Tips for Surviving Surveillance: Detecting clandestine interrogation

The short version:

Listen for the stand-out question that seems forced, prepared or otherwise out of place. It will come from someone who presents as a friend, colleague or co-worker.

The long version:

When chatting with someone who presents as a friend, colleague or co-worker, take note of any questions that strike you as peculiarly probing. Time has a habit of revealing clandestine interrogators and their masters’ intentions.

Here’s a fresh example for you. Please understand that I’m not clutching at straws here. Episodes like this have occurred in my life MANY times in the past 6 years or so.

Recently, someone I hardly know felt compelled to ask me whether I was interested in a particular defense facility. The question, and the conversation for that matter, seemed to come out of the blue, so it stayed with me. Today, I discovered that a a new book on that very facility’s history is approaching publication.

Governments, politicians and intelligence agencies are all WAY too concerned about what commentators or journalists might say on any given topic as the news cycle rolls along. They call this “media risk” and yes, they even worry about tiny little voices like mine. I struggled to believe this at first, but after years of analyzing and reflecting on scores of anomalies in my life, my doubt has been reduced to trace levels only.

This, dear friends, is what the gathering of so-called “forward intelligence” looks like. In this case, I assume the forward intelligence seekers wanted to know my opinion on the subject and gauge my level of interest ahead of the book’s launch. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as “beating the news” and data inputs appear to include personal and population scales (data mining) techniques.

Interrogators feign compassion and interest in you in order to tease out answers to the specific questions that in all probability, they have been ordered to ask by their superiors. They deceive you into trusting them, then they abuse that trust to do their master’s bidding. The askers are often impatient though, so they almost invariably blurt out their stupid question at some inopportune juncture. It might come right at the start of the conversation if they are nervous, or it might be the last thing asked before wrapping up the chat.

Their objectives are thinly veiled, and their interrogation technique, at least in my experience, is detectable.

So should I just brush this off? No. Because this is just a tiny slice of the whole putrid pie. Since 2016, when the surveillance reached unmistakably intimidating heights (when people were regularly stalking me in my own street) I have worked hard to try and establish distance from people whom I perceive as pawns or probable pawns of institutions that treat me as a target or prey. I have done this not because I have something to hide, but for my own peace of mind. I have been psychologically damaged by the Surveillance State. I am a victim of a kind of institutional abuse that just a decade ago, I was blissfully ignorant of. This soft interrogation stuff is just one tiny example of the regular intrusion and misguided harassment that I experience as I simply attempt to live my life with curiosity and endeavor to understand the world in which I live, peacefully and lawfully.

As it has gradually revealed itself to me, I have grown to resent the Surveillance State in its current form, direction and intensity, on account of its relentless, perverse interest in my life, my opinion and my daily personal and professional affairs.

This post, like all previous posts I’ve made on this topic, should read as a warning to others. Noone should have to endure trauma of this kind on an ongoing basis without the parties responsible being required to justify their efforts. I feel as if I am captive in what feels like a “free range prison”… a novel manifestation of the panopticon prison design in which a single watch tower in the centre of a ring of inward-facing cells could maintain an entire prison cohort in a heightened state of anxiety, under the apparent perpetual gaze of the wardens.

Think “Oh, I’m not interested in defence, or nuclear industry so this couldn’t be happening to me”?

Guess again.

I’ve had similar episodes with people asking me about everything from the management of certain fisheries, to the possibility of standing for election, to drilling for oil in certain sensitive areas. A more bread and butter ask is to inquire what I’m going to do next (as in immediately) which usually comes as a meeting or scheduled occasion draws to a close. I’m sure Surveillance State wardens resent those of us with the formidable combination of a flexible schedule and sharpened powers of perception.

To anticipate these approaches and identify potential clandestine operatives, a target (yes, it could be you) must learn to think like the Surveillance State. How have you been categorised? What are your known interests? How might a Department of Paranoia imagine those interests might evolve over time, or lead you to other, related interests or activities? Do you have an audience? Are you a person with some cultural influence through your work? What threat might a paranoid administrator conceive that you present to their authority or (gulp) to National Security?


List of 3 player arcade games with joystick or trackball control

Back in 2014 I started working on my first video game project with programmer Adam Jenkins, and I’m pleased to say that it’s nearly fully-fledged and ready to launch. Our final Beta version is available now on and our next milestone with be our long-anticipated release on Steam.

My game is called Cuttle Scuttle, and it’s a three player cooperative cuttlefish survival simulator. The mazes are rocky reefs full of predators and prey, and the objective is to lay as many eggs as possible while using camouflage, ink-shots and cunning to stay alive.

Cuttle Scuttle captures the spirit of classic cooperative gaming and the hardships of cuttlefish life
Cuttle Scuttle captures the spirit of classic cooperative gaming and the hardships of cuttlefish life

The game’s visual and cooperative arcade style were inspired by some classic games of the 1980s and 1990s, including Ms Pac-Man, Frogger II and Bubble Bobble. We’ve long entertained the idea of eventually housing the game in a custom arcade cabinet, reflective of this great period in gaming history… and we’re beginning to make that dream a reality.

As an avid student of history,  I started down this path by compiling a list of  past arcade games that were made to accommodate a maximum of three players simultaneously. I ruled out the shooter and driving games to concentrate on joystick or trackball-controlled games exclusively. This left me with a list comprised mostly of fighting games, and a few oddities like The Three Stooges, Pig Out and SegaSonic the Hedgehog.

With the help of Wikipedia’s terrific alphabetised list of arcade video games, I was able to compile the following list of (non-shooter) 3-player arcade games released between 1984 and 1997. While the table below strives to being exhaustive and accurate, please let me know if you have any titles to add or corrections to make.

If all goes well, Force of Nature might be able to add Cuttle Scuttle (2018) to this list in the months ahead.

Game Alternative titles Year Publisher
The Three Stooges 1984 Mylstar
Rampage 1986 Bally Midway 
Dark Adventure 1987 Konami
Xenophobe 1987 Bally-Midway 
Gain Ground 1988 Sega
Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker 1990 Sega
Pig Out: Dine Like a Swine 1990 Leland
Pit-Fighter 1990 Atari Games
Rampart 1990 Atari Games
The Combatribes 1990 Techn?s Japan
Knights of the Round 1991 Capcom
B. Rap Boys 1992 Kaneko
Cadillacs & Dinosaurs Cadillacs Kyouryuu Shinseiki JP 1992 Capcom
Guardians of the ‘Hood 1992 Atari Games
Warriors of Fate 1992 Capcom
SegaSonic the Hedgehog 1993 Sega
Violent Storm 1993 Konami
Alien vs. Predator 1994 Capcom
Armored Warriors Powered Gear – Strategic Variant Armor Equipment JP 1994 Capcom
Battletoads Super Battletoads 1994 Rare
Rampage World Tour 1997 Midway



SA Government Cabinet papers released under the Freedom of Information Act 1991 – Overseas Travel

Ministers and senior public servants in South Australia travel during their course of their work, at times making overseas delegations to other countries. These are intended to assist them in shaping public policy, developing and maintaining opportunities for commercial trade and public sector cooperation.

The list below contains a series of South Australian Cabinet documents providing rationales and details about proposed overseas delegations to be made by Ministers of the Government of South Australia during the years 2003 through 2007. Such documents become available 10 years after their creation, and can then be formally requested from the Department of the Premier & Cabinet, here.

The documents were released following requests lodged under the Freedom of Information Act 1991 and are free to download and reproduce. This list is not exhaustive, and will be extended as additional requests are fulfilled.

Click on the destination to view or download the corresponding document in .PDF format.

Date Minister Destination
21/07/03 Trish White UK, France & Sweden
24/05/04 Trish White USA
16/08/04 Trish White Spain & Malaysia
06/09/04 Paul Holloway Malaysia
13/12/04 John Hill UK, France, Germany & Spain
13/12/04 Paul Holloway USA
14/02/05 Paul Holloway USA & Canada
07/04/05 Kevin Foley USA (Northrop Grumman)
07/04/05 Kevin Foley Hong Kong & China
18/04/05 Kevin Foley USA (Northrop Grumman)
26/04/05 Paul Holloway China,
Japan & Hong Kong
02/05/05 Paul Holloway China,
Japan & Hong Kong
02/05/05 Mike Rann USA & UK
14/06/05 Mike Rann USA
04/07/05 Rory McEwen Japan
22/08/05 Paul Holloway India, United Arab Emirates
19/09/05 Mike Rann India
10/10/05 Jane Lomax-Smith Malaysia (Malaysia Airlines)
28/03/06 John Hill New Zealand
28/03/06 Mike Rann USA & Canada
08/05/06 Mike Rann UK & France
19/06/06 Carmel Zollo UK, Sweden & Italy
19/06/06 Patrick Conlon UK
03/07/06 Paul Holloway UK, Canada & USA
03/07/06 Rory McEwen China, Canada & USA
07/08/06 Patrick Conlon USA & UK
28/08/06 Karlene Maywald Japan
25/09/06 Kevin Foley USA (Defence industry)
09/10/06 Mike Rann India
23/10/06 Paul Holloway China
26/10/06 Paul Holloway China
30/10/06 Kevin Foley Japan (Mitsubishi)
13/11/06 Kevin Foley Spain, Bahrain & United Arab Emirates
11/12/06 Patrick Conlon United Arab Emirates (DP World)


    • 26 September 2017 – List first published.
    • 15 October 2017 – Seven new documents added.
    • 28 October 2017 – Two new documents added (Lomax-Smith & Hill).
    • 28 December 2017 – Added Kevin Foley’s 2005 visit to Hong Kong & China.
    • 27 February 2018 – Added three Trish White travel documents.