The United States has employed «shock and awe» techniques – described by Pentagon policy documents as the use of «spectacular displays of force» to intimidate an opponent – against the civilian population of the St. Louis, Missouri suburb of Ferguson, just a stone’s throw from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The police use of shock and awe tactics followed street protests after the police shooting death of an 18-year old black teen, Michael Brown. According to a private autopsy, Brown, an African-American, was shot six times, including twice in the head, by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. The St. Louis County coroner concluded that the number of shots that hit Brown could have been as high as eight.
Ferguson and St. Louis County police immediately dispatched military vehicles and equipment to quell the initially non-violent protests in Ferguson that erupted after the shooting. Two reporters covering the protests, one from The Washington Post and the other from the Huffington Post, were arrested by the police. An Al Jazeera television crew was subjected to a tear gas attack by police who then proceeded to shut off the news crew’s lights and disable their cameras.
After the local Ferguson and St. Louis County police were criticized for their «shock and awe» tactics, which also saw innocent protesters and members of the clergy shot at point blank range with rubber bullets and tear gassed, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, who was slow to respond to the racially-inflamed incident, ordered Ferguson and St. Louis County police to stand down. Nixon replaced the local police with Missouri state police troopers who did not initially use military-clad law enforcement or vehicles.
However, after it was revealed that Brown was shot multiple times, rioters were reported to have looted local businesses. Nixon ordered the Missouri National Guard on to the streets and imposed a strict night time curfew. Police on the scene also issued a «keep moving» order to Ferguson citizens, an attempt to prevent any public protest organization efforts by pedestrians.
There were also numerous reports of neo-Nazi, Ku Klux Klan, and other far-right extremists arriving in Ferguson, with police «wink and a nod» foreknowledge in some cases, to stoke violence and engage in «false flag» attacks on people and property. In many respects, Ferguson discovered what occurs when government authorities, officially or unofficially, team up with right-wing racists and xenophobes to menace an entire civilian population. The authorities in Kiev have made similar deals with neo-Nazis, who have links to American white supremacist groups, to attack civilians in eastern and southern Ukraine.
Police allegedly reported that Molotov cocktails were thrown at police by unknown parties after violence increased. The violence was stirred after Ferguson police released a videotape from a convenience store that allegedly showed Brown in a physical altercation with the store’s clerk after Brown was said to have stolen a pack of miniature cigars. The store owner later said that the videotaped individual in what the police released to the media was not Brown and the Ferguson Police Chief later admitted that Officer Wilson did not stop Brown based on any suspicion that it was he who had stolen the cigars.
Eyewitnesses said that police reports that Molotov cocktails were thrown at police vehicles were false. And as further proof that police were permitting agitators to stir up violence, there were a number of social media reports that among those stoking violence in Ferguson was a white man sporting a swastika tattoo.
Governor Nixon later stated that the release of the store’s video by police needlessly incited an already tense situation in Ferguson.
American police using heavy-handed tactics against peaceful protesters is not limited to Ferguson and neither are police arrests of journalists covering protests. Neither was Ferguson the first time police arrested or threatened to arrest national television and radio reporters, as St. Louis area police threatened to do with a reporter for MS-NBC after another night of street violence in Ferguson.
In 2008, national reporters were arrested by police who used unjustified force at a protest at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. The scenes from Ferguson were also reminiscent of strong-armed police tactics sued against Occupy Wall Street protesters around the country, as well as anti-globalization demonstrations in Seattle; Washington, DC; Pittsburgh, and other cities.
The presence of police-sanctioned provocateurs who engaged in violent acts in order to provoke a «shock and awe» response from military-armed police is endemic to protests around the United States, especially after 9/11, the date viewed by many Americans as the watershed date between pre- and post-Constitutional America.
Someone in the St. Louis County Coroner’s Office also leaked information on Brown’s blood test, saying that it showed past use of marijuana. The leak appeared timed to hurt a number of referenda around the United States on the legalization of marijuana. Many police departments are campaigning against the referenda and it would appear that the St. Louis authorities leaked the information as some sort of proof, albeit bogus, that marijuana legalization will lead to an increase in «violence.»
Many media commentators also drew comparisons between the scenes of the heavy paramilitary presence on the streets of Ferguson to scenes of Israeli soldiers in Gaza and on the West Bank. There are valid reasons for the comparisons.
In 2011, St. Louis County Police Chief Timothy Fitch received training from Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and Israeli National Police officials during a trip to Israel sponsored by the right-wing Anti-Defamation League (ADL). That same year, Oakland, California police who received similar training from former members of the IDF, shot Iraqi war U.S. Army veteran Scott Olsen in the head. Olsen suffered a severe brain injury from the assault.
Companies associated with Israel’s military-law enforcement infrastructure, including those specializing in Israeli Krav Maga martial arts techniques and other Israel crowd control tactics, have not only trained state and metropolitan police forces in the United States, but also state National Guard units. Police departments receiving such training include the St. Louis County Police, as well as the police departments of New York, Philadelphia, Houston, Dallas, Louisville, Richmond, Charlotte, Nashville, Albuquerque, Tulsa, and Atlantic City.
American police departments have a seemingly unlimited supply of military gear, weapons, and vehicles at their disposal. Under the Pentagon’s 1033 program, the Defense Department has made available, often free-of-charge, surplus military equipment to police departments from St. Louis County and Ferguson to Lewiston, Maine and Ohio State University.
Among the excess military equipment distributed to local, metropolitan, county, and state police by the Defense Logistics Agency are highly-mobile multi-wheeled vehicles (Humvees), militarized water craft, mine-resistant ambush protection (MRAP) vehicles, long-range acoustic device (LRAD) sound cannons, assault rifles, night scopes, flash bang grenades, and helicopters.
In addition to receiving population control training from Israelis, American police departments have also been trained by the constantly name-changing firm once known as Blackwater. Formerly known as Xe Security and Academi, the CIA-linked private military company, now merged with Triple Canopy under the Constellis Holdings, Inc., trained a number of U.S. police departments at its military base-like facility in Moyock, North Carolina. One of the police patches on the firm’s training alumni board in Moyock is that of the St. Louis County Police.
In addition to the St. Louis County Police, other U.S. law enforcement agencies trained by Blackwater include the Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff's Department; Atlanta Police; Chillicothe, Ohio Police; Charleston, South Carolina Police; Metropolitan Washington, DC Police; Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police (Dulles and Reagan National Airports); Prince George's County, Maryland Police; the FBI SWAT Team; New York Police Department; Fairfax County, Virginia Police; Tampa Police; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); DeKalb County, Georgia Police; Arlington County, Virginia Police; Baltimore Police; U.S. Coast Guard; University of Texas Police; Norfolk, Virginia Police; Chicago Police Department; Oregon State Police; Los Angeles Police Department; Harvey Cedars, New Jersey Police; City of Fairfax, Virginia Police; Alexandria, Virginia Police Special Operations; Illinois State Police; and Dallas Police.
Based on the actions of the St. Louis County police and their cache of Pentagon weapons, as well as their Israeli and Blackwater training, the next dead U.S. citizen – African American, Caucasian, Hispanic, or otherwise – could be found lying in a pool of his or her own blood, drawn by a militarized police officer, from the Jersey shore to the streets of Los Angeles.