Intelligence analyst Sam Culper at Forward Observer on What you should be doing now.
Thursday, Oct. 29th, 2020 at 5 p.m. Pacific time, PrepperNet is streaming live on YouTube with guests Sam Culper of Forward Observer, John Jacob Schmidt of Radio Free Redoubt & AmRRON, and Lady Liberty of the Political Church Podcast and Radio Free Redoubt.
Intelligence analyst Sam Culper at Forward Observer sends this short reminder. Forward Observer provides tactical and operational intelligence on the groups driving civil unrest and domestic conflict. They just hired a new analyst to the team and are ramping up production ahead of what they are calling the “Royal Rumble”. If you’re concerned about the country’s slow descent into domestic conflict, and want the ground truth during the upcoming violence and disruption between November and January, then you can join Forward Observer. Subscribe here and get access to Forward Observer’s intelligence reporting.
I’ve followed Professor Peter Turchin for several years. He’s a scientist who studies history and uses models to forecast conflicts.
For the past 10 years, he’s been warning that 2020 would be a turbulent year in American history.
In a recent article co-authored for a think tank, Turchin writes, “The social system that we live in is extremely fragile.”
The domestic conflict has already started, he continues, “[b]ut worse likely lies ahead.” Turchin describes the conflict as “the turbulent twenties”.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise to long time readers. Our Low Intensity Conflict likely started in 2016, and maybe as far back as the 2008 financial crisis.
I started writing my intelligence report on a weekly basis in 2016 because I was very confident that domestic conditions would worsen to the point of armed conflict.
After spending three years in Iraq and Afghanistan as an intelligence NCO and contractor, I knew I had what it took to track a domestic conflict.
There’s one week before the election. I can’t say for certain that we’ll see armed political violence in the coming days, but I’m certain that politically-related killings will continue.
This low intensity conflict is not going to end in November, or December, or January.
This conflict is going to rage for years.
Here at FO, to stay on top of developing conditions, we’re adding regional forums, expanding our daily podcast, and introducing a new line of intelligence products starting in early November.
You won’t be disappointed. But if you are, you can cancel your free 7-day trial anytime you like.
Stay ahead of the curve with our reporting. Subscribe here.
Until next time, be well and stay out front.
Always Out Front,
Intelligence analyst Sam Culper at Forward Observer has How the Low Intensity Conflict is Developing.
About four years ago when I started this report, I began looking for indications of increasing capabilities among both armed and unarmed Leftist groups. Although it’s rather obvious in hindsight, I hypothesized that as operational support capabilities increased, so would the intensity and volume of their actions.
It was a slow few years, and then boom — George Floyd went viral at the end of May. And Leftist groups have likely made more progress in the past four months than they have in the past four years.
The development is actually impressive. It’s far more than what’s being developed by the Right.
Affinity groups and cellular compartmentalization have long been the preferred method of Leftist organizing, but what’s developed over the summer is far and above what was traditionally included in the doctrine.
One anarchist group in the Pacific Northwest provides the best illustration. In a recent missive, the group outlined how their personnel are organized.
In addition to 4x direct action cells, they had:
- 1x logistics and transportation cell
- 2x medical aid cells
- 1x intelligence cell
This is operational support.
In order to keep direct action cells in the field, some level of support needs to be provided. The direct action cells need food, water, medical supplies, transportation, and information to continue their operations. Absent those, demonstrations become unsustainable and break down.
Historically, direct action cells have been forced into self-funding and self-supply. Over the summer, we’ve seen a concerted effort to develop support classes so that direct action cells can focus on their activities, while being supplied with food and water, medicine, real-time information, and other materials.
In the Army, this is what we called a “tooth to tail ratio”. In other words, how many support personnel are required for every trigger puller? Doctrinally, it’s something like 1:7, or seven support personnel required to field every one combat arms soldier. In Iraq and Afghanistan, it was as high as 1:20 or 1:30 (!).
Our team has observed both armed and unarmed Leftist groups develop their own tooth to tail ratio, which is now greater than 1:1. This signifies a boost in operational capacity because the more active support personnel they have, the higher they can push their operational tempo. Portland’s 100 days of rioting would not have happened without the development of operational support capability.
What we’re seeing happen with Leftist activist groups in metro areas across the country is similar to what the Portland insurgency has developed. These indicators are pointing to even more disruptive protests and additional political violence in many cities between November and January.
I just thought you should be aware.
Until next time, be well and stay out front.
Always Out Front,
Intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer writes This Is a Fourth Generation War.
Earlier this year, I did a re-read of Bill Lind’s 4th Generation Warfare Handbook (4GW) to better understand the framework of our ongoing Low Intensity Conflict.
For those who are new to the term, Low Intensity Conflict is war below the threshold of conventional war (tanks and bombers) but above routine, peaceful competition. America is not at conventional war, but it’s certainty not at peace with itself. This is the gray area of Low Intensity Conflict.
As history shows, technology and human understanding of warfare evolves, so war itself evolves. Not everyone agrees with the “generational” description of warfare, but let’s look quickly at the framework.
According to the theory, Generations 1-3 of warfare focused on the development of conventional warfighting, generally understood as:
1GW: masses of troops meeting on the battlefield in somewhat orderly warfare, such as lines and columns; to
2GW: the inclusion of centralized indirect fire and war by attrition; to
3GW: the inclusion of combined arms (land, air, and sea) and maneuver doctrine.
But something interesting happened in the Fourth Generation: the nation-state lost its monopoly on violence.
War is less and less being fought among conventional militaries and nation-states, and it’s increasingly fought by tribal entities, where both armed and unarmed combatants wage war against an enemy. (Many make the case that this is the original form of warfare, or 0GW, and they’re not wrong.)
Yet, as Lind describes, “All over the world, citizens of states are transferring their primary allegiance away from the state to other entities: to tribes, ethnic groups, religions, gangs, ideologies, and ’causes.’” In 4GW, fighting for one’s “nation” increasingly means fighting for your social tribe, instead of fighting for one’s country.
We’re seeing this right now as the American identity is being redefined and the country becomes more tribal. Small groups, most often based on ideology or race, are trying to reform or replace state power, authority, and legitimacy to benefit their own self-interests. This is the battle between New America and Old America, where “American” is becoming, for many, a secondary or tertiary identity, often behind race and/or ideology.
In 4GW, the military and nation-state has clearly lost the monopoly on warfighting, as 4GW is fought primarily on the Mental (informational) and Moral planes of conflict. The Culture War being fought right now in classrooms, corporations, and media outlets is a great indicator of 4GW, as information operations and high-horse moral pleas have become warfighting techniques to win on the Mental and Moral levels of conflict. (Notice, for instance, the rhetoric re-defining “fundamental American values”.)
Lind makes the case that killing is rarely the preferred way to win a Fourth Generation War, and that winning the Mental and Moral conflict almost always dictates the outcome of the war. In a way, to win in 4GW, you don’t necessarily need to kill your opponent; you need to reshape the information environment and shift the perception of morality so that your opponent (and/or his ideology) becomes unpopular and immoral. Once unpopular and immoral by societal standards, political and social power dries up. At least in theory, that’s how you win at 4GW.
I’ve previously described how 4GW is being fought through community organizing, institution destruction, counter-institution building, economic dislocation, corporate activism, propaganda, terraforming the electorate, and several other ways.
If you’re like me, then you’re pretty far removed from the political and media power centers in D.C. and New York, where much of 4GW originates. But that’s doesn’t mean that 4GW is not being fought in your own area.
My challenge to you is to look locally for ways in which 4GW is being fought.
Are there community organizing efforts in your area to build competing social movements?
Are there subversive political groups trying to destroy local political, cultural, or religious institutions?
Are there subversive political groups trying to build institutions to counter your own political, cultural, or religious institutions?
Is there economic dislocation (targeting income or financial health) against political or cultural opponents?
Are companies or corporations engaging in the cultural and/or political fight?
Are there attempts to expand voting rights to non-citizens, or to shame those who oppose non-citizen voting?
There are a great many more ways that 4GW is being waged, and if we’re completely focused on the national level, then we’re likely to miss 4GW action in our own communities.
Until next time, be well and stay out front.
TPC interviews intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer to talk about what could happen post-election this November. Interview dated 10/3/2020. Occasional swearing.
Intelligence analyst Sam Culper at Forward Observer answers Why the US Dollar Is at Risk in 2021
I’m starting to see a lot of conservative media activity regarding “the coming coup,” expected to take place between November and January.
As I warned Early Warning subscribers earlier this year, the Left — liberals and Leftists, alike — are planning sustained, mass mobilization protests in the vein of Tahrir Square or the Euromaidan.
Protests at Cairo’s Tahrir Square turned into an Egyptian revolution that toppled Mubarak in 2011. In Kyiv, Ukraine, months-long protests and violence led to the ouster of Yanukovich in 2013.
Meanwhile, mass protests in Belarus are aimed at removing Lukashenko from office right now.
This whole idea of an American Spring or Lafayette Square began back during the Impeachment process, where left wing activists hoped to organize mass mobilization protests that would eventually lead to the toppling of the Trump “regime”.
New York Times columnists Michelle Goldberg and Jamelle Bouie gave the idea widespread coverage, imploring the Left to mobilize. They tried to convince the country that turning out was an imperative to combat fascism and to demand the Senate convict President Trump. Those efforts fizzled, likely because an American Spring was better suited as a course of action saved until the election.
And here we are with just 49 days to go. The current protests, riots, and unrest could well serve as a warm-up for November.
Any illusion of unity in this country is gone. Society is increasingly tribal, most presidential polls are split within five or ten points, the economy is separated between the haves and have-nots. One thing most in the mainstream can agree on is ‘free and fair elections’ that decide the country’s political future.
If we can’t agree on free and fair elections after 2020, then societal, political, and economic conditions are likely to deteriorate, maybe rapidly.
One of the most overlooked threats to a failed or contested election is the value of the dollar.
During ramp up to the COVID crisis, international investors sought refuge in the dollar because that was the safest and highest liquidity place to store their value.
We’ve enjoyed some incredible benefits of having a society and political system that supported a relatively stable dollar. Even with massive devaluation and theft from inflation, the dollar has historically been a refuge during times of international crisis. That won’t always be the case, though.
In a previous email I sent to you, I cited a JP Morgan study that found world reserve currency status lasts between 80-100 years; meaning that the U.S. Dollar is approaching its historical expiration date somewhere between 2024-2054, if the past 400 years of monetary history holds up. A failed or contested election will likely accelerate this timeline.
I received a response to that email, from a dismissive accountant who condescendingly asked where would international investors seek refuge. The same place they always do, and even more so with the dollar under duress: GOLD. We’ve also seen a lot of diversification into cryptocurrency. Globalists have wanted a global currency for decades — this likely becomes their opportunity for the IMF to issue a stable global reserve currency. Even if there’s not a viable alternative right now, the world’s a big place — given weeks or months, international investors can find places to put money. But maybe there’s no good solution and no where to hide. The real risk in that case is that international investors are stuck because no one wants to accept the USD in these trades. What happens to the value of a currency no one wants?
So, it’s serious question time.
If international demand for the dollar does begin to erode as a result of political, social, and economic instability, are the string pullers on the Left and Right willing to risk monetary collapse over election results?
If U.S. markets crash and the dollar does start to lose value rapidly, how much longer will the Left push the unrest? How long would the Right be willing hang on?
This may be considered an outlier scenario, but it’s certainly one risk we’ll face over the next three to six months.
Intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer has a couple of Out Front podcast episodes on Mao and what conservatives can learn from him. There is good information about subversion of conservative institutions, hard and soft power, community organizing and outreach, and the need to think of creating large groups rather than small groups. Below are the two podcasts on Youtube.
Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed. – Mao
Intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer talks briefly about de-dollarization.
On Monday and Tuesday evening, I had the great pleasure of speaking to grassroots political groups up in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.
My message was pretty simple:
1. The United States is coming up on what will probably be decades of turbulence.
2. Intelligence at the community level will help you prepare for and navigate what could be a hard landing.
Maybe the most shocking thing I told them was the JP Morgan study about the lifespan of world reserve currencies.
From the Portuguese Real in the 1400s to the British Pound of the 19th and 20th centuries, world reserve currencies only last about 100 years. Some countries enjoyed world reserve status for as few as 80 years, some up to 110 years, but they all end in that time frame.
Maybe the U.S. Dollar will become the exception. Given the current trajectory, I wouldn’t bet on it. But maybe.
Otherwise, we could be nearing the end of dollar dominance. If we start the clock at Bretton Woods in 1944, 80 years is 2024 and 110 years is 2054.
Just as it happened with other currencies, as demand for the dollar drops, so will its value.
We could already be in a transition phase for the USD, which is sure to result in declines for purchasing power and the standard of living for the United States.
And that’s going to have a huge impact on our low intensity conflict.
Long time readers of mine will know that I’m not a Chicken Little. I don’t use hyperbole. I do my best to keep an even keel…
That said, I hope you’re buckled up.
Life goes on, but it’s going to be a lot tougher.
Developing a preparedness group, a community, a tribe — call it what you want — is mandatory.
And Intelligence should play a prominent role.
Earlier this year, I recorded a video outlining three things you should be doing now to prepare for what’s to come. I hope you’ll give it a look: Actionable Intelligence
Bloomberg: Russia Ditches the Dollar
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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
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…