Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/01/gaubatz_ads_claim/

Pain ray really killer ray gun, many goats dead, says 'expert'

Pentagon, liberal media to blame, apparently

By George Smith, Dick Destiny

Posted in Government, 1st May 2008 12:21 GMT

The US military's pain ray, aka the Active Denial System, is a certified excrement magnet. In March Reg readers learned that the US Air Force wonder weapon is still being pitched as a game changer in Iraq, a prediction that's never even been close to being tested.

ADS defenders claim the Pentagon, afraid that using it would be a public relations disaster, won't give the non-lethal pain ray, a gun that shoots millimeter waves, the green light. It's something the US would use to torture foreigners, preferably smaller and not as well-armed as our boys.

Ah, but maybe it's not just a pain ray - maybe it's a death ray, too! And it's been hiding in plain sight under cover of a non-lethal weapons program.

This interesting allegation comes by way of a man named Dave Gaubatz, and FrontPage magazine.

Gaubatz, described as a former veteran of the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations, informed FrontPage that 60 Minutes, as well as everyone else, had been fed a crock on the pain ray. It was originally designed, he said, as a straight lethal ray gun and it's been operational for years. It was ready for use in Iraq where it could have slain the enemy and saved American lives. And 60 Minutes made a big mistake by not getting the truth of this and "putting our soldier's lives in danger everyday."

"Each day that goes by and another soldier dies should weigh heavily on every member of 60 Minutes," said Gaubatz.

Well into the weird, Gaubatz explained that journalists have all been fed a story about the non-lethal weapon. This is true, but only to a point - one not yet in crazy world. Then the narrative jumps the cliff. The journalists are culpable because they're "liberals who know less about the Ray Gun [yep, that's in caps] than they do basic fundamentals of war."

Keep in mind that FrontPage magazine isn't a news organ. It's the publication of David Horowitz, the head of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, an organisation well known for its right-wing disinformation. Its latest helping is the claim that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was raised and schooled as a Muslim and is hiding this from voters. Another scoop is that global warming is a smokescreen liberals are using to promote their agenda in which the godly's right to be fruitful and multiply is obstructed.

Gaubatz has been in the news before with the same tenor of allegation. In 2006 the New York Times, reported that Gaubatz, then working as an investigator for a medical examiner in Dallas County, Texas, had been - by his own description - "a lone American [battling] politicians to locate WMDs" in Iraq.

Gaubatz claimed that while working as a civilian in Iraq in 2003 he went on an expedition with a colleague. They identified four suspected chemical weapons depots in sourthern Iraq. Try as Gaubatz might, he couldn't get the US military to investigate them. The New York Times, for its part, contacted Charles Duelfer of the Iraq Survey Group. Duelfer, while not referring directly to Gaubatz, told the newspaper that "lots of good-hearted people thought they saw something" in Iraq but, in the end, no such stories had panned out. Further, the ISG had the cooperation of top-level Iraqi officials with incentives to tell the truth - WMDs had long been destroyed.

In any case, Gaubatz became involved with two far-right Republican congressmen - Michigan's Pete Hoekstra and Pennsylvania's Curt Weldon, both of the House Intelligence Committee. They planned to launch a secret expedition into Iraq to find Gaubatz's WMD sites. While no expedition transpired, bad publicity resulted in the politicians portrayed as loony adventurers looking to load up on political ammo in an election year. Weldon lost his bid for re-election.

One year later Gaubatz was repeating the story to The Spectator's "Mad" Mel Phillips. This piece had its own self-buttressing logic - he Democrats won't believe WMDs were in Iraq it because it would show Bush was right to invade, and the administration won't believe it because it would mean it and US intelligence agencies were even more incompetent than already thought. This was all slated for revelation on American TV until the FBI intervened, maintaining no show on such things would be broadcast.

Returning to the ADS, Dave Gaubatz was there, too. Working in a security role at the Air Force laboratory in Albuquerque where the pain ray was developed. And a legitimate letter of recommendation from his supervisor proves it.

As far as letters of recommendation go, it's a bit understated for someone so allegedly plugged-in as Gaubatz. "It turns out his story is an interesting view of the front lines and how [directed energy] technologies can benefit the warfighter," writes the recommender, somewhat tepidly. Opinions on this may vary.

"The scientists and their directors asked me to evaluate and test the [directed energy] weapons at Kirtland AFB," Gaubatz told FrontPage. "I did this right after 11 September 2001. The weapons were operational and ready for use in Iraq."

The ADS is lethal and it killed goats and other animals, said Gaubatz.

But offing tethered goats in a test, if true, would not seem so hard (see GlobalSecurity.org for health questions related to ADS and millimeter wave). Looking through the literature on the health effects of millimeter waves in the 95 Gigahertz range - the band thrown by the ADS - returns a couple of papers in the journal Health Physics, written by ADS scientists. While circulating information indicates they've probably fried the eyes of an unknown number of rhesus monkeys while working out the top ends of exposure to the radiation, they've been more successful in convincing that having the agency that develops a "non-lethal weapon" also in charge of determining its degree of harmfulness isn't the kind of business to much impress other scientists not on salary. The heating effect on the top layer of one's hide, depending upon power and exposure time, is also discussed in an unrelated paper in which scientists at MIT were burning anesthetized rats with millimeter waves as recently as two years ago.

One speculates if the ADS is a lethal weapon, it might be so in the sense that a magnifying glass can probably torture a tied-up animal to death on a sunny day. None of this does much for its already crap reputation, being yet another reason to regard information on it, figuratively speaking, as stuff to be scraped off the bottom of one's shoe.

Postscript: If you're interested in Dave Gaubatz's recent endeavors, visit kidsandterrorism.com for somewhat less than an eyeful. "In order for me to effectively send research investigators to the fields, it is a fact I need certain equipment and funding..." he writes. "Donate all that you can afford, Donate vehicles, motorhomes, and food. When we travel throughout the U.S. we need safe houses. Our researchers will visit every mosque and Islamic Center in America, Our [sic] teams will evaluate the facilities, people, and determine a threat level to their location. Send money. It will be used to help law enforcement better do their jobs." ®

George Smith is a senior fellow at GlobalSecurity.org, a defense affairs think tank and public information group. At Dick Destiny, he blogs his way through chemical, biological, and nuclear terror hysteria, often by way of the contents of neighbourhood hardware stores.