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Showing posts with label preparing for SHTF. Show all posts
Showing posts with label preparing for SHTF. Show all posts

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Secret Patriot Act?

Yes, there is a Secret Patriot Act, Senator Says, in an article by Spencer Ackerman posted on

UrbanMan's note: There is truth in the protocol that it's not the law that agencies work within, it's the agency policy influenced by the interpretation by the agency's legal counsel.  While I don't think this is a big threat to the common law abiding prepper, the fact that NSA collects and retains ALL electronic correspondence and the use of keywrod search engines in these communications focused on common prepper subjects like 'home defense', 'weapons', 'going off the grid', 'preparing for the collapse', 'preparing for martial law', etc could spawn potential investigations of innocent people.  I have been around enough to know that some people, certaintly the minority, in government law enforcement circles do not like to waste time on investigations that result in no charges.  Any charges, even the more severe the charges, often leads to plea bargins even when the accused party has/had no criminal intent and no criminal actions.    

You think you understand how the Patriot Act allows the government to spy on its citizens. Sen. Ron Wyden says it’s worse than you know.

Congress is set to reauthorize three controversial provisions of the surveillance law as early as Thursday. Wyden (D-Oregon) says that powers they grant the government on their face, the government applies a far broader legal interpretation — an interpretation that the government has conveniently classified, so it cannot be publicly assessed or challenged. But one prominent Patriot-watcher asserts that the secret interpretation empowers the government to deploy ”dragnets” for massive amounts of information on private citizens; the government portrays its data-collection efforts much differently.

“We’re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says,” Wyden told Danger Room in an interview in his Senate office. “When you’ve got that kind of a gap, you’re going to have a problem on your hands.”

What exactly does Wyden mean by that? As a member of the intelligence committee, he laments that he can’t precisely explain without disclosing classified information. But one component of the Patriot Act in particular gives him immense pause: the so-called “business-records provision,” which empowers the FBI to get businesses, medical offices, banks and other organizations to turn over any “tangible things” it deems relevant to a security investigation.

“It is fair to say that the business-records provision is a part of the Patriot Act that I am extremely interested in reforming,” Wyden says. “I know a fair amount about how it’s interpreted, and I am going to keep pushing, as I have, to get more information about how the Patriot Act is being interpreted declassified. I think the public has a right to public debate about it.”

That’s why Wyden and his colleague Sen. Mark Udall offered an amendment on Tuesday to the Patriot Act reauthorization.

The amendment, first reported by Marcy Wheeler, blasts the administration for “secretly reinterpret[ing] public laws and statutes.” It would compel the Attorney General to “publicly disclose the United States Government’s official interpretation of the USA Patriot Act.” And, intriguingly, it refers to “intelligence-collection authorities” embedded in the Patriot Act that the administration briefed the Senate about in February.

Wyden says he “can’t answer” any specific questions about how the government thinks it can use the Patriot Act. That would risk revealing classified information — something Wyden considers an abuse of government secrecy. He believes the techniques themselves should stay secret, but the rationale for using their legal use under Patriot ought to be disclosed.

“I draw a sharp line between the secret interpretation of the law, which I believe is a growing problem, and protecting operations and methods in the intelligence area, which have to be protected,” he says.

Surveillance under the business-records provisions has recently spiked. The Justice Department’s official disclosure on its use of the Patriot Act, delivered to Congress in April, reported that the government asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for approval to collect business records 96 times in 2010 — up from just 21 requests the year before. The court didn’t reject a single request. But it “modified” those requests 43 times, indicating to some Patriot-watchers that a broadening of the provision is underway.

“The FISA Court is a pretty permissive body, so that suggests something novel or particularly aggressive, not just in volume, but in the nature of the request,” says Michelle Richardson, the ACLU’s resident Patriot Act lobbyist. “No one has tipped their hand on this in the slightest. But we’ve come to the conclusion that this is some kind of bulk collection. It wouldn’t be surprising to me if it’s some kind of internet or communication-records dragnet.” (Full disclosure: My fiancĂ©e works for the ACLU.)

The FBI deferred comment on any secret interpretation of the Patriot Act to the Justice Department. The Justice Department said it wouldn’t have any comment beyond a bit of March congressional testimony from its top national security official, Todd Hinnen, who presented the type of material collected as far more individualized and specific: “driver’s license records, hotel records, car-rental records, apartment-leasing records, credit card records, and the like.”

But that’s not what Udall sees. He warned in a Tuesday statement about the government’s “unfettered” access to bulk citizen data, like “a cellphone company’s phone records.” In a Senate floor speech on Tuesday, Udall urged Congress to restrict the Patriot Act’s business-records seizures to “terrorism investigations” — something the ostensible counterterrorism measure has never required in its nearly 10-year existence.

Indeed, Hinnen allowed himself an out in his March testimony, saying that the business-record provision “also” enabled “important and highly sensitive intelligence-collection operations” to take place. Wheeler speculates those operations include “using geolocation data from cellphones to collect information on the whereabouts of Americans” — something our sister blog Threat Level has reported on extensively.

It’s worth noting that Wyden is pushing a bill providing greater privacy protections for geolocation info.

For now, Wyden’s considering his options ahead of the Patriot Act vote on Thursday. He wants to compel as much disclosure as he can on the secret interpretation, arguing that a shadow broadening of the Patriot Act sets a dangerous precedent.

“I’m talking about instances where the government is relying on secret interpretations of what the law says without telling the public what those interpretations are,” Wyden says, “and the reliance on secret interpretations of the law is growing.”

Friday, April 12, 2013

Unemployed Man's Preps

BillT4 sent this to me: "Thanks for your site. I really like the craft and skills stuff. I lost my job five months ago. My girlfriend who lives with me is still working, so basically I'm a stay at home Dad for our five year old son who won't be starting school until the fall. I have started prepping two years ago. If we had to we could live without my girlfriends job for at least nine months. That would eat up all our savings and food supply. My goal is not to use our preps now and to even expand our food stocks. We have been eating a lot of stuff I have been growing in my green house which I built. I just traded some tomatoes and squash to a neighbor for some cinder blocks he had stacked up. He asked me how I was growing (vegetables) in winter. So I told him about my green house. Now he has contracted me to build him one. Then he called and gave me a phone number to another man who wants a greenhouse built. He is also going to place an ad at the American Legion Hall for me. So now I have some income coming in. I think the custom greenhouse thing will be better in the fall going into winter and hopefully this will also lead to some other carpentry or repair jobs. sincerely, Bill."  

UrbanMan replies: Bill, I could not use the pictures you sent as when I tried to enlarge them, the pixilation made them just a blur. But good for you finding a way to make a living your way. I read a book about building businesses and it talked about doing a Personal Asset Inventory to determine what skills a person has across the business spectrum of providing services, products or information in order to grow a business and make a living. It appears you are doing that. Again good for you. Better yet, it is aligned with preparing for bad times and helping others do the same.

You may want to consider the physical location for your green houses or advise others in this thought. Imagine a collapse, hyper-inflation, greatly reduced access to food and wandering hungry people - who then see a green house.....well you get the picture.

You may also want to consider a blog where you discuss green houses, soil prep, composting, watering systems, growing vegetables, canning or preserving the fruit of your labors, etc.  Lots of different ways to take this concept forward, but one thing is for sure, can't describe yourself as unemployed anymore, are small business man.  

The second e-mail you sent where you traded some vegetables to an older woman for a bunch of hand tools which you plan on saving for future barter or for the flea market is also a great example of barter and prepping but also of expanding your rapport with the neighbors which will be important in a collapse as it will give you a leg up for team building.

Unless a person has a hardened and prepared site with a dedicated water source, you will be stuck like alot of us relying on our urban or suburban neighbors, and them on us, when the collapse comes. Building those relationships now will help you, helping your neighbors grow some of their own food goes along way. But be advised that being prepared for other threats besides starvation are important as well. Consider your security and protection requirements as well as shelter. Given today's ammunition shortages, it would be great if you could barter for ammunition that you could use!   Anyway, good luck and prepare well. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

More on Survival Caches

I have been getting quite a few comments and e-mails with opinions and recommendations on caches. Survivalists would, of course, use caches for many diverse reasons.
  • To support Bug Out especially from an Urban area into a rural area for transit to your final Bug Out location or tentative rally point or assembly area.
  • To hide some material or equipment to safeguard it from people who want to take it away from you.
  • Cache emplaced to support an operation so travel to that operations in an area does not have to include bringing in so much material.
You have to have some way to record caches so over time they will not be forgotten, or you may be sending caches reports to other people for recovery.  The best way to record the cache information and location is a written record maybe backed up by a electronic file on your PDA, tablet or I phone.
Everyone is now thinking I am recommendating breaking OPSEC or otherwise having a record with anyone seeing it, being able to get the goods. Not so. You could use a password encypted file for your cache records and you can use a default numerical subtraction or addition code to the information vital for the actual cache location and recovery. See more of this below.
Here is what I think it a suitable elements of a Cache report are:
Cache name or designation - so you can keep track of recovery, especially if you have multiple caches in.
Cache contents. Be specific.
Other Information. How cache is emplaced. How items are weather proofed or not. Container(s) description(s) and dimension(s). How deep cache is buried if this is a burial cache (most common). What tools will be neded to recovery the cache.
General Area. This would be a general description of the area the cache is located. This should be a general direction, such as EAST and a distance in a common measurement,...meaning do not use leagues for a measurement unless you are a pirate.
Specific Area. This would be direction on how to get to the Immediate Reference Point (IRP) which is where you will usually need to measure a direction and distance from to locate the Final Reference Point (FRP) and from there the cache. The immediate reference point should be something that is not likely to move or disappear.
Final Reference Point (IRP). This will be a fairly easy marker like a large rock, distinct tree, bridge abutment or something along these lines where you will again measure a distance (tape measure is handy).
An Example Cache Report may look like this: 
Cache Report.
Cache B#14.
Cache Contents:
2 each Military style Green Ponchos
60 feet of tan colored 3/32 inch diameter string
2 each one gallon water containers, full, not disinfected nor treated
1 four ounce bottle of water purification drops
6 each Meals Ready to Eat,
complete 1 AR-7 surival rifle
2 each 50 round boxes of .22 LR CCI Stinger ammunition
1 each folding Buck knife with belt sheath
1 each 16 inch crosscut saw
1 each butane lighter
Other Information: All items wrapped in water proof plastic. All items in one wooden box, 30 inches long by 14 inches wide by 14 inches deep. Top of box buried approximately 18 inches from ground surface. Using metal prob to locate wooden box is recommended. Ground is dirt with grass, weeds and small scrubs. Cache site is visible from IRP so security upon recovery is a concern. Shovel will be necessary to recover emplaced cache.
General Area. West of Springerville, AZ. Travel 13.5 miles WEST on US Hwy 60.
Specific Area. From US 60, South on County Road 3123 for 8.2 miles to IRP.
Immediate Reference Point (IRP).  On WEST side of County Road 3123 there is a dirt road heading generally WEST. There is a Forest Service gate here.
Final Reference Point (FRP).  The FRP is located from the IRP (NORTH end of the gate) on a magentic azimith 032 degrees and at a distance of 62 feet is a large, oval granite rock approx 18 inches long and 12 inches wide. This is the FRP.
Cache Location. The cache is buried 18 inches below the ground from the FRP on a magnetic azimuth of 045 degrees and at a distance of 36 feet.
Notes on Caching.
When emplacing caches consider natural weather conditions such as run off or snow cover that would uncover or expose the cache or make recover difficult.  Or make location and recovery of the cache too difficult.
Using ponchos or tarps to separate the different layers of earth when emplacing the cache, then reversing the layers of dirt when covering the caching will greatly aid in the concealment of the cache.
Depicting a concealed route to the cache IRP and/or a good position from which to observe the IRP and FRP may help in the safe recovery.  
For additional security against the wrong person or people recovering your cache, you may have an internal procedure where you add a certain number, let's say 65 to your azimuth and distance measurements.  Therefore  the example azimuths and distances from the IRP to the FRP would be  097 degrees and 127 feet.  The cache location from the FRP would be 110 degrees and 101 feet.  Then when recovering  the cache the right recovering party would know to subtract 65 from each direction in magnetic degrees and distance in feet. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Insurance Guys Planning and Prep

I received this e-mail: "Urbanman, Just wanted to drop a short note to you. My best friend and I have an insurance business. It’s just us, two desks, small office. We do a lot of our business over the phone or on-line. This makes for time to discuss our planning and preps and time to research sites on the internet. We also have an information age network marketing business which we can also run simultaneously with our main insurance business. We have thought about closing down our office to save rent and utilities and think the savings would probably make up for the loss of the walk in traffic, but decided against it for now. We had some plumbing problems which required the taking down of a cinderblock wall in the back. We made a deal with the leaser for us to do the repair work. We turned the wall into a hidden storage of food and supplies. Not a ton of it, but probably two month’s worth for four people. Our wives are pretty close but not necessarily into prepping like we are. We have taken them to the range to train them, but it is a pain in the ass to get them to shoot anything other than handguns. Shotguns? Fageddabouit. Here’s the scoop. We shoot paintball and took our wives to watch one day. They wanted to try it and now they LOVE it. The shooting training that we wanted to do with them with real guns but couldn’t we are now doing with paintball. We are teaching them how to work as a team and use the obstacles. Sometimes it’s boys versus girls. I know it’s paintball but I think we are getting our wives better prepped maybe other guys are having problems getting their wives or girlfriends involved as this may be a way."

UrbanMan comments: Good for you guys making it as small businessmen in several different endeavors. Wouldn’t it be great to have a larger company, say 30 to 40 workers who all thought alike and prepped? That’s a ready made SHTF Task Force.

As you found out the real benefit is the time you have to plan and control over your lives....being your own bosses. Also, great thinking out the walled cache site. It would be interesting to know how your office fits into your Surviving the Collapse plan such as being a tentative safe site or dedicated Bug Out location, or simply if your cache supports your ability to remain in place if/when a hostile environment makes it impossible to go home.

Cool beans on getting your wives involved in paintball. I have only done a very small amount of it, but can see how it may be attractive to participate, especially for your wives who can now play with their men. Since you have the chance of getting hit with a stinging paint ball, learning to use cover and learning coordinate team oriented fire and maneuver are necessary skill sets for surviving the collapse.

I have always suggested for guys who wives did not like shooting big bore guns, was to try and get them involved with events like rimfire competition. This would teach firearms safety and core weapons handling competencies as well as basic marksmanship.

Good luck to you and your families.