DIRECTED ENERGY (LASER) WEAPONS
02 Jul 2006
Santa Barbara's own Raytheon company has created "directed energy weapons" which raise big questions about their use in Iraq. An Italilan documentary reveals startling examples of these weapons usage.
Witness describes bodies he found with heads burnt and no other wounds. See movie below.
This note came from Brett Wagner and is reproduced with his approval:
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It is my very unfortunate responsibility to give you a very, very disturbing update on our research here at the California Center for Strategic Studies. This is not for the faint of heart.
Many will remember that earlier this year our background research for our "Swords Into Plowshares Project" unexpectedly uncovered an obscure
new military device developed by the U.S. military and military contractors called "active denial system" (ADS) – nicknamed the "pain ray."
I wrote an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle, which was syndicated across the country, and a couple of days later I was interviewed by a reporter from Scripps-Howard for a news article which became that news service's #1 news story for the next couple of days.
We were led to believe that the deployment of the "pain ray" by U.S. forces in Iraq was "indefinitely delayed" and that a moratorium was put in place. We have no reason – not yet anyway – to doubt that.
But one of our CCSS analysts working on our project researching this new generation of "direct energy weaponry" – weaponry based on lasers, microwaves, and in the case of ADS: millimeter waves – has discovered an Italian documentary film from last month (16 May 2006) that is more shocking than probably anything I have ever seen.
(Viewed discretion advised – graphic footage, graphic content, extremely frightening implications – even as a national security expert and former professor for the U.S. Naval War College, this is way beyond my comfort zone.)
This film can be viewed in English, Italian or Arabic by clicking on www.rainews24.it/ran24/inchieste/guerre_stellari_iraq.asp and locating the appropriate icon on the right side of your screen. It takes a few minutes to download. (A short summary and the written text of the documentary appears at the bottom of this message below the asterisks.)
There is considerable evidence contained in this documentary to indicate that the U.S. military has deployed a new generation of weaponry in Iraq for which adjectives such as "nightmarish" and "horrific" fall far short. The comments by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and General Myers are especially revealing.
I suggest more than one viewing (approx. 24 minutes in length); it took four or five viewings for me before I began to realize everything I was seeing and hearing. For example, there appear to be definite war crimes committed by U.S. forces, civilians and children among the casualties. Judging from the effects of the weaponry in question, it must include "speed of light" weaponry that defies the generic term "laser" and it is my professional opinion that it also likely includes micro-wave weaponry, judging from the descriptions of bodies that seem to have inexplicably exploded. And I cannot imagine what made the bodies that were struck by bullets after being exposed to some sort of ray SHRINK TO THE SIZE OF APPROXIMATELY ONE METER IN LENGTH: beyond my "security clearance" I suppose.
Also surprising was the inclusion of footage, albeit very brief, near the end of the documentary of the "pain ray" being tested on a person described as an American soldier. The person obviously experienced excruciating pain.
Friends and colleagues:
Our strategic-level think tank would like to "hit the ground running" on this, but we simply do not have the financial resources necessary
to address this – shall we say "problem."
We need YOUR help in order to help prevent our country from continuing to develop and manufacture these sorts of new weapons, and to withdraw any weapons which may already be deployed.
All this will require some creative thinking, to be sure – that's OK: we are, after all, a think tank.
Where do we start?
A "project report" – always a good starting point. A conference or symposium – perhaps; Congressional legislation banning deployment – probably; Massive publicity – one would think.
I'm already working on a new op-ed and planning a press release.
For those with modest incomes, your contributions measured in fifties or hundreds of dollars will certainly help.
For those whose bank accounts are measured with 6, 7 or 8 digits – and I know our email list includes many people in this category – please consider making a generous, tax-deductible contribution as soon as possible to help.
We are now preparing to take on some very powerful forces within our government and the military industrial complex.
We cannot do this by ourselves.
To make a tax-deductible online contribution, please click on:
To make a tax-deductible contribution by personal check, please mail to:
4882 McGrath St., Suite 230
Ventura, CA 93003
And if you're a person of faith, please take a moment to say a prayer: for our country, for our planet, for the Human Race, for your children.
We simply must not allow this "Brave New World" to take hold.
California Center for Strategic Studies
P.S. Last but not least: As you begin preparing over the next few days to celebrate America's Independence Day, please consider very seriously the closing remarks in the documentary by highly-respected military analyst William Arkin echoing my previous concerns regarding the implications of the pain ray for use in crowd control in the U.S. – and the potential threat to our basic civil liberties, such as our First Amendment "right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." It's not only our nation's adversaries abroad who should fear this weapon: Every American should be concerned.
Movie opens with a fight scene in Baghdad, April 2003. Title: Starwars in Iraq. Driver of car, Majid Algazali, a violilnist, tells us about bodies he has seen, explaining to the filmmaker what he saw during the American attack. He thinks the US used experimental weapons.
He says, just the heads were burnt, faces and eyes burnt and no marks on the body. The terrain with the buried bodies contained a space of only about a meter in length. The didn't know how a body could shrink like that.
Chief surgeon at hospital describes bodies which were cut in pieces, some with heads missing, arms cut off. He didn't know what kind of weapon was used. He thinks it is something experimental.
Geer Van Moorter: describes a hospital situation. Bodies had come in with no sharpnel o bullets in the bodies and they couldn't figure out how these people died. The 10 surgeons could see no evidence of how they died – no shots. Something cutting arms, cutting legs, stomachs open. They suspect laser weapons.
Filmmaker says they started looking for laser weapons. They asked the military if any new weapons were being used in Iraq, especially some of the new technology with microwaves and lasers. The military officials at the press conference are stuttering with their answers – Rumsfield. Yes, there is some experimental things going on like the unmanned arial planes.
Filmmaker: We went to Los Alamos Laboratory and spoke to Cmndr. Alexander. Speed of light weapons he describes, and lasers and microwaves – beam weapons. Energy is imposed on the target with some sort of effect.
Shown are laser beams seeking and destroying targets. "Infared concentrates the energy". Kinetic weapons (standard) versus energy weapons. Describes laser weapons,shown boring through the armor of a tank. "Zeus", called IED described on the Defense website
Moorter: describes the tank that we just saw on website, which he saw in person in Iraq.
William Arker: (writer) talks about lasers and how much they cost. Calls them "directed energy weapons".
Filmmaker: shows and describes the "pain ray" Cmdr: Pain ray hurts, hurts a lot. And the onset of pain is instant. Filmmaker: visits Human Rights Watch. The potential exists for human rights violation. When you immobilize someone or prevent them for being in an area, you can control a crowd. But pain is considered torture.
Arkin: When you cannot have control of who is in a crowd of people, they could include women and children. You can't always be selective of who your victims are.
Human Rights: What about the danger to the eyes. And to children? Why are the military not providing us data?
Filmaker: 14 more vehicles are being ordered now according to the website.
Cmdr: Battlefields are in urban areas where we cannot control who is in the crowd.
Arkin: The only real way the military can use these is in domestic use. If the US uses these weapons NATO will step in.
VERBATIM AUDIO TRACK:
MAJID AL GHEZALI: They used incredible weapons
PATRICK DILLON: Experimental weapons?
MAJID AL GHEZALI: Yes... Yes, I think. They shoot the bus. We saw the bus like a cloth, like a wet cloth. It seemed like a Volkswagen, a big bus like a Volkswagen.
NARRATOR: This testimony was reported to American filmmaker Patrick Dillon a few weeks after the battle for the airport. The person interviewed, Majid al Ghezali, is a well-known and respected man in Baghdad, who is the first violinist in the city orchestra.
In addition to describing the battle, Majid al Ghezali wanted to show Patrick Dillon the site near the airport where this mysterious weapon was used, along with the traces of fused metal still visible, and the irregularly sized ditches where the cadavers were buried before they were exhumed.
We sought out Majid al Ghezali to hear more details of his story. We met up with him in Amman and he pointed out some inexplicable peculiarities on the bodies of the victims of the battle for the airport.
MAJID AL GHEZALI: Just the head was burnt. In the other parts of the body there wasn't anything.
NARRATOR: Al Ghezali reported that he had seen three passengers in a car, all dead, with their faces and teeth burnt, their clothes intact, and no sign of projectiles.
MAJID AL GHEZALI: There wasn't any bullet. I saw their teeth, just the teeth, and they had no eyes, all of them, there was nothing on their bodies.
NARRATOR: There were other inexplicable aspects: the terrain where the battle took place was dug up by the American military and replaced with other fresh earth; the bodies that were not hit by projectiles had shrunk to just slightly more than one meter in height.
MAJID AL GHEZALI: Except the ones killed by the bullets, most of them became very small. I mean... like that... Something like that. [INTERVIEWEE HOLDS HANDS APPROX. ONE METER APART]
NARRATOR: When we asked Majid what weapon he imagined had been used, he said that he had reached the conclusion that it must have been a laser weapon.
MAJID AL GHEZALI: One year later we heard that they used an update technology, a unique one, like lasers.
NARRATOR: We found another disturbing document on the use of mysterious weapons in Iraq, which referred to episodes that took place almost at the same time as those described by Majid al Ghezali.
SAAD AL FALLUJI: They were 26 in the bus. About 20 of them had no head, the head had been cut, some of them had no arms or no legs. The only unwounded was the driver and really I don't know how he reach our hospital, because one arm was on his side, one head just beside him. It was a very strange and horrible situation. In the roof of the car there were parts of the body: intestines, brains, all parts of the body. It was a very very very miserable situation.
FILMAKER GEERT VAN MOORTER: (medical doctor working in Iraq during and after the war, as a volunteer for the Belgian NGO Medical Aid for the Third World) Do you have idea with what kind of weapon the attacked the bus?
SAAD AL FALLUJI: We don't know with what kind of weapon they hit this bus.
DOCTOR #2: It seems to be a new weapon
SAAD AL FALLUJI: Yes, a new weapon
DOCTOR #2: They are trying to do experiments on our civilians. Nobody could identify the type of this weapon.
NARRATOR: We went to Belgium to find the filmmaker of this sequence, Geert Van Moorter, a doctor working as a volunteer in Iraq.
FILMAKER GEERT VAN MOORTER: This footage is taken at the General Teaching Hospital in Hilla, which is about 100 Km from Baghdad, and close to the historical site of Babylon. There I talked with the colleague doctor Saad al Falluji, which is the chief surgeon in that hospital. Doctor al Falluji said me that the survivors that he operated said him that they did not hear any noise, so there was no explosion to hear, no metal fragments or shrapnels or bullets in their bodies, so they themselves were thinking of some strange kind of weapon which they did not know.
NARRATOR: Let's hear Dr. Saad el Falluji's story about this in more detail.
SAAD AL FALLUJI: This bus was very crowded, they were going from Hilla to Kifil, to find their families, but before they had arrived at the American checkpoint the villagers said to them "return back, return back". When the bus tried to return back it was shot by the checkpoint.
FILMAKER GEERT VAN MOORTER: No gunshot wounds?
SAAD AL FALLUJI: No, no, I don't know what it was. We are here 10 surgeons and we couldn't decide which was the weapon that hit this car.
FILMAKER GEERT VAN MOORTER: But inside the bodies you did not discover ordinary bullets?
SAAD AL FALLUJI: We didn't find bullets, but most of the passengers were dead, so they took them immediately to the refrigerator and we couldn't dissect and see, but in those who were alive we didn't find any kind of bullet. We didn't find bullets in their bodyes.
DOCTOR #2: Something cutting organs, cutting limbs, attacking the abdomen, attacking the neck and goes out.
NARRATOR: Dr. Falluji also ended up speaking about a laser weapon....
SAAD AL FALLUJI: I don't think that the bombing, or the cluster bombs, or the laser weapons can bring democracy to our country.
NARRATOR: As in any war, the war in Iraq, left us a dreadful gallery of horror - images of mutilations that not even doctors can explain. The witnesses referred to laser weapons, arms with mysterious effects. We do not know what kind of weapons could produce such terrible effects. We tried to learn more about it, by asking for interviews to members of companies manufacturing laser and microwave weapons. Yet, the US Defence Department prevented any information from being released to us. They also did not answer - up to the time the film was edited - the questions we had sent them in order to know weather or not experimental weapons had been tested in Iraq and Afghanistan. We then reviewed the Pentagon's media conferences released before the II Gulf War. Willingness to test new weapons emerged form the words of both the Defence Secretary and General Meyers. The questions from the media on direct energy and microwave weapons produced a certain amount of embarrassment.
AMERICAN JOURNALIST: Mr. Secretary, can I ask you a question about some of the technology that you're developing to fight the war on terrorists, specifically directed energy and high-powered microwave technology? Do you -- when do you envision that you can weaponize that type of technology?
DONALD RUMSFELD: Goodness, it is in -- for the most part, the kinds of things you're talking about are in varying early stages. (To the general.) Do you want to -- do you have anything you would add?
GENERAL MYERS: I don't think I would add much. It's -- I think they are in early stages and probably not ready for employment at this point.
DONALD RUMSFELD: In the normal order of things, when you invest in research and development and begin a developmental project, you don't have any intention or expectations that one would use it. On the other hand, the real world intervenes from time to time, and you reach in there and take something out that is still in a developmental stage, and you might use it. So the -- your question's not answerable. It is -- depends on what happens in the future and how well things move along the track and whether or not someone feels it's appropriate to reach into a development stage and see if something might be useful, as was the case with the unmanned aerial vehicles.
AMERICAN JOURNALIST: But you sound like you're willing to experiment with it.
GENERAL MYERS: Yeah, I think that's the point. And I think -- and it's -- and we have, I think, from the beginning of this conflict -- I think General Franks has been very open to looking at new things, if there are new things available, and has been willing to put them into the fight, even before they've been fully wrung out. And I think that's -- not referring to these particular cases of directed energy or high-powered microwaves, but sure. And we will continue to do that.
NARRATOR: But what is meant by directed-energy and microwave weapons? We went to ask retired colonel John Alexander, former program director in one of the most important military research laboratories in the United States, Los Alamos National Laboratory.
RETIRED COLONEL JOHN B. ALEXANDER: The research and the concepts for directed energy weapons go back many decades. What is happening is that the technology has now advanced sufficiently that now we are starting to see these weapons becoming real. There are several types of directed energy weapons and basically what they do is they're known as "speed of light" because they shoot electrons very fast over very long distances. Lasers of course are in the light range, then there are microwave weapons that are operating at other frequencies, but basically they're beam weapons, which is nothing physical that goes out, because they move electrons, while the kinetic weapons shoot big bullets to go out and physically hit and destroy something. These work because the energy is deposed on the target and causes some effect.
NARRATOR: These images document one of the THEL tests. THEL stands for Tactical High Energy Laser. In the sequence, you can see the laser beam hit and destroy missiles and mortar rounds as they are about to hit the objective. In this other test we see the laser beam identify and destroy two missiles at the same time.
It doesn't make any noise and it's invisible?
AMERICAN JOURNALIST: Some are visible, some are just outside... You have, you know, in the infrared range... What's emerging now are laser weapons where the effect is that that of the laser. They can be all burners, in what we call High Energy Lasers, because with the concentrated energy you can literally drill holes, you know, in the target.
NARRATOR: Former Pentagon analyst William Arkin, who presently works as a journalist for the Washington Post, also confirms this revolutionary change from kinetic weapons to energy weapons.
WILLIAM ARKIN: For thousands of years, the way in which you have killed someone is you have hit them with a sword, a sphere, an arrow, a bullet, a bomb. It's kinetic, you're killing them by hitting them. And now, all of the sudden, out of nowhere, you have a completely new physical principle being applied in killing people, in which they don't know that they're being killed because their skin and body is being heated by high power microwaves or they are being hit by a laser that would have an instantaneous effect.
NARRATOR: There are other types of weapons made with lasers, such as the device we can see in this sequence. The target is not hit by a projectile, but rather by an impulse of energy that manages to bore through the armor of an armored car. Excluding acoustic weapons, for the moment, the only sign of the use of energy weapons in a war scenario is a laser device known as Zeus. According to official Pentagon sources, military vehicles equipped with this laser device have been used in Afghanistan to explode mines. According to two reliable military information sites - Defense Tech and Defence Industry Daily - at least three such vehicles are being used in Iraq as well and some people report having seen them.
FILMAKER GEERT VAN MOORTER: When you showed me the picture of what you described that is a laser weapon, it reminded me that I was talking with some American soldiers, in August 2003, and there was some kind of box on their tank with a blue light like this. I recall it very well not because they said me what it was used for, but because I was teasing a translator, which was an Iraqi female, by telling her "look, with this kind of thing they can look through and see somebody without clothes". That's why I remind it, but I have seen for sure this kind of thing on that tank.
NARRATOR: William Arkin is one of the American experts who follows the Pentagon activity most closely. So what does Arkin think about the possibility of the use of directed energy weapons in battle in Iraq?
WILLIAM ARKIN: You know, there's even some possibility that high power microwaves have been used experimentally. I think that the panic about IEDs, about Improvised Explosives Devices, has been so bad that if these things are sitting in the lab, I'm sure that they want to get them to Iraq to see whether they are effective. So I can imagine that there could be some, what we call, "black" use of these weapons, but not in any significant way, and certainly not in such a way that one would conclude that they've had any impact.
NARRATOR: But let's look at the Pentagon budget figures to see how important the outlay is for directed energy weapons.
WILLIAM ARKIN: Right now you have about $50 million a year being spent for non-lethal weapons, you have about another $200 million or so being spent on High Power Microwaves, Active Denial type Systems, you've got probably another $100-200 million being spent on "secret", "black" laser programs, and then you have the big lasers, the High Energy Lasers of the Air force and the other Tactical Lasers. So probably, when you add all of that up, you know the United States are probably spending $1/2 billion a year right now on directed energy weapons. This is a significant amount of money; this is the size of the Defence Budget of some countries in Europe.
NARRATOR: You might think that energy weapons only pose a danger for the countries involved in a military conflict, but that's not the case. One particular weapon called the Active Denial System - better known as the pain ray - has been built specifically for use in maintaining public order. Given its claim to be non-lethal and the suffering it produces, this weapon could become a very controversial one.
RETIRED COLONEL JOHN B. ALEXANDER: The Active Denial System is a Millimetre Wave System, operates at about 93 GHz. It sends out a beam for a very long distance, and what's important about it is that when it hits the skin it penetrates only a very slight, for a few millimetres under the skin and it it's the pain receptors and causes, you know, people to be adverse to the pain. It hurts, it hurts a lot. The tests that had been run they were to go for 3 seconds, each individual was given a kill switch and nobody made 3 seconds. The answer to the pain is extremely rapid, and you don't have to do it very long, I mean, it gets your attention instantly.
NARRATOR: To understand the consequences this new weapon could have for human rights we went to the Empire State Building in Manhattan, home of the offices of Human Rights Watch, one of the most important human rights organizations.
MARC GARLASCO: We can see the effects of a gun very easily and understand them, but when you cannot see the effect of a weapon because it is not visible and because the science is not very well understood because technology is so new, then it becomes a grieve concern that enrages the states for potential human rights violations and abuses. And that is something that we have to understand about the Active Denial System, that it exists to create pain and is very different in most other non-lethal weapons where the desire is either to immobilize someone or make it so that they cannot walk in the area. With the Active Denial System the main desire is pain, and we have to be very careful because in international law is very clear that devices created solely for the creation of pain can eventually lead to torture and are therefore illegal, and it's very critical that the United States does a careful legal review of the Active Denial System and is open with their findings. To date they have not been open.
WILLIAM ARKIN: Some people say "ooh acoustic weapons, or High Power Microwave weapons, the Active Denial System, we can use it for crowd control..." What crowd control? What does that mean? It pretends that anyone in the crowd is eighteen years old, and male and in good health, and we're just going to shoot these microwaves or shoot these acoustic weapons on this crowd, and it's going to be carefully calibrated at a power level, in the intensity and at a range to affect all these eighteen years old men in the crowd. Well, what crowd is made up of just eighteen years old men? Look at the Intifada, look at any riot in Iraq today: children, women, pregnant women, old people, and so the effect... the effect that you would need in order to have an impact on a healthy male, you target, would be too much for a child or a pregnant woman or an old person.
MARC GARLASCO: There's been a lot of discussion also about the potential for eye damage. They have done some tests on the skin to show that is not harmful, but where is the eye test? And there are concerns raised by scientists about potential harm to the eyes. And we also have concerns about the effects to children, to the infirm, to the elderly... Why are they not producing the data? Why are they not sharing it with us?
NARRATOR: As regards the use of the pain ray in the field of war, the military review Defence Industry Daily reports that three Sheriff vehicles were ordered at a price of about 31 million dollars, and that approval has been requested for another 14 vehicles by Brigadier General James Haggin, chief of staff of the multinational forces in Iraq.
RETIRED COLONEL JOHN B. ALEXANDER: In my view the next global conflict has already began and we don't have an understanding of what that conflict looks like. Because of the issues of terrorism for instance the adversaries are going to be I think mixed in with civilian populations. We need weapons that allow us to be able to sort, minimize what they call "collateral casualties". I think the battlefields are going to be in urban areas.
WILLIAM ARKIN: If you look at the Active Denial System, or the High Power Microwaves, or the LRAD, the acoustic weapon, what you see is enthusiasm for those are being displayed by the US Northern Command, which is the homeland defence command of the United States, or other counterterrorism organizations, which are looking at them like "oh well, maybe, in some special circumstances we can take these secret weapons, boutique weapons, you know, we have only 10 or 20 of them somewhere in a secret place and if we need them we can pull them out and use them in this kind of specialty warfare". So ironically, even though the Americans would probably think "oh yeah, special new weapon, it would make sense because Iraq is such a mess and maybe we can do something to turn that corner in some way with the use of this weapon, the truth is that the only real way in which they, the military, sees the prospects for the deployment of these is in their domestic use. And you know quite well... that if the United States adopts these weapons for their domestic defence... NATO and Italy are not far behind..