For the vast majority of political dissidents, the most likely police encounter they will face on a daily basis is a traffic stop. For many years, most have viewed these as a simple operational concern that only impacts them when they are engaging in activism or clandestine activities. In reality, it is one of the many tools at the disposal of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to garner information, put operational stress onto dissidents to see how they react, and, more often than not, provide an excuse to escalate police actions and activities against them.
Just as we understand the term “received anonymous tip from the public” as “received information from a tech company we do not wish to disclose”, we should all view a “traffic stop” as a potentially deliberate interaction intended to offer insight, intelligence, and opportunity for system escalation.
If we review the DHS CP3’s (Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships) recent info-graphic on Threat Assessment and Management Teams we can gain insight into how the Department of Homeland Security intervenes and often provides stimulus under controlled environments. The DHS terms these “dynamic factors” and then uses these “dynamic factors” as an excuse to escalate their involvement. Remember that dynamic factors change over time. They can be influenced through intervention. These interventions are designed and intended to cause you to say or do something that escalates the perception of threat, thus allowing the agencies involved more power to surveil and interfere.
What does this mean for those in the vehicle at the “random traffic stop?” Plenty. First and foremost, the police you are interacting with have already been told that you are a substantial risk to them and the public. Secondly, they are told they have the opportunity to work with other agencies to help them assess you. Most importantly they are also now hyper vigilant of everything said and done. The recording of the interaction will be scrutinized many times so the justification for continued and escalated disruption of your daily life can be justified. They have a method for this; we will review the current 40 point system to identify radicals in our next article.
The basic anatomy of the traffic stop should remain the same. You will be followed for a small amount of time. They are watching how you react, what movement is inside the car, and if they can spot an opportunity to pull you over for an actual traffic infringement.
What should you do? Same as always. Drive according to conditions, obey all traffic rules, and control your breathing to keep you calm for the eventual interaction. If you have passengers, take the time to coach them through the process. Ask them to not turn around and to keep about their normal activities while preparing for interaction with the police. Put phones into airplane mode or turn them off. This is because there is an increased use of vehicle mounted IMSI towers; the primary purpose of the stop may be to create a controlled environment so a phone scrape can occur.
When the police lights come on, find a safe place to pull over. Before switching the engine off, lower both driver and passenger windows, then switch off the vehicle and place the keys on the dash. Remain looking forward while holding the steering wheel until the officer(s) are by either of the open windows. Do not reach for license, registration, or proof of insurance. Wait and make them ask for it. When they do, tell the officer where you are reaching and what you are reaching for: “I’m going to reach into my back pocket to get you my license first, then I will hand you the insurance and registration from the glove box.” Ensure this interaction is slow, deliberate, and, where possible, hold eye contact with them. Their eyes should follow your hands at all times.