The Myth of OPSEC

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by duane, Dec 16, 2017.

  1. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    While we all may dream of living in the Redoubt area of the USA with a secret self sufficient homestead with twice as many supplies as James Rawles, the sad truth is that I live 60 miles from Boston in a small New England semi rural town. I was at the clinic yesterday and they were reviewing my medical records, new computer system with records now supposedly in a format that is accessible in a nationwide data base, and we have been using the same clinic and providers for 35 + years. My records are longer than the Bible and Strong's Concordance combined and every visit and prescription is monitored at least by Medicare, the federal government, Atena Blue Cross Blue Shield, the State of New Hampshire, and my provider. They know what pills I take, how often my bowels move, where I live, where I work, what my state of mind is, have color pictures of the inside of my heart, MRI's, CAT scans, updated complete blood work every three months due to pancreas problems, and thus access to any genetic testing or DNA tests are always available. My wife has had open heart and other surgeries, is being monitored for some ageing memory problems, has blood pressure problems, back problems, digestive problems, and breathing problems. Thus the reality is that I don't even have the myth that I or my wife have any OPSEC in our medical care or health conditions and if we wish to have the care we need as "senior citizens" we must give up any privacy rights to those that "need" the information, including the government, and sign a statement that we give up those rights every year.

    I will be 80 in February but still work part time and of course am being monitored by the IRS and other agencies, federal and state, for number of hours worked, how much I earn, how much other income I get from "outside" income, how much I have in savings, if I deposit over X amount, where did I get it, my bank and saving accounts. OSHA monitors my work place for "safety" and if they wish can check my tools, shop, toolbox, clothing-personal safety equipment, etc. The town can of course if it wishes and does inspect my wood stove, chimney, propane tanks and lines, brush in my woods, any open fires, electrical installations, water wells, septic systems, structural integrity of my buildings, and requires permits and filed paper work for any construction or modifications. In my file at the assessors office and at the permit office, are pictures of my property, both from the ground and space, all in digital format, and with the ability to compare them for any changes, detailed drawings of my house, gardens, wood lands, greenhouse, sheds, etc, and due to registration requirements a detailed list of the vehicles and farming equipment I have, its age and for much of it, how many miles a year I drive it. I have to register my dog, show proof of his shots and thus allow access to his vet records, they can monitor any animals, cattle, pigs, chickens, etc, that I may have, tell me how to raise them, what to feed them , and indeed if I may have them. Thus any OPSEC I may think I have as to income, living space, ability to produce food, animals I might have, fertilizer I may wish to store or use, fuel I might wish to store, etc does not exist.

    No need to even discuss firearms and reloading supplies, even in New Hampshire we have state and federal transfer rules, storage rules, firearm modification rules, and the government has the right to inspect anything anytime and Mr. Weaver and the Branch Dividians incidents would seem to indicate that they can indeed enforce any inspection that they wish. You either go along with it or show up on the 6 O Clock news as a crazy man in an armed standoff surrounded by a SWAT team.

    On a personal level, I repair tools, generators, and air compressors for people, have tractor, roto tiller, wood splitter, garden, greenhouse, private well, wood shed, generator,etc, and the people in town and at church know it. If they and their children are cold, hungry, thirsty, need to get supplies, etc, they all are going to remember that old man over on ***** road with the big garden, greenhouse, etc, and show up for their share. That's my family, friends and neighbors, not the golden hoard and it won't be random either, they will know exactly what they want or what the town officials want. Thus I think OPSEC as to location and resources is a myth.

    Mr Rawles and others seem to think that it is possible to withdraw and hide and thus protect your resources. While it might have been true in the past and if in remote parts of the USA, Alaska or deep mountains, it may still be true, I think that there is another factor in play here. If I was one of those individuals who plan to use my military skills and superior weaponry to take what I need to survive, taking over a compound and the means to produce everything needed to survive for years, accessing a remote well equipped retreat would be like winning the lottery and I am afraid that there would be a constant supply of armed idiots for years trying to do so. Before the collapse they are going to looking at the satellite photos, monitoring the media, driving the roads, talking to people, etc, and I think that although distance will weed out a lot, there is always going to be a few individuals testing if not overcoming your OPSEC.

    I think that for most of us any attempt to have complete OPSEC will be a failure and only lead to mutual paranoia. Being paranoid doesn't mean that there aren't people out there trying to do you harm. I think the "Live Long and Prosper" concept, being as much of an asset to the community as possible, being as gray as possible, having a circle of close friends in you church and community who will cooperate with you to survive, and at my age having friends to help cut wood, plant gardens, defend the place, etc, and have children who learn self survival skills and how to escape the sheeple trap, are more important than being a prisoner trying to prepare and survive in my impossible to defend retreat.

    That being said, I also admit that I try to stack the deck as much as possible with a few good caches, extra firearms and ammo to be available for friends to use to defend the place, extra seeds, fertilizer, and garden tools for others to use to grow their own food, etc. Sort of Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition approach. I would rather be hungry sharing my preps with family and friends than dead while strangers use them.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
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  2. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Do what you can when you can.
    Recently I interviewed a person who came to me about a VA letter. It was clear that they were honest about income. But for some reason they thought they could/should hide their outside insurance. I did my best to help them understand the facts of life as shown above.
    I down loaded a bit off the web to aid them on understanding our world. Shook hands and said good bye.

    I do this type of counseling several times a week.

    Best you can hope for is a quick death.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
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  3. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Yeah, you are spot-on @duane . All this rubbish of 'dropping of the grid' - well - that's what it is. @HK_User has it right, 'Do what you can when you can." You don't broadcast you have resources, food, tools, ammo...and you do your best for physical security as well as opsec.

    I lived aboard for 38 years and when I came back stateside I was shock that it only took less than a year for me to start receiving all kinds of junk mail and phone calls and etc. Realtors use to look me up and give me the stinky-eyeball because I didn't have any credit or rental history LOL! But, at the end of the day, the government always knew where I was and who I was due to the social security number and having to file taxes.
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  4. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    I saw a video on line recently about a fellow who tried to debunk the idea of living off-grid. The problem with his line of reasoning was that he kept getting off-grid living confused with the idea of complete self-sufficiency. Complete self-sufficiency is a complete myth, unless you can make your own propane or nat gas, manufacture your own prescription drugs, have a producing oil well handy along with a small scale refinery, etc etc.

    All you can do is separate yourself from the rest of society as much as possible. You can store / raise some food and some fuel and rely on solar for electricity in places where there's enough sun.

    But you guys are right. Google Earth means you can't hide from those who would raid your preps. They know we're there. The images are available to everyone. The only remaining question is how much trouble are they willing to go to in order to raid your preps if there are others that are easier and closer. The herds in the big cities will auto - thin themselves out.

    About the only one who is truly safe in such a scenario is BT.
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Well, MAYBE.... But I still have a few locals that are kind of unsavory types... However I also have Tommy, the Vietnam Era SEAL, who carrys his well deserved, BadA$$, Rep well... I decided that his Christmas Present will be 100 Rounds of Factory .357 Mag Premium Ammo...
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  6. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Love that BTPost, if things truly go bad, a lot of us will believe Matthew 19 and 20, the first shall be last etc.. A retired Marine with combat experience, a bad attitude and no money may well be a lot more useful to have around than a millionaire Harvard PhD sheeple who is a pacifist and depending on the government to bail him out. A lot more fun to talk to now as well. The older I get, and I guess that I am now one of the bad examples that the sheeple use to teach their children about the dangers of not being in the flock, the more I enjoy the friendship of the ex military, the retired carpenters etc.
    Zimmy, GOG, Gator 45/70 and 3 others like this.
  7. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    I agree with @duane , mostly. Ultimate OPSEC is not possible but you can be operationally secure enough to avoid a lot of trouble.

    For starters, Jim Rawles is a flawed example. I respect his technical skills, but the guy is so effing smug and full of himself that I just can't take him seriously. He does not live in the real world, nor do I think he even understands what the real world is like. I used to be a daily reader of his blog and have bought some of his books. I left the cult years ago because I could no longer stomach his snobbery.

    Anyway, information about me is out there, but there is the issue of A) how hard is it to access the information, and B) am I important enough that anyone would care about what I'm doing?

    On both points, the odds are heavily in my favor. I don't like that most of my personal data is being collected, but I'm just one guy in a sea of millions. The more data they have on everyone, the more an individual can blend in. There are plenty of people whose lives are much more interesting to privacy snoops than mine. OPSEC may be dead but there are a lot of bodies to hide behind.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
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  8. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    While I agree with you Tevin, if things truly fall apart, I don't think being in some data base is going to be as great a danger as the man two houses down the road with a wife and 3 children, who has no food, no heat, no money, no hope of the government doing anything in the short run, and remembers hearing my chain saw run, has seen wood smoke coming out of my chimney, has seen me digging potatoes, has seen my garden, my greenhouse, heard my generator, etc. Even if I could help him, there about 6,000 other people in our town, and like the grass hoppers, they would take everything I have and it wouldn't feed them for a day, run their cars, trucks, generators, etc for an hour, and so on.

    Agree with your view of Mr Rawles, he has for whatever reason become the more respectable spokesman for the prep community and although I respect their ideal's and the Constitution they support, he has become in conversations with the sheeple, a welcome departure from the militia's as a symbol of prepping.
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  9. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Be gray. There are times when being out there and reserving the details is good cover. So I'm bugging out? How bad do YOU want to find ME out of the bazillion others on the move? If indeed I am on the move.

    Rawles is on the hind tit as an example to be aspired. That said, leaving the militias further aft as he is (or may be) doing is good for humanity. Good thought...
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2017
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  10. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Gray is good.

    To most I'm just that old guy who live in the strange house.

    To the local SO, I'm the one they can trust because if I call them it is to avert a problem not cause one.
  11. Bishop

    Bishop Monkey+++

    When the things get bad I will live up to my Nick name and be a ghost if you have it and I want it I will take it in the real world situation world goes bad so do good people you will be killed over a can of dog food then when enough people are dead and gone world thinned out you may be able to live off grid if the government is still in tack they will be looking for you to be there work force so you will be fighting them also and fact of the matter is gas powered will get you killed horse and peddle power will be your mode of transportation sooner or later your ammo will run out Flint locks wick guns air guns bows slings blades will be your weapons and the people that think they can hold down there house because they have guns and ammo has never had a fire team or squad try to over run your perimeter because they will one or two guys suppressing fire two guys up close set fire to your house your coming out or dieing inside and if your old hurt or out of shape when you run your just going to die tired if you have kids better make them independent
  12. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Agree with you Bishop, defending your location from the inside will allow a couple of snipers to tie you down and prevent you from doing anything. Siege tactics have worked for thousands of years, just a point of view, are you keeping them out or are they keeping you in. Takes several times the force to take a defended position, but with mines, punji sticks, snipers, etc, it takes several times the defending force to overcome a siege. The experiences in recent times, Bosnia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Argentina, Mexico in the drug controlled areas, have proved one thing and that is that every situation is unique. What will work well in one situation, will get you killed quickly in another.

    Another advantage of primitive weapons is that they are silent and often very messy. A man with a spear sticking out of him and creating a very bloody and noisy exit from this mortal coil, may have a much greater impact on morale than a gun shot to the head. Mortars have always had that effect on me, noisy, random, messy and hard to tell where they came from. A grenade launcher is almost line of sight, but mortars are high angle and could come from just about any where. I know that mortars, RPG's, grenades, IED's, Claymores, and such are very very illegal just because they can be very effective and because they scare the h*** out of any force trying to maintain control of an area.
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  13. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    Without going into a lot of detail only let be known what you must let be known. The light side and the dark side. No one outside of your most trusted circle should even know the dark side exist. As far as going completely off grid it is possible, if you want to go live in a cave or other remote area and play hunter gatherer, or go live in a homeless camp. But playing hide and seek really makes no sense when no one is looking for you. It has been my experience if you are just another cow in the herd the wolf is not going to give you much attention until you give him specific reason to notice you.
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  14. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    I turned in an insurance claim on a cell phone a little while back and the insurance company asked me a series of questions to verify my identy. They listed several model automobiles and asked which one I had owned in a particualr year, the gave a number of street addresses and asked which one I had lived at, they asked some more rather personl questions that apparently they knew the answers to but I actually didn't recall. Who the hell remembers if they had a 82 Buick Supreme?
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  15. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    No getting around the public records if you want to own anything like vehicles, boats, real estate unless you buy it through a corporation and keep it in said corporation. Medical records are what annoy me way too much personal information gets dispersed far and wide despite HIPPA regulations. Pretty much all of the answers to the questions they ask you can be found in a public records search of yourself. Which leads to a whole different problem, that same information is available to identity thieves that have your life history on a spread sheet to answer those same questions. On of the biggest reasons I don't use credit for anything is to maintain a ZERO credit score, makes you a not so attractive target for the identity jackers. Of course paying cash for everything has caught the attention of the IRS a couple of times......... They frown on it when you deposit a $20,000 check and then withdraw it all after the 2 week waiting period every big check I get seems to require. Just like they frown on depositing $5000+ in cash. Makes it rough when your are in a largely cash and carry business. And then enter the civil forfeiture mess. I got caught up in that crap about 10 years ago when I bought some real estate and the closing company would not accept $80,000 in cash, and the bank froze it for 30 days after I deposited it and a year later and $10,000 to the lawyer and proving that the cash was mine that I had legally earned, I got most of my money back. Lesson learned the hard way there, don't use a title or closing company to handle the transfer of funds. Seller was fine with stacks of $100 bills, I was fine paying with $100 bills its when the regulations and Government get involved things get stupid........ And then you get flagged by the IRS and other agencies to keep a eye on in the future.
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  16. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    I would be cautious about looking things up , because what is brought to the surface is looked at by others with similar access, just because it had been brought up. Similar to shopping on Ebay , when you look for something obscure ,you find one or two items marked high , give it a day or so and look again and there are 50 marked to sell fast . Walk into building and safety just looking for information, and the next day an inspector is driving past your place to see what you've got going on.
  17. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    The thing about OpSec for AlaskaChick and I, IS, that since I am a reTIRED FED, an FFL Holder, and CCW Permitee, and have an EXTENSIVE FBI File, (Yes, I have seen it, when I was going thru my Security Clearance Check, on becoming a FED) there is little that they would need after reading that file... I choose to move to the Wilderness of Alaska, and if they want to come all the way out here, to "GET ME" OK, let them come, and they had better bring an bunch with them, cause after the first shot is fired, by either side, there will be plenty of Crab Bait, available, for the survivors to use....
  18. Zimmy

    Zimmy Wait, I'm not ready!

    As a good friend of mine who is in the know told me, there is no privacy anymore if you use any sort of media. Especially relevant to cell phones and the internet.

    SIGINT and ELINT personal info (I think I remember that right from my helper days in S-2) is fully compromised by not only the gatherers of such metadata but also by those who can covertly or overtly hack into the info. Don’t text, say or post anything you don’t want potentially anyone to know.

    HUMINT is the only thing we can actually try to manage. That’s a very important tool that almost all of us can work to improve on. Becoming the crazy hermit won’t work. PAO skills are needed to make sure you help mold the right public opinion of you and your place.

    It’s even easier if it’s true that you’re a good Christian HVAC guy living hand to mouth like I am. Just another grandpa.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
  19. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    It's not so much about what is now that should be especially worrying, but rather, where this is all going in the future.

    That cell phone you had in 1999 couldn't have been imagined to become a mobile computer tied in to the internet with a mobile app for virtually everything --your bank account, credit cards, even rapid pay. All of this data is susceptible to being nabbed by another app, and all of your personal data, photos, contacts, GPS location, everything can be obtained. Now, imagine where this can all go in another ten or twenty years. Yeah...

    The trick to remaining gray is to always try to scale down your activities while not standing out. Use an older phone, disable GPS and do not install apps to track you and use your data for marketing or nefarious means, or use a 'disposable' phone and change them frequently. Drive an older car, or at least keep one available to use in case of an emergency. Do not expect to be complacent forever. I don't know what to tell the older folks living on the mainland or people who are in need of medical treatment and prescriptions. I guess you're old enough to know how to hold your own for as long as you can, but there's no remedy for any person who is in a position of need. The only way to be totally free from the grasp of "Big Brother" is to give up your drivers license, bank accounts, credit cards, and property and choose to live on the move, in an RV under an assumed identity with fake ID or off the land in some remote location while being paid in cash for any labor you must commit to so you can pay for some essential goods. I've lived truly free for a time, and it's a damn hard life in a modern world.

    I would make concessions where it is possible, but only if it's absolutely necessary. For those who can afford to give up some luxuries and do not worry about convenience, the gray man concept can work rather well for the time being.
    Zimmy likes this.
  20. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    I think the Grey Man was shot in the alley.... by a .gov conspirator.
    Technology is taking us over.... you have to work hard to stay off the grid.... and have plenty of cash to do side purchases.
    john316, Brokor and Zimmy like this.
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