Reasons to demonstrate on July 28; number 4: the sonic cannon


From the Liberty website:

“The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the controversial Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) will be used during the London Olympics. LRAD, which has reportedly been spotted aboard a landing craft on the Thames, has two very different functions. When it is in ‘loud hailer mode’, it is a useful way of communicating clearly over long distances, however its second function is far more sinister. When switched to ‘tone mode’ Liberty understands that the device can be used as a sonic weapon.”

“Plans to use LRAD during the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver were revised after civil liberties campaigners complained that the device could be used as a sonic gun, forcing protesters to disperse by emitting piercing, high pitched sounds at high decibels which may cause lasting damage to hearing. Vancouver police ultimately confirmed that they would disable LRAD’s tone function ensuring it was used solely as a method of communication. Unfortunately our MoD has made no such commitment. In a statement given to the BBC, a spokesperson confirmed only that the device was ‘primarily to be used in loud hailer mode’ – we can only assume that use of the device as a sonic gun to curb protests or disperse crowds remains a possibility.”

“Liberty has consistently opposed the use of indiscriminate weapons which sweep the innocent up with the guilty, create general panic and can fan the flames of disorder. We are particularly concerned about the pain, distress and potential long-term health consequences of this device which has reportedly been used by the Israeli military against protesters and by US forces to control crowds in Iraq.”

I understand that members of the Counter Olympics Network directly asked the police officers who are in charge of July 28 on whether sonic cannon might be used. The officers’ answer was to laugh, nervously. “We are here to protect public order”, the police officers response. “That … LRAD, is no way conducive to keeping people safe.”

Here it is, being used at Pittsburgh, on tone mode, but at a relatively short distance, and at a relatively low volume:

Obviously, a chief demand of the demonstrators is that the weapon is put back in its box and never taken out again. It’s another good reason to protest on July 28:


2 responses »

  1. Shit, that’s scary stuff. My ears still buzzing from that ‘mild’ dose. I’ll have to take my iPod and earphones on the next demo!

    Good luck with the protest on 28th; I’d really love to join you but too far to go from the North East.

    • Thanks for the support Jeff, which is appreciated. In truth, I don’t think they’re planning to use it during the Olympics; but the scarier thought is that 12 months ago the police/MoD didn’t have this technology and now they do, and if there was a more political version of last year’s riots, I don’t doubt for a second they would use it.

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