It seems like the police state is using protests in Ferguson as a testing ground for all of their crowd-control weapons. Many are obvious like the curfew enforced by platoons of soldiers, armored tanks mounted by snipers, stun, tear and smoke grenades, no-fly zone, sound cannons, and designated free speech zones and media zones (apparently they're different now).
However, some weapons are less obvious like technology to kill livestream feeds during questionable police activity. And that's precisely what happened last night according to Ferguson's most prolific livestreamer Argus Radio.
The GIF above, taken from the final seconds of Argus Radio feed from last night, shows the moment the police bum rush the crowd and create mass panic in an attempt to catch someone. Moments later the livestream feed was cut and registered a network error, according to Argus Radio.
The Argus livestream has been filming the protests non-stop for the last week manned by volunteer University of Missouri post-grad student Mustafa Hussein.
A week ago, Hussein reported live "We’ve just been told by
the St. Louis Police Department to turn off our cameras. We
will not be turning off our cameras. We will continue to
broadcast, even if it is at our own peril." So the cameras
continued to film.
Flash forward a week and on early Wednesday morning just
after midnight, Argus had no choice in the matter as their
feed was cut off. Hussein reported afterward:
As soon as the conflict happened there was an over-
running of the media station by the protesters who
were fleeing from the police. We don't know what
the agitation was, but we do know that we lost
We reset the broadcast three times and it keep
saying "no network error". We had a foreign reporter
on the roof with us and she wasn't able to get a
signal on her cell phone. And people on the ground
were saying "I can't tweet out, I can't tweet out."Use of a government "kill switch" during protests is precisely
what civil liberties groups warned makes this technology so
dangerous. It's important to note that this kill switch appears
to have jammed the cell signal rather than shutting down
the entire Internet or specific digital equipment. A
recent California bill requires smartphones to have kill
switches to prevent theft, but critics worry the government
can use them to remotely shut off phone cameras and 4G
Regardless, last night the digital surveillance state seemed
to merge with the militarized police state in a spectacular
show of power.
Interestingly, the evening before authorities tried another
bizarre tactic. The police created what appeared to be a two-
tiered "free speech" zone; one area for protesters and
another for the press. Protesters marched in circles on the
street and journalists took pictures from the sidewalk. The
journalists far outnumbered the protesters and it all seemed
The police eventually got tired and claimed that everyone
must disperse, except for the "credentialed media," who
were allowed to stay. It was eerily similar to journalists
who're embedded with the troops. As the militarized police
assault began in the "free speech" zone, many protesters
hid with media to use them as human shields. Surreal.
Later, State Police Captain Ron Johnsonsaid that they
identified credentialed press as those with $50,000
cameras. Apparently violating the rights of elite journalists is
forbidden, but crushing peaceful assembly and citizen
journalists is just fine. Maybe they just can't hack the
satellite signal on expensive cameras?
The very root of the uproar in Ferguson is the lack of
accountability for a police officers' actions, and that outrage
is being met with new and improved ways to hide unethical
police actions, now including information kill switches. The
ultimate police state weapon is one that hides its
brutalityfrom the public, at least until they come to a town