The Pentagon's new weapons of mass sedation

Richard Fidler rfidler at
Tue Jan 7 13:45:54 MST 2003

'Non-lethal weapons' will be used to quell civil unrest in the 'homeland'
and in the far-flung reaches of the Pax Americana. In this new medical arms
race, the weapons are sedative drugs [from Straightgoods, Canada's
independent on-line source of news you can use]

Dateline: Monday, January 06, 2003

by Stephen James Kerr

George W. Bush proclaims Iraqi chemical weapons disarmament as his top
political priority. Yet the emergence of a whole new class of chemical
weapons based on sedative drugs has not outraged the White House. The
gassing to death with Fentanyl of 169 people in Moscow was a sneak preview
of the coming war on terror.

The Pax Americana may be taken with bombs, but America's empire will be held
with police state methods and a strange new generation of weapons that
violate existing arms control treaties. Discussion papers from the
'non-lethal' program describe an increasingly polarized world, divided
between 'haves and have-nots.' 'Non-lethal weapons' will be used to quell
civil unrest in the 'homeland' and in the far-flung reaches of the Pax
Americana. In this new medical arms race, the weapons are sedative drugs.

The Moscow incident was bad timing for the National Academies of Science
( which issued a report urging the rapid development of 'non-
lethal weapons,' including anesthetic gas. Coincidentally, the authors of
the NAS report work for Sandia National Laboratories, Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratories, Oak Ridge Laboratories, and Raytheon, all developing
non-lethal weapons. The study was sponsored by the Pentagon's Joint
Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD), already involved in the development
of these weapons, in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the
Biological Weapons Convention, according to an American NGO. The program
currently costs the taxpayer $27 million per year. By 2009, the US
Government will spend $200 million on 'non-lethal weapons.'

And a few weeks from now, Washington may be testing anesthetic gas on the
people of Baghdad. If past performance is any indicator, 20 percent of
Iraqis exposed to this chemical weapon will die. There is exactly zero
naxalone in the country. That's the antidote for the drug Fentanyl, 80 times
more powerful an opiate than morphine, that slows the metabolism so much a
person stops breathing. JNLWD and the US Department of Justice are
developing these weapons for urban warfare.

The Washington Post recently printed a feature article on what the Pentagon
calls 'urban operations', and what in the English language is called siege
warfare. The US Marines found in urban war games that the entire US Marine
Corps would be required to take and hold a Chicago-sized city, populated by
a hostile population.

"Pentagon strategists envision cordoning off Baghdad, providing escape
routes for civilians and surrendering military personnel, and striking
critical facilities whose loss, over time, should make the city, and
Hussein's government fall," as per the paper of record.

The US group Physicians for Social Responsibility predicts 250,000 deaths
and total social collapse when this illegal siege takes place.

The Pentagon has a 'non-lethal' solution, according to the Post. "Navy Capt.
Tom Johnston, head of the Centre for Joint Urban Operations at the US Joint
Forces Command in Norfolk, said the US military has progressed since World
War II from laying siege to cities to waging "effects-based operations" that
seek to destroy an enemy's will without harming large numbers of civilians
or devastating infrastructure."

Enter the harmless generals at the Pentagon's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons
Directorate, (JNLWD). According to one non-lethal expert, Sid Heal of the
LAPD, "People don't get the amount of law enforcement they can afford, they
get the amount they can tolerate."

The non-lethal scientists have worked on an equation to measure the
likelihood of death from one of their creations. They hope we will tolerate
this new math. For a non-lethal weapon, if Probability of Effectiveness (Pe)
is 100, then Probability of Kill (Pk) is zero. A perfect non-lethal weapon
never kills. The perfect lethal weapon kills everybody.

The Moscow gas killed 169 people out of approximately 800, 128 dead hostages
and 41 Chechen hostage takers. That makes the Moscow gas about 20.1 percent
lethal. So the Moscow gas has a value of Pe 79.9 or a Pk of 20.1. The US
Marines debated these equations with British officers in London on November
30, 2000.

The declassified minutes of that meeting and other reports detailing the
level of the Pentagon's interest in this same drug, Fentanyl, are available
on the website of the Sunshine Project, (, the tiny
US German NGO that has attempted to bring this program to light.

The project's director, Ed Hammond, believes that the same type of sedative
drugs used in Moscow will be used in American military operations. "They
want to use calmatives throughout the 'full spectrum of force'. What the
Pentagon planners clearly are anticipating is that US forces will repeatedly
be put in a situation where they feel they need to drug large quantities of


Much of the research on non-lethal weapons violates the Chemical Weapons
Convention (CWC), which prohibits the development of chemical weapons that
interfere with life processes, and preparations to wage chemical warfare.

So this year Washington set about undermining the Organization for the
Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), charged with overseeing the CWC. US
Under Secretary for Disarmament John Bolton performed a diplomatic
extra-juridical execution on one Jose Bustani, the OPCW's activist Director
General. Bustani wanted to admit Iraq into the Convention, removing Bush's
pretext for war.

An activist OPCW could have exposed the illegality of urban war games
conducted in London on the first anniversary of the Battle of Seattle. The
record of this meeting has been in the public record for months on the
website of the Sunshine Project, but has not been properly reported. At this
gathering 'calmative chemicals,' US military jargon for sedative drug
weapons were discussed widely, and the Chemical Weapons Convention was
identified as the primary barrier to their development.

What is most disturbing about the record of this meeting are the other
military concepts discussed, like torture. Pentagon planners described their
ideal system as able to tune up to increasing levels of lethality,
presenting the 'operator' with "choices ranging from mild discomfort to
sever [sic] injury or even death. Such a system could be used against a wide
variety of targets, from healthy young men, to children, the elderly and the



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