Star Wars In Iraq
Is The U.S. using new experimental
"Tactical High Energy Laser" weapons in Iraq?
“Star Wars in Iraq” is a new investigative report by Maurizio
Torrealta and Sigfrido Ranucci.
RAI 24 News - Run Time 25 Minutes
According to official Pentagon sources,
military vehicles equipped with this laser device have been used
in Afghanistan to explode mines. According to two reliable
military information sites – Defense Tech and Defence Industry Daily - at
least three such vehicles are being used in Iraq as well and
some people report having seen them.
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St by Majid Al Ghezali They used incredible weapons
Patrick Dillon Experimental weapons?
Majid Al Ghezali Yes… Yes, I think. They shoot the bus. We saw
the bus like a cloth, like a wet cloth. It seemed like a
Volkswagen, a big bus like a Volkswagen.
This testimony was reported to American filmmaker Patrick Dillon
a few weeks after the battle for the airport. The person
interviewed, Majid al Ghezali, is a well-known and respected man
in Baghdad, who is the first violinist in the city orchestra.
In addition to describing the battle, Majid al Ghezali wanted to
show Patrick Dillon the site near the airport where this
mysterious weapon was used, along with the traces of fused metal
still visible, and the irregularly sized ditches where the
cadavers were buried before they were exhumed.
We sought out Majid al Ghezali to hear more details of his
story. We met up with him in Amman and he pointed out some
inexplicable peculiarities on the bodies of the victims of the
battle for the airport.
Majid Al Ghezali Just the head was burnt. In the other parts of
the body there wasn’t anything.
Al Ghezali reported that he had seen three passengers in a car,
all dead, with their faces and teeth burnt, their clothes
intact, and no sign of projectiles.
Majid Al Ghezali There wasn’t any bullet. I saw their teeth,
just the teeth, and they had no eyes, all of them, there was
nothing on their bodies.
There were other inexplicable aspects: the terrain where the
battle took place was dug up by the American military and
replaced with other fresh earth; the bodies that were not hit by
projectiles had shrunk to just slightly more than one meter in
Majid Al Ghezali Except the ones killed by the bullets, most of
them became very small. I mean… like that… Something like that.
When we asked Majid what weapon he imagined had been used, he
said that he had reached the conclusion that it must have been a
Majid Al Ghezali One year later we heard that they used an
update technology, a unique one, like lasers.
We found another disturbing document on the use of mysterious
weapons in Iraq, which referred to episodes that took place
almost at the same time as those described by Majid al Ghezali.
Saad al Falluji They were 26 in the bus. About 20 of them had no
head, the head had been cut, some of them had no arms or no
legs. The only unwounded was the driver and really I don’t know
how he reach our hospital, because one arm was on his side, one
head just beside him. It was a very strange and horrible
In the roof of the car there were parts of the body: intestines,
brains, all parts of the body. It was a very very very miserable
Geert Van Moorter (medical doctor working in Iraq during and
after the war, as a volunteer for the belgiam NGO Medical Aid
fot the Third World) Do you have idea with what kind of weapon
the attacked the bus?
Saad al Falluji We don’t know with what kind of weapon they hit
Doctor n°2 It seems to be a new weapon
Saad al Falluji Yes, a new weapon
Doctor n°2 They are trying to do experiments on our civilians.
Nobody could identify the type of this weapon.
We went to Belgium to find the filmmaker of this sequence, Geert
Van Moorter, a doctor working as a volunteer in Iraq.
Geert Van Moorter This footage is taken at the General Teaching
Hospital in Hilla, which is about 100 Km from Baghdad, and close
to the historical site of Babylon. There I talked with the
colleague doctor Saad al Falluji, which is the chief surgeon in
Doctor al Falluji said me that the survivors that he operated
said him that they did not hear any noise, so there was no
explosion to hear, no metal fragments or shrapnels or bullets in
their bodies, so they themselves were thinking of some strange
kind of weapon which they did not know.
Let’s hear Dr. Saad el Falluji’s story about this in more
Saad al Falluji This bus was very crowded, they were going from
Hilla to Kifil, to find their families, but before they had
arrived at the American checkpoint the villagers said to them
“return back, return back”. When the bus tried to return back it
was shot by the checkpoint.
Geert Van Moorter No gunshot wounds?
Saad al Falluji No, no, I don’t know what it was. We are here 10
surgeons and we couldn’t decide which was the weapon that hit
Geert Van Moorter But inside the bodies you did not discover
Saad al Falluji We didn’t find bullets, but most of the
passengers were dead, so they took them immediately to the
refrigerator and we couldn’t dissect and see, but in those who
were alive we didn’t find any kind of bullet. We didn’t find
bullets in their bodyes.
Doctor n°2 Something cutting organs, cutting limbs, attacking
the abdomen, attacking the neck and goes out.
Dr. Falluji also ended up speaking about a laser weapon....
Saad al Falluji I don’t think that the bombing, or the cluster
bombs, or the laser weapons can bring democracy to our country.
As in any war, the war in Iraq, left us a dreadful gallery of
horror - images of mutilations that not even doctors can
explain. The witnesses referred to laser weapons, arms with
mysterious effects. We do not know what kind of weapons could
produce such terrible effects. We tried to learn more about it,
by asking for interviews to members of companies manufacturing
laser and microwave weapons. Yet, the US Defence Department
prevented any information from being released to us. They also
did not answer – up to the time the film was edited – the
questions we had sent them in order to know weather or not
experimental weapons had been tested in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We then reviewed the Pentagon’s media conferences released
before the II Gulf War. Willingness to test new weapons emerged
form the words of both the Defence Secretary and General Meyers.
The questions from the media on direct energy and microwave
weapons produced a certain amount of embarrassment.
American journalist Mr. Secretary, can I ask you a question
about some of the technology that you're developing to fight the
war on terrorists, specifically directed energy and high-powered
microwave technology? Do you -- when do you envision that you
can weaponize that type of technology?
Donald Rumsfeld Goodness, it is in -- for the most part, the
kinds of things you're talking about are in varying early
stages. (To the general.) Do you want to -- do you have anything
you would add?
General Myers I don't think I would add much. It's -- I think
they are in early stages and probably not ready for employment
at this point.
Donald Rumsfeld in the normal order of things, when you invest
in research and development and begin a developmental project,
you don't have any intention or expectations that one would use
it. On the other hand, the real world intervenes from time to
time, and you reach in there and take something out that is
still in a developmental stage, and you might use it. So the --
your question's not answerable. It is -- depends on what happens
in the future and how well things move along the track and
whether or not someone feels it's appropriate to reach into a
development stage and see if something might be useful, as was
the case with the unmanned aerial vehicles.
American journalist But you sound like you're willing to
experiment with it.
General Myers Yeah, I think that's the point. And I think -- and
it's -- and we have, I think, from the beginning of this
conflict -- I think General Franks has been very open to looking
at new things, if there are new things available, and has been
willing to put them into the fight, even before they've been
fully wrung out. And I think that's -- not referring to these
particular cases of directed energy or high-powered microwaves,
but sure. And we will continue to do that.
But what is meant by directed-energy and microwave weapons? We
went to ask retired colonel John Alexander, former program
director in one of the most important military research
laboratories in the United States, Los Alamos National
Retired Colonel John B. Alexander The research and the concepts
for directed energy weapons go back many decades. What is
happening is that the technology has now advanced sufficiently
that now we are starting to see these weapons becoming real.
There are several types of directed energy weapons and basically
what they do is they’re known as “speed of light” because they
shoot electrons very fast over very long distances. Lasers of
course are in the light range, then there are microwave weapons
that are operating at other frequencies, but basically they’re
beam weapons, which is nothing physical that goes out, because
they move electrons, while the kinetic weapons shoot big bullets
to go out and physically hit and destroy something. These work
because the energy is deposed on the target and causes some
These images document one of the THEL tests. THEL stands for
Tactical High Energy Laser. In the sequence, you can see the
laser beam hit and destroy missiles and mortar rounds as they
are about to hit the objective.
In this other test we see the laser beam identify and destroy
two missiles at the same time.
It doesn’t make any noise and it’s invisible?
Retired Colonel John B. Alexander Some are visible, some are
just outside… You have, you know, in the infrared range…
What’s emerging now are laser weapons where the effect is that
that of the laser. They can be all burners, in what we call High
Energy Lasers, because with the concentrated energy you can
literally drill holes, you know, in the target.
Former Pentagon analyst William Arkin, who presently works as a
journalist for the Washington Post, also confirms this
revolutionary change from kinetic weapons to energy weapons.
William Arkin For thousands of years, the way in which you have
killed someone is you have hit them with a sword, a sphere, an
arrow, a bullet, a bomb. It’s kinetic, you’re killing them by
hitting them. And now, all of the sudden, out of nowhere, you
have a completely new physical principle being applied in
killing people, in which they don’t know that they’re being
killed because their skin and body is being heated by high power
microwaves or they are being hit by a laser that would have an
There are other types of weapons made with lasers, such as the
device we can see in this sequence. The target is not hit by a
projectile, but rather by an impulse of energy that manages to
bore through the armor of an armored car.
Excluding acoustic weapons, for the moment, the only sign of the
use of energy weapons in a war scenario is a laser device known
as Zeus. According to official Pentagon sources, military
vehicles equipped with this laser device have been used in
Afghanistan to explode mines. According to two reliable military
information sites – Defense Tech and Defence Industry Daily - at
least three such vehicles are being used in Iraq as well and
some people report having seen them.
Geert Van Moorter When you showed me the picture of what you
described that is a laser weapon, it reminded me that I was
talking with some American soldiers, in August 2003, and there
was some kind of box on their tank with a blue light like this.
I recall it very well not because they said me what it was used
for, but because I was teasing a translator, which was an Iraqi
female, by telling her “look, with this kind of thing they can
look through and see somebody without clothes”. That’s why I
remind it, but I have seen for sure this kind of thing on that
William Arkin is one of the American experts who follows the
Pentagon activity most closely. So what does Arkin think about
the possibility of the use of directed energy weapons in battle
William Arkin You know, there’s even some possibility that high
power microwaves have been used experimentally. I think that the
panic about IEDs, about Improvised Explosives Devices, has been
so bad that if these things are sitting in the lab, I’m sure
that they want to get them to Iraq to see whether they are
effective. So I can imagine that there could be some, what we
call, “black” use of these weapons, but not in any significant
way, and certainly not in such a way that one would conclude
that they’ve had any impact.
But let’s look at the Pentagon budget figures to see how
important the outlay is for directed energy weapons.
William Arkin Right now you have about $50 million a year being
spent for non-lethal weapons, you have about another $200
million or so being spent on High Power Microwaves, Active
Denial type Systems, you’ve got probably another $100-200
million being spent on “secret”, “black” laser programs, and
then you have the big lasers, the High Energy Lasers of the Air
force and the other Tactical Lasers. So probably, when you add
all of that up, you know the United States are probably spending
$½ billion a year right now on directed energy weapons. This is
a significant amount of money; this is the size of the Defence
Budget of some countries in Europe.
You might think that energy weapons only pose a danger for the
countries involved in a military conflict, but that’s not the
case. One particular weapon called the Active Denial System –
better known as the pain ray – has been built specifically for
use in maintaining public order. Given its claim to be
non-lethal and the suffering it produces, this weapon could
become a very controversial one.
Retired Colonel John B. Alexander The Active Denial System is a Millimetre Wave System, operates at about 93 GHz. It sends out a
beam for a very long distance, and what’s important about it is
that when it hits the skin it penetrates only a very slight, for
a few millimetres under the skin and it it’s the pain receptors
and causes, you know, people to be adverse to the pain.
It hurts, it hurts a lot.
The tests that had been run they were to go for 3 seconds, each
individual was given a kill switch and nobody made 3 seconds.
The answer to the pain is extremely rapid, and you don’t have to
do it very long, I mean, it gets your attention instantly.
To understand the consequences this new weapon could have for
human rights we went to the Empire State Building in Manhattan,
home of the offices of Human Rights Watch, one of the most
important human rights organizations.
Marc Garlasco We can see the effects of a gun very easily and
understand them, but when you cannot see the effect of a weapon
because it is not visible and because the science is not very
well understood because technology is so new, then it becomes a
grieve concern that enrages the states for potential human
rights violations and abuses. And that is something that we have
to understand about the Active Denial System, that it exists to
create pain and is very different in most other non-lethal
weapons where the desire is either to immobilize someone or make
it so that they cannot walk in the area. With the Active Denial
System the main desire is pain, and we have to be very careful
because in international law is very clear that devices created
solely for the creation of pain can eventually lead to torture
and are therefore illegal, and it’s very critical that the
United States does a careful legal review of the Active Denial
System and is open with their findings. To date they have not
William Arkin Some people say “ooh acoustic weapons, or High
Power Microwave weapons, the Active Denial System, we can use it
for crowd control…”
What crowd control? What does that mean?
It pretends that anyone in the crowd is eighteen years old, and
male and in good health, and we’re just going to shoot these
microwaves or shoot these acoustic weapons on this crowd, and
it’s going to be carefully calibrated at a power level, in the
intensity and at a range to affect all these eighteen years old
men in the crowd.
Well, what crowd is made up of just eighteen years old men?
Look at the Intifada, look at any riot in Iraq today: children,
women, pregnant women, old people, and so the effect… the effect
that you would need in order to have an impact on a healthy
male, you target, would be too much for a child or a pregnant
woman or an old person.
Marc Garlasco There’s been a lot of discussion also about the
potential for eye damage. They have done some tests on the skin
to show that is not harmful, but where is the eye test? And
there are concerns raised by scientists about potential harm to
the eyes. And we also have concerns about the effects to
children, to the infirm, to the elderly… Why are they not
producing the data? Why are they not sharing it with us?
As regards the use of the pain ray in the field of war, the
military review Defence Industry Daily reports that three
Sheriff vehicles were ordered at a price of about 31 million
dollars, and that approval has been requested for another 14
vehicles by Brigadier General James Haggin, chief of staff of
the multinational forces in Iraq.
Retired Colonel John B. Alexander In my view the next global
conflict has already began and we don’t have an understanding of
what that conflict looks like. Because of the issues of
terrorism for instance the adversaries are going to be I think
mixed in with civilian populations. We need weapons that allow
us to be able to sort, minimize what they call “collateral
casualties”. I think the battlefields are going to be in urban
William Arkin If you look at the Active Denial System, or the
High Power Microwaves, or the LRAD, the acoustic weapon, what
you see is enthusiasm for those are being displayed by the Us
Northern Command, which is the homeland defence command of the
United States, or other counterterrorism organizations, which
are looking at them like “oh well, maybe, in some special
circumstances we can take these secret weapons, boutique
weapons, you know, we have only 10 or 20 of them somewhere in a
secret place and if we need them we can pull them out and use
them in this kind of specialty warfare”. So ironically, even
though the Americans would probably think “oh yeah, special new
weapon, it would make sense because Iraq is such a mess and
maybe we can do something to turn that corner in some way with
the use of this weapon, the truth is that the only real way in
which they, the military, sees the prospects for the deployment
of these is in their domestic use. And you know quite well… that
if the United States adopts these weapons for their domestic
defence… Nato in Italy are not far behind…
Thanks to Mary Rizzo of
http://peacepalestine.blogspot.com/ for bringing this to our
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