WASHINGTON POST ELECTRONIC HARASSMENT
Washington Post on Electronic Harassment Devices
"An academic paper written for the Air Force in the mid-1990s mentions the idea of
a weapon that would use sound waves to send words into a person's head. "The signal can be a 'message from God' that can warn the enemy of impending doom, or encourage
the enemy to surrender." In 2002, the Air Force Research Laboratory patented precisely such a technology: using microwaves to send words into someone's head. The patent was based on human experimentation in October 1994 at the Air Force lab, where scientists
were able to transmit phrases into the heads of human subjects."
~~ Washington Post article on electronic harassment and voices in the head, 1/14/07
It's quite fascinating how many people immediately discount anyone who talks about mind control.Government mind control programs have been reported in many major media articles and have been the subject of intense Congressional investigations which revealed widespread abuses. Below is yet another major media article on this key topic, this one revealing that some people who hear voices in their heads may actually be the subject of electronic harassment. As these articles and thousands of pages of declassified government documents make clear, mind control has been secretly studied for many decades.
If you are unaware of this important field of study, there are many reliable, verifiable resources which give much more information than the article below. For informative major media news articles on electronic harassment weapons, click here. For a brief, excellent summary of these weapons, click here. For a concise two-page summary of government mind control programs based on 18,000 pages of released government documents, click here.
Though this information may be disturbing, we feel it is better to be informed than to close our eyes. By spreading this information on electronic harassment and voices in the head to our political and media representatives and to our colleagues and friends, we can bring this vital information to light and build a brighter future for us all. And for lots more excellent information on this topic, see the "What you can do" box at the end of this article.
New on the Internet: a community of people who believe the government is beaming voices into their minds. They may be crazy, but the Pentagon has pursued a weapon that can do just that.
By Sharon Weinberger
Sunday, January 14, 2007; Page W22
If Harlan Girard is crazy, he doesn't act the part. He is standing just where he said he would be, below the Philadelphia train station's World War II memorial – a soaring statue of a winged angel embracing a fallen combatant, as if lifting him to heaven. Girard is wearing pressed khaki pants, expensive-looking leather loafers and a crisp blue button-down. He looks like a local businessman dressed for a casual Friday – a local businessman with a wickedly dark sense of humor, which had become apparent when he said to look for him beneath "the angel sodomizing a dead soldier." At 70, he appears robust and healthy – not the slightest bit disheveled or unusual-looking. He is also carrying a bag.
Girard's description of himself is matter-of-fact, until he explains what's in the bag: documents he believes prove that the government is attempting to control his mind. He carries that black, weathered bag everywhere he goes. "Every time I go out, I'm prepared to come home and find everything is stolen," he says.
The bag aside, Girard appears intelligent and coherent. At a table in front of Dunkin' Donuts inside the train station, Girard opens the bag and pulls out a thick stack of documents, carefully labeled and sorted with yellow sticky notes bearing neat block print. The documents are an authentic-looking mix of news stories, articles culled from military journals and even some declassified national security documents that do seem to show that the U.S. government has attempted to develop weapons that send voices into people's heads.
"It's undeniable that the technology exists," Girard says, "but if you go to the police and say, 'I'm hearing voices,' they're going to lock you up for psychiatric evaluation."
The thing that's missing from his bag – the lack of which makes it hard to prove he isn't crazy – is even a single document that would buttress the implausible notion that the government is currently targeting a large group of American citizens with mind-control technology. The only direct evidence for that, Girard admits, lies with alleged victims such as himself.
And of those, there are many.
It's 9:01 P.M. when the first person speaks during the Saturday conference call.
Unsure whether anyone else is on the line yet, the female caller throws out the first question: "You got gang stalking or V2K?" she asks no one in particular.
There's a short, uncomfortable pause.
"V2K, really bad. 24-7," a man replies.
"Gang stalking," another woman says.
"Oh, yeah, join the club," yet another man replies.
The members of this confessional "club" are not your usual victims. This isn't a group for alcoholics, drug addicts or survivors of childhood abuse; the people connecting on the call are self-described victims of mind control – people who believe they have been targeted by a secret government program that tracks them around the clock, using technology to probe and control their minds.
The callers frequently refer to themselves as TIs, which is short for Targeted Individuals, and talk about V2K – the official military abbreviation stands for "voice to skull" and denotes weapons that beam voices or sounds into the head. In their esoteric lexicon, "gang stalking" refers to the belief that they are being followed and harassed: by neighbors, strangers or colleagues who are agents for the government.
A few more "hellos" are exchanged, interrupted by beeps signaling late arrivals: Bill from Columbus, Barbara from Philadelphia, Jim from California and a dozen or so others.
Derrick Robinson, the conference call moderator, calls order.
"It's five after 9," says Robinson, with the sweetly reasonable intonation of a late-night radio host. "Maybe we should go ahead and start."
The idea of a group of people convinced they are targeted by weapons that can invade their minds has become a cultural joke, shorthanded by the image of solitary lunatics wearing tinfoil hats to deflect invisible mind beams. "Tinfoil hat," says Wikipedia, has become "a popular stereotype and term of derision; the phrase serves as a byword for paranoia and is associated with conspiracy theorists."
In 2005, a group of MIT students conducted a formal study using aluminum foil and radio signals. Their surprising finding: Tinfoil hats may actually amplify radio frequency signals. Of course, the tech students meant the study as a joke.
But during the Saturday conference call, the subject of aluminum foil is deadly serious. The MIT study had prompted renewed debate; while a few TIs realized it was a joke at their expense, some saw the findings as an explanation for why tinfoil didn't seem to stop the voices. Others vouched for the material.
"Tinfoil helps tremendously," reports one conference call participant, who describes wrapping it around her body underneath her clothing.
"Where do you put the tinfoil?" a man asks.
"Anywhere, everywhere," she replies. "I even put it in a hat."
A TI in an online mind-control forum recommends a Web site called "Block EMF" (as in electromagnetic frequencies), which advertises a full line of clothing, including aluminum-lined boxer shorts described as a "sheer, comfortable undergarment you can wear over your regular one to shield yourself from power lines and computer electric fields, and microwave, radar, and TV radiation." Similarly, a tinfoil hat disguised as a regular baseball cap is "smart and subtle."
For all the scorn, the ranks of victims – or people who believe they are victims – are speaking up. In the course of the evening, there are as many as 40 clicks from people joining the call, and much larger numbers participate in the online forum, which has 143 members. A note there mentioning interest from a journalist prompted more than 200 e-mail responses.
Until recently, people who believe the government is beaming voices into their heads would have added social isolation to their catalogue of woes. But now, many have discovered hundreds, possibly thousands, of others just like them all over the world. Web sites dedicated to electronic harassment and gang stalking have popped up in India, China, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Russia and elsewhere. Victims have begun to host support meetings in major cities, including Washington. Favorite topics at the meetings include lessons on how to build shields (the proverbial tinfoil hats), media and PR training, and possible legal strategies for outlawing mind control.
The biggest hurdle for TIs is getting people to take their concerns seriously. A proposal made in 2001 by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) to ban "psychotronic weapons" (another common term for mind-control technology) was hailed by TIs as a great step forward. But the bill was widely derided by bloggers and columnists and quickly dropped.
Doug Gordon, Kucinich's spokesman, would not discuss mind control other than to say the proposal was part of broader legislation outlawing weapons in space. The bill was later reintroduced, minus the mind control. "It was not the concentration of the legislation, which is why it was tightened up and redrafted," was all Gordon would say.
Unable to garner much support from their elected representatives, TIs have started their own PR campaign. And so, last spring, the Saturday conference calls centered on plans to hold a rally in Washington. A 2005 attempt at a rally drew a few dozen people and was ultimately rained out; the TIs were determined to make another go of it. Conversations focused around designing T-shirts, setting up congressional appointments, fundraising, creating a new Web site and formalizing a slogan. After some debate over whether to focus on gang stalking or mind control, the group came up with a compromise slogan that covered both: "Freedom From Covert Surveillance and Electronic Harassment."
Conference call moderator Robinson, who says his gang stalking began when he worked at the National Security Agency in the 1980s, offers his assessment of the group's prospects: Maybe this rally wouldn't produce much press, but it's a first step. "I see this as a movement," he says. "We're picking up people all the time."
Harlan Girard says his problems began in 1983, while he was a real estate developer in Los Angeles. The harassment was subtle at first: One day a woman pulled up in a car, wagged her finger at him, then sped away; he saw people running underneath his window at night; he noticed some of his neighbors seemed to be watching him; he heard someone moving in the crawl space under his apartment at night.
Girard sought advice from this then-girlfriend, a practicing psychologist, whom he declines to identify. He says she told him, "Nobody can become psychotic in their late 40s." She said he didn't seem to manifest other symptoms of psychotic behavior – he dressed well, paid his bills – and, besides his claims of surveillance, which sounded paranoid, he behaved normally. "People who are psychotic are socially isolated," he recalls her saying.
After a few months, Girard says, the harassment abruptly stopped. But the respite didn't last. In 1984, appropriately enough, things got seriously weird. He'd left his real estate career to return to school at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was studying for a master's degree in landscape architecture. He harbored dreams of designing parks and public spaces. Then, he says, he began to hear voices. Girard could distinguish several different male voices, which came complete with a mental image of how the voices were being generated: from a recording studio, with "four slops sitting around a card table drinking beer," he says.
The voices were crass but also strangely courteous, addressing him as "Mr. Girard."
They taunted him. They asked him if he thought he was normal; they suggested he was going crazy. They insulted his classmates: When an overweight student showed up for a field trip in a white raincoat, they said, "Hey, Mr. Girard, doesn't she look like a refrigerator?"
Six months after the voices began, they had another question for him: "Mr. Girard, Mr. Girard. Why aren't you dead yet?" At first, he recalls, the voices would speak just two or three times a day, but it escalated into a near-constant cacophony, often accompanied by severe pain all over his body – which Girard now attributes to directed-energy weapons that can shoot invisible beams.
The voices even suggested how he could figure out what was happening to him. He says they told him to go to the electrical engineering department to "tell them you're writing science fiction and you don't want to write anything inconsistent with physical reality. Then tell them exactly what has happened."
Girard went and got some rudimentary explanations of how technology could explain some of the things he was describing.
"Finally, I said: 'Look, I must come to the point, because I need answers. This is happening to me; it's not science fiction.'" They laughed.
He got the same response from friends, he says. "They regarded me as crazy, which is a humiliating experience."
When asked why he didn't consult a doctor about the voices and the pain, he says, "I don't dare start talking to people because of the potential stigma of it all. I don't want to be treated differently. Here I was in Philadelphia. Something was going on, I don't know any doctors . . . I know somebody's doing something to me."
It was a struggle to graduate, he says, but he was determined, and he persevered. In 1988, the same year he finished his degree, his father died, leaving Girard an inheritance large enough that he did not have to work.
So, instead of becoming a landscape architect, Girard began a full-time investigation of what was happening to him, often traveling to Washington in pursuit of government documents relating to mind control. He put an ad in a magazine seeking other victims. Only a few people responded. But over the years, as he met more and more people like himself, he grew convinced that he was part of what he calls an "electronic concentration camp."
What he was finding on his research trips also buttressed his belief: Girard learned that in the 1950s, the CIA had drugged unwitting victims with LSD as part of a rogue mind-control experiment called MK-ULTRA. He came across references to the CIA seeking to influence the mind with electromagnetic fields. Then he found references in an academic research book to work that military researchers at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research had done in the 1970s with pulsed microwaves to transmit words that a subject would hear in his head.Elsewhere, he came across references to attempts to use electromagnetic energy, sound waves or microwave beams to cause non-lethal pain to the body. For every symptom he experienced, he believed he found references to a weapon that could cause it.
How much of the research Girard cites checks out?
Concerns about microwaves and mind control date to the 1960s, when the U.S. government discovered that its embassy in Moscow was being bombarded by low-level electromagnetic radiation. In 1965, according to declassified Defense Department documents, the Pentagon, at the behest of the White House, launched Project Pandora, top-secret research to explore the behavioral and biological effects of low-level microwaves. For approximately four years, the Pentagon conducted secret research: zapping monkeys; exposing unwitting sailors to microwave radiation; and conducting a host of other unusual experiments (a sub-project of Project Pandora was titled Project Bizarre).
The results were mixed, and the program was plagued by disagreements and scientific squabbles. The "Moscow signal," as it was called, was eventually attributed to eavesdropping, not mind control, and Pandora ended in 1970. And with it, the military's research into so-called non-thermal microwave effects seemed to die out, at least in the unclassified realm.
But there are hints of ongoing research: An academic paper written for the Air Force in the mid-1990s mentions the idea of a weapon that would use sound waves to send words into a person's head. "The signal can be a 'message from God' that can warn the enemy of impending doom, or encourage the enemy to surrender," the author concluded.
In 2002, the Air Force Research Laboratory patented precisely such a technology: using microwaves to send words into someone's head. That work is frequently cited on mind-control Web sites. Rich Garcia, a spokesman for the research laboratory's directed energy directorate, declined to discuss that patent or current or related research in the field, citing the lab's policy not to comment on its microwave work.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed for this article, the Air Force released unclassified documents surrounding that 2002 patent – records that note that the patent was based on human experimentation in October 1994 at the Air Force lab, where scientists were able to transmit phrases into the heads of human subjects, albeit with marginal intelligibility. Research appeared to continue at least through 2002. Where this work has gone since is unclear – the research laboratory, citing classification, refused to discuss it or release other materials.
The official U.S. Air Force position is that there are no non-thermal effects of microwaves. Yet Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center, tagged microwave attacks against the human brain as part of future warfare in a 2001 presentation to the National Defense Industrial Association about "Future Strategic Issues."
"That work is exceedingly sensitive" and unlikely to be reported in any unclassified documents, he says.
Meanwhile, the military's use of weapons that employ electromagnetic radiation to create pain is well-known, as are some of the limitations of such weapons. In 2001, the Pentagon declassified one element of this research: the Active Denial System, a weapon that uses electromagnetic radiation to heat skin and create an intense burning sensation. So, yes, there is technology designed to beam painful invisible rays at humans, but the weapon seems to fall far short of what could account for many of the TIs' symptoms.
While its exact range is classified, Doug Beason, an expert in directed-energy weapons, puts it at about 700 meters, and the beam cannot penetrate a number of materials, such as aluminum. Considering the size of the full-scale weapon, which resembles a satellite dish, and its operational limitations, the ability of the government or anyone else to shoot beams at hundreds of people – on city streets, into their homes and while they travel in cars and planes – is beyond improbable.
But, given the history of America's clandestine research, it's reasonable to assume that if the defense establishment could develop mind-control or long-distance ray weapons, it almost certainly would. And, once developed, the possibility that they might be tested on innocent civilians could not be categorically dismissed.
Girard, for his part, believes these weapons were not only developed but were also tested on him more than 20 years ago.
What would the government gain by torturing him? Again, Girard found what he believed to be an explanation, or at least a precedent: During the Cold War, the government conducted radiation experiments on scores of unwitting victims, essentially using them as human guinea pigs.Girard came to believe that he, too, was a walking experiment.
Not that Girard thinks his selection was totally random: He believes he was targeted because of a disparaging remark he made to a Republican fundraiser about George H.W. Bush in the early 1980s. Later, Girard says, the voices confirmed his suspicion.
"One night I was going to bed; the usual drivel was going on," he says. "The constant stream of drivel. I was just about to go to bed, and a voice says: 'Mr. Girard, do you know who was in our studio with us? That was George Bush, vice president of the United States.'"
Girard's story, however strange, reflects what TIs around the world report: a chance encounter with a government agency or official, followed by surveillance and gang stalking, and then, in many cases, voices, and pain similar to electric shocks. Some in the community have taken it upon themselves to document as many cases as possible. One TI from California conducted about 50 interviews, narrowing the symptoms down to several major areas: "ringing in the ears," "manipulation of body parts," "hearing voices," "piercing sensation on skin," "sinus problems" and "sexual attacks." In fact, the TI continued, "many report the sensation of having their genitalia manipulated."
Both male and female TIs report a variety of "attacks" to their sexual organs. "My testicles became so sore I could barely walk," Girard says of his early experiences. Others, however, report the attacks in the form of sexual stimulation, including one TI who claims he dropped out of the seminary after constant sexual stimulation by directed-energy weapons. Susan Sayler, a TI in San Diego, says many women among the TIs suffer from attacks to their sexual organs but are often embarrassed to talk about it with outsiders.
"It's sporadic, you just never know when it will happen," she says. "A lot of the women say it's as soon as you lay down in bed – that's when you would get hit the worst. It happened to me as I was driving, at odd times."
What made her think it was an electronic attack and not just in her head? "There was no sexual attraction to a man when it would happen. That's what was wrong. It did not feel like a muscle spasm or whatever," she says. "It's so . . . electronic."
Gloria Naylor, a renowned African American writer, seems to defy many of the stereotypes of someone who believes in mind control. A winner of the National Book Award, Naylor is best known for her acclaimed novel, The Women of Brewster Place, which described a group of women living in a poor urban neighborhood and was later made into a miniseries by Oprah Winfrey.
But in 2005, she published a lesser-known work, 1996, a semi-autobiographical book describing her experience as a TI. "I didn't want to tell this story. It's going to take courage. Perhaps more courage than I possess, but they've left me no alternatives," Naylor writes at the beginning of her book. "I am in a battle for my mind. If I stop now, they'll have won, and I will lose myself." The book is coherent, if hard to believe. It's also marked by disturbing passages describing how Jewish American agents were responsible for Naylor's surveillance. "Of the many cars that kept coming and going down my road, most were driven by Jews," she writes in the book. When asked about that passage in a recent interview, she defended her logic: Being from New York, she claimed, she can recognize Jews.
Naylor lives on a quiet street in Brooklyn in a majestic brownstone with an interior featuring intricate woodwork and tasteful decorations that attest to a successful literary career. She speaks about her situation calmly, occasionally laughing at her own predicament and her struggle with what she originally thought was mental illness. "I would observe myself," she explains. "I would lie in bed while the conversations were going on, and I'd ask: Maybe it is schizophrenia?"
Like Girard, Naylor describes what she calls "street theater" – incidents that might be dismissed by others as coincidental, but which Naylor believes were set up. She noticed suspicious cars driving by her isolated vacation home. On an airplane, fellow passengers mimicked her every movement – like mimes on a street.
Voices similar to those in Girard's case followed – taunting voices cursing her, telling her she was stupid, that she couldn't write. Expletive-laced language filled her head. Naylor sought help from a psychiatrist and received a prescription for an antipsychotic drug. But the medication failed to stop the voices, she says, which only added to her conviction that the harassment was real.
For almost four years, Naylor says, the voices prevented her from writing. In 2000, she says, around the time she discovered the mind-control forums, the voices stopped and the surveillance tapered off. It was then that she began writing 1996 as a "catharsis."
Colleagues urged Naylor not to publish the book, saying she would destroy her reputation. But she did publish, albeit with a small publishing house. The book was generally ignored by critics but embraced by TIs.
Naylor is not the first writer to describe such a personal descent. Evelyn Waugh, one of the great novelists of the 20th century, details similar experiences in The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold. Waugh's book, published in 1957, has eerie similarities to Naylor's.
Embarking on a recuperative cruise, Pinfold begins to hear voices on the ship that he believes are part of a wireless system capable of broadcasting into his head; he believes the instigator recruited fellow passengers to act as operatives; and he describes "performances" put on by passengers directed at him yet meant to look innocuous to others.
Waugh wrote his book several years after recovering from a similar episode and realizing that the voices and paranoia were the result of drug-induced hallucinations.
Naylor ... is now back at work on an historical novel she hopes will return her to the literary mainstream. She remains convinced that she was targeted by mind control. The many echoes of her ordeal she sees on the mind-control forums reassure her she's not crazy, she says.
Of course, some of the things she sees on the forum do strike her as crazy. "But who I am to say?" she says. "Maybe I sound crazy to somebody else."
Some TIs, such as Ed Moore, a young medical doctor, take a slightly more skeptical approach. He criticizes what he calls the "wacky claims" of TIs who blame various government agencies or groups of people without any proof. "I have yet to see a claim of who is behind this that has any data to support it," he writes.
Nonetheless, Moore still believes the voices in his head are the result of mind control and that the U.S. government is the most likely culprit. Moore started hearing voices in 2003, just as he completed his medical residency in anesthesiology; he was pulling an all-nighter studying for board exams when he heard voices coming from a nearby house commenting on him, on his abilities as a doctor, on his sanity. At first, he thought he was simply overhearing conversations through walls (much as Waugh's fictional alter ego first thought), but when no one else could hear the voices, he realized they were in his head. Moore went through a traumatic two years, including hospitalization for depression with auditory hallucinations.
"One tries to convince friends and family that you are being electronically harassed with voices that only you can hear," he writes in an e-mail. "You learn to stop doing that. They don't believe you, and they become sad and concerned, and it amplifies your own depression when you have voices screaming at you and your friends and family looking at you as a helpless, sick, mentally unbalanced wreck."
He says he grew frustrated with anti-psychotic medications meant to stop the voices, both because the treatments didn't work and because psychiatrists showed no interest in what the voices were telling him. He began to look for some other way to cope.
"In March of 2005, I started looking up support groups on the Internet," he wrote. "My wife would cry when she would see these sites, knowing I still heard voices, but I did not know what else to do." In 2006, he says, his wife, who had stood by him for three years, filed for divorce.
Moore, like other TIs, is cautious about sharing details of his life. He worries about looking foolish to friends and colleagues – but he says that risk is ultimately worthwhile if he can bring attention to the issue.
With his father's financial help, Moore is now studying for an electrical engineering degree at the University of Texas at San Antonio, hoping to prove that V2K, the technology to send voices into people's heads, is real. Being in school, around other people, helps him cope, he writes, but the voices continue to taunt him.
Recently, he says, they told him: "We'll never stop [messing] with you."
A week before the TIs rally on the National Mall, John Alexander, one of the people whom Harlan Girard holds personally responsible for the voices in his head, is at a Chili's restaurant in Crystal City explaining over a Philly cheese steak and fries why the United States needs mind-control weapons.
A former Green Beret who served in Vietnam, Alexander went on to a number of national security jobs, and rubbed shoulders with prominent military and political leaders. Long known for taking an interest in exotic weapons, his 1980 article, "The New Mental Battlefield," published in the Army journal Military Review, is cited by self-described victims as proof of his complicity in mind control. Now retired from the government and living in Las Vegas, Alexander continues to advise the military. He is in the Washington area that day for an official meeting.
Beneath a shock of white hair is the mind of a self-styled military thinker. Alexander belongs to a particular set of Pentagon advisers who consider themselves defense intellectuals, focusing on big-picture issues, future threats and new capabilities. Alexander's career led him from work on sticky foam that would stop an enemy in his or her tracks to dalliances in paranormal studies and psychics, which he still defends as operationally useful.
In an earlier phone conversation, Alexander said that in the 1990s, when he took part in briefings at the CIA, there was never any talk of "mind control, or mind-altering drugs or technologies, or anything like that."
According to Alexander, the military and intelligence agencies were still scared by the excesses of MK-ULTRA, the infamous CIA program that involved, in part, slipping LSD to unsuspecting victims. "Until recently, anything that smacked of [mind control] was extremely dangerous" because Congress would simply take the money away, he said.
Alexander acknowledged that "there were some abuses that took place," but added that, on the whole, "I would argue we threw the baby out with the bath water."
But September 11, 2001, changed the mood in Washington, and some in the national security community are again expressing interest in mind control, particularly a younger generation of officials who weren't around for MK-ULTRA. "It's interesting, that it's coming back," Alexander observed.
While Alexander scoffs at the notion that he is somehow part of an elaborate plot to control people's minds, he acknowledges support for learning how to tap into a potential enemy's brain. He gives as an example the possible use of functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, for lie detection. "Brain mapping" with fMRI theoretically could allow interrogators to know when someone is lying by watching for activity in particular parts of the brain. For interrogating terrorists, fMRI could come in handy, Alexander suggests. But any conceivable use of the technique would fall far short of the kind of mind-reading TIs complain about.
Alexander also is intrigued by the possibility of using electronic means to modify behavior. The dilemma of the war on terrorism, he notes, is that it never ends. So what do you do with enemies, such as those at Guantanamo: keep them there forever? That's impractical. Behavior modification could be an alternative, he says.
"Maybe I can fix you, or electronically neuter you, so it's safe to release you into society, so you won't come back and kill me," Alexander says. It's only a matter of time before technology allows that scenario to come true, he continues. "We're now getting to where we can do that." He pauses for a moment to take a bite of his sandwich. "Where does that fall in the ethics spectrum? That's a really tough question."
When Alexander encounters a query he doesn't want to answer, such as one about the ethics of mind control, he smiles and raises his hands level to his chest, as if balancing two imaginary weights. In one hand is mind control and the sanctity of free thought – and in the other hand, a tad higher – is the war on terrorism.
But none of this has anything to do with the TIs, he says. "Just because things are secret, people tend to extrapolate. Common sense does not prevail, and even when you point out huge leaps in logic that just cannot be true, they are not dissuaded."
What is it that brings someone, even an intelligent person, to ascribe the experience of hearing disembodied voices to government weapons?
In her book, Abducted, Harvard psychologist Susan Clancy examines a group that has striking parallels to the TIs: people who believe they've been kidnapped by aliens. The similarities are often uncanny: Would-be abductees describe strange pains, and feelings of being watched or targeted. And although the alleged abductees don't generally have auditory hallucinations, they do sometimes believe that their thoughts are controlled by aliens, or that they've been implanted with advanced technology.
(On the online forum, some TIs posted vociferous objections to the parallel, concerned that the public finds UFOs even weirder than mind control. "It will keep us all marginalized and discredited," one griped.)
Clancy argues that the main reason people believe they've been abducted by aliens is that it provides them with a compelling narrative to explain their perception that strange things have happened to them, such as marks on their bodies (marks others would simply dismiss as bruises), stimulation to their sexual organs (as the TIs describe) or feelings of paranoia. "It's not just an explanation for your problems; it's a source of meaning for your life," Clancy says.
In the case of TIs, mind-control weapons are an explanation for the voices they hear in their head. Socrates heard a voice and thought it was a demon; Joan of Arc heard voices from God. As one TI noted in an e-mail: "Each person undergoing this harassment is looking for the solution to the problem. Each person analyzes it through his or her own particular spectrum of beliefs. If you are a scientific-minded person, then you will probably analyze the situation from that perspective and conclude it must be done with some kind of electronic devices. If you are a religious person, you will see it as a struggle between the elements of whatever religion you believe in. If you are maybe, perhaps more eccentric, you may think that it is alien in nature."
Or, if you happen to live in the United States in the early 21st century, you may fear the growing power of the NSA, CIA and FBI.
Being a victim of government surveillance is also, arguably, better than being insane. In Waugh's novella based on his own painful experience, when Pinfold concludes that hidden technology is being used to infiltrate his brain, he "felt nothing but gratitude in his discovery." Why? "He might be unpopular; he might be ridiculous; but he was not mad."
Ralph Hoffman, a professor of psychiatry at Yale who has studied auditory hallucinations, regularly sees people who believe the voices are a part of government harassment (others believe they are God, dead relatives or even ex-girlfriends). Not all people who hear voices are schizophrenic, he says, noting that people can hear voices episodically in highly emotional states. What exactly causes these voices is still unknown, but one thing is certain: People who think the voices are caused by some external force are rarely dissuaded from their delusional belief, he says. "These are highly emotional and gripping experiences that are so compelling for them that ordinary reality seems bland."
Perhaps because the experience is so vivid, he says, even some of those who improve through treatment merely decide the medical regimen somehow helped protect their brain from government weapons.
Scott Temple, a professor of psychiatry at Penn State University who has been involved in two recent studies of auditory hallucinations, notes that those who suffer such hallucinations frequently lack insight into their illness. Even among those who do understand they are sick, "that awareness comes and goes," he says. "People feel overwhelmed, and the delusional interpretations return."
Back at the Philadelphia train station, "handlers" had spoken to him only briefly – they weren't in the right position to attack him, Girard surmises, based on the lack of voices. Today, his conversation jumps more rapidly from one subject to the next: victims of radiation experiments, his hatred of George H.W. Bush, MK-ULTRA, his personal experiences.
Asked about his studies at Penn, he replies by talking about his problems with reading: "I told you, everything I write they dictate to me," he says, referring again to the voices. "When I read, they're reading to me. My eyes go across; they're moving my eyes down the line. They're reading it to me. When I close the book, I can't remember a thing I read. That's why they do it."
The week before, Girard had pointed to only one person who appeared suspicious to him – a young African American man reading a book; this time, however, he hears more voices, which leads him to believe the station is crawling with agents.
"Let's change our location," Girard says after a while. "I'm sure they have 40 or 50 people in here today. I escaped their surveillance last time – they won't let that happen again."
Asked to explain the connection between mind control and the University of Pennsylvania, which Girard alleges is involved in the conspiracy, he begins to talk about defense contractors located near the Philadelphia campus: "General Electric was right next to the parking garage; General Electric Space Systems occupies a huge building right over there. From that building, you could see into the studio where I was doing my work most of the time. I asked somebody what they were doing there. You know, it had to do with computers. GE Space Systems. They were supposed to be tracking missile debris from this location . . . pardon me. What was your question again?"
Yet many parts of Girard's life seem to reflect that of any affluent 70-year-old bachelor. He travels frequently to France for extended vacations and takes part in French cultural activities in Philadelphia. He has set up a travel scholarship at the Cleveland Institute of Art in the name of his late mother, who attended school there (he changed his last name 27 years ago for "personal reasons"), and he travels to meet the students who benefit from the fund.
And while the bulk of his time is spent on his research and writing about mind control, he has other interests. He follows politics and describes outings with friends and family members with whom he doesn't talk about mind control, knowing they would view it skeptically.
Girard acknowledges that some of his experiences mirror symptoms of schizophrenia, but asked if he ever worried that the voices might in fact be caused by mental illness, he answers sharply with one word: "No."
How, then, does he know the voices are real?
"How do you know you know anything?" Girard replies. "How do you know I exist? How do you know this isn't a dream you're having, from which you'll wake up in a few minutes? I suppose that analogy is the closest thing: You know when you have a dream. Sometimes it could be perfectly lucid, but you know it's a dream."
The very "realness" of the voices is the issue – how do you disbelieve something you perceive as real? That's precisely what Hoffman, the Yale psychiatrist, points out: So lucid are the voices that the sufferers – regardless of their educational level or self-awareness – are unable to see them as anything but real. "One thing I can assure you," Hoffman says, "is that for them, it feels real."
It looks like almost any other small political rally in Washington. Posters adorn the gate on the southwest side of the Capitol Reflecting Pool, as attendees set up a table with press materials, while volunteers test a loudspeaker and set out coolers filled with bottled water. The sun is out, the weather is perfect, and an eclectic collection of people from across the country has gathered to protest mind control.
There is not a tinfoil hat to be seen. Only the posters and paraphernalia hint at the unusual. "Stop USA electronic harassment," urges one poster. "Directed Energy Assaults," reads another. Smaller signs in the shape of tombstones say, "RIP MKULTRA." The main display, set in front of the speaker's lectern has a more extended message: "HELP STOP HI-TECH ASSAULT PSYCHOTRONIC TORTURE."
About 35 TIs show up for the June rally, in addition to a few friends and family members. Speakers alternate between giving personal testimonials and descriptions of research into mind-control technology. Most of the gawkers at the rally are foreign tourists. A few hecklers snicker at the signs, but mostly people are either confused or indifferent. The articles on mind control at the table – from mainstream news magazines – go untouched.
"How can you expect people to get worked up over this if they don't care about eavesdropping or eminent domain?" one man challenges after stopping to flip through the literature. Mary Ann Stratton, who is manning the table, merely shrugs and smiles sadly. There is no answer: Everyone at the rally acknowledges it is an uphill battle.
In general, the outlook for TIs is not good; many lose their jobs, houses and family. Depression is common. But for many at the rally, experiencing the community of mind-control victims seems to help. One TI, a man who had been a rescue swimmer in the Coast Guard before voices in his head sent him on a downward spiral, expressed the solace he found among fellow TIs in a long e-mail to another TI: "I think that the only people that can help are people going through the same thing. Everyone else will not believe you, or they are possibly involved."
In the end, though, nothing could help him enough. In August 2006, he would commit suicide.
But at least for the day, the rally is boosting TI spirits. Girard, in what for him is an ebullient mood, takes the microphone. A small crowd of tourists gathers at the sidelines, listening with casual interest. With the Capitol looming behind him, he reaches the crescendo of his speech, rallying the attendees to remember an important thing: They are part of a single community.
"I've heard it said, 'We can't get anywhere because everyone's story is different.' We are all the same," Girard booms. "You knew someone with the power to commit you to the electronic concentration camp system."
Several weeks after the rally, Girard shows up for a meeting with a reporter at the stately Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where he has stayed frequently over the two decades he has traveled to the capital to battle mind control. He walks in with a lit cigarette, which he apologetically puts out after a hotel employee tells him smoking isn't allowed anymore. He is half an hour late – delayed, he says, by a meeting on Capitol Hill. Wearing a monogrammed dress shirt and tie, he looks, as always, serious and professional.
Girard declines to mention whom on Capitol Hill he'd met with, other than to say it was a congressional staffer. Embarrassment is likely a factor: Girard readily acknowledges that most people he meets with, ranging from scholars to politicians, ignore his entreaties or dismiss him as a lunatic.
Lately, his focus is on his Web site, which he sees as the culmination of nearly a quarter-century of research. When completed, it will contain more than 300 pages of documents. What next? Maybe he'll move to France (there are victims there, too), or maybe the U.S. government will finally just kill him, he says.
Meanwhile, he is always searching for absolute proof that the government has decoded the brain. His latest interest is LifeLog, a project once funded by the Pentagon that he read about in Wired News. The article described it this way: "The embryonic LifeLog program would dump everything an individual does into a giant database: every e-mail sent or received, every picture taken, every Web page surfed, every phone call made, every TV show watched, every magazine read. All of this – and more – would combine with information gleaned from a variety of sources: a GPS transmitter to keep tabs on where that person went, audiovisual sensors to capture what he or she sees or says, and biomedical monitors to keep track of the individual's health."
Girard suggests that the government, using similar technology, has "catalogued" his life over the past two years – every sight and sound (Evelyn Waugh, in his mind-control book, writes about his character's similar fear that his harassers were creating a file of his entire life).
Girard thinks the government can control his movements, inject thoughts into his head, cause him pain day and night. He believes that he will die a victim of mind control.
Is there any reason for optimism?
Girard hesitates, then asks a rhetorical question.
"Why, despite all this, why am I the same person? Why am I Harlan Girard?"
For all his anguish, be it the result of mental illness or, as Girard contends, government mind control, the voices haven't managed to conquer the thing that makes him who he is: Call it his consciousness, his intellect or, perhaps, his soul.
"That's what they don't yet have," he says. After 22 years, "I'm still me."
Sharon Weinberger is a Washington writer and author of Imaginary Weapons: A Journey Through the Pentagon's Scientific Underworld.
Note: The original article on the Washington Post website is available here. For numerous patents demonstrating the possibility of projecting voices into the head, click here. See informative diagrams and explanations of how it's all done. Read also a revealing essay by a military analyst on advanced weapons of mind control and the race with Russia to develop them.
- Educate yourself: Visit our information-packed Mind Control Information Center.
- For those subjected to electronic harassment and/or stalking, you may greatly appreciate the rich resources and excellent support at http://freedomfchs.com
- Learn more about the intriguing history and development of controversial mind control programs in this excellent two-page summary. Footnotes and links to reliable sources are provided for verification purposes.
- For reliable, verifiable information from major media articles on the little-known, yet critical topic of nonlethal weapons, click here and here.
- Read powerful, reliable major media articles on electronic harassment and government mind control programs at this link.
- Inform your media and political representatives of this critical information on electronic harassment. Contact those close to you at this link. Urge them to bring this information on this important civil rights issue to light.
- Spread this news on electronic harassment to your friends and colleagues, and bookmark this article on key news websites using the "Share" icon on this page, so that we can fill the role at which the major media is sadly failing. Together, we can make a difference.
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Fascism, state terror and power abuse
Non Lethal Weapons Research Project http://www.brad.ac.uk/acad/nlw/censdera.html
By Tony Freinberg and Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
(Filed: 19/09/2004) Microwave weapons that cause pain without lasting injury are to be issued to American troops in Iraq for the first time as concern mounts over the growing number of civilians killed in fighting.
The non-lethal weapons, which use high-powered electromagnetic beams, will be fitted to vehicles already in Iraq, which will allow the system to be introduced as early as next year.
Using technology similar to that found in a conventional microwave oven, the beam rapidly heats water molecules in the skin to cause intolerable pain and a burning sensation. The invisible beam penetrates the skin to a depth of less than a millimetre. As soon as the target moves out of the beam's path, the pain disappears.
Because there are no after-effects, the United States Department of Defence believes that the weapons will be particularly useful in urban conflict. The beam could be used to scatter large crowds in which insurgents operate at close quarters to both troops and civilians.
"The skin gets extremely hot, and people can't stand the pain, so they have to move - and move in the way we want them to," said Col. Wade Hall of the Office of Force Transformation, a body formed in November 2001 to promote rapid improvement across all of the American armed services.
Rich Garcia, a spokesman for the Air Force Research Laboratory in New Mexico, where the systems were developed, took part in testing the weapon and was subjected to the microwave beam which has a range of one kilometre. "It just feels like your skin is on fire," he said. "[But] when you get out of the path of the beam, or shut off the beam, everything goes back to normal. There's no residual pain."
A heated battle on a crowded Baghdad street last week that left 16 Iraqis dead, highlighted once again the pressing need to reduce the number of civilian casualties, and at the same time prevent further damage to relations between American troops and the Iraqi population. American commanders later admitted using seven helicopter-launched rockets and 30 high-calibre machine gun rounds in last Sunday's incident.
The armoured vehicles will be named Sheriffs once they have been modified to carry the microwave weapons, known as the Active Denial System (ADS). Col Hall said that US army and US marine corps units should receive four to six ADS equipped Sheriffs by September 2005.
The project was initiated only three months ago but US military chiefs intend to rush the Sheriffs into the front line, believing that they can be of immediate assistance.
In another development, the Sheriffs will be fitted with Gunslinger, a rapid-fire gun currently under development that will detect enemy snipers and automatically fire back at them.
If the Sheriffs prove successful, their use will be expanded in combat zones. They will also be deployed for security at ports and air force bases, and could take part in border patrols.
by Daniel McCarthy - 06Feb03
There’s a new weapon of mass destruction, one designed to destroy critical electronic infrastructure. It shorts out everything from office computers to traffic lights to pacemakers, crippling the machines that run a modern economy – not to mention those that run a modern hospital. Although not intended as an anti-personnel device, the side-effects that this weapon has upon human beings caught within its blast radius are devastating: those lucky enough to suffer a direct hit are more or less instantly vaporized. The less fortunate on the periphery of the blast, or those caught by a ricochet, suffer severe burns and damage to the internal organs, including the brain.
The weapon is the "e-bomb," or microwave bomb, and as you may have guessed, this new marvel of terror is brought to us by the same folks who gave the world the atomic bomb and weaponized anthrax. Yes, it’s a creation of the United States federal government and its "defense" contractors. Victorino Matus writes about the e-bomb on the Weekly Standard’s website; Matus cannot quite conceal his enthusiasm, but he does at least mention the humanitarian concerns about the device. Of course, he concludes by reiterating that the purpose of the bomb is actually to spare lives: to destroy electronics without also killing people. This is a humanitarian weapon.
Something here doesn’t add up. Several news sources have reported that the e-bomb may see its first use in the attack on Iraq. That’s understandable as far as it goes; Iraq is not really a stone age country, despite years of sanctions. It may still have enough electronics to make the bomb an effective weapon in the U.S. arsenal (although then again, it may not). But think about this in the long term. The real danger to the United States at present comes from terrorist organizations, not from "rogue states," which are only significant to the extent that they harbor and support terrorists. How do you use an "e-bomb" against al Qaeda? It’s not a weapon of much use against people hiding in caves. Nor is it of any use in stopping a hijacked airplane – it could bring down an aircraft, of course, but so could a conventional missile, and the e-bomb would run the additional risk of shorting out any other electronics nearby, including other planes and systems on the ground. Even its usefulness against Iraq will be very limited. To put it bluntly, an anti-technology weapon is most useful against a target dependent on high technology. That doesn’t mean Iraq, and it certainly doesn’t mean Afghanistan or al Qaeda. It means countries like the United States.
By its very nature, the e-bomb poses more of a danger to the United States and other first world countries than it does to terrorists or rogue states. So why is the US developing this weapon? One explanation would be that the military-industrial bureaucracy is still fighting the last war. The e-bomb might work fine against the aircraft and mechanized infantry divisions of a large nation state such as the Soviet Union. It would be a useful weapon to deploy against cities as well, to scramble communications and handicap the economy. But this kind nation-to-nation warfare is not what America or the world currently faces. Even apart from al Qaeda, most of the fighting in the world today is within, not between, states. Outside of Africa, what warfare there still is between states typically now takes the form of the United States and its allies fighting a single, smaller foe of extremely limited conventional forces (Serbia, Iraq, etc.). In such engagements the e-bomb has limited practical value. It’s a bunker-buster, and one of a highly specialized sort, in an age characterized by fewer and fewer bunkers. It might have applications in Iraq, but it would have had few indeed in Serbia – except, again, as a weapon for use against cities.
On the other hand, the e-bomb would be a very convenient weapon for anyone who wanted to attack America. There are ways to shield, or "harden," electronics against electromagnetic pulses, but microwaves are the most difficult radiation to harden against. No doubt some of the most highly sensitive military technology might be proofed against an e-bomb, but civilians would have little protection. In addition to hospitals and traffic lights, power grids, air traffic control systems, and telecommunications could all be crippled or destroyed. The loss of life and economic damage would be bad enough in Belgrade or Baghdad; in an American city it would be far worse. The microwave bomb really is a weapon of mass destruction, one particularly tuned to the weaknesses of a modern, computer-reliant city.
Will the government’s development of this weapon come back to haunt us? In twenty years’ time we may have President George P. Bush threatening war with Bhutan unless the Bhutanis can prove that they haven’t been developing an e-bomb. Meanwhile our own military-industrial complex will be busily at work creating yet another weapon of mass destruction. It’s happened before and now it’s happening again.
By MARK THOMPSON
Posted Sunday, January 19, 2003; 10:31 a.m. EST
Every war has its wonder weapon. In Afghanistan, it was the Predator, the unmanned drone that would loiter, invisibly, over the battlefield before unleashing a Hellfire missile on an unsuspecting target. The Gulf War marked the debut of precision-guided munitions, and in Vietnam helicopters came of age. World War II gave us the horror of nuclear weapons, and World War I introduced the tank. If there's a second Gulf War, get ready to meet the high-power microwave.
HPMs are man-made lightning bolts crammed into cruise missiles. They could be key weapons for targeting Saddam Hussein's stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons. HPMs fry the sophisticated computers and electronic gear necessary to produce, protect, store and deliver such agents. The powerful electromagnetic pulses can travel into deeply buried bunkers through ventilation shafts, plumbing and antennas. But unlike conventional explosives, they won't spew deadly agents into the air, where they could poison Iraqi civilians or advancing U.S. troops.
The HPM is a top-secret program, and the Pentagon wants to keep it that way. Senior military officials have dropped hints about a new, classified weapon for Iraq but won't provide details. Still, information about HPMs, first successfully tested in 1999, has trickled out."High-power microwave technology is ready for the transition to active weapons in the U.S. military," Air Force Colonel Eileen Walling wrote in a rare, unclassified report on the program three years ago. "There are signs that microwave weapons will represent a revolutionary concept for warfare, principally because microwaves are designed to incapacitate equipment rather than humans."
HPMs can unleash in a flash as much electrical power—2 billion watts or more—as the Hoover Dam generates in 24 hours. Capacitors aboard the missile discharge an energy pulse—moving at the speed of light and impervious to bad weather—in front of the missile as it nears its target. That pulse can destroy any electronics within 1,000 ft. of the flash by short-circuiting internal electrical connections, thereby wrecking memory chips, ruining computer motherboards and generally screwing up electronic components not built to withstand such powerful surges. It's similar to what can happen to your computer or TV when lightning strikes nearby and a tidal wave of electricity rides in through the wiring.
Most of this "e-bomb" development is taking place at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M. The Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland has been studying how to deliver varying but predictable electrical pulses to inflict increasing levels of harm: to deny, degrade, damage or destroy, to use the Pentagon's parlance. HPM engineers call it "dial-a-hurt." But that hurt can cause unintended problems: beyond taking out a tyrant's silicon chips, HPMs could destroy nearby heart pacemakers and other life-critical electrical systems inhospitals or aboard aircraft (that's why the U.S. military is putting them only on long-range cruise missiles). The U.S. used a more primitive form of these weapons—known as soft bombs—against Yugoslavia and in the first Gulf War, when cruise missiles showered miles of thin carbon fibers over electrical facilities, creating massive short circuits that shut down electrical power.
Although the Pentagon prefers not to use experimental weapons on the battlefield, "the world intervenes from time to time," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says. "And you reach in there and take something out that is still in a developmental stage, and you might use it."
Times of India - MONDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2002 08:39:26 AM
WASHINGTON: The Pentagon has accelerated development of a new generation of advanced precision weaponry that could be ready for use in a high-tech battle for Baghdad, according to US military sources.
Weapons ready for battlefield deployment include a microwave bomb that emits powerful pulses of energy to destroy enemy electronics, disable communications and even block vehicle ignitions, without hurting bystanders.
Defence researchers have also successfully tested a radical thermobaric warhead - previously described as a "vacuum bomb" to be aimed at suspected chemical and biological stockpiles. The warheads are designed to produce a heat so intense that any contaminants released into the atmosphere are neutralised instantly.
After the success in Afghanistan of military innovations such as precision-guided bunker-busting bombs and remote-controlled Predator drones, Pentagon officials have been racing to develop previously experimental weapons that might prove invaluable should US troops be ordered into action in Iraq.
Military scientists have long been intrigued by the potential harnessing of microwave technology to paralyse enemy capabilities. The US air force used a related technique to disable Yugoslavian power grids during the Kosovo campaign.
Since then, research has advanced so rapidly that US officials believe a single microwave device carried by an unmanned aircraft could hit 100 targets with 1,000 pulses of high-intensity energy on a single sortie.
Military analysts believe that microwave bombs could be particularly useful against the Republican Guard and other defences around Baghdad.
Known as directed-energy weapons, they destroy electronic systems but -- in theory at least -- do not harm people or damage buildings.
Perhaps the most useful new toy in the Pentagon's Christmas sack is a three-dimensional computer simulation of the streets of Baghdad, complete with all known Iraqi military locations and satellite positioning co-ordinates. The 3D imagery is being studied by military commanders as they plan possible scenarios for a ground assault on the city.
The combination of overwhelming fire-power and technological expertise helps explain why so many Pentagon officials are convinced that the battle for Baghdad will prove a walkover.
By Edward Hammond 03Jul02
In The Futurological Congress (1971), Polish writer Stanislaw Lem portrayed a future in which disobedience is controlled with hypothetical mind-altering chemicals dubbed "benignimizers". Lem's fictional work opens with the frightening story of a police and military biochemical attack on protesters outside of an international scientific convention. As the environment becomes saturated with hallucinogenic agents, in Lem's tale the protesters (and bystanders) descend into chaos, overcome by delusions and feelings of complacency, self-doubt, and even love.
If the Pentagon's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) has its way, Lem may be remembered as a prophet.
The Advantages and Limitations of Calmatives for Use as a Non-Lethal Technique, a 49 page report obtained last week by the Sunshine Project under US information freedom law, has revealed a shocking Pentagon program that is researching psychopharmacological weapons. Based on "extensive review conducted on the medical literature and new developments in the pharmaceutical industry", the report concludes that "the development and use of [psychopharmacological weapons] is achievable and desirable." These mind-altering weapons violate international agreements on chemical and biological warfare as well as human rights. Some of the techniques discussed in the report have already been used by the US in the "War on Terrorism".
The team, which is based at the Applied Research Laboratory of Pennsylvania State University, is assessing weaponization of a number of psychiatric and anesthetic pharmaceuticals as well as "club drugs" (such as the "date rape drug" GHB). According to the report, "the choice administration route, whether application to drinking water, topical administration to the skin, an aerosol spray inhalation route, or a drug filled rubber bullet, among others, will depend on the environment." The environments identified are specific military and civil situations, including "hungry refugees that are excited over the distribution of food", "a prison setting", an "agitated population" and "hostage situations". At times, the JNLWD team's report veers very close to defining dissent as a psychological disorder.
The drugs that Lem called "benignimizers" are called "calmatives" by the military. Some calmatives were weaponized by the Cold War adversaries, including BZ, described by those who have used it as "the ultimate bad trip". Calmatives were supposed to have been deleted from military stockpiles following the adoption of the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1993, which bans any chemical weapon that can cause death, temporary incapacitation, or permanent harm to humans or animals.
Calmative is military, not medical, terminology. In more familiar medical language, most of the drugs under consideration are central nervous system depressants. Most are synthetic, some are natural. They include opiates (morphine-type drugs) and benzodiazpines, such as Valium (diazepam). Antidepressants are also of great interest to the research team, which is looking for drugs like Prozac (fluoxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline) that are faster acting.
Biochemicals and Treaties:
Many of the proposed drugs can be considered both chemical and biological weapons banned by the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). As a practical matter, biological and chemical "calmatives" must be addressed together. As the agents are explicitly intended for military use, and are intended to incapacitate their victims, they do not fall under the CWC's domestic riot control agent exemption. Toxic products of living agents - such as the neurotoxin botulinum - are considered both chemical and biological agents. Any weapons use of neurotransmitters or substances mimicking their action is similarly covered by both arms control treaties. The researchers have developed a massive calmatives database and are following biomedical research on mechanisms of drug addiction, pain relief, and other areas of research on cognition-altering biochemicals. For example, the JNLWD team is tracking research on cholecystokinin, a neurotransmitter that causes panic attacks in healthy people and is linked to psychiatric disorders.
The drugs have hallucinogenic and other effects, including apnea (stopped breathing), coma, and death. One class of drugs under consideration are fentanyls. The report's cover features a diagram of fentanyl. According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the biological effects of fentanyls "are indistinguishable from those of heroin, with the exception that the fentanyls may be hundreds of times more potent." The report says that the drugs' profound effects may make it necessary to "check for the occasional person who may stop breathing (many medical reasons in the unhealthy, the elderly, and very young...", as well as victims who "'go to sleep' in positions that obstruct their airway".
The report points out that pharmaceutical candidates that fail because of excessive side-effects might be desirable for use as weapons: "Often, an unwanted side-effect... will terminate the development of a promising new pharmaceutical compound. However, in the variety of situations in which non-lethal techniques are used, there may be less need to be concerned with unattractive side-effects... Perhaps, the ideal calmative has already been synthesized and is awaiting renewed interest from its manufacturer."
As of March 2002, the team was researching a mix of pepper spray ("OC") and an unidentified calmative agent. Pepper spray is the most powerful chemical crowd control agent in use, and has been associated with numerous deaths. Adding a pharmacological "calmative" to OC would create a hideous concoction. The report prioritizes Valium and Precedex (dexmeditomidine) for weaponization, and it is possible that these are the agents that could be mixed with OC. The researchers also suggest mixing ketamine with other drugs (see below). The chemical cocktail proposals bear a resemblance to South Africa's apartheid-era weapons research, whose director claimed under oath to have attempted to develop a BZ and cocaine mixture for use on government enemies.
Precedex is sedative approved for use in the US on patients hospitalized in intensive care units. The report draws attention to an "interesting phenomenon" related to Precedex use - the drug increases patients' reaction to electrical shock. The researchers suggest sensitizing people by using Precedex on them, followed by use of electromagnetic weapons to "address effects on the few individuals where an average dose of the pharmacological agent did not have the desired effect." Obviously, such a technique might be considered torture, and certainly could be used to torture. To add to hypnotic and delusional properties, the researchers suggest that psychopharmaceutical agents could be designed to have physical effects including headache and nausea, adding to their torture potential.
The researchers suggest that transdermal patches and transmucosal (through mucous membranes) formulations of Buspar (buspirone) under development by Bristol-Myers Squibb and TheraTech, Inc. "may be effective in a prison setting where there may have been a recent anxiety-provoking incident or confrontation."
Use in the War on Terrorism:
Of course, uncooperative or rioting prisoners would be extraordinarily unlikely to accept being drugged with a transdermal patch or most conventional means. Any such application of a "calmative" would likely be on individuals in shackles or a straightjacket. The US has admitted that it forcibly sedates Al-Qaida "detainees" held at the US base in Guantanamo, Cuba. Former JNLWD commander and retired Col. Andy Mazzara, who directs the Penn State team, says has he sent a "Science Advisor" to the US Navy to assist the War on Terrorism.
Modes of Delivery:
A number of weaponization modes are discussed in the report. These include aerosol sprays, microencapsulation, and insidious methods such as introduction into potable water supplies and psychoactive chewing gum. JNLWD is investing in the development of microencapsulation technology, which involves creating granules of a minute quantity of agent coated with a hardened shell. Distributed on the ground, the shell breaks under foot and the agent is released. A new mortar round being developed could deliver thousands of the minute granules per round. The team concludes that new delivery methods under development by the pharmaceutical industry will be of great weapons value. These include new transdermal, transmucosal, and aerosol delivery methods. The report cites the relevance of a lollipop containing fentanyl used to treat children in severe pain, and notes that "the development of new pain-relieving opiate drugs capable of being administered via several routes is at the forefront of drug discovery", concluding that new weapons could be developed from this pharmaceutical research.
The researchers express specific interest shooting humans with guns loaded with carfentanil darts. Carfentanil is a veterinary narcotic used to tranquilize large, dangerous animals such as bears and tigers. Anyone who has watched wildlife shows on television is familiar with the procedure. In the US, carfentanil is not approved for any use on human beings. It is an abused drug and a controlled substance. Under US law, first time offenders convicted of unlicensed possession of carfentanil can be punished by up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Most of the JNLWD team's weapon candidates are controlled substances in most countries. Some are widely used legitimate pharmaceuticals that are also drugs of abuse, such as Valium and opiates. The Pentagon team advocates more research into the weapons potential of convulsants (which provoke seizures) and "club drugs", the generally illegal substances used by some at "rave" and dance clubs. Among those in the military spotlight are ketamine ("Special K"), GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutrate, "liquid ecstasy"), and rohypnol ("Roofies"). The latter two in particular are called "date rape drugs" because of incidences of their use on victims of sexual and other crimes. Most are DEA Schedule I or II narcotics that provoke hallucinations and can carry a sentence of life imprisonment. For example, according to the DEA, "Use of ketamine as a general anesthetic for humans has been limited due to adverse effects including delirium and hallucinations... Low doses produce vertigo, ataxia, slurred speech, slow reaction time, and euphoria. Intermediate doses produce disorganized thinking, altered body image, and a feeling of unreality with vivid visual hallucinations. High doses produce analgesia, amnesia, and coma."
Edward Hammond is director of The Sunshine Project, based in Austin, Texas. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional information, on relationships between these weapons and protection human rights, medical ethics, and drug research is forthcoming. A summary of the report is available on the Sunshine Project website.
By Alan Philps in Jerusalem
April 16 2002
Daily Telegraph, London
Getting an earful ... loudspeakers held up near the Nativity Church pump out the noise.
The Israeli Army is broadcasting ear-splitting screeches and wails at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, traditional site of Jesus' birth, to force out 200 Palestinians besieged there.
Troops brought in a crane to hoist loudspeakers over the ancient basilica, one of the holiest shrines in Christendom, as part of what one person inside called "psycho terror". One of the noises sounds like a car alarm.
Camped outside the church, the army estimates there are about 50 wanted Palestinian militants inside, with clergy and civilians.
The Israeli Government offered a deal on Sunday under which the wanted men would be given a choice between permanent exile and trial before a military court. "If they leave, it's for good but, if they stay, then they will have to stand trial in Israel," said a spokesman for the Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. The offer was put by the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, to the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, during talks on Sunday.
Palestinian negotiators immediately rejected it, saying the men would not accept exile, and if they were to be judged it should be before a Palestinian court. But they would accept any deal that Mr Arafat approved.
In an appeal on Friday the trapped Palestinians called for United Nations intervention to save them from "a slow death".
They have been deprived of food for almost two weeks, and the army has shot at Palestinian youths lobbing bags of bread into the compound.
"We are hearing loud whistles and screeches in the daytime and now at night," said the Governor of Bethlehem, Mahmoud Madani, who is inside the church. "They want to destroy our morale, but the only solution is a negotiated settlement."
The church has responded to the caterwauling by ringing its bells.
In a major blow to the Palestinian resistance, Israel last night arrested Marwan Barghouthi, a leader of Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction in the West Bank and regarded by Israel as the top militant in the area, Israeli security sources said.
Barghouthi, sought by Israel since it launched a West Bank offensive on March 29, was arrested in the city of Ramallah, the sources said
14:47 09 May 02
Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition
Bugs that eat roads and buildings. Biocatalysts that break down fuel and plastics. Devices that stealthily corrode aluminium and other metals. These are just a few of the non-lethal weapons that the US has tried to develop, or is trying to develop.
But quite how close such weapons are to reality we may never know. The US National Academy of Sciences is refusing to release dozens of reports proposing or describing their development, even though the documents are supposed to be public records.
The academy is justifying its unprecedented reticence by citing security concerns after 11 September. But campaigners think the real reason is that the research violates both US law and international treaties on chemical and biological weapons.
The documents in question were collected in 2001 by a panel of academic and industry scientists set up by the NAS to evaluate recent non-lethal weapons research for the Pentagon's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program. The US took an increased interest in non-lethals after its disastrous peacekeeping mission in Somalia in 1993, when rioting civilians killed American soldiers.
The panel, whose report is due out later in 2002, collected 147 reports and proposals from researchers, many of them funded by the JNLWP. One group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, for example, proposes using intense electromagnetic fields to produce effects "ranging from the disruption of short-term memory to total loss of control of voluntary bodily functions". Others propose directed energy weapons.
Off the record
In March, as is usual with non-classified studies by the NAS, they were deposited with the academy's Public Access Records Office, and their titles were released (see table). "These documents are supposed to be public," says Ed Hammond of the Sunshine Project, a group campaigning against biological weapons. When he asked the records office to see 77 of the documents, it agreed to hand them over.
"But two days later the NAS pulled the documents," says Hammond. "Kevin Hale, the NAS security officer, told me it was because someone had expressed concern." Who did so is not clear. The pressure for the clampdown does not appear to have come from the JNLWP itself, because last week it sent Hammond eight documents he had requested, including three on the NAS list.
New Scientist could not get hold of Hale. "We are still formulating our response to the Sunshine people," is all an assistant would say. But the few reports that Hammond did obtain make interesting reading.
In 2000, New Scientist revealed that senior officials in the JNLWP want to rewrite the chemical and biological weapons treaties to give themselves more freedom to develop non-lethal weapons. The reports make it clear that research that violates the treaties has been under way since the 1990s.
One 1998 funding application from the Office of Naval Research proposes creating genetically engineered microorganisms that would corrode roads and runways, and produce "targeted deterioration of metal parts, coatings and lubricants of weapons, vehicles and support equipment, as well as fuels".
The plan was to isolate genes for enzymes that attack materials such as Kevlar, asphalt, cement, paints or lubricants, and put them into microbes that churn them out in large quantities. The bugs were to be engineered to self-destruct after wreaking havoc.
It is not clear how many of these ideas have actually been realised. But the group has already patented a microorganism that would decompose polyurethane, "a common component of paint for ships and aircraft", including stealth anti-radar coatings.
Another 1998 proposal, from a biotech lab at Brooks Air Force Base near San Antonio in Texas, was to refine "anti-material biocatalysts" already under development. One of these involved a bacterial derivative that breaks down organic molecules such as fuels and plastic.
The proposal claims that such substances are exempt from biological warfare restrictions. But that is not true, argues Mark Wheelis of University of California, Davis.
The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention of 1972 prohibits the "development, production, stockpiling or acquisition of biological agents or toxins" other than for peaceful purposes. What is more, last year the US itself introduced a law banning the possession of bioweapons, including microbes designed to attack materials.
The withheld documents also include proposals to use stink bombs, sedatives and opium derivatives as weapons, which Wheelis thinks would contravene the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1992. This prohibits "any chemical which ... can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm".
... but out of nowhere a wave of chaos was to wash over that world. In a millisecond it was gone. There were no phones, no computers, no power, nothing. Yet nobody had died, no buildings razed to the ground. And then the blind panic set in. What's going on, asks Ian Sample
It sounds like the perfect weapon. Without fracturing a single brick or spilling a drop of blood, it could bring a city to its knees. The few scientists who are prepared to talk about it speak of a sea change in how wars will be fought. Even in peacetime, the same technology could bring mayhem to our daily lives. This weapon is so simple to make, scientists say, it wouldn't take a criminal genius to put one together and wreak havoc. Some believe attacks have started already, but because the weapon leaves no trace it's a suspicion that's hard to prove. The irony is that it's our love of technology itself that makes us so vulnerable.
This perfect weapon is the electromagnetic bomb, or e-bomb. The idea behind it is simple. Produce a high-power flash of radio waves or microwaves and it will fry any circuitry it hits. At lower powers, the effects are more subtle: it can throw electronic systems into chaos, often making them crash. In an age when electronics finds its way into just about everything bar food and bicycles, it is a sure way to cause mass disruption. Panic the financial markets and you could make a killing as billions are wiped off share values. You could freeze transport systems, bring down communications, destroy computer networks. It's swift, discreet and effective.
Right now, talk of the threat of these weapons is low-key, and many want it to stay that way. But in some circles, concern is mounting. Last month, James O'Bryon, the deputy director of Live Fire Test & Evaluation at the US Department of Defense flew to a conference in Scotland to address the issue. "What we're trying to do is look at what people might use if they wanted to do something damaging," he says. With good reason, this is about as much as O'Bryon is happy to divulge.
E-bombs may already be part of the military arsenal. According to some, these weapons were used during NATO's campaign against Serbia last year to knock out radar systems. So do they really exist? "Lots of people are doing lots of work to protect against this type of thing," says Daniel Nitsch of the German Army Scientific Institute for Protection Technology in Muster, Lower Saxony. "You can make your own guess."
Interest in electromagnetic weapons was triggered half a century ago, when the military were testing something a lot less subtle. "If you let a nuclear weapon off, you get a huge electromagnetic pulse," says Alan Phelps of the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. If this pulse hits electronic equipment, it can induce currents in the circuitry strong enough to frazzle the electronics. "It can destroy all computers and communications for miles," says Phelps.
But the military ran into problems when
it came to finding out more about the effects of these pulses. How could they create this kind of powerful pulse without letting off nuclear bombs? Researchers everywhere took up the challenge.
The scientists knew that the key was to produce intense but short-lived pulses of electric current. Feeding these pulses into an antenna pumps out powerful electromagnetic waves with a broad range of frequencies. The broader the range, the higher the chance that something electrical will absorb them and burn out.
Researchers quickly realised the most damaging pulses are those that contain high frequencies. Microwaves in the gigahertz range can sneak into boxes of electronics through the slightest gap: vent holes, mounting slots or cracks in the metal casing. Once inside, they can do their worst by inducing currents in any components they hit. Lower radio frequencies, right down to a few megahertz, can be picked up by power leads or connectors. These act as antennas, sending signals straight to the heart of any electronic equipment they are connected to. If a computer cable picks up a powerful electromagnetic pulse, the resulting power surge may fry the computer chips.
To cook up high-frequency microwaves, scientists need electrical pulses that come and go in a flash--around 100 picoseconds, or one ten-billionth of a second. One way of doing this is to use a set-up called a Marx generator. This is essentially a bank of big capacitors that can be charged up together, then discharged one after the other to create a tidal wave of current. Channelling the current through a series of super-fast switches trims it down to a pulse of around 300 picoseconds. Pass this pulse into an antenna and it releases a blast of electromagnetic energy. Marx generators tend to be heavy, but they can be triggered repeatedly to fire a series of powerful pulses in quick succession.
Marx generators are at the heart of an experimental weapons system being built for the US Air Force by Applied Physical Sciences, an electronics company in Whitewater, Kansas. "We're trying to put them on either unmanned aerial vehicles or just shells or missiles in an effort to make an electromagnetic minefield," says Jon Mayes of APS. "If something flies through it, it'll knock it out." It could also be used on a plane to burn out the controls of incoming missiles, says Mayes. Put it on the back of a military jet and if a missile locks onto the plane, the generator can release a pulse that scrambles the missile's electronics.
Marx generators have the advantage of being able to operate repeatedly. But to generate a seriously powerful, one-off pulse, you can't beat the oomph of old-fashioned explosives. The energy stored in a kilo or two of TNT can be turned into a huge pulse of microwaves using a device called a flux compressor. This uses the energy of an explosion to cram a current and its magnetic field into an ever-smaller volume. Sending this pulse into an antenna creates a deadly burst of radiowaves and microwaves.
Simplicity is one of the flux compressor's big attractions. Just take a metal tube, pack it with explosives, and stick a detonator in one end. Then fix the tube inside a cylinder of coiled wire, which has a wire antenna attached at the far end. Finally, pass a current through the coil to set up a magnetic field between the metal tube and the coil, and you're ready to go (Click on thumbnail graphic for diagram.).
Setting off the detonator triggers the charge, sending an explosion racing along the tube at almost 6000 metres per second. If you could slow this down, you'd see that in the instant before the explosive pressure wave begins to shatter the device, the blast flares out the inner metal tube. The distorted metal makes contact with the coil, causing a short circuit that diverts the current--and the magnetic field it generates--into the undisturbed coil ahead of it. As the explosive front advances, the magnetic field is squeezed into a smaller and smaller volume. Compressing the field this way creates a huge rise in current in the coil ahead of the explosion, building a mega-amp pulse just 500 picoseconds wide. Finally, just before the whole weapon is destroyed in the blast, the current pulse flows into an antenna, which radiates its electromagnetic energy outwards. The whole process is over in less than a tenth of a millisecond, but for an instant it can spray out a terawatt of power.
Tom Schilling of TPL, an electronics company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is working along similar lines with the microwave weapons he's developing for the US Air Force. "We're using explosive flux generators to generate the power, then sending that straight into an antenna," he says. "One of the systems we're looking at is a guided bomb that can be dropped off a plane. Targets would be things like command and control centres--we should be able to shut those down with little or no collateral damage." Schilling's company is also looking at putting flux compressors into air-to-air missiles. It's an appealing idea, as even a near miss could bring down a plane.
It certainly ought to be practical. As long ago as the late 1960s, scientists sent a pair of flux compressors into the upper atmosphere aboard a small rocket to generate power for an experiment to study the ionosphere. "You can build flux compressors smaller than a briefcase," says Ivor Smith, an electrical engineer at Loughborough University who has worked on these devices for years.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of these weapons is that they carry the tag "non-lethal". You could take out a city's communications systems without killing anyone or destroying any buildings. In addition to the obvious benefits for the inhabitants, this also avoids the sort of bad press back home that can fuel opposition to a war. But that doesn't make these weapons totally safe, especially if they're being used to mess up the electronics of aircraft. "If you're in an aeroplane that loses its ability to fly, it's going to be bad for you," points out James Benford of Microwave Sciences in Lafayette, California.
Another big plus for people thinking of using these weapons is that microwaves pass easily through the atmosphere. This means that you can set off your weapon and inflict damage without having to get close to your target. "People think in terms of a kilometre away," says Benford. According to some estimates, a flux compressor detonated at an altitude of few hundred metres could wipe out electronics over a 500-metre radius.
Electromagnetic weapons can be sneaky, too. You don't have to fry everything in sight. Instead you can hit just hard enough to make electronics crash--they call it a "soft kill" in the business--and then quietly do what you came to do without the enemy ever knowing you've even been there. "That could be useful in military applications when you just want to make [the opposition] lose his electronic memory for long enough to do your mission," Benford says. "You can deny you ever did anything," he adds. "There's no shrapnel, no burning wreckage, no smoking gun."
Did it work?
The downside is that it can sometimes be hard to tell when an electromagnetic weapon has done its job. This is compounded by the fact that unless you know exactly what kind of electronics you are attacking, and how well protected they are, it's hard to know how much damage a weapon will do. This unpredictability has been a major problem for the military as it tries to develop these weapons. "Military systems have to go through an enormous amount of development," says Benford. "The key thing is that it has to have a clearly demonstrated and robust effect."
Tests like this are close to the heart of Nigel Carter, who assesses aircraft for their sensitivity to microwaves at Britain's Defence Evaluation and Research Agency in Farnborough, Hampshire. Microwaves can easily leak between panels on the fuselage, he says. "You've also got an undercarriage with hatches that open, there's leakage through the cockpit, leakage through any doors."
To find out how bad that leakage is, Carter could simply put the plane in a field and fire away at it with microwaves. But he has to be careful. "If we go blatting away at a very high level at hundreds of frequencies, people in the nearest town get a bit upset because they can't watch TV any more," says Carter. "It's very unpopular."
To avoid annoying the neighbours, Carter beams very low-power microwaves at the plane. Sensors on board--linked by fibre optics to data recorders so they are immune to the microwaves--record the currents induced in the plane's electronics.
Knowing what currents are produced by weak microwaves, Carter calculates what kinds of currents are likely to be produced if the plane is hit by a more powerful pulse of microwaves. "You can then inject those currents directly into the electronics," he says. The results can be dramatic. "The sort of effects you might expect to get if it's not protected are instrumentation displaying wrong readings, displays blanking out and you could, in the worst case, get interference with your flight controls," he says.
The idea of weapons like these being used in warfare is disturbing enough, but what if criminals get their hands on them? According to Bill Radasky, an expert in electromagnetic interference with Metatech in Goleta, California, they may have already done so. A basic microwave weapon, he says, can be cobbled together with bits from an electrical store for just a few hundred dollars. Such a system would be small enough to fit in the back of a car and could crash a computer from 100 metres away.
Other systems are even easier to acquire. Some mail-order electronics outlets sell compact microwave sources that are designed to test the vulnerability of electronics. But they could just as easily be used in anger. "We've done experiments that show it's very easy to do," says Radasky. "We've damaged a lot of equipment with those little boxes." If some reports are to be believed, they're not the only ones.
Criminals may have already used microwave weapons, according to Bob Gardner who chairs the Electromagnetic Noise and Interference Commission of the International Union of Radio Science in Ghent, Belgium. Reports from Russia suggest that these devices have been used to disable bank security systems and to disrupt police communications. Another report suggests a London bank may also have been attacked. While these incidents are hard to prove, they're perfectly plausible. "If you're asking whether it's technologically reasonable that someone could do something like this," says Gardner, "then the answer is yes."
Gardner's claims are backed by Nitsch. He is investigating how vulnerable computers and networks are to powerful bursts of microwaves. Surprisingly, he has found that today's machines are far easier to crash than older models. He says computer manufacturers used to be more worried about electromagnetic interference, so they often put blocks of material inside to absorb stray signals, and ran strips of copper around the joins in the casing to keep microwaves out.
That modern computers have less protection is bad enough. But they are also more susceptible because they are more powerful. To push signals around faster, you must reduce the voltage to ensure that the extra current doesn't make the processor chips overheat. In the 1980s, most computers operated at 5 volts. Today's machines operate at nearer 2 volts, says Nitsch, making their signals easier to disrupt. Networks are particularly susceptible, he adds, because the hundreds of metres of cabling connecting their workstations can act as an efficient radiowave receiving antenna.
So are businesses taking the threat seriously? Radasky knows of only one European company that has protected its control centre against microwave weapons. Gardner believes it will take a high-profile attack to raise awareness of the issue. But combine the lack of evidence left by microwaves with companies' reluctance to admit their systems have been breached and you'd expect attacks to go unreported.
The good news is that protection isn't too difficult if it's done at the design stage, says Carter. The first thing to do is make sure you've got well-constructed circuits. This means using strong signals that can easily be distinguished from the fuzz of noise generated by microwaves. "You also want to make sure your circuitry only responds at the frequency it's supposed to," he says. So if your computer is intended to respond to signals coming in at 500 megahertz, you want to make sure it won't also respond to signals at twice that frequency--the kind that could be induced by microwaves. Another step is to wire in filters that absorb large surges of current--much like those used to protect against glitches in the mains power supply following lightning strikes.
Regardless of whether these weapons have been used yet, they highlight the way our dependence on electronics could become our Achilles' heel. The next time your computer crashes, don't automatically blame Bill Gates. Just wander over to the window and look out for that unmarked van that sometimes parks across the street. Could there be someone inside sending a blast of microwaves your way?
07May00 - New Scientist Electromagnetic Weapon Article