Spartan9 Dispatch for February 2023

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


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

Rest and recovery

I’ve just finished up a medium-term embed project and I’m exhausted.

I took most of February off. I spent my time pottering around the house, designing gear, learning about audio production and working on my fitness.

Website updates

I updated the Spartan9 website last month. I wrote about some of the technical aspects of the new website here. This month, I’ve tweaked a few things here and there, and added a custom font. I’m using Google Fonts, but self hosting to avoid tracking (the website doesn’t use any tracking at all).

Evacuation planning

Next month, I’m kicking off the development of a new evacuation product. As part of this process, I’ll be spending time on the ground driving routes and evaluating the supportability of different evacuation options.

More to follow in March, but if you’re interested in our evacuation services you can learn more here.


Training workshops and customised training solutions.

In last month’s dispatch, I showcased our new lineup of training workshops. Each month, I’ll highlight one of the workshops.

Decision Making for Security Evacuations

The Decision Making for Security Evacuations workshop teaches participants how to use different frameworks to to determine the optimum time to evacuate their people from a location in crisis.

In this workshop, participants will learn how to:

  • Develop an infrastructure and resources availability framework
  • Develop an escalating risk framework
  • Develop go / no-go criteria for different evacuation options
  • Apply techniques to mitigate the impact of sub-optimal decisions
  • Plan for situations where evacuation is not possible
  • Participants will have the opportunity to apply their new knowledge of decision-making - frameworks to current real-world situations.

All our 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.

The Street Satchel Mk II ULTRA is firmly on hold. I’m struggling to improve on the design of the Mk I, so I’m going to stop work on the Mk II updates and instead focus on accessories for the Mk I to make it extensible.

I’m also in the process of trying to wrangle some new customised zips out of YKK. Their shipping charges within the region are astronomical, which may be a showstopper.

Last but certainly not least, we have our first review of the Street Satchel. Very cool. Thanks again Uri for taking the time to write this review and I’m delighted you like the satchel. A day pack is (slowly) on the way…


Our latest articles and updates on selected publications.

Dangerous Travels/h3>

Dangerous Travels

Dangerous Travels is our weekly article focused on travel safety and security. I’m posting a new article every Monday.

Dangerous Travels articles this month:

Evaluating Threats

How to evaluate threats when travelling to higher-risk environments by applying a threat evaluation framework. Read here.

Unconscious Risk Acceptance

What factors may make us unconsciously accept risk and how we can minimise this occurring when we travel to higher-risk locations. Read here.

What factors make a country semi-permissive and non-permissive, and how can you successfully navigate such locations? Read here.

Safer Solo?

When is travelling alone safer than travelling as a group, and how can you protect yourself when travelling alone. Read here.

If there’s a topic you’d like me to cover in Dangerous Travels, please let me know.

The Business of Security

In addition to Dangerous Travels, I’ve also be writing weekly articles for The Business of Security. These articles focus on the practical aspects of setting up and running a company as an independent security professional.

Business of Security articles this month:

Developing the Mindset

How to develop the mindset necessary to be a successful independent security professional. Read here.

Personal Qualities

What personal qualities are essential for you to be a successful independent security professional, and how can you develop these qualities. Read here.

Benefits of Going Independent

What are the professional and personal benefits of setting up your own company as an independent security professional? Read here.

Reasons for Not Going Independent

Seven reasons why you shouldn’t go independent, along with a few other factors that should influence your decision-making process. Read here.


We’ve published a number of books on crisis management, travel security and security evacuations. These books have been purchased by travellers, security professionals, organisations and universities.

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: monetising your emotions, detecting fear, human trafficking, solid fuel ICBMs, reputation laundering, Russian mercenaries, and more.

Mass-market military drones have changed the way wars are fought. The war in Ukraine has exposed that widely available, inexpensive drones are being used not just for targeted killings but for wholesale slaughter. Read here.

The Long Twilight of the Islamic Republic. Iran’s Transformational Season of Protest. Read here.

The Kremlin Has Entered the Chat. Russian antiwar activists placed their faith in Telegram, a supposedly secure messaging app. How does Putin’s regime seem to know their every move? Read here.

Beyond War and Peace: The PLA’s “Non-War Military Activities” Concept. Via the Modern War Institute at Westpoint. Read here.

TikTok’s “Focused View”: the creepy new feature aims to monetise your emotions. Read here.

Focus on Human Trafficking Shifts From Cambodia to Myanmar. Interpol proves its worth in cross-border rescue operation in the country’s east. Read here.

What Russia Got Wrong. Can Moscow Learn From Its Failures in Ukraine? Read here.

Fear Face: New Study Finds Organized Crime Members Excel at Detecting Fear. The fear face under the microscope: a new study conducted in two Italian penitentiaries sheds light on the emotional intelligence of organized crime members. Read here.

How Russia’s Wagner Group Is Fueling Terrorism in Africa. Moscow’s scramble for valuable resources has come at the cost of regional security. Read here.

Foreign crises: Inside the complex work of the Irish diplomatic team helping citizens in trouble. Insights into the work of the consular assistance service provided by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Read here.

How Wagner Gave Three Russian Crime Bosses from the 90s a New Lease of Death. Via Bellingcat. [Read here.

Mandiant: 79 Percent Of Cybersecurity Decisions Ignore Threat Intelligence. Too often, organizations are crafting cyber defense strategies and making purchasing decisions based on concerns about attackers that ‘don‘t actually have any interest whatsoever’ in them, Mandiant’s John Hultquist tells CRN. Read here.

What Are the Odds H5N1 Is Worse Than COVID? And what can we do to reduce that risk? Read here.

North Korea: towards a solid-fuel ICBM? North Korea’s latest military parade re-emphasised the fact that the country has long sought to add a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile to its emergent strategic forces, a goal that may soon be realised. Read here.

Violence Surges to New Levels in West Papua Conflict. Read here.

Inside the Kremlin’s disinformation war against Ukraine. Documentary evidence shows Vladimir Putin’s security service tasking a local journalist with peddling disparaging, falsified content about Ukraine. Read here.

Eliminalia: A Reputation Laundromat for Criminals. A Spanish reputation management company’s ‘blackhat tactics’ help bad actors around the world erase their past. Read here.

Inside the stunning growth of Russia’s Wagner Group. Exclusive U.S. diplomatic cables and internal documents detail the expansion of the paramilitary force and global network led by a top Putin ally. Read here.

Wolf warrior diplomacy: How China is crushing dissent on British soil. Concerns are growing in the UK as to whether enough is being done to counter the influence and interference of China. Read here.

China Is Practicing How to Sever Taiwan’s Internet. The cutoff of the Matsu Islands may be a dry run for further aggression. Read here.

The sextortion scammers of rural India. Authorities say scammers use burner phones and fake profiles to blackmail victims across the country. Read here.

Ukraine Suffered More Data-Wiping Malware Last Year Than Anywhere, Ever. As Russia has accelerated its cyberattacks on its neighbor, it’s barraged the country with an unprecedented volume of different data-destroying programs. Read here.

The West Lives On in the Taliban’s Afghanistan. Read here.

That’s it for this month folks.

Thanks for reading and stay safe out there.

Grant Rayner Spartan9

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