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Menschenversuche mit Mikrowellen geheim & gefährlich

11.03.2005 10:19:23
<HTML>Nonlethal weapons testing has own perils
Columbia News Service, March 11, 2005 [www.indystar.com]

NEW YORK -- When scientists at the Kirtland Air Force Research Laboratory in Albuquerque, N.M., were ready to test their newest weapon, they put a spokesman in a doorway and shot him in the back.

They were testing the next big thing in nonlethal weapons technology. After 11 years of research and $51 million -- $9 million of it for human-effects testing -- the Active Denial System could be fitted to military Humvees by the end of the year.

The energy beam from the Active Denial System -- like a weaponized microwave -- instantly heats water beneath a target's skin to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. That's 26 degrees hotter than the maximum temperature recommended for hot tubs by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Test subjects say being actively denied feels like having your entire body wrapped around a light bulb; no one has been able to stand it for more than three seconds. "I was one of the dummies who volunteered," said Richard Garcia, a spokesman for the Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base.

Revolutionary idea

Nonlethal weapons could soon revolutionize the way battles are fought and law enforcement operates. But first, researchers must clear the high hurdle of human testing phases and win the confidence of a skeptical public.

After more than 70 deaths following the use of Tasers, the electroshock guns used by police departments across the country, that could be difficult. Human rights group Amnesty International wants to suspend Taser sales, which reached $67.7 million last year.

Nevertheless, volunteers for nonlethal weapons -- almost all of them personally involved in the projects -- sign up to be fried by superhot beams, stunned by lasers, pounded with blunt impact munitions, assaulted by piercing noises, momentarily blinded by light flashes and stink-bombed.

The technology behind many nonlethal weapons is so novel, however, that guidelines for human testing have only recently been established, said Glenn Schwaery, director of the University of New Hampshire's Department of Defense-funded Non-Lethal Technology Innovation Center. That means that testers are carefully inventing rules as they go -- and then testing new weapons on themselves and their colleagues.

Much of the testing goes on in secret at private labs or is classified, and critics complain the government has taken a "trust us" attitude to nonlethal weapons research. Numerous new government- initiated oversight boards have been set up, but there's not a lot of third-party access.

"Obviously, there are programs that we work on that are in the black world," said Lawrence Fallow, director of public affairs for the Human Systems Wing at Brooks City Base in San Antonio, Texas, where weapons studies are being carried out. "But that's true of (emerging technologies in) universities as well," he said.

This secrecy has left advocacy groups, including the Sunshine Project, an anti-biological and chemical weapons group based in Austin, Texas; Amnesty International; and Human Rights Watch, clamoring for the right to see and independently analyze the data.

"We just want an understanding of how the tests are done and how they affect people," said Mark Garlasco, a former intelligence officer at the Pentagon and now a senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch.

Animal-rights groups also are interested. Goats were used to test the Active Denial System, though military spokespeople say none was harmed, and pigs have been used for other tests, including ongoing studies on Tasers.

PETA against testing

Christopher Ford, a spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said PETA used the Freedom of Information Act to request data. "This is something we're definitely looking into," he said, "and PETA is going to take a much more active role in getting these kinds of studies stopped."

But military and law enforcement personnel insist the studies are essential. Most nonlethal weapons centers were established after U.S. soldiers came home from a humanitarian mission to hand out food in Somalia in 1995. The mission turned into a bloody battle, and many who came back, including former Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Central Command Anthony Zinni, demanded options other than guns to make such situations less deadly.

Marine Capt. Daniel McSweeney, spokesman for the military's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, said the Active Denial System is ideal for deterring enemies without needlessly killing civilians -- especially in situations like Iraq, where the two aren't easy to tell apart.

Human-rights groups offer qualified support for this goal. "We're very happy the military has developed weapons not meant to kill people," Garlasco said. "The bottom line is that we want the testing declassified."

"Nothing sinister"

But Dr. Nicholas Nicholas, lead scientist at the Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies, a government-affiliated research center at Penn State University, said testing is classified primarily to prevent potential adversaries from exploiting it. "There's nothing ominous or sinister about it," he said.

But if the testing process is something of a mystery, it's clear that many scientists working on these weapons test them on themselves before anyone else.

"It would be hard for me to ask someone to do something and explain what they're going to feel if I didn't do it myself," said Dr. Theodore Chan of the University of California-San Diego, who had himself shot in the face with pepper spray before shooting it at others for a study sponsored by the Department of Justice.</HTML>
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Menschenversuche mit Mikrowellen geheim &amp; gefährlich

Infoman 4132 11.03.2005 10:19:23

Re: Menschenversuche mit Mikrowellen geheim &amp; gefährlich

Hennia 2770 14.03.2005 00:05:24

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