Today, friends of mine have been discussing the merits of being invisible to the government. I’m going to list four areas that you need to vigilant in if you want to be the “Gray Man”.
The “Gray Man” for all intents and purposes is the theory behind the tactics, techniques, and procedures of reducing an adversary’s awareness of your presence or actions, allowing you to operate in a semi-permissive environment.
The Gray Man NEVER draws attention to himself by word, dress, action, or mannerism. The Young Gray Man is dismissed as a wimp, the Older as a doddering old fool. The Gray Man derives great inner satisfaction from having this portrayal of himself accepted by all he meets, for it means he is succeeding
The four main areas, today will be communication, the Internet, appearance and firearms/ammo.
1. Communication. Most modern phones have GPS built into them that is working all the time even when turned off. If “Big Brother” wanted to track you, they would contact the cellular provider and get your number and bingo. Most probably they have your number at the NSA Center near Denver, Colorado, anyway. Most people say if you take the battery out, it will completely shut the phone down. However, a good portion of new smartphones have the battery sealed where you can’t do that.
The alternative would be to have a burner phone. This is a disposable phone to use in emergency. You would leave your good phone at the house and take the burner in case you needed to call someone. The burner phone would not be LISTED in your name or anyone close to you. Also, you would not give out the burner phone number. It would just be your secret.
Here is one you might try:
Alcatel A206 by TracFone
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1 – The gray man concept is psychology-driven
What you wear can certainly have an effect on how gray you are but you have to go a bit deeper than that. Regardless of what you’re trying to do and how you’re able to do it, it all comes down to psychology – in particular, the psychology of your adversary.
It’s not always good to just walk around with a gray hoodie like this (although they do have their place and I have one I’ve used on surveillance) or to not carry something or act in a way that draws attention to yourself. It’s the attention that we’re trying to avoid.
The Reticular Activating System (RAS)
The RAS is a part of your nervous system at the base of your brain at the top of your spinal column and filters all your sensory input (except smell) so your mind isn’t overloaded with everything. Here’s a quick video to explain:
It’s a pretty powerful little piece of your brain that can can apparently also be leveraged to make some conscious changes in your life, but that’s another story (if you have any experience with this, please comment below).
What we want to do is use our knowledge of how the RAS works in order to make us essentially invisible if possible, and not considered a threat or a target if not. Don’t worry about exactly how it really works – I don’t know either. I just know some of the things that work and some things I’ve seen that have gotten people noticed.
I grew up a good deal of my life on Air Force bases. If you’ve ever been on one, you know that jets constantly take off throughout the day and they’re pretty damn loud. Once you’ve live there for a while, you stop hearing them unless someone comes to visit and makes a remark asking how we could stand to live with all that noise. That’s your RAS working there. You still hear the jets but you don’t take any notice.
2 – There’s a science behind how people see you
When someone glances your way, they make a subconscious scan of what you look like and quickly file it away. They notice the broad strokes of how you look and not necessarily the details. It’s these broad strokes that you want to either manipulate or diminish. To illustrate the point, take a look at a quick video on what’s called change blindness.
As you can see, you can change sometimes someone’s details quite a bit and people won’t notice it even if you’re in the middle of a discussion with you. That’s again, your RAS working. You may not be able to help that you’re a blond or have freckles but if you do it right, you won’t have to. By manipulating the major things that people notice, you can manipulate how much they pay attention to you.
How can we use this knowledge to keep someone from paying too much attention? Well, if someone is in a crowd of people who are all wearing casual clothes and you wear something drastically different such as a business suit, when people do a quick scan of everyone as they walk through, your identity will be distinguished from the rest. Instead of a sea of subtle changes that blend in with everyone else, their RAS will pay particular attention to you and may even bring it to the point of conscious thought where it could lead to them actively watching you.
If you’re going to try to blend into an area, you need to not just think about not wearing colors that may stand out, look at the general look of what everyone’s wearing and try to come up with the average look. If you’re at a beach and everyone’s wearing bright tropical colors, wearing something bland may actually get you noticed. In the same regard, if the majority of people are wearing blues and greens and you have the same style but it’s red, you may also stand out and garner some unwanted attention.
3 – Your actions are part of your persona
3a – Follow the crowd
If you’re wearing the right clothes in the right area with the right crowd but are the only one standing when everyone else is seated at a table, you’re gonna get noticed. If you’re at a library where everyone’s studying and you’re eating a sandwich, you’re gonna get noticed. Just like your clothing, try to take a quick inventory of what the typical person is doing and do that.
3b – Act like you’re supposed to be there
In the Army, we were constantly told to walk with a purpose. Now this was typically because some sergeant didn’t want us to be leisurely strolling through the area but I found that it came in handy in trying to get into an area for penetration testing.
If you’re trying to maneuver through an area, sometimes people pay less attention to you if it looks like you’re focused on being somewhere or getting something done. I’ve also found that if you have something to support that look, such as walking around with a clipboard or a notebook, their brains assume you’re supposed to be there. This is pretty much what the guys above did with their orange vests and isn’t typically what you might do but there are certainly situations that it works.
4 – How you do something is as important as what you’re doing
Once you’ve decided on something to wear that will allow you to be in an area and not have someone take notice, you have to work on your demeanor. This part here is HUGELY important and usually how I used to pick out surveillance operators when I was on a counter-surveillance mission.
Your demeanor is basically not just what you’re doing but how you’re doing it. If you’re walking around with your head on a swivel looking for a threat, you look suspicious. It may work as part of a defensive posture so you don’t look like a victim but it could also draw some attention. Hollywood is really bad with this, especially when the actor is supposedly supposed to be some highly-trained operative and he’s skulking around like he’s about to steal someones cookies.
Ever heard that someone smells like a cop? That smell is typically due to their demeanor reminding them of how they envision cops act (when it’s not due to some combination of their pseudo-military outfit, hair style, and build). Same thing goes for people who’ve spent a long time in the military. They have a certain air about them, stemming from their stature, how they walk, a different level of confidence or awareness, or one of several other traits that military people have in common. If you notice these things you can take advantage of them to help you either blend in with others in the area or lead someone astray about your background.
It’s the same thing as when you travel. If you walk around looking like a tourist, you may draw attention by criminals. They can tell by not just where you go and what you do but how long you stare at something or how you’re continually scanning the area because you don’t know exactly where you’re at.
Basically it comes down to acting natural. People have expectations about how someone stands/sits/walks/performs certain actions/etc and if you do those things differently than their expectations, their RAS will kick in and now you’re on their RADAR.
4. Firearms and Ammo. What can I say. Be anonymous. Pay cash, NO check or credit card. Those are obvious links to who you are. Buy ammo at reasonable amounts at SEVERAL different stores or at a gun show. If you have to order online, be reasonable about the amount because that will show up to the authorities if they have you on their radar.
Most gun shows, at least in Arkansas will have several individuals selling from two to a dozen of their own firearms. They are not a business and they do not have to register them.
Also, if you look hard enough you can find Facebook groups that list firearms/ammo for “discussion”.That means you have to message (privately) the poster for information about such item. Facebook does NOT allow sales of firearms to listed. You have to play by their rules. hehe……..