Monday, May 02, 2005

Keeping maximum pain in perspective

On the heels of another Taser death--a Suffolk County, NY man with alcohol and cocaine in his system, who died shortly after being Tasered--we learn from New Scientist (via The Scotsman) that the National Institute of Justice (George Orwell, Director) is working with companies on two new types of laser gun "next generation of police weaponry." (A third item--referred to as a radio frequency stun weapon-- is also reported under development, but it would appear it has already here. I believe it is called a cell phone.)

Back to the new weapons. One comes from the sweethearts at Raytheon in California and is based on the military's Active Denial System (ADS, as opposed to what? passive aggression?). It is described as follows:
ADS produces an intolerable burning sensation on people’s skin with an invisible 95-gigahertz energy beam, causing them to be repelled without injury, according to the US Air Force.

It has a range of 550yds and is being evaluated as a vehicle-mounted weapon, with the possibility of ship-mounted and airborne versions to follow.

The US military has spent 51 million dollars (£26m) on ADS over the last 11 years, according to the US Air Force website.
The other "device" (device?) also uses a laser and is being developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory in New Mexico (where I guess they know a thing or two about intolerable heat).
“There is no known weapon, military or otherwise, that appears to work in this way,” said the magazine.

“Its effects and effectiveness can only be guessed at.”

The “plasma flash bang” device is believed to be similar to the Pulsed Energy Projectile weapon developed for the US Marines.

New Scientist reported the NIJ had commissioned Sterling Photonics of Albuquerque, New Mexico, to develop a portable version for use by the police.
This sounds a lot like the work we descibed earlier, involving academic "research" at the University of Central Florida in Orland, where some alleged scientists were trying to figure out how to tweak it to cause maximum pain ( "optimal pulse parameters to evoke peak nociceptor activation"). See an earlier post, Bush Funds Scientific Pornography.
“But the information provided by the NIJ has so little detail about factors such as wavelengths and power levels that it is impossible to judge how safe the new weapons might be.”

Neil Davison, of the Bradford Non-Lethal Weapon Research Project at the University of Bradford, said ADS was closest to being deployed in the military arena.

There had been some speculation that it could be used in Iraq relatively soon, he said. [my emphasis]
This is the device the military is optimizing to cause maximum pain. But don't be distracted by the pain stuff. This is about Freedom for the Iraqi People.