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Report: Pentagon’s burn weapon could end up in police hands

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A powerful hand-held weapon being developed by the Pentagon could end up in police hands, says a report in a UK science journal.

The Pentagon’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate has been developing the Thermal Laser System since 2005, with the purpose of developing a weapon that could disperse crowds or incapacitate individuals by causing them to experience burning sensations in their skin.

According to NewScientist magazine, the weapon has evolved into a rifle-mounted instrument, and there are plans for a hand-held model that could be used by police forces.

News of the possibility that police departments could obtain the burn weapon will likely concern civil-liberties advocates, who have been watching with alarm as the Taser conducted-energy weapon has gone into regular use in police forces across the United States.

As NewScientist notes, the weapon is still in the testing phase and kinks have yet to be worked out.

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The Gizmag blog reported last week that “the infrared [rays] of the Thermal Laser System can be blocked by clothing – fine if you’re trying to subdue a group of nudists, but problematic otherwise.”

NewScientist reports:

[T]ests at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s human effectiveness lab have established that the skin heating effect causes no permanent damage – suggesting it may have “military utility”. The tests also highlighted areas in need of improvement before troops can use it, says lab manager Semih Kumru – though what those features are has not been revealed.

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The proposed system is rifle mounted, with a sight above it and a visible low-power laser beam that the soldier uses to aim the invisible infrared laser. The solid-state laser system is battery-powered, and could become hand-held “in the near future”…

“I’d like to know why they want another advanced pain compliance weapon like this,” says Steve Wright, non-lethal weapons analyst at Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK. “Persuading by pain rather than brain – through conversation – has led to push-button torture in the past. If it leaves no mark on the skin how will anyone prove it’s been abused?”


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Mueller is signaling he’ll be tough witness — and it could play right into the GOP’s hands

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Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller is sending a very clear message: He doesn’t want to testify.

That’s the not-so-subtle subtext of the announcement that Mueller plans to submit the 448-page report detailing the findings of the Russia investigation as a statement for the record during his hearing before the House scheduled for Wednesday. Of course, Congress already has the report, so the move isn’t necessary. It’s Mueller’s way of saying, as he has previously, “The report is my testimony.”

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Maddow details how Stephen Miller’s backstory makes his anti-immigrant fantasy even more horrifying

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow interviewed the uncle of White House advisor Stephen Miller on Monday to detail the family's fascinating backstory.

"It begins at the turn of the 20th century, in a dirt-floor shack in the village of Antopol, a shtetl of subsistence farmers in what is now Belarus. Beset by violent anti-Jewish pogroms and forced childhood conscription in the Czar’s army, the patriarch of the shack, Wolf-Leib Glosser, fled a village where his forebears had lived for centuries and took his chances in America," Dr. David Glosser explained in Politico.

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‘The people of Montana are no fools’: Liberian refugee taking on Trump-loving Senator Steve Daines

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First-term Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) was one of the few members of Congress to praise President Donald Trump's racist "go back" taunts that his supporters turned into a "send her back" chant against a black former refugee.

https://twitter.com/SteveDaines/status/1150859069084905472

In response, the Billings Gazette chastised Daines in an editorial, saying, "Montanans are more sickened by the never-ending torrent of childish, bigoted views that are shoveled from the White House that make the country look like bigots and idiots. And we're nauseous when folks like Daines invoke our state in defending a spoiled New York developer who would get tongue-lashed by most Montanans for the way he takes to Twitter."

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