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by Kenneth J. Theisen
Friday, Sep. 15, 2006 at 12:32 PM
As if things could not get any scarier in Washington among members of the Bush regime and their plans to “make us safer”, the Associated Press reports that Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne stated Tuesday, September 12, that weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on Americans in crowd-control situations before being deployed on the battlefield. Such weapons are being designed to not only disable people, but also to disable tanks and other weapons by “zapping” and destroying their electronic gear.
Earlier this year, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld directed the Defense Department in a classified “strategic planning guidance” to prepare a new investment plan that significantly increases spending on “non-lethal” weapons, laying the groundwork for their expanded use. In his directive it was stated that the military will increasingly need such technologies for counter-terrorism operations and homeland defense. The Joint Program Office for Non-Lethal Weapons is heading this effort.
In a bow to public relations, according to Wynne, “If we’re not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation…if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think I would be vilified in the world press.”
Defense Industry Daily in a February 1, 2006 article described one of these weapons nicknamed the “riot breaker.” It is “a microwave transmitter whose focused beams create burning sensations that force targets to flee in order to escape.” It allegedly does not cause any permanent damage, but in tests the volunteers were not allowed to wear contacts, glasses, or have any metal objects on their persons. (So as long as no near-sighted people or persons with coins or metal jewelry are in the crowd, things will be fine???) The military is also developing a “sonic blaster” and “laser dazzler.” These weapons will be deployed on “Project Sheriff Vehicles.” (I did not make up these names.) In January this year, the army got approval to spend .3 million on three of these “Sheriff” vehicles.
Another of these weapons is one that directs a high-pitched, piercing tone in a tight beam according to American Technology Corp. which is developing the weapon. It can be as loud as 150 decibels. “That’s a sensitive region for developing hearing loss. The longer the duration, the more serious it is,” states Richard Salvi of the Center for Hearing and Deafness at the University of Buffalo.
Until Wynne’s statement the military has always inferred that these weapons would be used abroad as if injuring “foreigners” was acceptable. But he has let the cat out of the bag by making clear that Americans can be the target just as easily as Iraqi insurgents. According to a September 1, 2005 NPR report police departments across the country have also expressed interest in using them. In some areas hit by Katrina they were actually deployed. HPV Technologies has demonstrated its “magnetic acoustic device” known as MAD for various possible users in this country.
This statement by the Air Force Secretary was no slip of the tongue either. As early as 2004, the Air Force used social science students at the University of Minnesota to review and assess literature to assess how Americans and other cultures might react to the use of such weapons. It appears that Wynne now wants to move into actual field trials. The regime probably also wants to see what public reaction it will get from this recent statement.
Why is the regime floating this idea now? Could it be because of the anticipated protest against their possible invasion of Iran? Do they fear massive protests in the street such as those called for by World Can’t Wait! Drive Out The Bush Regime! on October 5th? Is this part of a public relations campaign to prepare the American people for more oppressive measures to suppress dissent, particularly street protests? It would appear so.
There is recent precedent for using “non-lethal weapons” against mass protest. In April 2003, police in Oakland, California used rubber bullets, wooden pellets, and bean bags against anti-war protesters and dock workers injuring several. Tear gas has always been a weapon in their arsenal and been used many times, including against protestors at the 2004 Republican National Convention where hundreds of thousands demonstrated against the Bush regime. But these weapons have not stopped protesters. It seems that the regime now wants to up the ante and increase the effectiveness of its weapons.
Clearly the Bush administration fears dissent of any kind, but it is terrified of mass protests. It has seen other regimes brought down by such actions. The regime will attempt to pose it actions against demonstrators as somehow making American safer and accuse the protests as “encouraging al Qaeda types.” But we need to ask, why it is that every time the regime comes up with some new plan to make us safer, we feel less safe.
Kenneth J. Theisen, the author, is an organizer with The World Can’t Wait! Drive Out the Bush Regime! For more information on how you can help drive these fascists from power, please see worldcantwait.org.
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