US military planning to suppress domestic unrest

By Thomas Gaist
30 August 2014

Links tweeted by WikiLeaks this week called attention to the development of crowd control doctrines by the US military, the most recent of which are codified in a US Army Techniques document dated April 2014, titled “Civil Disturbances.” Main concepts elaborated in the document include crowd dynamics, behavior theories, crowd types, and a “Graduated Response Matrix.”

The document points to various dissident political groups as main targets of the Army’s crowd control planning. “Examples of well-organized groups are anarchists, antiglobalization groups, and anti free enterprise groups,” the US Army document states.

The paper further cites demonstrations coordinated by labor groups, specifically citing the 2011 protests at the Wisconsin capitol. “Labor unions played a large role in the 2011 Wisconsin protests that included passing on information and transporting participants,” the document states.

Special attention is given to “organized protests,” which are said to have more growth potential than spontaneous protests as result of their “centralized planning” and use of “modern technologies that allow for rapid information dissemination.”

Techniques outlined in the document include the use non-lethal weapons, “pain compliance” measures, lethal overwatch teams (snipers), and deployment of aircraft overhead (said to have a “psychological effect”).

The use of military working dog (MWD) teams is highlighted as an especially effective “intimidation measure.” “The presence of the MWD may produce a profound psychological effect on the crowd,” the document states.

The document calls for deployment of “overwatch” sniper teams to intimidate crowds and pick off suspected leaders and organizers. Such use of snipers to terrorize demonstrators, recently on display in Ferguson, Missouri, where protests against the killing of Michael Brown were subject to a massive crackdown by militarized police forces, is part of the Army’s integrated Graduated Response Matrix (GRM). The GRM provides for numerous levels of escalating psychological and physical pressure against a targeted crowd, including:

* Exploit the psychological effect of shows of force.

* Escalate the Military Information Support Operations (MISO) message via loudspeakers and handbills—MISO is a more recently adopted military term for psychological operations (PSYOPS).

* Demonstrate sniper precision strike capability.

* Use riot control ammunition: tear gas, pepper spray, smoke bombs, stun grenades, rubber munitions, acoustic weapons, electro-muscular disruption weapons.

* Move through the crowd using riot control formations and movement techniques.

* Target leaders and “troublemakers” with sniper fire.

* Escalate from single shot small caliber fire to automatic large caliber.

* Close air support and indirect fire (artillery, mortars).

While stating that “coercion dispersal” of crowds may become necessary, the document notes that “negotiated management of crowds … is the preferred method especially if the demonstration or protest leaders are available and willing to participate,” and advises commanders to adhere to the “goldilocks principle,” saying crowd control activities should be “neither too hard nor too soft.”

The document also calls for the use of “high powered cameras mounted on towers and aerial vehicles” to create video recordings of both the crowd and the soldiers engaged in crowd control operations.

Ominously, the document outlines conditions under which the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which prohibits the use of the US military for police actions on American soil, will not apply. Under a range of loosely defined “exceptional” conditions, the military can conduct unrestrained operations within the United States, the document notes.

In “emergency extraordinary circumstances,” including vaguely defined contingencies such as “unlawful obstruction or rebellion against the authority of the United States,” US military commanders are empowered to carry out, without requiring any form of civilian authorization, “activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances,” the document states.

Such sophisticated crowd control doctrines are an expression of the far advanced preparations by the US ruling elite, dating back decades, to establish martial law and transition to a police state dictatorship.

Congressional hearings in May of 1987 on the Iran-Contra scandal exposed plans, codenamed Operation Rex ’84, to suspend the US Constitution, transfer power to a shadow dictatorship consisting of agents of the military and intelligence apparatus, and conduct mass roundups of hundreds of thousands of political opponents of the American state.

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the George W. Bush administration implemented “continuity of government” (COG) procedures virtually identical to those laid out by Operation Rex, establishing a secret network of anonymous officials working from “undisclosed secure locations.” Without any consultation with or involvement of the legislative and judicial branches, between 75 and 150 members of the executive branch were ensconced in military bunkers and legal documents were drawn up to empower these officials with authoritarian powers.

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