by James Wesley Rawles, Survival Blog:
The rapid post-election growth of the left’s so-called “anti-fascist” (Antifa) movement is alarming. This movement has some clear parallels to the draft protests of the late 1960s. These protests spawned a wave of domestic terrorism with groups like the Weather Underground, the Black Panther Party, the BLA, the FALN, and the SLA. Anyone reading this who is under my age is probably missing out. This is because they don’t have a good recollection of just how profoundly violent the late 1960s and early 1970s were in these United States. Bombings, fake bomb scares, riots, arson, bank robberies, airliner hijackings, attempted assassinations, and kidnappings were all too commonplace.
This period of upheaval all started a few years earlier with large college campus anti-war/anti-draft protests staged by the SDS. But some of those “activists” spun out of control. Soon, an amalgamation of inner city blacks and privileged college whites became increasingly radicalized. Although the FALN bombing campaign continued into the early 1980s, the most memorable climactic event of this age of domestic terrorism came in May of 1974 with the much-publicized SLA shootout. Near the end of the “Golden Age of Terror”, President Gerald Ford survived two assassination attempts in rapid succession–both perpetrated by white women. One was a wacky Manson family follower but the other was a dyed-in-the-wool leftist and a fan of the SLA.
For some fascinating reading about this turbulent era, I highly recommend Bryan Burrough’s book Days of Rage. The gist of his book was well-captured in a recent book review at the Lawfare blog.
History Rhymes There is an oft-quoted modern proverb: “History doesn’t repeat, but it often rhymes.” I posit that a similar age of terror is now dawning in the United States, as radicalized Clintonista uber-Democrats ramp up from street protests to overt acts of terrorism. (The attempted assassination of Congressman Scalise by James Hodgkinson was just a precursor event. In the tech world, Hodgkinson would be called an early adopter.) I predict that the greatest threat will come from the radical left, rather than from the right.
Most alarmingly, we now live in the 21st Century era of cyberwarfare, neurotoxins, and off-the-shelf quadracopter drones. So the potential damage that just a few malcontents can wreak is enormous.
No More Open Air Speeches I will go so far as to predict that traditional open-air speeches by politicians will become a thing of the past. Weaponized drones will be difficult to stop. I first warned of the misuse of such technologies back in 1990, when I authored a two-part feature article titled High Technology Terrorism, for Defense Electronics magazine. (At the time, I was an Associate Editor for the magazine, and was already living at a ranch near Orofino, Idaho. There, I prototyped a telecommute life at the sedate rate of 2400 baud.)
Lest anyone should chide me about describing particular technologies that could be used by terrorists, keep in mind that much of what I’ll be mentioning has been in print for more than 27 years. Yes, I wrote about most of these technologies way back then–although then I mentioned radio-controlled model airplanes rather than foreseeing modern quadracopter drones. But even my early writings on this subject were little more than an intellectual traverse from a Rand Corporation report published in 1975. In more recent years, the US CIA has documented in open sources the variety of chemical agents that might be used by terrorists. In recent years there have been dozens of articles penned on the subject.
Threat Spirals Modern western military analysts and planners often use the term threat spiral. This describes a situation wherein a nation state reacts to a threat to its security by instituting particular countermeasures and technologies. Their opponent(s) then react to these innovations by adopting new, more powerful technologies of their own, and then the spiral expands.
In recent memory, one of the best examples of a threat spiral was seen in the development of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) warfare in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. Heavily armed convoys that at were difficult to attack with small arms and RPGs. So in reaction, terrorists began using radio-controlled IEDs (RCIEDs). They cleverly used detonators controlled by standard cellular phones. This was a technology perfected by Iran. For more than 15 years, the Iraninan-made RCIED circuit cards (and detailed instructions on explosive-formed penetrators (EFPs) have been widely distributed in Arabic to Islamic terrorist groups–both Shiite and Sunni.)
In reaction to the RCIEDs, the U.S. and Coalition military fielded up-armored Humvees. These were soon supplemented by South African-designed mine protected vehicles. The next arm of the spiral (the counter-countermeasure) of the Islamic terrorists was simple. They merely constructed much more powerful IEDs. These blasts were capable of destroying not just MRAPs but even main battle tanks. (Typically these IEDs used two or even three 122mm artillery shell warheads lashed together, for sympathetic detonation.) The spiral continued with the fielding of CREW systems: Counter RCIED Electronic Warfare systems. This was circa 2000 to 2007. CREWs are sophisticated reactive jammers that block cellular phone signals in the area near a convoy or a protected point target. Western military organizations are now fielding a third generation of CREW systems.