US Reconsiders Sonic Blasters for China

“With the Olympics fast approaching, the US is suddenly concerned about American-made products being used against human rights demonstrators. Of particular concern is a sonic blaster that so far has not been considered a weapon.” Daniel Pepper reports for Spiegel Online:

A nightmare scenario for the US that could play out on the streets of Beijing during the Olympic Games this August looks something like this: Masses of pro-democracy protesters gather to demonstrate against Beijing’s disregard for human rights in Tibet. To break up the crowd, the Chinese, for once, do not charge in with rolling tanks or swinging bayonets. Instead, they turn on their Long Range Acoustic Devices and blast the crowds with ear-splitting noise, sending the crowd into a panic. A tag on the side of the devices reads: “Made in USA.”

That fear may now be leading to action. According to a group which monitors the global arms trade, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security is currently undertaking a review of security devices that American companies are allowed to export to China. The list of restricted devices, known as the Commerce Control List, may be expanded, and extreme noisemaking devices such as the LRAD could very well be added.