Go Back   Small Wars Council > The Small Wars Community of Interest > The Whole News

The Whole News Post and debate the news; good, bad and ugly. News ignored by the mainstream media especially welcomed here.

Closed Thread
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-03-2013   #1
Council Member
bourbon's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 902
Default Deception - A Pickpocket's Tale

Very cool article on theatrical pickpocket Apollo Robbins:

A Pickpocket’s Tale - The spectacular thefts of Apollo Robbins, by Adam Green. The New Yorker, January 7, 2013.

His mastery of deception is not lost on audiences beyond the magicians guild:

Robbins has also been approached by the Department of Defense to consult on the military applications of pickpocketing, behavioral influence, and con games. The D.O.D. has just endowed a new research-and-training facility at Yale, which opens this month. Robbins is to be an adjunct professor there, and will give lectures and design training modules. The defense application of Robbins’s work is less strange than it might at first seem. Barton Whaley and Susan Stratton Aykroyd’s “Textbook of Political-Military Counterdeception” (2007) notes that, in the nineteen-seventies, “conjurors had evolved theories and principles of deception and counterdeception that were substantially more advanced than currently used by political or military intelligence analysts.” I spoke to the Special Operations Command official who had recruited Robbins for the project, and he told me that Robbins had been brought to his attention by some of his men, who had been impressed by videos of him on YouTube. “It’s no big secret that a lot of Army Special Forces guys have a very big interest in magic and deception and being able to manipulate attention,” he said. “Apollo is the guy who actually gets into the nuts and bolts of how it works, why it works, and oftentimes can extrapolate that into the bigger principle.”
“[S]omething in his tone now reminded her of his explanations of asymmetric warfare, a topic in which he had a keen and abiding interest. She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries…” - Zero History, William Gibson
bourbon is offline  
Old 01-05-2013   #2
Council Member
davidbfpo's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 11,506
Default Try magic


Your post, especially the word 'magic', reminded me of a conference paper 'Seeing Is Not Believing' given in July 2012 at an academic conference on Understanding and Improving Intelligence Analysis, available on:
davidbfpo is offline  
Closed Thread


deception, tradecraft

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Technologies of Deception Advancing SWJED Equipment & Capabilities 1 12-10-2010 04:14 PM
Military deception and propaganda Entropy Media, Information & Cyber Warriors 36 09-02-2009 05:03 PM
A Tale of Two Countries SWJED Asia-Pacific 0 06-13-2008 04:23 PM

All times are GMT. The time now is 02:33 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9. ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Registered Users are solely responsible for their messages.
Operated by, and site design © 2005-2009, Small Wars Foundation