Regardless of which side you sympathized with, there are some valuable lessons sprinkled throughout the past week’s events in Ferguson and across the country. identified ‘8 Lessons Learned’.  It appears that someone knows how to filter out the emotional influences and key in on important points at the operational level.  You never know when you might be on the receiving end of government ‘security’ operations.  -JJS


Law Enforcement Monitors Social Media:

When a tweet goes out identifying a new location to meet at as a specific intersection, you might as well have just broadcast it over the police radio. During World War II, the Allies would openly broadcast messages to the French Resistance to let them know what was happening.

For example: “Sally is wearing a blue dress” really meant that the US was conducting an arms drop.

This tactic could easily be adapted to Twitter or Facebook if codes were worked out ahead of time by organizers. Instead of tweeting “We’re meeting back up at Arsenal and Grand” and letting the cops know the plan, a message stating “John has a big nose” confuses law enforcement while getting the message to other activists.

It’s important to only let key people know the codes to avoid them falling into the opposition’s hands. Those key people can then inform their circle or organization with another set of codes specific to their group.

To further confuse the Nazis, the Allies would constantly broadcast phrases that meant nothing to anybody. The Nazis would spend their time trying to figure out what the codes meant, when they didn’t mean anything. The same technique could have been employed in Ferguson.

Engage in Signals Intelligence

The cops monitor activists’ communications; activists can do the same thing. Scanners provide access to law enforcement channels but in times of emergency, law enforcement switches to unmonitored frequencies to limit oversight. Cops are trained to keep their communications quiet. Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services are not. They are kept informed of law enforcement actions and this information is disseminated to their first responders in the field. Fire Departments and EMS don’t typically have secure channels. While it may not provide operational details, it will provide locations of law enforcement and troop build ups. has tons of information to help determine the frequency to monitor. It also has a list of common police codes.

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