Sunday, June 20, 2010

"To wait until a government removes the means of resistance is in effect to surrender to that tyranny." Book Review: Resistance to Tyranny by Martino

"Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." -- Motto proposed for the Great Seal of the United States by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin

Actually, Jefferson and Franklin borrowed the phrase from the Englishman John Bradshaw (1602–1659), the lawyer who served as president of the parliamentary commission which sentenced British King Charles I to death.

COL Joseph P. Martino, USAF (Ret'd), has done the armed citizenry quite a useful service with his new book, Resistance to Tyranny: A Primer. With that title, even before you crack the book open, there is no doubt that on which side COL Martino stands -- it is that of liberty.

From his Preface:

According to Freedom Houses (, of 194 nations in the world, 47, with total population of 2.3 billion people, are "not free." Residents of those countries (one hesitates to call them "citizens") lack political freedom and civil rights. The oppressive governments in some or all of those countries deserve to be overthrown; peacefully if possible, by force if necessary.

If you live in such a country, and you're reading this book, I assume you're already thinking about the possibility of armed resistance to an oppressive government. This book is intended as a primer, not as a handbook or an encyclopedia. A handbook tells you what you realized you didn't know. It answers questions you knew enough to ask. This book is a primer. It's intended to introduce you to what you might now realize you don't know, and therefore wouldn't think to ask. It provides a basic introduction to each topic, then identifies resources which can provide you with additional information.

Most of the material will be presented in terms of general principles. To make the application of the principles more concrete, specific illustrations will be used. Many of these specific illustrations will be drawn from past revolutions. However, readers will need to adapt them to conditions in their own countries, or to their own circumstances. Readers must not allow the illustrations to mislead them into thinking the principles would apply only to the specific cases used as illustration. The principles apply everywhere; the application must take concrete circumstances into account.

As will become apparent to the reader, there is an enormous amount of information available on various aspects of armed resistance. Even the Additional Reading lists at the ends of the chapters only scratch the surface. While this book is intended for information purposes only, information should eventually lead to action when action is justified. Readers must not allow themselves to be trapped in an information-gathering mode, seeking to learn ever more about ever-finer aspects of the topic. If armed resistance is justified, there comes a time when one must close the book and act.

One might ask what COL Martino's credentials are in writing such a book. Well, Mama Liberty, writing in TheMentalMilitia.comForums did just that. Addressing COL Martino, she probed:

That's interesting, Joe. You might share with us some of your qualifications to write such a book.

To which COL Martino replied:

A fair question.

I'm a retired Air Force colonel. I wasn't a flyer. I spent all my time in research & development. After I finished my PhD in Statistics, I was immediately assigned to the R&D Field Unit in Bangkok, where I spent the next couple of years doing operations research on the insurgencies in Thailand and Vietnam. After my return to the States, I spent the next five years as Chairman of the Special Warfare Working Group of the Military Operations Research Society.

That was the end of my "official" involvement with insurgency, rebellion, etc., but I continued to pursue the topic on my own. I published articles in a number of places, including what was then the AIR UNIVERSITY REVIEW, and I gave several papers at the regular Vietnam Symposia held at U. Texas at Lubbock, home of one of the biggest Vietnam archives in the world.

In the '90s I put the issue of insurgency aside and wrote a book applying Just War Doctrine to the use of nuclear weapons. It's now out of print, and with the demise of the Soviet Union, out of date as well.

By the late 1990s I came to realize that insurgency was becoming a more important topic than nuclear weapons, so I went back to my earlier interest. I thought I saw a need for a book that addressed the topic from the "other side," that is, from the insurgents' side, not from the side of the counterinsurgent, which had been my previous focus. I figured there were lots of places in the world where an insurgency would be justified, and such a book might be helpful.

I probably should add that I have never fired a shot in anger (although I came close the night I awoke to find an intruder in my bedroom). I've done a lot of research on what other people have experienced in carrying out revolutions, and tried to summarize their experience in my book. I hope the summary will be useful to those who need it.

COL Martino is very careful with his language in the text, almost clinical. No stirring calls to action in the body of the work. But he opens Chapter One, Why Armed Resistance?, with the trenchant observation, "War was not the Twentieth Century's biggest killer. Tyranny was." He provides the statistics, well footnoted (as is the entire book), and proceeds to the relationship between gun control and genocide, discussing briefly in turn the Turks and Armenians, the Soviets, Nazis and other feral governments who first disarmed and then slaughtered their peoples. Taking a few pages to present the views of the Founders on the subject of armed resistance, he finishes the chapter with an excellent summary of the morality of such armed resistance.

He concludes,

In summary, then, tyranny is the reason for armed resistance. Tyranny is deadlier than war, because it consists of an armed government making war on its own unarmed citizens. People don't have to submit to tyranny. On the contrary, they have a moral obligation to resist. There are guidelines that people can use to help determine when tyranny has reached the point at which resistance is justified. The most important consideration, however, is that tyranny must be stopped early, even at a high price, because if allowed to continue it will exact an even higher price. In particular, tyranny must be stopped while the means to stop it are still available to the population. To wait until a government removes the means of resistance is in effect to surrender to that tyranny.


Resistance to Tyranny is not one of these slim volumes that purports to be "everything you need to know." It is 431 pages long, broken down along the following chapter lines:


Preface i
Chapter 1 Why Armed Resistance 1
Chapter 2 Probability of Success 30
Chapter 3 Government Response 57
Chapter 4 Strategy and Tactics 79
Chapter 5 The Big Picture 89
Chapter 6 Overt and Covert Resistance 95
Chapter 7 Personal Weapons 106
Chapter 8 Personal Equipment 115
Chapter 9 Survival Skills 130
Chapter 10 Land Navigation 137
Chapter 11Camouflage & Concealment 155
Chapter 12 Boobytraps 159
Chapter 13 Weapons Caching 163
Chapter 14 Logistics 172
Chapter 15 Training 189
Chapter 16 Secure Camps 213
Chapter 17 Safe Houses and Secure Areas 220
Chapter 18 Communications 225
Chapter 19 Encryption and Codes 237
Chapter 20 Getting Your Story Out 252
Chapter 21 Attack and Defense 280
Chapter 22 Ambushes 295
Chapter 23 Sniping and Counter-Sniping 303
Chapter 24 Assassination 341
Chapter 25 Sabotage 354
Chapter 26 Raids 369
Chapter 27 Strategic Intelligence 381
Chapter 28 Tactical Intelligence 393
Chapter 29 Counterintelligence 413
Chapter 30 Lives, Fortunes & Sacred Honor 423
Appendix A General References 427
Appendix B Patrick Henry’s Famous Speech 429

His discussions are succinct, on point and always provided with source material for additional reading. He has packed an amazing amount of pertinent detail into a very small package. I cannot at this moment say that I have read the entire book, but I have found little to quibble with as a skimmed. However, this observation from page 64 leaped out at me:

Where to counterattack? Armed resistance against a bureaucracy seems hopeless. If a revenue agent hits you with a big fine that will bankrupt you if you pay it, and will result in a jail sentence if you don't, whom do you shoot? If a safety inspector hits you with a regulation that bankrupts your business, whom to you shoot? If an environmental protection agent denies you the use of your property on some excuse about an endangered species or a wetland, whom do you shoot? Governments have ways of oppressing you that a gun does not seem to be a ready answer for. Keep in mind, then, that the more rules the government has, the more ways it can tie you down. It is essential to get rid of a government with such powers. But the best target may not be the specific government agencies that are causing the problems. The resistance movement must go for the head, not the appendages of the "monster."

If I may comment on this, here is the formula of the Founders with a dollop of Michael Collins and a Twenty-First Century 4th Generation Warfare twist:

Government oppression is met by passive resistance, a refusal to obey. This refusal makes the tyrants initially irritated and eventually crazy enough to escalate to the next level -- you WILL do what we say or we will kill YOU. Then we continue until they do. After they cross the line, we respond by evading the arms, legs and sinews of their tyrannical beast, and striking directly at the heart, eyes and brains of the monster.

This way requires stoic patience. It requires brilliant planning. It requires trained competence at the art and science of war. It requires the tools to execute all of those things. And most importantly, it requires the moral purpose and indomitable will to bring it about.

A simple read of Martino's book cannot give the present-day armed citizen everything he or she needs to provide the sword and the shield against tyranny that the Founders envisioned, but it is a pretty darn good good primer to defending and restoring their Republic.

I highly recommend this excellent primer on resistance to tyranny.

Title: Resistance to Tyranny.
Author: COL Joseph P. Martino, USAF (Ret'd)
ISBN 9781450574280
List Price: $18.00
Publisher: CreateSpace

It is available from Amazon as a trade paperback or on Kindle and can be ordered through bookstores.

Mike Vanderboegh
The alleged leader of a merry band of Three Percenters
SamAdams1775 AT at DOT net


monkeyfan said...

That looks to be just what the doctor ordered...An apropos table of contents for preparing for life in 'progressive' times.

Thank you very much for the heads-up on what looks to be a great study guide.

Concerned American said...

If one is outside of biting range, a head in and of itself is of no danger to anyone.

It is the central nervous system (CNS) that allows the head's intent to be transmitted and translated into effective action.

It is the feet (to some extent), the hands (to a much greater extent), and the fingers (to a very great extent) that kill, upon the direction of the head as transmitted by the CNS.

Hence the standard gunfighters' admonition to "always watch the hands -- hands kill".

Therefore, interdict the CNS.

Impair the feet, hands, and, most importantly, the fingers so that they cannot effect the head's ends, assuming that the CNS has not been grossly impaired and thus incapable of transmitting the head's commands.

Or simply remove the feet, hands, and fingers of your opponent so that he is rendered impotent.

This clip illustrates the concept:

Maneuver Warfare

rexxhead said...

This sounds like the 'spec' to Absolved's 'user manual'...

Capt45 said...

Col Marino wrote "..and I gave several papers at the regular Vietnam Symposia held at U. Texas at Lubbock, home of one of the biggest Vietnam archives in the world."

The university in Lubbock is Texas Tech. I know Red Raider fans would be aghast; I'm just a Texas Ex (UT Austin grad).

drjim said...

Thanks, Mike. Just ordered it from Amazon.

Anonymous said...

Hoping to download it from Amazon could not locate. Nothing in the Kindle section only Pushbutton War by the same author.

Anonymous said...

Amazon doesn't show a Kindle edition.

sofa said...

CA - Awesome clip & related explanation. Brilliant !

Anonymous said...

Just ordered mine. Anyone have book recommendations on stategy/tatics? I have a few books from Poole and Lind but wonder about what else that I'm missing.

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old article, however, I wanted to point out a potential problem and possible government monitoring. A few days ago I ordered this book from Barnes and Noble, I get my notice my order shipped (I ordered a different book as well), then I get an email that the shipping of this book has been delayed. I had the option to cancel this portion of my order and did so, I then go to amazon and ordered this book along with another book. The same thing happened. I get an email that my ordered shipped,however, the shipping of this book has been delayed. I spoke online with an Amazon rep and she stated that it was being shipped from another wharehouse and if I wanted to cancel this portion of my order. I did not cancel, however, I find it strange that two vendors would delay the shipping of this book when they have them in stock. I could be wrong but it's possible that they could be notifying the .gov when someone orders this book. Just a thought, I could be wrong.