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6 Creepy New Weapons the Police and Military Use To Subdue Unarmed People

From microwave energy blasters and blinding laser beams to chemical agents and deafening sonic blasters, these weapons are at the cutting edge of crowd control.

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The weapon was initially  tested in Afghanistan, but later  recalled due to a combination of technical difficulties and political concerns, including the fear that ADS would be used as a  torture tool making it " not politically tenable," according to a Defense Science Board report. The tens of millions of dollars spent to develop the ADS did not necessarily go to waste, however.

While the weapon may be too controversial for use on the battlefield, it appears that nothing is too sadistic for use on US prisoners, so the ADS has since been modified into a smaller version by Raytheon, for use in law enforcement. Last year, the renamed Assault Intervention System (AIS) was  installed at the Pitchess Detention Center's North County Correction Facility at the behest of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). Former LASD Commander, Charles “Sid” Heal had been lobbying for the pain ray for years, calling it the " Holy Grail of Crowd Control," due to "its ability to make people scatter, almost instantly."  

The device is operated by a jail officer with a joystick, and is intended to break up prison riots, inmate brawls and prevent assaults on officers.  Sheriff Lee Baca added that it would allow officers to "quickly intervene" without having to physically enter the area to incapacitate prisoners.

The ACLU claims that use of such a device on American prisoners is "tantamount to torture." The organization even  sent a letter to the sheriff in charge, demanding he never use the energy weapon against inmates. “The idea that a military weapon designed to cause intolerable pain should be used against county jail inmates is staggeringly wrongheaded,”  said Margaret Winter, associate director of the ACLU National Prison Project. “Unnecessarily inflicting severe pain and taking such unnecessary risks with people’s lives is a clear violation of the Eighth Amendment and due process clause of the U.S. Constitution.”

The pain ray’s use in the Pitchess Detention Center is a pilot program. If successful, the weapon could find its way into other prisons around the country. The National Institute of Justice has also  expressed interest in a hand-held, rifle-sized, short-range weapon "that could be effective at tens of feet for law enforcement officials." 

2. The Laser Blinding 'Dazzler'

The Laser Blinding Dazzler
Source: Air Force Fact Sheet

The Personal Halting and Stimulation Response rifle, or PHaSR, is a massive laser shooter. PHaSR technology is being  co-funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ),  Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program (JNLWP), and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and is being developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory. While JNLWP  is interested in the technology for military applications, NIJ is focusing on its law enforcement use.

So what is the purpose of this light-shooting toy? Well, it won't kill you, but it will temporarily blind you — or as the NIJ prefers to say, it will "dazzle" you into disorientation — by shooting you with two low­-power diode­-pumped lasers.

Protocol IV, the Blinding Laser Protocol of the United Nations Convention on Conventional Weapons, states that, "The use of laser weapons that are specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision is prohibited."

After the US agreed to the  Blinding Laser Protocol in 1995 under President Clinton, the Pentagon was forced to cancel several blinding laser weapon programs that were in the works. But the PHaSR rifle can skirt this regulation because the blinding effect is apparently temporary due to its low-intensity laser.  

According to a  U.S. Air Force fact sheet, "The laser light from PHaSR temporarily impairs aggressors by dazzling them with one wavelength. The second wavelength causes a repel effect that discourages advancing aggressors.” The JNLWP website says that "a significant amount of research and experimentation is still required to gain a full understanding of the safety, military effectiveness, and limitations of these future capabilities."  

 
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