blas valdez on 11 Mar 2001 14:32:49 -0000

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[nettime-lat] ray bradbury y las nuevas armas del pentagono

las nuevas armas hightech del pentagono que
seguramente serán usadas en un futuro cercano para
reprimir a los activistas/protestantes en las juntas
del IMF...

Killing Me Softly While you weren't looking, Ray
Bradbury took over weapons design at the Pentagon. 
by Brooke Shelby Biggs March 8, 2001 /

Last week, the Pentagon unveiled its newest weapon:
the Vehicle Mounted Active Denial System (VMADS). It's
being billed as a kinder, gentler weapon;
"non-lethal," "less than lethal," or "soft kill" in
Pentagon parlance. In other words it usually doesn't
kill people; it just hurts them enough to make 'em run
away. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn't it? 

Well, it makes you warm, anyway. VMADS shoots a
concentrated beam of electromagnetic energy at human
targets -- sort of like a tank-mounted microwave oven
set on high with the door left open. 

According to an Air Force spokesman at the unveiling,
"It's the kind of pain you would feel if you were
being burned. It's just not intense enough to cause
any damage." 

But according to scientists at Loma Linda University
Medical Center, long-term effects of exposure to the
weapon are unknown, and may include cancer and
cataracts. "[The Pentagon's] claims are a bunch of
crap," said Prof. W. Ross Adey. "We've known that many
forms of microwaves at levels below heating can cause
significant health effects in the long term." 

And that's if the new weapon is used properly.
According to the Marine Times, the VMADS -- called the
"people zapper" -- may be capable of inflicting far
more than brief discomfort when not used as directed;
that is, for no more than three seconds. "The amount
of time the weapon must be trained on an individual to
cause permanent damage or death is classified." (In
other words, it only takes one 18-year-old recruit
with a sick curiosity or a slow watch to turn the
thing deadly.) 

In 1995, in fact, a military spokesman qualified the
concept of "non-lethal" weapons: "[I]t's really less
lethal ... because these weapons if improperly used
could be lethal." Marine Col George Fenton, likewise,
is on record in the May 2000 National Defense Magazine
saying the term "non-lethal ... does not mean that
they can't kill or injure." Reassuring, isn't it? 

Think you have nothing to worry about because you have
no plans to join the army of some rogue state? You may
be surprised one day to see VMADS -- or a civilian
law-enforcement version of the weapon -- on a city
street near you. VMADS and its "non-lethal" kin are
being hyped by the Pentagon as "crowd dispersal"
devices, which makes them a handy tool for quelling
civil unrest, without the fuss and muss of rubber
bullets and tear gas. According to the defense journal
Jane's, "The 'non-lethal' nature of these weapons
might ... encourage military forces to use them
directly against civilians and civilian targets."
Indeed: A July 2000 Army newsletter featured a section
called "Civil Disturbances; Incorporating Non-Lethal

So instead of donning bullet-proof vests and gas
masks, activists at the next Seattle-style protest
might strap frozen HungryMan dinners to their bodies
when they take to the streets. At least they'll get a
hot meal while they wait to post bail. 

Critics also note that the US loves to export its
weapons technology. In Le Monde in 1999, Steve Wright
argued that the spread of non-lethal weapons like
VMADS will "spawn ever more advanced techniques of
repression. And if democratic countries let their arms
manufacturers develop these techniques, they will be
exported to places less concerned about brutalizing
their populations." 

International law seems fuzzy on this point. Although
the Geneva Convention doesn't address the
science-fictionesque subject of laser weapons, an
amendment added in 1949 did ban "weapons, projectiles
and materials and methods of warfare of a nature to
cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering." 

VMADS is just the tip of the non-lethal iceberg. In
1995, the Center For Defense Information listed
possible non-lethal weapons under consideration by the
Pentagon, including "super acids, goop guns, blinding
lasers, non-nuclear electromagnetic pulses, high power
microwaves, laser weapons, infrasound, computer
viruses, and metal-eating microbes." 

Human Rights Watch has been fighting the international
development of "blinding lasers" designed to cause
irreversible eye damage. In 1995, the US agreed to an
international ban on blinding lasers, but continued
development of "dazzling lasers" or "dazzlers,"
another form of laser weapon targeting human eyes.
(Law enforcement groups are developing applications of
this type of weapon for police use, giving the
high-tech toys groovy names like "The Laser

And then there's the Anti-Personnel Beam Weapon that
can stun or immobilize humans from a distance of 100
yards by sending an electrical current through a
high-speed channel of ionized air. 

According to one Web source, the US is also developing
a sonic weapon which causes "the bowels of enemy
troops to spasm and their contents to liquefy, thus
reducing millions of soldiers to, as one government
report says, 'quivering diarrhetic messes.'" 

Finally, the US military is developing non-lethal
low-frequency radio technologies -- which conspiracy
theorists suspect have mind-control capabilities --
such as the much-criticized High Frequency Active
Auroral Project (HAARP). 

It's easy to forget that the US military and
intelligence communities are run by a bunch of boys
playing with really big toys. The Hanssen spy case,
after all, revealed that even after the Cold War was
over, the CIA was actually tunneling under DC streets
and into the Russian embassy. Makes one wonder if Tom
Clancy has been writing policy for the past 20 years. 

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