Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Not a joke & not science fiction: New device disperses crowds by making people feel like their skin is on fire

By Diane Silver

Wired News has turned up something that makes your skin crawl, literally. What's worrying about their report is that they say this new device has just been certified for use in Iraq.

Wired News reports on the device this way.
The crowd is getting ugly. Soldiers roll up in a Hummer. Suddenly, the whole right half of your body is screaming in agony. You feel like you've been dipped in molten lava. You almost faint from shock and pain, but instead you stumble backwards -- and then start running. To your surprise, everyone else is running too. In a few seconds, the street is completely empty.

You've just been hit with a new nonlethal weapon that has been certified for use in Iraq -- even though critics argue there may be unforeseen effects....

The Air Force's Active Denial System, or ADS, has been certified safe after lengthy tests by military scientists in the lab and in war games.
While an effective nonlethal device for dispersing crowds may be a good idea, just the mention of this thing has me worried.

If it works like Wired News reports, doesn't the fact that it inflicts so much pain (even if it doesn't maim or kill) mean that using it is torture? Could this device be used on prisoners to torture them? Would unpopular administrations be tempted to use it to disperse lawful demonstrations in the United States?

The mainstream media seems to have missed this story completely, but if it is true, we need to look at this device closely and consider the implications. Wired News has also posted documents about the Air Force tests on the device.

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