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CRISIS-FORUM  December 2006

CRISIS-FORUM December 2006

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Subject:

New pain inducing technologies

From:

"Wright, Steve" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Wright, Steve

Date:

Mon, 11 Dec 2006 11:12:43 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (123 lines)

The research and development of so called "active denial systems" has
been perued for over a decade now and this millimeter wave system is
only one of a range of paralysisis and maiming technologies which are on
the horizon. How they will be actually used is an open issue but the
whole debate over so called "non-lethal" technologies has to include
both the public relations language used to describe them and their
coming role in mass torture and human rights abuse. The second and third
generation of these weapons is different to their forebears in the sheer
cost and R&D that has gone into preparing the ground. The Threshold
group based in Yorkshire ahs begun to put together a matrix of searching
questions for journalists, politicians, trade unionists and human rights
defenders to rasie regarding future deployment of this technology. Our
website will be going live soon - but the obvious link between climate
change and weapons preventing people crossing borders should not be lost
on the climate change forum. Perhaps we should prepare a joint meeting
between the climate change network and the Threshold group over the next
year?


Steve Wright
Praxis

 
-----Original Message-----
From: Discussion list for the Crisis Forum
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jonathan Ward
Sent: 08 December 2006 11:04
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: steven poole and ADS


The US Air Force has had a new toy certified for use in Iraq, the Active

Denial System. You might think Dick Cheney and George W. Bush have been 
using the Active Denial System in the matter of Iraq and much else for
quite 
a long time now, but this is a somewhat different gadget. According to a

Wired News report <http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,72134-0.html>,
it 
fires a beam of "millimeters waves" to irradiate people's skin, causing 
immense pain. Lest you think this is dangerous, be assured that the
corneas 
of monkeys were deliberately burned by holding their eyes open during 
exposure to the rays, and they healed within 24 hours.

ADS is an exciting new advance in the field of "non-lethal weapons".
Perhaps 
it is time for a sarcastic definition. A /non-lethal weapon/ is a weapon

that kills people only by accident.

It could be the case that increasing the arsenal of "non-lethal weapons"

tends to widen the field of situations in which they may be used. If it 
doesn't (probably) kill anyone, hey, why not use it to break up this
pack of 
pesky placard-holding demonstrators? The squeamish may also protest
about 
the deliberate infliction of pain to political ends, which could be
argued 
to be wandering into the space of torture. Well, there is a range of 
accepted pain-compliance techniques used by authorities. A policeman who

catches a mugger and puts him in a jointlock is using pain to control
the 
subject. Is there a qualitative difference once you start using hi-tech
pain 
rays? Perhaps the fact that the weapon is designed not to be used
against a 
targeted individual but indiscriminately over an "area" is morally
relevant 
here.

One might also remark on the excitement evident in the language of
military 
officers who have talked about the new weapon. Captain Jay Delarosa of
the 
Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate is quoted as saying:

   ADS has the same compelling nonlethal effect on all targets,
   regardless of size, age and gender.

It is reassuring to know that the weapon is not sexist or otherwise 
discriminatory. I do wonder, though, about Capt Delarosa's use of the
world 
"compelling". A "compelling nonlethal effect" may well be compelling to
the 
victim, in the sense of physical compulsion through agony. But
compelling 
can also mean deeply fascinating. Perhaps the "effect" is /compelling/
to 
those eager to try it out, too.

The ADS, says experimenters, produces "prompt and highly motivated
escape 
behavior". I think this means it makes you want to run like fuck. As
though 
recognising that this deadening bureaucratic description of people
fleeing 
deliberately inflicted pain is a bit of a mouthful, some wag has come up

with a snappier description of the weapon's consequence: the "Goodbye 
effect". No reference to the fact that the word "goodbye" originates in
a 
concatenation of the phrase "God be with you" is presumably intended. I
like 
to imagine Air Force men singing the Beatles through a
helicopter-mounted PA 
system to crowds of troublesome Iraqis:

   You say yes, I say no
   You say stop and I say go, go, go
   Oh, no
   You say goodbye and I say hello.

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