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“Non-Lethal” Weapons, New Police Toys, and the Future Police State

For any of you that enjoy shows like “Future Weapons,” this is old news. Decades old, in fact. Except for this slight nuance – instead of foreign civilians, it will be US civilians who face what German weapons experts call “the 21st century weapon.” 1)

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An infrared laser pain-beam as demonstrated by the US Air Force

For decades, the US Department of Defense (as well as its Soviet and Chinese counterparts) has been developing directed energy weapons – what has been deemed the “Active Denial System (ADS).” These weapons range from very portable “PHaSRs,” which cause immense pain via laser beams, to bulkier old-school ADSs which do so via microwaves that penetrate the skin, burning one internally. Each of the weapons – originally developed by Raytheon, who in the process, accidentally invented the microwave – manipulates electromagnetic fields, resulting in penetrating radiation intent upon disrupting the central nervous system.

Despite an immense lack of research into the physiological and psychological effects of such weapons, the US Army has repeatedly asked for executive permission to use the scarcely studied ADS weapons on “unruly Iraqi crowds,” but has not yet received the green light. On the question of whether the weapons’ uses qualify as “torture,” Noah Shachtman of “Wired” notes “How else is it going to be perceived, if Americans start microwaving people alive?” 2)

Now, according to several sources including the San Francisco Bay View and New Scientist, police in the United States are looking to attain ADS weapons, perhaps on a massive scale as a continuation of law enforcement’s embrace of a new class of “non-lethal” weapons under Bill Clinton.3) The US Air Force indicated in 2006 that ADS weapons “should be used on crowds in the US first” in order “to avoid vilification in the world press.” 4)

“Non-lethal” weapons include TASER-guns – whose death toll now nears 400 in the US alone in the past decade.5) They include chemical weapons such as OC spray – death toll of at least 113 as of 20096) – and tear gas. It is interesting to note that the use of such weapons non-domestically are prohibited by the Chemical Weapons Convention.

“Non-lethal” weapons also include rubber, wax, plastic, and flexible baton rounds that can cause massive skull and bone damage, internal organ ruptures, hemorrhages, and death. Death tolls are difficult to procure because of the corporate media’s utter lack of coverage of such weapon’s effects, but brief research would indicate that the number is surely in the thousands worldwide. It is doubtful that anyone to read this is unaware of people within their own community that have died at the hands of “non-lethal” weapons. Boston residents no doubt recall the death of Victoria Snelgrove – shot dead with a pepper ball by police – as Bostonians celebrated the Red Sox’s 2004 ALCS victory.

“Non-lethal” weapons – endorsed as such by a sector of the scientific establishment that is openly funded by defense interests – are clearly lethal. However, the term itself has allowed the corporate, nationally-syndicated media to distort the short and long term effects of these weapons. Most often, media coverage of deaths related to, for example, pepper spray or TASERs, assert that cause of death is a “reaction” between the victim’s [frequently drug-induced] physiological state and the effects of the “non-lethal” weapon.7)8)9) Is it just me, or is this just an excruciatingly futile exercise in semantics? Next, they’ll try to claim that ADSs cause a “reaction” with natural central nervous system function – and therefore do not DIRECTLY cause death – ergo, it cannot be responsible for death. This is the logic we are being fed!

In addition, the widespread endorsement by politicians and the corporate media of the term “non-lethal weapons,” has in turn further legitimized police brutality and murder within our legal system. Since the weapons are widely believed to be “non-lethal,” their brutal misuse – often resulting in death – is overlooked by the judicial system.10)11)12)13) The state, the corporate media, and law enforcement agencies have imposed an entirely unrealistic stance regarding a group of lethal weapons. In doing so, they have made it easier than ever for police to evade lengthy investigations, bad publicity, and lawsuits that relate to their use of excessive force and brutality in committing murder (even with little or no provocation).

This is the context within which directed energy weapons enter into. It appears that they – now more portable, more powerful, and more capable of long-range assault than a decade ago – will soon be added to the “non-lethal” list of weapons. Enter, infrared and microwave pain beams that – like microwaves – burn you from the inside-out from ranges up to hundreds of meters away.14) Enter, handheld vomit-induction beams that violently disrupt the human central nervous system from up to a range of 2400 meters.15) And a whole slew of other psychotronic, sonic, laser, radiation, and electromagnetic weapons that have yet to be rolled out for commercial defense use; after all, anyone familiar with our historical national security protocols knows that information pertaining to new weapons technology is only made publicly available a minimum of 10-15 years after it is fully developed and covertly applied to various aspects of “national security.”

Never mind the fact that ADS weaponry “may cause permanent injury or even death via ‘complete dermal necrosis.’” 16) Never mind the fact that the weapons have undergone no public scientific scrutiny. Never mind the leaked report that test subjects suffered “painful burns that required hospitalization in a burn unit” and exposed them to “unconscionable risks.” 17) Never mind the absolute impossibility of knowing the potential risks for individual toxicity and cancer (or the empirical impossibility of such given only a few decades of crude medical research).

Never mind those things. They, while extremely important, are not the critical issues here. At their core, these abusive police regimes of pain compliance and death point to the very contradiction between on one hand, living in a free society, and on the other, living in a society in which police openly coerce and murder innocent and/or unarmed civilians.

If open police brutality and murder – not to mention the blatant corruption of our media and legal system – are not enough to convince you of the police state we live in, I’m not sure what could be. What of “First Amendment-protected assembly?” Can you imagine the impossibility of free assembly if police can overtly use these types of weapons from hundreds, even thousands of meters? Can you imagine the malicious uses for which this could be used, especially considering the fact – proven on both introspective and empirical grounds – that police are by their very nature violent and corrupt?

It would be hard to believe that various ADS weapons are not already being employed covertly, whether abroad or domestically. There is an immensely large underground community – marginalized by the government and ignored by the media – that for decades has allegedly suffered (and continues to suffer) at the hands of systematic extrajudicial targeting with directed energy weapons. At the risk of sounding like a complete lunatic, a good deal of research into such allegations – against both foreign and domestic agents – leads me to be unable to brush the matter off as nonsense. But I will come back to that another time.

The police state has made it very clear that police may assault peaceful demonstrators without provocation. It has made very clear that police will face no systematic punishment for brutality and murder done with “non-lethal” weapons in hand. It has made it very clear that even peaceful dissidence will be addressed with regimes of pain compliance and death.

Flash forward. Will you be willing to face the additional physical pain, burns, and unknown psychological effects of ADS – radiation, electromagnetic, psychotonic, sonic, infrared laser – weapons? Will you be willing to face the unknown risks of openly exercising your rights? Theoretically, these risks could include anything from permanent loss of sensory capability to organ failure to heretofore undiscovered forms of cancer. Even if people are willing to face these afflictions head on in defense of their liberty, will assembly even be possible? Police have shown their willingness to assault those peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights. What will this assault feel like – coming from all directions, potentially thousands of meters away, in the form of ultra-concentrated energy?

Today’s society vividly reminds me of the rise of fascism in the 1930s: we have seen what a modern police state looks like. Well, ladies and gentleman, welcome to the future police state.


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