Reprinted from www.libertylobby.org, home of The SPOTLIGHT archive
Pentagon Unveils Laser As 'Crowd Controller'
The Pentagon has developed a new "non-lethal" beam projection device to control crowds that utilizes "millimeter-wave electromagnetic energy," according to Defense Department sources.
The device, which the Pentagon expects will be in wide use with the U.S. military by 2009, employs a directed energy beam that inflicts a painful brief burning sensation. It heats up the surface of a victim's skin and within seconds can create pain similar to touching a hot light bulb.
"It is the kind of pain you would feel if you were being burned," Rich Garcia, a spokesman for the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirkland Air force base, New Mexico, explained. "It's just not intense enough to cause any damage."
However, Human Rights Watch and other such monitoring groups are asking questions about potential dangers of the new device.
"What, as an example, will happen to children in the crowds?" one critic of the Pentagon's plan to employ the weapon asked. "What about pregnant women and the elderly?"
The beam penetrates to a depth of one-sixty-fourth of an inch below the surface of a victim's skin and creates the burning sensation.
"When it penetrates in, it activates pain sensors and you feel a lot of pain," the Air Force's Garcia explained. "But there's no damage. It truly is a non-lethal device."
According to Garcia the Air Force has "tested 72 human beings that have had over 6,500 exposures."
Currently, the Air Force has plans to test the device on goats and humans at Kirkland.
Already, the Marine Corps intends to mount the electromagnetic energy weapons on its Humvees, all terrain vehicles.
Later, according to Pentagon sources, the device may be used on aircraft and ships.
The Pentagon concedes that the new projected beam device is not just intended for crowd in Third World countries where the U.S. Military may become involved in so-called "peacekeeping" missions. It could be used for crowd control purposes that the military may be called upon to maintain in the United States.
With the increased blurring of military and special law enforcement units, such as Special Weapons and Tactics units, as a result of the nation's war on drugs, the new weapon could come into police hands to be used in controlling rallies.
In other words, the electromagnetic beam devices could have been used last year in Seattle to control crowds demonstrating against supposed "free trade" had it been available.