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60 Minutes did a story on Raytheon's ray gun back in March, and now they just had to do another story on it. Now why would that be necessary, one might ask. Well, the Pentagon really needs this ray gun technology to enjoy the Walmart smiley face seal-of-approval with the American public. Because some people (cough) have suggested that this technology can be abused, and before that suggestion gets around, the DOD had better make sure that everybody knows that the US military is just a bunch of boy scouts who would never do anything to harm innocent civilians, and they only want to save lives, and...well...let's see what they say.
The Pentagon has been developing a raygun which can harmlessly repel enemies by causing a burning sensation in the top layer of the skin. However, according to CBS's 60 Minutes, the military is unwilling to actually trust this weapon enough to deploy it in Iraq.
It can 'harmlessly repel enemies', but the military is concerned about using this in Iraq. Mind you, over 1.2 million people have already been killed in Iraq, a fact which somewhat belies this grave concern about Iraqis.
Hymes demonstrated the weapon by staging what CBS somewhat oddly called "a scenario soldiers might encounter in Iraq" -- a handful of military volunteers, dressed as civilian protesters, who carried signs saying "peace not war" and threw objects at a small group of soldiers. A series of raygun blasts from half a mile away disrupted their chants and finally sent them running.
It doesn't get much more obvious than this. Watch the video. The gun is going to be used on protesters. American protesters. Anti-war protesters. Because the ray gun can 'harmlessly repel enemies'. Enemies...protesters...same difference.

Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisiton Sue Payton calls the Active Denial System a "huge game-changer" which "would save huge numbers of lives." She told CBS, "It could be used to read someone's mind, in effect. ... If they continue to come at you, then you're fairly sure ... they're probably a terrorist or an adversary who wants to do you harm."

The Active Denial System was developed in secret for ten years before being unveiled by the Pentagon in 2001. As of 2004, it was being described as ready for use in Iraq within the next 12 months. This has still not occurred, and according to Secretary Payton, use of the weapon in Iraq is now "not politically tenable" because after Abu Ghraib "you don't ever, ever, ever want a system like this to be thought of as a torture weapon."

These links contain a lot of information, and this technology has been around for some time. The Pentagon would like us all to believe that they would really love to use this technology because it's totally safe and would save lives, but unfortunately it carries dangerous political risks. People can claim that they have been tortured.

But, you know, torture is in the eye of the beholder. It's whatever George Bush says it is. You might think you're being tortured, but if George W Bush says you have not been tortured, well then you haven't. And anyway, we don't torture people. We might 'torture' them, but we don't actually torture them. Do you follow me?

If you click through the 'in secret' link, Wired did a story on this in December 2006. The technology had already been tested extensively. Some subjects did suffer burns, but the effects were not 'long lasting'.

The ADS was developed in complete secrecy for 10 years at a cost of $40 million. Its existence was revealed in 2001 by news reports, but most details of ADS human testing remain classified. There has been no independent checking of the military's claims.

The ADS technology is ready to deploy, and the Army requested ADS-armed Strykers for Iraq last year. But the military is well aware that any adverse publicity could finish the program, and it does not want to risk distressed victims wailing about evil new weapons on CNN.

You see, it's all ready to go, all except for the PR angle. It's been ready to go since 2006. Actually, if you click the 'described' link to a Boston Business Journal story in December 2004, the technology was even then set to be deployed in Iraq.

With U.S. casualties in Iraq rising, expectations are growing that Raytheon's weapon, called the Active Denial System, could be sent to Iraq in the next year, according to Charles "Sid'' Heal, commander of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. A former Marine, Heal headed nonlethal-weapons training for the U.S. military in Somalia in 1995 and advised Raytheon on the beam's development.

"It's there, it's ready,'' said Heal, who has felt the weapon's beam and compares it to having a hot iron placed on the skin. "It will likely be in Iraq in the next 12 months. They are very, very close.''

If you click on the 'unveiled' link, the NYT reported the weapon's debut back in March 2001.
Known in Pentagon patois as an "active denial system," the weapon is the fruit of 10 years of research and is intended to help American soldiers in the quasi-military roles they have increasingly been asked to play as peacekeepers or police in places like Kosovo and Ethiopia.
But now, June 2008, you are being asked to believe that the US military fears using this weapon in Iraq and has withheld using this weapon to avoid the possible backlash of the international community. And all this time it could have been saving lives. Obviously this is a tragedy caused by silly political correctness, so this is what we're gonna do. We're going to make sure that Americans demand that our military use this weapon to save lives in Iraq, even if we have to let them use it on us first. That's right. Because we are a decent and upright people, and if we have to fork over billions of taxpayer dollars for secret weapons technology and destroy countries around the world to bring them democracy, well, dammit, we can take a little martial law practice. That will be our sacrifice. In fact, we're going to volunteer those lefties over there for ray gun target practice.

However, the failure to deploy the weapon as planned has raised suspicions that the real intention is to use it for domestic crowd control.

In 2006, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne was quoted as saying that the device should be used first on Americans, because "if we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation. ... If I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press."

And now for the final touch...a little cry of poor-mouth from the Air Force.

Raytheon, which developed the system for the Pentagon, is currently selling a more limited-range civilian version of the system, under the name "Silent Guardian," which it promotes as being suitable for "law enforcement, checkpoint security, facility protection, force protection and peacekeeping missions."

Commander Charles "Sid" Heal of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, who advised Raytheon in developing the raygun, told CBS that the real reason the system has not been deployed in Iraq is "cowardice." Heal, a former Marine, took a variety of non-lethal weapons to Somalia in 1995 and was dismayed to find that his superiors felt their supposedly humanitarian mission was better accomplished by killing. He would love to have the Pentagon's raygun available for such purposes as controlling prison riots.

The Pentagon is spending just $13.1 million on the raygun this year. Secretary Payton agrees this is "absolutely peanuts ... chump change," but she explained to CBS that with only a $475 billion annual budget, "we don't have enough money to do things that are the here and now." The raygun is seen as unproven because it has never been deployed in the field, and it has not been deployed in the field because it is unproven.

"Lethal weapons have an easier time getting into our system," acknowledges Colonel Hymes.

So do you feel guilty yet? Are you ready to volunteer so that this wonderful, non-lethal weapon can be used to save lives? Do you trust that it will always and everywhere be used properly? Will you demand that more of your tax dollars be given to the DOD to resolve their horrible budget shortfalls?

Me either.


malcontent said...

Another issue dogging this project, besides PR, is the fact that counter measures will be fast and inexpensive. This microwave technology works on a very simple principle called dielectric heating. Radio waves excite water molecules and the energy in radio waves is dramatically affected by water.

If you cover any exposed skin with a water based gel or shield your face with an old microwave oven door found in the town dump then, with a little minor tweaking, VOILA! No more boiling skin 1/64th of an inch deep. Leather is an excellent clothing material to defeat this as well.

Tin Foil hats will catch fire however...

This weapon system is only effective against amateur hour and they know that. It is utterly useless against a determined, mortal enemy which makes it just another defense contractor boondoggle. IMHO, that is the biggest hurdle to deployment.

A. Peasant said...

Very interesting. This also sheds light on the comment that any target which keeps coming must be an actual threat. So if you understand how to protect yourself from the technology and don't run away, then they shoot you with a gun. ??

malcontent said...

Imagine setting up a perimeter of old-fashioned magicube flashbulbs on the tops of signposts to visually alert your fellow protesters that the ray is sweeping in. It will also alert you to the location of the ray if it isn't already apparent.

Ask Victoria Snelgrove's parents about the usefulness of non-lethal weapons in a street mob situation.


If the mob is/was actually upset, I have no doubt that they will shoot to kill.

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