China’s Acoustic Cannon

FILE – In this Oct. 26, 2009 file photo, security workers guard at construction site of the U.S. Consulate compound in Guangzhou in southern China’s Guangdong province. The State Department said an email notice Wednesday, May 23, 2018, that a U.S. government employee in southern China reported abnormal sensations of sound and pressure, recalling similar experiences among American diplomats in Cuba who later fell ill. (Chinatopix via AP, File)


U.S. intelligence and security agencies investigating the mysterious sonic attacks against American diplomatic personnel in China need to look no further than China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The ministry stated in a Nov. 15 report on the use of military technology for civilian projects that one program involves an “acoustic wave cannon.”

The weapon appears to be a variant of the sonic cannon produced by China’s Dongguan 3G Acoustic Technology Co. Ltd.

“The db2700 acoustic wave cannon system is composed of five major components: an acoustic wave cannon, an acoustic wave control system, the Type DA2700 digital audio power amplifier, a tripod head and an acoustic wave cannon control system,” the report says. “Capable of beaming powerful sound in a specific direction, the Type db2700 acoustic wave cannon is suitable for operations that include close-range [personnel] dispersion, deterrence against personnel (100 meters), long-range sound projection, propaganda, and warning (range between three and five kilometers).”

The tripod can be adjusted to beam sound in several directions and both vertically and horizontally.

The weapon is “classified as a type of non-lethal equipment based on a new-type, powerful-sound concept,” the report said.

“The system’s characteristics include high reliability, stable performance and easy operation.”

The weapon includes an MP3 player and powerful directional microphone that allows the user of the gun to issue verbal commands. It has a maximum range of 3,000 meters.

The weapon can be used by the military, People’s Arms Police, firefighter units, and personnel at rescue operations, airports, transport stations, ports and public gatherings needing amplified sound.

CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday interviewed several American diplomats who suffered brain trauma from suspected sonic attacks in Guangzhou, China.

Mark Lenzi, a State Department security officer at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, said he and his wife were injured after hearing strange sounds in their apartment. “This was a directed, standoff attack against my apartment,” he said of the attack that left him suffering from headaches, memory loss and sensitivity to light.

Mr. Lenzi said he believes he was targeted by the Chinese because he is involved in using top-secret equipment to analyze electronic threats to diplomatic missions.

The report said State Department officials sought to cover up the Chinese sonic attacks, attacks that were similar to those targeting U.S. diplomats in Cuba.

Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper quoted military expert Antony Wong as saying China’s sonic weapons are as small as a wash basin and portable enough to be carried by one person. Mr. Wong said the sonic weapons are made by private companies specializing in police equipment and that, while the cause of the diplomats’ injuries has not been confirmed, China would have “clandestinely deployed” the sonic arms.

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Common sense intelligence

The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, offspring of the agency that helped create the internet, is now studying ways to give machines the ability to apply common sense.

Peter Highnam, DARPA’s deputy director, recently outlined several projects related to artificial intelligence being worked on at the agency.

The Machine Common Sense program was launched in October in a bid to examine recent advances in cognitive understanding, natural language processing, deep learning and other areas of AI.

“The real breakthrough for artificial intelligence, however, will not come until researchers figure out a way for machines to learn or otherwise acquire common sense,” Mr. Highnam said in prepared testimony. “Without common sense, AI systems will be powerful but limited tools that require human inputs to function.”

Machines programed with common sense will be a partner in problem solving.

“Common-sense knowledge is so pervasive in our lives that it can be hard to recognize,” he said.

Full article: China’s Acoustic Cannon (The Washington Times)

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