“CanberraConvoy2022” protesters claiming to have blisters and unexplainable burns have prompted concerns over the Australian Federal Polices’ use of a crowd control weapon against protesters in Canberra on February 12.
Pictures circulating on social media from around the time of the peaceful protests appeared to show the Australian Federal Police deployed with, and standing next to, what was either a Long-Range Acoustic Device or Active Denial System.
Taking up these concerns in a February 15 senate estimates hearing, One Nation Senator, Malcolm Roberts questioned AFP commissioner Mr Reece Kershaw, asking him to, “confirm whether the AFP had long-range acoustic devices at Parliament House on Saturday, and confirm whether or not they were used at any point?”
Kershaw deflected the question, pleading immunity by way of ‘Crown Privilege,’ which frees government officials from answering questions, on the grounds that doing so would be ‘prejudicial to the public interest.’
Senator Roberts countered this by asking the Commissioner: “Surely, it’s in the public interest to know whether or not they were there, without delving too much into it?”
Kershaw conceded, stating he would take the “question on notice, and get advice.”
Joining Roberts, South Australian LNP Senator Alex Antic also questioned Kershaw. Antic tabled a picture showing the police standing near the device. He then asked the AFP commissioner to confirm whether or not the device was present on the day.
The AFP Commissioner reverted back to his response to Senator Roberts.
Antic has since followed up his enquiry with a more thorough demand for information from the AFP:
“I have now submitted further written questions for the AFP to determine what really happened on Saturday. Were the mystery objects LRADs? Were they used on what was a peaceful crowd? People have a right to know.”
Caldron Pool reached out to Senator Roberts for an update.
His office told us that whilst the Senator has ‘put those questions in on notice’, a response from the AFP ‘can take up to six weeks.’
The AFP appears to have side-stepped giving official notice, responding to media enquiries instead.
The ABC cited an ‘email from ACT policing confirming that LRADs were deployed during the protests.’
After falsely labelling the protests “anti-vax,” the ABC’s spiteful “fact-check” mocked and dismissed testimonies from protesters who said they felt ill on the day.
The ABC declared that side effects from the sonic device can occur, but LRADS (in this case) couldn’t have been the cause. LRADS, they asserted, don’t work that way, ergo, ‘protesters must have been mistaken.’
Minus the “anti-vax” whip statements, The Conversation largely concurred with the ABC.
Their alleged symptoms appear to be consistent with the known side effects of ADS.
By admitting that LRAD was not the cause of protesters’ physical complaints, the ABC – and more so The Conversation – inadvertently back the ADS theory.
The LRAD and ADS are of a similar box design. The difference between them is the LRAD is a sonic amplifier (nicknamed the “Voice of God”), while the ADS is an energy weapon (“heat ray”).
The apparent evidence suggests the latter.
Information from the United States Department of Defence freely acknowledges the known adverse side effects.
For instance, exposure to the ADS, ‘can result in a temporary reddening of the skin and second-degree burns.’
According to the D.O.D.’s 2016 FAQ sheet, ADS works by, “Producing an intolerable heating sensation, compelling the targeted individual to instinctively move. The sensation immediately ceases when the individual moves out of the beam or when the operator turns off the beam.”
This MM wave is known to trigger a ‘quick and reversible skin surface heating sensation that does not penetrate into the target.’
Active denial technology, wrote David Hambling for Forbes, was developed to strike the right balance between crowd control weapons that ‘are effective and not safe, and those that are safe, but not effective.’
He adds that the ADS ‘has an effective range of several hundred meters and can be aimed as easily as a searchlight.’
Hambling ruled the weapon harmless, telling readers it was better to get a burn than lose an eye to rubber bullets.
Like the D.O.D., he also acknowledged, “The worst injuries recorded were ‘pea sized’ blisters when the system was used at the wrong setting. Technically these are second-degree burns, unpleasant but not of lasting harm.”
The U.S. D.O.D. defines the ADS as a ‘non-lethal directed-energy weapon, which operates using millimetre waves [MM wave] at a frequency of 95 gigahertz (GHz).’
The ADS utilises electromagnetic radio waves. These MM waves (30–300 GHz) operate at a higher frequency than microwaves (3–30-GHz).
Dull, but worth noting. The same, or similar frequencies used by the Active Denial System, are said to be used in the 5G high-speed telecommunications network – where the spectrum goes from under 6GHz up to 100 GHz.
Questions about the Australian Federal Police possessing, and using, what is the equivalent of a “militarised 5G crowd control weapon” are bound to remain unanswered.
This also raises new and more urgent questions. Such as, can the 5G network be weaponised? If so, what is the government doing to put in place counter-measures?
In the end, given cop-out appeal to police methodology and ‘Crown Privilege,’ it’s unlikely we’ll get any real answers.
I’m doubtful the AFP will confirm any use of an Active Denial System, or its presence, purpose, and intent.
However, it stands to reason, since LRADS are a confirmed part of the AFP arsenal, we should assume the AFP owns, or at the very least, has access to the Active Denial System too.