Have you ever heard of an advertisement in the middle of a protest, right there in the middle of all the tear gas? There are corporations that don’t give up even one valuable moment of a captured audience’s attention. Here is a clip from a joint Palestinian-Israeli protest in Hebron on Friday 2/24/2012. A moment before the “siren” was activated, or the “sound canon” as it is known in the world, an announcement plays over the crowd:
This is a test of the long-range acoustic device LRAD from the American Technologies corporation
Thanks, thanks very much to the American empire and the LRAD corporation (previously named American Technologies). Thanks for the fact that we and our friends, alongside thousands of protesters in Occupy Wall Street and protesters in Petersburg during the G20 summit, won the privilege of hearing these sounds, which are supposed to cause deafness and hearing loss. Look for instance, at the hundreds of Thai workers who participated in a nonviolent protest in Bangkok in August 2009 against the firing of workers from textile factories belonging to the Triumph International Corporation. The firings were meant to break the textile workers’ attempts to unionize.
The truth is that even in this case the West Bank serves as a laboratory for trying new technologies of oppression. After the IDF purchased these systems from the American corporation, it was already tried on protesters in the West Bank, in Beit Ummar for instance. And despite all this, we give thanks in the name of all the protesters for the marked improved in the quality of oppression!
The recorded announcement was likely meant to signal to the operators that this was the time to use their ear plugs, but they just couldn’t resist adding an advertisement? More importantly, these new protest-dispersal technologies totally disconnect the police officers and soldiers from any human contact. Behind the helmets, the see-through plastic shields and the ear plugs, they see nothing, they don’t see our faces. It’s easier to integrate into the oppression machine.
But the LRAD Corporation is very proud that its systems are especially communicative—if by communication is meant the issuing of commands to the natives. The manufacturer boasts that the system has a “Phraselater” feature, an automatic translator. The system is able to sound thousands of prerecorded announcements at great distance. These were prepared by the Defense Language Institute, which comprises part of the American Department of Defense. The Defense Language Institute is described as an “educational and research institute” which provides its clients—mainly the different security arms of the American empire—with linguistic skills necessary in the many languages used in the countries where military operations are executed. How would the Vietnam War have looked without the services of this marvelous Institute?
It’s very sad that they didn’t try the automatic translator on us. We didn’t understand a word, and kept on protesting.