Feature

Sonic weapons

The week's news at a glance.

Baghdad

The U.S. military is deploying a new sonic weapon in Baghdad this month that has never before been used in the field. The device, a megaphone the size of a satellite dish, delivers an earsplitting noise so intense that it can knock people to their knees. “For most people, even if they plug their ears, it will produce the equivalent of an instant migraine,” said Woody Norris, chairman of American Technology Corp., which developed the weapon. But if used for too long or at close range, it can cause intense pain and permanent deafness. In Iraq, the megaphone is intended as a nonlethal method of riot control. It was developed after the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, off of Yemen, as a way to keep boats from approaching U.S. warships.

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