Non-Lethal Weapons News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Non-Lethal Weapons News Articles in Media
Protesters marching at the G20 summit next month may be greeted with ear-splitting “sound cannons,” the latest Toronto police tool for quelling unruly crowds. Toronto police have purchased four long-range acoustic devices (LRAD) — often referred to as sound guns or sound cannons — for the upcoming June 26-27 summit. Purchased this month, the LRADs will become a permanent fixture in Toronto law enforcement, said police spokesperson Const. Wendy Drummond. “They were purchased as part of the G20 budget process,” Drummond said. “It’s definitely going to be beneficial for us, not only in the G20 but in any future large gatherings.” But critics say they are really non-lethal weapons and infringe upon protester rights. LRADs can emit ear-blasting sounds so high in frequency they transcend normal thresholds of pain. LRADs are being increasingly employed as a crowd-control device and at last year’s G20 summit in Pittsburgh, police used them on protesters before deploying tear gas and stun grenades. The acoustical devices can also be pointed at specific targets, transmitting a “laser” of sound that is less aggravating for anyone standing outside its beam.
Note: This is the sort of thing on which the $1 billion in security preparations for the upcoming G8 and G20 meetings is being spent. For revealing reports from reliable sources on the grave risks posed by so called "non-lethal" weapons, click here.
The latest request from the Pentagon jars the senses. They are looking for contractors to provide a "Multi-Robot Pursuit System" that will let packs of robots "search for and detect a non-cooperative human". Given that iRobot last year struck a deal with Taser International to mount stun weapons on its military robots, how long before we see packs of droids hunting down pesky demonstrators with paralysing weapons? Or could the packs even be lethally armed? Steve Wright of Leeds Metropolitan University is an expert on police and military technologies. "The giveaway here is the phrase 'a non-cooperative human subject'," he told me: "What we have here are the beginnings of something designed to enable robots to hunt down humans like a pack of dogs. Once the software is perfected we can reasonably anticipate that they will become autonomous and become armed. We can also expect such systems to be equipped with human detection and tracking devices including sensors which detect human breath and the radio waves associated with a human heart beat. These are technologies already developed." Noel Sharkey, an AI and robotics engineer at the University of Sheffield, says "This is a clear step towards one of the main goals of the US Army's Future Combat Systems project, which aims to make a single soldier the nexus for a large scale robot attack. Independently, ground and aerial robots have been tested together and once the bits are joined, there will be a robot force under command of a single soldier with potentially dire consequences for innocents around the corner."
Note: For many revealing reports of new weaponry technologies in the planning and development stages, click here.
Outside the convention hall, New York City police plan to control protesters using a device that directs sound for up to 1,500 feet in a spotlight-like beam. Meanwhile, a display of former Republican presidents inside the hall will feature campaign speeches that are funneled to listeners through highly focused audio beams. Both technologies feature unprecedented manipulation of sound, but for very different purposes. And while both technologies have unique, "gee-whiz" factors, some remain uneasy with the idea of using sound to control crowds. When in weapon mode, LRAD blasts a tightly controlled stream of caustic sound that can be turned up to high enough levels to trigger nausea or possibly fainting. LRAD ... has been used by the U.S. military in Iraq and at sea as a non-lethal force. In these settings, operators can use the device not only to convey orders, but also as a weapon. In tests, police have shown how they can convey orders in a normal voice to someone as far as four blocks away. The sound beam is even equipped with a viewfinder so the operator can precisely target the audio by finding a person in cross hairs. Rather than using pure volume to throw sound far, the LRAD reaches distant ears by focusing the audio beam. Wherever the beam makes contact with air, the air molecules interact in a way that isolates the original audible sound. So if you're standing in front of the ultrasonic sound wave, you can hear the sound. If you're a few inches away, you hear nothing. Already, some Coca-Cola machines in Japan are equipped with the technology so passers-by hear the enticing sound of soda being poured into a glass of ice.
Note: For more reliable information on these "non-lethal weapons," click here.
After years of testing, the Active Denial System -- the pain ray which drives off rioters with a microwave-like beam -- could finally have its day. The Army is buying five of the truck-mounted systems for $25 million. But the energy weapon may face new hurdles, before it's shipped off to the battlefield; a new report details how the supposedly non-lethal blaster could be turned into a flesh-frying killer. The announcement arrives on the same day as a new report from less-lethal weapons expert Dr. Jürgen Altmann that analyzes the physics of several directed energy weapons, including Active Denial, the Advanced Tactical Laser (used as a non-lethal weapon), the Pulsed Energy Projectile (a.k.a. "Maximum Pain" laser) and the Long Range Acoustic Device (a.k.a. "Acoustic Blaster"). Dr. Altmann describes the Active Denial beam in some detail, noting that it will not be completely uniform; anyone unlucky enough to be caught in the center will experience more heating than someone at the edge. And perhaps more significant is his thorough analysis of the heating it produces -- and the cumulative effect if the target does not have the chance to cool down between exposures. In U.S. military tests, a fifteen-second delay between exposures was strictly observed; this may not happen when the ADS is used for real. "As a consequence, the ADS provides the technical possibility to produce burns of second and third degree. Because the beam of diameter 2 m and above is wider than human size, such burns would occur over considerable parts of the body, up to 50% of its surface."
The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, that secretive band of Pentagon geeks that searches obsessively for the next big thing in the technology of warfare, is 50 years old. So what's hot at DARPA right now? Bugs. The creepy, crawly flying kind. The Agency's Microsystems Technology Office is hard at work on HI-MEMS (Hybrid Insect Micro-Electro-Mechanical System), raising real insects filled with electronic circuitry, which could be guided using GPS technology to specific targets via electrical impulses sent to their muscles. These half-bug, half-chip creations — DARPA calls them "insect cyborgs" — would be ideal for surveillance missions, the agency says in a brief description on its website. Such bugs "could carry one or more sensors, such as a microphone or a gas sensor, to relay back information gathered from the target destination." Scientist Amit Lal and his team insert mechanical components into baby bugs during "the caterpillar and the pupae stages," which would then allow the adult bugs to be deployed to do the Pentagon's bidding. "The HI-MEMS program is aimed at developing tightly coupled machine-insect interfaces by placing micro-mechanical systems inside the insects during the early stages of metamorphosis," DARPA says. DARPA declined TIME's request to interview Dr. Lal about his program and the progress he is making in producing the bugs. But in a written statement, spokeswoman Jan Walker said that "living, adult-stage insects have emerged with the embedded systems intact." Presumably, enemy arsenals will soon be well-stocked with Raid.
Note: For many disturbing reports on threats to civil liberties, click here.
What if we told you the Pentagon has a ray gun? And what if we told you it can stop a person in his tracks without killing or even injuring him? Well, it’s true. You can’t see it, you can't hear it, but ... you can feel it. Pentagon officials call it a major breakthrough. It's a gun that doesn't look anything like a gun: it's [a] flat dish antenna which shoots out a 100,000-watt beam at the speed of light, hitting any thing in its path with an intense blast of heat. An operator uses a joystick to zero in on a target. Visible only with an infrared camera, the gun, when fired emits a flash of white hot energy -- an electromagnetic beam made up of very high frequency radio waves. Officially called the "Active Denial System," it does penetrate the body, but just barely. What makes this a weapon like no other is it inflicts enough pain to make you instantly stop whatever it is you’re doing. But the second you get out of the beam the pain vanishes. And as long as it's been used properly, there's no harm to your body. So far, the ray gun has been tested only against make-believe adversaries, protestors whose rage is about as real as the placards they're carrying. The ray gun has been tested on humans more than 11,000 times over ten years. The early tests, recorded with an infrared camera, were against people in their underwear so scientists could measure skin temperature. Their backs were turned so their eyes would not be exposed. Out of 11,000 tests there have been six cases of rashes and blisters, and two of more serious second degree burns. It’s now cleared for full power on any part of the body.
Note: How strange that the tests involve "protestors" with "placards." What sort of enemy does the Pentagon have in mind? You and me? For many revealing reports on "non-lethal" weapons, click here.
For years, the U.S. military has explored a new kind of firepower that is instantaneous, precise and virtually inexhaustible: beams of electromagnetic energy. "Directed-energy" pulses can be throttled up or down depending on the situation, much like the phasers on "Star Trek" could be set to kill or merely stun. Such weapons are now nearing fruition. The hallmark of all directed-energy weapons is that the target -- whether a human or a mechanical object -- has no chance to avoid the shot because it moves at the speed of light. At some frequencies, it can penetrate walls. "When you're dealing with people whose full intent is to die, you can't give people a choice of whether to comply," said George Gibbs, a systems engineer for the Marine Expeditionary Rifle Squad Program who oversees directed-energy projects. "What I'm looking for is a way to shoot everybody, and they're all OK." Among the simplest forms are inexpensive, handheld lasers that fill people's field of vision, inducing a temporary blindness to ensure they stop at a checkpoint, for example. Some of these already are used in Iraq. A separate branch of directed-energy research involves bigger, badder beams: lasers that could obliterate targets tens of miles away from ships or planes. Such a strike would be so surgical that, as some designers put it at a recent conference here, the military could plausibly deny responsibility. The directed-energy component in the project is the Active Denial System, developed by Air Force researchers and built by Raytheon Co. It produces a millimeter-wavelength burst of energy that penetrates 1/64 of an inch into a person's skin, agitating water molecules to produce heat. The sensation is certain to get people to halt whatever they are doing.
A highly sophisticated computer worm which has many of the same characteristics of the virus used to attack Iran's nuclear programme has been discovered targeting companies in Europe. Experts say its code is so similar to the Stuxnet worm that attacked Iran, that it may have been engineered by the same people. The US and Israel were widely thought to be behind Stuxnet, which sent many of the centrifigues at Tehran's nuclear facilities spinning out of control. It took this kind of cyberwarfare to a new level. The new virus was discovered by Symantec, a leading cybersecurity firm, and has been called Duqu. Symantec would not disclose which firms had been targeted. "The majority of the code is consistent with the Stuxnet code," said a spokesman for Symantec. "So this new worm either came from the authors of Stuxnet, or someone was given access to the Stuxnet source codes." Symantec suspects that Duqu may have been the first in a wave of new Stuxnet-style viruses, and that further sophisticated versions of it with a more aggressive purpose may emerge in the coming months. Stuxnet showed that cyberwarfare is developing fast, and is increasingly being thought of by states as a means of inflicting maximum damage with minimum risk. Earlier this year the Guardian revealed that the UK is developing its own "first strike" capability.
A virus has killed millions of crickets raised to feed pet reptiles and those kept in zoos. The cricket paralysis virus has disrupted supplies to pet shops across North America as a handful of operators have seen millions of their insects killed. Some operations have gone bankrupt and others have closed indefinitely until they can rid their facilities of the virus. Cricket farms started in the 1940s as a source of fish bait, but the bulk of sales now are to pet supply companies, reptile owners and zoos, although people also eat some. Most U.S. farms are in the South, but suppliers from Pennsylvania to California also raise crickets. The virus had swept through European cricket farms in 2002. It was first noticed in 2009 in the U.S. and Canada. The virus marks the latest in a recent series of mass animal deaths. Blackbirds fell out of the sky on New Year's Eve in Arkansas. In the days that followed, 2 million fish died in the Chesapeake Bay, 150 tons of red tilapia in Vietnam, 40,000 crabs in Britain and other places across the world. In the past eight months, the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center has logged 95 mass wildlife die-offs in North America and that's probably a dramatic undercount, officials say.
Note: Could some of these die-offs be the result of secret experiments like those conducted by the government's bioweapons labs or by the secretive HAARP program? For reliable information on the disturbing HAARP program, click here.
Some ... favorite gee-whiz moments from this year's TED conference: -- UC Berkeley biologist Robert Full blew everyone's mind by outlining his efforts to create the perfect robotic "distributed foot." He studies the feet and legs of geckos and cockroaches and transfers their design to robots, enabling them to scale walls. One such machine, the Spinybot, can climb glass walls. -- P.W. Singer, an academic who studies war, terrified the crowd with a detailed look at modern, robotic warfare. Something I didn't know: You can sit in a room in New Mexico and pilot armed drone airplanes in Iraq and kill people. Then you go home and have dinner with your kids. Somewhere, Aldous Huxley weeps. -- Stanford's Catherine Mohr displayed the robotic surgical arm she's working on that could change medicine. Among the amazing possibilities are surgeons in the United States performing advanced surgeries in remote parts of the world. These are just a handful of the amazing innovations and disclosures made at TED this year. In the coming weeks and months, videos of all of these talks will be made available to the public at www.ted.com. TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, is a 25-year-old annual conference attended by many of the world's leading scientists, academics and business leaders. The agenda consists of a series of talks, during which big thinkers discuss big ideas.
Note: For powerful information on bizarre "non-lethal" weapons developed by the military, click here. For an enlightening NPR interview on artificial war, click here. And for one of the most powerful TED presentations ever, see neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor's description of her experience having a stroke, available here.
They can't match Harry Potter yet, but scientists are moving closer to creating a real cloak of invisibility. Researchers at Duke University, who developed a material that can "cloak" an item from detection by microwaves, report that they have expanded the number of wavelengths they can block. Last August the team reported they had developed so-called metamaterials that could deflect microwaves around a three-dimensional object, essentially making it invisible to the waves. The system works like a mirage, where heat causes the bending of light rays and cloaks the road ahead behind an image of the sky. The researchers report in ... the journal Science that they have developed a series of mathematical commands to guide the development of more types of metamaterials to cloak objects from an increasing range of electromagnetic waves. "The new device can cloak a much wider spectrum of waves -- nearly limitless -- and will scale far more easily to infrared and visible light," senior researcher David R. Smith said. The new cloak is made up of more than 10,000 individual pieces of fiberglass arranged in parallel rows. The mathematical formulas are used to determine the shape and placement of each piece to deflect the electromagnetic waves. The research was supported by Raytheon Missile Systems, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, InnovateHan Technology, the National Science Foundation of China, the National Basic Research Program of China and National Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province, China.
Note: Isn't it interesting that the US Air Force and a major US defense corporation are joining in a research venture with Chinese corporations and government agencies? Also, remember that secret military projects are usually at least 10 years in advance of anything announced to the public.
The Army’s very strange webpage on "Voice-to-Skull" weapons has been removed. It was strange it was there, and it’s even stranger it’s gone. If you Google it, you’ll see the entry for "Voice-to-Skull device," but, if you click on the website, the link is dead. The entry, still available on the Federation of American Scientists‘ website reads: "Nonlethal weapon which includes (1) a neuro-electromagnetic device which uses microwave transmission of sound into the skull of persons or animals by way of pulse-modulated microwave radiation; and (2) a silent sound device which can transmit sound into the skull of person or animals." The U.K.-based group Christians Against Mental Slavery first noted the change (they also have a permanent screenshot of the page). A representative of the group tells me they contacted the Webmaster, who would only tell them the entry was "permanently removed."
Note: We don't usually use Wired as a source, but this is a very important article on a vital topic with key links for verification. For lots more on this strange topic in a Washington Post article, click here.
Prepare to be remotely controlled. I was. Just imagine being rendered the rough equivalent of a radio-controlled toy car. Japan's top telephone company says it is developing the technology to perhaps make video games more realistic. But more sinister applications also come to mind. I can envision it being added to militaries' arsenals of so-called "non-lethal" weapons. A special headset was placed on my cranium by my hosts during a recent demonstration. It sent a very low voltage electric current from the back of my ears through my head -- either from left to right or right to left, depending on which way the joystick on a remote-control was moved. I found the experience unnerving and exhausting: I sought to step straight ahead but kept careening from side to side. Those alternating currents literally threw me off. The technology is called galvanic vestibular stimulation -- essentially, electricity messes with the delicate nerves inside the ear that help maintain balance. I felt a mysterious, irresistible urge to start walking to the right whenever the researcher turned the switch to the right. I was convinced -- mistakenly -- that this was the only way to maintain my balance.
The knees buckle, the brain aches, the stomach turns. And suddenly, nobody feels like protesting anymore. Witnesses describe a minute-long blast of sound emanating from a white Israeli military vehicle. Within seconds, protestors began falling to their knees, unable to maintain their balance. An Israeli military source, speaking on the customary condition of anonymity, confirmed the existence of the Scream. "The intention is to disperse crowds with sound pulses that create nausea and dizziness," the Israel Defence Force spokesperson told the Toronto Star. The IDF is saying little about the science behind the Scream, citing classified information. But the technology is believed to be similar to the LRAD — Long-Range Acoustic Device — used by U.S. forces in Iraq as a means of crowd control. Hillel Pratt, a professor of neurobiology ... likens the effect of such technologies to simulated seasickness. "It doesn't necessarily have to be a loud sound. The combination of low frequencies at high intensities, for example, can create discrepancies in the inputs to the brain," said Pratt. Arik Asherman, a leader of Rabbis For Human Rights, was cautiously optimistic the Scream could make a positive difference. But Asherman said Israeli officials would be wise to use the Scream sparingly. "We need to remind ourselves the problem is not the demonstrations, but what the demonstrations are about," he said. "If this makes it any more difficult for Palestinians to express themselves in a non-violent way, that is problematic. The best way to disperse demonstrations is to deal with the actual issues.
Note: If the above link fails, click here.
Canada's federal police will no longer use stun guns against suspects who are merely resisting arrest or refusing to cooperate — saying the guns can cause death. "Tasers hurt like hell," Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner William Elliot said Thursday of his reaction to being shot with a stun gun as a test. The guns incapacitate people with a 50,000-volt jolt of electricity. "The RCMP's revised policy underscores that there are risks associated with the deployment of the device and emphasizes that those risks include the risk of death, particularly for agitated individuals," Elliot told members of Parliament's public safety committee. At least 20 Canadians have died after being zapped by stun guns. Federal police officers have used the guns more than 5,000 times in the last seven years. An analysis of incidents by The Canadian Press between 2002 and 2005 found that three in four suspects zapped by the RCMP were unarmed. Elliot said stun gun use must now be justified as a necessary and reasonable use of force. Officers had previously been told that stun guns are a good way to control suspects in a state of so-called "excited delirium," or in an agitated or delirious state. Elliot said the term will no longer appear in police manuals. "(Police officers) are highly trained, but they're not medical experts and we don't think it's fair or reasonable to have policy based on a medical condition or diagnosis," Elliot said.
Note: For much more on the dangers of so-called "non-lethal weapons", click here.
No longer a gleam in the Pentagon's eye, ray guns — or radiofrequency (RF) weapons, to be exact — officially have arrived. As troops are increasingly forced to serve as an ad hoc police force, nonlethal weapons have become a priority for the military. The Department of Defense is currently testing the Active Denial System (ADS), which fires pain-inducing beams of 95-GHz radio waves, for deployment on ground vehicles. This surface heating doesn't actually burn the target, but is painful enough to force a retreat. While the military continues to investigate the safety of RF-based weapons, defense contractor Raytheon has released Silent Guardian, a stripped-down version of the ADS, marketed to law enforcement and security providers as well as to the military. Using a joystick and a targeting screen, operators can induce pain from over 250 yards away, as opposed to more than 500 yards with the ADS. Unlike its longer-ranged counterpart, Silent Guardian is available now. As futuristic — and frightening — as the ADS "pain ray" sounds, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research is funding an even more ambitious use of RF energy. Researchers at the University of Nevada are investigating the feasibility of a method that would immobilize targets without causing pain. Rather than heating the subject's skin, this approach would use microwaves at 0.75 to 6 GHz to affect skeletal muscle contractions. This project is still in the beginning stages. The ADS, on the other hand, is already a painful reality.
Note: For lots more concerning information on non-lethal weapons, click here.
Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before being used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday. The object is basically public relations. Domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions from others about possible safety considerations, said Secretary Michael Wynne. "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," said Wynne. Nonlethal weapons generally can weaken people if they are hit with the beam. Some of the weapons can emit short, intense energy pulses that also can be effective in disabling some electronic devices.
Note: The government has been developing potentially lethal "non-lethal weapons" for decades, as evidenced by released FOIA government documents. Don't miss our excellent summary on this critical topic available at http://www.WantToKnow.info/mindcontrol10pg#nonlethal and the in-depth Washington Post article on psychological manipulations available at http://www.WantToKnow.info/060123psyops.
A pocket-size drone dubbed the Nano Hummingbird for the way it flaps its tiny robotic wings has been developed for the Pentagon by a Monrovia company as a mini-spy plane capable of maneuvering on the battlefield and in urban areas. The battery-powered drone was built by AeroVironment Inc. for [DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency,] the Pentagon's research arm, as part of a series of experiments in nanotechnology. The little flying machine is built to look like a bird for potential use in spy missions. Equipped with a camera, the drone can fly at speeds of up to 11 miles per hour. It can hover and fly sideways, backward and forward, as well as go clockwise and counterclockwise. It also demonstrates the promise of fielding mini-spy planes. Industry insiders see the technology eventually being capable of flying through open windows or sitting on power lines, capturing audio and video while enemies would be none the wiser. With a wingspan of 6.5 inches, the mini-drone weighs 19 grams, or less than a AA battery. The Hummingbird's guts are made up of motors, communications systems and a video camera. It is slightly larger than the average hummingbird.
Note: Remember that secret government research is usually at least 10 years in advance of anything that has been announced publicly. For more on the hummingbird drone, click here.
Not since the end of the Cold War has the Pentagon spent so much to develop and deploy secret weapons. But now military researchers have turned their attention from mass destruction to a far more precise challenge: finding, tracking, and killing individuals. Every year, tens of billions of Pentagon dollars go missing. The money vanishes not because of fraud, waste or abuse, but because U.S. military planners have appropriated it to secretly develop advanced weapons and fund clandestine operations. Next year, this so-called black budget will be even larger than it was in the Cold War days of 1987, when the leading black-budget watchdog, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), began gathering reliable estimates. The current total is staggering: $58 billion—enough to pay for two complete Manhattan Projects.
Igniting a provocative new debate, senior military officials are pushing the Pentagon to go on the offensive in cyberspace by developing the ability to attack other nations' computer systems, rather than concentrating on defending America's electronic security. Under the most sweeping proposals, military experts would acquire the know-how to commandeer the unmanned aerial drones of adversaries, disable enemy warplanes in mid-flight and cut off electricity at precise moments to strategic locations, such as military installations, while sparing humanitarian facilities, such as hospitals. An expansion of offensive capabilities in cyberspace would represent an important change for the military. But a new National Military Strategy for Cyberspace Operations, declassified earlier this year, fueled the Pentagon debate and gave the military a green light to push for expanded capabilities. "As we go forward in time, cyber is going to be a very important part of our war-fighting tactics, techniques and procedures," said Michael W. Wynne, a former Air Force secretary. Under Wynne, the Air Force established a provisional Cyber Command in 2007 and made operating in the cyber domain part of its mission statement, on par with air operations. Wynne clashed with superiors over the Air Force approach to cyberspace and other issues and was fired in June after breakdowns in U.S. nuclear weapons security procedures. New Air Force leaders now are reassessing plans for a permanent Cyber Command, which under Wynne's leadership would have included some offensive capabilities.
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