Back in World War 2, the US government created an intelligence and dirty tricks agency called OSS, or the Office of Strategic Studies.
One of its wartime actions was to produce a Field Sabotage Manual. This document has recently been declassified and can be viewed here. I am indebted to Bruce Schneier’s excellent crypto-gram newsletter for bringing it to my attention. The manual contains all sorts of useful instructions for sabotaging trains, generators and other equipment -but for me the best part of it is section eleven, which instructs the saboteur on ‘General interference with Organizations and production’ which runs from page 28 to 31.
Among the tips for causing chaos and making an organisation unworkable are many that will be familiar to customers of government departments everywhere, such as the recommendation to ‘Apply all regulations to the last letter’.
Section 11 in particular of the document is well worth reading. It is hard to believe that the author did not have a strong sense of humour, and it is sobering to think that way back in the forties, wise minds working for governments could see how damaging such practices are to an economy and to the morale of the population.