Links tweeted by WikiLeaks called attention to the development of crowd control doctrines by the US military, the most recent of which are explained in a U.S. Army Techniques document dated April 2014, titled “Civil Disturbances.”
The main concepts elaborated in the document include crowd dynamics, behavior theories, crowd types, and a “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).
* 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.
* Close air support and indirect fire (artillery, mortars).
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, anti-globalization 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.
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 instill fear into demonstrators were recently on display in Ferguson, Missouri, where protests against the killing of Michael Brown were subject to a crackdown by militarized police forces.
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.