Thursday, December 07, 2006

New Weapon Cleared by Military for Use in Iraq Under Scrutiny

I have very mixed feelings about this report. If there are no serious side affects, then it sounds like a great way to avoid killing, but I'm not sure it is safe.
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act detail the US military's extensive human tests of its Active Denial System - a non-lethal weapon that uses millimeter wave radiation to induce instant, searing pain that forces people to flee.

The crowd is getting ugly. Soldiers roll up in a Hummer. Suddenly, the whole right half of your body is screaming in agony. You feel like you've been dipped in molten lava. You almost faint from shock and pain, but instead you stumble backwards -- and then start running. To your surprise, everyone else is running too. In a few seconds, the street is completely empty.

You've just been hit with a new nonlethal weapon that has been certified for use in Iraq -- even though critics argue there may be unforeseen effects.

According to documents obtained for Wired News under federal sunshine laws, the Air Force's Active Denial System, or ADS, has been certified safe after lengthy tests by military scientists in the lab and in war games.

The ADS shoots a beam of millimeters waves, which are longer in wavelength than x-rays but shorter than microwaves - 94 GHz (= 3 mm wavelength) compared to 2.45 GHz (= 12 cm wavelength) in a standard microwave oven.

The longer waves are thought to limit the effects of the radiation. If used properly, ADS will produce no lasting adverse affects, the military argues.

Documents acquired for Wired News using the Freedom of Information Act claim that most of the radiation (83 percent) is instantly absorbed by the top layer of the skin, heating it rapidly.

The beam produces what experimenters call the "Goodbye effect," or "prompt and highly motivated escape behavior." In human tests, most subjects reached their pain threshold within 3 seconds, and none of the subjects could endure more than 5 seconds.

"It will repel you," one test subject said. "If hit by the beam, you will move out of it - reflexively and quickly. You for sure will not be eager to experience it again."

But while subjects may feel like they have sustained serious burns, the documents claim effects are not long-lasting. At most, "some volunteers who tolerate the heat may experience prolonged redness or even small blisters," the Air Force experiments concluded.

The reports describe an elaborate series of investigations involving human subjects.

The volunteers were military personnel: active, reserve or retired, who volunteered for the tests. They were unpaid, but the subjects would "benefit from direct knowledge that an effective nonlethal weapon system could soon be in the inventory," said one report. The tests ranged from simple exposure in the laboratory to elaborate war games involving hundreds of participants.

(read more)

1 Comments:

Blogger whimsicalnbrainpan said...

That is just fcuking scary!

12/08/2006 05:42:00 AM  

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