- Bush Admits To Knowledge of Torture Authorization by Top Advisers
- Follow Up: Hedge Fund Managers Reap Billions Amid Slump
- Related: Torture Questions Hover Over Chertoff
- Related: The Pentagon’s Hidden Hand
- Related: US General ‘duped’ Over Guantanamo Bay
Here on Law and Disorder weâ€™ve discussed and examined the effects of taser stun guns and related deaths. Late last year, the United Nations panel on torture proclaimed the Taser shock to be torture. We want to look at other â€œnon-lethalâ€ munitions such as acoustic weapons and heat rays known as Active Denial Systems. What are they? What injuries could demonstrators sustain as the military, government agencies and contractors roll out the next generation of weapon category and put them into the hands of local law enforcement.
Guest: Jurgen Altmann. Heâ€™s studied physics at the University of Hamburg, Germany. Less-lethal weapons and acoustic weapons have been his primary focus lately. Altmann also examines the interactions between civilian and military technologies in aviation research and development. In recent years, he has studied military uses of, first, microsystems technologies and then nanotechnology, with a view towards preventive arms control. He is a co- founder of the German Research Association Science, Disarmament and International Security FONAS, and currently is a deputy speaker of the Committee Physics and Disarmament of the German Physical Society.
Weâ€™ve talked with Jurgen Altman about the types of less lethal weaponry that could be used against protestors. We look now at the context in which these weapons could be deployed. In this election year, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Denver, Colorado will be hosting the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention respectively. In New York during the 2004 Republican National Convention, police violated the rights of thousands of protestors. The violations include roundups of demonstrators spying on non-violent political activists, the use of agent provacateurs and the faking of police video evidence. Sonic weapons were also present in the streets of New York City. For this election year of 2008, lawyers in both cities are working to prevent similar tactics.
Guest: Mark Silverstein Legal Director of the ACLU in Colorado about preparations to protect the rights of demonstrators including protections against less lethal weapons such as Long Range Acoustic weapons and heat rays, known as the Active Denial System.
Civil liberties and privacy concerns are raised as Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff announced the activation of a new domestic satellite surveillance program. Though the department says the program will not intercept communications, these powerful, high resolution satellites can now be used to view and track individuals, homes and vehicles domestically.
Critics cite that Chertoffâ€™s statements mark a determination to coordinate military assets with domestic law enforcement, turning new or undeveloped technologies against Americans without public debate or consent.
Guest: Melissa Ngo, Senior Counsel and Director of EPIC’s Identification and Surveillance Project. EPIC is the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Melissa has focused on federal and state surveillance programs and their costs to civil liberties. She is also the author of a chapter entitled You Are Being Watched But Not Protected: The Myth of Security Under Camera Surveillance in the book “Intersection: Sidewalks & Public Space”