They Call it Asymmetrical Warfare

by Paul Richmond Friday, Aug. 18, 2000 at 2:51 PM PO 95242, Seattle, WA, 98145

The heavy handed tactics witnessed in Los Angeles are part of an escalating trend of militarizing police, and using more force against domestic populations. Links to an indepth report on same.


On April 14, the Los Angeles Police turned off the power at a major rock concert. Within minutes, police were opening fire on the crowd with weapons of war. Rubber bullets and foam batons struck people in the face. The first hit were the photographers. One was driven from a ladder then shot when he fell to the ground.

Outside the Shadow Convention and Broadcast Center for Freespeech TV, the L.A. Police announced there was a bomb. The convention was halted and a nationwide broadcast was prevented.

On April 15, the police utilized a strategy of preemptive arrests. They swept down on a midday march when some of the participants rattled some metal grating. The first person arrested was a legal observer. Forty four other felony arrests followed. After cordoning off the media and removing the arrestees, the commander shows a can of lighter fluid to justify the forty-five arrests.

Later that day a bicycle ride is misdirected and another few dozen arrested. In the greatest act of property destruction committed this week, dozens of bicycles are piled on top of each other and forced onto the bed of a single truck.

On April 16th the LAPD arrests some alleged jaywalkers in front of the activists organizing space. When activists come out to observe at least eighty police in full riot gear materialize.

What is happening in Los Angeles is part an escalating and ominous trend of over the top paramilitary actions against domestic populations, in this case protesters.

Clark L. Staten of Emergency Response Institute and military theorist Martin Van Creveld refer to this use of paramilitary police forces against urban populations as "asymmetrical warfare." It's something we're going to see a lot more of. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the military industrial complex, the back bone of the U.S. Economy, is actively retooling to wage all out war on civilian populations, both foreign and domestic.

Consider these few facts:

Police are being trained by elite military teams including the Navy Seals and Delta Force.

90% of the U.S. towns with populations of 50,000 have their own SWAT teams

As the military budget is "shrinking" these same funds are being rerouted to National Guard Units. These units are not only becoming better equipped than their military counterparts, they can be used against the U.S. Population.

Weapons manufacturers including Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore Labs are researching and designing new generations of "less lethal weaponry."

These trends are examined in depth in the draft report on the World Trade Organization Ministerial put out by the National Lawyers Guild. The report is available online at

or click under "protests"

Original: They Call it Asymmetrical Warfare