Field Observations

Urban Observation Post

As part of preparedness, information gathering is vital. If you simply gather supplies, but not information on all of the possible actors in our current potential civil conflict, you are not really prepared. Situational Awareness is a key part of that.

So many in preparedness, especially in rural areas, write off groups like BLM, ANTIFA, and others as disorganized amateurs, playing at civil war. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and thinking otherwise is DANGEROUS.

On the other side of coin, these same people elevate Proud Boys to some exalted status, when the Proud Boys are really not much more than a street gang of thugs. No need to leave me a comment disagreeing, I base this on SOLID EVIDENCE and personal observation.

If you truly support rights and individual freedom, you have to hold everyone to the same standard. That’s my position. Both groups have a right to free speech. Neither group has a right to intimidate or threaten the other into silence or deny the other the right to peaceably assemble. That’s where both groups go astray.

I support everyone on both sides being able to peaceably assemble and speak. The issue is the word “peaceably” assemble. If you show up with the intention of assaulting the other side or intimidating them, no matter which side you are on, YOU are the problem.

However, the biggest problem, and where a new civil war will start, is when BOTH SIDES show up only to intimidate or assault each other.

That was the issue at the event I observed this weekend. ANTIFA and their associates showed up to prevent the Proud Boys from holding a flag waving event. You can’t prevent others from exercising the same rights you demand. We’ve also seen Proud Boys do the same to them. Wrong on both sides.

So, since I wasn’t a fan of either group, I decided that the best thing I could do for my own situational awareness was to go to the area, stay back, and gather information on both groups.

Radio listening is a super power. Having a handheld programmed to scan things like GMRS/FRS/MURS and business band frequencies is vital. When I saw what appeared to be a militia group member following ANTIFA folks, and taking pictures of license plates, I quickly scanned radio frequencies, to see if I could pick up anything.

Almost immediately, I got the ANTIFA/BLM main channel. They have fully evolved as far as radio procedures and communications security and I was surprised. When I first began monitoring protest groups, they were using a single channel at every event, and people were using their own names. Now, they had multiple channels assigned for security, intelligence, and medical. They were using call signs rather than names. They had learned.

Note that I mentioned an intelligence team. The intelligence team walks around the area looking for surveillance, police, militia groups, and Proud Boys. The Intel Teams are not dressed like everyone else. They even use drones.

Their intelligence team identified at least seven different people watching them (I wasn’t one of them). Let me show you how they identified them:

Not Gray Man

The exact same way I did. Militia groups and others, when trying to gather information, try to be “Gray Man”, but this guy (Sorry, Michigan Home Guard) has no idea what he’s doing. I spotted him because if you look at his back, he’s wearing a level IIIA or level IV vest UNDER A T-SHIRT. You can’t do that. It was very obvious that he was conducting surveillance.

Another tell for me, as a professional surveillance operator in the corporate world, is that as soon as the ANTIFA members left their vehicle, he rushed over and grabbed their license plate. If he had waited, conducting an SLLS (Stop/Look/Listen/Smell), which I discuss in Fieldcraft (my second book), he would have detected the OTHER ANTIFA who stayed behind in a car and saw him grab a photo of the car. Had this been a kinetic environment, their security element would have taken him out.

His choice of clothing, while appearing to be fairly neutral, was not exactly Gray Man. As I mention in Fieldcraft, you need to consider what you are doing on a particular day before deciding on your Gray Man apparel. For instance, when to trying to not be detected near ANTIFA, anything camouflage, even cargo shorts (we all know how I feel about them anyway), was a red flag for them. Given the environment, khaki shorts would have been better. Also, as he walked, he tried too hard to look nonchalant, and his movements, when viewed from afar, looked mechanical and unnatural. Just relax.

As far as his vest, he got spotted because he was being melodramatic. Yes, there were armed members of the Michigan Defense League present, but they weren’t about to just start shooting people. If you are conducting surveillance or gathering information, NEVER wear a vest. If you feel like you must, wear concealable soft body armor, not full kit and try to hide it.

I know, he had it “just in case”. If that’s the case, leave it in your trunk, ready to throw on. When I operate inside a crowd, whether left wing or right, I never wear a vest and am never armed. It marks you out and only raises the risk level. If you’re there to gather information, gather information, don’t be ready to fight a battle.

The biggest takeaway is that ANTIFA/BLM and their affiliated groups are developing and training. They have a highly evolved security and intelligence apparatus that needs to be respected, but so many don’t.

Set up at least one radio as a scanner for SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) as I mention in the Base Line Training Manual. This will enable you to gather information. In a WROL situation, that radio should be continuously scanning. Anyone approaching your location using radios should send you into an alert status.

Stop underestimating the opposition, and be very careful of the indicators that you exhibit that will call you out to them. This applies to your parked car as well. I always park a very long distance out and walk in, but if you have a car with a bunch of flags and gun manufacturer stickers, you are asking for them to copy down your license plate. Where your car is registered to is PUBLIC INFORMATION.

I hope this information helps you understand the situation better and that it gives you a few ideas.

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Published by JD

I am the author of the Tactical Wisdom Series. I am a personal protection specialist and a veteran of the US Marine Corps. I conduct preparedness and self-defense training.

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