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Invisible beam tops list of nonlethal weapons

Invisible beam tops list of nonlethal weapons
By Greg Gordon -- Bee Washington Bureau
Published 2:15 am PDT Tuesday, June 1, 2004
Invisible beam tops list of nonlethal weapons


Invisible beam tops list of nonlethal weapons
By Greg Gordon -- Bee Washington Bureau
Published 2:15 am PDT Tuesday, June 1, 2004

WASHINGTON - Test subjects can't see the invisible beam from the Pentagon's new, Star Trek-like weapon, but no one has withstood the pain it produces for more than three seconds.
People who volunteered to stand in front of the directed energy beam say they felt as if they were on fire. When they stepped aside, the pain disappeared

The long-range column of millimeter-wave energy is known as the "Active Denial System" for its ability to prevent an aggressor from advancing. Senior
military officials, who plan to deliver the device for troop evaluation this fall, say years of testing has produced no sign it will lead to health effects be
yond perhaps causing skin to temporarily redden.

It is among the most potent of a new generation of futuristic, "less-than-lethal" weapons being developed by the Defense Department - tools that could
dramatically alter the way police control riots and soldiers fight wars.

Other nonlethal devices undergoing tests include "superlubricants" that could
make a road or runway too slippery for car or airplane tires to gain traction; directed sound waves to drive people away from an area; and nets able to
stop cars.

Marine Col. David Karcher, who heads the Pentagon's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, says the energy beam is aimed at helping troops and police in
confusing situations by offering options "between bullets and a bullhorn."

Marine Capt. Dan McSweeney, a spokesman for the Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, pointed to "instances in Iraq where crowd situations have unfortunately ended in violence" and death.

Karcher and other military officials are trying to alleviate fears that the device might be misused to harm civilians or converted into a torture machine
that leaves no marks.

In an attempt to anticipate how the world would greet the new weapon, the Air Force this month asked social science graduate students at the University of
Minnesota and other colleges for help.

Researchers were offered $12,000 to spend the summer reviewing literature and assessing how Americans and other cultures might react to its use.

In the solicitation, Maj. Jonathan Drummond of the Air Force's Directed Energy Bioeffects Division noted that the Active Denial System could provide U.S.
forces "with a nonlethal capability in military operations other than war." Among possible uses, he listed peacekeeping, humanitarian operations and crowd control.

Introduction of such a device in either noncombat or wartime situations could raise thorny questions: Would it be acceptable to inflict so much pain on
unruly protesters? How would such a weapon be viewed if used on crowds in Third
World countries? Would it violate international humanitarian principles if used
in battle? Might it be used secretly during interrogations to torture suspected terrorists into cooperating?

Karcher said the Active Denial System "is absolutely not designed or intended or built" to be a torture device.

"To use this as any sort of torture device would be in direct violation of" the Pentagon's definition of nonlethal weapons, he said. "Nor, as
professionals, would any of us sign up for it."

But in an era of secret interrogations of al-Qaida suspects and revelations of U.S. abuse of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, Executive Director Doug
Johnson of the Minneapolis-based Center for Torture Victims is skeptical.

"It seems fundamentally a weapon that's designed to create a great deal of pain and fear," Johnson said. "The concern I would have is ... once this kind of
technology is available and there's a perception that it's safe and nonlethal, it seems like a natural device to be used in interrogations.

"Is it torture if it only creates a sensation of pain, but leaves no marks and no long-term damage? I would say yes. Torture is primarily a psychological
device, and finding different ways to use the body against the mind has been the struggle of torture technologies for thousands of years."

He said "human history would demonstrate" that once a potential torture technology is available, it usually is put into action.

Karcher and other military officials stressed that the device has received interim approvals from international treaty conventions, has twice passed
Pentagon legal reviews and will be subject to clear rules of engagement.

Eleven years in the making at a cost of more than $50 million, the Active Denial System is still years from deployment. It weighs about 4 tons and consists
largely of a big dish and antenna that are mounted on a Humvee multipurpose

But researchers are hoping to miniaturize it, Karcher said. Air Force officials want to work with the prime contractor, the Raytheon Corp., to design a
version that could be mounted on a military transport plane so its beam could cut a broader swath on a battlefield.

Once an operator has aimed the antenna using a scope, the press of a button
sends out a column of millimeter-wave, electromagnetic energy at the speed of
light. Pentagon officials say that the weapon's exact reach and its column size are classified, but that it can extend beyond the 550-meter effective range
of bullets. Its intensity is the same at any distance.

Susan Levine, the Pentagon's project manager for the energy beam, said years of tests on humans and animals enabled researchers to establish a margin of
safety. After several seconds, the device automatically shuts off to avoid burning its target, she said.

When the beam hits an individual, it penetrates 1/64th of an inch beneath the skin and heats water molecules to 130 degrees in less than a second.

"It tricks the pain sensors into thinking they're on fire," said Rich Garcia, a spokesman for the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base
in Albuquerque, N.M.

Garcia knows firsthand. He was among hundreds of test volunteers, standing in a doorway with his back facing the device.

"They did a full body back shot," he said. "It hit in the small of my back first. For the first millisecond, it just felt like the skin was warming up.
Then it got warmer and warmer and you felt like it was on fire."

He said he lunged out of the doorway.

"As soon as you're away from that beam your skin returns to normal and there is no pain," Garcia said. "I thought to myself, 'Why you wimp. You know it's
not causing any damage. You'll be able to override it.' Each of the next three times, I was on there a little bit longer.

"The fourth one was the longest. It was about two seconds. It felt like my hair was on fire."

The beam easily penetrates clothing, he said, because clothes are porous, though a thin suit of armor would block it.

homepage: homepage: http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/story/9499345p-10423294c.html

We need to start countermeasure research now 04.Jun.2004 21:41


There are enough indy types with math and science knowledge. Start looking through old textbooks and see if you can come up with a solution.

firearms would be an effective countermeasure 04.Jun.2004 22:10


So would grenades and home made bombs.

Wrap yourself in tin foil !! 04.Jun.2004 22:24

oh, wait a minute...

that only works against the CIA mind control lasers.


Wrapping yourself in tin foil may not be such a bad idea... 05.Jun.2004 00:09


Several patents have been issued that deal with mind control techniques. This one inparticular seems relevant: 4,858,612

Here's a little excerpt:
"1. A sound perception device for providing induced perception of sound into a mammalian brain comprising in combination:

means for generating microwave radiation which is representative of a sound to be perceived, said means for generating including means for generating a simultaneous plurality of microwave radiation frequencies and means for adjusting the amplitude of said microwave radiation frequencies in accordance with the sound to be perceived; and

antenna means located in the region of the auditory cortex of said mammalian brain for transmitting said microwave energy into the auditory cortex region of said brain. "


Tinfoil would work 05.Jun.2004 16:25

Radio Pirate

The tinfoil would work very well, as the "millimeter-wave energy" is simply microwave RF. On striking any form of metal, radio waves cannot pass as the electrical lines of force are shorted out. A small current would be induced in the tinfoil, but not enough to heat it or bother you. If the Pentagon ever tries to use this as a area weapon, to fully block it you would wrap TOTALLY in tinfoil or any other conductive material(possibly even antistatic computer foam!), with window screen to protect you eyes. Armies would simply embed conductive threads in all uniform clothing and use a metallic helmet with a facepiece for the same effect.

Tinfoil also works on Tasers, as the Taser darts are hot only to each other, and not to ground. Therefore, the tinfoil shorts the darts to oneanother and stops the effect. If only one dart was on the foil and one elsewhere, you would get zapped but no worse than normal as the current is controlled inside the Taser and not by body resistance. Since the Taser is NOT hot relative to ground(so as not to also zap the shoooter!), if one dart misses entirely there is no effect from the weapon