Pain weapon: humane or risky?

The Justice Department is testing the allegedly unsafe microwave weapon for use in prisons, but ACLU considers it life-threatening

Last week, it became known that the arms manufacturer Raytheon had "Pain weapon", which the Pentagon had planned to use in Afghanistan and Iraq, but then balked at sending to a California prison for a fee of 750 euros.000 dollars provided by the Ministry of Justice. There, the weapon once called Active Denial System, which is also advertised in smaller variants under the name Silent Guardian and now Assault Intervention Device (AID), is to be tested on prisoners when there is riot or brawl in prison. If the result of the six-month evaluation is found to be good, the inmates in other prisons will also be controlled with the pain weapon.

Pain weapon: humane or risky?

Chief of Police Osborne for the nondeath weapon’s undoing before. Image: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

With the AID, still a monstrosity of 300 kg, which can be rotated and remote-controlled and is placed on the ceiling in a dormitory of the prison, a microwave beam with a frequency of 95 GHz and a maximum power of 100 kW is directed at a person, which is supposed to penetrate the skin only superficially to a depth of 0.4 mm up to a distance of 30 m, but cause unbearable pain. The microwave weapon is called non-lethal and non-dangerous because the pain causes the victim to dodge the beam as quickly as possible, and the beam is locked so that it shuts off after three seconds each time it is fired using a joystick. It is intended to prevent burns that can occur during prolonged exposure to radiation.

During the presentation of the pain weapon, the sheriff explained that it could be useful in the penal system to counter the violence of the prisoners, especially in the case of the "pain" of the prisoners "more difficult" Violent outbreaks without having to reckon with the consequences of the weapons that have been available up to now. The beauty is that the beam can be remotely controlled on a screen, allowing the operator to stay safely outside the room and disable the opponent without injuring or disabling him. For Raytheon the microwave weapon is the most effective and safest non-lethal weapon there is. Police Chief Bob Osborne, in charge of technology, agrees. The technology is completely safe. He has already been exposed to the beam 50 times without any problems. This was also the beauty of the weapon, which caused pain, but no wounding. In contrast to the use of sticks and tranengas, the weapon did not leave any traces and was therefore "HUMAN". It would have been interesting to hear the opinion of the prison inmates on whom the weapon is being tested.

Pain weapon: humane or risky?

The AID is operated remotely with a joystick. Image: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

The ACLU, a civil rights organization, does not want to see the weapon as harmless as Raytheon and the Justice Department consider it to be "inhumane" and called an instrument of torture. A letter to the police asks them not to use the weapon, which was originally developed for the military. For the ACLU, the use of the weapon against the prisoners is a death sentence because "unnecessarily severe pain" causes and "unnecessary risks for human life" to the point of death.

The civil rights organization points out that tests have resulted in burns. Without appropriate built-in safeguards, the microwave weapon could even, according to a report by German physicist Altmann (U.S. Army wants to use "pain weapon" US Army to buy pain weapon), the microwave weapon could even cause second- and third-degree burns and possibly death. Precisely because prison inmates are often not even convicted yet, but are in pre-trial detention, not only these could become victims of this "Star Wars technique" are dramatically, according to ACLU: "We were able to preserve all burns." And in the prisons, there were so many assaults against the inmates that even the new weapon could be misused, not just to stop violence.

In fact, a technique that causes unbearable pain but leaves no traces would also be an ideal torture weapon, especially if the victim cannot escape it. And if the rays are directed at a victim for more than a few seconds, real pain and physical damage can be caused, so that the AID can be used as a non-lethal as well as a lethal weapon. It was also allowed to be disturbing that the weapon can be used from a distance like a drone, which protects the prison guards, but makes the prisoners even more objects in the Panopticon. On the other hand, the risks of controlled use are probably lower than when batons, stun guns or even firearms are used.

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