Max Blumenthal writes: Yesterday, the New York Police Department deployed a strange new weapon against the tens of thousands of demonstrators who converged downtown for the largest protest in Occupy Wall Street’s two month history: the LRAD sound cannon. NYPD officers reportedly blasted Occupy protesters with rays from the LRAD cannon while they sang the American national anthem near Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park (photos here), establishing an atmosphere of fear and intimidation that lasted throughout the evening.
Designed and manufactured by the San Diego-based LRAD Corporation, which was formerly known as the American Technology Corporation, the Long Range Acoustic Device sound weapon is the latest innovation in crowd suppression technology. It is portable and powerful, capable of transmitting a focused ray of 140 decibels of sound at a crowd of people, generating painful cranial vibrations so profound ear plugs become useless. According to LRAD promotional material, the sonic weapon “provides military personnel with a powerful, penetrating warning tone that can be followed by clear voice broadcasts in host nation languages to warn and shape the behavior of potential threats.”
In June, LRAD sold $293,000 worth of its 100X and 500X sound canon systems to the Israeli Ministry of Defense. The contract was part of Israeli Army Commander Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi’s investment in $35 million in suppression systems in anticipation of widespread unrest in the occupied West Bank that would supposedly be prompted by the Palestinian Authority’s statehood bid at the United Nations.
The Israeli Army has refined the use of LRAD systems on the civilian population of Palestinian villages engaged in the unarmed popular struggle against Israel’s illegal military occupation. Demonstrators in the village of Beit Ummar have been repeatedly assaulted by Israeli forces armed with LRAD systems, including on October 7, when the Israeli army used the LRAD to attack unarmed demonstrators protesting against the abuse and isolation of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.