Welcome to the Free World
by Frank Morales
Covert Action Quarterly, April-June 2001
DOMINATION IS THE GOAL
The Army believes that "information is the key to developing
plans for appropriate responses to civil disturbances." With
it "units can dominate a civil disturbance using non-lethal
munitions." Domination being the goal, CALL (Center for Army
Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas) stresses that "non-lethal
weapons and munitions should always be accompanied with lethal
munitions and the capability to employ them."
The authors note that "at the time of the publication
of this newsletter, only grenadiers in rifle platoons were equipped
with the 'sponge' M203 rounds. All other soldiers carried the
same equipment and ammunition they would use in a combat situation."
The report goes on to provide various pointers on suppressing
civil unrest e.g., "detain personnel who are leading the
And finally, although the TTPs are meant to address possible
international "contingencies," "Leader training
on basic disturbance control procedures" is derived from
the 1935 U.S. Army Field Manual 19-15, Civil Disturbances, written
specifically for domestic application.
In July 1996 the Department of Defense (DoD) published Directive
3000.3, "Policy for Non-Lethal Weapons," that "establishes
DoD policies and assigns responsibilities for the development
and employment of nonlethal weapons."
The directive designates the Marine Corps Commandant as "executive
agent" for the non-lethal weapons program-an odd choice given
the Marines' penchant for extreme violence.
While the Joint Chiefs would "promulgate joint doctrine,"
Directive 3000.3 assigns primary "policy oversight for the
development and employment of non-lethal weapons" to the
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity
Conflict. The post is occupied by civilian DoD employee Robert
J. Newberry, proposed by Bush as a successor to Clinton appointee
Brian E. Sheridan.
The DoD defines non-lethal technology as "weapons that are
explicitly designed and primarily employed so as to incapacitate
personnel or materiel [equipment and supplies]...," utilizing
"means other than gross physical destruction to prevent the
target from functioning." This frees troops to "take
military action in situations where use of lethal force is not
the preferred option."
By January 1997, moving to implement "Public Law 104-106,
Section 219, Non-lethal Weapons Study," the DoD went ahead
to officially designate the Marine Corps as the Lead agency in
a joint program to develop and field non-lethal weapons. Consequently,
the Joint Directorate for Non-Lethal Weapons (JDNLW), based at
Quantico, Virginia, was born, set up as the "action office"
for the day-to day activities of the joint (meaning all services)
A June 23, 1999, "Memorandum of Agreement between the
Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Special Operations Command"
formalized bureaucratic relationships in the NLWs program. The
Directorate, with a staff of about 20, oversees a budget of $24
million. About' $11 million of this amount is for Army and Marine
"procurement" of NLWs. The annual budget is expected
to increase to $28 million by 2005.
On the congressional front, during January 1999 the Directorate
"participated in a static display to the Senate Armed Services
Committee," providing "the Directorate with a great
opportunity to showcase the Joint Non-lethal Weapons Program to
Senate members and professional staffers."
The chief of the NLW Directorate at the time, Marine Corps
General Charles C. Krulak, a Leading theorist in the area of urban
warfare and "military operations in urban terrain,"
testified before the Senate Committee, displaying various "static"
weaponry before the "professional staffers" including
"modular crowd control munition" and the "40 mm
Crowd Dispersal Cartridge."
The Directorate's brief is to develop and field NLWs. It is
also "tasked" with providing leadership in joint service
training, including tactics, communications, crowd dynamics, weapons
and munitions, rules of engagement, and the development of rationalizing
doctrine and policy.
In addition the Directorate, allegedly-given the proclivities
of the separate services to shield their work on NLWs from public
view, including the Directorate-sponsors all experimentation in
NLWs including NLW "advanced concept technology demonstrations"
(ACTD) as part of "military operations in urban terrain"
The Directorate has initiated an "insight" program
that will supply it with some information on highly classified
single service (i.e., not "joint") strategic level non-lethal
weapons. In terms of future experimentation, the Directorate is
looking at canister-launched area denial systems, non-lethal Claymore
mines (command-detonated explosive systems that project hundreds
of small hard-rubber bails), and a non-lethal vehicle trap, among
For the mid-term to 2004, it is exploring bounding non-lethal
munitions, weapons that leap into the air before firing their
pellets, dye, malodorants, or other non-lethal payload. And since
1999 the Directorate has been an active member of the Defense
Joint Radio Frequency Technical Integration Group, looking at
high-power radio frequency and microwave applications...
Marine Corps Commandant General James L. Jones said this and
other efforts on the part of the Directorate are designed "to
leverage 215t Century technology to enable our war-fighting Commanders
in Chief to capitalize on a full-spectrum non-lethal capability."...
An influential 1998 research report Non-Lethal Weaponry: A Framework
for Future Integration,' authored by Air Force Major Mark R. Thomas,
provides commentary and an extensive bibLiography on NLWs, including
a "cross section of non-lethal technologies and whether the
of the technology is anti-materiel (AM) or anti-personnel (AP)
Some distinction, as if "biodeteriorative microbes,"
which "degrades road and bridge surfaces, turns aviation
fuel to jelly," and "eats rubber off vehicle wheels"
is completely harmless to persons.
Thomas notes that "the concept of non-Lethality, accompanied
by the development and employment of non-lethal weapons (NLWs),
has been a material element of civilian Law enforcement for many
years," while "focused consideration of non-Lethality
and related weaponry by the DoD as an application of the military
instrument of power (IOP) is a relatively new yet growing phenomenon."
He adds that "a 1985 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the
use of deadly force to prevent the escape of an unarmed burglary
suspect Led to the formation of a 'Less than Lethal' development
program within the Department of Justice's (DoJ) National Institute
of Justice (NIJ). By 1993, the NIJ had expanded its mission to
include the examination and transfer of existing and emerging
technologies within the defense and intelligence establishments
under an initiative known as the Technology Assessment Program
TAP involves grants and cooperative/interagency agreements
to research NLWs. According to Thomas, "in 1994 the DoD and
the DoJ formalized their desire to cooperatively pursue non-lethal
weaponry and have developed several prototypes to help Law enforcement
and military personnel close the wide and dangerous gap that exists
in the range of tools available to them.""
Commenting on the result of this DoD/DoJ cooperation, Thomas
concludes that the Secretary of Defense should "partner with
the Attorney General to redraw the increasingly blurred Lines
between military operations and domestic Law enforcement in accordance
with applicable statutes."
He notes: "Civilian leaders may be more inclined to address
future domestic crisis situations using military forces... when
a broadened military mindset toward conflict instinctively includes
non-lethality and NLWs are the ) mainstay of a soldier's individual
equipment issue." And inevitably, "as non-lethal confrontation
becomes second nature to U.S. fighting forces, one of the few
remaining pragmatic objections to their use in domestic scenarios
(i.e., the likelihood of lethal military force being exercised
against the citizenry) will be radically diminished. This is an
ominous prospect to say the Least."
Ominous indeed. From Seattle to Philadelphia, from D.C. to
Prague, and most recently Davos, Switzerland, "non-lethal
confrontation" has become second nature to U.S. fighting
forces and those inspired and trained by U.S. affiliates.
On the eve of massive protests surrounding the World Economic
Forum in Davos, Switzerland from January 25-31, 2001, the U.S.
State Department issued a public "travel advisory".
"Several groups have publicly stated their intention
to disrupt the Forum by means of protest actions both in Davos
and in the surrounding area. As in previous meetings... there
is potential that some demonstrations may become disorderly and
Although advising against "travel to Davos during this
period," the Department did note that Swiss authorities were,
in the interests of corporate security, "taking appropriate
steps to ensure the security of visitors."
Indeed they did. Against the declarations of the Swiss Supreme
Court, the Swiss Financial Establishment created the "united
police forces of Switzerland" with assistance from their
"colleagues from Australia, Seattle and Prague."' Armed
with tear gas guns and tanks, water cannons, rubber bullets and
truncheons, the "security forces" were able to meet
the "threat" of violence and disorder, a threat beat
into the heads of the public by the Likes of the U.S. State Department.
In fact, the recent phase of criminalizing protest and demonizing
protesters as violent terrorists' goes back to the days immediately
following the protests against the Seattle WTO round and Last
year's Washington, D.C. world Bank/IMF meeting.
At that time, world Bank president James Wolfensohn, making
the global circuit preaching the gospel of looming left-wing violence,
stated at The Hague, Netherlands, immediately prior to demonstrations
there, that he was "afraid for Prague" given that "militant
groups in the U.S." were "already training for Prague,"
groups who "teach how to make Molotov cocktails and how to
use other violent tactics."
It is against this background that the stepped-up use of so-called
non-lethal weapons is taking place. These weapons, commodities
in a growing world market, facilitate the more effective targeting
of overwhelmingly non-violent global movements. In this manner
an increasingly militarized and coordinated global police apparatus
is moving to extend its sway, its war-making, to those civilian
sectors of the world in opposition to the global corporate agenda.
Under the guise of undeclared "operations other than
war"-and other Pentagonisms-"non-Lethal weapons"
allow for more repression and torture of non-combatant populations,
particularly those opposed to this agenda.
Essentially, as this new phase in the global class war emerges
and grows, along with the internationalization of U.S.-initiated
and exported methodologies of "civil disturbance suppression,"
the utilization of "non-Lethal weapons" will increase,
both here and around the world. An organized worldwide anti-war
movement must neutralize this real threat to global humanity,
a threat spearheaded by U.S. militarism and its myriad private
and academic appendages.