‘Swarming is a seemingly amorphous, but deliberately structured, coordinated, strategic way to strike from all directions at a particular point or points, by means of a sustainable pulsing of force and/or fire, close-in as well as from stand-off positions. This notion of “force and/or fire” may be literal in the case of military or police operations, but metaphorical in the case of NGO activists, who may, for example, be blocking city intersections or emitting volleys of emails and faxes. Swarming will work best—perhaps it will only work—if it is designed mainly around the deployment of myriad, small, dispersed, networked maneuver units. Swarming occurs when the dispersed units of a network of small (and perhaps some large) forces converge on a target from multiple directions. The overall aim is sustainable pulsing— swarm networks must be able to coalesce rapidly and stealthily on a target, then dissever and redisperse, immediately ready to recombine for a new pulse. The capacity for a “stealthy approach” suggests that, in netwar, attacks are more likely to occur in “swarms” than in more traditional “waves.” The Chechen resistance to the Russian army and the Direct Action Network’s operations in the anti–World Trade Organization “Battle of Seattle” both provide excellent examples of swarming behavior.’
from ‘Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy
available at: http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_reports/MR1382/index.html
A description of the writers of this paper from Wikipedia: ‘RAND Corporation (Research ANd Development) is a nonprofit global policy think tank first formed to offer research and analysis to the United States armed forces by Douglas Aircraft Company. It is currently financed by the U.S. government, a private endowment, corporations  including the healthcare industry, universities and private individuals. The organization has long since expanded to working with other governments, private foundations, international organizations, and commercial organizations on a host of non-defense issues.’
Why quote all this? It is to demonstrate that the technique used to defeat the ‘War on Terror’ and activities nominated as ‘criminal’ are easily and consciously re-purposed as methods for reducing the impact of social movements and NGOs. If terrorism/activism can be made equivalent in their form, and defeated in the same way, it is easy to make them equivalent in their morality.
Note that terrorism was prevalent before the 21st Century, but the use of terror laws (such as Section 44) to deny rights to gather, protest or record the activities of state has exploded in recent years.
There is a case to be made that the end of the Cold War resulted in an abundance of military equipment, training and investment that must be put to use: the opening of ‘new markets’ in the criminalization of the public, the militarization of police and the privatization of common land is driven partially by profit-motive.
Can we resist this by ‘swarming’? (‘Kettling’ being a principle post ‘Battle in Seattle‘ attempt to prevent this sort of protest/resistance.
Note: the next weapon used in Afghanistan: The Truck Mounted Heat Ray ‘Active Denial System’ as reported on ‘Newsbeat‘ (Radio 1: keep the masses informed of the damage the state will do if you stray from the norm).
The Active Denial System (ADS) is a non-lethal weapon designed to disperse violent crowds and repel enemies.
It uses a focused invisible beam that causes an “intolerable heating sensation”, but only penetrates the skin to the equivalent of three sheets of paper.
The discomfort causes whoever it’s pointed at to immediately start moving away. They often scream but the US military says the chance of injury from the system is 0.1%.
Tasers were originally developed for battle-grounds as a ‘non-lethal’ alternative. As were ‘baton-rounds’ eg: rubber bullets, eg: bullets you can shoot at your own citizens (“Such “kinetic impact munitions” are meant to cause pain but not serious injury. They are expected to produce contusions, abrasions, and hematomas. However, they may cause bone fractures, injuries to internal organs, or death. In a study of 90 patients in Northern Ireland, one died, 17 suffered permanent disabilities or deformities and 41 required hospital treatment after being fired upon with rubber bullets.”)
How soon before the ADS is deployed at a ecological/economic/educational protest and get to run away screaming from the ‘intolerable pain’ (thankfully with no permanent injuries* or evidence).
*0.1% chance – source: US military. 99.9% certainty strikes me as a considerable % of bullshit.