Wednesday, February 27, 2008

San Jose Police To Use Crowd Control Sound Wave Weapons

The devices caused controversy again in 2006 when the Secretary of the Air Force, Michael Wynne, proposed testing the weapons on American citizens before deploying them abroad.

“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,” said Wynne. “(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press.”

In a 2004 LA Times article entitled The Pentagon's secret scream sonic devices the manufacturers of the weapons described how they can inflict pain--or even permanent deafness:

"[For] most people, even if they plug their ears, [the device] will produce the equivalent of an instant migraine," says Woody Norris, chairman of American Technology Corp., the San Diego firm that produces the weapon. "It will knock [some people] on their knees."

American Technology says its new product "is designed to determine intent, change behavior and support various rules of engagement." The company is careful in its public relations not to refer to the megaphone as a weapon, or to dwell on the debilitating pain American forces will be able to deliver with it. The military has been equally reticent on the subject.

The devices were also used in New Orleans in the Hurricane Katrina aftermath when private security contractors confiscated guns and forced residents from their homes.

Mercury News provides this helpful guide to the "less lethal" weapon