In this installment of the tradecraft for patriots series, we’ll talk about one facet of communications used to ensure that you’re talking to the right person. In independent cell-based operations, you may find yourself needing to meet up with someone you don’t know who is part of the information chain, or who is a cutout for someone else you’re working with. Anyone who has dipped their toes into the awkward and even dangerous world of online dating knows how difficult it can be, especially in a crowded public place, to know which person is the one you’re supposed to meet. Now multiply that with the knowledge that if you approach the wrong person, you could be endangering yourself, your family, contacts, or even your whole cell or group. You need a solid way to identify people—and telling your contact that “I’ll be wearing a Gadsden flag T-shirt, tactical pants and a III% cap” is not it. (See our previous article on the gray man.) Enter the sign/countersign. It’s a password set of sorts: you say the first half, and your contact—if he is in fact your contact—replies with the second half. Let’s take a look at what these are and how to make a good one.
[dropcap]O[/dropcap]ne of the uncomfortable truths of SHTF is that regular people start doing things they would never consider in their ‘normal’ life. All you have to do is read some of the real-life stories on Selco’s blog about his own experiences during SHTF in the Balkans, where he survived for a year in a city with no government, no food distribution, no running water, and total chaos. When the grocery stores are empty and no one has water or food, things get horrifying in a hurry. Think about what you’d be willing to do to take care of your own children.
All of this doesn’t even take into account the people who are already criminals, who already hold no value for life or property. These people will stop at nothing to take what you have, and if they have to kill you to get it, so be it. (By the way, this is another reason why you need to understand the area you live in and not just the area you play with your guns in.)
Do all of these people care what the hierarchy of your group is or when and where you train? Probably not. Will they care that you have a year’s worth of food set aside? Will the people on your Facebook remember that you took pics of your food storage or bragged about how much food you were able to can this fall? What about the proud announcement that you’ve finally closed on a cabin for your bugout location? Tradecraft comes into play as a part of an overall OPSEC strategy that starts now, not when SHTF or the government decides to start going door to door with a gun confiscation.
In this second installment of our series on Tradecraft for Patriots, we’ll talk about what you’re protecting and what you’re up against. It’s no secret that the government does not agree with what you do. There’s a reason why they want your life open for inspection and your guns taken away. Their objective, of course, is control. Tradecraft makes it that much harder for them to achieve it.
Counterintelligence is the information gathered and activities conducted to protect against espionage, infiltration, surveillance, and other nasty things. It’s used by governments to protect against other state actors, but it’s also become one of the favorite activities of our own government against its citizens—especially us, patriots who stand against tyranny. TOWR, and many other patriot or III% groups, are not anti-government. We are anti-tyranny, and only seek a return to the constitutional form of government that adheres to the limits set by the Founders. That doesn’t matter, however. Patriots stand in the way of their agenda, and that makes us targets.
It all becomes a chess game, where the stakes are far higher than losing a piece on the board. It requires strategy, analysis, and a lot of careful planning and thought.
[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ere at TOWR we talk a lot about privacy and security, and it can seem pretty overwhelming in the face of all the technology out there. Nothing is 100% secure, and patriot groups have the added attention of a federal government who views us as domestic terrorists. The truth is that engaging in privacy and security measures online isn’t enough, especially for those involved in the intelligence side of things. Past that, even the most junior member of your group needs to understand the basics of what we call tradecraft. We are considering offering a class specifically on this in the spring, but for now this article series will give you an idea of the actions and behavior patterns that you as a patriot need to be familiar with—and engage in—if you want to keep yourself and your group safe.
Keep in mind that this series is NOT to help you commit violent, unconstitutional, or immoral acts. Please view the Creed of the Order for clarification on this. Our goal here is simple: Just being a Constitutionalist means you are a threat. Protect your contacts, your capabilities, your training levels, and anything else attached to your activities. We offer this series in an effort to help you at least get started thinking about how to implement it in your groups—or even in your individual life and activities.
In this first installment, we’ll talk about the types of patriot groups out there, and the types of tradecraft there are. You may find that not all of it applies to you (such as if you’re in a group that is purposely public). You may not want to bother with it yourself. But you may also realize that you might need a dedicated intelligence officer in your group, and you might also realize just how effective tradecraft is at protecting you, your group members, and your activities. Let’s get started.