Spartan9 Dispatch for January 2023

This month - New year, new website, new business design, new training workshops and new weekly articles.

Happy New Year, folks.

And happy Lunar New Year to friends and family across Asia.


What we’ve been doing, where we’ve been travelling to, and what’s next.

New monthly newsletter

We’ve now officially stopped sending out our monthly Mailchimp newsletters. Going forward, the S9 Dispatch (what you’re reading this very moment) is our monthly communique.

New website

The new Spartan9 website is up and running.

We’ve moved from Sinatra and Heroku to Jekyll and Render. If that means absolutely nothing to you, then you can read the write up I did on the new website here.

New practice areas

As part of the process of building our new website, we’ve also taken a critical look at how we structure the various services and products we provide. We’ve made the decision to focus our efforts on four specialities:

  • Travel security
  • Crisis management
  • Security evacuations
  • Physical intrusion testing

This is the work we’re best at and it’s where we offer the most value. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll also note that these specialities align with the topics of our publications and articles.


Training workshops and customised training solutions.

Following from the other changes to the way we work, we’ve also updated our training workshops. Here’s a snapshot of the training workshops we’re offering in 2023:

Crisis Management

  • Crisis Response Fundamentals
  • Practical Crisis Communications

Travel Security

  • Practical Safety and Security for Travellers
  • Practical Information Security for Travellers
  • Managing Traveller Emergencies

Security Evacuations

  • Planning Security Evacuations
  • Decision Making for Security Evacuations
  • Executing Security Evacuations

Physical Intrusion Testing

  • Planning a Physical Intrusion Test
  • Risk Management and Safety for Physical Intrusion Testing
  • Surveillance and Reconnaissance for Physical Intrusion Testing

These workshops can be delivered remotely or on site.

We also offer customised training options within each of our four specialities.


Updates on our in-house gear.

I’m delighted (and slightly panicked) to announce that we’ve sold out of the Street Satchel Mk I DCF and Street Satchel Mk I ULTRA bags.

I’ll need to produce a new batch, so have started the process of ordering more material, zips and hardware.

I’ve also been street testing the Street Satchel Mk II ULTRA. Still not entirely happy with some of the updates, so will continue to test and refine.

Speaking of prototypes, the first prototype of the Street Belt was a failure. The dimensions of the belt don’t work in practice. Good to find these problems early, before I start using production materials. I’m in the process of building a second prototype that will hopefully nail the dimensions.


Our latest articles and updates on selected publications.

Goodbye 51CM

Last year, I wrote one article a week on crisis management in a newsletter titled ‘51CM’. Now 2022 is over, so is 51CM.

There’s some great material there, so I’m in the process of compiling all 51 articles into a book. The book, cleverly titled ‘51CM’, will be available for sale in a few months. If you don’t want to wait for the book, you can read the 51CM archive here.

Hello Dangerous Travels

My main regular writing effort for 2023 will be Dangerous Travels. Dangerous travels will focus on travel safety and security, covering individual and organisational perspectives. I’ll be releasing a post every Monday.

The Business of Security

In addition to Dangerous Travels, I’ve started another series of articles focused on the ‘business of security’.

The Business of Security will be a no holds barred expose of the security industry.

Just kidding. The Business of Security will focus on the practical aspects of setting up and running your own security consulting company. The primary audience will be independent security professionals; those of you brave enough to discard your corporate shackles and spend sleepless nights wondering when you’ll land your next project.

The Field Guide to Information Security

I’m a little over 13,000 words into The Field Guide to Information Security, with a lot more to go. Still aiming for a release by the end of March.

Let’s see how that goes…

Bulk Orders

If your organisation or team would benefit from the knowledge and experience contained in our books, please reach out. We can provide discounts for bulk sales.


Links to interesting articles worth your time. This month: black market medications, oil thieves in Nigeria, rebel armies fighting in Myanmar and grey zone warfare.

The Art of the Tracker: How to find a thief in Afghanistan. Read here.

An online black market for Covid-19 drugs is exploding in China. Purchasing agents are sourcing medicines from India and border regions to sell on social media platforms. Read here.

Amazon S3 will now encrypt all new data with AES-256 by default. Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) will now automatically encrypt all new objects added on buckets on the server side, using AES-256 by default to bolster security. Read here.

On the frontline with the rebel army fighting Myanmar’s brutal junta. Villagers-turned-pro-democracy fighters rely on ‘brothers and sisters’ in India for guns and food. Read here.

Researchers Warn AI for Drug Discovery Could Make Biochemical Weapons. Read here.

How to Sneak Metric Tons of Cocaine Into Europe: The Art of “Transshipments”. A freelancing Montenegrin ex-boxer and smuggling on the high seas. Read here.

Threema claims encryption flaws never had a real-world impact. Read here.

Lessons in Diplomacy from Wartime Lebanon. Reflecting on his perilous days as a US military attache in Beirut, Amb. Frederic C. Hof argues there is more to successful diplomacy than conferences. Read here.

The Fallout of a Failed Jihadist Insurgency in the Philippines. The Battle of Marawi is a stark reminder of a forgotten conflict at the edge of the Islamic world. Read here.

Ransomware Diaries: Undercover with the Leader of LockBit. Read here.

Talking the Talk. Translated official Russian documents seen by Armada provide an insight into how tactical communications are deployed by Russia’s army on the battlefield. Read here.

Violence Against Women in Papua New Guinea. Danger on the Streets. Read here.

“Iran’s footprint and arms networks in East Africa”. Iran’s Illicit Arms Smuggling to Somalia: An Analysis of Criminal and Terrorist Networks. Read here.

WiFi Routers Used to Produce 3D Images of Humans. Simple Wi-Fi routers can be used to detect and perceive the poses and positions of humans and map their bodies clearly in 3D. Read here.

The Oil Thieves of Nigeria. How a violent conflict in the resource-rich Niger Delta has wrought ecological and economic devastation for a generation. Read here.

Story Telling and Strategy: How Narrative is Central to Gray Zone Warfare. Read here.

That’s it for this month folks.

Thanks for reading and stay safe out there.

Grant Rayner Spartan9

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