Forward Observer: Podcast on Low Intensity Conflict/Chetnik Guerrilla Warfare

In this podcast, intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer talks about Chetnik guerrilla warfare and how he believes it may presage low intensity conflict developing in the USA.

One of the more interesting things I’ve been doing is reading histories of multi-sided conflicts.

On today’s Out Front with Samuel Culper radio show, I talk about the three-sided war between the Nazis, the Chetniks (a Serbian nationalist group), and Soviet-backed communist partisans in early 1940s Yugoslavia.

It was ugly.

The Chetniks waged guerrilla warfare on the Nazis and communists. The communists waged war against the Nazis and the Chetniks. And the Nazis attacked them back. It was a brutal time in history for the Serbs.

And my concern is that our low intensity conflict, when it does really heat up — maybe as soon as this fall — is going to lead to similar types of attacks on Americans from all walks of life.

What’s worse than a simple civil war is a protracted, multi-sided tribal conflict that doesn’t end.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpZqzgKdnbc

Forward Observer: 5 Steps to Setting Up an Intelligence Network for SHTF

Intelligence Analyst Sam Culper at Forward Observer presents Five Steps to Setting Up an Intelligence Network for SHTF. He also invites you to his Intel Bootcamp.

Many of you feel a sense of urgency about the future… Like things might spiral out of control around November or shortly thereafter.

And despite that sense of urgency, I know there are lots of reasons why you might not take my latest online course.

As you may have heard, the Intel Bootcamp course starts today.

I’m going to show students how they can build a local intelligence network to facilitate information-sharing during what disasters may come.

I’m removing the fogginess of what to do next, the guess work and the trial-and-error.

If you watch these instructional videos and complete the tasks I outline, then you’re going to be head and shoulders above your peers and the competition.

For those who aren’t going to take this course, I want to outline five things you need to know… (This stuff is in the course, by the way.)

1. Start a neighborhood watch. It doesn’t matter how many people join at first — just get it started. You can use this organization immediately to share information, plus there are numerous benefits later on.

2. Focus your efforts. It’s easy to get bogged down by just how much useless information comes through the news. Use my 60/30/10 model to focus your collection locally. Sign up for local sources of official information and automate your collection as much as possible.

3. Be deliberate. Identify your intelligence gaps — figure out what you need to know. From these gaps, you generate collection requirements — the pieces of information that need to be collected. If we’re not deliberate about collection, we’re going to end up with junk.

4. Develop people, not sources. Don’t think of developing sources as purely transactional. Yes, we want them to find useful information and pass it to us, but these people are our neighbors and community members. They want the same thing we do: a safe neighborhood and early warning about local threats. Build trust and friendship as you build our your local network.

5. Lean on existing groups. Lots of areas have existing civic and political groups. These groups are not only sources of information, but also recruiting pools for people who are concerned about the future and interested in communities safe from crime, mob violence, looting, or worse. Either join yourself, or task members of your network to join these groups. Many hands make light work.

There is, of course, a lot to do. And there’s a lot more to it than this.

But if you internalize these five goals for yourself and act on them, then you’re going to be well on your way to building a solid information-sharing network for when disaster does strike…

Forward Observer: Election 2020 – Catastrophic Failure? The Evidence Is Stacking Up

This video comes from intelligence analyst Sam Culper at Forward Observer.

Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations (1996) describes a world in disarray following the collapse of the American Empire.

In the latest Forward Observer TV video, I describe what that looks like for the United States, focusing on uncertainty surrounding November elections.

Forward Observer: What’s Next for the Urban Insurgencies

Intelligence analyst Sam Culper at Forward Observer writes about the continuing urban insurgency in What’s Next for the Urban Insurgencies.

For the past couple months, I’ve been hitting some old counterinsurgency standby’s. The last time I read most of the these manuals and books was prior to deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Somehow insurgency followed us back.

Given that the reelection of President Trump is likely to blow wide open these urban insurgencies, it’s long past time for us to begin or continue learning about the cat and mouse of the insurgent and counterinsurgent. In this case, anarchist insurrectionists are trying to foment a broader insurgency against local, state, and federal government.

In his book Counterinsurgency Warfare, author David Galula outlines six strengths and weaknesses that determine the potential for a successful counterinsurgency campaign. I’ll list them below with some brief notes on the current situation.

1. Galula writes that an absence of problems in a country makes insurgency virtually impossible. Since there is no absence of problems — we have both real and artificial problems in this country — an insurgency was virtually inevitable as soon as local, state, and federal governments were weakened, as they are now.

2. Next, a national consensus against insurgents is a strength that this country currently lacks. There’s no national consensus on anything, and there’s substantial support for the insurgents, which strengthens the urban insurgencies.

3. Resoluteness of counterinsurgent leadership is the next strength or weakness. The Trump administration currently has the resolve to wage counterinsurgency, but there’s been opposition from state and local governments. The insurgents’ political and social efforts will focus on degrading the administration’s capacity to execute a counterinsurgency campaign, increasingly so after President Trump’s potential reelection. (The activism against ICE in previous years is a good example.) The Trump administration will face significant problems in instituting a whole-of-government approach, likely leading the administration to take more deliberate or extreme actions, which will increase accusations of fascism.

4. A major factor in any outcome is the counterinsurgents’ knowledge of counterinsurgency warfare. The Trump administration will rely on those with experience in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places where a shaky counterinsurgency strategy was unevenly applied. Regardless of strategy, defeating urban insurgencies could become a multi-year process in places like Portland and Seattle, as America experiences its own version of the “Irish Troubles” — albeit not an exact comparison.

5. The machine for control of the population includes four factors which a second Trump administration could lack: the political structure (x), the administrative bureaucracy (x), the police (), the armed forces (x/✓). If reelected, President Trump will either face a split Congress or a Democratic majority in both the House and Senate, and lack control of the political structure. The Trump administration doesn’t have control of the administrative bureaucracy now and is likely to lack control in a second term. The Trump administration will likely retain control over most federal law enforcement, and is likely to have influence over some local and state law enforcement — that’s certainly less the case in areas where there’s local political support for the insurgencies. Army Secretary Mark Esper and GEN Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, last month demurred at the deployment of regular Army troops to confront rioters. Esper and Milley can be replaced with military officials who are more amenable to using the military to put down insurrections, but Democrat-majority Congress would cast doubt on how effective the use of armed forces would be.

6. The sixth and final factor is geographic conditions. These insurrections will primarily occur in urban areas, regardless if they trigger a national insurgency. The most important thing we learned about fighting against urban insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan is that the counterinsurgency effort can be incredibly disruptive to the city.

Both sides are vying for support of the populace, so the insurgent must develop and propagandize a cause that will garner popular support — this is where the overall effort is won or lost.

These are some initial thoughts on what we could be looking at for at least the next four years, based on Galula’s factors presented in Counterinsurgency Warfare. These are not predictions, of course, but I do hope these initial thoughts are helpful in understanding the future…

Forward Observer: 100 Days – What You Should Be Doing for Local Intelligence

Intelligence analyst Sam Culper at Forward Observer talks about developing local intelligence.

To be blunt, stable states and societies don’t have armed political factions shooting each other.

Yet the proliferation of armed groups on both the political Right and Left means that organized political violence could develop.

And that means, right now, government risks losing the monopoly on the use of force.

On this trajectory, the U.S. could move from a stable to a fragile or failed state.

And that means that the value of local intelligence has never been higher.

For this week’s Dispatch, I cover my thoughts on these developments and what we can be doing locally to develop intelligence for community security.

Forward Observer: November as a Tipping Point

Intelligence analyst Sam Culper at Forward Observer writes about civil unrest and possible coming constitutional crisis in November if a failed election occurs in the article The Jungle Grows Back.

A couple years ago, I read a book, entitled “Clash of Civilizations,” in which the author Samuel P. Huntington offers a controversial look at the rise and fall of civilizations. Huntington sums up a world in disarray following the decline of the United States, the unraveling of the world order, and ultimately, the fate of the West. Historians are likely to look back on November 2020 as the tipping point, in one direction or another, for the American civilization.

What’s unique is that Huntington warned about this as early as the 1990s, when he wrote not just about the eventual decline of the United States as the world’s superpower, but also the changing shape of conflict.

Civilizations, he writes, are bound by “common objective elements, such as language, history, religion, customs, institutions, and by the subjective self-identification of people.” And due to geography, competition for resources, and other factors, these civilizations regularly come into conflict.

Perhaps the most intriguing of his arguments is what happens to a civilization, in this case the West, after protracted moral decline and cultural decay. Citing historian Caroll Quigley, Huntington writes that decay occurs “when the civilization, no longer able to defend itself because it is no longer willing to defend itself, lies wide open to ‘barbarian invaders.’”

Huntington questions whether or not the West would remain viable, or if it could ever been renewed in the face of this decay.

But Huntington also writes about America’s place in the world during this period of decline:

“All in all, the emerging world is likely to lack the clarity and stability of the Cold War and to be a more jungle-like world of multiple dangers, hidden traps, unpleasant surprises and moral ambiguities.”

Yet this warning may also end up describing the domestic social and political order in years or decades to come.

We might say that, given the civil unrest, the cultural revolution and Far Left political insurgency, and a growing legitimacy crisis for the federal government, ‘the emerging United States is likely to lack the clarity and stability of the previous period, and to be a more jungle-like world of multiple dangers, hidden traps, unpleasant surprises and moral ambiguities.’

There’s some uncertainty over how permanent this period of social unrest will be. Some have predicted that there’s no going back from here. Others say the anger, like the country experienced in 1968, will eventually subside and give way to a more peaceful era. There’s little reason to believe that civil unrest will magically disappear after the November election, even if domestic conditions do simmer down through the summer.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry recently warned of a potential revolution if President Trump is reelected. Far Left activists have promoted protests and violence if Joe Biden wins because Biden has expressed support for law enforcement and police organizations. And there’s the potential for accelerationist violence regardless of who wins.

Frankly, the biggest risk we face is a constitutional crisis stemming from disrupted November elections — perhaps a failed or contested presidential election — which could mark a point of no return for the United States.

Earlier this month, we reported to Forward Observer subscribers that the United States Postal Service had encountered delivery issues during state primaries earlier this year. Some voters in Ohio, Indiana, New Jersey, Maryland, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. experienced a wide array of delays, “unintentional missorts,” missing ballots, postmark issues, and missed delivery deadlines during their primaries. According to analysis done by The Intercept, some 950,000 mail-in ballots went uncounted in the 2016 elections. Accusations of voter fraud or voting irregularities are likely to be amplified this year due to the country’s political and social conditions.

Given the likelihood for an unprecedented volume of mail-in ballots in November, there are already questions about whether the postal service can handle the increased load. In previous months, the USPS has suffered from decreased revenue, staffing issues, and bureaucratic mismanagement — evidence that their efforts are likely to be strained during the election. There are a number of other issues, like a state’s inability to quickly process large volumes of mail-in ballots, which have led to vote counting delays in primaries this year. And, of course, these conditions could spell delays for final counts in November, as well.

This is not to say that substantial voting issues are an inevitability, or that this will certainly lead to a catastrophic failure. But the evidence is stacking up that processing election results will be challenging and that results may be delayed.

The 2000 presidential election, for instance, wasn’t decided until nearly mid-December after lawsuits ended with a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. I question what the country’s political and social agitators will do in the weeks following Election Day, in the event that the 2020 presidential election is litigated up to the Supreme Court.

That’s just a lot of time for political maneuvering and strategic disinformation from both sides, which is sure to rile up political factions and maybe lead to political violence…

Continue reading at Forward Observer by clicking here.

Law Enforcement Today: John Kerry Suggests Revolution Possible if Trump Elected Again

Ukraine revolution, 2014

Law Enforcement Today reports that Former Senator John Kerry suggests there will be a revolution if Trump gets elected again in a statement made at the Alliance of Democracies.

“If people don’t have adequate access to the ballot, I mean that’s the stuff on which revolutions are built. If you begin to deny people the capacity of your democracy to work, even the Founding Fathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, we have an inherent right to challenge that. And I’m worried that increasingly, people are disaffected.”

John Kerry also suggested that America would be in terrible shape globally if Trump were to lead America in a second term as President, according to Politics.

Kerry added while at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit 2020, that America can only become a world leader again if former Vice President Joe Biden wins in the November election.

PJ Media sheds some light on this rhetoric by Democrats due to some relation between the U.S. State Department and their associated NGOs such as USAID, Freedom house, and NED of which they gave significant amounts of money to George Soros funded businesses in Ukraine.

The plan by the U.S. State Department was to develop a program named Tech Camps where people in other nations would be taught on how to use technology, tools, and media to form movements of protestors. All of these movements received money from Soros related NGOs and U. S. agencies.

Such movements helped overthrow Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine. The movement was known as the Maidan protestors and known as the Maidan Revolution.

This revolution caused U.S. diplomats to ensure they governed who would be in office after Yanukovych. The Maidan Revolution is not the only movement where our U.S. State Department has participated in such behavior…(continues)

Intelligence Analyst Sam Culper at Forward Observer adds:

One factor that led to regime change in Ukraine’s Maidan revolution was the ability of political opposition to quickly establish popular belief that elections were rigged or ballots were falsified. Kerry is painting a soft justification for domestic revolution upon claims of voter disenfranchisement in a Trump electoral victory. While a left wing revolution will include violence, we’re more likely to see the development of a Maidan or Tahrir Square type of mass protest scenario, than a traditional armed revolution. Throughout the past year, left wing influencers have encouraged mass mobilization protests where millions of Americans would fill the streets and become disruptive enough to force President Trump to resign. Those efforts have so far fizzled. Taking into consideration some recent predictions that President Trump will not willingly depart the White House if defeated, it’s clear that certain elements are priming widespread activism going into November.

Forward Observer: Expanding the Socialist Insurgency

Intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer discusses socialist split within the Democratic party in 2021: Expanding the Socialist Insurgency.

One of the more interesting trends we’re watching is the bifurcation of the Democratic Party.

In structure, it’s slightly reminiscent of how the Republican Party broke along the Conservative Inc. establishment and the Tea Party starting in 2009.

Progressive political action committees like Justice Democrats and Courage to Change — the political action committee of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — are running primary candidates against incumbent liberals in a bid not just to unseat the moderates, but to change the political makeup of Congress. There’s a political insurgency being waged within the Democratic Party, pitting establishment moderates against their socialist challengers.

In last week’s livestream, I provided an update on the progress of the Far Left. Justice Democrats candidates, for instance, have won three primaries, lost three, and still have three in upcoming primaries. Jamaal Bowman, endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America, is one to watch — an AOC clone from New York trying to unseat Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY).

The failed Bernie Sanders campaign squashed any hope of putting a socialist in the White House next year, and the reaction to Joe Biden has been downright cold. While Sanders has been busy campaigning for socialists in primaries and down ballot elections, Democrats have criticized Sanders for not doing enough to support Biden. Similarly, instead of expending resources to help Biden, socialist outlets have promoted winning locally, too.

By gaining more power at the local and state levels — electing lower court judges and district attorneys, for instance — socialists can do more to form a judicial blockade against what they describe as neo-liberal and fascist policies at the national level.

The argument has proven accurate with regard to the political power exercised by the courts and city councils during the COVID-19 shutdowns and, more recently, the riots and civil unrest. Local politicians can also provide cover for socialist disruption and facilitate the socialist insurgency.

Earlier this month, Kshama Sawant, a member of the Socialist Alternative political party and Seattle city council member, unlocked the doors of City Hall to allow hundreds of protestors inside.

More recently, professor Frances Fox Piven encouraged the socialist movement to not shy away from violence in local activism. Calling for “a revolutionary transformation,” Piven warned socialists not to “fall on this very narrow path of nonviolence,” and argued that “the violent capacity of the crowd is an important way of defending its ability to exercise disruptive power.”

You may have heard the name Piven before. In the 1990s, Piven and another socialist professor, Richard Cloward, pushed a plan to continually expand entitlement benefits and the welfare system until spending morphed into a guaranteed basic income. It’s well-known as the Cloward-Piven strategy, and has been a moderately successful one, given the growing popularity of a universal basic income.

While the socialist movement builds counter-institutions, militant trade unions, local economies, and autonomous zones — and turns grassroots organizing into social power — its political organizations are expanding representation in Congress and injecting socialists into state and local political positions.

This is yet another sign of how the United States is changing, and is another indicator that socialist success has staying power. As they rack up political and social victories, the country’s low intensity conflict will worsen.

 

Forward Observer: Is This a Revolution?

Intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer asks Is this a revolution?

Last night, a veteran friend and I were talking about our takes on the protests and riots.

Is this a civil war? A revolution? A rebellion or insurrection?

My initial assessment is that this actually is a revolution, in the sense of the Maidan or Tahrir Square, where organizers attempt to foment a popular uprising against the government.

Maidan, of course, was Ukraine’s 2014 revolution. Tahrir Square, Egypt’s during the 2011 Arab Spring. In both cases, mass protests and violence eventually succeeded in forcing the resignation of the countries’ leaders. There were other cases, too: Puerto Rico, South Korea, Spain, Iceland, and Finland each had their own bouts of widespread protests that led to political change.

All the way back in 2017, which now seems like 20 years ago, a U.S.-based militant socialist web magazine began promoting the idea of mass protests and small scale direct action as a means to bait President Trump into cracking down on Leftists nationwide.

The anticipated iron fist reaction would rally support for the Leftist cause, the authors explained, and expand the class conflict against capitalism and the state.

Since then, the idea of mass mobilization has become regular fare for both liberal and leftist think-pieces.

Rising to its highest popularity during the impeachment debacle, left wing authors encouraged mass protests where millions of Americans would fill the streets in major cities across the country, demanding an end to the Trump administration. According to this calculus, only mass mobilization could produce enough sustained political, social, and economic pressure to force President Trump’s resignation.

The country’s proponents of class conflict saw this push as a launching pad for socialist revolution. That mass mobilization effort fizzled along with impeachment, but what we’re seeing now is the result of the same organizing.

Riding on top of the protests against police brutality and the death of George Floyd is the socialist class war against law enforcement, capitalism, and the state. This is their revolution — not a singular event but a process.

In response to the protest demands, some municipalities are cutting police budgets. In some cases, there’s serious talk about dissolving police departments altogether. Ostensibly, this is to reduce police violence and redirect budgetary savings to social programs.

For the socialist revolution, without police, there are no evictions. There’s no one to stop looting, theft, and the forced redistribution of goods. Without police, there’s no one to enforce laws that protect the exploitative capitalist class against expropriation and violence from the proletariat, so the theory goes.

Now let’s answer the question: is this an actual revolution? Yes, for a few reasons.

1. These aims are nothing short of revolutionary.
2. The proponents of these political, social, and economic policy changes believe this is a revolution and describe themselves as revolutionaries.
3. We’re seeing some signs of success towards these revolutionary aims.

Success isn’t assured through electoral politics. This is why “dual power” exists. This is the concept of developing both political and social power. Institution-building in oppressed communities, outside of politics, is a form of power that can accomplish what politics often can’t. According to the theory, social power eventually grows larger than the opposition’s political power, and that becomes the basis for socialist revolution.

The bottom line is that the conflict here and it’s going to get much worse as the other side responds. Welcome to the next phase of our low intensity conflict.

Forward Observer: Where Do We Go from Here? Riot Edition

Intelligence analyst Sam Culper at Forward Observer discusses riots and low intensity conflict in Where to we go from here?

Are these protests and riots the beginning of something larger in our country’s low intensity conflict?  I’m going to try to answer that question here in a few points…

First, let’s start with a simple fact: These riots are what we consider “low intensity conflict,” which exists below the threshold of conventional war (tanks and bombers) but above routine, peaceful competition. This is a gray zone between the black and white of war where we see both violent and nonviolent activity that fails to meet the definition of declared war.

The United States is in a low intensity conflict and has been since at least 2016, if not 2008.

Second, these riots are a continuation of a broader conflict. While many were rather pure in their desire to protest the death of George Floyd, there were other elements using the opportunity to take other action.

Those who committed violence over the past several days can be separated into four categories.

1. Opportunistic actors who sought personal gain.

2. Social conflict actors who expressed their anger over the death of George Floyd and used violence as a means to coerce the political class into making desired changes.

3. Class conflict actors who committed acts of violence in their class struggle against the capitalist system. As one professor recently put it, “[L]ooting is an expression of power.”

4. And, yes, I’ve seen plenty of criticism over some of law enforcement’s heavy handed tactics. This violence should not go unnoticed, because police forces are a part of this conflict, too.

(I’ve also seen some claims that “white supremacists” were in some way responsible for the violent rioting, which comes as no surprise when one considers the outlets pushing that narrative. Pressed on that claim, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said over the weekend that “nobody really knows” the political motivations behind the violence. It didn’t stop him from making that claim prior to the interview. I’ll wager a guess: those responsible for the violence weren’t doing it on behalf of white supremacy.)

Third, it’s important to note the development of soft power. Some on the Right minimize the capability of the Far Left because the Far Left is largely unarmed. This is a mistake.

Aside from hard power — the ability to project force — there’s soft power, which exists on the moral and information plane of conflict.

Over the weekend, we saw much of mainstream media excuse the behavior of the rioters and deflect responsibility for what’s happening.

CNN’s Don Lemon complained on his show that America’s power class weren’t coming to the defense of the protestors and rioters.

“Why aren’t they helping these young people? These young people are out there standing on a platform at the edge of an abyss by themselves… Get on television or do something and help these young people instead of sitting in your mansions and doing nothing. And have some moral courage and stop worrying about your reputation and your brand,” Lemon begged.

That’s soft power. Money and funding, influence, moral support and framing the moral authority — these are the elements that enable hard power. And Don Lemon pleaded with celebrities and the donor class to help develop this soft power.

Finally — let’s look at where we could go from here because the worst might still be ahead for at least two reasons.

First, over the past few days, I’ve seen numerous examples of protestors and rioters saying they want to go to the suburbs next.

With the exception of the one video that was linked to the Drudge Report, the evidence has been on social media, with organizers and influencers putting out these suggestions to those who want to continue the protest outside of urban areas.

I read most of these comments with some skepticism, but I’m completely open to the possibility that protests and violence do migrate in some instances. That would be a mistake, in my opinion.

Today (Sunday), Attorney General Bill Barr published a press release in which he warned that the Department of Justice and the states will “reestablish law and order” through a large scale presence of police and the National Guard.

Barr also threatened that federal law enforcement is out for “violent radical agitators,” and labeled the antifascists as engaging in acts of domestic terrorism. The Department of Justice is working with all 56 regional Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) to facilitate this action.

The risk in either of these cases is that violence is escalated.

For one, some suburbs might make easy targets in the beginning, but just as we saw militias forming to protect businesses, the suburbs are likely to become harder targets for would-be rioters and looters. If it develops, this scenario obviously brings a likelihood of violence.

And two, law enforcement actions, to include arrests or raids on the homes of “violent radical agitators,” are going to aid the argument that the United States has descended into fascism. That could spark more protests and more unrest.

Forward Observer: Breaking Down the “Conflict” of Low Intensity Conflict

Intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer Breaks Down the “Conflict” of Low Intensity Conflict. Mr. Culper has been saying for some time that there is a low intensity conflict going on in the United States. In these article he goes into some more detail on what conflict means aside from armed groups shooting at each other. It starts with a short video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXMtWZOy_hI

Last Thursday, I gave the latest Strategic Warning presentation where I broke down how our low intensity conflict is shaping up.

For the uninitiated, “low intensity conflict” is war that exists below the threshold of conventional war (tanks, bombers, troops) but above peaceful, routine competition. This is essentially tribal war, as opposed to a war between standing armies, and the U.S. is still in the beginning stages.

There’s no doubt that we’re already in a low grade domestic conflict. We meet every doctrinal requirement to call this a low intensity conflict. From here, two crucial questions are 1) How bad will it get? and 2) When will it accelerate? Answering these two questions has become the focus of my work here at Forward Observer.

I want to share with you a slide from last week’s presentation, which I gave to Forward Observer subscribers, who allow me to have this incredible job.

 

Because the United States is so complex and diverse, this conflict is also complex and diverse. It’s not as simple as the Left versus the Right. The simplest way to view this low intensity conflict is through three primary layers: political, social, and economic.

We see conflict emerging where these layers overlap: the culture war (established), class conflict (developing), and intra-elite conflict (also developing).

The “Culture War”: Most are already familiar with the culture war, which has been waging since at least the 1960s. It hit another high point in the 1980s and is hitting another point now. This used to be as simple as conservatives versus progressives. But the expansion of identity politics, along the revolutionary aims from a growing number of left wing and right wing groups, make this conflict much more complex. Last year, in a piece for Foreign Affairs, Stacey Abrams (GA) wrote: “Americans must thoughtfully pursue an expanded, identity-conscious politics. New, vibrant, noisy voices represent the strongest tool to manage the growing pains of multicultural coexistence.” Stacey Abrams is the future of the Democratic Party. Regardless if you agree or disagree, this kind of attitude is driving our low intensity conflict.

Class Conflict: Wedged between the Social and Economic planes, we have class conflict. This is most easily described as “capitalists versus socialists,” which is a conflict that elites have been warning about for some time. Revolutionary politics is the main accelerator of this conflict. While the U.S. has had socialist movements in the past, the most recent iteration was brought about by the 2008 financial crisis and bail out of the corporate and investor class. And we’re seeing another iteration during this economic and financial crisis, which is leading to anger, resentment, and a desire to change the system. Socialists call this “late stage capitalism” and their movement is growing, along with the belief that the capitalist system has run its course.

Intra-Elite Conflict: Lastly, this conflict exists between the Political and Economic layers. It’s a term I first heard from Professor Peter Turchin, who also believes that the United States is headed for a period of domestic conflict. I don’t know who first coined this term, however, I use it to describe the elite political and billionaire classes fighting for control over the levers of government. As long as their guy is in the White House, their interests are preserved. More recently, this has taken the form of technocrats versus populists, which in one way breaks down into the ivory-tower-elitists-who-know-what’s-best-for-the-world versus the country-bumpkin-commoners-who-cling-to-their-guns-and-religion. It’s here where we can answer the question, “When will this conflict accelerate?” If the country’s elites capitulate to reality and choose sides in this conflict, either by desire or necessity, then we will have a legitimate and bloody domestic conflict.

One of the primary trends driving our low intensity conflict is New America versus Old America.

New America is diverse, socially liberal, economically progressive or socialist, and they lack ties, or they hold no loyalty, to the historical events, places, and people who founded the country. It’s for this reason that they want a new founding of an America that best fits their ideals and desires.

Old America, on the other hand, is primarily white, socially conservative, economically conservative, and they believe that America is an exceptional country and that Americans are an exceptional people. They often hold deep ties to the lands, events, and people who founded the country, and they believe that, while not perfect, their future is best guided by the Founding principles.

So what we have taking shape here is a bit of a Thucydides Trap. Harvard professor Graham Allison has used the term to describe what happens when a status quo power is challenged by a revisionist power, which in a majority of cases as resulted in war. The term comes from historian Thucydides, in his writings about the rise of Athens, which threatened Sparta, and ultimately led to war between the two states. More recently, the Thucydides Trap is used to describe what’s happening now between the United States and China…(continues)

Forward Observer: Leveraging HUMINT Sources

Intelligence Analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer continues writing about human intelligence (HUMINT) — see part one here — and how to exploit it for better decision making in Frontline Intelligence: Leveraging HUMINT Sources.

I continue to pick my way through Frontline Intelligence (1946), guide for new intelligence officers. One of the key responsibilities of an S2 during World War II was to gather information from friendly units. Your job as the Neighborhood S2 is no different.

“Every soldier, not just those designated as reconnaissance or Intelligence personnel, should provide the maximum information [possible]… [They should] know what you want, [should] keep their eyes and ears open, and when they find out anything [should] immediately report it.”

 

As the Neighborhood S2, it’s important that the members of your preparedness group, community security team, or neighborhood watch know what our requirements are. They have to know what has intelligence value and what they should be reporting about crime, violence, suspicious activity, etc. Additionally, they should understand how to report this information to you: phone call, email, face to face, etc.

In the Army, we used to say, “Every soldier is a sensor.” Well, every person in your group should also be a sensor and understand that they’re a sensor.

The authors continue with this advice: talk to as many soldiers as possible, explain what information you want, why you need to know it, and how it will be used to benefit the troops. “Only in this way will you ever overcome the two main stumbling blocks to troop collection of information, namely: inertia and preoccupation.”

One of the problems we encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan is what we called “the stovepipe of excellence” (because everything in the Army is “of excellence.”) Like smoke through a stovepipe, intelligence information would be pushed up from subordinate units to higher commands, but often the finished intelligence would never make it back down to the lowest levels. That in turn kept a lot of soldiers in the dark, and they often didn’t understand why it was necessary for them to report up information. They thought their efforts were useless and they were less interested in continuing to report.

The authors solved this intelligence problem as early as 1946, but it’s a lesson forgotten by many today. Don’t forget this important lesson as a Neighborhood S2.

Engage the members of your preparedness group, community security team, or neighborhood watch. Get them to understand what has intelligence value (i.e., what are your intelligence gaps?), and why reporting that information is critical. Don’t hide your conclusions from those who contributed to them. Finish that loop, so to speak. The more they understand what’s going on, the more likely it is that they’ll know where they fit in the process, and the more engagement and cooperation you’ll get from them.

The authors also point to training as a part of the solution. “The average soldier is apathetic toward all extra chores and particularly so to any which do not appear to him to be immediately and vitally essential… In battle men do most things by reflex. The things they are properly trained to do they will do automatically. It should be automatic for all seasoned troops to look for the right enemy information, and to tell the right people about it promptly.”

This means we have to invest our time and effort into our sensors, whether they’re frontline troops, our neighbors, or community members. You must develop in them a mindset geared towards recognizing information of intelligence value at all times, and then passing that on to you.

One of the largest challenges you’re going to face in organizing a local intelligence network is developing this mindset in other people. And maybe this applies to you, too. Most people are just not accustomed to being ‘turned on’ to the nuances of their environment…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Forward Observer.

Forward Observer: The Importance of HUMINT

Chief intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer has a post about the value of Human Intelligence (HUMINT), that is the intelligence gathered from other people rather than from radio signals, electronic information, or other sources, to neighborhood decision making during an SHTF situation.

Last month, I started reading Frontline Intelligence (1946), a guide for the new S2 — the military’s term for the intelligence officer.

What I like about these old intel books and manuals is that they paint a picture of what intelligence looks like without electricity and modern technology. (This manual is still talking about using gas lamps.)

It basically answers the question: How do people like you and I perform the work of the Neighborhood S2 in a worst case scenario?

If you’re reading this email, I presume one of two things: You actually ARE your neighborhood’s S2, or you’re interested in learning the skills.

Frontline Intelligence gives us a glimpse of what rudimentary Human Intelligence (HUMINT) looked like during World War II.

If you are operating in a friendly foreign company there will be, in addition to the organized allied forces, partisan groups, guerrillas, underground movements, and other sorts of patriots… Despite the fact that most textbooks ignore them, these people are extremely useful…

The author then tells the story of a group of Melanesians who later became pivotal for U.S. Forces in the Pacific.

The Japanese had impressed the island-fairing people into slavery to build fortifications. Over the course of two months, a small group of the Melanesian slaves secretly built a canoe, which they hid in some bushes, with the intention of escaping back to Allied territory.

Three of them managed to escape and, at the end of their 135-mile canoe trip, finally ran into Australian forces. The Australians quickly linked them up with an American Marine S2, where the escapees provided information to produce a detailed map of Japanese fortifications along the islands’ coasts.

It seems the same slaves that had built the Japanese system of fortifications were also the ones with some of the most detailed intelligence information about them!

So my question for you, the Neighborhood S2:

What human assets do you have in your community?

What individuals are willing or, with some coaxing or development, could become willing to share information with you, your preparedness group, your community security team, neighborhood watch, etc?

Let’s start with this simple step…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Forward Observer.

 

Forward Observer: Free Area Study Walkthrough

Heads up! Forward Observer is holding a free Aea Study walhtrough presentation, Thursday, March 26th, 2020 at 5:00pm Pacific time.

Hey Gang – THIS THURSDAY, I’ll be doing a free Area Study training session. I’ll livestream it and provide some time for Q&A.

It’s free and open to anyone who wants to get started with their Area Study, or who needs some guidance or motivation to finish one.

WHO: Samuel Culper
WHAT: SHTF Intelligence – Area Study Walkthrough
WHEN: Thurs, 26 March @ 7pm Central
WHERE: I’m still looking at platforms, but I’ll be sending out the invite-only link to everyone who registers here: https://SHTFintel.com

Yes, this session will be recorded. If you’re already a student/member, I’ll be adding it to your Forward Observer member area on Friday.

If not you’re not a Forward Observer member, you can still catch the livestream for free. You can attend this event for free. This won’t be a sales presentation. I’ll be going over real instruction and insight.

FREE: Sign up at https://SHTFintel.com and I’ll see you on Thursday evening.

Until then, be well.

Always Out Front,

Samuel Culper

P.S. – If you’ve been meaning to join FO for a while, you can do that when you’re ready at: https://members.forwardobserver.com

Below is an edited version of the webinar as given:

Forward Observer: COVID-19 Update

Intelligence analysis and training company Forward Observer sent out an email this morning with some COVID-19 news/updates.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Confirmed cases in the U.S. reached 1,257 — nearly a 24 percent increase from yesterday. Yesterday’s increase was 28 percent. The truth is that these numbers are way off. First, Chinese officials estimate that the U.S. had over 9,000 cases earlier this month, based on international flight data from Wuhan. Some American health officials are saying there’s likely to already be 20,000 cases nationwide.

A happy-medium estimate of 10,000 cases at a conservative 10 percent daily growth rate would put us over 3,000,000 cases in the next 60 days, by mid-May. While there may be some mitigating factors to exponential growth, we’re facing an incredibly disruptive future.

THE BAD NEWS: Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician for the U.S. Senate, warned senators on Tuesday that anywhere from 70 to 150 million Americans will contract COVID-19.

To put this into perspective, according to the American Hospital Association, there are 36 million hospital admissions in the U.S. each year. If 20 percent of all COVID-19 patients require hospitalization, then there could be 14-30 million extra hospital admissions. Now, China reports that about 15 percent of patients require hospitalization, but Italy says that 50 percent of COVID-19 patients have required hospitalization! If we see anywhere near that range, there’s simply not going to be enough room or staff to treat that many people.

THE GOOD NEWS: The University of Maryland School of Medicine announced that the spread of COVID-19 should ease this year as temperatures rise. That’s the first medical institution I’ve seen backing that theory. Officials warned, however, that more northerly latitudes could continue to see outbreaks into summer.

AND THEN: That pretty much confirms that COVID-19 will be back in the fall for another round of outbreaks.

U.S.: President Trump announced a series of policy steps he’s taking to stop the spread of COVID-19. By far, the most disruptive policy is that travel from most European countries will effectively end for 30 days starting on Friday. American citizens and permanent residents will be exempt.

Boeing leads the pack of U.S.-based corporations tapping credit lines, saying they’ll take out a $13.8 billion loan as insurance against a cash flow crunch. Hilton Hotels is in for $1.75 billion. Meanwhile, San Francisco is reporting hotel revenue dropping by 46 percent, 35 percent in Seattle, and 20 percent in New York. With spring break upon us and summer break right around the corner, it’s going to be a tough and sparse few months for the tourism industry. Port activity was also down 20 percent on the West Coast for the month of February. (Although, by looking at the charts, they’re used to it: they saw worse in previous years during the height of the trade war.)

ECONOMIC WARNING: BlackRock, the nation’s largest asset manager with $7 trillion AUM, advised clients that they don’t see the COVID-19 pandemic “as an [economic] expansion-ending event” — just as long as an effective federal response is enacted. Still, they see “a sharp and deep economic slowdown in the near term.” (Analyst Comment: This outlook underscores their faith that massive fiscal stimulus and favorable monetary conditions can blunt any effects leading to a 2008-esque meltdown. Yeah, my fingers are crossed, too.)

Goldman Sachs’ David Kostin advised clients that the 11-year bull market run is over, and painted a bleak picture of economic reality: “Supply chains have been disrupted and final demand has declined for many industries. Travel is contracting sharply as both individuals and businesses restrict movement. Airlines, hotels, cruises, and casinos report plunging demand, lower occupancy, and cancellations. Employees are being furloughed.”

JPMorgan Chase is alerting its clients that “a market sell-off of this magnitude implied a 65-75% chance of recession in the next year,” but a “timely, strong counter-policy response” and “a peak of COVID-19” in the coming weeks should prove the market drop an overreaction. (AC: JPMorgan Chase is expecting a peak in the coming weeks, which is at odds with what epidemiologists are saying when they expect a continuation for months.)

SHORTAGES: Coca-Cola warned of potential shortages of Diet Coke, due to supplier disruption. (The next panic buy?) Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble is warning of coming shortages, as well, for the same reason. According to one economist, the “worst impact for businesses [will] come in April and May.” (AC: At some point, accusations of “panic buying” will no longer be sufficient to explain empty shelves, and the reality of shortages will set in. Based on what I’m hearing from China, there will be a period of weeks where shortages will persist. Those shortages could be sporadic or regional, based on where your local retailers source their goods. Regardless: it’s coming.) //END

STAY AHEAD OF THE CURVE: https://members.forwardobserver.com

Each and every morning, I’m looking out for my readers. If you sign up and you’re not satisfied, just email me within seven days and I’ll refund your subscription. You literally have nothing to lose and a lot of warning signals to gain. You can sign up here: https://members.forwardobserver.com

Always Out Front,
Samuel Culper