SAN FRANCISCO -- While protesters against the War in Iraq attempted to jam busy downtown streets, police attired in fashionable riot gear have implemented a new tactic to stem the flow and demoralize the crowds.
Dubbed "Quiet Riot" by the anti-war groups, law enforcement is using a variant of the "shock and awe" tactics being used in Iraq with an urban twist. Many of the protesters are carrying, among their picket signs and colorful banners, Apple iPods loaded with get-up-stand-up revolutionary tunes to jam out too while quickly snaking through the Financial District. SFPD decided to try psychological operations (PsyOps) to subvert the energized hell-no-we-don't-know by surreptitiously flooding peer-to-peer music sharing networks with wonder hits from the golden era of hair metal and power ballads: the 80s.
"We ran some demographic studies on the Internet usage habits of the arrestees from yesterday's protest and found around 80% use peer-to-peer file sharing networks to trade music" said David Regent, Internet Utilization Director of the SFPD. "Pretty much everyone said they were bringing an iPod with them to get fired up and to 'keep the vibe high', and because they were walking around all of downtown SF. I mean, for many of these folks, especially the younger ones, the Financial District is a pretty scary place. Lots of tall glass buildings, scary capitalists, and, you know, finance. They don't like those things. The easy listening channels wafting out of all the business lunch places on Bush and Battery would put a huge damper on protest. Who can chant when there's Kenny G in the background?"
"Quiet Riot" is deceptively simple. Police officers who went off shift yesterday were asked to bring in LPs, 8-tracks, tapes, and even CDs if they had any, of their favorite 80s rock groups. By 6 AM this morning, central control was awash in every manner of peroxide and mascara.
"I was looking through my bins of records which I haven't played in easily a decade" said Ross Volke, desk sergeant, "and I found this stash of Winger I didn't even know I had. It was sort of wedged in behind the Poison and Motley Crue." With the help of the Internet Utilization Task Force, police staff began encoding every type of media they had with into as many high quality MP3s as possible, and then began mis-labeling the track names with popular songs the protesters were known to be listening to. "We had all these iPods in the evidence locker, so we could scroll through all the playlists. We saw a lot of Reggae, a lot of 'Rage Against The Machine', a lot of 'Public Enemy'. I took a special delight in downmixing the extended acoustic version of Mr. Big's 'Green Tinted Sixties Mind' and naming it 'Give Peace A Chance'"
Protesters who flooded to Internet message boards and chat groups after the winding down of activities last night found many messages covertly planted by a marketing group specializing in viral Internet communications directing them to the new influx of tracks, to drum up downloading activity. The police opted to use this tactic to avoid legal entanglements and also because of it's amazing effectiveness as used by other businesses in getting protesters to sport their product lines, such as Birkenstock and North Face.
A member of a protest crowd who was sitting out the moving march today at Sutter and Montgomery was seen fiddling with his iPod. When asked what was going on, he said "dude, like, what the fuck? I totally snagged something like 30 'Atari Teenage Riot' rips last night and all I hear today is 'Cum On Feel The Noize'! I can't possibly march around downtown listening to this, and listening to the other protesters is even worse." He declined to give his name, saying that if his friends found out he had been a victim of 'Quiet Riot', he would no longer be welcome in their "digital hardcore anarchist techno affinity group."