‘Non-Lethal’ Weapons

DR Book Club: Taking Aim at ‘Non-Lethal’ Weapons
By David Hambling July 23, 2009 | 5:13 pm |
The weapons are designed to subdue, rather than kill. But the debate surrounding the arms — from Tasers and tear gas to laser dazzlers and acoustic blasters — is furious. One side sees them as a way of reducing casualties and opening a possible route to bloodless warfare. The other, as “compliance tools,” used to torture innocent people? An understanding of the history of “non-lethals” and how they work in practice is essential for an informed discussion. Which is why Neil Davison’s new book, “Non-Lethal” Weapons, is an important contribution. It will not end the arguments, but it should raise the tone considerably.

The debate over the effectiveness, safety and ethics of these weapons has been intense, and Davison works through it with great aplomb. He goes back to the origins of the modern non-lethals movement in the 70’s and tracks the evolutions of the extremely varied technologies involved. It’s a very wide field, but Davison has been studying this area for many years and depth of scholarship is one of the book’s great strengths.

No weapon is ever truly non-lethal, of course. But the term Non-lethal Weapon has been adopted in the Pentagon and elsewhere — officially defined as a military tool “explicitly designed and primarily employed to so as to incapacitate personnel…while minimizing fatalities.”

But Davison is quick to point out the contradictions of the “non-lethal” movement. CS “tear” gas was deployed in Vietnam on a massive scale, supposedly to give troops a less-lethal alternative for dealing with civilian disturbances. The gas was never used in this role. In fact, it was used for driving Viet Cong out of cover (especially tunnels). That helped enhance the lethality of other weapons, making it “pre-lethal” rather than “non-lethal.” When Russian Special Forces used a “non-lethal” Fentanyl derivative to end the siege at a Moscow theatre, the unconscious terrorists were shot dead in another display of “pre-lethal” use — although there has been more controversy over the fact that the gas itself killed over a hundred hostages.

That’s why Davison puts “non-lethal” in quotes throughout, to emphasise that the term is a misleading one; even the title of the book is a challenge to Pentagon’s viewpoint.

Davison also points out the “disingenuous advocacy”‘ of this type of weapon. First, they were misleadingly dubbed “non-lethal weapons.” Now, many of these machines are no longer even called weapons at all; so an acoustic weapon is now a “Long Range Acoustic Device,” laser dazzlers are “optical distractors,” and Tasers become “neuromuscular incapacitation devices.” The high-powered and undoubtedly lethal Advanced Tactical Laser becomes a “non-lethal” weapon because it can shoot out tires.

The tone is coolly analytical throughout. In a bid to make new non-lethal weapons exciting, other writers break into Clancy-style fiction to present scenarios of high-tech commandos, zapping terrorists and leaving hostages unscathed. Davison resists this tendency, just as he resists the temptation to give graphic accounts of victims injured or killed when “non-lethals” go wrong or are misused. But he has en eye for telling statistics; when looking into whether Tasers are really used against dangerous suspects, he notes that a review of over 112 Taser uses in one county in Colorado found that a third of the victims were handcuffed at the time.

The work builds on Davison’s previous studies in this area for University of Bradford’s Peace Studies department, and his papers on the Bradford website offer a useful preview of the book. There are extensive references, and Danger Room’s own “Shachtman, N,” “Weinberger, S” and “Hambling, D” are duly cited, showing that Davison picks his sources with some discernment.

His long historical view means that Davison recognises the ideas that keep coming round. Acoustic blasters were tried in the 70’s and failed for the simple reason that any sound loud enough to be an effective deterrent was loud enough to cause hearing damage. In the 90’s, the Air Force Research Laboratory specifically cautioned against developments in this area because acoustic devices were either useless or dangerous. Nevertheless, the Long Range Acoustic device was developed and deployed — in spite of a study finding audible sound “a poor choice.” A 2007 Military Medicine review found that, in spite of numerous claims, there was no evidence that audible sound, ultrasound or infrasound could produce effects suitable for “non-lethal” weapons. Yet claims for miraculous infrasound weapons persist (including the mythical brown note that causes the victim to lose control of their bowels).

Of course, in a work of this length, there will always be some nitpicks. One could point out, for example, that the small version of the Active Denial “pain beam” developed for Project Sheriff was canceled a couple of years ago — but cancelations, unlike product launches, tend to be very quiet.

This is an important book. It will not go down well with the Pentagon’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, or at Taser International. But it should be compulsory reading to those involved in “non-lethal” weapons-buying, before being exposed to salesmen touting the latest less-lethal wonder-weapon. And it should also be compulsory reading for any journalist writing about those same wonder-weapons without looking at what they mean in practice.

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  • Non Lethal Weapons-Sonic Weapons can travel in air, water and any kind of solid medias. That means targets can not find any ways to protect themselves. This is why UN viewed NLWs as mass destruction. Please see this by CNN.


    Sonic Weapons
    cnn - bullets made of sound - minority report newworldknowing

  • US DoD NonLethal Weapons Program
    3097 Range Road
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    http://jnlwp.defense.gov/pdf/annualreport2012.pdf Torturing Bastards Exposed

  • Statement as to Non lehtal weapons by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada:

    Numerous analysts studying these issues have stated that discussion is long overdue and should begin immediately, particularly with more transparency, accountability and information available to the public in several countries. The domestic and international implications of the use and misuse of several exotic weapons and nonlethal variants are serious and require a higher priority by the Canadian government and international fora.


  • http://www.infowars.com/domestic-torture-via-radiation-weaponry-ame...

    Alex Jones has the guts-- to publish the truth about what the US Gov't is doing to non criminal, non under investigation Americans all  across the country.

    Domestic Torture via Radiation Weaponry: America’s Horrific Shame

    • printer_famfamfam.gif  The Alex Jones Channel Alex Jones Show podcast Prison Planet TV Infowars.com Twitter Alex Jones' Facebook Infowars store
    Vic Livingston
    December 30, 2008
    The reality of domestic torture delivered by ideologically-driven, cold-hearted agents of government and their vigilante citizen operatives is finally gaining public exposure by way of first-hand accounts — including that of this correspondent, a mainstream journalist who who has been "community stalked" and tortured by means of silent, potentially deadly radiation weaponry for nearly five years.
    In a matter of weeks, this correspondent believes, operatives who have been involved in the purposeful "dosing" of American citizens with various forms of pulsed radiation emitted from so-called "directed energy weapons" and devices will begin to come forward, confirming reports of what’s been euphemistically labeled as "electronic harassment" by victims of so-called "community stalking" or "gang stalking."
    The "gang stalking" moniker trivializes what is an extensive, multi-level government campaign of extrajudicial targeting and punishment that victims say extends into Canada, the United Kingdom and other industrialized nations.
    The "targets" are not limited to "terrorists" or drug traffickers. They include individuals who have been labeled by persons in positions of authority as "dissidents," "radicals," "whistle-blowers" or undesirables, perhaps due to their lifestyles, their ethnic heritage, or their religious or political beliefs. Many find themselves slandered and unjustly accused of wrongdoing (but, notably, not charged with any violation of the law). Journalists are among targeted classes; but many don’t realize they are subject to pervasive surveillance, physical harassment and career sabotage until they are already ruined, professionally and personally.
    These targeted persons — and their families — are subject to relentless harassment, including surreptitious entry into their homes and vandalism of their property, with surveillance data about their whereabouts and personal daily routines funneled to "community stalkers" who are recruited under the cover of government-funded community policing, town watch, and business-related anti-terrorism programs. The operations of these civilian vigilantes are supervised by agents of government, ranging from local police personnel to federal intelligence and security agents under whose direction these programs have been institutionalized.
    • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

    Under the guise of performing "surveillance," the "targets" are subject to electromagnetic radiation of various forms — ranging from microwave energy, sound waves, even X-rays and gamma rays. The government publicly claims that these "directed energy weapons," or "D.E.W.", are still in the experimental stage, or that working equipment is large and bulky, such as the Army’s recent demonstration of a microwave weapon tagged with an innocuous-sounding sobriquet, the "Active Denial System." The government describes these radiation weapons as "non-lethal" — when in fact, depending on the dosage of radiated energy delivered, they can stun, maim, burn, cause strokes or aneurysms, induce illness such as cancer, or kill.
    These D.E.W. have are being widely deployed, as noted in an article in the April 2008 FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. The article discusses the potential adverse health effects of D.E.W. fire. The article also states that law enforcement personnel themselves may fall victim to these adverse effects, should criminals or terrorists obtain D.E.W.
    What the article does not state is that victims of "community stalking" have complained for several years that they are being tortured by painful D.E.W. radiation attacks, and that their health has been degraded by the cumulative effects of exposure to silent and potentially lethal beams of radiated energy.
    These weapons share a characteristic that explains why few people outside of law enforcement are aware of their widespread deployment and usage: The radiation energy the weapons emit is silent and invisible, making possible "the perfect crime" — the covert application of potentially lethal force.
    Victims of D.E.W. attack have tried to appeal to law enforcement for justice, but to no avail. Indeed, that’s part of the "M.O." — when victims complain, they are routinely written off as delusional or mentally ill.  Victims say that health care workers also cooperate in this persecution.  Targeted persons may even be subject to attempts to commit them to psychiatric facilities, a means of accomplishing the underlying goal of extrajudicial targeting and punishment — the removal of "targeted individuals" (and by extension, their families) from mainstream society.
    Victims of extrajudicial targeting also charge that their family finances are sabotaged and ultimately expropriated by secret government programs ostensibly implemented to disrupt the financial dealings of terrorists and drug traffickers.  In effect, they say, they are victimized by a parallel system of transaction processing sold to lawmakers as necessary components of the "war on terror" — not as an ideologically-motivated tool of social control and political repression.
    There is no rational or moral defense for this horrific domestic torture  — what could be termed a campaign of "slow genocide" — which is happening right now in cities and towns across America. The "targets" typically pose no danger to society. They are victims of a political system that has institutionalized — and has attempted to legalize — extrajudicial punishment. The "war on terror" is the pretext that has been employed to effect a wholesale bypass of the judicial system, and of constitutionally protected rights.
    This is the transformation of American democracy into a fascist police state — an American Gestapo, a frontal assault on our constitutionally guaranteed civil rights and liberties.
    When the pervasiveness of this officially sanctioned and funded domestic terrorism and torture is confirmed by "official sources" — in recent times, the only sources that much of the mainstream media consider sufficiently credible — any excuses for the excesses that heretofore have come to light will be exposed as evil sophistry.
    That day is coming, and very soon. In the meantime, please read related articles at http://members.NowPublic.com/scrivener and help secure the legal assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union (www,ACLU.org) or any other organization capable of bringing justice to the untold thousands of victims of extrajudicial targeting, punishment, and TORTURE in America 2008.

    Notice the lightbulbs illuminate in the homeade microwave gun.
  • US police could get 'pain beam' weapons


    The research arm of the US Department of Justice is working on two portable non-lethal weapons that inflict pain from a distance using beams of laser light or microwaves, with the intention of putting them into the hands of police to subdue suspects.

    The two devices under development by the civilian National Institute of Justice both build on knowledge gained from the Pentagon's controversial Active Denial System (ADS) - first demonstrated in public last year, which uses a 2-metre beam of short microwaves to heat up the outer layer of a person's skin and cause pain.

    'Reduced injuries'

    Like the ADS, the new portable devices will also heat the skin, but will have beams only a few centimetres across. They are designed to elicit what the Pentagon calls a "repel response" - a strong urge to escape from the beam.

    A spokesperson for the National Institute for Justice likens the effect of the new devices to that of "blunt trauma" weapons such as rubber bullets, "But unlike blunt trauma devices, the injury should not be present. This research is looking to reduce the injuries to suspects," they say.

    Existing blunt trauma weapons can break ribs or even kill, making alternatives welcome. Yet ADS has recorded problems too - out of several thousand tests on human subjects there were two cases of second-degree burns.

    Dazzle and burn

    The NIJ's laser weapon has been dubbed Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response - PHaSR - and resembles a bulky rifle. It was created in 2005 by a US air force agency to temporarily dazzle enemies (see image, right), but the addition of a second, infrared laser makes it able to heat skin too.

    The NIJ is testing the PHaSR in various scenarios, which may include prison situations as well as law enforcement.

    The NIJ's portable microwave-based weapon is less developed. Currently a tabletop prototype with a range of less than a metre, a backpack-sized prototype with a range of 15 metres will be ready next year, a spokesperson says.

    The truly portable mini-ADS could prove the more useful, as microwaves penetrate clothing better than the infra-red beam, which is most effective on exposed skin. Although the spokesman says: "In LEC [Law Enforcement and Corrections] use there is always a little bit of skin to target."

    Torture concerns

    The effect of microwave beams on humans has been investigated for years, but there is little publicly available research on the effects of PHaSR-type lasers on humans. The attraction of using a laser is that it can be less bulky than a microwave device.

    Human rights groups say that equipping police with such weapons would add to the problems posed by existing "non-lethals" such as Tasers. Security expert Steve Wright at Leeds Metropolitan University describes the new weapons as "torture at the touch of a button".

    "We have grave concerns about the deployment and use of any such devices, which have the potential to be used for torture or other ill treatment," says Amnesty International's arms control researcher Helen Hughes, adding that all research into their effects should be made public.

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  • Geneva Forum Media Guide to Disarmament
    "Non-lethal" Weapons


  • U.S. Department of Justice
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    FBI Academy Library

    Quantico, Virginia 22135
    Alexander, John B. Future War: Non-Lethal Weapons in Twenty-First-Century Warfare. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999. Call Number: U 795 .A43 1999
    Abstract: Written by an expert on non-lethal and advanced weaponry. The work is divided into sections on the rationale of use (need), technologies, operational scenarios, the issues, and appendices. Specific technologies of interest covered are electromagnetic weapons, chemical options, acoustics, information warfare, and biological (antipersonnel and antimateriel).
    Alexander, John B. and Charles “Sid” Heal. “Non-Lethal and Hyper-Lethal Weaponry.” Robert J. Bunker, ed. Non-State Threats and Future Wars. London, UK: Frank Cass, 2003: 121-132.
    Abstract: The article contains an introduction, a summary of emerging threats, a discussion of effects-based weapons and their policy issues, and a conclusion. Weapons covered include the Area Denial System (ADS), Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL), Magic Dust, and Big Gun.

    Taylor, Travis S. et al. An Introduction to Planetary Defense: A Study of Modern Warfare Applied to Extra-Terrestrial Invasion. Boca Raton, FL: Brown Walker Press, 2006. Call Number: UG 1530 .T39 2006
    Abstract: This is a serious look at the strategy required to defend the earth against an invasion from an extraterrestrial opponent. It is a pragmatic, strategic assessment of what should be done to begin thinking about such an occurrence. The important and pertinent part of this work is the emphasis on the strategy of protection for national security, whatever the actual threat. The analysis of planning is what is of value to the reader, whether the opponent be Al Qaeda, a nation-state, or an extraterrestrial.

    Armistead, ed. Leigh. Information Operations: Warfare and the Hard Reality of Soft Power. Washington, DC: Brassey’s, 2004. Call Number: U 163 .I52 2004
    Abstract: This is a basic primer on the developing theory and associated doctrine of Information Operations (IO) in the context of nation state military operations. It describes the current organization, function, and doctrine of the United States and selected coalition partners. It uses several case studies on how IO is now recognized as a method of power. A recurring theme is the capability of information used at a local or tactical level to influence strategic action and decisions.

    Beason, Ph.D., Doug. The E-Bomb: How America’s New Directed Energy Weapons Will Change The Way Future Wars Will Be Fought. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2005. Call Number: UG486.5 .B4345 2005
    Abstract: The best overview work currently available for law enforcement personnel on the topic of directed energy weapons (DEW). Clearly written by a scientist with a background in laser-technology physics and threat reduction. Provides an overview of directed energy issues—what it offers, what it is, its military effectiveness, and its problems—and then gets into specific treatments of high-power microwaves, high-energy lasers, and other major DEW programs. Specific systems discussed are the Active Denial System (ADS) and the Airborne Laser (ADL).

    Borrello, Andrew. “Acoustic Force Technology.” Tactical Response. Vol. 5, No. 3. (May-June 2007): 50-56.
    Abstract: Provides a discussion of acoustic weapon technology and current developments in the field for law enforcement. Spotlights the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) system. Also provides some insights into future acoustic weapons.

    Bunker, Robert J. Five-Dimensional (Cyber) Warfighting. Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, March 10, 1998. Internet: http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/ pdffiles/PUB233.pdf.
    Abstract: The author expounds a scenario in which a future enemy (BlackFor) concedes that the U.S. Army’s (BlueFor) superior technology, advanced weaponry, and proven record of success in recent military operations make it virtually invulnerable to conventional forms of symmetric attack. Therefore, BlackFor seeks asymmetric ways to obviate BlueFor’s advantages. These ways include utilizing advanced battlespace, complex concepts and weapons technologies, and non-state forces and mercenaries.

    Bunker, Robert J. “Radio Frequency Weapons: Issues and Potentials.” The Journal of California Law Enforcement. Vol. 36, No. 1. (2002): 6-17.
    Abstract: Provides law enforcement with an overview of radio frequency weapons (RFW) based on High Power Microwave (HPM) and Ultra Wide Band (UWB) devices. RFW dangers to electronics, target effects, law enforcement tactical use, criminal/opposing force tactical use, and RFW countermeasures are also provided.

    Dando, Malcolm. A New Form of Warfare: The Rise of Non-Lethal Weapons. London: Potomac Books, 1997. Call Number: U795 .D36 1996
    Abstract: Begins with a basic overview of peacekeeping, non-lethal weapons (NLW), and the inhumane weapons convention. Value of the work is on the topic of psycho-chemical weapons such as BZ, EA-3834 (Glycolate), and fentanyls and the functioning of the human nervous system and brain chemistry. Discusses 21st arms control needs and a new type of potential arms race.

    Dockery, Kevin. Future Weapons. New York: Berkeley Caliber, 2007. Call Number: UF 500 .D68 2007
    Abstract: A detailed review of the basics of the infantry rifle, pistol, and certain area weapons, beginning with World War I and ending in the present, with predictions of the next set of evolving small arms. The author shows how operational failures, usually stemming from inadequate weapons performance, lead to the evolutionary development of the next advanced weapon. The book contains extensive detail and includes the reasoning for the weapons taking their specific form and function.

    Denning, Dorothy E. Information Warfare & Security. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Professional, 1998. Call Number: U 163 .D46 1999
    Abstract: This extensive work by a recognized expert in the field of computer security is a baseline book for understanding past, present and emerging forms of information warfare. The theory is based on a set of components of the information world network and the offensive and defensive interplay that occurs around this interactive manipulation of information. Described in a succinct but detailed manner, the book provides both a framework for understanding and for decision making in the evaluation of the potential and power of information management.

    Edwards, John. The Geeks of War: The Secretive Labs And Brilliant Minds Behind Tomorrow’s Warfare Technologies. New York: American Management Association, 2005. Call Number: U 393 .E38 2005
    Abstract: A veteran journalist focusing on emerging trends in technology characterizes and categorizes the advanced research of federal labs, academia, and industry in support of the Department of Defense. Edwards sorts these defense technologies into tactical systems, information, biotechnology, transportation, security and protective equipment. Much of the research has potential crossover to law enforcement and other industries. The author offers proof that the disaggregated method of American invention produces better results than other more organized approaches.

    Giri, D.V. High-power Electromagnetic Radiators: Nonlethal Weapons and Other Applications. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004. Call Number: U 795 .G6577 2004
    Abstract: Focused on impulse-like electromagnetic-pulsed radiators for weapons and transient radars. The work is divided in chapters on weaponry progression, nonlethal systems, electromagnetic NLW technologies, high-power microwaves (HPM), meso and hyperband systems, optical, acoustic, and chemical NLW technologies, and a final summary. Contains some advanced scientific formulas but the work is still readable.

    Hall, J. Storrs. Nanofuture: What’s Next For Nanotechnology. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2005. Call Number: T 174.7 .H35 2005
    Abstract: J. Storrs Hall, Ph.D., sets a foundation for understanding nanotechnology and then predicts where the research and application of the technology will go, based on current research and the most probable applications. Readers do not need a solid background in science to understand the explanations, but should have an interest in science to profit from the reading. It is clear, pragmatic, and interesting. Storrs speculates on the social reaction as nanotechnology develops and advances beyond the tipping point.

    Ratner, Daniel and Mark A. Ratner. Nanotechnology and Homeland Security: New Weapons for New Wars. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall PTR, 2004. Call Number: UA 927 .R38 2004
    Abstract: The authors focus on first giving a clear description of what nanotechnology is, how it was conceived by the imminent physicist Feynman and where it has gone in research since inception. Then, with direct example and clear explanation, the Ratners describe how nanotechnology research in materials, sensors, biomedical structure, energy, optics and fabrication can be used for homeland protection.

    Sullivan, John P. et al. Jane’s Unconventional Weapons Response Handbook. Alexandria, VA: Jane’s Information Group, 2002. Call Number: HV6431 .J35 2002
    Abstract: The work, prepared by subject matter experts on unconventional weaponry and response, provides an excellent overview of this topic for law enforcement readers. The work is broken down into sections on strategic overview, pre-incident planning, weapon types (IEDs, projected IEDs, conventional military, radiological, lasers, radio-frequency, and non-lethal), incident response, post-incident management, case studies, and appendices.

    Weinberger, Sharon. Imaginary Weapons: A Journey Through the Pentagon’s Scientific Underworld. New York: Nation Books, 2006. Call Number: UF 503 .W46 2006
    Abstract: A story of combined human interest and scientific development that describes the pursuit of a high risk weapons technology by the Departments of Defense and Energy that may not be possible. The author, a regular reporter for the Washington Post on issues of aerospace and defense, tracks the discovery, support, and attempted development of a not-yet-proven weapon technology. This skeptical description of personalities, politics, and on-the-edge science journals the difficulties and disappointments of championing unproven science that is wrong, or if correct, cannot be proven and repeated by current scientific capability.

    Wilson, Clay. High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) and High Power Microwave (HMP) Devices: Threat Assessments. CRS Report for Congress. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, August 20, 2004. Internet: www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL32544.pdf.
    Abstract: Provides an overview of the disruptive effects of electromagnetic pulse weapons to electronic devices and how HEMP and HPM devices differ in both construction and use. Highlights hardening against electronic disruption, military applications, and the capabilities of foreign nations and terrorist use potentials in the policy analysis section.

    Wilson, Daniel H. How to Survive a Robot Uprising. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2005
    Call Number: PN 6231 .R58 W55 2005
    Abstract: The tongue-in-cheek title of this succinct tome belies its purpose: To educate those unfamiliar with current and future robotic research on the mechanics and methods of robot technology. The result is an understanding of the how robots are built to work and the relevant limitations and possibilities, not unfettered science fiction. Using humor, the author gives a tutorial on reality of robot research and utility.

    Compiled by Dr. Robert J. Bunker and Matt Begert, 9/07
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