The Pentagonís Ray Gun

March 3rd, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: The Pentagonís Ray Gun

March 2, 2008

60 Minutes (CBS), 6:30 PM
STEVE KROFT: Tonight CBS News correspondent David Martin on assignment for 60 Minutes.
DAVID MARTIN: What if we told you the Pentagon has a ray gun? And what if we told you it can stop a person in his tracks without killing or even injuring him? Well, itís true. You canít see it, you canít hear it, but I can tell you firsthand you feel it. And weíre going to show you how it works tonight.
Pentagon officials call it a major breakthrough which could change the rules of war and save huge numbers of lives in Iraq, but itís still not there. Thatís because in the middle of a war, the military just canít bring itself to trust a weapon that doesnít kill.
Itís a gun that doesnít look anything like a gun. Itís that flat dish antenna which shoots out a 100,0000-watt beam at the speed of light, hitting anything in its path with an intense blast of heat.
TESTER: Roger, Iím ready for a 100 percent shot, three seconds on the CLT.
MARTIN: Watch what happens when the electromagnetic beam made up of very high frequency radio waves takes on that black board. The operator uses a joystick to zero in on his target. The effect is instant, but visible only with an infrared camera and seen on this laptop.
TESTER: Engage.
MARTIN: The ray gun fires, and there it is, that flash of white hot energy.
COL. KIRK HYMES: We are now stepping into the Buck Rogers scenario.
MARTIN: Buck Rogers. This is a ray gun.
HYMES: This is, for all intents and purposes, a ray gun.
MARTIN: Colonel Kirk Hymes is in charge of the ray gun which is being tested at Moody Air Force base in South Georgia. The targets here are people. Military volunteers creating a scenario soldiers might encounter in Iraq. Angry protestors advancing on American troops who have to choose between backing down or opening fire. Off in the distance a half mile away, the operator of the ray gun has the crowd in his sights.
OPERATOR: (From tape.) (Individuals ?), this is your final warning. Leave the area now.
MARTIN: Unlike the soldiers on the ground, he has no qualms about firing away because his weapon wonít injure anyone. He squeezes off a blast. The first shot hits like an invisible punch. The protestors regroup and he fires again, and again. Finally, theyíve had enough. The ray gun drives them away with no harm done.
Officially called the Active Denial System, it does penetrate the body, but just barely.
So what happens when that beam hits me?
HYMES: Itís absorbed in that top layer, 1/64th of an inch, which is about three sheets of paper that youíd find in your printer.
MARTIN: And itís hitting what inside that 1/64th of an inch?
HYMES: Right within that 64th of an inch is where the nerve endings are.
MARTIN: You have to feel the ray gun to believe it, and thereís only one way to do that. To me, it felt like scalding water. What makes this a weapon like no other is that it makes you instantly stop whatever youíre doing, but the second you get out of the beam the pain vanishes, and as long as itís being used properly thereís no harm to your body.
SUE PAYTON [Asst Sec. Air Force]: Huge breakthrough. Huge game-changer.
MARTIN: Sue Payton is an assistant secretary of the Air Force and the Pentagon official in charge of buying the ray gun.
PAYTON: We have war fighters that are in harmís way, and you know they donít want to kill innocent people. You pick between a bullet or a bullhorn Ė not a good choice.
MARTIN: Paytonís close encounter with the tray gun was two years ago. She was a big shot from the Pentagon so they dialed down the power of the beam. Payton was having none of that.
PAYTON: Bring it on.
MARTIN: She wanted a full blast, and she got it.
MARTIN: What did you think of the system?
PAYTON: I loved it. I started giggling.
MARTIN: Giggle is not the usual response to pain.
PAYTON: Well, I giggled after I got zapped. And you giggle because you realize that youíre okay, and you realize that it had the effect that we want it to have.
MARTIN: The impulse to run the other way is so strong, anyone who keeps coming has to be considered a threat.
PAYTON: It could be used to read someoneís mind, in effect, because you immediately know what someoneís intention is. If they continue to come at you, then youíre fairly sure theyíre not a tourist. Theyíre probably a terrorist or an adversary who wants to do you harm.
MARTIN: So far the ray gunís been tested only again make-believe adversaries Ė protestors whose rage is about as real as the placards theyíre carrying. You have to wonder if a more determined enemy could beat the beam.
Iíve got several layers on but the beam is still coming through my clothes, so Iím going to try some shields here. This is a piece of plywood. See how far this gets me.
MARTIN: Oh. It leaves too much of your body exposed. It got me down in my feet. So Iím going to try this mattress here. Itíll cover up more of my body. Okay, letís see.
MARTIN: It hurts but I Ė you can keep going.
OPERATOR: Engage, engage.
MARTIN: Thatís enough. So that did protect me somewhat, but thatís a half-mile to get to where Iím trying to go, and you kind of give yourself away if youíre walking around with a mattress.
No one gave any thought to using the ray gun when the U.S. first invaded Iraq, but as the invasion turned to occupation American troops started going eyeball-to-eyeball with Iraqis and couldnít tell who was the enemy and who was just angry. Twenty civilians were killed in April, 2003, when soldiers from the 82nd Airborne fired on threatening crowds in Fallujah. That prompted this email to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from a senior military scientist who know what the ray gun could do. ďI am convinced that the tragedy of Fallujah would not have occurred if an Active Denial System had been there.Ē Days later a three-star general wrote, ďHaving ADSĒ Ė the Active Denial System Ė ďin the field today would impact operations in a very critical way.Ē
Would this saves lives in Iraq?
PAYTON: It would save huge numbers of lives.
MARTIN: Do you ever look at whatís happening in Iraq and say, weíve got to get this thing there faster?
PAYTON: Absolutely.
MARTIN: But sending the ray gun to Iraq was, in the words of one Pentagon report, ď...not politically tenable...Ē
Not politically tenable, what does that mean?
PAYTON: Well, unfortunately we have had something called Abu Ghraib.
MARTIN: Abu Ghraib Ė American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners. After these pictures surfaced there was no stomach for even the momentary pain of the ray gun.
PAYTON: You donít ever, ever, ever want a system like this to be thought of as a torture weapon.
MARTIN: But Sid Heel (ph), a former Marine who has followed the ray gunís progress for nearly a decade, says the potential for abuse is not whatís holding it up; itís something else.
SID HEEL: Cowardice.
MARTIN: Cowardice.
HEEL: Yeah. No other way of saying it. You can try to save peopleís life with a non-lethal option and fail and itíll still be noble, but failing to try is cowardly. That is completely unacceptable.
MARTIN: Heel one was one the Marine Corpsí point man for non-lethal weapons. He took them to Somalia in 1995 after Americaís ill-fated attempt to relieve the famine there had degenerated into a shooting war.
HEEL: Itís very difficult to make a case for a humanitarian operation if the only way you have of imposing your will is by killing the people youíre sent to protect.
MARTIN: Heel tried to teach Marines to use everything from sticky foam to lasers.
HEEL: I was a bugle in the orchestra. I was playing the same music but it wasnít sounding the same.
MARTIN: Were they listening to you?
HEEL: A major came up to me and said that the Marine Corps wasnít overly thrilled with the whole non-lethal concept. And his idea was is that the Marine Corpsí idea of forced escalation went from M-16 to F-16. How many people could we kill and how fast we could do it.
MARTIN: The non-lethal weapons Heel works with at the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department today are no more advanced than what he had in Somalia 13 years ago.
Whatís your best stopper here?
HEEL: Sponge grenade.
MARTIN: Sponge grenade.
HEEL: Itís accurate out to ranges that exceed any of our other stuff. You could easily go to 50 yards with this one.
MARTIN: Is that your longest range?
HEEL: Yeah. And matter of fact, thatís the longest range right now anywhere in the world.
MARTIN: Fifty yards?
HEEL: Fifty yards. The stuff that weíre using the field right now is very close range. Thatís one of our biggest complaints.
March 3rd, 2008  
Team Infidel
MARTIN: And one of the ray gun’s biggest advantages. It can stay out of harm’s way yet still control a crowd.
The one system we don’t see out here is the Active Denial System. Could you use that?
HEEL: Could we use it? Absolutely.
MARTIN: Sid Heel wants to use it to control prison riots. The Navy could use it to fend of Iranians with their go-fast boats harassing American warships in the Strait of Hormuz. The State Department could use it to protect American embassies like the one attacked by protestors in Belgrade. Yet the Pentagon is spending just $13.1 million on the ray gun this year out of a $475 billion defense budget.
Around here $13.1 million is peanuts.
PAYTON: Absolutely peanuts, you’re right.
MARTIN: Why, if this is a breakthrough technology that can change the rules –
MARTIN: Why peanuts?
PAYTON: Well, we don’t have enough money to do the things that are the here and now, so it’s extremely competitive. Yes, 13 million is chump change. I regret that.
MARTIN: Could you have fielded it sooner if you had more money to spend on it?
MARTIN: A report by the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board says the military is reluctant to spend much money on Active Denial until it has proven itself in the field.
Sounds like a catch-22. You can’t get real money until it’s fielded, but you can’t field it until you get real money.
PAYTON: That’s exactly the way it is.
MARTIN: Colonel Hymes, who’s in charge of all non-lethal weapons for the Pentagon, says the ray gun will be ready to go to Iraq this summer, but it’s swimming against the tide of conventional military wisdom.
HYMES: The Active Denial System, being new technology, is going to have a lot of stigma around it.
MARTIN: I’ve never heard anybody use the word stigma with respect to a new weapon. If this system could kill people it would be easier to field.
HYMES: Lethal weapons have an easier time getting into our system.
MARTIN: You’re going up against the culture of your own military.
HYMES: Absolutely.
MARTIN: The ray gun’s been tested on humans more than 11,000 times over ten years. The early tests, recorded with an infrared camera, were against people in their underwear so scientists could measure skin temperature. Their backs were turned so their eyes would not be exposed. Out of 11,000 tests there have been six cases of rashes and blisters and two of more serious second-degree burns. It’s now cleared for full power on any part of the body.
Some people claim they’ve been able to stand in the beam for four or five seconds. So how long can I take the heat? Here goes.
MARTIN: One one thousand, two one thousand, three one.... (Martin quickly moves out of the beam's path.)
March 3rd, 2008  
A Can of Man
Lets hope the test subjects don't get skin cancer
March 3rd, 2008  
Cdt Matteo
I say that on 60 minutes. Pretty interesting but it just doesn't seem as effective as it should be. I can see people find ways of getting around like with the matress.
March 3rd, 2008  
Eye damage?
March 5th, 2008  
Im not really sure if shooting very high frequency radio waves through a person is as harmless as they claim.
March 7th, 2008  
A Can of Man
Kinda reminds me of the Nuke tests in the 50's.
April 21st, 2008  
interesting, and i agree with ya teach.

my raygun goes Zap!

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