Q: What do you get when you mix a police state,
scientists getting large tax-payer subsidized research grants, the need for enhanced
freedom of assembly
crowd control, and just plain sadistic leaders?
Maximum pain is aim of new US weapon
19:00 02 March 2005
Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition
The US military is funding development of a weapon that delivers a bout of excruciating pain from up to 2 kilometres away. Intended for use against rioters, it is meant to leave victims unharmed. But pain researchers are furious that work aimed at controlling pain has been used to develop a weapon. And they fear that the technology will be used for torture.
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The research came to light in documents unearthed by the Sunshine Project, an organisation based in Texas and in Hamburg, Germany, that exposes biological weapons research. The papers were released under the US's Freedom of Information Act.
One document, a research contract between the Office of Naval Research and the University of Florida in Gainesville, US, is entitled "Sensory consequences of electromagnetic pulses emitted by laser induced plasmas".
It concerns so-called Pulsed Energy Projectiles (PEPs), which fire a laser pulse that generates a burst of expanding plasma when it hits something solid, like a person. The weapon, destined for use in 2007, could literally knock rioters off their feet.
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...PEPs produced "pain and temporary paralysis" in tests on animals. This appears to be the result of an electromagnetic pulse produced by the expanding plasma which triggers impulses in nerve cells.
The new study, which runs until July and will be carried out with researchers at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, aims to optimise this effect. The idea is to work out how to generate a pulse which triggers pain neurons without damaging tissue.
The contract, heavily censored before release, asks researchers to look for "optimal pulse parameters to evoke peak nociceptor activation" - in other words, cause the maximum pain possible. Studies on cells grown in the lab will identify how much pain can be inflicted on someone before causing injury or death.
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Amanda Williams, a clinical psychologist at University College London, fears that victims risk long-term harm. "Persistent pain can result from a range of supposedly non-destructive stimuli which nevertheless change the functioning of the nervous system," she says. She is concerned that studies of cultured cells will fall short of demonstrating a safe level for a plasma burst. "They cannot tell us about the pain and psychological consequences of such a painful experience."
Yes, folks, some of the Marquis de Sade's acolytes have assumed control of the world's most powerful state. What a great idea — create a "non-lethal" weapon that will inflict great pain while leaving no scars. As any gangster will tell you, leaving telltale signs of physical trauma, like scars, is proof of assault. (Hey, if you can't "see" the pain someone's feeling then it can't be real.) It wouldn't be good publicity for Murka to have its citizens walking around with such visible evidence of State oppression, would it?
This goes beyond just simple crowd control. This enters the realm of the gleefully sadistic. This is even worse than butterfly mines
— at least those had a strategic purpose (ie: maiming kids to demoralize an enemy). This EMP weapon crosses a line in which the goal itself is to inflict the greatest amount of physical pain on the greatest number of people in the shortest span of time. It is communal torture without any strategic purpose, other than to implant in people's minds that they are compelled, on pain of torture, to obey and conform. This reveals, with crystalline clarity, one of the few formulaic truths of political science: the less legitimate the authority, the more it resorts to violent repression. After all, violence is the ultimate foundation of any political order, and the more that order resorts to displays of its power the less legitimate it is.
Elaine Scarry. The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World.
In the very process it uses to produce pain within the body of the prisoner, it bestows visiblity on the structure and enormity of what is usually private and incommunicable, contained within the boundaries of the sufferer's body. It then goes on to deny, to falsify, the reality of the very thing it has itself objectified by a perceptual shift which converts the vision of suffering into the wholly illusory but, to the torturers and the regime they represent, wholly convincing spectacle of power. The physical pain is so incontestably real that it seems to confer its quality of "incontestable reality" on that power that has brought it into being. It is, of course, precisely because the reality of that power is so highly contestable, the regime so unstable, that torture is being used.
This remarkable quote succinctly reveals the alchemy that transmutes one's subjective experience of pain into the seductive appearance of state power. And alchemy such as this becomes a downward spiral of addiction to the state: Power becomes addicted to its own displays of power, the moreso to mask its ever increasing fears of vulnerability. Power does this to convince itself of its power by instilling the proper fear and respect in those it lords over. The more Power feasts on fear and trembling, the greater its appetite for it becomes. And so Power must continue to drown out its growing awareness of its illegitimacy by displaying its power with ever increasing displays of its omnipotence.
Robert Jay Lifton. Superpower Syndrome: America's Apocalyptic Confrontation with the World.
The world's only superpower is haunted by a fear of weakness. From psychiatric experience with individuals we know that underneath expressions of megalomania and claims to omnipotence there tend to be profound feelings of powerlessness and emptiness. Feelings on that order may affect our leader's projections of world control. These could take the form of fear of the political fragmentation of our society, with accompanying death anxiety related not just to 9/11 but to the potential collapse of the superpower entity itself. Underneath our leaders' arrogant certainties concerning the world, there may lie profound doubts about our own social and national integration, about America's control of itself. Fear of being out of control can lead to the most aggressive efforts at total control of everyone else.
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Fear of weakness is, of course, bound up with related feelings, of vulnerability, with a superpower's sense of being a very visible target, and with its unrealizable requirement of omnipotence. The world's only superpower has become a target not just because it is so dominant but because its recent policies and attitudes, emerging from superpower syndrome, have antagonized just about everyone. Its unrealizable omnipotence has caused its leaders to embark on an aggressive quest for absolute security via domination, which is another form of entrapment in infinity.
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, coming out in support of the Bush administration, made a case for invading Iraq based on a principle of "ultimate national security." But as the political scientist David C. Hendrickson pointed out at the time, Kissinger seemed to have forgotten his own earlier criticism of the "absolute security", sought by revolutionary powers, noting then that "the desire of one power for absolute security means absolute insecurity for all the others." In this sense and in the way that the present administration has sought to overthrow world diplomatic procedures and restraints on war-making, the United States has certainly become a "revolutionary power" in pursuit of absolute security and absolute invulnerability. But the fear of weakness will not go away.
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The dynamic takes shape around a bizarre American collective mindset that extends our very real military power into a fantasy of cosmic control, a mindset all too readily tempted by an apocalyptic mission. The symptoms are of a piece, each consistent with the larger syndrome: unilateralism in all-important decisions, including those relating to war-making; the use of high technology to secure the ownership of death and of history; a sense of entitlement concerning the right to identify and destroy all those considered to be terrorists or friends of terrorists, while spreading "freedom" and virtues seen as preeminently ours throughout the world; the right to decide who may possess weapons of mass destruction and who may not, and to take military action, using nuclear weapons if necessary, against any nation that has them or is thought to be manufacturing them; and underlying these symptoms, a righteous vision of ridding the world of evil and purifying it spiritually and politically.
We are talking about a serious syndrome, one that is profoundly harmful, even fatal, to the national body it inhabits as well as to the world in which that body lives...
And yet I can't help but feel that there's more going on than neurotic displays of omnipotence. This feels different, more malevolent, more than simply power for power's sake.
I can't help but wonder if maybe we haven't crossed some kind of threshold into something eschatological with this, something satanic...
Now I'm no religionist — except for some vaguely held notions I harbor about taoism and animism, religion all seems like painfully stupid bunk to me, just a bunch of mythological and historical writings recorded by our ancestors to make sense of a world they were trying to understand, writings which have been turned into unassailable cultural "Great Truths" people need to believe to comfort themselves for whatever reason. (That's not to say that there aren't profound, archetypal psychological truths contained in such myths — but that's a very different thing.)
But I know that religion is one of the most common sources of zealotry, and zealots are dangerous. A zealot's manicheaen belief-system convinces them that they alone know the truth, and everyone else are infidels. Zealots in power (particularly amoral, criminal zealots) produce nothing but disaster and misery, whether the zealotry derives from religion or not. And if there's one truth about BushCo, it's that they're definitely comprised of zealots
Are they religious zealots? There are some excellent arguments that BushCo
is not religious, that their religion is simply a "cover story" at the "expense of the faithfully deceived." ("Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." —Seneca the Younger)
Well, if they are religious, it's most likely not in the WWJD sense...
"The Hangman equals death, The Devil equals death, Death equals death!" It's weird to think that the two men who are now contesting the most powerful job in world politics, both apparently went through an occult ritual that involved dressing-up and chanting the words above, prostrate in front of a fellow student wielding a butchers' knife and dressed in animal skin.
John Kerry and George Bushs junior and senior were members of the secretive Skull and Bones society at Yale university. The final words of the initiation ceremony, according to the intrepid New York Observer journalist Ron Rosenbaum, who has secretly recorded the secret incantations, centre around the command, "Run neophyte!"
from Skeleton key to the White House
There are definitely lines that tie a variety of unwholesome players together. Finding direct connections between BushCo and the Nazis is relatively easy. Finding the connections between the secret societies they belong to and their occult practices isn't that much more difficult.
The fact that I don't believe in Jesus or Satan, however, doesn't mean that others don't. Maybe there's something more going on here than meets the eye.
I don't want to come right out and say that maybe BushCo are, deep down, occultists serving their master Satan. Such an assertion strikes me as ridiculous on the surface.
But then again, we're dealing with people who don't share our notions about "reality"
— no less ethics. Unless you're part of their clique one can only speculate what the fuck they really
believe since any public pronouncement they make is automatically suspect. But one thing is certain — they do not think like you. Given that the people in power are known to watch the snuff films coming out of Abu Ghraib for their own pleasure (they did make the videos for a reason, after all) nothing should be off the table regarding their beliefs. I mean, who gets off watching tapes of young boys being raped in front of their own mothers
? (Feel like dipping your fingers into the looking glass? Check here
, and here
These guys get off on power, and there's no greater symbolic display of power than torture. And what could be a greater display of such power than inflicting immense pain on a great number of people all at once, like the casting of some monstrous spell, a kind of hi-tech modern-day incantory sacrifice to the Dark Lords?
It doesn't take a great leap to imagine that a leader imbued with the psycho-pathology of Power may adopt religious notions about the power they possess as a way to justify and explain it to themselves.
Besides — after all, they really do seem to be going out of their way to bring hell to earth, don't they?
When understanding is demented, destruction is near.