We should all be paying attention to what the state is currently setting up in relation to going after the far right.
The tactics they are using all derive from the tactics sets that are employed to target insurgent groups, like Al Qaeda and ISIS.
These tactics rely on 4 main pillars, all of which are present in this context.
The first of these techniques involves the targeting of lesser known, less important elements within a network. The goal of targeting these less involved entities is that they are less likely to be as committed, and as a result, more susceptible to the threat of punishment. This allows the state to use these entities as sources of information, either in the present, as informants, or in the future, as infiltrators.
We can see this strategy indicated in many of the more recent indictments. In these indictments there are consistent references to confidential informants.
Now, we know that some of these informants were friends and family, they have been public about this in the press. But, some of these are, according to the indictments, providing more details than a person that just knows someone, but is not involved, could provide.
Given the timing of the revelations of informants, and the fact that there are few references to informants in other recent indictments of right wing figures (prior to the 6th), we can be relatively certain that many of these sources are recent.
Further, given the types of early arrests, which were mostly for low level charges, and the arrests that have come since, which are more severe, the tempo indicates a connection.
The second strategy that is used is social mapping. Now, this technique is used in general within police departments and intelligence agencies, partially because it is easy and effective.
In the more extreme versions this takes the form of phone and internet traffic metadata analysis; this is what we learned about in the Snowden leaks. But, at its most basic, this looks like going through someone's friends list on Facebook or, in this case, Parler.
What this process produces is a mapping of people and their connections. From that information graphs are produced which show the nodes in the network, or the people connected to the most other people and groups.
These nodes then become target points. If we assume the analysis of contemporary insurgencies, as diffuse networks with loose organizational form, then social mapping allows the state to figure out where the focal points of those networks are.
Once those points are identified, then they are often surveilled first. If monitoring this node is useful for intelligence gathering, and the node itself does not pose a direct danger, then action will not be taken to eliminate the node. If the node presents a danger, then it gets targeted for elimination.
The elimination of these convergence points, especially when normals means of communication (Parler) is disrupted, can break whole networks apart.
What is interesting about this technique is that this is not very different from how many of us research and map out the connections on the far right. They helpfully do everything in the open, making this easier, but the information and relationships which become apparent are worth the work that one puts into something like this.
The third technique that is being used is communications surveillance. There are already stories about feds raiding houses and seizing all communications devices. We already know that they were tracking locations from both cell phone tower pings and geolocation from posts.
The goal here is less about the content, although that is important, and more about mapping movements and operational tempos, as well as tracking locations.
By mapping out movements, patterns and tempos, this allows for even more visibility into the relationships involved, but now mapped into physical space.
This data is, of course, used to identify physical gathering locations, as well as the movements of known entities that they feel pose a threat.
We have seen this indicated, already, by hints at tracking people's travel plans, tracking their position on the 6th, tracking their movements prior to the Inauguration, and so on.
Finally, there is the tracking of financial and logistical networks of support. This technique is meant to track, identify and disrupt the financial support mechanisms that insurgent networks rely on, in their more hierarchical form.
By targeting financial and logistical networks, one can cut off the target from being able to sustain activity for long periods of time.
We know this is already being done, with donations for buses, as well as Bitcoin movements, being tracked.
So, what does all this mean?
Well, if this is in fact the tactics that they are using then we have a bit of an insight into the ways that this will transition into kinetic action by the state.
In a networked environment one cannot just eliminate one node in a network, that node gets replaced by one or a number of other nodes performing the same task. Further, once one primary node is moved on, it tends to force the others to "go to ground", to get lost, and fast.
As a result, movement against insurgent networks tends to occur in bursts, organized into phases.
The initial phase, where we currently are, involves information gathering, and all these techniques are focused on that goal. They are mapping, structuring an understanding of what and who is involved, and assessing threat and importance of nodes within the network.
It is from this phase that the next phase, the elimination of nodes of convergence, begins.
The next phase involves taking action to fragment the communications, financial and logistical lines of organization within a network, or between networks. To do this involves negatively impacting the functionality of that node in relation to its role within the network.
For example, take a group like the American Guard. They are spread out all over the US, they are connected to a wide range or groups from the Oathkeepers and Proud Boys, all the way to the Aryan Nation and Hammerskins.
Depending on the role that they play, which is identified from that mapping, they may be identified as a target (this is likely in this situation).
If they were to only move on the American Guard, then other connected organizations would tighten up security, and become more difficult to eliminate.
As a result, the initial phase, which targets these organizing nodes, tends to function en masse. In other words, they move on many nodes at the same time.
The idea is to generate a shock effect. This is a core element of Clausewitzian warfare theory, which informs all US military and Special Forces strategy.
The enemy, in this reading, is not defeated, there is no total defeat without genocide. Rather, conflict dissipates when the enemy becomes disorganized, incapable of holding together the logistics of fighting.
The parallel targeting of numerous nodes at once is meant to generate this effect at such magnitude that the target can't recover.
Depending on how seriously they are taking the threats of action in the coming days, this move may occur soon. We already see indications of this everywhere.
The feds keep talking about hundreds of indictments that they have obtained already. Many of these are for low level participants, but not all. There is a subset that they have identified who are primary elements within these networks.
The fact that they have not moved on these indicted elements indicates, like in a counter-terrorism operation or an operation against a cartel, that there is going to be a strategic sweep targeting many nodes in parallel.
From this initial assault, the next move is to attempt to "climb the ladder", as they say. It is to try to get some of these people within these logistical nodes to turn on the people in higher ranking positions, who are involved in coordination.
Those elements who are identified as coordinating elements are the one's that are being targeted for the sedition charges that have made so much news recently.
There is a lot to learn from witnessing this happen in real time. But, to contextualize this information it is important for people to study counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency strategy. There are a lot of good resources out there, but I would recommend the following as a place to start.
As radicals in the US it is not only that these techniques WILL be used against us, they already have. All throughout the early to mid-2000s the feds used the same tactics to map and target anarchist networks, but the result was very different.
Unlike the far right anarchists do not have the same rigid leadership, identifiable formal networks and structured logistics chains. We operate more locally and fluidly, without the trappings of formal organization.
As a result, when these tactics were used against us, the result was a lot of fear, a series of arrests and some long jail terms (the Green Scare was a result of these strategies being used), but it did not fragment or destroy our ability to mobilize.
Outside of the existential reasons why rigid command structures are problematic, here is a clear practical reason to avoid rigid organization and hierarchical structures.
The state knows how to deal with formal, rigid organizations; they can identify their structure and decapitate them. They do not have nearly the same success rate fighting against fluid, small groups who communicate through a constantly shifting series of alliances, and using solid encryption along the way.
The strategic advantages of this structure do not eliminate the need for operational security though. So, watch whats happening, stay safe, and remember, nothing on the internet ever dies.
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