24 FEB 17 – Executive Intelligence Summary

EXECUTIVE INTELLIGENCE SUMMARY – 24 February 2017 🔒

[wcm_nonmember]In this EXSUM… (2884 words)

  • Steve Bannon, the Human Wrecking Ball
  • Trump to Bypass Courts in Deportation Policy
  • Russia & China SITREPs
  • Defense in Brief
  • Political Violence Roll-Up
  • And more…

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Bottom Line Up Front:  This week Crimethinc published an article detailing a three-phase strategy for millennial Leftists to ‘topple’ the Trump administration.  Phase One details Escalation in the Streets, which encourages protesters to get out and get active in protests and direct actions.  It also laments a relatively small number of active participants who are vulnerable to reprisal, and outlines a worst-case scenario that the movement “will remain confined to a small minority that the authorities can use as an excuse to crack down on everyone.”

Phase Two seems to take aim at Millennial-esque, quasi-Republican celebrities like Milo; under the headline Fractures in the Halls of Power.  “Without spokespeople like Milo, the Republican Party will lose everything that gave it a modern edge,” it reads.  This phase also describes some setbacks in the Trump administration, which the article implies is all part of the strategy to dismantle the Trump administration.  It’s nothing new, but does underscore that many in the conservative and anti-progressive field have targets on their backs, metaphorically speaking for now.

For Phase Three, the author writes, “In short, a burst of grassroots resistance at the opening of Trump’s term has helped to discredit his Presidency and split his support base.”  Phase Three is entitled, The Empire Strikes Back?, and outlines the Trump administration’s response.  March 4th — mark your calendars — is shaping up to be a pivotal day.  There are several March 4 Trump demonstrations scheduled (more on that later) and the #antifa and #resistance crowds — that I’m tracking on social media — are actively planning a response.

One of the more salient points (one of the few) this article points out is that, “We must not make the same error as Milo, mistaking media exposure for power. Notoriety can help us when it enables us to make contact with new people or to spread our ideas and tactics in meaningful ways. But if we receive too much media coverage, more quickly than we can translate it into added organizational strength on the ground, it will only position the authorities to go after us with everything they’ve got.”

To date, there have been some rowdy protests, but things should get worse; potentially as early as March 4th.  The article ends with:  “Expanding our ranks is the only way to survive the waves of repression that wait ahead. Let’s go into round two with more numbers and more strength.”  The more the Trump Administration pushes forward with its America First agenda, the more push back we can expect to see.

 

As a side note, I’ve been experimenting with some more OSINT tools.  If you’re so inclined, take a look at this…

It’s Going Down – I scraped the IGD website, which is kind of a clearing house for Leftist revolutionary/anarchist thought (one of several such websites).  There are 49 PDFs that I have linked in this CSV file (opened through MS Excel or comparable software).  They look like a collection of political propaganda and maybe some operational reports, and many of them are already listed in the Library section of the IGD website (but some aren’t).  A few are related to Nebraska (line 11), Cleveland (line 17), Charlotte (26), and Wisconsin (39, 40).   I haven’t even started to look through them; I just saw those locations in the file names.  If you have some down time, take a gander and let me know if you see anything significant.  (Download the list.)

Crimethinc – I did the same thing at Crimethinc, another Leftist anarchist/revolutionary website.  I haven’t looked into any of these files, either, but examining their propaganda will give you a great insight into what these people stand for and their talking points.  If you find any local information or contact info, please pass it along.  (Download the list.)

Additionally, if you come across any other Leftists revolutionary blogs or websites, please let me know and we can begin scraping them for data as well.  Specifically, we’re looking for files (like PDFs) and metadata, email addresses, social media accounts, names, etc., to aid in link analysis and identifying associations to better understand local structures of these Leftist revolutionary groups.  I’d be more than happy to provide you what we find.  – SC

 

Priority Intelligence Requirements:

PIR1: What are the current indicators of systems disruption or instability that could lead to civil unrest or violence?

PIR2: What are the current indicators of an outbreak of global conflict?

PIR3: What are the current indicators of organized political violence?

PIR4: What are the current indicators of economic, financial, or monetary instability?


PIR1: What are the current indicators of systems disruption or instability that could lead to civil unrest or violence?

Steve Bannon, the Human Wrecking Ball

Earlier this month I started taking some notes on Steve Bannon.  Given some of his recent comments, now is as good a time as any to explain what I’ve learned.  Here are some of his direct quotes and some of my thoughts.

On Politics:  Last year he told reporters that his goal in this administration is to “bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”  While speaking this week, he was very plain spoken in his plan to dismantle today’s establishment.  “If you look at these Cabinet nominees, they were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction.”  He also encouraged conservatives to persevere through the resistance.  “They’re [Leftists and the media] going to continue to fight.  If you think they are giving you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken.”

On the Islamist Threat:  A few years ago, he gave a speech to officials at the Vatican (via an internet broadcast) and explained that Islamic fascism was the greatest threat facing the world (SOURCE).  He went on to say, in so many words, that the church needs to become militant in defense of its way of life if it wants to survive.  And so when I see things like the refugee ban from seven Islamic nations, severely restricting refugees and immigration, and deporting illegal immigrants out of the United States, this is the backdrop for those policies.  Steve Bannon is pursuing a multi-generational struggle against Islamists, which includes a lot more than just terrorists, as well as the Left.

On the Economy: “The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f—ed over. If we deliver we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years. That’s what the Democrats missed. They were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It’s not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about.”

On the Media:  “It’s going to get worse every day for the media.”  “They’re corporatist, globalist media that are adamantly opposed to an economic nationalist agenda like Donald Trump has.”

Clearly, Steve Bannon has his work cut out for him.  I’ve come to really respect Steve Bannon and the more I read about him, the more I like him.  Of course, this all means that the domestic situation is likely to worsen, with regards to political violence, but that brings with it some unique opportunities, not just challenges.  Perhaps the largest coup that the Trump administration could pull is to avoid a foreign conflict while the economy gets its legs back under it.  When Bannon suggested that they could carry 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote — the “if we deliver” comment — it’s largely predicated on a strong economy that brings jobs and wealth creation.  With the threat of job loss due to automation staring us in the face, I don’t know how possible that’s going to be over the long term; say the next 20 years.  But pending the usual ‘black swan’ caveats, the economy continues to look positive for growth.

 

Trump’s Plan to Bypass the Courts and Deport As Many As Possible

If we’re looking for more opportunities for the Left to protest, then look no further.  Despite ‘expedited removal’ accounting for over 40 percent of deportations during the Obama administration, the Left is having problems digesting its use under the Trump administration. Expedited removal means that DHS can deport illegal immigrants without the need to go in front of a judge.  This week, the DHS published two memos expanding the policy of expedited removals, which could cover all 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the US.  That also means a great deal of them would be placed back in Mexico, their point of origin before entering the US, which greatly angered Mexican officials.  DHS Secretary Kelly and Secretary of State Tillerson both traveled to Mexico this week, and reporters described the meeting with their Mexican counterparts as “awkward.”  Mexican officials don’t want potentially millions of people — many of them already Mexican nationals — dropped off on their doorstep, and they’re reportedly “not prepared” for it.  (SOURCE)


PIR2: What are the current indicators of an outbreak of global conflict?

The prospects of global conflict continue to revolve around the usual players: Russia, China, and the Middle East. The ways in which global conflict could cause or contribute to a SHTF scenario in America are myriad and they largely depend on which conflict is initiated. We’re certainly at risk of cyber attack in the event of conflict in any of the three regions. Systems disruption, like the price and availability of fuel, is also a top concern that could cause a SHTF event.

NATO-Russia SITREP

Both NATO and Russia continued to prepare for a confrontation this week, which is in line with previous weeks.  And the battle over exactly what to do with Russia rages on between the Congress, the Trump White House, and Trump’s cabinet.  SECDEF Mattis, Secretary of State Tillerson, and National Security Advisor McMaster are all wary of Putin’s intent to undermine and eventually collapse NATO and the Western powers.  (I have no doubt about this; it is Putin’s goal.  Putin has often said, for years if not decades, that Russia is a European country.  As long as NATO exists along with the vitriol against the Soviet Union — and now Russia — there can be no mending of fences between eastern European NATO nations and Russia.)  The loss of Mike Flynn is a definite setback for Trump’s grand vision of building a positive relationship and military cooperation with Russia, and I think that Trump’s desire to be personally friendly with Putin can succeed.  Renewing a positive relationship with Russia is unlikely at this juncture, even as Trump’s cabinet is largely against him where it concerns Russia.  Last week, SECDEF Mattis said that military cooperation with Russia was out of the question, at least until Russia conforms to the international order (my words, not his, but that was the intent of his statement).  One major goal of the Trump-Flynn-Bannon alliance was to engage Russia as a strategic partner in the fight against Islamism.  I have difficulty in seeing how that comes to fruition (with the exception of a few cases like Syria), especially as Trump’s cabinet makes known their very overt support for NATO against Russia.

In a public speech this week, the Russian Defense Minister said, “If we continue the topic of animals … What have they [the United Kingdom] got on their emblem, the lion? As the old saying goes: all lions are cats, but not all cats are lions. Let everyone tackle their own problems themselves. We don’t think their zoos have raised any animal that is able to boss the bear around” (i).   For Russia’s part, anti-Western rhetoric continues to be on full display.  Much of that is aimed at Western interference in Russia’s expanding sphere of influence.  With a new shift towards nationalist policy and against internationalist interventionism in the US and Europe, Russian leaders are seeing opportunities to engage gray zones and other vacuums.  It’s probably not the beginning of another Warsaw Pact alliance, but Putin is seeking strategic friendships across Asia.  For instance, Turkish leader Erdogan is scheduled to meet Putin in Moscow in early March.  Turkey is a member of NATO, and Erdogan is at risk of the allure of Russian economic and military support.  That’s a friendship to watch.

Read File:

(i) Defence Minister Warns Western Zoos

Putin Makes No Statement on 2018 Re-Election Bid

Claim: Russian Missiles Able to Clear US Missile Defense

Russia to Modernize 90 Percent of Strategic Nuclear Forces by 2020

Russia Establishes New Cyber Army

 

 

US-China SITREP

This week, China warned the US about increased Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs) in the South China Sea.  President Trump recently ordered the first FONOP of his administration and we can expect increased US activity in the region.  The Obama administration is almost entirely to blame for not doing more to ensure that China didn’t annex over a million square miles of territory from its neighbors and international waters.  Now Trump’s policies are being challenged by news this week that China is building two dozen military structures to house surface-to-air missiles on some of its illegally-claimed islands (ii), despite the insistence of Chinese President Xi Jinping that he would not militarize them.  An official statement from the Chinese said, “China respects and upholds the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, which countries enjoy under international law, but firmly opposes any country’s attempt to undermine China’s sovereignty and security in the name of the freedom of navigation and overflight” (iii).

Another important development to note this week is that China is considering a law to force all foreign submarines to surface and show their flag in what China considers to be its territorial waters (iv).  There was no further information as to how the law would be enforced, other than that it would authorize Chinese navy and coast guard units to interdict submarine travel.  It’s clear that, whether or not this law passes or is enforced, China wants to greatly restrict foreign access to its strategic waters.  That’s why we’re seeing China becoming more heavily invested in the Philippines, in order to eventually shut out the region to US presence (although that relationship also looks bumpy).  China is concerned about a war with the US under Trump.  It’s a war that they may not ultimately win, although they will make it as painful as possible for the US to prosecute; likely via asymmetric attacks.  China’s strategy is clearly to maintain the status quo and continue militarizing the region to the point that a US offensive is unlikely to succeed.  There’s a window here, potentially a matter of years at this rate until China tries to close off this part of the world to the US.  Under the Trump administration, we may see very overt attempts to deploy additional naval assets — some of them may be permanent — to the region to prevent this from happening.  Both US and Chinese leaders want to avoid war; SECDEF Mattis has made that much clear.  But two opposing forces can’t occupy the same physical space, and that makes war more likely.

Read File:

ii. China Finishing Construction of Missile Structures

iii. US Navy Carrier Deploys to South China Sea

iv. Draft Maritime Law Would Ban Submarines

China Building THIRD Aircraft Carrier

 

Defense in Brief:

The Army received another batch of helicopters in Europe this week.  A combat aviation brigade with 50 Black Hawks, 10 Chinooks, 24 Apaches, and 2,000 troops are set to arrive in Germany, Latvia, and Romania for a nine month deployment as part of the European Reassurance Initiative.

The Army’s European Command last week wrapped up Austere Challenge, a European defense exercise.  Official closing statements about the exercise from top EUCOM officials were predictably positive.

Two US Navy commanders said this week that a fight against North Korea is more likely right now than China.  “If there’s a fight tonight, it’s probably going to happen on the Korean peninsula,” said Adm. Joseph Aucoin said at the AFCEA West 2017 conference.  Another admiral echoed that claim, saying that North Korea was the “number one probability”.


PIR3: What are the current indicators of organized political violence?

Political Violence Roll-Up:

CO: Plan to disrupt or cancel the conservative Turning Point USA conference

FL: Activists occupy pipeline

IL: Protest planned against Rep LaHood

NC: UNC flyer promotes acts of violence against Trump supporters

NC: UNC flyers portray police officers as pigs

NJ: Antifa group searches out white supremacists

OR: Rumors of clash draw large turnout for College Republicans

OR: Anti-Trump protesters arrested in Portland

SC: BLM leader arrested

US:  Why we should strike on May Day

US: Leftists to counter March 4 Trump on March 4th

US: America’s extremist battle

 

Antifa Roll-Up:

Fury Road: OPSEC Lessons Learned

 

Black Lives Matter Roll-Up:

CA: BLM protest disrupts Stockton council meeting

OR: BLM protestors disrupt Portland Police Chief ceremony

SC: BLM protest ‘school bus incident’

 

Black Panthers/Black Separatist Roll-Up:

Revolutionary Black Panther Party stays close to their origins


PIR4: What are the current indicators of economic, financial, or monetary instability that lead to worsening economic conditions or civil unrest?

Nothing significant to report.

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Samuel Culper is a former military intelligence NCO and contract Intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

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