Sabotage made simple

Ever had a DejaVu moment? They are cool and a bit strange.

Ever had a scary DejaVu? I have.

One of the many topics that interests me is the declasification of military documents. Reading a blog post on declassified documents from the Office of Strategic Services (a precursor of today's CIA), one document in question caught my eye, it was the Simple Sabotage Field Manual [PDF link].

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

Written in 1944, The Simple Sabotage Field Manual teaches the lay person, simple methods to disrupt the day-to-day operations of an entire country during war efforts. From manufacturing to management, the field manual gives you ways to slow to a grind equipment and procedures. It was then specifically in the part relating to procedures that I had my DejaVu, I've read this before, recently.

The following are some of the parts that struck me as most troubling.

1944

(11) General Interference with Organizations and Production
    (a) Organizations and Conferences
        (1)  Insist on doing everything through "channels." Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.

Today

The Code of Conduct Committee

All responses to reports of conduct violations will be managed by a Code of Conduct Committee ("the committee").

-Django Code of Conduct - Enforcement Manual

1944

(2) Make "speeches." Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your "points" by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate "patriotic" comments.

Today

This describes pretty much every non-technical talk at technical conferences. Change "patriotic" with whatever cause people are rallying today, real or imaginary.

1944

(3) When possible, refer all matters to committees, for "further study and consideration." Attempt to make the committees as large as possible -- never less than five.

Today

The working group must agree on a resolution by consensus. If the group cannot reach consensus and deadlocks for over a week, the group will turn the matter over to the board for resolution.

-Django Code of Conduct - Enforcement Manual

1944

(4) Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.

Today

Transphobic maintainer should be removed from project

-Issue #941, Opal Project.

1944

(5) Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.

Today

I don't feel the need to comment, because I feel it's a straw man argument. I feel that way because I disagree with the definition of professionalism that people have been pushing.

-Sarah Sharp, Linux Kernel Mailing List.

1944

(6) Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.

Today

You seem to have taken personal issue with well the issue :) I opened this issue not to attack you or your decisions,but to help improve a part of the project in which it seemed lacking.

-Awesome Django, issue #176

1944

(7) Advocate "caution." Be "reasonable" and urge your fellow-conferees to be "reasonable" and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.

Today

Be friendly and patient.

Be considerate

"Be careful in the words that we choose"

-TODO Code of Conduct

1944

(8) Be worried about the propriety of any decision -- raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.

Today

You are a member of the Django Software Foundation and are supposed to be setting the example. I will be forwarding the content of this issue to the Chair to evaluate your continued presence in the DSF. best regards.

-Awesome Django, issue #176

1944

(b) Managers and Supervisor
    10) To lower morale and with it, production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.

Today

So when I hear someone say that their project is a meritocracy (especially if they say it as if it’s necessarily a good thing), I tend to assume that they are 1) naive, and 2) probably have a bunch of unexamined, unconscious sexism going on.

...

Do you judge nothing but code, or do you also include other skills, including “plays well with others”, in your reviews of people’s merit?

-GeekFeminism.org

1944

(5) Do your work poorly and blame it on bad tools, machinery, or equipment. Complain that these things are preventing you from doing your job right.

Today

Her suit alleges that Kleiner didn't promote her to the highly lucrative position of senior partner because she was a woman, and that the venture-capital firm let her go in part because she complained about gender bias at the firm.

-USA today

Pao is seeking $16 million in damages from Kleiner and alleges she was retaliated against after having an affair with another partner at the firm.

-Business Insider

She also claimed she had been retaliated against for complaining by not being invited to certain events and being poorly evaluated in a performance review.

-Return of Kings

And finally:

1944

(8) If possible, join or help organize a group for presenting employee problems to the management. See that the procedures adopted are as inconvenient as possible for the management, involving the presence of a large number of employees at each presentation, entailing more than one meeting for each grievance, bringing up problems which are largely imaginary, and so on.

(12) General Devices for Lowering Morale and Creating Confusion
    (a) Give lengthy and incomprehensible explanations when questioned.
    (b) Report imaginary spies or danger to the Gestapo or Police.
    (c) Act stupid.
    (d) Be as irritable and quarrelsome as possible without getting yourself into trouble.

At this point the punchline should be fairly obvious: codes of conduct and social justice warriors behave in a way more akin to sabotage than actual justice.

Update 2015/11/06: The PDF linked is part of a 2012 CIA blog feature: https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/2012-featured-story-archive/simple-sabotage.html. Archive link: http://archive.is/ZJFx