Many armies and law enforcement agencies around the world periodically face an acute dilemma in confrontations with violent civil unrest and they want the 21st century’s version of the police baton, pepper spray and tear gas to effectively control riots while preserving the health and safety of all, including the protesters themselves.
People’s Republic of China has announced that it has managed to develop a new non-lethal weapon based on microwave technology.
IHS Janes reports that the system, known as the Poly MMW WB-1, fires non-lethal microwave or millimeter-wave beams to scald targets from up to a kilometer away. When the beam strikes a person, it excites water molecules just under his or her skin, heating them up enough to cause extraordinary pain.The effective range is 80 meters but after different improvements it can reach 1 km.
A Chinese expert on ship arming claims that this is a most effective weapon, as it can be used for a variety of situations as means to disperse demonstrations, stop pirates and terrorists.
The Israeli police are infamous for their cruelty. For example, Israel has developed special sonic weapons that create a strong sound wave. These weapons will replace tear gas and rubber bullets in the future. If a person is located closer than ten meters from the gun they may die, not to mention a lifelong deafness.
Israel makes use of many different methods to disperse demonstrations and activists, among them the, which operates on the protesters’ sense of smell and prevents them from acting out without any control in the future.
The “eco-friendly” Skunk solution was developed for the Israeli police department to meet its highest operational requirements. Skunk does so with less manpower, at lower cost and without the use of force required by other riot control tactics.
According to the developers, the Israeli experience proves that the Skunk is the most cost-effective solution for law enforcement agencies concerned about keeping down budgetary expenses.
Skunk deployment is far less costly than any special riot control equipment or compliance weapon alternatives.
The Thunder Generator, is another Israeli-developed shock wave cannon that farmers commonly use to scare away crop destroying birds. According to a Defense News report in 2010, Israel’s Ministry of Defense licensed ArmyTec to market the Thunder Generator in military and security versions.
In a brief overview, Hambling explains that it works using “gas from a cylinder of domestic liquid petroleum,” which is mixed with air. When detonated it produces “a series of high-intensity blasts,” at a range of 50 meters.” While the makers insist it doesn’t cause permanent damage, they warn that people within 10 meters could suffer lasting injuries or possibly death.
The US is at the forefront of an international arms development effort that includes a remarkable assortment of technologies, which look and sound like they belong in a Hollywood science fiction thriller. From microwave energy blasters and blinding laser beams, to chemical agents and deafening sonic blasters, these weapons are at the cutting edge of crowd control.
Microwave weapons interfere with the brain and central nervous system. Powerful microwave emitters are available in the U.S. Army. The affected people feel a painful shock and desire to leave the area??.
The Active Denial System (ADS) is a non-lethal, directed-energy weapon developed by the U.S. military, designed for area denial, perimeter security and crowd control. Informally, the weapon is also called the heat ray since it works by heating the surface of targets, such as the skin of targeted human subjects. Raytheon is currently marketing a reduced-range version of this technology.
The ADS was deployed in 2010 with the United States military in the Afghanistan War, but later recalled due to a combination of technical difficulties and political concerns, including the fear that ADS would be used as a torture tool making it “not politically tenable,” according to a Defense Science Board report. The tens of millions of dollars spent to develop the ADS did not necessarily go to waste, however.
On August 20, 2010, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department announced its intent to use this technology on prisoners in Los Angeles, stating its intent to use it in “operational evaluation” in situations such as breaking up prisoner fights. Renamed Assault Intervention System (AIS), it was installed as a pilot program at the Pitchess Detention Center’s North County Correction Facility at the behest of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). The device is operated by a jail officer with a joystick, and is intended to break up prison riots, inmate brawls and prevent assaults on officers for “quick intervention”. If successful, the weapon could find its way into other prisons around the country.
The ACLU claims that use of such a device on American prisoners is “tantamount to torture.” The organization even sent a letter to the sheriff in charge, demanding he never use the energy weapon against inmates. “The idea that a military weapon designed to cause intolerable pain should be used against county jail inmates is staggeringly wrongheaded,” said Margaret Winter, associate director of the ACLU National Prison Project. “Unnecessarily inflicting severe pain and taking such unnecessary risks with people’s lives is a clear violation of the Eighth Amendment and due process clause of the U.S. Constitution.”
The ADS is currently only a vehicle-mounted weapon, though U.S. Marines and police are both working on portable versions. ADS was developed under the sponsorship of the DoD Non-Lethal Weapons Program with the Air Force Research Laboratory as the lead agency.
The ADS works by firing a high-powered beam of 95 GHz waves at a target, which corresponds to a wavelength of 3.2 mm. The ADS millimeter wave energy works on a similar principle as a microwave oven, exciting the water and fat molecules in the skin, and instantly heating them via dielectric heating. One significant difference is that a microwave oven uses the much lower frequency (and longer wavelength) of 2.45 GHz. The short millimeter waves used in ADS only penetrate the top layers of skin, with most of the energy being absorbed within 0.4 mm (1/64″), whereas microwaves will penetrate into human tissue about 17mm (0.67″).
The ADS?s repel effect in humans occurs at slightly higher than 44 °C (111 °F), though first-degree burns occur at about 51 °C (124 °F), and second-degree burns occur at about 58 °C (136 °F). In testing, pea-sized blisters have been observed in less than 0.1% of ADS exposures, indicating that second degree surface burns have been caused by the device. The radiation burns caused are similar to microwave burns, but only on the skin surface due to the decreased penetration of shorter millimeter waves. The surface temperature of a target will continue to rise so long as the beam is applied, at a rate dictated by the target’s material and distance from the transmitter, along with the beam’s frequency and power level set by the operator. Most human test subjects reached their pain threshold within 3 seconds, and none could endure more than 5 seconds.
A spokesman for the Air Force Research Laboratory described his experience as a test subject for the system:
“For the first millisecond, it just felt like the skin was warming up. Then it got warmer and warmer and you felt like it was on fire…. As soon as you’re away from that beam your skin returns to normal and there is no pain.”
Like all focused energy, the beam will irradiate all matter in the targeted area, including everything beyond/behind it that is not shielded, with no possible discrimination between individuals, objects or materials. Anyone incapable of leaving the target area (e.g., physically handicapped, infants, incapacitated, trapped, etc.) would continue to receive radiation until the operator turned off the beam. Reflective materials such as aluminium cooking foil should reflect this radiation and could be used to make clothing that would be protective against this radiation.
While ADS is described as non-lethal, a 2008 report by physicist and less-lethal weapons expert Dr. Jürgen Altmann suggests otherwise:
” … the ADS provides the technical possibility to produce burns of second and third degree. Because the beam of diameter 2 m and above is wider than human size, such burns would occur over considerable parts of the body, up to 50% of its surface. Second- and third-degree burns covering more than 20% of the body surface are potentially life-threatening – due to toxic tissue-decay products and increased sensitivity to infection – and require intensive care in a specialized unit. Without a technical device that reliably prevents re-triggering on the same target subject, the ADS has a potential to produce permanent injury or death. ”
The Personal Halting and Stimulation Response rifle, or PHaSR, is a massive laser shooter. PHaSR technology is being co-funded by theNational Institute of Justice(NIJ), Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program (JNLWP), and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and is being developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory. While JNLWP is interested in the technology for military applications, NIJ is focusing on its law enforcement use.
According to a U.S. Air Force fact sheet, “The laser light from PHaSR temporarily impairs aggressors by dazzling them with one wavelength. The technology won’t kill you, but it will temporarily blind you. Protocol IV, the Blinding Laser Protocol of the United Nations Convention on Conventional Weapons, states that, “The use of laser weapons that are specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision is prohibited.”
The Albuquerque Police Department now has Taser shotguns in its arsenal called Taser X12, a 12-gauge shotgun that instead of firing lethal bullet rounds, is designed to fire Taser projectile rounds. Known as Extended Range Electronic Projectiles (XREP), the XREP cartridge, as defined by the Taser website, is a “self-contained, wireless projectile that delivers the same neuro-muscular incapacitation bio-effect [a fancy way of saying electric shock] as the handheld Taser, but up to 100 feet.”
According to a July 21 press release, Taser International has taken the XREP to the next level, teaming up with the Australian electronic gun company Metal Storm to enhance the 12-gauge Multi-Shot Accessory Under-Barrel Launcher (MAUL).
The two companies will combine Metal Storm’s MAUL stacked projectile technology to “provide semi-automatic fire as fast as the operator can squeeze the trigger,” which boasts a full weapon reload of up to five rounds in less than two seconds. Picture five rounds of Taser XREP cartridges flying out in less than two seconds up to 30 yards away — that is the plan.
In September 2010 Raw Story reported that the rate of Taser-related deaths were on the rise. The story cited an Amnesty International report from 2008 that found “351 Taser-related deaths in the US between June 2001 and August 2008, a rate of just slightly above four deaths per month.” About 90 percent of the victims were unarmed and did not appear to pose any serious threat, according to an article in the Boston Review. The Amnesty report points out that Tasers are “inherently open to abuse as they are easy to carry and easy to use and they can inflict severe pain at the push of a button without leaving substantial marks.“ In Amnesty’s US 2010 report, the Taser-related death toll had increased to 390. If the MAUL-Taser combined shooter find its way into police departments around the country, it may not bode well for the rate of Taser-related deaths.
In 2007, Taser’s French distributor announced plans for a stun-gun-equipped flying saucer that shoots stun darts at “criminal suspects or rioting crowds”; however, it has yet to be unveiled. Clearly there is no limit to Taser International’s capacity for creativity.
The Sunshine Project, a transparency and accountability organization, defines calmatives as “chemical or biological agents with sedative, sleep-inducing or similar psychoactive effects.” Although the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the use of riot control agents in warfare, JNWLP and NIJ have long considered calmatives for both military and law enforcement applications, such as dispersing a crowd, controlling a riot or calming a noncompliant offender.
The most well-known and widely used riot-control agents are tear gas (CS) and chloroacetophenone (CN), also known as mace. A few ways that more advanced non-lethal calmatives might be administered, depending on the law enforcement environment, would include “a topical or transdermal skin application, an aerosol spray, an intramuscular dart, or a rubber bullet filled with an inhalable agent,” according to NIJ research.
Researchers are in the process of developing the Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio or MEDUSA (that’s right, from Greek mythology), which uses “a beam of microwaves to induce uncomfortable auditory sensations in the skull.” The device “exploits the microwave audio effect, in which short microwave pulses rapidly heat tissue, causing a shockwave inside the skull that can be detected by the ears,” explains David Hambling in the New Scientist. MEDUSA’s audio effect is loud enough to cause discomfort or even incapacitation. It may also cause a little brain damage from the high-intensity shockwave created by the microwave pulse.
MEDUSA‘s intended purpose is deterring crowds from entering a protected perimeter, like a nuclear site, and temporarily incapacitating unruly individuals. So far the weapon remains in development and is funded by the Navy.
The Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, developed by American Technology Corporation, “focuses and broadcasts sound over ranges of up to hundreds of yards,” according to David Axe in Wired’s Danger Room.
Riot police in New York City deployed Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD) during the Republican National Convention of 2004 and Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011 – as loud speakers, but not as sound cannons. Weighing up to 300 lbs., the low-frequency sonic weapons emit pain-inducing tones.
LRAD has been around for years, but Americans first took notice when police used it in Pittsburgh to ward off protesters at the 2009 G-20 summit. David Hambling says it is generally used in two ways: “as a megaphone to order protesters to disperse; or, if they disobey, as an “ear-splitting siren” to drive them away.” While LRAD may not be deadly, it can cause permanent hearing damage.
Regardless of their status as a “democracy”, European governments are still unable to resist the use of violence against their opponents, even peaceful ones.
Use of traumatic guns with cartridges with rubber or plastic bullets and water cannons are the most popular tools used by police. They are usually harmless, but can be very dangerous when used in cold temperatures.
Tear gas, pepper gas, “stinky” gas, and psychotropic poisons were another.
Sonic weapons, such as a “shooting megaphone,” a device emitting a pulse with a frequency of 2 to 3 thousand hertz and 150 decibels, which may cause hearing damage, and at close range – a mental disorder or destruction of internal organs.
Thermal guns, which instantly warm the opponent’s body to a temperature above 40 degrees and foam shooters are devices shooting foam that quickly hardens. Despite the seeming innocence, it is a formidable weapon. During tests a volunteer almost died of suffocation.
Russia is not following suit so far
The toughest crackdown methods are used in France. They use bullets, and not only rubber ones, water cannons and tear gas, batons and metal clubs. They are followed by Germany, then England and the USA. In Russia such violation clashes are prevented because they first disperse the crowd and people leave according to the commentary of a retired FSB Major General Evgeny Lobachyov.
Rallies in Russia are systematically dispersed (usually in cases where the organizers fail to obtain an official permit from the mayor’s office, or when the course of the event spreads beyond the area approved by the government rules and regulations), the Russia police normally does not use extreme violence.
So far no cases of use of rubber bullets, water cannons, tear gas or stun grenades have been reported.
The tactics of Russian riot police are simple and effective. They stand like Macedonian phalanx, and squeeze demonstrators with serried shields, periodically grabbing the most prominent and loud ones, taking them to specialised vehicles with metal bodies.
Violence or Peace?
Despite the fact that there is thing called “Freedom of Speech” and citizens, who voted for their ruling regime, have a right to assemble and peacefully express their opinions and demands which is enshrined in the basic regulations of most states and under international norms, the level of police brutality varies and grows in many countries.
A mechanism to respond to the protests that gets out of hand is needed. Yet it seems many of so-called “democratic” regimes who demand and love badgering other nations about human rights practice and demonstrate even greater rigidity than some dictatorships, to a point of killing their own people, just to silence them.
Looking at videos of street clashes between police and protesters in the West and Russia, one can easily notice poor organisation of the Western police. Often they are not acting as a single formation, but separately, mixing with the crowd. Perhaps, this disorganisation and lack of competent strategy are pushing them to use rubber bullets.
Lady Michelle Jennifer Santos is the Global Chairman and CEO of MJS Global Group holdings, Founder and CEO of MJS Capital, an Asset and Credit Enhancement, Collateral Transfer Facility and Project Finance Company, and MJS Commodities. She is also the Chief Visionary Founder and Owner of TheSantosRepublic. A motivational speaker, she also specialises in high finance, commodities, strategy and geopolitics. Her Twitter is @mj_santos and Facebook/ladymjsantos
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Sources: Various media