Tags: Homeland Security | National Guard | ferguson | protesters | missouri | michael brown

National Guard Called Ferguson Protesters 'Enemy Forces'

National Guard Called Ferguson Protesters 'Enemy Forces'
(Adrees Latif/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Friday, 17 April 2015 01:54 PM

The Missouri National Guard used military terms such as "enemy forces" and "adversaries" to refer to Ferguson protesters rioting after the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, according to mission briefings obtained by CNN.

"It's disturbing when you have what amounts to American soldiers viewing American citizens somehow as the enemy," St. Louis Alderman Antonio French told CNN of the revelations about the language the National Guard used in its internal mission briefings, which the network obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The guard was sent to Ferguson in November to support local police officers during the rioting, with community leaders and civil rights activists accusing law enforcement of using excessive force against the protesters.

Despite the language in the documents, the Missouri National Guard had concerns that its deployment would be perceived as a military operation, and superiors later told troops to stop using heavily militarized terms when talking about the protesters.

The communications also showed that the deployment was timed for November, when the St. Louis County grand jury was deciding whether to indict police officer Darren Wilson in connection with Brown's death. Several community members, though, complained that the troops didn't arrive quickly enough.

"We are deliberately constraining mobilization timelines to the last couple days to minimize backlash from calling up the NG early," Col. David Boyle, Army chief of staff at the Missouri National Guard, told officers in a Nov. 18 email. "We have coordinated for lower profile, less confrontation likely mission sets to emphasize support roles and minimize public militarization perception."

Two days after the troops were deployed, Boyle warned in another email that there could be consequences from using "potentially inflammatory" language, and two days after that he told commanding officers that "all references of 'enemy' were changed to state 'criminal elements.'"

National Guard Capt. John Quinn, though, told CNN that such language was standard during a planning process for deployment.

The Ferguson documents, he said, were "a generic military planning format utilized in a wide range of military missions, so the term 'enemy forces' would be better understood as 'potential threats.' Often in Guard operations, threats would include inclement weather, heat, failing levees, etc."

One document, though, titled "Operation Show-Me Protection II," called players on the ground either "Friendly Forces" or "Enemy Forces," and outlined hate groups, such as the KKK, the New Black Panther Party, and the RgB Black Rebels, and then called others "General Protesters."

The Guard did come under criticism by many in Ferguson, including Mayor James Knowles, who did not think the troops were "deployed in enough time to save all our businesses."

However, Quinn said that would not have been the National Guard's mission, but instead the federal troops were deployed to stand guard at protest sites while law enforcement officers arrested suspects.

"Protesters have historically used Molotov cocktails, rocks, and other debris to throw at police," the communication said. "Several small arms fire incidents have occurred. Some elements may utilize militant [sic] tactics taught by USPER RgB Black Rebels."

The document also warned that rioters would likely have "homemade protection," including "goggles, gas masks, and plywood shields. Further, select individuals may have bulletproof vests and may carry firearms."

It further warned that "a possible method of attack is the use of Molotov cocktails against personnel and equipment. Also, the possibility exists of the use of arson for destruction and disruption of the power grid through targeted attack."

In addition, the documents said "adversaries" were likely to possess "human intelligence (HUMINT), open source intelligence (OSINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT), technical intelligence (TECHINT), and counterintelligence capabilities."

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The Missouri National Guard used military terms such as "enemy forces" and "adversaries" to refer to Ferguson protesters rioting after the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, according to mission briefings obtained by CNN.
National Guard, ferguson, protesters, missouri, michael brown
Friday, 17 April 2015 01:54 PM
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