Lessons for Vetting: UK Undercover Manual

Grugq has a link to very interesting material: a manual for undercover police work used in the UK. While you may flip through it, see the organizational stuff and wonder why it’s important, you may be surprised to learn that there are some pretty decent nuggets in there. How a group does something is perhaps even more important than what they’re doing, and understanding how they’re set up and how they facilitate their activities is a critical part of resisting them or dealing with them at all. While you may think it’s for the UK and therefore not applicable to us, you’d do well to read it anyway and note that some things are universal, especially when it comes to vetting.

A few examples:

Page 34: Backstopping and legend building – In case you didn’t know, there are personnel who “develop, maintain and support covert identities and structures capable of withstanding scrutiny.” That means they’ve already thought about your piddly vetting measures, and they already planned ahead. When you’re dealing with an intelligence service or agency who is willing and able to put work and expense into making sure that their fake identities hold up even if you’re looking into them, then it can be taken as gospel that your simple “internet footprint” check and $29 background peek is not going to expose them. They’ve already covered those bases.  And even if you think you’ve got a hookup for deeper checks, like an FFL who’s figured out how to run NICS checks under the table or a federal level contact who’s willing to do some searching on your behalf, they’ve probably thought about that too. In fact, they’ll have documents that back up their story, and your buddy at the Alphabet Agency may not be as helpful as you think–that’s even if he’s really trying to help at all.

Does this mean the moles and UCs can’t be exposed, or that you cannot protect yourself? No. You can, and you should, and there are ways to do it (that involve a lot more than simply checking someone’s Facebook page or paying someone to go look at public records for you).

Page 54: Conduct – This whole section talks about all of the things they can and cannot do. While you might be chuckling to yourself and thinking, “Well, that means the person I’m smoking pot with/sleeping with/acquiring materials with must be fine because they can’t do that stuff if they’re undercover,” please note the following phrase that finds its way into every single section of conduct:

“If the UCO engages in unauthorized ______ for whatever reason, this activity will be restricted to the minimum conduct necessary to mitigate the threat…” That means that the whole list of “can nots” just became a “can, as long as you can justify it.” Well, if it’s “necessary” to spend 18 months hanging out with someone before they trust you enough to let you talk them into a bomb plot, they’re okay with that. If it’s “necessary” for them to go to your activities, engage in some civil disobedience and lawbreaking, and act just as anti-tyranny as you, they’re okay with that too. And for the record, honey traps, or seduction operations, have been extremely effective for thousands of years. Do you really think they’re going to stop using them because they’re worried about the UC’s feelings, or worried that it’s not “fair?” By the way…when you see the phrase “mitigate the threat,” keep in mind that you’re the target. You’re the threat. This means they have rules, but ALL of those rules are breakable if it means they can “mitigate the threat”….that’s you.

Page 56: Agent Provocateur – Here’s something we’re all becoming very familiar with. They define an AP as someone who “entices another to commit an express breach of the law which they would
not otherwise have committed and then proceeds to inform against them in respect of such an offence.” Pay attention to that: they specifically say “which they would NOT have otherwise committed.” Think about that. Their entire purpose is to get you to do things you would not normally do, and wouldn’t do at all if they weren’t enticing you. People like to call this being “framed.” It’s not. They like to claim that being set up in this way absolves you of responsibility and makes you a victim. That’s not the case.  At the end of the day, you CAN keep yourself from being set up in this way.

(Are they willing to flat out make things up to get you? Sure. But they don’t often have to, because so many people allow themselves to be manipulated into actually doing it.)

We carry firearms and talk about how our security is OUR problem, how self-defense means no one will protect you except you. The same people, oddly enough, will engage in shoddy vetting practices, or think that whoever calls them brother and shows up to the FTX is trustworthy. They’ll turn off their location settings on Facebook “for security reasons” and then post 30 photos of themselves in the parking lot of their FTX, where anyone with a laptop and a few skills can piece together everything from license plates to home addresses to blood type, gear condition and type, who’s in what unit and what position they hold, and based on body language, sometimes even the group dynamics. It takes little time to choose someone to target, and sadly it sometimes doesn’t take long to gain their trust. Keep in mind that those who would target you have all the time in the world. They can afford to be patient, to slowly prove themselves trustworthy and slowly earn your loyalty while moving you closer and closer to the fire.

We don’t get to go through life oblivious to the threat, and we don’t get to assume that we know all the threats. Yes, the person you train next to may already be trained by someone else. The fellow ‘patriot’ offering you a good deal on a firearm or other materials may not be doing so out of the goodness of his heart. The female you’ve been talking to and trying to impress may be dutifully recording all your FTX stories. Just because you trust someone does not make them trustworthy.

Take the time to learn how to properly vet someone; don’t assume you know how, or that it’s even as simple as an internet check. Don’t press for “unity” and “national affiliation.” Don’t be afraid to question the people who you work with–even the ones you’ve worked with for a while. Don’t take on new people easily (or ever). It’s not a popularity contest, and you don’t get a bonus for having the biggest group.

Above all, be open to learning from anyone, whether you like them or not, whether you agree with them or not, even if they’re criminals. Just because you look at a drug dealer or environmental terrorist and think “well THOSE guys are criminals” doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them. Remember, there are those who look at you and think the same thing! Lastly, don’t ever be willing to bet your life or the lives of others on substandard vetting. So-called “unity” isn’t worth it.

Additional Reading:

7 Ways the Cops Will Bust You on the Dark Web

How to Make a Truly Anonymous Facebook Account, Part 1

Two Things You Need to Know About Division

Team Security and Vetting Course

NOTE: This class has been postponed. We will post more information later.. Thanks!

 

 

The Security and Vetting course is a two-day course that prepares students to obtain the skills needed to adequately validate and verify personnel in your teams and organizations. Over the course of two days, we cover the following topics:

• Introduction to Counterintelligence
• In Depth look at the threats of CI
• Operational Security
• Conversation and how to utilize it
• Elicitation skills (and Social Engineering)
• Assessing Credibility of Personnel
• Planning and Conducting a CI Interview

 

These topics are a broad overview, and we will dive much deeper into each topic. Multiple exercises are incorporated into the class to make sure students understand the topics and are able to competently perform them. This course will require critical thinking and coming out of your comfort zone.

The skills taught in this class can be utilized by any individual who values the integrity of their teams or organizations and wants to learn how to maintain that security. You will be given literature we will go over during the course and you will also receive access to exclusive content that you can access after the course to keep up with your skills. As these skills can be perishable if not practiced, we provide you all the tools required to maintain success.

The course is taught by Martin, a former Marine who served as a Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Specialist. He currently teaches this class as part of Forward Observer Magazine.

Dates: July 23-24

Location: Seattle, WA

The class is $225 per person for the whole weekend. An advance deposit of $100 is required to hold your place in the class.

Email us to hold your seat!

How to Make a Truly Anonymous Facebook Account Part I

There are plenty of articles about how to use social media without making your information public, or leaking it to various ad services and info-grabbing bots. That’s not what we’re doing. We’ll be setting up a Facebook account that is not linked to us in any way—even for those who know how to look. Keep in mind that this is NOT your standard alias account. This account not only hides your name and identity from others on Facebook, but it also hides your identity from people or agencies that might be tracking your activity–not by hiding your name, but by making you into someone else.

 

 

Why This Needs to Be Split Into Multiple Articles

Because people have short attention spans, and because the actual process of setting up the framework and getting this put together requires very careful adherence to the process. Before you even create the account, you need certain things set up—including your own head and mindset. This is a building block exercise. Today we are simply exploring the concept. Next we will start making the building blocks necessary to create and run that alternate identity on Facebook—and ultimately online in general.

Why Have a Fake/Anonymous Facebook Account?

  1. Because you want to join groups and communities without it being displayed on your personal page.
  2. Because you don’t want people in the groups you’re joining to know who you really are.
  3. Because you don’t want people who add you or interact with you to know who you are.
  4. Because you don’t want your information tracked or cataloged.
  5. Because you plan to use Facebook as a means to disseminate and/or collect information and propaganda that you don’t want linked to you.
  6. Because you plan to use this account to infiltrate a group.
  7. Because you plan to derail discussions or do some social engineering/rapport building/elicitation.
  8. Because you can, and you shouldn’t have to explain why to anyone.

Any one of these reasons is reason enough, and you may have other reasons not listed here. Whatever your thought process, let’s assume that you want/need an anonymous Facebook account that is not in any way traceable back to you. The nice thing is, this process is repeatable as many times as you need.

The Mindset You Need

In order for this to work, it needs to be used a certain way. Before undertaking this, think through your purpose in creating this account and what you want to do with it. Keep in mind that if you just want an alias account there are ways to do that. This isn’t a how-to for making an account where your name is listed as Bamf Fo Real, or Sheepdog Extraordinaire, or *Your Name* followed by a III.  That will not help you.

If you want an account where you have a new name and story, and you become someone else, that’s what this article is for.

DON’T try to make an anonymous account if:

  • You plan to immediately add all the same friends you already have.
  • You plan to use it to go right back to all of the same groups you’re already in.
  • You plan to talk to your friends and family or even known contacts with it.
  • You plan to list your location, hobbies, employer, or any other personal information.
  • You plan to use it in any way that mimics how you personally, currently use Facebook.
  • You cannot control your temper, need for attention, or need to be in charge of something.
  • You plan to use it to engage in any kind of drama involving people already in your life (such as spying on your significant other or sending jackass messages to your arch-nemesis).
  • You are too lazy to use it correctly (“I’m just gonna check this one thing quick while I’m here at home…”)

DO make an account if:

  • You are joining your local leftist/anti-gun/communist/liberal group and you need a new ‘identity’ to get into it.
  • You are planning to use the account for controlling discussion in various groups through tactics discussed elsewhere, such as these.
  • You plan to use it for disruption in certain groups, or releasing information that exposes people.
  • You don’t plan to really post anything but the kind of stuff your targets and/or groups are looking for and aren’t going to foster discussion on your page; you just want to be able to lurk.
  • You need to have a Facebook account to ‘back up’ the name or identity you’re giving people for your liberty activities.
  • You want to keep Uncle Sugar out of your liberty activities (if you plan to perform support functions and/or ‘gray’ activities, you need to keep Uncle Sugar out of your stuff).

Facebook is horrible. We all know that. However, there are times you may need to use it. This is for those times.

**Note: We are not advocating that you use this for illegal activity. We are not responsible if you decide to watch/buy/sell/interact illegal, immoral, or just plain disgusting stuff. Use your powers for good.

The Tools You Need

In order to pull this off, you need to have a few things in place. Setting up the account itself is rather simple, but you need to have a framework in place to make it as airtight as possible (keeping in mind that nothing is 100% perfect…this will definitely make them work for it, if they can get it at all). Here’s a basic list of things you need already set up. (We’ll go over these in more detail).

  1. Access to a VPN, ideally two. (check PrivacyTools.io for a list of solid VPNs that do not operate in the US.)
  2. An updated and current Tails OS running on a flash drive, or a virtual machine.
  3. The Tor Browser (found on Tails as well as a standalone for other uses)
  4. At least $20 in Bitcoin, already mixed, split, and sitting in an anonymous wallet (or five). Bonus points if you also have at least two other wallets in other cryptocurrencies and did some swapping back and forth there as well.
  5. A new name and basic cover (try this site if you get stuck thinking of a random name/identity).
  6. Patience.

What can we do with all of that? A lot.

In the next article we will walk through some of the steps necessary to set up your completely new identity on Facebook. In future articles we’ll go over how to flesh out that identity, give it some depth, and start using it for various activities even outside Facebook. In the meantime, get familiar with the tools and articles above, and start thinking about how to leverage them in your favor.

5 Ways to Improve Your Critical Thinking

Today’s helpful tidbit comes from Lifehacker, who has a great (common sense?) article on improving your critical thinking skills—which, by the way, are often sorely lacking. Next time you see a news article going viral, or someone’s “analysis” on something, stop and follow these 5 steps. You’ll find yourself being a lot more effective in separating the wheat from the chaff.

  • Formulate your question: Know what you’re looking for specifically. If you’re considering going on a diet, for example, know whether you’re trying to lose weight, have more energy, or just to improve your nutrition. Break things down to their base level.

  • Gather your information: Now that you know what’s relevant to your problem or decision, research it. Reach out to an expert, read up on the subject, or talk to people who have experience with the same subject matter.

  • Apply the information and ask critical questions: What concepts are at work? What assumptions exist? Is your interpretation of the information logically sound?

  • Consider the implications: Look beyond the short-term and think about how your decision will shape things in the long-term. Something that will benefit you now may not benefit you in the future. What’s at stake? What can go wrong?

  • Explore other points of view: By understanding other perspectives, you learn more about the subject. You’re also given an opportunity to reflect on the information you have and how you feel. For example, if you learn why people are against the diet you’re considering, that may affect your decision.

 

Watch the TED talk on this here. Also try this article on critical thinking. Remember—facts don’t care about your feelings, your agenda, your likes or dislikes. Follow the truth, no matter where it leads.

10 Rules for Liberty Guerrillas

There’s an excellent list up here regarding some basic operating rules for liberty guerrillas. If you haven’t seen it, we highly suggest you take a look. Read, learn, and live. Via WRSA:

1. It is important to maintain a belief in final victory. Morale is everything.

2. Large numbers of [counter propaganda] appearing day after day, night after night, everywhere, will make the Regime nervous and raise the self-confidence of the population since such activities demonstrate the inefficiency of the existing Regime and the power and strength of the resistance movement.

3. Whenever practical, successful guerrilla forces use non-electronic means to communicate.

4. It is a principle of political science that it is easier to persuade people to vote against something or someone than to persuade them to vote in favor of something.

5. Liberty guerrillas form centers of resistance EVERYWHERE and they are always in action. Thus, when the Regime attempts to confront/solve one “media” crisis of anti-Regime opinion, another flares up. This serves to also drain the Regime’s manpower and resources.

6. Always, always, ALWAYS be on the offensive.

7. Short, snappy slogans spread the message. Advertising/marketing gurus know that to gain traction, a slogan must be 7 words or less.

“BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE”.

Turn the tables on the opposition: Palin’s “Obama: WTF indeed” is classic.

8. Mix it up. Never be predictable. But always be lawful.

9. Undermine the Regime’s morale and their propaganda by exposing their methods and by constant emphasis on the unjustness of their cause and effects on the population.
(Higher prices? Thanks, Obama).

10. Exploit the alternative media to communicate the ideas of the Liberty movement and resistance to the Regime. Be everywhere; be informed; make it known you are aware of the lies disseminated by the Regime and aren’t falling for them.

We need to stop posting memes and talking about action, and start using the tools available to us (social media, computers in general, tradecraft, peaceful civil disobedience, etc.) to change the game.