Military/private sector still flogging the pain ray

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle at 2:18 pm by George Smith

Over the last decade, the US military’s pain ray — a clumsy weapon that uses millimeter waves to burn the outer skin layer of targets by making the water molecules twitch — has been a public relations disaster.

No one wants to see their career go down in flames over it, accused of torturing civilians. Sent to Afghanistan, it was withdrawn without being used. One can only imagine how popular it would be there now, with what looks like the entire country, except for the paid toadies, up in arms over the American presence.

From the wire today:

A sensation of unbearable, sudden heat seems to come out of nowhere — this wave, a strong electromagnetic beam, is the latest non-lethal weapon unveiled by the US military this week.

“You’re not gonna see it, you’re not gonna hear it, you’re not gonna smell it: you’re gonna feel it,” explained US Marine Colonel Tracy Taffola, director the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, Marine Corps Base Quantico, at a demonstration for members of the media.

Taffola is quick also to point out the “Active Denial System” beam, while powerful and long-range, some 1000 meters (0.6 miles), is the military’s “safest non-lethal capability” that has been developed over 15 years but never used in the field.

It was deployed briefly in Afghanistan in 2010, but never employed in an operation.

The technology has attracted safety concerns possibly because the beam is often confused with the microwaves commonly used by consumers to rapidly heat food.

“There are a lot of misperceptions out there,” lamented Taffola, saying the Pentagon was keen to make clear what the weapon is, and what it is not.

The Pentagon has not yet decided to order any of the ADS system, but Taffola said they would be ready if asked.

From where I stand there’s little misperception. It’s viewed as a weapon for use in torturing unarmed civilians. And it has no application against an armed angry crowd, as opposed to journalists who, over the years by virtually hundreds, have gamely consented to be shot by it in return for a story.

More recently, it’s maker — Raytheon — has tried to peddle a smaller version into California prisons, where it could be used to shoot prisoners rioting in an enclosed room.

And it would seem fairly obvious its makers saw an opening for revival when the OWS crowds hit streets nationwide late last year. (DD blog wrote on the non-lethal arms peddlers being ready for this, here.)

It would also appear obvious the same people would be advocates for its use against Afghans rioting over the burning of Qurans.

The pain ray’s most remarkable property has been the doggedness of its salesmen. For over a decade they, along with a considerable number of journalists, have tried to sell this odious thing onto Americans streets and the desperate places of the world. And they have, somewhat surprisingly, failed again and again at it.

The pain ray has been in newspapers, magazines, on the Internet and on television, from 60 Minutes to Futureweapons on cable, all to no avail.


So my question, perhaps rhetorical, is when will the people pushing it be, justifiably. reassigned or fired?

Look guys, you’ve had long enough. Can’t you just go back to burning ants with a magnifying glass or something?

The pain ray — from the archives.

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