Thanks to internal mission briefings received through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, we now know that the Missouri National Guard used highly charged, militarized terms when describing Ferguson protesters ahead of its deployment. Terms such as “enemy forces” and “adversaries” were used to describe American citizens justifiably angry about police violence, which is not isolated to the area, but appears to be an epidemic (see: U.S. Police Kill More Civilians in March than UK Police Killed in 100 Years).
The use of such language when describing a deployment to an American city takes on an elevated degree of significance when coupled with the fact that the Ferguson unrest served as the initial wakeup call for most Americans with regard to the militarization of domestic police. I wrote about this at the time in the post, “A Good Time Was Had By All” – The Obamas Dance the Night Away as Ferguson, Missouri Burns. Here’s an excerpt:
I believe Ferguson will be seen as a major turning point. The point in which many well-intentioned, but incredibly naive folks in white mainstream America woke up to what we have become. Many people, particularly those in the media, have been willfully ignorant about the destruction of freedom and civil liberties in America. The events in Ferguson have taken a gigantic mirror and successfully pointed it squarely at our civil society and the image it has reflected back is one of a horrific, militarized, authoritarian monster.