Intelligence company Forward Observer send out to subscribers a daily summary of national information with analysis. Occasionally, Forward Observer will publicly publish these so that you can see what you get for your subscription. Below is their Early Warning report for Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021.
Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Thursday, 28 January 2021.
- The GameStop pump is a populist revolt
- Significant Activity Rollup
- Leftists employing risk assessment tools
- Anarchists call for suburban riots to regain 2020 drive
- Alleged III% militia member and Trump supporter arrested for explosives
- Upcoming Event Calendar
InFocus: The GameStop pump is a populist revolt
In yesterday’s InFocus, I wrote about the GameStop trade, where a group of Reddit users, gamers, and trolls have now reportedly caused a total of $23.6 billion in losses for hedge funds and others short-selling the GameStop stock. I described it as a form of digital plunder and questioned when social tribes would realize the immense power they could wield by weaponizing things not traditionally thought of as weapons. More than digital plunder, though, this is a populist revolt against the financial elite.
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian described it as a “bottom-up revolution,” adding that he doesn’t believe society can come back to a world where this never happened. Anthony Scaramucci of Skybridge Capital described it as “the French Revolution of Finance.” In other words, social bases are realizing they can build new forms of non-traditional power through tribal communities connected via the internet, which is exactly what you’d expect in a Fourth Generation war.
Fourth Generation War is waged by tribal entities, against each other or against the state (sometimes both), and it exists because citizens increasingly give their allegiance to their tribes — social, ideological, political, racial/ethnic, religious, etc. — rather than to the nation-state. Nationality becomes a secondary or tertiary identity at best. There are probably lots of reasons that explain why this is happening, but I believe it’s primarily because unpopular wars, financial crises and bailouts and public corruption have eroded the federal government’s legitimacy over the past 20 years. We know that governments suffering from a legitimacy crisis virtually always leads to internal strife, which is why we’re in a protracted low intensity conflict likely to last well into this decade.
Here’s why this gets worse. Instead of taking the loss, the elite class struck back. Reddit restricted access to the Wall Street Bets forum (where the GameStop plan was hatched), chat service Discord deleted the Wall Street Bets server, NASDAQ (the exchange where GameStop is listed) suggested a future trading halt “to give investors a chance to recalibrate their positions,” and popular trading apps like Robinhood restricted new buy orders on GameStop to reverse the rise of the stock price. There are likely to be new regulations and possibly legislation aimed at preventing another iteration, and there may even be bailouts for Wall Street firms wrecked by this nasty trade reversal. Yes, there was a potential for large losses to worsen if no action was taken, with debt defaults being passed off as losses to banks and insurers, which some say could threaten financial contagion. But the attempts to both limit the damage and erase these tribal villages from the internet will backfire. Instead of giving up, members of the digital populist revolt are vowing to redouble their efforts to drive the GameStop share prices higher and punish the hedge funds, even if it means financial ruin. On this morning’s open, GameStop soared momentarily to $469, and sits at $226 at the time this report was published. According to NASDAQ data, 129% of GameStop shares are still in open short positions.
Ultimately, this is a net win for populists and another “red pill” that delegitimizes the ruling class. The extremely online Generation Z was exposed to possibly it’s first glimpse of “the system” in action, where it’s okay for Wall Street to profit from the demise of others, but it’s not okay for financial elites to get wrecked. This is probably going to ensure the survival of populism for another generation in what the elites hope is a post-Trump, counter-populist, technocratic society. They’re going to be wrong. – S.C.
Significant Activity Rollup
- The Biden administration is developing a commission to study reforms to the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary. At least one commission member has expressed openness to expanding the Supreme Court. (Analyst Comment: As we recently see, lawsuits filed by conservatives states are likely to plague the Biden administration’s efforts to enact some executive orders and other federal policies. Texas won a lawsuit this week after a federal judge, a Trump appointee, blocked the administration’s plan to “pause” deportations for 100 days, which likely confirmed administration expectations of judicial roadblocks spurring the commission in the first place. The order is temporary, and the Biden administration is appealing. – S.C.)
- Nothing Significant to Report (NSTR)
- The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin yesterday, warning that domestic violent extremists (DVE) “could continued to mobilize to incite or commit violence.” (AC: The report didn’t cite a credible or specific threat. I’m not discounting the risk of political violence, but this really looks like an attempt to keep this topic in national headlines and create latitude for the Biden administration to pursue DVE security policies and possibly legislation. For years, we’ve reported on “accelerationist” chatter, while accelerationists have complained about the lack of accelerationist violence. For now, there simply isn’t enough right wing violence to justify the Biden administration’s policy plans, which leads me to believe that these efforts are directed towards a future where domestic policies foment unrest, protests, and possibly political violence by right wing groups or individuals. Biden executive orders, regulation changes, or legislation aimed at gun control will likely be a trigger for renewed unrest, which could follow immediately after these new DVE policies and/or laws are passed. – S.C.)
LOW INTENSITY CONFLICT INTSUM
Leftists employing risk assessment tools
Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists and antifascists are conducting risk assessments when building affinity groups, identifying member roles, and planning for public disruptions. One basic risk assessment tool they are employing is PEARL — physical capabilities, emotional capabilities, arrest-ability, roles, and loose ends. (AC: Far Left groups continue to riot and carry out disruptions this year, but lack the massive public attendance of 2020. They are utilizing these risk assessment tools, especially considering the wave of federal action against anti-state suspects, in an effort to reduce excessive or unnecessary exposure to law enforcement. In addition, they could allow for better role identification within affinity groups and better planning for higher impact disruptions. – M.B.)
Anarchists call for suburban riots to regain 2020 drive
In response to a loss of momentum of 2020 level riots, the anarchist groups Leveller and Ultra called for Leftists to shift their efforts away from large metropolitan areas and focus on the suburbs or smaller cities. They observed that urban areas are heavily policed, awash with surveillance systems, and can easily be cordoned off to stifle rioting. They stated and provided supporting materials that detail the weaknesses and advantages of these smaller cities. They noted that suburban police departments tend to be heavily equipped, but lack the experience and skill to handle unruly crowds. They highlighted the fact that they can easily be provoked into overstepping and responding with disproportionate force. They also noted that these areas often lack proper, established law enforcement staging areas, are harder to cordon off, and give the advantage to larger crowds. Finally, they recommended that rioters adopt a tactic of small groups employing vehicles to outmaneuver overwhelmed police, setting fires, looting, and serving as mobile “nodes of the riot.” (AC: We’re observing multiple groups proposing the establishment of anarchist hubs in suburban areas or smaller cities. This roughly began in October 2020 when Far Left mutual aid groups called for supporters to build infrastructure in smaller cities like Kenosha, Wisconsin, and later in Vancouver, Washington. Moving out of dense metropolitan areas into smaller cities is based on tactical considerations as well as a likely attempt to avoid isolation. – M.B.)
Federal court charges alleged Three Percenter and Trump supporter
Federal prosecutors charged Ian Rogers of Northern California for possessing unregistered explosive devices this week. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) raided Rogers’ home on 15 January following anonymous tips received in late 2020 from a disgruntled former employee that he possessed illegal firearms. The FBI repeatedly dismissed the tips on the basis that there was no connection to terrorism. The JTTF decided to act on the tip following the 06 January riot at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. In total, law enforcement seized five pipe bombs, “materials to make more,” 49 firearms, and several bomb making manuals. According to documents, agents also noted III% stickers on Rogers’ vehicles, a reference to the Three Percent ideology. Rogers’ attorney said he has no connection to the 06 January riot and added, “Mr. Rogers is not a member of any militia, or any hate group. He doesn’t espouse extremist views, even the tipster endorsed that when he was interviewed by law enforcement.” (AC: Rogers could face terrorism charges due to an exchange of text messages concerning bombings and attacks on Democrats, technology companies, and George Soros in combination with possession of explosives. Federal prosecutors highlighted a III% sticker on his vehicle and a gag gift “white privilege” card to suggest he was part of a larger, anti-state, white supremacist movement. Members of conservative militia groups will be increasingly scrutinized by federal law enforcement over the next few years, especially with any new domestic terrorism legislation being passed. We can likely expect more raids from federal law enforcement under the new administration as they appear to be taking action on a backlog of previously dismissed tips. Further attribution of acts of political violence or terrorist plots with the gun rights movement could trigger high intensity conflict. – M.B.) [source: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndca/press-release/file/1360811/download%5D
Upcoming Event Calendar
30 January: Justice for Juan Hummel Jr. (Bothell, WA)
31 January: “Black Lives (Still) Matter” disruption (Seattle, WA)
— END REPORT
S.C. indicates analyst commentary from Samuel Culper
M.B. indicates analyst commentary from Max Baer