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It seems that there's been insufficient progress in turning the public's flying experience into the fifth deepest pit in hell. We all know that the TSA is working hard -- you know, forcing women to remove nipple rings with pliers, breaking laptop computers and threatening anyone who complains, detaining and searching 5-year-olds, deliberately contaminating sterile medical equipment, pointing guns at deaf people, detaining babies until they die, all those wonderful things. But it's clearly not enough -- because none of it is capable of deliberately inflicting severe physical pain on ALL the passengers.

Until now.

At least one solution to the TSA's plight is now within reach. I give you United States Patent: 6,933,851.  It reads in part:

A method of providing air travel security for passengers traveling via
an aircraft comprises situating a remotely activatable electric shock
device on each of the passengers in position to deliver a disabling
electrical shock when activated; and arming the electric shock devices
for subsequent selective activation by a selectively operable remote
control disposed within the aircraft.

Translation: handcuff the passengers to the business end of a taser, give the flight crew a remote control.

Maybe this would be a good time for a nice, soothing cup of tea or perhaps a belt of scotch, or maybe some rhythmic chanting while you find your inner happy place.  Or you can just skip all that and get just as pissed off as I am, when I tell you that the DHS is talking to the vendor about actually buying and using these devices.

I'll pause while you try to wrap your head around the realization that yes, someone (actually, multiple someones: Hahne; Per K. (Oakville, ON, CA), Wark; Ray (Halton Hills, ONT, CA)) thought this up and applied for a patent for it...which means they think it was worth patenting... which means they think there may be a market for it...and as it turns out, they may well be right: your government wants to spend your money to buy these to use on...you.

The people who think it's a really good idea to make a device to torture airline passengers (or anyone else, for that matter) are:

(Hmmm...what does that logo remind me of?  I can't quite come up with it, but there's something familiar about it.)

Some business information on them is here:

Their most recent SEC filings are here:

Google finance has considerable information on them here:

Business Week lists their executives here:


Meet the president/CEO:

    	Barry Lamperd
    	Lamperd Less Lethal
    	1200 Michener Road, Sarnia, ON, Canada N7T 7H8
    	+1 (519) 344-4445
    	pinelaw@xcelco.on.ca
    

Over at Prison Planet, there's a must-read writeup on this: Torture Bracelet To Control Dissenting Americans? which does into more detail and explains how this could be used for a lot more than just torturing airline passengers.  They've also got a pointer to the YouTube video promoting this "product", if I can dignify this monstrosity with that term.  As Prison Planet explains:

Introduced ostensibly to combat airline terrorism, a creepy promo video
courtesy of the patent holders Lamperd FTS exploits shocking 9/11 imagery
to push the torture device as a solution to countering potential hijackers
by inflicting "Electro-Muscular Disruption" and presumably giving the
rest of the passengers a debilitating shock at the same time.

and

Letters exchanged between the company and DHS official Paul S. Ruwaldt
show Homeland Security's intention to utilize the device for border
control and, "indeed for anywhere else for which the temporarily restraint
of large numbers of individuals in open area environments by a small
number of agents or Law Enforcement Officers".

The letters confirm that funding is being sought for the widespread
deployment of the device and that several state and local authorities
have expressed an interest, as well as the DOD, the CDC, Department of
Interior, Department of Agriculture Forestry service as well as unnamed
law enforcement agencies.

I'll get to those letters momentarily.

There's also an excellent discussion of this torture device in one of Bruce Schneier's blog entries: Wacky Airplane Security Idea, which includes these comments:

That's a great idea--if you are hijacker. Just hack into the system and
you won't have to worry about passengers attacking you.

Useless idea. Any conductive foil will short the contacts and actually disable this bracelet.

I wonder what would happen if you took it off and wrapped it around a
leg of the seat you're in?  If you exposed some wire in your headphones
and attached it to the wristband, piping the voltage into that system?
Or if you dropped it into the toilet?

Perfect tool for terrorists; upon boarding an aircraft, everyone is given
a high-voltage power supply sufficient for detonating a binary explosive.

I recommend reading all of them -- many of them are quite insightful. (My idea: what would happen if this electric shock was re-routed to the plane's avionics?)

Now about the the letters from DHS: Lamperd has proudly posted PDFs of some of this correspondence on their web site:

Here's what's in that last PDF:

As mentioned, most of the organizing for this program/project will happen within the next month, so I hope budgets will be set shortly thereafter, and then I will have a better idea on what we can do.  I believe, once the extent of the funding is known and the budgets allocated, funding for the bracelet concept with the localized emitter/interrogator/restraint stations, will happen.

As part of this budgetary process, could you please provide me with a rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimates [sic] for the development of the system you described?  In addition, assuming you were funded, could you please provide me an expected time frame/milestones as to when a prototype of such a system would be available for testing?

To make it clear, we are interested in the mobile read/write emitter concept in conjunction with the immobilizing security bracelet, and look forward to receiving a written proposal.

I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,
[signature]
Paul S. Ruwaldt
Project/Program Lead
Department of Homeland Security
Science and Technology Directorate,
Office of Research and Development,
Protection Branch
William J. Hughes Technical Center
Atlantic City International Airport, NJ 08405
Telephone #: 609-813-2725
E-mail: paul.s.ruwaldt@faa.gov
       paul.ruwaldt@dhs.gov

Doesn't it just fill your heart with pride in being an American to know that one of your employees is excited at the prospect of getting his hands on a prototype for a brand-new torture device, so that the TSA can use it on you, your children, your parents, and everyone else?

Originally posted to RiderOnTheStorm on Fri Mar 28, 2008 at 11:54 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Answer: A horse. (0+ / 0-)

      Get some land somewhere that is not incorporated into a township (yes, such places do exist). Grow your food and befriend your neighbors. Get a horse and ride it. Grow grass and let the horse eat the grass. Buy a cow. Milk her.

      Do not fly on airplanes.
      Take a transportation device that is off the grid.

      These governmental changes along with the economic situation will make my words sound like prophesy shortly.

      Looking for good grazing land,
      i.

      If you dance with the devil, then you haven't got a clue; 'Cause you think you'll change the devil, but the devil changes you. - illyia

      by illyia on Fri Mar 28, 2008 at 08:56:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I tend towards Luddism myself, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Spoc42

        in daily life, but there are only so many possible workarounds to so many totaliratian power grabs, before we refuseniks end up living in the dark, crawling from hovel to hovel, and eating rats.

        Dammit, we have a right to take a simple airplane journey from City A to City B without being treated like concentration camp inmates! Fight them! Don't give up the ship!

  •  If they want to ruin the airline industry (9+ / 0-)

    this is the way to go.

    I hadn't seen the story about the infant death. Very disturbing.

    Speak the truth, but ride a fast horse.

    by Deep Harm on Fri Mar 28, 2008 at 12:03:26 PM PDT

    •  If they want to ruin American civil libertiess... (6+ / 0-)

      this is way to go.

      This goes way beyond the typical wingnut attitude of, well if you have nothing to hide, who cares about our government spying on us, why are YOU so worried?  

      This is involuntary and harsh control of citizens traveling together.  And, even if they don't have to use it, it's terribly humiliating for a free (or any valid traveler) people to submit to this.  At some point, in going this direction, whatever freedoms and democracy it is that we are fighting for, become vanishingly small and meaningless.

      I can imagine this could lead to some rowdy civil unrest and sharp resistence the first times they are deployed.  Better have armed guards at highly visible spots in the plane.  Major discounts and reward programs would have to be handed freely, to begin to entice and incentivize folks into these flying electric chairs.

      When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

      by antirove on Fri Mar 28, 2008 at 12:42:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  404 not found (0+ / 0-)

      for the infant death to me.

      Of course they want to ruin the airline companies.  People use moe petrol driving.

      Best Wishes, Demena

      by Demena on Fri Mar 28, 2008 at 11:57:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Who doesn't? (0+ / 0-)

    My 90 amp Sears Diehard and the 8 gauge jumper cables are getting old and rusty . . .

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Fri Mar 28, 2008 at 12:03:46 PM PDT

  •  Does anyone know of the TSA ever haveing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    published the findings of their "investigation(s)" of these incidents?  Do they actually open an "investigation" may be the more appropriate question..  it seems that all I've read of are promised..

    •  Require FDA approval? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duckhunter, lurks a lot, petulans

      Any insane gadget like this should really pass FDA and AMA review, with real peer reviewed data on a sufficient variety of bodies, before being deployed.  

      Elictrical stimulators being applied to humans cannot be a one size fits all deal. At what age won't they attach these?  What's too young or too old?  What conditions would make the passenger too frail?  Any other exceptions due to any variet of implants, personal health accessories?

      These units, if this plan goes any farther, should be mandated to be individually calibrated for body mass, age, muscle/fat ratio, skin surface moisture level, cabin humidity level, etc. Might the occasional hazard of lightening hitting the plane cause any functional issues?  Would the prevelance of personal worn electronics cause unwanted interactions or damage to property?  

      Would any other items, if brought aboard, allow a malicious individual (perhaps even a terrorist) to reroute electrical energy to desired targets, perhaps even ramping up the amount delivered via extra batteries and transformer?

      Would the system be designed to prevent delivery if there are shorts or misfunctions that might apply too much current, voltage, amperage, to the wrong person(s)?

      I can't imagine the health crises this may trigger for travelers who wear TENS units to control pain, have hearing aids or implants, metal in legs or skull or arms, laryngeal synthetic speech units, pace makers, insulin pumps, etc.  There must be other items that could have their function altered, be damaged, or destroyed if used.  Beside that concern for our fellow human creatures perferring to cosmetically pierced, whose numerous metal implants and appendages may 'lead' to unintended consequences.

      Lastly, Congress would have to pass some sort of legislation immunizing the airlines who deploy this uncivilized and humiliating technology on citizens.  This seems to go in the opposite direction of foundational American values:  presumption of innocense, privacy, freedom to travel and assemble freely, the rule of law, etc.

      When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

      by antirove on Fri Mar 28, 2008 at 12:33:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, because what I always enjoy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bushondrugs

        is having my bodyfat ratio tested in a public place.

        •  Think of it this way, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          duckhunter

          would you want to be on the receiving end of as much electrical stimulus as, for instance, a college football player, or a steel worker?

          I think powders that dry out the skin may become quite popular if these instruments of torturous crowd control are deployed.  Skin that is dry does not conduct as well as moist skin.  Of course, the armed guards and staff, ensuring that you are hooked up, could apply suitable gels.

          When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

          by antirove on Fri Mar 28, 2008 at 12:47:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You don't actually know (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            slatsg

            that I'm not a football player or a steel worker (though your assumption that I'm neither is correct).

            The answer is: I don't want to be on the receiving end of any electrical stimulus at all! Good lord. When we have to ask a question like that, we're doomed.

  •  I've forwarded this diary to all my Congressmen (5+ / 0-)

    and then some.  This is frightening and outrageous!  We need to get the word out on this before the first dollar is spent to implement it.

  •  Makes me think of the time I was in the hospital (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slatsg, annan, Anne Hawley, Wino

    ...wearing an RF heart monitor.  In the middle of the night, a team came rushing into the room with the defibrillator.  Fortunately they saw by my response that there was nothing wrong with me.  When noting comm frequencies in the monitoring room, the staff had accidentally reversed mine and another patient's. There's a reason America invented the word snafu.

  •  "Once terrorists are onboard an aircraft" (4+ / 0-)

    That's a phrase from the video referenced. It makes it sound like every single airplane contains a terrorist. Or maybe two.

    "Even the elite and aggressive terrorist" will be completely immobilized by the bracelet--as if really well-trained terrorists can smuggle bombs and guns onto planes now.

    Oh, and by the way, using these bracelets, we can track everyone all the way through the terminal after their flight, because we're proposing tying the bracelet's signal to your luggage! Why not wear it on home? Then when kidnappers come and get you, we'll be able to find you!

    The combination of stupid and horrifying represented by that video (not to mention the incredibly cheesy graphics) makes me feel ill.

  •  I don't get it. (5+ / 0-)

    So I'm a hypothetical terrorist, right? I get my ticket and get on the plane and we're all flying along when it's time to start the attack.

    Why wouldn't I start by taking off the bracelet?

    If the crew tried to activate the bracelet, would they have to find my ID number or would they shock everyone surrounding us?

    If I managed to overpower the crew member (partly because s/he's trying to get the radio transmitter to shock me and partly because anybody who might help him/her has been incapacitated by electric shocks), what's to prevent me, as a terrorist, from taking the radio transmitter and using it to enforce compliance from the victim passengers?

    Alternatively, what's to keep me from bringing my own radio transmitter and using it in an attack? TSA screening to distinguish between radio receivers like a Walkman and transmitters for offensive purposes?

    --- "opendna is high and just makin' shit up outta nowhere." - greenskeeper

    by opendna on Fri Mar 28, 2008 at 12:35:15 PM PDT

    •  I assume the bracelet would be made (0+ / 0-)

      of that nylon zip-strip stuff cops use in place of handcuffs (at least, so I've seen on TV).

      Those suckers can barely be cut with anything short of bolt-cutters. Which would have been confiscated at the screening station.

    •  There's a similar attack to that... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      petulans, bushondrugs

      ...if you can get control of the remote, then you can subject passengers and flight attendants to shocks, one by one, until you run out of people to kill or the pilots finally open the (hardened) cockpit door.  (If they don't open the door, then you might not be able to take over control of the aircraft, but you most certainly can kill everyone on it.)

      It is the business of the future to be dangerous.

      by RiderOnTheStorm on Fri Mar 28, 2008 at 12:41:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I refuse to comply and will not wear your stupid (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bushondrugs

    bracelet. It`s unconstitutional and you can`t make me.

    " Resistance is NOT futile, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling." Wino

    by Wino on Fri Mar 28, 2008 at 01:25:15 PM PDT

    •  Well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clio2

      It is your funeral.  And I mean that exactly.

      The people who take jobs like this are often the stupid and powerless, incipient facists if not there already.

      Such people will kill you merely because you are not polite and "did not co-operate".  And the will feel justified and wonder what all the fuss is about (if there is any).

      I advise you against flying.

      Best Wishes, Demena

      by Demena on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 12:07:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This makes me sick (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clio2, bushondrugs

    I could barely finish reading it. These people better not be serious about this. If they try it absolutley no one would fly. What they will probably do with this is put it on those with no say like prison inmates or those "detained."

  •  Who needs a Passengers Bill of Rights (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spoc42

    when we have the Department of Homeland Security to protect us!?

    Impeachment is a duty, not an option that can be taken off the table.

    by bushondrugs on Fri Mar 28, 2008 at 09:42:52 PM PDT

  •  And the name Lamperd Less Lethal implies... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    petulans

    that there are varying levels of lethality. And on their site, under "Lamperd Less Lethal News" they have an item,

    3/15/2008
    Less Lethal Trauma From The M203 Gernade [sic] Launcher

    I guess some of their products only kill you one-half.

    Like the guitar that goes up to 11, the M203 grenade launcher goes down to 1/2.

    ~Doc~

    -7.88 -8,77 Just a wine sipping, brie eating, $6 coffee drinking, Prius driving, over educated, liberal, white, activist, male New Englander for Barack Obama.

    by EquationDoc on Fri Mar 28, 2008 at 10:24:30 PM PDT

    •  actually....... (0+ / 0-)

      Because these products can kill on rare occasions, less lethal, rather than non lethal, amounts to truth in advertising.  I would rather take a taser than a baton to the head.  I would rather get pepper sprayed than shot.  In many ways, modern techniques for physically controlling people are less harmful than the ones used in the past.  

      The problem comes when they are used on people for little or no reason. "Step out of the car please."  "You mean I have a choice?"  ZAP!!!!  

      What you quote probably refers to a gas or baton round for an M203 the cops or soldiers would already have in their inventory.  This would save them having to buy and train people on different launchers.  Yes, they go down to 1/2.  1/2 means the people hit almost always live. Sorry doc, you are wrong on this one......

      •  Yes, except...it was (not) clearly a snark. (0+ / 0-)

        I thought the guitar that goes to 11 gave it away.

        I agree wholeheartedly.

        Except in my experience, it's, "Step out of the car ZAP! Um...please." ;)

        ~Doc~

        -7.88 -8,77 Just a wine sipping, brie eating, $6 coffee drinking, Prius driving, over educated, liberal, white, activist, male New Englander for Barack Obama.

        by EquationDoc on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 11:26:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  note that the company is Canadian (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spoc42, gooderservice

    I would assume they're selling to the US because of lack of a local market, and lack of desire to live in a place which would buy something like that.

    Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

    by alizard on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 02:02:04 AM PDT

  •  Yay! Torture Bracelets! (0+ / 0-)

    Just what I've always wanted.

    Not.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

    by The Raven on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 03:08:40 AM PDT

  •  Finally! A use for tinfoil! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spoc42, gooderservice, Clio2

    Slip it under the bracelet and short out the contacts.  It will get a little warm, though.  

    The more stupid opressive bullshit like this that gets passed, the more people will wake up.  What was the line?  "The worse it is, the better it is."  I am, of course, quoting some leftist terrorist from the 60's whose name I forgot.

    Unfortunately, the whole point is not to live under an oppressive regime in the first place rather than to provoke one so that it could then be overthrown and replaced like he suggested.  

    The mere fact that they are thinking of using this crap on the average airline passenger is beyond disturbing.  

    I don't fly.  I've been more or less boycotting air travel since 9/11 because I saw the security measures being put into place didn't really make any sense and smelled like incipient fascism on the march.  Maybe if we put our heads together, we can think of a few other industries that don't deserve our support.  Sadly, the "customers" of the security industrial complex generally don't have a choice about it.

    The device itself is a smaller and probably less powerful version of a taser belt.  If you know for a fact that an actual criminal that you are removing from jail for some reason is likely to make a break for it, something like this makes sense.  For use on the flying public, of course, FUCK NO!

  •  As I wrote in a previous diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spoc42, gooderservice

    (about the woman who was forced to remove nipple rings with pliers in order to fly)

    This is a rogue agency. It needs to be dismantled, its managers fired, its functions pruned and parcelled out. Now.
    ...

    [DHS] was supposed to coordinate anti-terrorist activities, and instead, it is terrorizing YOU AND ME.

    ...[C]entralizing federal security functions has not solved our security or intelligence problems.  But it has given our "security community" the mindset of an occupying force -- right in their own country.

    This is serious. If we let this stuff go on, with only an occasional outraged squawk that the DHS creeps can safely ignore, we are practically asking for formerly outrageous abuse to become the norm.

    These folks need to lose their jobs and/or contracts, now, because that is the only language --short of outright violence -- that they, and their managers, understand.  

    Where the f*** is Congress? Folks, if this is what it takes, we need to be marching in the streets!

  •  Thank you for this diary (0+ / 0-)

    and the added links of horror stories. I only knew of one.  The one link to consumerist was new to me. I really like it and just signed up as a member.

    Thank you again.

    "It's harder and harder trying to do the Lord's work in the city of Satan," McCain said of Washington.

    by gooderservice on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 06:26:35 PM PDT

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