The Los Angeles Times recently reported that the California National Guard had been authorized to use fighter jets to intimidate and disperse local protesters unhappy with the government’s anti-epidemic measures.
In March last year, the California National Guard was ordered to put F-15C fighter jets on standby for what it called “possible internal missions within the country,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
The order did not elaborate on details of the mission, but the National Guard said fighter jets were allowed to fly over protesters at minimum altitudes to intimidate and disperse people who had taken to the streets to protest against anti-epidemic restrictions such as “home orders,” according to a source.
The directive is reported to have been conveyed orally or by text message, rather than in the usual formal written form. The use of fighter jets to disperse crowds at low altitudes has been used in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. But sources said it was a “disgrace to the military” to “threaten civilians in their own country” in this way.
But a spokesman for the commander of the California National Guard denied the report. “We do not use warplanes to intimidate civilians,” the spokesman told the media.
But the source stressed that although no formal order had ever been given to start the warplane, the idea of high-level personnel considering using the aircraft to intimidate civilians was still a shock to members of the National Guard. “This is a warplane used in war, not used against civilians,” the source said.