Home > Uncategorized > Robert Calvert and Michael Moorcock: Sonic warfare

Robert Calvert and Michael Moorcock: Sonic warfare

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Voice: Robert Calvert
Words: Michael Moorcock

Sonic Attack (1972, live)



Palestine News & Information Agency (WAFA)
September 21, 2011

Israeli Army Uses New Weapon to Disperse Protesters

RAMALLAH: The Israeli army Wednesday used an acoustic weapon called ‘The Scream’ for the first time to disperse Palestinians demonstrating at Qalandia checkpoint, north of Jerusalem, in support of the Palestinian bid to the United Nations.

Within seconds, the sound emitted by the weapon causes people to fall to their knees, unable to maintain their balance. The weapon also causes dizziness and nausea, and long exposure to the sound can cause damage to hearing. It can be heard even if sound-proof earplugs are used.

Dozens were injured with peculiar medical condition causing the Palestinian protesters to immediately disperse after the Israeli army fired the weapons.

Soldiers also used a new kind of tear gas bombs which causes people to faint giving them no time to move away, which made it hard for reporters to be at the scene.

The injured were transferred to hospital for treatment, were one of the conditions was described as critical after he was hit by a tear gas bomb in his eye.



Wired News
September 23, 2011

‘The Scream’: Israel Blasts Protesters With Sonic Gun
By Adam Rawnsley

Flashlights with puke rays. Mobile microwave pain beams. The world of less-than-lethal weapons is filled with exotic and just plain weird devices to annoy and thwart enemies. Now, Israel’s throwing its hat in the ring with another, called “the Scream.”

The Jerusalem Post reports that Israeli forces unleashed a new(ish) less-than-lethal weapon on stone throwers at a violent checkpoint demonstration on Thursday. The Scream is a vehicle-mounted sonic blaster that shoots repeated pulses of sound at targets, leaving them dizzy and nauseous.

The rollout of the Scream, according to the Post, is part of a new counter-demonstration effort led by the IDF’s Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi. Mizrahi is trying to use more less-than-lethal technology against Palestinian protesters to cut down the risk of an accidental death creating a rallying cry at a volatile time in the region.

While accounts of the Scream’s use at Qalandia pointed to it as a first for Israel, the Israeli Defense Force has actually used a sonic blaster dubbed “the Scream” at least once before. In 2005, the IDF deployed a “Scream” sonic blaster on a protest against Israel’s separation barrier that turned violent. Israel’s Electro-Optics Research & Development Ltd. company makes an “anti-riot system” that it calls “SHOPHAR The scream.” Named after the ram’s horn blown during Jewish religious ceremonies — including next week’s Rosh Ha’shannah services — the SHOPHAR uses a stack of 36 hexagonal horns to blast a concentrated beam of sound at targets as far away as 75 meters. “The system is operational in the IDF,” the company says. It’s not clear whether all these systems are the same, or just have similar names.

Either way, the technology behind these weapons isn’t exactly brand spanking new. The Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), a farther-reaching sonic blaster, has been a handy anti-pirate and anti-riot weapon for years now. The LRAD, which looks like a frying pan attached to a swivel, fires a beam of 150 decibels worth of noise to rattle skulls at distances of up to 300 meters. Ships like the Maersk Alabama and the cruise liner MSC Melody have used it to ward off oncoming pirate skiffs while transiting the dangerous waters off the coast of Somalia. In the U.S., it’s also been used to ward off rowdy protesters, like during G20 demonstrations in Pittsburgh in 2009. American Technology Corp, the company that makes the LRAD, has also tried to make a bazooka version of its sonic blaster.

Israel less-lethal includes a few choice weapons. The “Thunder Generator” is a sonic blaster so loud you could actually die from it. The thunder machine uses liquefied petroleum gas to make loud explosions — up to 100 per minute — like a repeating flashbang grenade. It works up to 50 meters away, but stand within 10 meters and Thunder’s makers warn it can permanently injure or even kill you.

Other technologies at Israel’s disposal include the “skunk bomb,” effectively a large stink bomb that leaves the affected smelling like sewage. Targets who’ve been skunked have reported that the smell is hard to remove, even after a shower.

But sonic blasters aren’t the only piece of kit that’s getting attention in Israel. Danger Room pal Eli Lake has a scoop on the Obama administration’s secret sale of 55 GBU-28 bunker buster bombs to Israel. The sale is significant because of its implications for an attack on Iran’s nuclear program. For the longest time, it was thought that Israel couldn’t mount an effective strike on the Iranian program because it didn’t have powerful enough munitions to blast underground and reach Iran’s buried facilities. The roughly 5,000 lb. GBU-28s, however, can burrow through 100 feet of ground before detonating.



Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
September 21, 2011

Woman claims police device damaged hearing during G-20
By Rich Lord

A Missouri woman sued the city of Pittsburgh today, claiming that she suffered hearing loss due to police use of the Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, during the G-20 Summit.

The LRAD was mounted on a police truck that deployed to encounter protests during the two-day summit of world leaders in September 2009. It emitted disorienting noises and orders to disperse.

“Police departments should not be using weapons built for the military on civilian protesters,” said Witold Walczak, legal director of the Pennsylvania ACLU, which is representing Karen Piper. “As this case shows, the LRAD cannot be controlled to prevent serious harm to innocent bystanders.”

Ms. Piper is an English professor at the University of Missouri who was spending a year at Carnegie Mellon University at the time of the summit, according to the complaint. She was writing a book about the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, it said, and went to observe the protesters, some of whom sought to influence such large, multinational organizations.

When police activated the LRAD from around 100 feet away, Ms. Piper “suffered immediate pain in her ears, and she became nauseous and dizzy,” it said. “She developed a severe headache. She was forced to sit down and was unable to walk.”

She suffered “permanent nerve hearing loss; tinnitus; barotrauma [injury caused by change in pressure]; left ear pain and fluid drainage; headaches; dizziness; nausea; and physical pain and suffering,” the complaint said.

The complaint said that the city violated Ms. Piper’s rights to free speech and assembly by using the LRAD on her and other protesters. It also said the city was negligent by using “piercing, continuous, high-pitched sound . . . rather than short, intermittent blasts for a few seconds at a time that would have minimized the risk of bodily harm.”

“We’re reviewing the complaint,” said city Solicitor Daniel Regan.

The lawsuit is filed in U.S. District Court, where the city and the ACLU are also wrestling over the way dissenting organizations were treated by police leading to the summit, and the police response to an Oakland gathering shortly after world leaders left.

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