New Frontiers in Torture

NEW FRONTIERS IN TORTURE….This is not a new story, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it. In it, reporter Michael Hanlon tries out a machine designed to cause intense pain without leaving a mark:

I was told people can take it for a second, maximum. No way, not for a wimp like me.

I try it again. It is a bit like touching a red-hot wire, but there is no heat, only the sensation of heat. There is no burn mark or blister. Its makers claim this infernal machine is the modern face of warfare. It has a nice, friendly sounding name, Silent Guardian.

….I tested a table-top demonstration model, but here’s how it works in the field. A square transmitter as big as a plasma TV screen is mounted on the back of a Jeep. When turned on, it emits an invisible, focused beam of radiation — similar to the microwaves in a domestic cooker — that are tuned to a precise frequency to stimulate human nerve endings. It can throw a wave of agony nearly half a mile.

Because the beam penetrates skin only to a depth of 1/64th of an inch, it cannot, says Raytheon, cause visible, permanent injury….In tests, even the most hardened Marines flee after a few seconds of exposure. It just isn’t possible to tough it out.

….Perhaps the most alarming prospect is that such machines would make efficient torture instruments. They are quick, clean, cheap, easy to use and, most importantly, leave no marks. What would happen if they fell into the hands of unscrupulous nations where torture is not unknown?

Um, yeah. Unscrupulous nations. That would be a problem, wouldn’t it?

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