TBR News July 25, 2020

Jul 25 2020

The Voice of the White House
Comments, July 25, 2020:. Here we have excerpt from a lengthy report prepared for the White House Secret Service detail.

“The President is known to have severe heart trouble, caused by his being severely overweight and his consumption of fatty foods….He has had, to date, three recorded heart attacks….It is well-known that POTUS is pro-nazi and has family connections in this field…POTUS was at once time a close friend, and supporter of Willis CARTO, a prominent right-wing figure and pro-Nazi……POTUS also had been diagnosed as being ‘narcissistic’ which means that he is psychologically unbalanced and prone to making erratic, and often dangerous, decisions…..

He locks himself in his bedroom at night and watches at least three television stations at the same time….He refuses to open his door and has had the locks changed so as to refuse entry in, say the event of a heart attack or other medical emergency….He has been heard shouting loudly at late hours and his statements appear to be disconnected and very erratic in nature….”



The Table of Contents

  • Coronavirus: The week when everything changed for Trump
  • A Nation Falling Apart
  • Trump’s free-speech legal folly has merely emboldened his critics
  • Made-for-TV fascism: how Trump’s ‘crime explosion’ ploy could backfire
  • Before Portland, Trump’s shocktroops went after border activists
  • Department of Defense-Domestic Counterinsurgency-Part 7
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons


Coronavirus: The week when everything changed for Trump
July 24, 2020
by Jon Sopel .North America editor
BBC News

It’s as though in January 2017, Donald Trump was given a shiny, new car. The best, most beautiful car the world has ever seen. And in July 2020, the president made an important discovery about it.

It has a reverse gear.

It was an extra on the car he never thought he’d need – and certainly never intended to use. But on Monday, he put the car into reverse, and wrestle as he might with the gearstick and clutch, he now can’t stop the blasted thing from going backwards.

Or to change the metaphor – and borrow the language used this week by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to describe his Labour opponent – from the president this week there have been more flip-flops than Bournemouth beach.

Just to recap, masks – which the president used to deride as “politically correct” – are now an act of patriotism, and should always be worn when social distancing is impossible. Coronavirus, which until recently was being described in most instances as a bad case of the sniffles, is now something altogether more serious – and it is going to get worse before it gets better.

Two weeks ago the president was insisting that all schools had to reopen, or he would take away their funding. He’s now saying that, for some of the worst hit cities, that wouldn’t be appropriate – and appears much more empathetic towards parents wrestling with the decision about whether to allow their children resume in school education.

And the really big U-turn came last night on the Republican Convention in Jacksonville, Florida.

The president loves a crowd. A raucous, adoring crowd. The original plan had been to hold the event in Charlotte, North Carolina. But when the governor of that state said there would have to be social distancing, the president went ballistic, went after the governor, and announced huffily that the Republicans would go somewhere else. Jacksonville would be the venue for the tickertape and hoopla, and thousands of cheering and whooping Republicans.

Except it won’t be now.

It was a stunning and painful reverse, and one the president made with the heaviest of hearts.

The announcements have come on three consecutive nights of revitalised White House coronavirus briefings. In this iteration with the president flying solo, and not flanked by his medical advisers. But they have also been much more disciplined than when the president would spend a couple of hours at the lectern, musing on anything and everything – most memorably on whether disinfectant and sunlight should be injected into the body to treat coronavirus.

I was at that memorable briefing with the president, and I was back again for his briefing this Wednesday. This time around he was in and out in less than half an hour, stuck to the messages he wanted to deliver (OK, no-one had anticipated the bizarre foray into the legal difficulties facing Ghislaine Maxwell), and answered a handful of questions. He didn’t get riled. He didn’t get into fights. He did what he came to do. And then off.

All I would say is that Season 2 is nothing like as much fun as Season 1 – though the episodes are much shorter.

I sat discussing this one evening this week in the garden of someone closely involved in the doings of the administration. It was an insufferably humid evening and the thunder rolled around the city. We spent a time discussing the psychology of the president (yes, a common topic). And this person was making the point that he has an old-fashioned macho need never to appear weak. Even though he knows at times it would be smart to give ground and concede, that is unconscionable.

But if we are still playing pop psychology with the president’s brain – whose cognitive strengths we now all know: person, man, woman, camera, TV – there is one thing worse than being weak, and that is being a loser.

And though in public – for fear of looking weak – the president insists his campaign is winning, and the American people love him, and polls that show him sinking underwater are fake news, the reality is altogether more uncomfortable.

Let’s just take Florida, where Trump was to have made his Convention acceptance speech. It is the epicentre at the moment of the appalling surge in coronavirus cases. With its population of 21 million, last week it was diagnosing more new cases per day than the whole of the European Union (population 460 million). But Florida is also ground zero for US presidential elections. Just think Bush versus Gore in 2000.

It was a state Trump won comfortably in 2016. It was a state he thought he would breeze in November. But the latest Quinnipiac University poll has Democratic nominee Joe Biden 13 points ahead. Thirteen. That is massive. And there is a whole pile of other key swing states which show President Trump lagging behind.

What hasn’t changed in the past week is the science. You can be sure that his long-suffering public health advisors have been banging on about the same things like a broken gramophone. Masks, distancing, avoiding crowds. It may be that the president has had a Damascene conversion to listening to his doctors. Possible, but I have to say unlikely.

If we’re looking for a significant “thing” it is this. Last week, Trump fired his 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, and installed a new one. And it appears Bill Stepien has sat the president down and given him the ice cold bucket of water. That the polls are awful, and going in the wrong direction; that all is not lost but quickly could spin out of control. That a change of direction and tone is urgently needed. Particularly when it comes to anything and everything to do with Covid-19.

It is worth inserting one proviso here. I don’t know Bill Stepien – although he gets very good reviews. But brilliant though he maybe, there is a bit of a pattern of the president making a new appointment, and then for the next two or three weeks he does what he is told – but then reverts to going with his gut; going with his instinct. The things that he will tell you have served him best throughout his long and colourful career. But we are in new territory.

For three and a half years the president has been able to define his own reality; to bend and fashion facts to suit his own narrative. The coronavirus has been unimpressed by his efforts. This has been a foe like none that Donald Trump has faced. And he has had to bend to its will. Not the other way round.

What has happened this week is that what the polls are showing and what his scientists have been repeatedly calling for are totally aligned. And he really doesn’t want to be a loser in November.

The spectre of these 180s has brought much guffawing from liberal commentators. The man who only knows how to double down, now doubled up in the pain of these very public reverses. Oh happy days.

But they should be more cautious. The conversion may be insincere; may well be borne of polling necessity – but what a lot of Americans will see is their president behaving rationally and normally; making decisions consistent with the scale of the threat the American people are facing – and Americans are fearing. But, I hear you say, surely they won’t forget about all those things the president said in March and April when he played the pandemic down and urged the reopening of the US economy prematurely?

Well, all I would say is that the circus moves on quickly; everyone seems to have incredibly short memories. Who talks any more about Mueller? Or Russia? Or impeachment? The beam of the lighthouse doesn’t stay long in any one place. With our impatience for new developments, for new story lines, for plot twists, we seem to suffer collectively from attention deficit disorder. And this president understands that better than anyone.

Some will no doubt write that this has been the president’s worst week ever. If he wins in November it will come to be seen as his best.

A Nation Falling Apart
Piece by piece
July 21, 2020
by Philip Giraldi
The Unz Review

First they came for the toilet paper and kitchen towels, then they came for flour and now they are taking your coins. Yes, the American public sitting out the COVID-19 virus is now having to deal with what is referred as a “small change shortage.” caused apparently by hoarding. Coffee shops and other retail outlets that deal in cash have been hit hard by the shortage, finding themselves unable to make change. Apparently, people have decided spontaneously and in large numbers that nickels, dimes and quarters, as they have value as being made of metal, will somehow maintain their worth better than the pieces of paper being printed in Washington.

The government has acted decisively to meet the threat by having the Federal Reserve convene a 22 strong U.S. Coin Task Force to “mitigate the effects of low coin inventories caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Ironically, of course, the Fed is the source of America’s long suffering backed-by-nothing currency. As several of the major private banks, including JP Morgan and Bank of America, are represented on the Task Force as well as a swarm of government bureaucrats, one can assume that nothing will happen except possibly a decision to change the design of the coins to eliminate Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. Sacagawea can stay on the funny looking dollar coin, which no one has actually seen in years as she represents an approved ethnic minority.

There are a lot of indications that the American stratocruiser is about to crash. My wife and I went to a local gun range last week for a refresher course. I knew how to shoot from my time in the Army and CIA but have not actually fired a weapon since 1978 and my wife learned how to use a handgun about fifteen years ago when we made the decision to have one available in the house “just in case.” To be sure, the current situation with deranged radical groups unrestrained by feckless politicians and a complicit media, our decision to re-arm as it were was based on the assumption that we can no longer rely on a demoralized and passive police force to protect either us or our property, particularly if there are any racial overtones to who is doing what to whom. So, we might have to be prepared to defend ourselves.

The first thing we learned was that it was hard to get an appointment with a trainer at a licensed range. It took us weeks to make an appointment and we only got one when there was a cancellation. It seems large numbers of ordinary Americans are looking to defend themselves because they, like us, are shocked when they see politicians ignore looting, beatings and arson even as they kneel before thugs. Meanwhile, the media endorses the process, also throwing in a blanket condemnation of the white race, which suggests that there is nothing good that will come out the other end of what it taking place.

We did our shooting training but the next hurdle was upgrading our weapons. We had a venerable 9mm automatic and an even older 38 caliber revolver. Modern handguns have better safety features and their mechanisms work more smoothly for ageing hands. We were looking for a new 9mm automatic and an AR-15 so-called assault rifle for greater reach if that should become necessary but the man at the sales desk shook his head and said “No, everything is back ordered for six months or more. Everyone is buying new weapons. Give me a deposit and I will call you when something comes available.”

So “everyone” is training to shoot and buying new weapons, and it is even being reported that break-ins to steal guns from sporting goods shops are increasing dramatically. Weapons are a hot commodity, which just might mean that the confidence among people that the state will keep them safe is at the vanishing point. Even the mainstream media has noticed the spike in gun sales, but they predictably use that fact to explain the surge in gun homicides across the country in the past several months. More weapons, per The Washington Post, means more armed racist white people are out on the streets raising hell, but it ignores the fact that the gun deaths have been overwhelmingly black-on-black, as has always been the case.

I would also suggest that at least part of the explanation lies elsewhere, in less policing as cops have figured out that they have no one on their side and are best served by doing as little as possible when the shooting starts. Policemen have, in fact, been on the receiving end of much of the recent violence. Instead of seeking help from a cop, violent crime victims should call 911 and ask the operator to have Mayor Bill de Blasio send out a social worker whenever they get attacked by irate gang bangers. The NYPD cops are apparently too busy in any event as they are guarding the black lives matter paintwork covering Fifth Avenue in front of the Trump Tower.

Another thing one is now having difficulty in buying is alcohol. People are depressed and are drinking a hell of a lot more than normal, which can, of course, result in impulsive behavior. I live in Virginia and our state store is constantly running out of everything. A cashier told me that they are selling 300% more booze than normal for this time of year. Last week I went into a large and well-known liquor store in Washington D.C. and bought the last few bottles of our favorite scotch The Famous Grouse. They had run out and didn’t know when they would get more. My wife and I are anticipating a Famous Grouse crisis and we have discussed setting up a still in the basement.

Finally, a family member owns a construction company. He recently said that business is unexpectedly booming, in part because people are building panic rooms, safe havens and even 1960s style fallout shelters in and behind their houses. But unlike the threat of nuclear war in the sixties, the current fear is that with the wreckers being given a free hand by the authorities, organized home invasions penetrating prosperous neighborhoods cannot be that far away. Most of the construction work is being done as unobtrusively as possible because the clients don’t want their neighbors to know how scared they are.

So, there we are. The United States is troubled by a pandemic that the government seems unable to respond to which has produced record unemployment and bankruptcies. Meanwhile, guns and liquor and even coins are in demand while frightened citizens are building home defenses. And much of the government at all levels acts like it is either on the side of or afraid of the destroyers. America certainly has always had flaws but it was once a land of opportunity where people could prosper and enjoy more freedom than nearly anywhere else. Those days are gone so just relax and turn on the evening news. Watch a once proud country with a resilient and hard-working people come apart before your very eyes.

Trump’s free-speech legal folly has merely emboldened his critics
The president remains as keen to sue as ever – but his attempts to intimidate his targets have proved a spectacular flop
July 24, 2020
by Lloyd Green
The Guardian

Donald Trump always had a problem with free speech. Back in the day, he sued reporter Tim O’Brien and the New York Times for allegedly underestimating his wealth. Trump claimed that he was worth billions, but O’Brien pegged the number at no more than $250m, not shoddy but also not jaw-dropping. In the end, New Jersey’s courts tossed Trump’s libel claim, but only after the tabloid star acknowledged that his personal balance sheet was influenced by his own guesstimates.

Time passes and some things don’t change. Trump remains censorious as ever while the courts continue to deny him the relief he ultimately seeks – free media that fawns and flatters but does not actually hold him to account.

On Thursday, a federal judge sitting in Manhattan delivered yet another reminder that the Bill of Rights secures free speech. This time, the court also made clear that the federal prison system was not created to silence Trump’s adversaries. In other words, two divorces and three wives do not make him Henry VIII.

Judge Alvin Hellerstein ordered Michael Cohen released from federal prison after finding that the administration had sought to illegally muzzle Trump’s one-time consigliere. Cohen had been furloughed to home confinement on account of Covid-19, but was then sent back to jail after refusing to shut up about his about his former boss in an upcoming book.

Hellerstein, an 86-year-old Clinton appointee, remarked that this was the first time he had seen this kind of power play by the government in more than 20 years on the bench. He described the administration’s stance this way: “You toe the line about giving up your first amendment rights or we’ll send you to jail.” Hellerstein also found the government’s conduct to be impermissibly retaliatory.

From the sound of things, the 45th president has more in common with Tony Soprano than with his immediate predecessors. But by now, that is not exactly news.

Adding insult to injury, this was Trump’s third defeat in as many attempts to mute a critical author. First, Bill Barr’s justice department failed to obtain a pre-publication injunction against John Bolton, Trump’s one-time national security adviser, and his book, ‘The Room Where It Happened’. Then Trump’s brother, Robert, unsuccessfully sought to prevent Mary Trump, their niece, and’ Too Much and Never Enough’, her family tell-all, from being heard or seeing the light of day. In baseball, commentators would say that he struck out swinging.

In its opinion, the court cited the Pentagon Papers case as grounds for refusing to enjoin publication, and in a rhetorical flourish added, “in the vernacular of first-year law students, ‘constitutional law trumps contracts’”. In other words, non-disclosure agreements take a back seat to free speech and the public’s right to know. And now this.

Even worse for Trump, his legal flailing has resulted in paydays for his critics. Lawsuits are free publicity and goose book sales. Said differently, Brad Parscale, the president’s ex-campaign manager, is not the only person to make a buck off the Trump name.

In January 2018, Trump threatened to block Michael Wolff from releasing ‘Fire and Fury’ but never actually went to court. Trump’s aborted gambit caused Wolff’s publishers to release the book early, and it became an overnight sensation. Instead of Trump intimidating his intended targets, he only emboldened and enriched them.

As for Bolton,’ The Room Where it Happened’ is on its fourth week on the bestsellers’ list after it debuted at No 1. Mary Trump’s ‘Too Much and Never Enough’ sold nearly a million copies in its first week. Talk about unintended consequences.

Suffice to say, when it comes to free speech, Trump has been inconsistent. In a recent interview with CBS, Trump made clear that the first amendment protects the display of the Confederate battle flag. He explained: “My attitude is freedom of speech. Very strong views on the Confederate flag. With me, it’s freedom of speech. Very simple. Like it, don’t like it, it’s freedom of speech.”

But with this president few things are ever that simple. And even fewer are true.

Made-for-TV fascism: how Trump’s ‘crime explosion’ ploy could backfire
Trump is facing a big election with an even bigger need for a political masterstroke – enter a surge of federal agents to fight supposed violence
July 25, 2020
by Tom McCarthy
The Guardian

With an election looming and the polls looking bad, Donald Trump was in need of a quick political boost.

Seizing on television images of a procession of refugees out of Honduras, the president announced an imminent “invasion” of the United States by a “migrant caravan” and said he would deploy 15,000 military personnel to stop it. For weeks, Fox News blared “coverage” of the emergency.

That was in October 2018, and as a political strategy ahead of the midterm elections, the gambit utterly failed.

The Democrats flipped 40 seats in the House of Representatives the next month and racked up the largest popular vote margin in midterm elections history, on the highest turnout in 100 years. The “caravan” emergency was heard of no more.

Now two years later, Trump is facing an even bigger election, with an even bigger need for a political masterstroke if he is to win a second term in November.

Instead of deploying troops to the border to confront a made-up threat, Trump has announced “a surge of federal law enforcement into American communities” to fight a supposed cataclysm of violence born of a Democratic plot to undermine local police.

“To look at it from any standpoint, the effort to shut down policing in their own communities has led to a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes of violence,” Trump said at the White House on Wednesday. “This bloodshed must end. This bloodshed will end.”

The deployment against anti-racism protesters is a ploy to burnish his strongman credentials, critics say – Trump is pursuing made-for-TV fascism, with the imposition of federal forces into US cities against the will of local authorities. As with 2018, the unmistakeable bogeyman is people of color, whom Trump portrays, with the help of conservative media, as again posing an existential threat to the country that only he can defend against.

In some respects, the strategy has a long pedigree, going back to the 1968 “law and order” presidential campaigns of Richard Nixon and George Wallace, the Alabama segregationist. But there is a crucial difference between Trump’s foreign “invasion” charade of 2018 and his current domestic “crime explosion” ploy, analysts say.

Unlike the deployment of troops to a US border, the deployment of federal troops inside American cities threatens to fulfill its own fantasy, turning a dark and opportunistic fable spun by the White House into a daunting new reality in which violent clashes really do play out in the streets and unaccountable federal law enforcement officers really do round up and detain US citizens.

“What one has to ask is, how much is spectacle and how much is reality?” said Jason Stanley, a Yale philosophy professor and author of How Fascism Works. “Now, the spectacle should already worry us, because he did the spectacle in Lafayette Square,” Stanley said, referring to Trump’s violent clearance of peaceful protesters from a park near the White House in June

“Then he did the spectacle in Portland. And when you allow too much spectacle, as it gets worse over time, people start to say, ‘This has been happening for awhile, what’s the big deal?’

“The spectacle normalizes, and then you can’t tell – say it’s November – you can’t tell if it’s still spectacle any more. It’s spectacle until someone gets hurt.”

Just how big of a spectacle the White House has planned for the run-up to the November elections is unknown.

In Portland, Oregon, unidentified federal officers have shot protesters and used unmarked vehicles to detain activists, and graffiti writers have been branded as “violent anarchists”. Trump plans to deploy troops from at least five federal agencies to Chicago and to Albuquerque, New Mexico, the justice department announced this week.

Multiple other cities including New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Seattle, Baltimore, Oakland and Milwaukee have been named for potential future deployments, despite the unambiguous objections of those cities’ mayors.

“Unilaterally deploying these paramilitary-type forces into our cities is wholly inconsistent with our system of democracy and our most basic values,” more than a dozen mayors of major US cities warned Trump in an open letter last week.

Trump is correct that some US cities have seen increases in gun violence in recent months, but crime in the US is down overall in 2020, and Trump is virtually alone in seeing a heavy-handed federal response as palliative.

Criminal justice experts have tied upticks in violence to the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, which has now killed about 145,000 Americans; historic unemployment; social unrest following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May; seasonal fluctuations and other factors.

In any case, phalanxes of heavily armed officers descending on largely peaceful protesters risks sparking violence and unraveling months of work to establish community dialogue about police violence and racial injustice, the mayors have warned.

Julia Azari, a professor of political science at Marquette University, noted that crime is not currently a top issue of concern for a majority of US voters and said that the Trump campaign was working on a tenuous strategy of a narrow win through the electoral college.

“This has really never been a majority-focused administration,” Azari said. “In some ways it’s been an administration focused on mobilizing a particular segment of the American electorate, which is sort of strategically located throughout the states that are important in the electoral college.

“It’s a very uphill strategy.”

As a candidate, Trump can appear to be cornered. Polling indicates that Americans think Trump is wrong about the street protests, they disapprove of his performance as president overall by more than 55% on average, and they disapprove of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic specifically by a whopping 60%.

But Trump has been cornered in the past, as when he was supposed to lose in 2016. Then as now, Trump lashed out on race.

Talking about crime in big cities “can be dog whistles for racial divisions” to Trump supporters, especially in the midwest, who as a group are older, more white and more rural than the average US voter, Azari said.

But emphasizing chaos in the streets is a questionable strategy for an incumbent president, she said. “For most swing voters, the question comes down to, ‘Are things good, are things not good?’ And I don’t see this story as being a really compelling way to reframe the situation as like, ‘things are good’.”

Even if Trump loses in November and is ushered off the national stage, his gestures in the direction of fascist politics – made-for-TV or not – will not be easy to erase, because Trump’s politics are merely a current expression of a 30-year Republican arc, said Stanley.

“There has been a long buildup before Trump,” Stanley said. “A core to authoritarianism – whether fascism or communism – is the one-party state. And Republicans for years before Trump, all the way back to [former House speaker] Newt Gingrich, who I blame all of this on, have been acting like their political opponents are traitors and not legitimate opponents.”

Stanley praised Joe Biden, Trump’s 2020 rival, for pursuing multi-party politics.

“What Biden’s doing is very impressive in that he is constantly – at first I criticized it – he is constantly talking about a return to a multi-party system, where we are going to prize the fact that we have different viewpoints, and that’s the core of our democracy.

“This idea that you can have people who differ and are Republicans or Democrats, and can have different views and can come together, is a repudiation of the Newt Gingrich-led attempt to undermine democracy and place Republicans in power by declaring the opposition party illegitimate.”

Before Portland, Trump’s shocktroops went after border activists
July 25, 2020
by Ryan Devereaux
The Intercept

Images of Border Patrol agents in military-style tactical gear grabbing protesters off the street in Portland, Oregon, have drawn condemnation from Democratic lawmakers, who have described the teams as “secret police.” For immigration advocates like Kaji Douša, a senior pastor at Park Avenue Christian Church in New York City, there is nothing secret — or particularly new — about them.

As the co-chair of the New Sanctuary Coalition, an immigrant rights organization, Douša knows what it’s like to have the weight of the Department of Homeland Security come down on you — she has a growing stack of internal DHS documents, produced in ongoing litigation surrounding the agency’s surveillance of her and dozens of lawyers, journalists, and asylum advocates who were targeted in a sweeping DHS spying operation during the 2018 midterm elections. “We were perceived to be radicals,” Douša told The Intercept. “A lot of white people turned away because it wasn’t them, but now that it’s them in Portland, everybody’s like, ‘Oh, this is crazy.’”

The surveillance was just one politicized DHS operation among many that have taken place under the Trump administration. The same Border Patrol tactical teams currently on the ground in Oregon were also deployed to provide muscle and a visible show of strength for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers conducting a crackdown on New York and other so-called sanctuary cities earlier this year. During the enforcement blitz, an ICE officer dressed in tactical gear was spotted knocking on doors in a Bronx apartment building with a rifle propped against his shoulder. In Brooklyn, a team of ICE officers shot a man in the face while attempting to make an arrest. As The Intercept reported in March, the escalated enforcement came as New York City was becoming the global epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic and led to the filling of local jails, which in turn became hot spots for Covid-19.

“We were raising the alarm about it,” Douša said. “It feels like we’ve been screaming into a vacuum.”

Long before DHS deployed masked paramilitary agents to the Pacific Northwest, the agency was directing its intelligence efforts against opponents of the president’s policies on the southern border, citing the coordinated circulation of public information, tweets, and potential vandalism as a precursor to extremist violence and domestic terrorism.

In the summer of 2018, when the Trump administration was taking children from their parents by the thousands in an effort to ward off asylum-seekers at the southern border, a New York City-based data artist designed a tool for scraping LinkedIn that would collect and share information that ICE personnel had posted about themselves online. Alarm bells went off inside DHS.

“Multiple incidents of doxing of DHS personnel and facilities could result in actualized violence against DHS employees by violent extremist actors,” the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis warned in a June 29, 2018 intelligence note, describing the actors in question as “individuals vehemently opposed to purported or perceived DHS actions regarding immigration policy.”

While protests against the administration’s family separation policy were massive, widespread, and diverse, the note went on to say that “the current publicity surrounding federal immigration policy most likely will resonate with anarchist extremists or individuals who self-identify or subscribe to anti-fascist (ANTIFA) anarchist extremist ideology.” The DHS intelligence office reported with “medium confidence” that “if any criminal acts were to be conducted by these domestic terrorists, these acts would most likely be limited to destruction of critical infrastructure.”

The intelligence note is among a trove of law enforcement documents that were recently hacked and posted online under the title BlueLeaks. The leaked documents reveal several instances in recent years of DHS and its subagencies circulating warnings about a dangerous anarchist or antifa element constituting a domestic terrorist threat. The documents bolster past reporting that has repeatedly demonstrated the agency’s targeting of leftist opponents of the Trump administration’s immigration and border policies, which set the stage for the federal law enforcement campaign the president is now seeking to take nationwide

The materials are particularly noteworthy in light of recent events in Portland, in which DHS has cited the actions of “violent anarchists” as a justification for its show of force on the city’s streets, pointed to doxxing as the reason that agents’ names are hidden from the public, and where the same DHS office that has hyped a threat from the left is now overseeing the intelligence work driving arrests on the ground.

The Intercept sent DHS a list of questions for this story, including clarification on how the agency is determining the political ideology of individual protesters accused of violence on the ground in Portland — earlier this month, for example, acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf issued a press release blaming “violent anarchists” for 70 incidents of “lawless destruction and violence” in Portland (nearly all of the incidents involved graffiti or property destruction). The agency did not respond.

When considering the Trump administration’s actions in Portland, “it’s impossible not to recall the Department of Homeland Security’s targeting of activists and civil society organizations on the border for surveillance and criminal investigation,” said Brian Griffey, a researcher at Amnesty International. In 2019, Griffey was the lead investigator on a report that documented how DHS engaged in a sweeping, multi-year campaign targeting human rights defenders, attorneys, and journalists working on the border. “To label these political activists terrorists, it’s just the same in my mind as how they labeled activists and immigration lawyers on the border as criminals and smugglers,” he said.

Having previously conducted human rights research in eastern Ukraine, Griffey has found himself increasingly concerned with the direction the administration now appears to be taking. “A lot of what’s happening here seems incredibly familiar,” he said. “From little green men, to the encouragement of far-right protesters to stage arm demonstrations outside Capitol buildings in regional areas. As we get into election season this is a recipe for trouble if they don’t roll back the rhetoric and stop threatening civil society.”

Political Enemies

There is no legal definition of a sanctuary city. For the Trump administration, the term has typically meant ostensibly liberal jurisdictions where local law enforcement has pulled back on some element of cooperation with ICE — though ICE still operates in those cities, and in places like New York, a low-level brush with the New York Police Department can still lead to deportation. President Donald Trump has repeatedly identified such jurisdictions as his political enemies. The federal law enforcement posture that has garnered so much attention in the past month is largely an extension of that view and is being rolled out alongside a reelection effort framed around the notion that leftist activists and political leaders are in cahoots to destroy the country.

As Douša and Griffey noted, much of what’s happened in recent weeks, from the DHS operations themselves to the units involved to the government’s characterization of the perceived threat, would be familiar to anyone whose had a close eye on the border in recent years.

On January 17, 2018, a specialized Border Patrol unit conducted a raid on a humanitarian aid station in the unincorporated border community of Ajo, Arizona. Scott Warren, a geographer and volunteer with the faith-based organization No More Deaths and several other humanitarian groups was arrested along with two young undocumented men from Central American who were attempting to cross one of the deadliest stretches of the Sonoran Desert. A Border Patrol agent who later admitted that he did not know how to secure a warrant for a wiretap had conducted a multi-month “investigation” into the aid facility. The U.S. Attorney’s Office pursued the case aggressively, hitting Warren with two federal felony counts of harboring and one count of conspiracy. He faced up to 20 years in prison. The office brought nine other federal cases against No More Deaths volunteers accused of leaving jugs of water for migrants crossing the desert on public lands

Trump administration prosecutors spent two years trying to lock Warren away. When the first trial ended in a hung jury, they brought another. The second jury returned a verdict of not guilty after just two hours of deliberations. Throughout Warren’s ordeal, prosecutors alleged that No More Deaths and groups like it were effectively a border-wide anarchist conspiracy network aimed at breaking U.S. immigration laws.

Warren’s case was among the first clear signs that the Trump administration was willing to devote considerable resources to aggressive and politically symbolic law enforcement activity in matters related to the president’s border agenda.

While Warren was able to avoid time behind bars during his brush with the Trump administration’s politicized brand of border law enforcement, others were not so fortunate.

On August 3, 2018, ICE agents in Texas arrested 18-year-old Sergio Salazar at an Occupy ICE encampment in San Antonio, Texas. As The Intercept reported last year, Salazar’s tweets landed them on the radar of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), which forwarded the posts to an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in San Antonio that included ICE personnel. Federal authorities surveilled Salazar and the Occupy ICE encampment for weeks. Tactical agents in masks not unlike those in Portland visited the camp at night. One day after Salazar’s protections against deportation under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals expired, an ICE team moved in and placed them under arrest. In an evidence packet ICE compiled to support Salazar’s deportation, which Salazar shared with The Intercept, DHS argued that the recent high school graduate’s social media revealed their affiliation with the “Anarchist Extremist Group ‘ANTIFA.’” Salazar was locked up for 43 days before being deported — “banished,” in their words — from the only country they had ever known.

The BlueLeaks documents show that Salazar’s case was referenced in a report circulated by a law enforcement fusion center in Colorado the following year: “On 03 August 2018, an 18-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient was arrested by the FBI after posting instructional videos for making bombs to kill ICE agents. He also posted several anonymous messages online against ICE agents.” Salazar was not arrested by the FBI nor were they ever charged or accused of a crime. The source of the fusion center’s reporting was an article published by the Center for Immigration Studies, an organization with with longstanding ties to Trump’s top immigration architect, White House adviser Stephen Miller — the Southern Poverty Law Center includes the organization among its designated hate groups, CIS rejects the characterization.

The author of the CIS post was Todd Bensman, a former senior intelligence analyst at the Texas Department of Public Safety who, according to biographies on CIS’s website and his own, had a supervisory role at DPS that “frequently” involved sharing intelligence with JTTFs and ICE at the time that DPS shared Salazar’s tweets with FBI. Bensman left DPS for CIS the month of Salazar’s arrest, where he proceeded to write multiple articles and posted a video about the national security threat that people like Salazar posed, drawing comparisons to “ISIS propagandists who become the targets of hellfire missiles overseas because their incitement has proven so mortally effective.”

Bensman told The Intercept he was aware of Salazar’s case during his tenure at DPS, but that he went to “great pains” to compartmentalize his work in law enforcement from the public facing reporting he produces at CIS. Though he believes federal law enforcement would not have devoted the resources to the Salazar case that it did absent a serious threat, he acknowledged that he did not have access to the case file ICE presented laying out its purported evidence to support that claim. “If there was exculpatory information about that investigation, I certainly would have written about it,” Bensman told The Intercept.

Salazar’s life was upended entirely by the investigation Bensman’s previous office set in motion. From an apartment in Mexico, they wrote: “Despite the hateful behavior and writings of the DHS and its employees against a teenage me, I still believe a better world is possible and still hold in my heart a vision of a world where migration is not criminalized or regulated through violence”

The BlueLeaks documents show that on June 22, 2018, while much of the country was reacting in horror at the Trump administration’s family separation policy, and Salazar and their friends were occupying the ICE facility in Texas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection was reporting “an increase in social media threats targeting DHS personnel.” The threats included “advocating violence against ICE officials and destruction of government property, the release of DHS officials’ personally identifiable information (PII), and the release of DHS facility locations.”

For the most part, DHS facility locations, like the details government employees post on their LinkedIn pages, are publicly available information. CBP acknowledged that “while doxxing itself may be constitutionally protected,” the government would continue monitor “incidents of doxing where there is a reasonable belief that the doxed information could lead to violent domestic extremist activity.” In a preview of what would become a Trump administration talking point regarding the recent protests, CBP warned that “anarchist extremists have previously exploited constitutionally protected events to engage in violence against police.” The agency listed nearly a dozen “indicators of planned criminal or violent domestic extremist activity,” which included “preoperational surveillance of government buildings, symbols of capitalism, or symbols of corporate globalization” and “possessing anarchist signs.”

“Some of these behavioral indicators involve constitutionally protected activities,” CBP noted. “These indicators, therefore, only support a reasonable suspicion of violent activity when considered in conjunction with additional, supporting facts.”

In the months after the alerts were issued, the Trump administration shifted into election mode, zeroing in on migrant caravans making their way north from Central America to rally the president’s base for the 2018 midterm elections.

When the caravans reached Tijuana at the end of the year, they were met with tear gas lobbed over the border wall by DHS officers and agents. Last February, The Intercept revealed that the agency had embarked on a sprawling, binational intelligence-gathering operation run by U.S. and Mexican law enforcement focused on journalists, immigration attorneys, and asylum advocates in the area. Targets of the program were routinely interrogated by DHS personnel when crossing into San Diego, in some cases for hours at a time. Multiple lawyers and photojournalists were barred from traveling internationally. Members of the press were forced to turn over their notes, cameras, and phones while plainclothes U.S. border officials pumped them for information about activists working with the caravans.

A month after The Intercept’s investigation, NBC San Diego obtained a cache of documents, leaked by an ICE whistleblower, showing that DHS had built a “secret database of activists, journalists, and social media influencers tied to the migrant caravan and in some cases, placed alerts on their passports.” The program featured the lead DHS border and immigration enforcement agencies, as well as the FBI, and it fell under the umbrella of “Operation Secure Line,” the Trump administration’s border surge of military units during the midterms initially dubbed “Faithful Patriot.” Douša was among the immigrant rights advocates included in the database. In a section of Douša’s classified DHS file titled “Target Significance,” CBP’s San Diego Intelligence Unit wrote, “Possible connection to recent ANTIFA movement along the southwestern border.”

“There were 59 of us in the Operation Secure Line targeting database that basically tied all of us to so-called antifa,” Douša said. “I have no idea what that is.”

The DHS border spying revelations prompted a bipartisan letter to the head of CBP from Sens. Ron Wyden and Chuck Grassley last March demanding answers. The border enforcement agency initially dismissed the matter then, four months after the story broke, admitted that U.S. and Mexican authorities had indeed engaged in a cross-border intelligence operation. In October, the American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of asylum advocates caught in the surveillance program, accusing CBP, ICE, and the FBI of First and Fourth Amendment violations. “The government’s powers are not limitless,” the complaint read.

The Anarchist-Antifa Boogeyman

In July of last year, Willem Van Spronsen, a 69-year-old, self-identified anarchist, who went by the pen name Emma Durutti, was shot dead by police while allegedly carrying a rifle and throwing “lit objects” at vehicles used at a privately run ICE jail in Tacoma, Washington. The incident is the most serious escalation of force involving leftists challenging DHS to date. Other reported threats that federal authorities have investigated in recent years appear far shakier.

Last May, the FBI circulated a report, later leaked to Yahoo News and included in the BlueLeaks cache, titled “Anarchist Extremists Very Likely Increasing Targeting of US Government Entities in Arizona, Increasing Risk of Armed Conflict.” As Yahoo News noted in its coverage, which included interviews with individuals included in the document, “almost all of the evidence cited in the report involved nonviolent protest activity.” The reporting came just months after the San Diego Union-Tribune broke the news that the Trump administration’s targeting of journalists and advocates at the border may have been linked to a bizarre FBI investigation in which an alleged “Mexico-based cartel associate known as Cobra Commander” was suspected of trying to sell guns to antifa in order to “stage an armed rebellion at the border.”

Like many of the materials that have emerged from the Blue Leaks trove, DHS documents concerning antifa suggest that the agency struggles to identify real threats in a world rife with internet jokes. In July 2019, for example, CBP alerted personnel about a social media user who had compared immigration agents to the “gestapo” and written “kill all ICE agents,” and “an Antifa member” who written the following: “I have perfected an acid that you can mix into milkshakes that will still taste refreshing and creamy but give you 3rd degree chemical burns hit me up.” CBP followed the milkshake intel with a list of precautions “to reduce the risk of targeting or attack.”

The antifa-anarchist boogeyman that has haunted the minds of the nation’s border and immigration agencies for the past three and a half years has now gone national. According to a leaked DHS document obtained by Lawfare, the same office of intelligence and analysis that described “anti-fascist (ANTIFA) anarchist extremists” as domestic terrorists in 2018 is now collecting intelligence for federal law enforcement operations in Portland.

Just days after George Floyd was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis and a local precinct went up in flames, Trump declared that he would designate antifa a terrorist organization. Highlighting antifa by name, Attorney General William Barr announced that the nation’s JTTFs, the same federal task forces involved Salazar’s deportation, would be called upon to “identify criminal organizers and instigators” whose role in hijacking the nationwide protests amounted to “domestic terrorism.” According the attorney general, the FBI is currently pursuing more than 500 such investigations. Incidentally, “instigator,” along with the word “antifa,” was one of the markers used in the secret DHS database of advocates on the border.

“We shouldn’t be looking at DHS in isolation from DOJ,” Faiza Patel, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, told The Intercept. “Historically those two agencies have been engaged in turf battles, but it does seem that they are working pretty much in tandem here.”

As The Intercept reported earlier this month, an official Trump Super PAC has pointed to the administration’s antifa crackdown to raise money for the president’s reelection campaign. “This is a political move,” Patel said. “The feds don’t normally respond to graffiti when the local police say they can handle it.” In a press conference on Wednesday, the president, accompanied by Barr and the heads of DHS and the FBI, announced that ramped-up federal law enforcement will be coming to several other cities around the country.

When the White House began pushing DHS into New York as part of the sanctuary city crackdown earlier this year, an underground network of advocates organized a rapid response system for identifying ICE activity in immigrant communities. Experiences like that are now informing how immigration advocates interpret and respond to the present moment, Douša explained. “It’s very concerning to us, but it doesn’t feel all that different to me yet,” she said. To the extent that there have been any radical shifts in the past few weeks, she said, it’s the fact “that white people are starting to care.


Department of Defense-Domestic Counterinsurgency
NUMBER 3005.20
July 10, 2020 USD(I)
SUBJECT: DoD Domestic Military Order-Counterinsurgency Overview : See Enclosure 1
Domestic Military Order – Counterinsurgency Overview

Part 7


Leader’s Checklist for Counterinsurgency Operations

Small units handle local counterinsurgency operations most effectively. These small units are usually company sized, operating within a community or group of communities to find, fix, and destroy the insurgents. When these companies are habitually associated with a particular community, they can develop the intelligence necessary to identify and destroy the insurgents. Harassment operations may assist in locating and fixing insurgents. Operations of this type will prevent insurgents from resting and reorganizing, will inflict casualties, aid in gaining detailed knowledge of the AO, and cause insurgents to expend their limited resources. When an insurgent force has been located, every attempt to encircle the force should be made, even if piecemeal deployment is required. Normally, such operations require that the counterinsurgency force be much larger than the insurgent force Company commanders can call on support from their next higher headquarters that also maintains a company reserve element. Platoons are assigned AOs, with one platoon in reserve. Platoons teach locals how to protect their communities. Squads run training programs.

The American way of war has been to sub stitute firepower for manpower. As a result, US forces have frequently resorted to firepower in the form of artillery or air any time they make contact. This creates two negatives in acounterinsurgency. First, massive firepower causes collateral damage, thereby frequently driving the locals into the arms of the insurgents. Second, it allows insurgents to break contact after having inflicted casualties on friendly forces. A more effective method is to attack with ground forces to gain and maintain contact, with the goal of completely destroying the insurgent force. This tactic dictates that military forces become skilled in pursuits. The unit that makes the initial contact with the insurgent force requires rapid augmentation to maintain pressure against the fleeing force, envelop it, and destroy it. These augmentation (reaction) forces should be given the highest priority for use of available transport.


The pursuit force is organized into two elements, the direct pressure force and the encircling forces (includes blocking forces). The direct pressure force pursues and maintains constant offensive pressure on the enemy force as it withdraws. The encircling forces, employing superior mobility (preferably by using airmobile or airborne forces), conduct local envelopments (single or double) to cut off insurgent forces and destroy them


Area ambush is an effective offensive counterinsurgency technique. The area ambush consists of a primary ambush element that triggers the ambush and smaller supporting ambush groups that cover all likely routes of withdrawal. Once the ambush is triggered, the smaller ambush groups open fire as the insurgent force attempts to withdraw


Defense is oriented on the location of the community or installation rather than upon the most favorable terrain. Since defense of the specific community or installation is paramount, plans for withdrawal to rearward positions are focused on retaining control of the community or installation.

Security and surveillance measures are coordinated for 24-hour operations. The provisions for perimeter defense are particularly applicable in defense of communities or installations against insurgent attack when regular counterinsurgency forces are conducting the defense.

When using local paramilitary forces, training must instill the necessary confidence and ability to provide an effective defense for a community under attack until supporting forces are delivered or until reinforcements arrive.

By prearranged SOPs—to include communications, forces, and fire support—larger communities and the surrounding smaller ones mutually assist in the defense of one another until other support or reinforcements arrive. In areas where offensive operations have been conducted to eliminate insurgent control of the population, regular military forces are required to temporarily assume responsibility for security/defense of a liberated community until adequate local defenders can be trained and equipped.


All air and ground fire support elements within range of the route of the mounted col-umn take measures to ensure close and continuous fire support. Fire planning, to include registration, must be as complete as time allows. Continuous communications are essential to establish positive control in order to clear airspace and apply effects.

Individual and unit SOPs for maneuver as responsive action and counterambush reaction include the following:

Pre-positioning of security elements along the route.

Possible use of airmobile hunter-killer teams.

Assistance available from friendly units occupying positions along or adjacent to the route.


Security for movement when dismounted presents several considerations that are different from security for mounted columns. These include the following:

Secrecy that may preclude air cover.

Restrictions on registration of artillery and the inability to plan targets when the route cannot be determined in advance.

Flank security is easier for dismounted movement, particularly if ground or air transportation can be used to position security elements.

Silent movement of dismounted columns, particularly at night, can allow security elements to locate ambush forces.

Extended formations that allow part of the column to be in position to maneuver against an ambush force that strikes a different part of the column.



The successful conduct of counterinsurgency operations relies on the willing support and cooperation of the populations directly involved. Greater priority and awareness is needed to understand the motivations of the parties involved in the conflict and the population as a whole. The understanding of the background and development of the conflict into which US forces are intervening is of particular significance. This requires a detailed understanding of the cultural environment and the human terrain in which the US forces will be operating and thereby places a heavy reliance on the use of HUMINT.

The commander requires intelligence about the enemy and the AO prior to engaging in operations. Intelligence assists commanders in visualizing their battlespace, knowing the enemy, organizing their forces, and controlling operations to achieve the desired tactical objectives or end state. Intelligence supports force protection by alerting the commander to emerging threats and assisting in security operations. Intelligence to support counterinsurgency operations focuses on three areas:

Factors motivating the insurgency.

Appeal the insurgency holds for insurgents.

Organization, leadership, and key functionaries of the insurgency.

“Open-source intelligence” refers to the practice of drawing information from the news media and processing it into intelligence. It is an increasingly common practice among world intelligence organizations. The six categories of media and news sources providing open-source intelligence are—

Newspapers. Periodicals.

Military and other professional journals.

Internet web logs (commonly called “blogs.”

Visual media (primarily television).


Units engaged in counterinsurgency operations may face multiple threats. The commander must understand how enemies organize, equip, train, employ, and control their forces. Intelligence provides an understanding of the enemy, which assists in planning, preparing, and executing operations. Commanders must also understand their operational envi-ronment and its effects on both their own and enemy operations. The commander receives mission-oriented intelligence on enemy forces and the AO from the G-2/S-2. The G-2/S-2 depends upon the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) effort to collect and provide information on the enemy and AO.

One of the most significant contributions that intelligence can accomplish is to accurately predict future enemy events. Although a difficult task, predictive intelligence enables the commander and staff to anticipate key enemy events or actions and develop corresponding plans or counteractions. The most important purpose of intelligence is to enable decision making. Commanders receive the intelligence, understand it (because it is tailored to th commander’s requirements), and act on it. Through this doctrinal concept, intelligence drives operations.

The AO during counterinsurgency operations includes three primary components:

physical terrain and weather, society (socio-cultural, often referred to as the human terrain), and infrastructure. These components provide a structure for intelligence personnel to focus and organize to provide support to counterinsurgency operations. These entities are interdependent, not separate. These components enable the commanders to gain an in-depth understanding of their AO during counterinsurgency operations and provide a focus for the intelligence analyst.


An insurgent organization that recruits from an idealistic and naïve upper and middle class will differ significantly from one that recruits from prisons. Some insurgent organizations recruit university students, either to join the movement as operatives and support personnel, or to prepare for future leadership roles. Insurgents recruit lower-level personnel with little or no education because they are more susceptible to insurgent propaganda, although many insurgents come from an upper-middle class background. The impact of target audiences bears directly upon the willingness of the insurgent recruit to fully commit to the cause and to sacrifice self if deemed necessary.


A thorough analysis of the population within the AO is critical to the execution of successful counterinsurgency operations. Consider the impact the local populace may have on the threat and friendly forces, as well as their location in the AO and area of interest. When analyzing the population, the following are areas to consider:

Identify active and passive supporters and why they are supporting.

Determine what segment of the general population supports or assists the threat and how.

Determine the extent to which the population will support or impede friendly operations.


  • Identify and depict those segments of the population that are friendly or unfriendly toward US forces.
  • Identify and depict those segments of the population that are pro-government or anti-government.
  • Identify terrorist and/or criminal elements and their relationship to the insurgents and the general population.
  • Determine the availability of weapons to the general population.
  • Insurgents move among the local population the way conventional forces move over terrain.
  • The military aspects of terrain may be used to analyze how insurgents might use this “human terrain” to accomplish their objectives.

Observation and Fields of Fire

Individuals or groups in the population can be co-opted by one side or another to perform a surveillance or reconnaissance function, performing as moving outposts to gather information. Local residents have intimate knowledge of the local area. Their observations can provide information and insights about what might otherwise remain a mystery. For instance, residents often know about shortcuts through town. They might also be able to observe and report on a demonstration or meeting that occurs in their area. Unarmed combatants might provide targeting intelligence to armed combatants engaged in a confrontation. This was readily apparent in Mogadishu, where unarmed combatants with the ability to observe friendly force activities without the threat of being engaged instructed hidden threat forces on where to fire.

  • Deception and adversarial propaganda threats may hinder a clear view of the threat’s tactics or intentions.
  • Fields of fire can be extremely limited by the presence of noncombatants in a combat zone because restrictive ROE may prohibit firing into a crowd.
  • Figuratively, the population or regions within a local area can be identified as nonlethal targets for IO.
  • Avenues of Approach
  • Populations present during operations physically restrict movement and maneuver by limiting or changing the width of avenues of approach.
  • People may assist movement if a group can be used as human barriers between one combatant group and another. Refugee flows, for example, can provide a concealed avenue of approach for members of an enemy force.
  • A certain individual can provide an avenue of approach to a specific target audience when acting as a “mouthpiece” for an IO mission.

Key Terrain

The population in counterinsurgency operations is key terrain. This is based on the idea that public opinion and their support or lack thereof can change the course or the aims of a mission. The United States’ withdrawal from Somalia following the outcry after seeing a dead soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu is often used in urban operations literature as an example of the power of an audience. Determining which population or portions of it are key to a mission should not be limited to broad-brush characterizations of large populations, however. Certain sectors or individuals within a population can be as pivotal in modern engagements as a piece of high ground was in past eras, or as the entire US population was in regard to Mogadishu.

Captured combatants or a well-informed noncombatant can provide valuable information about the enemy. These individuals can be key terrain in terms of the information they can provide.

A group of people that US forces are deployed to protect might be considered key terrain because loss of that group’s respect could jeopardize the entire operation.

Congregated people can be considered key terrain. Whether moving or stationary, a large gathering might be a ripe target for attack, closer observation, or attempts at manipulation.


One of the largest obstacles to friendly operations is the portion of the population that actively supports the insurgent.

People conducting their daily activities will often “get in the way” of any type of operation.

For instance, curiosity-driven crowds in Haiti often affected patrols by inadvertently forcing units into the middle of the street and pushing them into a single file. No harm was  inflicted, but the unit was made move vulnerable to sniper and grenade attacks.

Strategically, the world audience, as well as its local contingent, can create political, cultural, and ideological obstacles to a mission. The US audience watching events unfold in Vietnam can be understood as an obstacle to the government’s strategy of pursuing its strategic objectives. The cultural differences apparent when US forces were deployed for Operation Desert Storm could have been an obstacle if not adequately addressed. For instance, a PSYOP flier produced to encourage a sense of unity among the Arab populations included a picture of two men holding hands .a sight not common in Western cultures. A flier designed in accordance with Western standards might not have been as effective.

Cover and Concealment

Civilian populations provide ubiquitous concealment for nonuniformed forces. Threat forces operating in any part of a local urban area can instantly blend into any type of crowd or activity.

Threat forces often find cover by operating within a neutral group. For instance, al Qaeda operatives and fighters are able to often move freely among and mix with the rural populace living near Afghanistan-Pakistan border. However, these same people have difficulty remaining nondescript and moving freely among urban populations due to regional differences in their accent, mode of dress, hair and beard styles, and skin pigment. Reportedly, insurgents attempted to move in the company of women and children (acting as family members) and mixed among the populace exiting and entering Fallujah during operations there in spring 2004.



Human intelligence is the collection by a trained HUMINT collector of foreign information from people and multimedia to identify elements, intentions, composition, strength, dispositions, tactics, equipment, personnel, and capabilities. It uses human sources and a variety of collection methods, both passively and actively, to gather information to satisfy the commander’s intelligence requirements and cross-cue other intelligence disciplines

During counterinsurgency operations, the most important information and intelligence will come from the population and those in direct contact with them—HUMINT. The quantity and quality of this information and intelligence will depend on the credibility of the US forces, the continuous security they provide the local population, and their ability to interact with the local population (communicate and establish relationships with members of the local population). Every member of the US force, whether on or off duty, is an informal HUMINT collector and must be aware of the overall intelligence requirements and how their nteractions and observations may assist in the intelligence collection plan. This awareness can and should be developed by regular briefings and debriefings.

Trained HUMINT collectors obtain information from people and multimedia to identify elements, intentions, composition, strength, dispositions, tactics, equipment, personnel, and capabilities within and affecting the local area. HUMINT can assist to establish and more accurately understand the sociocultural characteristics of the local area.

HUMINT sources can provide early warning of deep-rooted problems awaiting US forces during counterinsurgency operations. HUMINT collectors can conduct debriefings, screenings, liaison, HUMINT contact operations, document exploitation, interrogations, and tactical questioning in support of the commander’s intelligence requirements.

Information provided by HUMINT can greatly assist the intelligence staff in deducing critical patterns, trends, and networks within the local area. HUMINT collection team personnel provide these types of capabilities in support of tactical forces. The S-2/G-2/J-2X coordinates these capabilities between the tactical, operational, and strategic levels, and can provide their units with access to pertinent national level HUMINT.

Intelligence planning staffs must be aware that battlespace cannot generally be defined in geographical terms for purposes of intelligence collection. This is especially important when determining the allocation of HUMINT assets. Concentrations of humans on the battlefield do not necessarily denote a need to concentrate HUMINT assets in those locations.

Threat actions outside a unit’s AO may be a source of significant events inside a unit’s AO.

Additionally, information from sources in one AO may impact operations in a distant AO.

Creating arbitrary intelligence boundaries can result in a lack of timely fusion of all critical elements of information that may be available.


Imagery intelligence is intelligence derived from the exploitation of imagery collected by visual photography, infrared, lasers, multispectral sensors, and radar. These sensors produce images of objects optically, electronically, or digitally on film, electronic display devices, or other media

IMINT has some severe limitations during counterinsurgency operations. Imaging systems cannot distinguish between insurgents masquerading as civilians and the general population. Additionally, imaging systems cannot see through buildings in built-up areas, so low-flying aerial imagery collection platforms often have restricted fields of vision. Likewise they cannot see threats that may be located inside buildings. Additionally, aerial platforms that do not have standoff capabilities may be at risk of being destroyed by local enemy air defense fire.

There are several key advantages that imagery can provide to the commander. UAV imagery may be one of the fastest, least risky methods by which to conduct reconnaissance of specific areas and to update and verify current maps of that area, showing clear routes, obstacles such as damaged and destroyed buildings, and intact and destroyed bridges. The topographical team can use this imagery to create updated mapping products for planning and operational uses.

Cameras co-located with MASINT systems, such as REMBASS, and activated when those systems are triggered can give the commander additional “eyes on” named areas of interest without wasting manpower by continuously staffing an observation post in those locations. Providing patrols with a digital camera or video camera can greatly assist in the debriefing process and allow the intelligence staff personnel to make their own judgments about items of interest that the patrol reports. Videotaping of events, such as a demonstration, can allow analysts who were not on the scene to identify key elements, leaders, and potential indicators to help preclude future incidents. Gun-camera images from aircraft that can provide a stand-off reconnaissance platform may give valuable insight into enemy TTPs. Thermal sights on a vehicle patrolling an urban street late at night may note the hot engine of a vehicle on the side of the road, possibly indicating suspicious activity.

The Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) can provide such information as the amount of vehicular traffic entering and leaving an area via multiple avenues, which can be useful when trying to determine if the enemy is shifting forces into or out of a specific region, or if there is a covert attempt to exfiltrate or infiltrate the region via lesser-used avenues. This could include monitoring traffic crossing international borders.

The National Geospatial Agency can provide a wide range of imagery products for use prior to and during operations in the urban environment. These products are usually easier to obtain prior to deployment and are often critical to the initial planning stages of an operation.


Signals intelligence is a category of intelligence comprising either individually or in combination all communications intelligence, electronic intelligence, and foreign instrumentation signals intelligence, however transmitted; intelligence is derived from communications, electronics, and foreign instrumentation signals. SIGINT has three subcategories:

Communications intelligence. The intelligence derived from foreign communications by other than the intended recipients

Electronic intelligence. Technical and geolocation intelligence derived from foreign non-communications electromagnetic radiations emanating from other than nuclear detonations or radioactive sources

Foreign instrumentation signals intelligence. Technical information and intelligence derived from the intercept of foreign electromagnetic emissions associated with the testing and operational deployment of non-US aerospace, surface, and sub-surface systems. Foreign instrumentation signals intelligence is a subcategory of signals intelligence. Foreign instrumentation signals include but are not limited to telemetry, beaconry, electronic interrogators, and video data links

SIGINT is of value whenever there is any form of electronic emission, whether from communications (such as hand-held or citizen’s band radios and mobile phones), combat net radio transmissions, or for other purposes such as the radio control of explosive devices or use of radar for surface-to-air missile guidance. The easy availability of high-tech communications and monitoring equipment now allows most nations to have a relatively sophisticated SIGINT capability.

Insurgent groups may use unencrypted, low-power, communications systems to conduct local operations. Ground-based SIGINT collection assets must be properly positioned in advance to be certain that they can obtain the best possible intelligence from these sources.


Collection of unencrypted threat signals can provide key indicators for threat courses of action. Patterns in the amount of known enemy encrypted signals provide indications of specific threat courses of action. Because of signal bounce within urban areas, direction-finding capabilities for all SIGINT collection systems are significantly impaired. During counterinsurgency operations, it may be possible for the local authorities to monitor local telephone lines and provide relevant information they collect to US forces. Likewise, it may be possible for US forces to tip off local national authorities as to what telephone numbers may yield valuable intelligence.


MASINT is technically derived intelligence that detects, locates, tracks, identifies, or describes the specific characteristics of fixed and dynamic target objects and sources. It also includes the additional advanced processing and exploitation of data derived from IMINT and SIGINT collection.

MASINT provides important intelligence at the tactical level. Systems such as ground surveillance radars have limited uses in the urban environments because of the lack of wide-open spaces in which they most effectively operate. For that same reason, they can cover large, open areas that are possible avenues of approach or infiltration/exfiltration routes within a unit’s AO. Systems such as REMBASS and the Platoon Early Warning Device can play a primary role in monitoring many of the numerous avenues of approach that cannot be covered by human observers due to manpower constraints. REMBASS can monitor avenues such as subterranean passageways (or entrances and exits to such passageways), entrances and exits on buildings, fire escapes on buildings, base camp perimeters, and traffic flow along routes (especially foot trails that may be used to infiltrate and exfiltrate personnel and equipment between urban and rural areas).


CI is focused on countering adversary intelligence collection activities against US forces. During counterinsurgency operations, CI personnel primarily investigate adversary intelligence collection threats and provide force protection assistance. In conjunction with HUMINT collections, CI agents conduct screening operations to identify personnel that may be of CI interest or have CI leads. CI investigations and operations may cross-cue the other intelligence disciplines and may in term be cross-cued by the other disciplines. CI personnel work in conjunction with military police, engineers, and medical service personnel to create threat vulnerability assessments that provide commanders and leaders with a comprehensive force protection assessment. CI personnel provide analysis of the adversary’s HUMINT, IMINT, SIGINT, and MASINT capabilities in support of intelligence collection, terrorism, and sabotage in order to develop countermeasures against them. CI analytical products are important tools in course of action development in the military decision making process.

CI technical services that may be available and of use during counterinsurgency     operations include surveillance, computer network operations (assisting in protecting US information and information systems while exploiting and/or attacking adversary information and information systems), technical surveillance countermeasures (identifying technical collection activities being carried out by adversary intelligence entities), IO, and counter-signals intelligence.


ISR tasks are the actions of the intelligence collection effort. ISR tasks consist of three categories:


Surveillance. Reconnaissance.

Developing the counterinsurgency operational ISR plan is different from developing the plan supporting conventional operations. Due to the unconventional nature of the counterinsurgency environment, the ISR effort will be significantly more complex in combining and in-tegrating HUMINT collectors and surveillance assets with the capabilities and tasks of limited ISR-assigned assets as well as integrating with interagency resources. Techniques must be modified for every operation to accomplish ISR requirements—each operation is unique.

Additionally, local, national, and multinational ISR assets must be integrated into the over-all ISR plan at both the local, district, and regional levels. The key to successful ISR efforts is the integration of all ISR-capable units, local and HN government and interagency organizations throughout the entire operations process (plan, prepare, execute, and assess). The coordinated actions of the entire staff to develop the threat and environment portion of the common operational picture are key to providing successful ISR support to the commander.

Psychological Operations and Military Police Support

Leaders must incorporate PSYOP and military police support into planning for counterinsurgency operations. PSYOP has an integral role in influencing behaviors and attitudes of friendly, neutral, and hostile target audiences. Tactical PSYOP teams often will accompany combat units that have close contact with indigenous personnel. Leaders must know how to use the PSYOP units effectively to enhance success of the mission. Military police assist commanders with area security, criminal investigations, maintaining law and order, and detaining prisoners or other personnel. Military police can also provide support to establish or enhance integrated police and penal systems, consistent with US law..


The purpose of PSYOP is to influence target audience behaviors so that they support US national policy objectives and the combatant commander’s intentions at the strategic, operational  and tactical levels of war. PSYOP provide a commander the means to employ a nonlethal capability across the range of military operations (offense, defense, stability, and support) and spectrum of conflict, from peace through conflict to war and during postconflict operations.


Insurgents. To create dissension, disorganization, low morale, subversion, and defection within insurgent forces. No single way exists to influence foreign targets deliberately.Planning stems from the viewpoint of those affected by a conflict. The sitting government needs national programs designed to influence and win insurgents  over to its side.

Civilian populace. To gain, preserve, and strengthen civilian support for the sitting government and its counterinsurgency programs.

Military forces. To strengthen military support, with emphasis on building and maintaining the morale of these forces. The loyalty, discipline, and motivation of the forces are critical factors in combating an insurgency.

Neutral elements. To gain the support of uncommitted groups inside and outside the country. Effective ways of gaining support are to reveal the subversive activities and to bring international pressure to bear on any external hostile power sponsoring the insurgency.

  • External hostile powers. To convince them the insurgency will fail.
  • Local government. To establish and maintain credibility.
  • PSYOP can assist counterinsurgency by reaching the following goals:
  • Countering hostile propaganda.
  • Improving popular support for the sitting government.
  • Discrediting the insurgent forces to neutral groups and the insurgents themselves.
  • Projecting a favorable image of the sitting government of the United States.
  • Supporting defector programs.
  • Providing close and continuous PSYOP support to CMO.
  • Establishing local law enforcement command support of positive populace control and protection from insurgent activities.
  • Informing the international community of US military units intent and goodwill.
  • Passing instructions to the general populace.
  • Developing local law enforcement PSYOP capabilities.


At the tactical level, PSYOP are the supported commander’s most readily available asset to communicate with foreign target audiences. Tactical PSYOP forces provide a powerful capability to the supported commander whether providing information during humanitarian assistance operations or broadcasting surrender instructions while supporting combat operations. PSYOP disseminate products at the tactical level at the most personal level: through face-to-face communication, dissemination of visual products, or from the close proximity of a loudspeaker. Tactical PSYOP Soldiers can often obtain immediate feedback from the target audience they are trying to influence. When attached to a maneuver battalion or company, the tactical PSYOP team disseminates PSYOP products using visual, audio, or audiovisual means. The tactical loudspeakers employed by the teams can achieve immediate and direct contact with a target audience and are used heavily during counterinsurgency operations.

Tactical PSYOP teams can perform other tasks. In addition to disseminating printed materials, they perform face-to-face communication, gather and assess the effectiveness of friendly PSYOP and propaganda, and acquire PSYOP-relevant information from the local populace.


Military police forces provide a robust and dynamic combat capability during a counterinsurgency.Military police Soldiers possess the diverse mobility capabilities, lethality in weapons mix, and trained communications skills to operate in any environment. The actions of the 18th Military Police Brigade supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom demonstrate the diversity and flexibility of military police functions. These soldiers conducted over 24,000 combat patrols; processed over 3,600 enemy prisoners of war, detainees, and insurgents; confiscated over 7,500 weapons; and trained over 10,000 Iraqi police officers. Military police patrols came under direct or indirect attack over 300 times throughout the operation.

The five military police functions—maneuver and mobility support operations, area security, police intelligence operations, law and order, and internment/resettlement operations—all apply to counterinsurgency operations.


Military police support counterinsurgency operations through maneuver and mobility

support operations in a variety of ways, to include—

  • Supporting straggler and displaced person operations.
  • Conducting route reconnaissance and surveillance missions.
  • Conducting main supply route regulation and enforcement operations (to include
  • checkpoints and roadblocks).


Military police operations within the area security function to support counterinsurgency may include—

Reconnaissance operations.

Conducting critical site, asset, and high-risk personnel security operations, to include security of high-value convoys (Class III or V).

Conducting combat patrols throughout the AO (to include cordon and search operations). The military police firepower, mobility and communications ability provide critical reconnaissance, information-collection, and response-force capabilities to the command.

Military Police established the police intelligence collection and analsis council (PICAC) in support of TF Falcon 3B’s peacekeeping operations in Multinational Brigade (East), Kosovo. PICAC was a joint law enforcement forum with an exclusive membership of key leaders and decision makers that spanned across national and international law enforcement, security, and intelligence agencies, to include the UN Civilian Police, UN Border Police and UN Security; TF Falcon ACE chief, analyst, and targeter; CID commander and investigators; military police S-3 and S-2; and joint law enforcement intelligence and operations officers. The PICAC came together weekly for a fusion and targeting forum. The PICAC was responsible for the detention of over a dozen wanted felons, to include subjects of war crimes investigations. In fact, during one PICAC meeting, a civilian police investigator from the Kacanik municipality mentioned a criminal’s name in association with a known gang. The criminal had been convicted for attempted murder, had not served his term, and remained at large with no means to identify him. The TF Falcon ACE chief imme-diately phoned his office to crosscheck the criminal’s name in the ACE data-bases. TF Falcon ACE was able to provide a picture of the criminal during thatsame forum, enabling UN Civilian Police to identify and arrest the man the next day.


Police intelligence operations are a military police function that supports, enhances, and contributes to the commander’s force protection program, common operational picture, and situational understanding. The police intelligence operations function ensures that information collected during the conduct of other military police functions is provided as input to the intelligence collection effort and turned into action or reports. Military police gather information regarding threat, insurgent, and criminal groups for evaluation, assessment, targeting, and interdiction. Working closely with military intelligence personnel and turning the information into actionable intelligence products, military police conduct police intelligence operations through integrated patrols (both mounted and dismounted) and coordination with joint, interagency, and multinational assets. Military police patrols greatly assist in confirming or denying the commander’s critical information requirements.


Military police perform a variety of functions in support of counterinsurgency:

Psychological Operations and Military Police Support

Law enforcement patrols throughout the AO, maintaining and assisting in stability and security operations.

The conduct of criminal investigations through coordination and synchronization of Criminal Investigation Division assets.

Military police are the ideal force for conducting crowd and riot control operations, including the extraction of leaders. Military police control antagonistic crowds engaged in rioting, looting, and demonstrating.

Military police are trained and equipped to assist in the training and mentoring of local police forces.


Military police conduct internment and resettlement operations to maintain stability and security throughout the AO. Critical assets to the proper conduct and success of internment and resettlement operations in a counterinsurgency environment are—

  • Staff judge advocate representatives.
  • Civil affairs.
  • Military intelligence.
  • Medical and dental.
  • Liaison with International Committee of the Red Cross.
  • Public affairs.
  • Religious representation.


Because of their contact with the local populace in counterinsurgency, military police must be aware of how they are perceived by the local culture. Military police must be trained to be cognizant of cultural differences that can have a negative impact on the PSYOP campaign.

There also must be clear lines of authority and responsibility established for military police guarding prisoners or detainees. Negative propaganda from mistreatment of prisoners or detainees can undermine US and local law enforement  credibility.


The Criminal Investigation Division Command investigates offenses committed against US forces or property, offenses committed by military personnel or civilians serving with US forces, or where there is a military interest. Its agents investigate violations of international agreements and the law of war. The command’s missions include—

  • Investigating and deterring serious crimes.
  • Conducting sensitive/serious investigations.
  • Collecting, analyzing, processing, and disseminating criminal intelligence.
  • Conducting protective-service operations for designated personnel.
  • Providing forensic-laboratory support.
  • Maintaining Army criminal records.
  • Enhancing the commander’s crime-prevention and force-protection programs.
  • Performing logistic security operations.


Military working dogs are a largely untapped resource. Dogs are trained in many skills, some of which can make a difference between success and failure of many combat missions. Dogs are trained for patrolling, searching buildings, scouting, or explosive detection. All of these skills compliment performing the five military police functions. The ability of dogs to detect an ambush and to find an explosive device planted by insurgents can be critical to the overall success of the mission. The use of military working dog teams to increase combat potential and enhance response shortages is limited only by a lack of training on how to employ dogs. Dogs cannot be used as a security measure against detainees. They can be used to reinforce security measures against penetration and attack by enemy forces. Some examples of employment techniques are—

  • Perimeter patrolling.
  • Main supply route patrolling.
  • Security of designated personnel, units, or facilities.
  • Use during checkpoints and roadblocks.
  • Enemy prisoner of war, detainee, and insurgent control.
  • Mine and tunnel detection.
  • Area reconnaissance operations.


This section addresses convoy operations in a counterinsurgency environment. Convoys are planned and organized to control and protect vehicle movements. They are used for the tactical movement (personnel, supplies, and equipment) of combat forces and logistic units. Movements made during a counterinsurgency operation face a variety of potential threats, including local individuals, IEDs, and insurgents. Leaders continually assess the insurgents’ tactics and implement measures to counter them. Soldiers conducting movement security operations remain vigilant at all times.


Active patrolling and interaction with the local populace can alert US, and local law enforcement forces to the possibility of civil disturbances. Patrols can detect changes in daily patterns that may indicate the possibility of violence, observe new people who are not residents of the area, or receive information about upcoming disturbances from those whom they have befriended.

To combat civil disturbances, leaders apply the minimum force necessary to help local law enforcement authorities restore law and order. Leaders and Soldiers remain aware that the media often covers civil disturbances. Even when not covered, these disturbances are opportunities to shape the information environment positively toward the US and the local law enforcement  forces and government.

Combatting these disturbances may involve the following:

  • Maintain the essential distribution, transportation, and communications systems.
  • Set up roadblocks.
  • Cordon off areas.
  • Make a show of force.
  • Disperse or contain crowds.
  • Release riot control agents only when directed to do so. (Only the President can authorize US forces to use riot control agents.)
  • Serve as security forces or reserves.
  • Initiate needed relief measures, such as distributing food or clothing, or establishing emergency shelters.
  • Employ nonlethal munitions and equipment.

Leaders plan and prepare their units for encountering civil disturbances during counterinsurgency operations. Plans include not only how Soldiers and units react, but also the use of tactical PSYOP teams. Leaders coordinate with local civil police to establish lines of authority and responsibility when dealing with civilian disturbances. US military leaders ensure operations involving US forces and local law enforcement conform to US law and policy.

When planning and preparing for civil disturbance operations, commanders emphasize prevention rather than confrontation. Once a confrontation occurs, military forces also deal with noncombatants that have internationally recognized rights. These rights must be respected while maintaining public order.

Military forces display fair and impartial treatment and adhere to the principle of minimum force.

Civil police apprehend, process, and detain civil law violators. Military forces perform these functions only when necessity dictates and to the minimum extent required. Return these functions to civil authorities as soon as possible.


Proportional and appropriate responses to civil disturbances are based on an analysis of the threat the disturbance poses. Factors to be considered are—

  • Crowd size. How many people are actually present? Of those, how many are combative (armed or unarmed), and what type people comprise the crowd (grown men, women, juveniles, children, or a mix)?
  • Is this an individual leading the crowd or the crowd feeding on itself?
  • Driving force. What is the reason for the gathering/riot?
  • Emotions and intentions. Listen to what the crowd is saying. You may be able to deescalate the situation (treat the crowd like an individual person, but remain observant for changes).
  • Crowd evaluation. Will the size of the force affect the crowd?
  • Movement or motion. Where is the crowd trying to go?
  • Type of crowd clothing. Light or full due to heat or heavy coats to protect due to cold. Clothing affects the type of munitions used and the aiming point.
  • Area and environment of the situation. This affects the types of munitions
  • Availability of gravel or rocks. These can be thrown at the control force.
  • Escape routes for the crowd. There should be at least two avenues of escape that the crowd can use.
  • Avenues of withdrawal for the control force. There must also be at least two avenues of withdrawal for the formation.


Control force leaders consider the following characteristics when assessing situations involving crowds:

  • Crowd type.
  • Health Considerations, Movement Security, and Civil Disturbances
  • Crowd leadership.
  • Tactics the crowd is using.


There are four types of crowds:

  • Casual crowd. Required elements of the casual crowd are space and people.
  • Sighting crowd. Includes casual crowd elements and an event. The event provides the group’s common bond.
  • Agitated crowd. Possesses the three elements of the sighting crowd plus the element of emotion.
  • Characterized by hostility and aggression. A mob is an agitated crowd involved in a physical activity.

To control the mob requires simultaneous actions. The primary goal is to reduce the emotional levels of the individuals within the mob. This action will deescalate the aggressiveness and potential violence of the crowd. Physical force of some type may be necessary to quell the disturbance.


Leadership affects greatly the intensity and direction of crowd behavior. A skillful agitator can convert a group of resentful people into an angry mob and direct their aggression and anger toward the control group. The first person to start giving clear orders authoritatively is likely to be followed. Radical leaders can easily take charge, exploit the crowd’s mood, and direct it toward a convenient target.

It is important to note that the leader of the crowd or group does not necessarily fit into one category. The leader may be combative, vocal, or seemingly low-key and may change roles as needed. Properly identifying the leader of an angry or potentially violent group and skillfully removing the leader without causing additional violence is key to defusing a potentially dangerous situation.


Crowd tactics can be unplanned or planned, violent or not. The more organized and purposeful a crowd becomes, the more likely the tactics used will have been planned. Organized mobs will try to defeat the control force by employing several different types of tactics.

These tactics include—

  • Constructing barricades.
  • Using Molotov cocktails, rocks, slingshots, and smoke grenades.
  • Feinting and flanking actions.

Crowd behavior during a civil disturbance is essentially emotional and without reason. The feelings and the momentum generated have a tendency to cause the whole group to follow the example displayed by its worst members. Skillful agitators or subversive elements exploit these psychological factors during disorders. Regardless of the reason for violence, the results may consist of indiscriminate burning and looting, or open and violent attacks on officials, buildings, and innocent passersby. Rioters may set fire to buildings and vehicles


  • Block the advance of troops.
  • Create confusion and diversion.
  • Achieve goals of property destruction, looting, and sniping.
  • Mobs will often use various types of weapons against authorities. These include but are not limited to—
  • Verbal abuse.
  • Use of perceived innocents or weak persons (such as the elderly, women and children) as human shields.
  • Thrown and blunt impact objects (such as rocks, bricks, and clubs).
  • Vehicles and other large movable objects.
  • Firearms, explosives, and other pyrotechnic devices.


Individuals can be categorized according to what level of force they can use or what threat they present:

Complacent resisters. Complacent resisters are nonverbal. They look at you when you talk to them but do not reply in any way. They become limp when touched or forced to move their body. They can very quickly become violent and physically combative. Don’t underestimate them.

Vocal resisters. Vocal resisters offer a verbal reply and, when touched, highlight themselves in an effort to gain the attention of the media.

Combative resisters. Combative resisters pose the greatest danger to the control force. They are not passive once they are touched. Place the individual in a prone position, cuff them, and remove them from the area.


TPTs using loudspeakers can help control crowds and defuse potentially hostile situations.

TPT members may be assigned as members of a planned quick reaction force or take part on the spur of the moment. In any case, proper planning, and a clear situational understanding are important to properly using TPTs.

The TPT leader assesses the situation by gathering as much information about the situation as quickly as possible. The clearer the leader’s situational understanding, the more effectively the plan can be developed, prepared for, and executed. Use the supported unit and intelligence assets to find out what friendly units are in the area and use them to gather specific information. These assets may be ODAs, or military police. The following are examples of the type of information that should be gathered during planning:

Location of the crowd.

  • Size of crowd.
  • Known potential key communicators.
  • Are weapons present? If so, what types?
  • Apparent grievance.
  • Stated goals of the crowd.

During the initial stages of the disturbance the team monitors and attempts to identify facts and validate assumptions about the crowd. The TPT uses the following questions as a guide to gain as complete an understanding as possible of the disturbance:

  • Identify the key communicators or lead agitator. What is his or her message?
  • What is the general attitude or behavior of the group?
  • How many people are present in the group?
  • What are the demographics of the group (age and gender)?
  • What is the cultural composition of the group?
  • Health Considerations, Movement Security, and Civil Disturbances
  • How are they moving (mounted or dismounted)?
  • Are signs or banners present and, if so, what is the message?
  • Is there any media on site? If so, whom do they represent?
  • Are there any weapons present?
  • Who else is present at the location (police, elected public officials, nongovernmental organizations, civil affairs elements, or other organizations)? Do you have the officials’cell phone numbers?
  • Is the crowd from that community or have they come from another locale? If from another locale, where, why and how?

How did the people know or hear about the gathering, rally, or demonstration?

  • What are their stated objectives or underlying grievances for the event?

When the commander directs the TPT to broadcast in this environment, the team ad-heres to the following guidelines:

  • Give simple directions that are clear and concise.
  • Always maintain composure.
  • When constructing messages, avoid using the word “please” so the team does not display a passive appearance.
  • Do not issue ultimatums that are not approved by the commander.
  • If the commander does approve an ultimatum, ensure that the crowd has time to conform to its conditions.
  • Ensure the supported commander is prepared to act upon the ultimatum, should the crowd fail to respond favorably.
  • Use approved lines of persuasion when possible. Conduct impromptu broadcasting only as a last resort.
  • Always rehearse with the translator prior to going “live” unless the situation makes this absolutely impossible.
  • Ensure the gender and other social aspects of the translator are credible in the eyes of the crowd.
  • Always attempt to pick a broadcast position that communicates effectively with the crowd and does not compromise the security of the team.
  • Direct the broadcast toward the primary agitators.
  • Limit the volume of the broadcast so as not to be overbearing, and do not harass the crowd as this may only exacerbate the situation.

The team maintains communication with the supported commander or his or her representative on the ground throughout the situation. The team leader also ensures PSYOP-relevant, HUMINT, and priority intelligence requirement information are forwarded through appropriate channels.


Encyclopedia of American Loons

Leanna Standish

Leanna Standish, “N.D., Ph.D., Dipl.Ac.” (and more recently also “LAc, FABNO”), is one of the movers and shakers in the movement to legitimize and popularize quackery, woo and nonsense in the US. A “licensed naturopathic physician and acupuncturist”, Standish is also former Director of the Bastyr University Research Institute from 1987 to 2001 and, as naturopathic cargo cult science practictioners see it, a “Senior Research Scientist” in “experimental neuroscience with numerous publications.” Her “clinical practice specializes in cancer, AIDS, Hepatitis C and neurological diseases”. Apparently she also directed “the Breast Cancer Research Program at Bastyr University” at one point and was a member of the Advisory Council for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (currently NCCIH) from 1999 to 2001; she has also served on the NCI Cancer Advisory Panel for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the NCI Institute of Medicine’s committee to investigate the “Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by the American Public”, discussed here, together with luminaries like Jeanne Drisko.

Standish has been principal investigator on several NIH/NCCAM funded research projects in the areas of HIV/AIDS and basic neurophysiological research on mind/body interaction, and has published extensively in questionable journals such as Integrative Cancer Therapy (which has also published e.g. Stanislaw Burzynski’s stuff) and the Journal of Natural Medicines. Still a faculty member at Bastyr, her classes include e.g. a course, “within the Spirituality, Health and Medicine program”, on “scientific evidence from physicians and biology that addresses some of the propositions emerging out of modern spiritual disciples [sic]”. It is safe to say that the investigative method used to connect science with “spiritual disciples” is, shall we say, of the more associative kind.

Currently her research is focused on things like functional brain imaging in the treatment of brain cancer and integrative oncology outcomes (they’ve received extensive funding for the latter, apparently, and her study is completely pointless) – we’re talking $3 million to do an observational study with no control; there is a good discussion of integrative oncology here – and developing research programs on the use of IV Resveratrol and IV Curcumin to treat cancer. She is also e.g. “co-principal investigator for the Bastyr/UW Oncomycology [oh, yes] Translational Research Center”. Standish has also tried to demonstrate, in a splendid illustration of tooth fairy science, that one person’s brain can influence the EEG findings of a person who is about 45 feet away, apparently believing that “distant healing” is possible through brain-to-brain “neural energy transmission.” There is a long tradition in naturopathic circles for such investigations. The “research” was apparently NCCAM-funded. (This discussion is useful for context.)

Of course, some of Standish’s credentials might look impressive to the uninformed or those who cannot be bothered to take a deeper look. Naturopathy, of course, is bullshit, and Standish’s list of publications e.g. on her speciality HIV/AIDS include the 20-page chapter on HIV/AIDS in the 199) edition of the Textbook of Natural Medicine (naturopathy’s leading textbook), in which recommended treatment includes large doses of beta carotene; vitamin C (see also this) and vitamin E 400; cod liver oil; multivitamin and mineral supplement twice a day; colloidal silver; and a long list of other nonsensical and potentally harmful products, including dozens of worthless homeopathic products such as “homeopathic marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, LSD, heroin, amyl nitrate, etc.” (the chapter does note that there is no evidence that naturopathic care has any beneficial effect for HIV positive people, but that doesn’t prevent Standish from promptly providing a long and detailed list of recommendations based on neither plausibility nor evidence).

Diagnosis: Yes, not only has she wasted her life, career and efforts on nonsense – and the worthless pseudoeducation offered by her institution is hardly free either – Standish is also a serial recipient of public funding. Millions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on Leanna Standish and co. to support quackery by superficially science-sounding motivated reasoning. It’s really a multilayered tragedy.

Sarah Pope

A.k.a. The healthy home economist

Sarah Pope is a Weston-Price Foundation board member with training in economics and financial management, who offers dangerous health advice and insane conspiracy theories under the description “the healthy home economist”. Pope is an antivaxxer, and recommends that parents avoid all vaccines in favor of homeoprophylaxis and immune boosting diets (it is hard to exaggerate how stupid this is) and that they also avoid the newborn vitamin K shot. Moreover, she is on record telling parents to lie to their pediatricians about giving babies raw milk, since pediatricians have a tendency to be sensible and take a reality-based view on such things and may therefore not support the choice, which goes against Pope’s religious view of the benevolence of all things natural (where “natural” is somewhat nebulously defined to include e.g. raw milk).

She has also argued against anti-D immunoglobulin for the prevention of hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn. The condition is caused by a mismatch in mother-fetal blood type, and the treatment is a safe medical therapy that has saved countless lives (Pope acknowledges a “small risk” – thousands and thousands of dead babies pale in comparison to what really matters for Pope, namely the spiritual purity of your bodily fluids). To make her case, Pope relies on fear-mongering and links to conspiracy websites like whale.to (oh yes, she does). There is a good discussion of her article on the issue and some rather strikingly basic errors here (including things like Pope’s claims that the “shot does work, but only if the immunoglobulin is administered within 72 hours of the trauma that caused the blood mixing in the first place” and “[t]he Rh antibodies from the RhoGam shot hang around in the mother’s bloodstream for up to 12 weeks following the shot” – choose whichever claim sounds scarier; yes, they blatantly contradict each other.) As you’d expect, Pope appeals to Big Pharma conspiracies to explain why doctors and science are wrong on issues like this, as well as outright lying (“anti-D is never given during pregnancy in Europe, only after delivery,” says Pope, since it seems to serve her argument if the claim had any basis in reality, which it doesn’t). Instead of the evils of science and reality, Pope recommends being natural and use semi-randomly selected nutritional supplements to help “tone the uterus”. To ensure that she touches all bases, she aslo manages to end up blaming fluoride.

As an antivaxxer, Pope has promoted pretty much every antivaccine gambit, piece of misinformation and pseudoscience in the antivaccine playbook, including herd immunity denialism, claiming that vaccines cause autism, that vaccines don’t work, the idiotic aborted fetal tissue nonsense (in “How to Resist Pediatrician Pro Vaccination Tactics”; links in the foregoing will, as usual, take you to succinct explanations for why the claims are nonsense). Indeed, Pope is so much the image of a loony antivaxxer that she even got to serve as model antivaxxer for the Daily Show antivaxxer parody (she didn’t respond particularly intelligently to that. Pope has also for instance pushed the myth that vaccines still contain thimerosal, a “neurotoxin”. Thimerosal is not a neurotoxin, and was nevertheless removed from vaccines in 2001, despite being completely safe, due to antivaccine fearmongering trying to link it to autism. Of course, removing it from vaccines did not affect the rate of autism, since vaccines never caused autism; some among the crazier fringes of the anti-vaccine movement accordingly try to claim that everything is a conspiracy and that thimerosal is still present in the vaccine. Like Pope: “Studies performed by Health Advocacy in the Public Interest (HAPI) in 2004 found that despite vaccine manufacturers’ claims that thimerosal was no longer being used … All vaccine vials tested by HAPI that were labeled ‘mercury free’ did, in fact, contain this neurotoxin.” HAPI is an anti-vaccine group. Their study consisted of sending 4 samples of anti-D to Doctor’s Data, a crank lab famous for giving any crackpot sending anything there precisely the results they want to obtain. Pope also pushes the aluminum scare, of course.

And as for the fact that children die from vaccine preventable diseases? Well, her children didn’t, therefore vaccines are unnecessary.

Diagnosis: Yes, she does a good job as an unintentional parody of the antivaccine movement, but there is nothing funny about it. A truly terrible person. Whatever you do, do not take health advice from this person.




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