Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
User Journal Science

Millimeter-Wave Weapon Certified For Use In Iraq 806

Posted by kdawson
from the bang-you're-hot dept.
jdray writes "Wired has a story on the certification of the Active Denial System for use in Iraq. The ADS is a millimeter-wave weapon that uses a reportedly non-lethal energy beam to inflict short-term pain on its targets, encouraging them to leave an area. Experimenters call this the 'Goodbye effect.' I can see using this in a wartime situation, but how long before we see these things mounted to the top of S.W.A.T. vans for domestic crowd control? And, is that a bad idea?" From the article: The ADS shoots a beam of millimeters waves, which are longer in wavelength than x-rays but shorter than microwaves — 94 GHz (= 3 mm wavelength) compared to 2.45 GHz (= 12 cm wavelength) in a standard microwave oven... while subjects may feel like they have sustained serious burns, the documents claim effects are not long-lasting. At most, 'some volunteers who tolerate the heat may experience prolonged redness or even small blisters'... There has been no independent checking of the military's claims." Wired use Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain documents on the military's testing program.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Millimeter-Wave Weapon Certified For Use In Iraq

Comments Filter:
  • SciFi Roots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow.wrought@gmail . c om> on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:43PM (#17116244) Homepage Journal
    Sounds like the Neronic Whip that Isaac Asmiov described in his Foundation series. Now whether or not its a Good Idea(TM), that is a tough call. Likely it depends on whther you're on the trigger end or muzzle end, so to speak.
  • No. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by east coast (590680) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:45PM (#17116258)
    how long before we see these things mounted to the top of S.W.A.T. vans for domestic crowd control? And, is that a bad idea?

    Is using a non-lethal device for crowd control a bad idea? I'd guess it would depend on if this can create permanent harm or not. If it has no ill side-effects I'd say it's one hell of a lot better than tear gas that can kill people with some respiratory conditions.

    Crowd control in an of itself is not a bad idea if that's what you're getting at.
  • Re:SciFi Roots (Score:3, Insightful)

    by djh101010 (656795) * on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:46PM (#17116270) Homepage Journal
    Now whether or not its a Good Idea(TM), that is a tough call. Likely it depends on whther you're on the trigger end or muzzle end, so to speak.

    I'm thinking that it depends on what the alternative is. If it's a choice between lethal and non-lethal force, it's a good thing. If it's a choice between a loudspeaker saying "you guys need to leave here" and this, well, then I'd rather have the loudspeaker. Its all a matter of degrees.

    Degrees. I don't believe I wrote that.
  • Safety concerns (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:48PM (#17116304)
    Absolutely NO amount of radiation is completely safe. I'm wondering if this will be a new disaster like the use of radioactive munitions by NATO in former Yugoslavia...
  • Interesting (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:49PM (#17116324)
    What happens if it's aimed at the head for a prolonged time?

    What if it's aimed at someone with a pacemaker?
  • Re:Suit up guys! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) * on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:49PM (#17116332) Homepage Journal
    Test it on Dick Cheney's pacemaker. Those things have warning against retail anti-theft devices!

    Then we can see if it's use is safe against the general population.
  • Re:No. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:49PM (#17116334) Homepage Journal
    With crowd control you're really talking about the lesser of two evils:

    1. Inflicting pain and possibly infringing peoples rights, maybe even killing people depending on what means you use.
    2. Letting the angry mob run wild and trash the city, inflicting damage to property and also possibly injuring/killing people depending on how angry they are.

    That's not to say that crowd control measures haven't been misused in the past (or the future), but ultimately it's someone's job to stop the rampaging mob before they destroy everything.
  • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:49PM (#17116336)
    How about if you're in a tightly-packed crowd with no hope of moving and some kindly riot cop decides to focus this beam on you for a minute or two? Bear in mind unlike tear gas and batons there is no tangible evidence this is being used except at the source and receiver. Makes dealing out pain anonymously much easier.
  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:50PM (#17116352)
    Crowd control should be about de-escalating the chance for conflict. If you start burning people with microwaves, you radically and abruptly increase the chance for a peaceful protest to turn into a bloody lynching.

    During the protest against the invasion of Iraq in New York, just trying to deny all the intersections to protesters with sawhorses and mounted police caused surging to begin in the crowd, and the NYPD came within a hair's breadth of inciting a riot that would have burned out Midtown Manhattan and killed a lot of people.

    And if any police department or government agency in the United States gets the bright idea to employ this kind of means here against people exercising their constitutional rights, they should think very carefully and deeply and consider that I and many of my patriotic countrymen are very jealous of our rights and also possess automatic weapons. How far do you want to push us, Mr. Man?
  • Re:Suit up guys! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Smidge204 (605297) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:52PM (#17116376) Journal
    Joking aside, how easy would it be to make protective armor against this kind of attack? You can buy rolls of steel or aluminum window screening at any hardware store for under $50.

    =Smidge=
  • by Black Art (3335) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:52PM (#17116378)
    How is this "humane"? Inflicting wide area pain at a distance is somehow better than delivering it in person? (It will not be long before we hear about this being used on confined prisoners.)

    People remember what you do to them. If you make them suffer, they are not going to thank you for it later. This is going to be just another reason for people to hate the US. (Like we have not given them enough Shock and Awe already...)

    How long before it gets used on US citizens? Protest and find out!
  • by balsy2001 (941953) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:52PM (#17116382)
    Because they have never mislead us before.
  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:52PM (#17116384) Journal
    On the one hand, it beats the hell out of using machine guns for crowd dispersal.
    On the other, because it doesn't (apparently) kill people, armed forces will be *much* more likely to use it to disperse people, instead of trying to do things that keep people from rioting. Technical solution to non-technical problem isn't a solution, it's a treatment.
    Any bets on whether this is already in use for interrogation?
  • by Zarhan (415465) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:53PM (#17116408)
    The ADS shoots a beam of millimeters waves, which are longer in wavelength than x-rays but shorter than microwaves -- 94 GHz (= 3 mm wavelength) compared to 2.45 GHz (= 12 cm wavelength) in a standard microwave oven..

    I wonder how it relates to UV, visible light and IR then? That's mighty big frequency range from 2,4GHz to 30 EHz.

    Why couldn't they just say "EHF" if they needed to specify the frequency area where 94 GHz resides. I hate these articles that try to sound technical with some babble but in reality just betray that the writer does not know what's he talking about.
  • by blueZhift (652272) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:53PM (#17116410) Homepage Journal
    I'm all for nonlethal weapons when the other choice is killing people en masse. But in the current Iraq situation, all I can see in a device that causes pain without killing is a lot of hurt people wanting payback big time. Something like this could be perverted into a horrible torture device. To ever use something like this against a civilian population would be dubious at best. Doesn't the world hate the U.S. enough already?
  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:55PM (#17116440) Homepage Journal
    I'd rather suffer "intense pain" that is non-lethal than get shot. I have the same argument for tasers, if the cops are going to take me down because I'm drunk and throwing bottles at them better a taser than a bullet.

    the problem becomes in what situations is force, even if non-lethal used. if we march on washington because we don't like the results of the next election and start getting zapped and tear gased, I don't think that is acceptable. unless of course the protest became a violent mob, which happens so easily these days.
  • Re:Suit up guys! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nonlnear (893672) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:55PM (#17116444)
    Would a metal plate reflect the radiation back at them?
    You'd have to use a corner reflector (or more probably an array of them). Such a reflector would send the beam more or less directly back in the direction it came from. This would only be a useful retaliation if the weapon were being held by the operator, or the operator were in close proximity to the weapon. If it were turret mounted, then there wouldn't be any point.
  • Re:SciFi Roots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:59PM (#17116502)
    This being a non-lethal weapon is precisely why it's worse than a lethal one, at least in the long term. If the army opens fire on a bunch of protestors and blows away 2 or 3 dozen, there are usually consequences from either their superiors (trial/imprisonment) or the protestors (further resistance).

    The power to simply inflict torture-level pain on people who have no broken any law without oversight or evidence is one of the most horrifying things I can thing of.
  • by tttonyyy (726776) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:00PM (#17116524) Homepage Journal
    Sounds like a good idea in principle, but someone, sooner or later, is bound to abuse it [youtube.com]. Who will be responsible for determining when it can/can not be used? For a soldier to kill someone with a gun, they have to have a damn good reason to do it. To use something that inflicts pain with no long term effects? Very high danger of abuse.
  • Counter measures (Score:3, Insightful)

    by metoc (224422) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:05PM (#17116594)
    1) Develop new weapon.
    2) Deploy weapon during a civil war.
    3) Watch insurgents develop counter measures via trial and error.
    4) Insurgents publish counter measure globally.
    5) Return to step 1.
  • Re:Suit up guys! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:05PM (#17116596)
    Even if there are no lasting effects, that doesn't necessarily make it acceptable.

    It reminds me of our government's line on torture of prisoners. They don't consider it torture if it doesn't have lasting effects. It's kind of like a rapist, claiming it wasn't wrong because he wore a condom.
  • Re:No. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:06PM (#17116610) Homepage
    What the matter with water? we KNOW it's non lethal and not damaging unlike this millimeter wave stuff. (they do not know that nailing someone prolonged time or multiple times will not cause problems a decade from exposure)

    Why don't the cops have the balls to start spraying the people with water jets? are they afraid that public outcry would be greater than this invisible weapon?
  • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:08PM (#17116678)
    I hate to break this to you, but angry mobs aren't just going to forget what caused them to air their grievances after being dispersed. In fact, denying them the ability to do so usually means the next step is violent civil resistance.
  • Re:Suit up guys! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:08PM (#17116688)
    The next question is, "Will you be mobile enough to avoid the pepper spray, teargas, rushing beatdown and real bullets when they come?"
  • by Attaturk (695988) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:10PM (#17116744) Homepage

    The problem is that the people who were tested were told ahead of time to remove glasses, contact lenses, and any metal that could generate "hot spots". I really doubt they're going to extend the same courtesy to dissidents in a war zone. They're also assuming that the average grunt in the field is going to properly operate the equipment.

    Precisely. If I hadn't just burned through a batch of mod points that'd get one from me.

    White phosphorous [wikipedia.org] is a chemical weapon issued to US forces so that it can be used for smoke screen purposes. However since it has historically also been used as a particularly nasty incendiary weapon, some of the more 'enterprising' elements of those same US forces have used it as an offensive weapon - most notably against civilians in Fallujah [wikipedia.org]. I'm not trying to blame the so highly lauded US soldiers here - I know what that'll get me thanks - but I am trying to reiterate that soldiers under high stress on the battlefield will use whatever tools you give them without necessarily taking the ethics arguments into account at all - and who could blame them? The same logic of course extends to law enforcement and so-called "crowd control".

    That's why it's all the more important that governments, international legislative bodies and military/law enforcement authorities keep themselves and each other in check and only issue such weapons under situations of absolute necessity if at all. Any power or weapon issued to anyone will some day be abused. The more powerful, potentially unethical and/or just plain nasty that power or weapon the more grave the risk to innocents.

    So it's imperative that we, you know - the people, do everything we can to keep these things out of their hands.

  • by darkmeridian (119044) <.william.chuang. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:11PM (#17116764) Homepage
    In a situation like Iraq, you do not want to kill lots of civilians -- even those who are angry at the military already -- because that begets more enemies. If there's a huge riot against American forces because the security promised never appeared, shooting into the crowd will cause more fanaticism.

    Shooting a microwave into the crowd hopefully will break up these things without a huge firefight.
  • Re:One problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:11PM (#17116766)
    How about not doing whatever it is that's causing widespread unrest?
  • by RocketScientist (15198) * on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:11PM (#17116770)
    Here are the options to clear a group of protesters:
    Non-lethal area denial weapon
    The usual water cannon/rubber bullet/tear gas in-your-face personal approach.

    One of those will put a lot of riot cops in close contact with rioters. The other will not. Given the choice, I'd rather keep the riot cops far away, so they don't get hurt. Why? Because an angry riot cop is more likely to seriously injure/kill someone than a non-angry riot cop. Both approaches are equally likely to cause a stampede problem and trampling death. The nice thing about the "at-a-distance" approach is the beam could be focused near the exit points first, and then swept towards the front of the riot, hopefully reducing the problem. The only way to use the in-your-face method is to start at the end away from the exit and "push" the rioters.

    That's just one use for these. Let's look at another application that you're not thinking of.

    Consider for another moment a need for a more permanently installed area denial weapon. The standard choice for this, for decades:

    Land mines.

    This could be a very nice replacement for large minefields, or at least a supplement to anti-personnel mines (I think you'd probably still need anti-tank mines, but this would help reduce the number of the far-more-dangerous-to-children anti-personnel land mines). This could be less expensive over the long run, easier to deploy and maintain, so it's a very attractive military alternative to anti-personnel mines. Accidentally zapping a kid with one of these weapons is much less permanent than having the kid step on a land mine.

    There are ways this could be used in torture. But guess what: Just about anything can be used for torture. Rubber hoses are far cheaper. I don't think "ooh, you can torture people with this" is a valid argument, or we'd be looking at wanting to ban rubber hoses also.

  • by jfengel (409917) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:12PM (#17116778) Homepage Journal
    This is why peaceful protests make me nervous. If "just trying to deny the intersections to protesters with sawhorses" nearly touched off a riot, then I'm not convinced that the demonstration was all that peaceful in the first place. People only show up to demonstrations when they're angry about something, and the odds of them achieving their goal immediately to appease them are essentially nonexistent.

    Bush wasn't about to show up and say, "Gosh, you're all right, I'll cancel the invasion". Even if the demonstration convinced him, the crowd wouldn't hear about it, and meanwhile they're pointing out to each other that their voices aren't being heard. Any interaction with law enforcement, no matter how well-intentioned, provokes "Help, help, I'm being repressed. Did you see how he was repressing me?"

    I've always wondered just how effective protests really are. Presumably the people you're protesting to have at least a rough idea of how many people are in favor of their idea and how many are opposed. A demonstration adds emphasis: not only are people opposed to/in favor of abortion/hunger/AIDS/war/trade, but they're willing to take time out of their busy schedules to show it.

    There have been many demonstrations in the history of the world, and some have been followed by change (e.g. the civil rights era), but correlation is not causation. And most demonstrations that I'm aware of (I live in DC, so I see a lot of them) have far bigger effects on the local commuters than they do on the decision makers.

    By all means, I support the right of the people to petition and seek redress, and to gather peaceably in large numbers. Law enforcement absolutely must be taught how to deal with those crowds delicately, keeping the peace without becoming the cause of disturbance. Demonstrations should absolutely continue to happen. But I wonder if it would be a valuable word of advice to the organizers of such things that their efforts might be better expended elsewhere.
  • by twifosp (532320) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:13PM (#17116798)
    Inventing ways for crowd control is almost like admitting that the "powers that be" recongnize that people do not like what they do and flat-out expect dissent on a wide scale. The fact that these devices are actually made proves that not only do they expect it, but they don't care about the reasons behind the dissent, and only want to control it. It's this kind of mentality that has caused foriegn terrorism to blossim.

    Whomever approves of this device with either a signature or funding is basically saying: "We know people don't like us or the things we do. We know you will try and protest and you know what? We don't give a flying fuck; here have some radiation in your eyeball."

  • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:15PM (#17116828) Homepage Journal
    Angry mobs are often the result of an underlying social problem, but the fact of the matter is that mob mentality is dangerous even when the individuals aren't all that violent. Breaking up angry mobs can save a lot of lives and property because people just don't think straight when they're in one.
  • Crowd control should be about de-escalating the chance for conflict. If you start burning people with microwaves, you radically and abruptly increase the chance for a peaceful protest to turn into a bloody lynching.

    I imagine this device would be like existing methodologies - to be used when lesser means have failed. (Yes, I know it doesn't always work this way - but you hear more about the exceptions than the sucesses.)
     
     
    During the protest against the invasion of Iraq in New York, just trying to deny all the intersections to protesters with sawhorses and mounted police caused surging to begin in the crowd, and the NYPD came within a hair's breadth of inciting a riot that would have burned out Midtown Manhattan and killed a lot of people.

    I find the tone of this paragraph interesting - the protestors are the one interfering with everyone elses right to go about their business unmolested and unimpeded... But its the polices fault for trying to protect the rights of those other people.
     
     
    And if any police department or government agency in the United States gets the bright idea to employ this kind of means here against people exercising their constitutional rights, they should think very carefully and deeply and consider that I and many of my patriotic countrymen are very jealous of our rights and also possess automatic weapons. How far do you want to push us, Mr. Man?

    The greatest threat to our rights is hypersensitive assholes like yourself who believe that their rights trumps everyone elses - and that threats are the only adequate means of getting a point across.
  • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Irvu (248207) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:25PM (#17117048)
    The catch is, at what point does one group become a "rampaging Mob" and does preparation for "crowd control" feed into that.

    In recent years there has been an ever increasing milarization of domestic police forces in the U.S. More and more money has gone to swat teams with armoured everything and less and less to programs like Community Policing which actually make people safe. This has produced two intertwining problems:
    1) Police have grown ever more violent with a greater tendency to respond with swat teams, and for politicans to call out the swat teams, and
    2) Protestors and other groups have found themselves more and more marginalized which lends itself to violent responses.

    Take the WTO protests as a test case. In Seattle and Florida the cities and states began by surrounding buildings with chain link, calling out heavily armoursed cops and evn changing the laws in the downtown areas so that protesters were banned "for their own protection." The resulting air of tension led to exteme overreactions on the part of the police. In the case of Seattle legal nonviolent marchers were tear-gassed and in Florida a legally sanctioned non-violent parade was broken up by police firing bean-bag guns which are "non-lethal but painful".

    This in turn has led to some groups seriously talking about and preparing for violence. If they feel that protesting bad policy will get you gassed, shot (it still is being shot whether the armarment kills or not) and jailed for your trouble why not throw some molotovs?

    There was a study some time ago done by a New York-based criminology professor. In it he looked at the effects of militarizing (i.e. via swat weapons and training) police forces. His conclusion was that it was bad, very bad, and he was one of the people who taught swat teams.

    You see military training is about dealing with "the enemy". And training to use weapons like tear gas to "take out dangerous crowds" actually increases the odds that you will resort to it. And increasingly training for these weapons requires a demonization of the enemy. The psychological separation between you the "good guys" and the enemy, protestors, anarchists, etc. "the bad guys" makes it easier to actually resort to force against them, and more likely that said resort will be taken. After all, they are "bad" and you are "good".

    As a result the heavier use of military style training actually increases the level of violence due to this cycle of overreaction.

    You may say that I am oversimplifying things but anyone who has actually gone outside and protested anything, even with no violence and legal permits can attest that things have changed. I have seen people menaced by dogs while obeying the law, seen armoured assault vehicles purchased for local police forces, I've even had undercover cops infiltrate (very poorly) anti-war groups just to keep an eye on what the grandmas were planning. When you scale this up and see film of a 40 year old woman cowering behind her cardboard sign as a line of swat police shoot, non-lethat but painful, guns at her for being where she had a legal right to be, and you arrive to protest outside the whitehouse (with legal permits and no violence) and see lines of cops with assault rifles waiting, and have some rent-a-cop demand to know what you are writing because he sees you as the "enemy" you begin to realize that "non-lethal" techniques still stifle speech and that the idea that you can have non-violent swat teams is a complete insult to the intelligence.

    The cycle of violence isn't just domestic. It occurrs in our society and futher blurs the line to the point where there is little ot no distinction beteen 'the enemy' abroad and 'the enemy' at home. Either way it is someone with a gun pointed at them by someone in a uniform. The fact that that gun is "painful but not lethal" doesn't mean anything. And the more money we spend on arming people whose job it is to protect us, and the more we train them to see themselves as good and "the enemy" as b
  • Re:Suit up guys! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Walt Dismal (534799) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:26PM (#17117072)
    Yes, no lasting effects unless you count the cataracts and blindness in people who accidently stare too long straight at the antenna, trying to figure out what is causing the pain and when it will stop, while it cooks sensitive eye tissues.

    Also, the first time it is used at a US political protest, such as a GOP convention, there's going to be hell to pay.

    Or used on crowds with pregnant women, and tiny children who don't know what is going on. (Of course, in Cheney's view, ethics and minorities, no great loss.)

    Or when the field intensity ends up with strong lobes they never planned on, because of metal in the urban environment accidently causing concentration.

    This thing is, basically, a weapon of mass torture.

  • by dr_dank (472072) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:27PM (#17117096) Homepage Journal
    Something like this could be perverted into a horrible torture device.

    Perverted? A device like this is perverted by its very nature. Unless you can make hot cocoa with it, there is no non-agressive alternate use for this.
  • Re:SciFi Roots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:29PM (#17117110)
    When was the last time you hear of a police officer disciplined for gross misuse of tear gas, rubber bullets, or clubs? That (non-rioting bystander) girl killed by a beanbag round in Boston -- they didn't even press charges, much less convict.
  • Re:Suit up guys! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joshtimmons (241649) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:40PM (#17117340) Homepage
    I disagree slightly with your deduction that if I'm wearing protective gear then I mean to attack. If I was planning to be in a peaceful protest and I suspected that this device would be used against me, then why wouldn't I plan to wear armor? Peaceful demonstrations are planned and organized too. I hope that doesn't mean that they'd fall back to using a machinegun on demonstrators!
  • by JungleBoy (7578) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:43PM (#17117398)
    Intentionally inflicting intense pain on a person to illicite a response is torture. Saying the pain is non-damaging and short term, doesn't change the fact that it's torture. This is a mass torture device.

    In crowd control situations, I can't think of a scenario where this wouldn't also be collective punishment. It's like two Geneva Convention violations wrapped in one. Go USA!
  • Re:SciFi Roots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CKW (409971) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:46PM (#17117490) Journal
    .

    But we've already seen that it does not come down to a choice between lethal and non-lethal force!!! Yes that's what they said when it started out, but since it's got "no long term effects" - who cares!! Use it all you want!!!!

    Tasers are now used *much* more readily and at the drop of a hat than your "alternative to lethal force" would lead one to believe it was going to be used. It's used now SIMPLY TO CAUSE PAIN. Since when is causing pain okay just because the pain stops the moment the device is turned off? Just because there are no physical scars makes you think it's okay to make me feel like I'm being burned alive? WHEN THE FUCK did it become okay to punish someone with gross levels physical pain BEFORE convicting them, just because they weren't immediately complying with your orders as quickly as you'd like!??!?? Just to save you four or five minutes of wrestling with an unarmed person? Yeah sure if you think you're in immediate danger, sure. But that's not what's happening!!!

    NO IT WON'T BE USED instead of bullets. It WILL be used just to get their way whenever they want something done. "Do this OR ELSE". Where have you heard that recently?

    .
  • Re:Suit up guys! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:49PM (#17117536) Homepage
    You wouldn't be wearing the armor unless you anticipated being in a place where the millimeter-wave weapon would be used. You wouldn't anticipate being in such a situation unless you were planning to cause a disruption or asked to join in one.

    Yeah, because no experienced protester expects that the police might employ anti-riot weapons even if the situation doesn't warrant it. It's simply inconceivable.

    *rolls eyes*
  • Ohforfucksake (Score:1, Insightful)

    by werewolf1031 (869837) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @02:59PM (#17117704)
    Even if there are no lasting effects, that doesn't necessarily make it acceptable.
    Gimme a break. Assuming that the worst effects are some mild blistering (an assumption that is apparently not independently corroborated, but for now is all the info we have), which would you prefer? The alternative is to riddle another human being with bullets, leaving him either dead or badly maimed; merely inflicting temporary pain and mild burns to incapacitate an enemy combatant is undeniably the lesser of two evils. Would you seriously prefer we shoot them dead instead?

    It reminds me of our government's line on torture of prisoners. They don't consider it torture if it doesn't have lasting effects. It's kind of like a rapist, claiming it wasn't wrong because he wore a condom.
    Are you actually serious? Do you have any idea what goes on when a prisoner is tortured for information? This weapon system is the Disney-ified G-rated version of even the mildest "information extraction" techniques, divided by a thousand. This is nothing in comparison. As for your highly specious rape analogy, I can't speak for everyone here, but I'd much rather be mildly burned by an energy weapon than raped, any day, no contest, they're not even in the same goddamn universe.

    Honestly, you über-pacifists are never satisfied. First you bitch about the horrible casualties of war - and I won't argue with ya on that one -- but when military contractors try to develop a non-lethal weapon system you bitch about that. The world is an ugly place, human beings are ugly by nature, so any sovereign nation (not just the U.S.) needs a standing military to defend itself when and as needed; the less lethal/destructive we can make those conflicts between nations, the better. Quit your whining, this is a step in the right direction -- a small one, but important nonetheless.
  • Re:Suit up guys! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by radtea (464814) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @03:04PM (#17117790)
    For domestic protests I'll have to retract my statement. You're right, as well as the guy above you. My conclusions are far more likely to be correct in Iraq at the moment.

    In Iraq today, as in India once upon a time, resistance to a foreign occupying power is "domestic protest". Unless by "domestic" you mean "American", in which case that is what you should have said.

    Domestic protestors in Iraq know full well they are likely to be attacked by any number of forces, including militias of groups opposed to them, as well as the American occupying forces. Any reasonable protestor would come prepared to deal with a variety of threats, and if American forces deploy this weapon then it is reasonable that anyone who thinks they might be a target of it will take appropriate counter-measures.

    The only way one could believe that counter-measures are not appropriate for peaceful protestors is if you think that American troops never make mistakes. The last time I looked, although on average amongst the best soldiers on the world, American troops are still human beings, and therefore make mistakes really rather easily.
  • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot@kadin.xoxy@net> on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @03:05PM (#17117796) Homepage Journal
    At least in my experience, Tasers replaced nightsticks and billy clubs because they're more photogenic and have less of a stigma. Most of the situations you see Tasers being used in, would in the "bad old days" probably have engendered use of the club. Only that's not quite acceptable anymore, so instead they've found a method that looks better from a distance, and leaves fewer marks. (No awkward explanations of how somebody 'fell down the stairs,' etc.)

    I'm not at all convinced that the level of police brutality has increased in recent years, if anything I think it's probably at its lowest level in this country historically. Arguing with people who consider themselves to be in a position of power has never been a safe sport, and depending on where and when you did it (and who you were), you might have been lucky to get out with the equivalent of a Tasering.

    I'm not defending the practice per se, I'm just suggesting that I think you're wrong to assume that the technology actually causes brutality; the brutality has always been there, and always finds an outlet. That the Taser seems to be the choice du jour for causing pain doesn't really make it unique.
  • Sure ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by msimm (580077) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @03:05PM (#17117812) Homepage
    Come into my country and torture me with experimental technology, I'll be forgiving.
  • Re:Ohforfucksake (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lehk228 (705449) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @03:07PM (#17117860) Journal
    i doubt many are objecting to the use of this on the battlefield


    the problem is it WILL be used against protestors
  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @03:08PM (#17117884)
    With respect, our right to exercise our constitutional rights to free speech and assembly trump the shopper's right to get to the Disney Store on 5th Avenue unimpeded, especially when it's one afternoon out of a 365-day year and doubly especially when it's to protest a war that everyone can freely acknowledge now is a disaster in terms of lives, money, and global influence.

    Am I a hyper-sensitive asshole for saying so? Well, lemme see, the government now spies on us without warrants or oversight of any kind. They've voided our bedrock right to habeus corpus, which means they can arrest you for anything and hold you indefinitely just on their say-so. The list goes on. If, in light of those things, A) You are also not a 'hyper-sensitive asshole,' then good god! what would it take to make you one?, and B) My ancestors and countrymen have been fighting like bloody hell since 1655 to make sure we have those rights and I'll proudly own the label of 'hypersensitive asshole' rather than be a sheep that wants to go shopping.
  • by radtea (464814) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @03:16PM (#17118052)
    Instead it induces a panic response. There is a difference. I'm not saying waterboarding is right, only that it isn't torture.

    Torture, (n) 1 a : anguish of body or mind [m-w.com]

    That word you keep abusing, I do not think it means what you would like it to mean.
  • With respect, our right to exercise our constitutional rights to free speech and assembly trump the shopper's right to get to the Disney Store on 5th Avenue unimpeded,

    That's an opinion - not a fact of nature or law. I snipped the remainder of your reply but will say this - it's nothing but a demonstration of your inability to differentiate between fact and opinion and of your belief that threats are a reasonable substitute for reasoned discourse.
  • Protest vs. Mob (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot@kadin.xoxy@net> on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @03:23PM (#17118192) Homepage Journal
    I think people are confusing "protest" with "mob." A planned protest with people who know what they're getting into, and have protection, is a very different entity from a spontaneous street riot.

    Sometimes people who want to crack down on a protest will term it a 'mob' or 'riot,' but they're different. A riot, and what this machine is designed to disperse, is a situation where you have a whole lot of people just getting together spontaneously for the purposes of causing violence. Since spontaneity implies lack of preparedness, this would be effective there.

    Even if you have something that starts off as a protest and then becomes a mob or riot, say by virtue of people joining up with the protest whose ends are violent rather than peaceful, then the deterrent system is most effective against the violent hangers-on, rather than the core protesters. So again, it's not ineffective.

    "Professional protesters" and the other people likely to bring protective gear are not the real concern, because they're the ones least likely to be causing violence. (And if they are, you can't really call it a 'protest' anymore, it's a battle, and time to bring out the real weapons.) In many ways, a good crowd 'discourager' should have some form of protective gear that's effective against it, because this allows you to drive off violent spontaneous rioters but have minimal effect on core protesters.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @03:24PM (#17118204)
    I've always wondered just how effective protests really are. Presumably the people you're protesting to have at least a rough idea of how many people are in favor of their idea and how many are opposed. A demonstration adds emphasis: not only are people opposed to/in favor of abortion/hunger/AIDS/war/trade, but they're willing to take time out of their busy schedules to show it.

    It's about capturing mindshare. Most people are sheeps, if they see thousands of people in the streets protesting anything, it will make them think about joining. The idea is to capture sufficient mass of sheep so that the decision makers have to listen.
  • Re:Suit up guys! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @03:34PM (#17118394) Homepage
    You couldn't get away with firing an automatic weapon into the crowd during a riot in L.A., but something tells me it wouldn't be a problem in Iraq.

    You are quite clueless regarding the rules of engagements. US forces generally expose themselves to extra risk in order to avoid endangering civilians as much as possible.

    . Unless you haven't noticed, it's not exactly like we're going out of our way to detail the number of Iraqis killed by Americans in the news.

    First, it is no secret and it could never be kept secret. You might want to keep in mind that *both* side are trying to manipulate you, that the enemy is working very hard at their media campaign to manufacture images of atrocities and civilian casualties. Hence the videos in Lebanon at different sites but with the same people. The enemy has learned very well from Vietnam, that you can lose on the battlefield, but prevail if you can win on the TV. The Jihadist leadership is very media saavy.

    Secondly, Iraqis killed by Americans is a number dwarfed by Iraqis killed by Jihadists coming from other nations and killed by fellow Iraqis. Hence the news coverage.
  • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @03:34PM (#17118410) Journal
    Otherwise, we have 3k+ dead soldiers who died for nothing at all.

    We do.
  • Stupid idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @03:42PM (#17118552)
    What you'd more than likely do with your tinman outfit, is re-focus the energy in some intense ways on yourself or others around you, causing real problems.

    You also make a nice, bright, shiny target for a taser if you really seem to be resiting the call to leave an area, and wearing a giant conductive suit around tasers seems like one the less bright choices you could make.

    Please let me know what protest you plan to attend wearing tinfoil so I can show up with a video camera and earn big bucks with the hilarious result on Revver.

    If a protest is lawful and you have the permits, you have no need for such a suit...
  • by Cervantes (612861) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @03:43PM (#17118560) Journal
    I oppose nonlethal weapons, and I am a pacifist.

    Let me tell you why. Lethal weapons have consequences. If you shoot someone, it's undeniable that you shot them, and you will have to answer. If you're the police, facing off a crowd, and the only enforcement tool you have is a gun, you're MUCH more likely to do the proper thing, and talk the situation down or handle it in such a way that it stays in control.

    If you have a magic ray gun, you're much more likely to shoot as soon as you bloody well feel like it, without trying to properly address the situation. Not only does this give you a crowd of angry, hurt people, it also fails to address the underlying cause of the disturbance in the first place.

    Additionally, the media treats them so much differently. If the police shoot into a crowd of protesters, there is instant, full coverage, and possible society-changing events (Kent State?). If the police shoot tear gas into a crowd, or now shoot them with the magic ray gun, the story is always "An unruly crowd of protesters was dispersed by police. We'll tell you how they were bad people at 11". And nothing else happens. If someone tries to sue for the force being used without cause, the response is usually "it was just tear gas, ya big baby, get over it". So, nothing changes.

    And while I do agree that society is becoming a bit more violent, it's also true and documented that police in many countries have taken to instigating violence at large protests in order to have an excuse to disperse the entire event. There are videos of plainclothes officers getting out of police vehicles, mingling with the crowd, and then starting vandalism or violence in an effort to encourage others. So it's no longer a fair measuring stick to say "we'll only use it on violent crowds", because the police are making the violent crowds.

    A respect for life is about the only thing we have left going (and it's marginal at that), so it's for that reason that I say we use it to our advantage, and I discourage the use of nonlethal weapons for crowd control. Make the police do their job, not just hit a button every time they think it's time for a coffee break.

    (this is also the reason I oppose the use of unmanned combat vehicles, but that's a discussion for another thread.)
  • by TheLink (130905) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @03:51PM (#17118712) Journal
    It's a recruitment tool. This is going to be used to recruit more "terrorists" etc.

    Also, if it causes a net increase in trouble and violence I guess the _weapons_ companies are going to be a bit bothered about that aren't they?

    1) Sell something to the US military that's supposed to make people pissed off with them "move away" by using something that will piss them off.
    2) ...
    3) Profit!

    There's actually plenty of info out there on how to actually reduce terrorism, win people to your side, lots of actual real life cases etc.

    But it actually seems the people controlling the USA are not interested in reducing the threats to the USA. Just look at the US actions after 9/11 - many Islamic nations were on the US side immediately after 9/11, but what did the USA do instead?

    It's not Iraq or Iran or North Korea that's the greatest threat to the USA or the world (it never was Saddam Hussein or even Osama), it's the people ruling the USA. And that's been true for many decades.

    Funny the USA spends billions on weapons and wars, and can't even afford to make and use voting machines that work. Makes you wonder what the real priorities and motives are eh?
  • by Toby The Economist (811138) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @04:07PM (#17118996)
    > Why?

    Because I suspect people *individually* are not particularly prone to torturing others.

    What happens is that people get places in a situation which leads them to behave sadistically - and they do, with gusto, and so they would use such a device because they would enjoy it. It's not about being torturing people because despite a deep revulsion at the suffering caused, there's a intellectual belief that it will save the lives of others; it's about being sadistic, being deliberately cruel and dehumanizing and inflicting suffering.

    As such, a lovely high tech weapon is another way to "tell" your victim, by your actions, that they are violated, dehumanizaed.
  • Definitely Not. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Irvu (248207) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @04:09PM (#17119042)
    Sone WTO protestors showed up planning to riot some did not. The quality of their information in this regard was dubious. The events in both Seattle, Miami, and Italy were marked in large measure by an unwillingness on the part of police to draw the distinction or to wait until there was actual evidence of crimes being committed before "swooping in". In some cases the justification for tear-gassing an otherwize nonviolent and legal group was the claim that they had 'intended to' commit crimes. This is not a legal justification. Similarly the claim was made that such groups were, like Iraqi houses, harbouring would-be attackers. This is also a dubious claim given that many of the nonviolent groups (e.g. United Auto Workers) drew a clear policy of *not* harbouring any of the destructive crowd.

    If you have evidence to the contrary by all means share it with me but the evidence that has been provided in the past has been litte more than post-hoc claims and does nothing to change the fact that in most cases nonviolent groups were attacked not the other way around.

    There is also a related strain in this with the "Free Speech Zones" that have eruped around the Presdent lately. Now because of "evidence of likely crimes" protestors (especially those oppositional to the President) have been locked into large steel cages at his events. This same thing was done for both the DNC and RNC events befoee the last election. The claim was that since unspecified evidence existed that some people might do bad things everyone who opposed the star of the show needed to be jailed (in this case jailed en-masse for a fixed period of time) even though they had not committed any crime.

    Such actions do nothing to enhanse free speech or protect people. All that they do is futher segregate society and draw a line between the cops and the population. All they do is give meat to the arguments of the violent crowd that, since we will be jailed either way what does it matter?

    Since you mention the Million Man March consider this. 40 years ago when similar marches were attempted they were met with the tear gas, the guns, the firehoses, and the senseless attacks. At that time they were being locked up or attacked because the cops 'had information' that some of them were planning violence. Said actions only raised levels of violence on both sides and made the arguments of people who advocated violence seem that much more attractive.

    People often forget that Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, for all their nonviolence, still spent a lot of time in jail, and a lot of time getting attacked by people in uniform.
  • Re:Stupid idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @04:10PM (#17119070) Homepage Journal
    If a protest is lawful and you have the permits,...

    Is it just me or is something horribly wrong with this sentence?

  • by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @04:17PM (#17119232)
    Perfect! Now we have something for Stinger missiles and or controlled guns to home in on. And I don't blame the Iraqis one bit for fighting us tooth and nail. Whether Saddam was right or wrong, we have invaded their country - think how *you* would feel if Chinese troops marched into the US today, toppled the government, and talked about setting up the most democratic government in the world.


    -b.

  • Re:Ohforfucksake (Score:3, Insightful)

    by operagost (62405) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @04:22PM (#17119342) Homepage Journal
    I doubt many are objecting to the use of open-source software in businesses.

    The problem is, it WILL be used to hack servers.

  • by daigu (111684) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @04:24PM (#17119386) Journal

    Here's an idea, actually go to a peace demonstration. I'm a Quaker. I go to peace marches, vigils, rallies, you name it. I've yet to see angry peace protestors (which is one of the primary forms of protest these days). People are also realistic in that they don't believe they will achieve their goal - world peace - today. Your whole argument shows a basic lack of familiarity with demonstrations and what they are intended to accomplish (awareness in the larger population). You should actually go to a protest and talk with people. It will be probably a very interesting experience. I can say it was for me (I had never protested anything prior to the last three years).

    I will also say that the first time I went to a peace demonstration I looked down two city blocks full of police in riot gear on either side of the street. If you don't think that's about intimination and repression as much as about public safety, you've never stood in the middle of that street with the knowledge that they are they because of you. I'd also say it is very empowering to march right through that the police. It at least makes you feel like you have a voice and you are using it. When's the last time you felt that as a citizen? For that reason alone it is worth it.

  • Re:Suit up guys! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Total_Wimp (564548) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @04:24PM (#17119388)
    Dude, look at the last month, year, and 3 years news from Iraq on CNN, MSNBC, or any of the four networds. Look for stories of American casualties and then look at the number of Iraqi casualties in the same story. Not common to see them, is it? We fight, we get shot at, yet there doesn't appear to be a close account of how many we kill.

    Now look for stories that talk about how many civilians we've killed? Still kind of hard, isn't it? How about stories from the main invasion on how many Iraqi soldiers we killed. You're searching pretty hard aren't you?

    Don't you know, logically, that we're not just sitting there letting everyone take pot shots at us? We did successfully take over the country didn't we? We probably had to kill a few people to make that happen, didn't wee? And we know for a fact that bombs, mortar rounds, etc take out civilians as well as soldiers. When you bomb cities, someone always gets caught in the crossfire. So where are the stories even estimating how many we killed?

    I know that there are a few stories. They're small, or vague, or go away after a day and don't get picked up by the other networks. But you have to know these things are happening. So how do you justify insinuating we're taking great pains to avoid killing civilians? Do you have some great news source I'm missing? Do you believe that rules of engagement are being followed, without any source other than our own millitary telling you it's true? I'm not saying you should believe they're not being followed, but there's not exactly a lot of justification to believe one way or the other, is there?

    I'm not saying I have all the facts. I'm really saying the opposite, that I don't have very many facts about how many Iraqi soldiers or civilians we've killed. I know about a year ago, Bush himself put the number at around 30 thousand (that number was widely reported) which is more than 10 times the numbers of US soldiers killed. Bush is not likely to be exagerating on the high side with that number.

    Please don't patronize me by saying I'm being manipulated. The truth is that we're both being manipulated. The question is, can you see it, can you read between the lines and can you come to some conclusion with the data you actually have? My conclusion is that we care a lot about US casualties. We know to the man how many have died. We print all of their names in some newspapers. We read them aloud at cerimonies. The number of dead are in the news almost daily for all media and almost weekly for any individual news network. But we just don't care enough about the Iraqi dead to report casualties with any kind of regularity or any kind of accuracy. That tells me we don't really care that much about Iraqi casualties at all. We have American human beings that die and are morned, even by those that never met them, but Iraqis die the same bloody deaths and we're almost completely indifferent.

    You can talk about manipulation all you want, but I generated my conclusion from our press with our numbers. If you think we really care, go back and look again. Iraqis don't even justify a number to us, much less represent human grief. That being the case, I find it very hard to believe that "US forces generally expose themselves to extra risk in order to avoid endangering civilians as much as possible" has very much real meaning.

    TW
  • Re:Ohforfucksake (Score:3, Insightful)

    by werewolf1031 (869837) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @04:30PM (#17119534)
    Wow polyyanna. Since when has the US military been used to defend itself? It's a big cock we have to rape other countries in the ass when they don't do what we want. It has nothing to do with defending ourselves.
    So how's that tunnel vision workin' for ya? Good job on completely missing my point. Think bigger. Even if the U.S. suddenly ceased to exist, mankind would still have war. It's in our nature, and we clearly haven't evolved anywhere near the point of putting any and all violent conflict behind us. As I said elsewhere in this thread, I'm not defending the actions of the U.S. in the Middle East, but that's not the point. The point is, the only way humanity will survive -- aside from completely and utterly laying down all arms and resolving all conflicts peacefully (I doubt even the brightest optimist thinks that will happen) -- is to ensure that casualties of war are kept to a bare minimum. This weapon certainly may have harmful side effects, but it's a (small) step in the right direction. Weapon manufacturers are finally taking non-lethal arms seriously; believe it or not, this is a 'good thing'. Besides, do you seriously think the U.S. is the only nation developing "non-lethal weapons"? There are many other such concepts in development around the world, including for example sound-based deterrence weapons. Development of non-lethal weapons will continue into the future, regardless of which nation(s) conduct the necessary research. All this has nothing to do with the war in Iraq, I never said it did, I explicitly painted a broader image (which you plainly chose to ignore) -- it has to do with the future of warfare. We can develop ever more lethal weapons, or we can develop weapons that repel enemies with minimal harm... which would you prefer?
  • Re:Ohforfucksake (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @04:37PM (#17119660)
    "Gimme a break. Assuming that the worst effects are some mild blistering (an assumption that is apparently not independently corroborated, but for now is all the info we have), which would you prefer? The alternative is to riddle another human being with bullets, leaving him either dead or badly maimed; merely inflicting temporary pain and mild burns to incapacitate an enemy combatant is undeniably the lesser of two evils. Would you seriously prefer we shoot them dead instead?"

    You're using a strawman argument. You're making up something I didn't say, nor imply, and shooting it down to pretend you disproved my point (which you didn't even touch upon).

    I never said it would be better to be shot with a gun. I said a weapon's lack of lasting effects "doesn't necessarily" make it acceptable. If you have an English dictionary, look up the word "necessarily" and try to work through the details from that.

    "Are you actually serious? Do you have any idea what goes on when a prisoner is tortured for information? This weapon system is the Disney-ified G-rated version of even the mildest "information extraction" techniques, divided by a thousand."

    I'm glad you're here to clarify that for us, since the testing reports are classified. I won't ask how you got this information, and divulged it on Slashdot, but I thank you for the good deed.

    "This is nothing in comparison. As for your highly specious rape analogy, I can't speak for everyone here, but I'd much rather be mildly burned by an energy weapon than raped, any day, no contest, they're not even in the same goddamn universe."

    You appear not to have even read what I wrote. In the English language, paragraphs are often used to group sentences discussing a topic. I compared a rapist justifying his crimes to a torturer justifying his use of torture.

    "Honestly, you über-pacifists are never satisfied."

    Am I an über-pacifist for opposing torture of suspects? Am I an über-pacifist for saying that use of an experimental pain-inducing weapon is not necessarily acceptable? These are the arguments contained in my post, yet they seem to have entirely eluded your comprehension.
  • Re:Stupid idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Total_Wimp (564548) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @05:19PM (#17120426)
    historically the permit process has been abused to deny groups their right to peacfully assemble. Governmental bodies have unreasonably delayed protests, put up unreasonable barriers to protest, disallowed reasonable locations and just about everything else you can think of. I agree with the poster, "must get a permit to protest" is often an oxymoron.

    To put it more simply, what do you think would be the best way to protest the permit process?

    TW
  • by E++99 (880734) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @05:27PM (#17120558) Homepage
    Can anyone explain why weapons that would incense the human rights activists in the US or Canada are being deployed overseas? Aren't people overseas considered human by the administration(s)?

    Because the administration doesn't care what incenses activists. I'm with the administration on that point. They also want to be able to defend our soldiers without causing unnecessarily loss of life. I again agree with the administration.

    One persistant problem in Iraq is the recruitment of children to attack U.S. troops with rocks or incendiary devices (probably with an Al Qaeda operative nearby with a camcorder, hoping for a retaliation). This is the kind of thing this is needed for. Current strategies have included shutting down the streets completely until the villagers figure out who's children they are and do something about it. In one case, a soldier followed one of the children back to his home and told his mother about it, upon which the kid got a good smack.
  • Re:Suit up guys! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JakusMinimus (49854) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @05:31PM (#17120666) Journal

    In Iraq today, as in India once upon a time, resistance to a foreign occupying power is "domestic protest".
    What a fucking stretch. You may have noticed that the overwhelming majority of "protesting" happening in Iraq today is in the form of Muslim-on-Muslim violence. You know, staunch believers of "the religion of peace" planting and/or delivering explosives amongst civilians at worship. Or the same believers beheading those in Iraq that wish for a peaceful, secure country and therefore join the U.S.-trained police/security forces. How in the hell can anyone equate Ghandi's non-violent protests in British Imperial India with today's mayhem in Iraq?

    P.S. Yeah, I'm a little biased being from the west, but I'm also an atheist. So all you peaceful Muslims out there with their knickers in a twist over what I wrote, please be at ease and know that my mockery is directed soley at those individuals that perpetrate heinous acts in the name of and therefore mock most sinfully the tenets of, your religion.
  • Re:Stupid idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by susano_otter (123650) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @05:53PM (#17121030) Homepage
    Historically?

    History is full of permitted protests.

    But what is your alternative? Obviously, an anything goes, first come first serve approach to competing claims on the public space isn't going to work. There needs to be some kind of oversight, and some kind of arbitration. You can't just co-opt a public space for a protest, without regard to how you may be disrupting the lives of your fellow citizens.

    And who else is going to provide oversight and arbitration of the use of public spaces, except you and I, as fellow citizens, via our constitutioanlly-defined elected and appointed agents?

    Did you have some better idea for managing competing claims on public spaces, except through the same democratic system we use to manage all of our competing claims with our fellow citizens?

    But I get your point. If you're having trouble protesting the protest permit process, there are really only two options available to you: Mahatma Ghandi or Che Guevara.

    I recommend protesting anyway, publically, non-violently, a la Ghandi. When the world sees your moral superiority and the mistreatment you are receiving at the hands of your government, perhaps your government will be shamed into recognizing your rights. It worked for Ghandi, it could work for you.

    If it doesn't work for you, though, there's always the last resort: violent revolution. Good luck with that, but better to die fighting for freedom than live peacefully as a slave, right? Besides, you might win anyway.
  • Re:Stupid idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jherico (39763) <bdavis&saintandreas,org> on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @08:14PM (#17122702) Homepage

    History is full of permitted protests.
    That's not the point. History is also full of non-permitted protests which were just as important. This is about protecting the ability to non-violently resist injustice on the part of the government.

    I recommend protesting anyway, publically, non-violently, a la Ghandi.
    The problem is, that this weapon, had it been available, likely would have been used against Ghandi. So now Ghandi and all his fellow protesters have to be non-violent AND immune to searing pain.

  • by Walt Dismal (534799) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @08:48PM (#17123084)
    I've been following the development of millimeter wave weapons for a long time, and have expertise in RF, worked on satellite radar, and have a biology minor, with my college advisor having been a visual systems researcher. So my interest is neither casual nor uninformed. Rebutting item by item:

    1) if someone is trapped in a crowd and is exposed, they may not have the option of turning away, and are likely to be in pain but will keep their eyes open. If you suddenly start burning and are in panic in a crowd, are you going to close your eyes and keep them closed while trying to escape from an unknown source of RF radiation? Most of the public wouldn't.

    2) Would you be willing to stare into an open running microwave oven for ANY length of time? Do you know how much damage can be done to tissues in even 250 ms of applied energy? Depends on the field intensity of course.

    3) "Tests on monkeys showed that corneal damage heals within 24 hours, the reports claim." This is a lie. Corneal damage of this sort does not heal in 24 hours. Try scratching your eye with a sharp object and seeing how long it takes for even that simple damage to heal, much less cells damaged by being cooked briefly by high-power RF. Go read ophthalmic medical journals. I have. Go research cataracts then come back and rebut me.

    4) I didn't say the damage to pregnant women came from being burned. However, pregnant women being burned by this weapon will have great induced stress. Tell me how easy or difficult it is to trigger a miscarriage. Go ahead.

    5) "Or when the field intensity ends up with strong lobes they never planned on, because of metal in the urban environment accidently causing concentration."

    Yes, I'm sure that they, with their 10 years and $40 million, never thought of that; it's remarkable that you, with a few minutes, $0, and no experience whatsoever with the weapon, could so easily spot such a flaw.

    They DID think of that, and in their tests asked volunteers to remove metal-framed glasses to prevent accidental refraction and focusing of the RF to a higher beam intensity around the eyes. I'm sorry to see you believe everything you're spoonfed by the military's PR guys. Of course, governments never lie, so let's all just take everything they say without questioning it. As I said, my background includes RF and microwaves, and yes, I do spot BS without needing the backing of $40 million to do it.

Business is a good game -- lots of competition and minimum of rules. You keep score with money. -- Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari

Working...