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Etymology[ edit ] The word "sabotage" appears in the beginning of the early 20th century from the French word "sabotage". It is sometimes said that some workers from Netherlands for some, canuts from Lyon for others, luddites in England, etc. Rather, the French source word literally means to "walk noisily," and wearing wooden shoes is an example of walking noisily. Originally this was used metaphorically to refer to labor disputes, not damage. Labor unions such as the Industrial Workers of the World IWW have advocated sabotage as a means of self-defense and direct action against unfair working conditions.
The IWW was shaped in part by the industrial unionism philosophy of Big Bill Haywood , and in 1910 Haywood was exposed to sabotage while touring Europe: The experience that had the most lasting impact on Haywood was witnessing a general strike on the French railroads.
Tired of waiting for parliament to act on their demands, railroad workers walked off their jobs all across the country. The French government responded by drafting the strikers into the army and then ordering them back to work. Undaunted, the workers carried their strike to the job.
Suddenly, they could not seem to do anything right. Perishables sat for weeks, sidetracked and forgotten. Freight bound for Paris was misdirected to Lyon or Marseille instead. This tactic — the French called it "sabotage" — won the strikers their demands and impressed Bill Haywood. The causes were not clear, but three possible factors have been cited: Ecotage Certain groups turn to destruction of property to stop environmental destruction or to make visible arguments against forms of modern technology they consider detrimental to the environment.
Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI and other law enforcement agencies use the term eco-terrorist when applied to damage of property. Proponents argue that since property cannot feel terror, damage to property is more accurately described as sabotage. Opponents, by contrast, point out that property owners and operators can indeed feel terror. The image of the monkey wrench thrown into the moving parts of a machine to stop it from working was popularized by Edward Abbey in the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang and has been adopted by eco-activists to describe destruction of earth damaging machinery.
As war tactic[ edit ] World War II poster from the United States In war, the word is used to describe the activity of an individual or group not associated with the military of the parties at war, such as a foreign agent or an indigenous supporter, in particular when actions result in the destruction or damaging of a productive or vital facility, such as equipment, factories, dams, public services, storage plants or logistic routes.
Prime examples of such sabotage are the events of Black Tom and the Kingsland Explosion. Like spies, saboteurs who conduct a military operation in civilian clothes or enemy uniforms behind enemy lines are subject to prosecution and criminal penalties instead of detention as prisoners of war.
Similarly, German nationalists spoke of a stab in the back having cost them the loss of World War I. For example, the U. A more recent case may be the Stuxnet computer worm , which was designed to subtly infect and damage specific types of industrial equipment. Based on the equipment targeted and the location of infected machines, security experts believe it was an attack on the Iranian nuclear program by the United States , Israel or, according to the latest news, even Russia.
Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI investigated 19,649 cases of sabotage and concluded the enemy had not caused any of them. Simple sabotage is carried out in such a way as to involve a minimum danger of injury, detection, and reprisal.
There are two main methods of sabotage; physical destruction and the "human element". While physical destruction as a method is self-explanatory, its targets are nuanced, reflecting objects to which the saboteur has normal and inconspicuous access in everyday life. The "human element" is based on universal opportunities to make faulty decisions, to adopt a non-cooperative attitude, and to induce others to follow suit.
However, one of the most effective uses of sabotage is against organizations. When possible, refer all matters to committees for "further study and consideration". Attempt to make the committees as large as possible—never fewer than five Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions. In making work assignments, always sign out unimportant jobs first, assign important jobs to inefficient workers with poor machines. Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products; send back for refinishing those with the least flaw. Approve other defective parts whose flaws are not visible to the naked eye. 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. Hold meetings when there is more critical work to be done. Multiply procedures and clearances involved in issuing instructions, pay checks, and so on. See that multiple people must approve everything where one would do. Spread disturbing rumors that sound like inside information.
From the section entitled, "General Devices for Lowering Morale and Creating Confusion" comes the following quintessential simple sabotage advice: The Bedouins traveled by camel and used explosives to demolish a portion of track. The "railroad sabotage" was one of the events that led to the Mukden Incident and the Japanese occupation of Manchuria. The IRA compromised communication lines and lines of transportation and fuel supplies.
The IRA also employed passive sabotage, refusing dock and train workers to work on ships and rail cars used by the government. The cables in a telephone junction box... A few ounces of plastique, properly placed, could bring down a bridge, cave in a mine shaft, or collapse the roof of a railroad tunnel. In all, the Home Army damaged 6,930 locomotives, set 443 rail transports on fire, damaged over 19,000 rail cars "wagony," and blew up 38 rail bridges, not to mention the attacks against the rail roads.
The Home Army was also responsible for 4,710 built-in flaws in parts for aircraft engines and 92,000 built-in flaws in artillery projectiles, among other examples of significant sabotage. In addition, over 25,000 acts of more minor sabotage were committed. It continued to fight against both the Germans and the Soviets; however, it did aid the Western Allies by collecting constant and detailed information on the German rail, wheeled, and horse transports.
The Gwardia Ludowa destroyed around 200 German trains during the war, and indiscriminately threw hand grenades into places frequented by Germans. Receiving their sabotage orders through messages over the BBC radio or by aircraft, the French used both passive and active forms of sabotage. Passive forms included losing German shipments and allowing poor quality material to pass factory inspections. Many active sabotage attempts were against critical rail lines of transportation.
German records count 1,429 instances of sabotage from French Resistance forces between January 1942 and February 1943. From January through March 1944, sabotage accounted for three times the number of locomotives damaged by Allied air power. After repeated failures in Allied bombing attempts to hit the factory, a team of French Resistance fighters and Special Operations Executive SOE agents distracted the German guards with a game of soccer while part of their team entered the plant and destroyed machinery.
German commandos , wearing US Army uniforms , carrying US Army weapons, and using US Army vehicles, penetrated US lines to spread panic and confusion among US troops and to blow up bridges, ammunition dumps , and fuel stores and to disrupt the lines of communication. Many of the commandos were captured by the Americans. Because they were wearing US uniforms, a number of the Germans were executed as spies, either summarily or after military commissions.
From 1948 to 1960, the Malayan Communists committed numerous effective acts of sabotage against the Malaysian Government , first targeting railway bridges, then hitting larger targets such as military camps. Though that control was to end according to the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine in 1948, the groups used sabotage as an opposition tactic.
The Haganah focused their efforts on camps used by the British to hold refugees and radar installations that could be used to detect illegal immigrant ships.
The Stern Gang and the Irgun used terrorism and sabotage against the British government and against lines of communications. In November 1946, the Irgun and Stern Gang attacked a railroad twenty-one times in a three-week period, eventually causing shell-shocked Arab railway workers to strike.
The 6th Airborne Division was called in to provide security as a means of ending the strike. Between 1969 and 1970, swimmer saboteurs sunk, destroyed, or damaged 77 assets of the U. Viet Cong swimmers were poorly equipped but well-trained and resourceful. He is now serving a sentence of life imprisonment. In 1989, ex- Scotland Yard detective Rodney Whitchelo was sentenced to 17 years in prison for spiking Heinz baby food products in supermarkets, in an extortion attempt on the food manufacturer.
Smear campaigns are a commonly used tactic. The term could also describe the actions and expenditures of private entities, corporations and organizations against democratically approved or enacted laws, policies and programs.
From 1992 to late 2007 an radical environmental activist movement known as ELF or Earth Liberation Front engaged in a near constant campaign of decentralized sabotage of any construction projects near wild lands and extractive industries such as logging and even the burning down of a ski resort of Vail Colorado.
To underscore the effectiveness of sabotage, "A single cooperative technician will be able temporarily to put out of action a radio station which would otherwise require a full-scale assault. Cybotage[ edit ] Arquilla and Rondfeldt, in their work entitled Networks and Netwars, differentiate their definition of " netwar " from a list of "trendy synonyms," including "cybotage," a portmanteau from the words "sabotage" and " cyber ".
They dub the practitioners of cybotage "cyboteurs" and note while all cybotage is not netwar, some netwar is cybotage. The United States Department of Defense definition, found in the Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, is "action designed to detect and counteract sabotage. See also counterintelligence ".
Photos of the plant taken from the air reflected devastation for the factory and a successful sabotage mission, and Chapman, as a British sabotage double-agent, fooled the Germans for the duration of the war.