How long before the "Holy Grail of crowd control" is used to quell domestic dissent?
Coming soon, from the folks who brought you the microwave -- Raytheon! After more than ten years in the making and at a cost of over 40 million dollars, 'Silent Guardian', or Active Denial System, (ADS, in it's formal mood), is almost ready for public release!
Yes, Raytheon -- manufacturer of the 100 bunker buster bombs kindly flown by America to Israel at the height of their bombardment of Lebanon, and supplier of electronic equipment for the apartheid wall built on Palestinian land; -- Raytheon -- with its 73,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of 20 billion dollars has gone and done it again!
For, Raytheon -- the world's largest producer of guided missiles, and fifth largest defense contractor in the world, provider of aircraft radar systems, weapons sights and targeting systems, communication and battle-management systems, and satellite components -- has come up with a system which could scatter a crowd in a trice without a drop of blood being spilled.
Yes, folks, originally designed to protect military personnel against small-arms fire without the use of lethal force, Silent Guardian, ADS, the Pain Ray, call it what you will, (Raytheon would prefer you not to use the latter however), will finally soon be here!
Transmitted at the speed of light over a 700 yard distance, the Pain Ray is a millimeter-wave beam that penetrates 1/64th of an inch beneath the skin, causing the water molecules there to bubble, producing an intense burning sensation, said to feel like being burnt by molten lava or a hot iron. Its delivery system attached to a Humvee and aimed right, the Pain Ray makes people run away -- fast.
Tests conducted at Kirtland Air Force Base south of Albuquerque, New Mexico, employ realistic combat scenarios to determine its potential effectiveness in a deployed environment, the first to expose an entire test subject to the ray.
The Defense Department want to use it for protecting Defense resources, peacekeeping, humanitarian missions and other situations in which the use of lethal force is undesirable, but already there have been inquiries from other institutes and wealthy individuals about using it to protect private property.
Testing, conducted on human volunteers and animals by the Air Force Research Laboratory's Human Effectiveness Directorate continues, and although it has not been proved that exposure to the ray can cause cancer, it has been ascertained that the corneas of Rhesus monkeys can be damaged.
Deployment of the system is slated to begin in Iraq in 2010, but there are rumors that it has already been tested there.
Raytheon congratulates itself on having developed a non-lethal weapon which has been described as "Holy Grail of crowd control," but their Silent Guardian also has its critics. One, author Richard Hunter asks:
"But what happens if the people faced with such a weapon can't just run away? What happens if they're trapped in a crowd, and the crowd can't move? How much pain must that crowd endure? How long can any member of the crowd be exposed to that weapon before his or her skin -- or their eyes -- simply cook off?
What happens if the devices are used deliberately in a manner designed to cause maximum harm -- say, by training the device on prisoners trapped in prison cells until they literally go mad with pain?
What happens if the system operator turns up the power? A little bit works well, why not try a lot?
What happens if the scientists didn't test the devices thoroughly, and they turn out to render anyone touched by them blind, or impotent, or sterile?"
And the National Lawyers Guild of the US has accused Raytheon of being "implicated in the commission of war crime."
One critical group, the Derry Anti-War Coalition, occupied the Raytheon weapons factory in Ireland in 2006 to protest at the production of guided missile components there.
Said a spokesman:
"We are calling for arms components manufacturers to be shut down all over Ireland -- North and South. It is disgraceful that so many companies in Ireland are profiteering from the maiming and murder of peaceful and innocent civilians in the Middle East. We are calling for and supporting non-violent occupation of all weapons manufacturers that supply arms to the Israeli Military."
The protestors were arrested and charged with damaging Raytheon property. They await conviction. The cheeky blighters have got up a petition to sign to support them!
As if you would!
They wouldn't have been able to get into the building if a Silent Guardian had been in action. A tiny squirt of the Pain Ray would have quickly sent them yelping away.
Roll on the ADS! Coming soon! To a street near you!