Community Defense & the Elements of Soft Power

In case you haven’t already read it, there’s an excellent article up at Guerrillamerica regarding how to leverage something called soft power through influence and persuasion.

For individuals and communities preparing for a future that incorporates violence and morally ambiguous situations, to omit developing soft power is an unwise move. We can imagine lots of realistic scenarios in which soft power will enable us to achieve or maintain security: gaining the trust of community members to contribute to the security effort, working with local authorities to fight known threats, sharing information with neighboring communities and security groups, and persuading at-risk segments of a community to not support threat elements.

How can we develop soft power as a part of community defense? First, focus on your reputation. There are militias, security teams and prepper groups that have poor reputations, stemming from poor leadership, unrealistic, unethical or immoral goals, past indiscretions, and incompetence. When cooperation is a necessity for community defense, these groups are going to have a much more difficult time finding partners to push in the same direction. You don’t want to be a security partner of last resort with a team reluctant to work with you.

Read the whole thing.

Tradecraft for Patriot Groups: Overview

[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.

Continue reading “Tradecraft for Patriot Groups: Overview”

73 Rules of Spycraft for Patriots – Rules 12-21

Happy Monday, Patriots!

My apologies for this next spycraft article taking as long as it did. No excuses, I just didn’t get it out as soon as I had hoped. More cool stuff is falling into place here at TOWR, so stay tuned.

Without further ado, let’s see what Mr. Dulles has for us today. The full piece we’re quoting is available here. This is part two. Use the navigation links to find part one if you’re lost.

12. Booze is naturally dangerous. So also is an undisciplined attraction for the other sex. The first loosens the tongue. The second does likewise. It also distorts vision and promotes indolence. They both provide grand weapons to an enemy.

13. It has been proved time and time again, in particular, that sex and business don’t mix.

Many patriots believe that what an individual does to their own body is their own business and no business of the state. We would agree. However, if your mind is clouded with alcohol, lust, or mind/mood altering drugs, you are not able to operate as wisely as you need to. We face an opponent that is better equipped and has a longer supply chain than we do; we can’t afford to handicap ourselves further by regularly impairing our judgement.

That’s not a suggestion that you not have fun or drop booze entirely. I drink a few times a week, but never enough to impair my judgement.

14. In this Job, there are no hours. That is to say, one never leaves it down. It is lived. One never drops one’s guard. All locations are good for laying a false trail (social occasions for instance, a casual hint here, a phrase there). All locations are good for picking something up, or collecting… for making a useful acquaintance.

15. In a more normal sense of the term “no hours,” it is certainly not a business where people put their own private arrangements before their work.

16. That is not to say that one does not take recreation and holidays. Without them it is not possible to do a decent job. If there is a real goodwill and enthusiasm for the work, the two (except in abnormal circumstances) will always be combined without the work having to suffer.

Dulles deals a bit more here with work/life balance. For us, I think the takeaway is that we should always have liberty on our mind, and evaluate/cultivate relationships accordingly. Keep building your network, even if the people you’re dealing with are not patriots or preppers. The time may come when you need to have a friend in their business, or at least an acquaintance that won’t turn you in.

Addressing points 15 and 16, we have a bit more of a delicate balance than the professional spy. For us, “private arrangements” are the reason we do what we do. It does us no good as individuals to be completely prepped for everything, to be active in liberty circles, and to go to every rally, if we lose our families in the process. Even if you have to go slowly, every step you take toward liberty now is one less you’ll need to take later.

17. The greatest material curse to the profession, despite all its advantages, is undoubtedly the telephone. It is a constant source of temptation to slackness. And even if you do not use it carelessly yourself, the other fellow, very often will, so in any case, warn him. Always act on the principle that every conversation is listened to, that a call may always give the enemy a line. Naturally, always unplug during confidential conversations. Even better is to have no phone in your room, or else have it in a box or cupboard.

Well, this is certainly a loaded topic that we could do a whole post on by itself.

What would Dulles say about the modern cell phone? Consider some of the ways that it can be used against you:

  • Call intercepts.
  • Location via tower triangulation.
  • Location via GPS tracking.
  • Location via social media check in.
  • Email intercept via broken apps.
  • Email intercept via screen scraping.
  • Eavesdropping via remote microphone activation.
  • Activity monitoring via motion sensing.

As Dulles says, even if you mitigate those issues by leaving the phone at home or removing the battery, others you meet may not be as careful. Certainly, remove the batteries of your phones, use signal blocking bags, or leave them home when you need to discuss important issues.

Don’t forget other technologies that can spy on you as well – smart TVs, Kinect, laptops, and tablets.

18. Sometimes, for quite exceptional reasons, it may be permissible to use open post as a channel of communications. Without these quite exceptional reasons, allowing of no alternative, it is to be completely avoided.

19. When the post is used, it will be advisable to act through post boxes; that is to say, people who will receive mail for you and pass it on. This ought to be their only function. They should not be part of the show. They will have to be chosen for the personal friendship which they have with you or one of your agents. The explanation you give them will depend on circumstances; the letters, of course, must be apparently innocent incontinence. A phrase, signature, or embodied code will give the message. The letter ought to be concocted in such fashion as to fit in with the recipients social background. The writer ought therefore to be given the full details of the post boxes assigned to them. An insipid letter is in itself suspicious. If however, a signature or phrase is sufficient to convey the message, then a card with greetings will do.

In today’s world, it’s easy to forget that email is just as available to state actors as regular snail mail, unless extraordinary protections are taken. Serious conversation should not take place over email unless those protections are taken, and even then, only when it cannot be avoided.

If you’d like to learn more about some of those protections, come to our cryptoparty on December 5th in Renton, WA. It is completely free. It’s not a class in the traditional sense, but still a great learning opportunity for people of all skill levels.

Back to the rules, number 19 brings to the forefront the need to have codes established in case you need to communicate in clear text. Those codes will be up to you and your group, and be operationally dependent. Simple is better, but do what you need to to in order to accomplish the mission.

20. Make a day’s journey, rather than take a risk, either by phone or post. If you do not have a prearranged message to give by phone, never dial your number before having thought about your conversation. Do not improvise even the dummy part of it. But do not be too elaborate. The great rule here, as in all else connected with the job is to be natural.

There’s not much to add here. Make the safest choice when lives are in the balance, and be natural.

21. If you have phoned a line or prospective line of yours from a public box and have to look up the number, do not leave the book lying open on that page.

Our modern equivalent would be “Don’t search for something sensitive over the open Internet.” Your search history will come back to bite you and those you care about. At the least use a live CD and a search engine that doesn’t save your history, like startpage.com. Better would be to use Tails from another network (such as McDonalds or Starbucks).

Well, that seems like a good stopping point for today. As always, thank you for your support. Don’t forget our upcoming events, the Sparks31 Communicator Course on November 14-15, and the Cryptoparty on December 5.

Please pray for us as we decide what classes to offer next, pray for Christians around the world and at home as they are persecuted, and pray for wise, dedicated patriots to rise up and prepare for whatever is coming next for our nation.

Educate. Empower. Resist.

Rapport and Influence Part 2: RASCLS

Last week in Part 1 we talked about the need for rapport, and how crucial it is to foster it and use it to create influence networks that we can leverage to get things done, collect intelligence, or simply to have people available who can help you when you need it..  The next logical question is “How, exactly, do I influence others?” That’s what we’ll be talking about today.  There are six tools—weapons of influence, as they’re known—that you can use to build influence in your relationships with other patriots, in your groups, and even with sources and assets.

Many of you may be familiar with Dr. Robert Cialdini and his principles of influence. If you are, then this will be a great refresher tailored to the individual patriot. If you’ve never heard of any of this, that’s even better–we’ll give you a fantastic overview. The CIA calls it RASCLS, and that’s the context we’ll be studying it in. Keep in mind that this is literally just an overview.  We’ll get into each of the skills individually and how you can use them in later parts of this series.

(Note: I’ll use the word “target” in this article, but it’s not a negative connotation. In tis context, it’s simply meant to denote whoever you’re using it on.)

Continue reading “Rapport and Influence Part 2: RASCLS”

Rapport and Influence Part 1: Why Do We Need It?

In an ongoing movement that has resistance and non-compliance as two of its most basic facets, often the skill of rapport-building falls by the wayside. Far too many see rapport-building as “sucking up” or “compromising,” when in reality it’s an incredibly necessary skill for the overall mission—both long-term for the greater cause and short-term for whatever situation you’re currently in or working on. Rapport is a necessary social currency. Those who choose not to carry it or earn it end up finding out that they are dead broke in other areas—like information, supplies, or even trustworthy personnel—when it matters most.

Continue reading “Rapport and Influence Part 1: Why Do We Need It?”