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The authorities would have disputed the heat gun



WASHINGTON (Aftenposten): Before federal police cleared the park at the White House of protesters on June 1, they asked for a heat gun. The beam should make the skin feel that it is burning.

Police in riot gear stormed a rally on June 1, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. In the background are Lafayette Park and the White House. Alex Brandon, AP / NTB

On June 1, at 11:35 a.m., Adam D. DeMarco received an e-mail that stunned him. The major in the US National Guard was asked if he had an ADS in stock. ADS stands for Active Denial System. Popularly, the weapon is called a “heat ray”.

The request came from the head of the military police in the metropolitan area. It was part of the plan to clear a park for Black Lives Matter protesters.

Witness for investigators

The riot in the park on the north side of the White House has become very controversial. Many believe that the police used too much force. The intention, it is claimed, was that the president would have a photo session with the Bible in front of a church. The church had been vandalized during the protests.

The major has testified before a congressional committee about his role in the events. Several media have received a letter to the investigators from him. This is where the question of the heat gun and other equipment arises.

Adam DeMarco is a major in the National Guard and was present in Lafayette Park on June 1 this year. Leah Millis, Reuters / NTB

«The effect is overwhelming»

The email to De Marco says that an “ADS can give our forces a capacity they do not have now”. In addition, it is pointed out that the intense heat ray “can effectively stop threatening behaviors”. “The effect is overwhelming,” wrote the person responsible for clearing the park the same day.

DeMarco replied after 20 minutes that they had no ADS.

Did not hear the warning well

Later that evening when the park was cleared, the major was present. He stood 20 meters from the front line. 30 meters further behind was the one who ordered the audience to leave the place or be forced away.

DeMarco says he only heard some of the words from the megaphone. The diploma thus enters the debate on whether the demonstrators received a good enough message and got a chance to leave the place.

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The area around Lafayette Park is still marked by what happened there in June:

The street with ten meter “Black Lives Matter” letters is blocked with concrete blocks.

Posters and protest art hang on walls and fences in the streets

The police presence is great, here outside the church in question.

Around the park, fixed obstacles have still been set up with only a few entrances

“The Wall of Burning”

According to The Washington Post, the heat gun has been controversial for two decades. It should never have been used in a sharp situation. On the other hand, many, including journalists, have been guinea pigs. One described it as a “wall of burning heat” on the face. Most people talk about a brutal pain.

The ADS heat gun is controlled at a military base in 2007. Elliott Minor, AP

When the Pentagon introduced ADS in 2001, it was said that it should make the skin feel as if it is burning. At the same time, the heat penetrates the skin for less than half a millimeter. The idea is that the beam will damage a lot without leaving visible or permanent damage.

Against immigrants and Afghans?

The heat gun was also a hot topic in 2018. At that time, border guards would use it against illegal migrants at the US border with Mexico. This is said to have been stopped by the then Minister of Internal Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, according to The New York Times.

The radiation weapon is said to have been sent to Afghanistan, but only a few weeks in 2010. Stanley McChrystal, a general, is said to have sent it back. He did not want Taliban propaganda about human microwaves.

Routine or shocking?

The Washington Post has spoken to a Secretary of Defense about the matter. The Chief of Defense downplays the accusations and believes that emails about weapon types are routine to see what is available.

Amnesty USA, on the other hand, considers the allegations “shocking”. Amnesty believes it is scrupulous that the authorities will consider using such a weapon against peaceful protesters.

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