Monday, September 16, 2013

Vallejo PD's Militerized weapons: Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD)

Vallejo Police Dept. (VPD) has militarized offensive equipment, including what appears to be an armored vehicle with Assault Intervention Device (AID), a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) or "Silent Guardian" device produced by Raytheon for use against crowds.
It reminds me of what journalist Ando Arike wrote in Harpers Magazine about the implementation of this violent municipal militarization, as well as the terrifying new frontiers in “pain compliance” being inflicted upon us by the police:  “The result is what appears to be the first arms race in which the opponent is the general population.”

"Prison to use 'excruciating' laser pain ray to control unruly inmates"
2010-08-24 from "Daily Mail" newspaper []:
A senior police officer aims the Assault Intervention Device (AID) with a joystick during a demonstration on Friday 

Nonlethal weapons like 'pain rays' and Tasers are controversial and usually criticised by human rights groups who fear that they can be misused and could even be fatal if used on vulnerable people.
The device is controlled by a joystick and computer monitor and emits a beam up to 100 feet. The wave travels at the speed of light and penetrates the skin up to 1/64 of an inch.
Targets instinctively move out of the beam’s way to try and escape the pain.
Commander Bob Osborne of the Sheriff's Department Technology Exploration Program said: ‘We hope that this type of technology will either cause an inmate to stop an assault or lessen the severity of an assault by them being distracted by the pain as a result of the beam.
'I equate it to opening an oven door and feeling that blast of hot air, except instead of being all over me, it's more focused,’ he said.
‘And you begin to feel this warming feeling, and then you go 'Yow, I need to get out of the way."'
The device will be mounted on the ceiling at Pitchess Detention Centre at Los Angeles County Jail, which houses around 65 prisoners.
Prison officers say it should reduce injuries by speeding up the time it takes to break up a fight.
'This device will allow us to quickly intervene without having to enter the area and without incapacitating or injuring either combatant,' said Sheriff Lee Baca in a statement.
Mike Booen, vice president of advance security at Raytheon, which developed the device said: ‘If you got in the way, you'll know.
'You feel the effect in less than a second. No one can stand there for more than about three seconds because it really hurts.’
The device works in a similar way to Raytheon’s Active Denial System which was mounted on a Hummer and was sent by the US military to Afghanistan to break up crowds.
It has since been withdrawn.

"Silent Guardian pain ray gun gets tested by journalist"
2007-09-20 by James Allan Brady []: Why is it that these journalists are always willing to jump in front of all these non-lethal weapons? This past year it was all the new tazers they came out with, now its military and police riot control weapons, how dumb are these guys?  Regardless, another one of them was willing to hop in front of the Army’s latest, a ray gun not of death, just intense pain. Its called Silent Guardian, and they hate it when you call their ray gun a ray gun. It has a range of half a mile, which means you should be able to see it just before it brings you to your knees with so much pain some Excedrin just won’t cut it.
It only goes one sixty-fourth of an inch deep, but what it does at that depth cause an immense amount of pain. It works kind of like a micro wave sending beams of radiation that penetrate your skin and literally get on your nerves. The journalist said it hurt his finger, I say, if the Army says it will hurt, I believe them, I don’t need to find out first hand, because personally I have no intention of being on the business end of any of the Army’s weapons. As a journalist, if I wanted to find out how much this hurt, I would wait till they implemented it, and then go to the jail and ask someone.

"Run away the ray-gun is coming : We test US army's new secret weapon"
2007-09-18 by MICHAEL HANLON []:
Modern face of warfare: The Silent Guardian

Oww! Michael Hanlon tries the Raytheon ray-gun

"Where do I put my finger? There ... OK? Nothing's happening ... is it on?"
"Yes, it's on. Move your finger a bit closer."
"Er ... ow! OW!" Not good. I try again. "OWWW!" I pull my hand away sharpish. My finger is throbbing, but seems undamaged.
I was told people can take it for a second, maximum. No way, not for a wimp like me.
I try it again. It is a bit like touching a red-hot wire, but there is no heat, only the sensation of heat. There is no burn mark or blister.
Its makers claim this infernal machine is the modern face of warfare. It has a nice, friendly sounding name, Silent Guardian.
I am told not to call it a ray-gun, though that is precisely what it is (the term "pain gun" is maybe better, but I suppose they would like that even less).
And, to be fair, the machine is not designed to vaporise, shred, atomise, dismember or otherwise cause permanent harm.
But it is a horrible device nonetheless, and you are forced to wonder what the world has come to when human ingenuity is pressed into service to make a thing like this.
Silent Guardian is making waves in defence circles. Built by the U.S. firm Raytheon, it is part of its "Directed Energy Solutions" programme.
What it amounts to is a way of making people run away, very fast, without killing or even permanently harming them.
That is what the company says, anyway. The reality may turn out to be more horrific.
I tested a table-top demonstration model, but here's how it works in the field.
A square transmitter as big as a plasma TV screen is mounted on the back of a Jeep.
When turned on, it emits an invisible, focused beam of radiation - similar to the microwaves in a domestic cooker - that are tuned to a precise frequency to stimulate human nerve endings.
It can throw a wave of agony nearly half a mile.
Because the beam penetrates skin only to a depth of 1/64th of an inch, it cannot, says Raytheon, cause visible, permanent injury.
But anyone in the beam's path will feel, over their entire body, the agonising sensation I've just felt on my fingertip. The prospect doesn't bear thinking about.
"I have been in front of the full-sized system and, believe me, you just run. You don't have time to think about it - you just run," says George Svitak, a Raytheon executive.
Silent Guardian is supposed to be the 21st century equivalent of tear gas or water cannon - a way of getting crowds to disperse quickly and with minimum harm. Its potential is obvious.
"In Iraq, there was a situation when combatants had taken media as human shields. The battalion commander told me there was no way of separating combatants from non-combatants without lethal force," Mr Svitak tells me.
He says this weapon would have made it possible because everyone, friend or foe, would have run from it.
In tests, even the most hardened Marines flee after a few seconds of exposure. It just isn't possible to tough it out.
This machine has the ability to inflict limitless, unbearable pain.
What makes it OK, says Raytheon, is that the pain stops as soon as you are out of the beam or the machine is turned off.
But my right finger was tingling hours later - was that psychosomatic?
So what is the problem? All right, it hurts, but then so do tear gas and water cannon and they have been used by the world's police and military for decades.
Am I being squeamish?
One thing is certain: not just the Silent Guardian, but weapons such as the Taser, the electric stun-gun, are being rolled out by Britain's police forces as the new way of controlling people by using pain.
And, as the Raytheon chaps all insist, you always have the option to get out of the way (just as you have the option to comply with the police officer's demands and not get Tasered).
But there is a problem: mission creep. This is the Americanism which describes what happens when, over time, powers or techniques are used to ends not stated or even imagined when they were devised.
With the Taser, the rules in place in Britain say it must be used only as an alternative to the gun. But what happens in ten or 20 years if a new government chooses to amend these rules?
It is so easy to see the Taser being used routinely to control dissent and pacify - as, indeed, already happens in the U.S.
And the Silent Guardian? Raytheon's Mac Jeffery says it is being looked at only by the "North American military and its allies" and is not being sold to countries with questionable human rights records.
An MoD spokesman said Britain is not planning to buy this weapon.
In fact, it is easy to see the raygun being used not as an alternative to lethal force (when I can see that it is quite justified), but as an extra weapon in the battle against dissent.
Because it is, in essence, a simple machine, it is easy to see similar devices being pressed into service in places with extremely dubious reputations.
There are more questions: in tests, volunteers have been asked to remove spectacles and contact lenses before being microwaved. Does this imply these rays are not as harmless as Raytheon insists?
What happens when someone with a weak heart is zapped?
And, perhaps most worryingly, what if deployment of Silent Guardian causes mass panic, leaving some people unable to flee in the melee? Will they just be stuck there roasting?
Raytheon insists the system is set up to limit exposure, but presumably these safeguards can be over-ridden.
Silent Guardian and the Taser are just the first in a new wave of "non-lethal" weaponry being developed, mostly in the U.S.
These include not only microwave ray-guns, but the terrifying Pulsed Energy Projectile weapon. This uses a powerful laser which, when it hits someone up to 11/2 miles away, produces a "plasma" - a bubble of superhot gas - on the skin.
A report in New Scientist claimed the focus of research was to heighten the pain caused by this semi-classified weapon.
And a document released under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act talks of "optimal pulse parameters to evoke peak nociceptor activation" - i.e. cause the maximum agony possible, leaving no permanent damage.
Perhaps the most alarming prospect is that such machines would make efficient torture instruments.
They are quick, clean, cheap, easy to use and, most importantly, leave no marks. What would happen if they fell into the hands of unscrupulous nations where torture is not unknown?
The agony the Raytheon gun inflicts is probably equal to anything in a torture chamber - these waves are tuned to a frequency exactly designed to stimulate the pain nerves.
I couldn't hold my finger next to the device for more than a fraction of a second. I could make the pain stop, but what if my finger had been strapped to the machine?
Dr John Wood, a biologist at UCL and an expert in the way the brain perceives pain, is horrified by the new pain weapons.
"They are so obviously useful as torture instruments," he says.
"It is ethically dubious to say they are useful for crowd control when they will obviously be used by unscrupulous people for torture."
We use the word "medieval" as shorthand for brutality. The truth is that new technology makes racks look benign.

Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) -
LRAD seen here being used against non-violent civilians, 2009, in Pittsburg:

"Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) G20 Pittsburgh"
2009-09-26 upload by glassbeadian to []:
The LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) was used for the first time in the USA in Pittsburgh during the time of G20 summit on September 24-25th, 2009

"LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) - Combat Footage of Pittsburgh G-20 Protests"
2009-09-26 upload by Jeff Cushing []: Protesters gather in Pittsburgh to demonstrate outside the G-20 Summit. Protesters, however, continue to develop tactics to counter a massive police and military presence.Check out my next video, "LRAD Tactics of Resistance One" at [].

"LRAD Tactics of Resistance One"
2013-08-07 upload by Jeff Cushing []:  LRAD, which stands for Long Range Acoustic Device, is a sound cannon first used on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, which has since migrated back to the "Homeland." First used in the US in Pittsburgh, the deployment of the LRAD, though, can be fairly easily defeated through a number of tactics. Here is one.

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