logistics, operational planning and mission execution have been built up would a cell consider hard targets such as prominent politicians or senior military officers. Using experience built up in simple and relatively easy operations, the cell would have a good chance of carrying out a difficult mission and surviving to strike again.

In this lesson, we have learned about the principles of operation of the Marighella cell. We have learned about cell organization, communications, finances and logistics, target discrimination and training. We have learned that the cell is organized around a core group of committed warriors who follow a single leader. We have learned that, while the cell leader’s word is law, his subordinates have voices and heads of their own and actively participate in decision-making. We have learned that the cell must be extremely stringent when it comes to security and must be extremely careful about its communications, especially of the electronic kind. We have learned the three rules of urban guerrilla communications:

1. Don’t talk unless absolutely necessary

2. Don’t talk openly

3. Hide everything from everyone

We have learned the five rules of cell operations:

1. Stay alive to strike again

2. Spread the symbols of The Cause

3. Generate an environment conducive to the creation of other cells

4. Make the Regime pay

5. Set the People against the Regime

We have learned that “legitimate” activity is generally sufficient to finance guerrilla logistics. We have learned that virtually everything needed for basic guerrilla operations can be acquired openly in the form of seemingly innocuous household products and chemicals. We have learned that the primary weapon of the urban guerrilla is the IED. We have learned that inert IEDs should be constructed for training purposes. We have learned that training is paramount and that operations should proceed from the simple and easy to the complex and difficult.

Now that we know all these things, we can move on to the subject of urban guerrilla weapons and tactics. We will cover these in the next lesson.


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