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The Roots of the Leaderless Resistance Concept

The Amoss Version - 1953 & 1962

The concept of Leaderless Resistance was developed by Ulius “Pete” Louis Amoss in 1953 to encourage resistance to Soviet repression in Eastern Europe.

Amoss was an operative in the WWII Office of Strategic Services (OSS). After the war Amoss established a research center International Services of Information (INFORM).and a newsletter INFORM to fight communism.

Unlike Louis Beam, Amoss had no connection to organized White Supremacist groups and had no interest in overthrowing the United States government. On the contrary, Amoss was frustrated that the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies were using outdated methods to build resistance against communism in Eastern Europe.

According to Amoss, resistance cells with members who made contact with U.S. intelligence agents or émigré ethnic anticommunist organizations were being penetrated by Soviet and Soviet Bloc intelligence agencies, broken up, the members tortures, and sometimes executed. Therefore, Amoss urged U.S. intelligence policy be shifted from an old-fashioned hierarchical model such as that used in WWII with resistance organizations, and refocused on encouraging “Leaderless Resistance to destabilize and subvert Soviet occupation of Eastern European countries such as Poland, the example he cites in detail in his essay. Amoss warned that traditional hierarchical underground cells organized by the CIA in Eastern Europe were being penetrated and liquidated by Soviet and Eastern Bloc counterintelligence operations

Amoss: “we do not need ‘leaders’; we need leading ideas. These ideas would produce leaders. The masses would produce them and the ideas would be their inspiration. Therefore, we must create these ideas and convey them to the restless peoples concerned with them.”

In 1961 leaflets were airdropped over Cuba by anti-Castro Cuban exiles and their allies with close ties to the Central Intelligence Agency. The leaflets used the concept of Leaderless Resistance and called for the creation of “Phantom Cells” (Celulas Fantasmas).

There was no apparent connection between Amoss and the leaflets, according to Michael Paulding, who is writing a book on an early OSS figure and has studied Amoss and his work. Amoss died in November 1961, a few months after the failed CIA-orchestrated Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. Amoss’s Leaderless Resistance essay is republished posthumously in 1962 in the INFORM newsletter, having been rewritten from the 1953 original by a freelancer, according to Paulding.

Also issued after the 1962 version is a 4-page flyer credited to Amoss, with 3 July 1953 at the end, and the notation after Amoss’s name “Reprinted from INFORM, Issue No. 6205, 17 April 1962.

The Amoss essay is said by some authors to have been republished in a 1963 Paladin Press edition of the revolutionary instruction manual 150 Questions for a Guerrilla by Alberto Bayo Giroud. No such edition has been located to date by PRA, and repeated attempts to contact Paladin Press for confirmation have been ignored. The publisher is related to Soldier of Fortune magazine, which is popular in the Patriot and White Supremacist movements, in which Louis Beam was circulating. One edition of the Bayo booklet did contain photographs and text supporting the training of anti-Castro guerrillas.

According to the Paladin press blurb: “This classic on the tactics of the guerrilla fighter was written by the mentor of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. In question and answer format, General Bayo addresses how guerrilla units should be organized, how to defend a conquered city, the skills of the perfect guerrilla and how to attack a town.”

Bayo, Alberto, General, 150 Questions for a Guerrilla, Trans. Hugo Hartenstein and Dennis Harber, ed. Robert K Brown, Colorado: Panther Publications, 1963.

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