Over the last several years Earthpulse has been investigating the latest developments in technology. We explore subjects related to improving the human condition and expose projects which we believe are risky and unnecessary. This essay is about some of the science being developed and contemplated by military planners and others which could profoundly effect our lives. The intent of this essay is to focus discussion on these new systems by bringing them into the light of day.
Is it possible to trigger earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or weather changes by man-made activities? Is it possible to create and direct balls of energy at lightning speeds, to destroy an enemy? Is it possible to manipulate the behavior, and even the memories, of people using specialized technologies? The United States military and others believe that this is the case. Many of these systems are well on their way to being used in the battlefield.
Zapping the Adversary
There are many new technologies being explored that will cause people to experience artificial memories, delusions and physical problems. These new technologies are being designed to minimize death (although death is possible) and to be virtually undetectable. Many of these new weapons are being called "non-lethal" in terms of their effect on people.
In a recent hearing in a Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the European Parliament1 the issue of these new technologies was discussed. I was one of those called to testify along with a number of other people. One of the most interesting speakers was from the International Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland, who gave an excellent presentation on "non-lethals". One of the points which he made involved the definition of "non-lethal". Part of the definition involved the idea that such weapons would result in a less than 25% kill factor for those exposed to them. He explained the fallacy in this by noting that land mines would even fit this definition because they did not kill over 25% of their victims. He explained that lasers which could permanently blind a person could also fit the definition. He also gave the example of "sticky foam" being used on an adversary and that this might not kill the person unless it landed on the victim's face and caused a slow and agonizing death by suffocation. The main point made was that non-lethals could indeed be lethal. Many of the panelists concluded that the term non-lethal was not accurate in describing these new systems and seemed more like a ploy to gain acceptance for the new technology.
Another relevant point made in the hearing was the frequency of use of these weapons in non-combat situations or policing actions. Comparisons between Bosnia and Northern Ireland were made. It was pointed out that in conflicts where rubber bullets and other non-lethal systems were available they tended to be used with greater frequency because the troops using them believed that they would not kill. Others in conflict situations using weapons clearly designed for killing used much greater restraint. As of the date of the hearing "peace keepers" armed with modern weapons had not fired a shot in Bosnia whereas in Northern Ireland there were often injuries and deaths from the use of "non-lethals".
One of the most revealing documents I have found regarding these new technologies was produced by the Scientific Advisory Board of the Air Force. The Air Force initiated a significant study to look forward into the next century and see what was possible for new weapons. In one of the volumes published as a result of the study, researchers, scientists and others were encouraged to put together forecasts of what might be possible in the next century. One of those forecasts shockingly revealed the following:
"One can envision the development of electromagnetic energy sources, the output of which can be pulsed, shaped, and focused, that can couple with the human body in a fashion that will allow one to prevent voluntary muscular movements, control emotions (and thus actions), produce sleep, transmit suggestions, interfere with both short-term and long-term memory, produce an experience set, and delete an experience set."
Think about this for a moment - a system which can manipulate emotions, control behavior, put you to sleep, create false memories and wipe old memories clean. Realizing this was a forecast and not necessarily the current state of technology should not cause one to believe that it is not a current issue. These systems are far from speculative. In fact, a great deal of work has already been done in this area with many systems being developed. The forecast went on to say:
"It would also appear possible to create high fidelity speech in the human body, raising the possibility of covert suggestion and psychological direction. When a high power microwave pulse in the gigahertz range strikes the human body, a very small temperature perturbation occurs. This is associated with a sudden expansion of the slightly heated tissue. This expansion is fast enough to produce an acoustic wave. If a pulse stream is used, it should be possible to create an internal acoustic field in the 5-15 kilohertz range, which is audible. Thus, it may be possible to "talk" to selected adversaries in a fashion that would be most disturbing to them."
Is it possible to talk to a person remotely by projecting a voice into his head? The forecaster suggests that this would be "disturbing" to the victim - what an understatement, it would be pure terror. A weapon could intrude into the brain of an individual represents a gross invasion of his private life. The idea that these new systems could be created in the next several years should be cause for significant discussion and public debate.
From National Defense to the Justice Department
On July 21, 1994, Dr. Christopher Lamb, Director of Policy Planning, issued a draft Department of Defense directive which would establish a policy for non-lethal weapons. The policy was intended to take effect January 1, 1995, and formally connected the military's non-lethal research to civilian law enforcement agencies.
The government's plan to use pulsed electromagnetic and radio frequency systems as a nonlethal technology for domestic Justice Department use rings the alarm for some observers. Nevertheless, the plan for integrating these systems is moving forward. Coupling these uses with expanded military missions is even more disturbing. This combined mission raises additional constitutional questions for Americans regarding the power of the federal government.
In interviews with members of the Defense Department the development of this policy was confirmed.5 In those February, 1995, discussions, it was discovered that these policies were internal to agencies and were not subject to any public review process.
In its draft form, the policy gives highest priority to development of those technologies most likely to get dual use, i.e. law enforcement and military applications. According to this document, non-lethal weapons are to be used on the government's domestic "adversaries". The definition of "adversary" has been significantly enlarged in the policy:
"The term 'adversary' is used above in its broadest sense, including those who are not declared enemies but who are engaged in activities we wish to stop. This policy does not preclude legally authorized domestic use of the nonlethal weapons by United States military forces in support of law enforcement."
This allows use of the military in actions against the citizens of the country that they are supposed to protect. This policy statement begs the question; who are the enemies that are engaged in activities they wish to stop, what are those activities, and who will make the decisions to stop these activities?
An important aspect of non-lethal weapon systems is that the name non-lethal is intentionally misleading. The Policy adds, "It is important that the public understand that just as lethal weapons do not achieve perfect lethality, neither will 'non-lethal' weapons always be capable of precluding fatalities and undesired collateral damage".7 In other words, you might still destroy property and kill people with the use of these new weapons.
In press statements, the government continues to downplay the risks associated with such systems, even though the lethal potential is described in context of their own usage policy. In Orwellian double speak, what is nonlethal can be lethal.
International Red Cross
Questions are not being raised just by the author of this article, they are being raised by the International Committee of the Red Cross. In their report from mid-1994,8 a number of points were raised.
The idea of "war without death" was not new but began in the 1950's, according to the report. The military interest in these systems dealt with chemical weapons, later advancing to radiation weapons. The report looked at the ramifications of international law regarding use of these new technologies. It pointed out weaknesses in the international conventions regarding the use of chemical weapons:
"Therefore, when the Convention (Chemical Weapons Convention) comes into force next year, activities involving them - activities such as development, production, stockpiling and use - will become illegal, unless their purpose is a purpose that is expressly not prohibited under the Convention. One such purpose is 'law enforcement including domestic riot control purposes'9Unfortunately, the Convention does not define what it means by 'law enforcement' (whose law? what law? enforcement where? by whom?), though it does define what it means by 'riot control agent', namely 'any chemical...which can produce rapidly in humans sensory irritation or disabling physical effects which disappear within a short time following termination of exposure'. States parties are enjoined 'not to use riot control agents as a method of warfare' ".
In other words, we can use on our own citizens what we cannot use in warfare with real enemies who are threats to national security. This explains why the development of some types of non-lethals has moved out of the Department of Defense into the Department of Justice. For the Department of Defense to continue to work on some of these weapons, as instruments of war, is now illegal under international law. The Red Cross report went on to discuss the shift from weapons of war to police tools which they called - "riot control agents".
What does this mean for Americans? This places Americans, and citizens of other countries, in a lesser protected class than individuals seeking to destroy our countries - our real adversaries. This language really represents a way for countries to continue to develop these weapons. This is a loop-hole in the agreement. So while the treaty looks good on the surface, it is hollow rhetoric underneath.
In another section of the report, "Future Weapons Using High Power Microwaves" are discussed at length. This section describes microwave frequencies developed for use in weapons against machines and people.
One of the uses described is an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) weapon which gives an operator the same ability to wipe out electronic circuits as a nuclear blast would provide. The main difference is that this new technology is controllable, and can be used without violating nuclear weapons treaties.
This section of the report then described energy levels needed for the following to occur:
• "Overheats and damages animal tissue."
• "Possibly affects nervous system."
• "Threshold for microwave hearing."
• "Causes bit errors in unshielded computers."
• "Burns out unprotected receiver diodes in antennas."
The effects are based on radio frequency radiation being pulsed "between 10 and 100 pulses per second". The report confirmed that non-thermal effects were being researched. These non-thermal effects included damage to human health when the effects occurred "within so-called modulation frequency windows (10 Hertz is one such window) or power density windows".
The way these weapons work was clearly described when the report noted their effect on machines:
"A HPM (High Power Microwave) weapon employs a high power, rapidly pulsating microwave beam that penetrates electronic components.The pulsing action internally excites the components, rapidly generating intense heat which causes them to fuse or melt, thus destroying the circuit...HPM (weapons) attack at the speed of light thus making avoidance of the beam impossible, consequently negating the advantage of weapon systems such as high velocity tactical missiles."
In other words, with this kind of weapon there is no machine which could get by this invisible wall of directed energy.
Another report on non-lethal technologies, issued by the Council on Foreign Relations points out that, "The Nairobi Convention, to which the United States is a signatory, prohibits the broadcast of electronic signals into a sovereign state without its consent in peacetime."
This report opens discussion of the use of these weapons against terrorists and drug traffickers.The CFR report recommends that this be done secretly so that the victims do not know where the attack is from, or if there even is an attack. There is a problem with this approach. The use of these weapons, even against these kinds of individuals, may be in violation of United States law in that it presumes guilt rather than innocence. In other words the police, CIA, DEA or other enforcement organization becomes the judge, jury and executioner.
Going to another document by a Captain Paul Tyler, we can look at the debate between classical theories and recent research. There is a gulf of conflict between these two schools of thought. The debate centers on the classical idea that only ionizing radiation (that which generates heat in tissue) can cause reactions in the body, while new research indicates that subtle, small, amounts of energy can cause reactions as well. What Tyler wrote in 1984, as an officer in the Air Force, puts the debate simply. He said,
"Even though the body is basically an electrochemical system, modern science has almost exclusively studied the chemical aspects of the body and to date has largely neglected the electrical aspects. However, over the past decade researchers have devised many mathematical models to approximate the internal fields in animals and humans. Some of the later models have shown general agreement with experimental measurements made with the phantom models and animals. Presently most scientists in the field use the concept of specific absorption rate for determining the Dosimetry (dosages) of electromagnetic radiation. Specific absorption rate is the intensity of the internal electric field or quantity of energy absorbed... However, the use of these classical concepts of electrodynamics does not explain some experimental results and clinical findings. For example, according to classical physics, the frequency of visible light would indicate that it is reflected or totally absorbed within the first few millimeters of tissue and thus no light should pass through significant amounts of tissue. But it does. Also, classical theory indicates that the body should be completely invisible to extremely low frequencies of light where a single wave length is thousands of miles long. However, visible light has been used in clinical medicine to transilluminate various body tissues."
In other words, the classical theories are partially wrong in that they do not fully explain all of the reactions which are observed in the body. The Navy has abstracted over a thousand international professional papers by private and government scientists which explore these issues.
"A second area where classical theory fails to provide an adequate explanation for observed effects is in the clinical use of extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields. Researchers have found that pulsed external magnetic fields at frequencies below 100 Hertz (pulses/cycles per second) will stimulate the healing of nonunion fractures, congenital pseudarthroses, and failed arthroses. The effects of these pulsed magnetic fields have been extremely impressive, and their use in orthopedic conditions has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration."
Even the FDA, one of the most vigorous regulatory authorities in the country, accepts these non-thermal effects. Tyler adds,
"Recently, pulsed electromagnetic fields have been reported to induce cellular transcription (this has to do with the duplication or copying of information from DNA, a process important to life). At the other end of the non ionizing spectrum, research reports are also showing biological effects that are not predicted in classical theories. For example, Kremer and others have published several papers showing that low intensity millimeter waves produce biological effects. They have also shown that not only are the effects seen at very low power, but they are also frequency-specific."
Tyler goes on to discuss the results of this new thinking and the possible effects of these low energy radiations in terms of information transfer and storage, and their effects on the nervous system. Research has shown that very specific frequencies cause very specific reactions, and, once a critical threshold is passed, negative reactions occur.
Institute for Non-Lethals
It has been fourteen years since Tyler's paper was delivered and the controversy began to take form. Now there is even more energy being pressed into the anchoring of the newest means of killing and maiming one another. "Imagine a world where land mines don't blow up but give off an eerie sound that makes intruders feel sick. Or a war where attackers don't use missiles to stop tanks but microwaves to shut down engines."18 The Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies at Penn State College has been established in cooperation with the United States Marines. The institute was created to evaluate weapons created by organizations outside the military. The new institute will look at legal, ethical, political, environmental and physical effects of these new technologies.
Manipulating the Environment
There has been a good deal of speculation about the possibilities of creating artificial weather and of controlling the weather. This it not new and has been the subject of on-going military research for decades. Moreover, in 1976 the United States signed international treaties calling for a ban on "geophysical warfare".
The use of new weapons is not limited to governments and sophisticated science laboratories. In April ,1997, the United States Secretary of Defense, William Cohen made the following comment:
"Others are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves."
This is not new either but has its roots in 1960-70's era research by American scientists and continues to appear in numerous articles and reports. The idea of creating artificial weather including cyclones is being explored. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal it was reported that "a Malaysian company, BioCure Sdn. Bhd., will sign a memorandum of understanding soon with a government-owned Russian party to produce the Cyclone."20 The deal with the Russians was set up so that if the technology did not work the Malaysians did not have to pay for the attempt. There have been other reports of Russian research into this area.
Nukes for the Bad Guys?
It was reported in the Jerusalem Post that Iran paid million for two tactical nuclear weapons smuggled out of the former Soviet Union in the early 1990's and that technicians from Argentina were involved in the secret operation.21 This was an interesting report because these kinds of weapons are relatively small. The U.S. government has been concerned about these kinds of weapons being launched at the country or one of our allies. While this is a concern, perhaps a bigger concern might be the fact that these small weapons could be smuggled into the country. Is this possible? Could this happen in the United States? Considering the fact that our government can not keep boatloads of drugs out I suggest that the landing of a small tactical weapon is not only possible but highly probable and that someone with the will to do so would be successful in his attempt.
What else might be on the way? In a 1989 patent a most interesting bit of science is revealed. The development of new energy weapons has occupied the imaginations and resources of our national and private laboratories. One such weapon idea is owned by the United States Department of Energy. It is a new kind of weapon which allows electromagnetic or acoustic energy to be focused into a tight package of energy which can be projected over great distances without dissipating. When scientists think of this energy being projected through the air it was always assumed that the energy would dissipate, dispersing at such a rapid rate that no weapon's effect could be realized. What has been discovered is that there is a way to create such a system. In a U. S. patent the following summary appears:
"The invention relates generally to transmission of pulses of energy, and more particularly to the propagation of localized pulses of electromagnetic or acoustic energy over long distances without divergence."
"As the Klingon battle cruiser attacks the Starship Enterprise, Captain Kirk commands "Fire photon torpedoes". Two darts or blobs of light speed toward their target to destroy the enemy spaceship. Stardate 1989, Star Trek reruns, or 3189, somewhere in intergalactic space. Fantasy or reality. The ability to launch localized packets of light or other energy which do not diverge as they travel great distances through space may incredibly be at hand."
The patent describes the energy effect as "electromagnetic missiles or bullets" which could destroy almost any object in their path.
Remember Star Wars? That weapon concept would move the theater of war to space. In 1995, the funding for Star Wars was widely reported as a dead issue when full funding was defeated by the United States Congress. Star Wars did not end. As many unpopular programs do - they just get new names.
"This year the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (once called the Strategic Defense Initiative) got .7 billion. That's up from .8 billion in 1995, and is very near the peak level spent during the Cold War."
What is interesting is that - the billions spent on Star Wars systems, which these became known as, were only for "research" according to the military's mission statement. The technology is being advanced in the hope that a system might be developed early in the next century. The external threats are now being characterized as rogue states and terrorist organizations which might gain delivery technologies. While the threats are not imagined and need to be addressed, it is not responsible to create word games which end public debate and allow systems thought to be discontinued the latitude to proceed.
In another "offshoot of the Reagan administration's Strategic Defense Initiative" satellite-disabling lasers have been developed. A test, at less than full power, was performed at the end of 1997 to demonstrate the ability of the system to hit its target. The demonstration was a success and now many are concerned that this may provoke an arms race in space. This is the same concern which was raised when this technology was first discussed in public forums. There was a good deal of objection and yet here we are two decades later delivering on the "impossible" technology.
One of the things which has always bothered me as a researcher is how the little guy is always held to a high standard of accountability while big organizations get away with murder. I am not suggesting that individuals should be held to a lesser standard - quite to the contrary. Organizations responsible for the security of the nation should be held to the highest standards. We must ask ourselves what these agencies are charged with protecting and whether their actions follow the values expressed in law. Are there reasons that the government should be excused from meeting the requirements of the law? Is there good cause for hiding behind laws which allow for the exploitation of other laws? An article appeared recently which illustrates the point, as follows:
"A former CIA officer from the agency's top secret 'black bag' unit that breaks into foreign embassies to steal code books was charged with espionage Friday for tipping off two countries about the CIA's success in compromising their communications."
Douglas Groat was fired in 1996 from the CIA's Science and Technology Directorate and could now face the death penalty. These super secret teams are sent around the world to break into embassies and other locations to steal codes and other information so that the National Security Agency (NSA) can intercept a country's classified communications and know their contents. The article concluded,
"The CIA has never publicly acknowledged the existence of its black-bag teams because their operations are by their nature illegal. And they not only target America's adversaries but embassies of friendly powers."
Consider the contents of this article from the perspective of one of our allies. Remember a few years ago the outrage of our government when we discovered that the State of Israel was using its intelligence gathering resources in the U.S. It was an outrage - or was it just the game we all play? Why should we expect anything less of our allies then we expect of ourselves?
Lost in the Illusion
In this essay I hoped to disclose some of the technology which is here now and advancing rapidly. More than this, I am hopeful that the information would be useful in assessing the state of technology from what appears in some of the open literature. What has happened in the United States which has allowed segments of our government to set agendas which run counter to the values most of us hold?
The transparency of government - the idea that we should be able to look into our government and see clearly the values of the population reflected there is an absolute expectation. Are there risks in transparent government? Yes, an open society necessitates that certain risks be taken.
As technology advances, the ability to control populations and manipulate outcomes also advances. Because we know how to control the weather, create earthquakes, force behavioral changes and manipulate the physiology of people does not mean that we should do it. The age we are in requires even greater safeguards of personal freedoms, not further constraints upon it. If freedom is what is being defended than freedom is what must be inherent in the actions our governments take in creating aspects of our reality.