Date: September 8, 2003
Source: Sunshine Project
Abstract: Recently unearthed US government documents reveal new information on illicit US chemical weapons research. The US Marine Corps program on so-called "non-lethal" chemicals has inked new deals for prohibited weapons. The contracts include development of a new kind of rocket propelled grenade that began at the end of 2002, only weeks after the Moscow Theater disaster. Also last year, a senior US Army toxicologist investigated tacrine, a close cousin of several nerve gases, as a candidate "non-lethal" chemical weapons payload.
The Marine Corps contracts were granted by the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) in November and December 2002. Both are with AgentAI, a small company based in Victorville, California. One contract is for development of a new kind of rocket propelled grenade (RPG) to be fired from the US Army's standard M-203 grenade launcher. The chemical grenade is being designed for a 500 meter range. The RPG is designed to strike a person (or perhaps near a person) and then to disperse "chemical agents that can further incapacitate or maintain the incapacitation of the targeted individual". The company plans testing on a "simulated human target" under the current contract. The second JNLWD contract with AgentAI calls for development of "non-lethal" bullets that release a chemical payload upon striking a target. (Summaries of these contracts are available here.)
Another document (available here) reveals the interest of a senior US Army toxicologist in tacrine, a drug used to treat Alzheimer's Disease. The Army is not interested in the drug, however, for helping disease victims. Rather, it is assessing use of tacrine as a weapon. In February 2002, at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, the toxicologist ordered a literature review on its potential for weaponization. Chemically, tacrine is a acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, a first cousin of the nerve gases sarin, tabun, and VX (among others).
The discovery that the Army is investigating close relatives of extremely lethal nerve gases as "non-lethal" weapons heightens concerns previously raised that the Army's "non-lethal" chemical weapons program is practically indistinguishable from one with a fully lethal intent. The Army's interest in tacrine should draw particular scrutiny from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and governments who are members of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
In September 2002, the Sunshine Project presented extensive documentation proving the illicit US chemical warfare program (US Operates Secret Chemical Weapons Program). Since then, a variety of additional details about the program have been unravelled, most recently a US patent on a grenade designed to deliver biological weapons (US Army Patents Biological Weapons Delivery System) and a 1997 research paper from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA) on the use of chemical incapacitants, including use of opiates in scenarios similar to that which resulted in the Moscow Theater tragedy (See the Sunshine Project's JNLWD Document Clearinghouse).
The Sunshine Project's Freedom of Information Fund is filing a series of requests with the Pentagon to bring further information about this research into public view (Sunshine Project, 2003).Title: The Destabilizing Danger Of "Non-Lethal" Chemical And Biological Weapons In The War On Terrorism
Date: September 19, 2001
Source: Sunshine Project
Abstract: The US must not succumb to the temptation to use less lethal chemical and biological weapons - such as calmatives and other riot control agents - in the war it has declared on terrorism. Failure to take these steps may worsen conditions conducive to terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction and trigger chemical and biological war.
(Please also see the
News Release "Avoiding Bioterrorism Starts with US", also issued today, for more information on
other urgent changes needed in US policy.)
The Danger of Non-Lethal Chemical and Biological Weapons
A major destabilization risk of the US war scenario is the possible use of a new and dangerous class of weapons. US strategy will require it to attempt to separate large numbers of civilians from a handful of targeted terrorists in remote and rough terrain and in densely populated cities. Suppression of civil unrest abroad - or in the US itself - is possible. Public image demands that this dissent be quashed in a television-friendly way.
Since the US military's last major attempt to impose order in a developing country with a hostile population - its disaster in Mogadishu, Somalia - the US armed forces have turned to a new class of so-called "non-lethal weapons" to exert control while minimizing unsightly and inhumane casualties. "Non-Lethal" should not be understood as benign. In fact, non-lethals are powerful weapons designed to kill less often - as opposed to not killing at all. Non-lethal weapons are to control rioters (such as the Somalis who killed US Marines) and to incapacitate persons in a specific area in order to identify and capture targets (such as Somali "warlords" surrounded by noncombatants).
The pursuit of these weapons has led the Pentagon's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program to investigate a dazzling array of technologies to control civilians and to kill fewer noncombatants who get in the way or who choose to resist. The weapons include publicized items such as microwaves to heat the skin, sound generators to vibrate human internal organs, and lasers to overwhelm the senses.
Cloaked in greater secrecy are investigations into chemical and biological weapons. The Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program (JNLWP) has entertained proposals to use sedatives, calmatives, opioids (the class of chemicals in heroin), foul smelling substances, muscle relaxants, and other drugs on "potentially hostile civilians" (and combatants). JNLWP has weighed genetically engineered microbes to disable enemy vehicles and machinery or to destroy supplies. Delivery mechanisms studied include backpack sprayers, land mines and binary weapons, mid-air exploding mortar shells for riot control, and as payloads in unmanned aerial vehicles.
Beyond simply studying possibilities, the JNLWP has assembled information on these weapons and distributed it to other US government officials. JNLWP is known to have planned computerized simulations of the offensive use of calmative agents, signed a contract with a major US military contractor to develop an overhead-exploding chemical mortar round, and field tested new non-lethal weapons (but not biological ones) on humans in Kosovo.
Indeed, JNLWP has been gearing up specifically for the type of "unconventional" and/or "special forces" mission cited as a possibility by senior US officials. The calmatives wargame was planned by the JNLWP to "identify alternative means of offensive operations that will provide the National Command Authority and Joint Force commanders additional operational options when executing a coercive campaign." A coercive campaign is being planned, one that involves military scenarios suited to US non-lethal weapons.
In a war of retaliatory cycles, the consequences of using chemical or biological non-lethals could be catastrophic for the US and its allies. The victims are exceedingly unlikely to interpret being gassed with chemicals as a humane act. Further alienated civilian victims will be justifiably enraged at the forcible violation of their thoughts and bodies and ignore protestations of more benign intent as the excuse making of an repressive aggressor. It is far more probable that chemical and biological non-lethal weapons would be seen by civilians and terrorists alike as repressing freedom of thought and expression and, ominously, as first use of chemical or biological weapons. This interpretation of use of non-lethal chemical or biological weapons as an escalation is in fact supported by international arms control law, which strongly discourages military use of riot control agents in part because of their escalation risks.
These weapons must be rejected for what they are: chemical and biological weapons - not as deadly as a vial of anthrax or bottle of nerve gas; but enormously provocative and pertaining to same class of arms. It is therefore imperative that the US military not be allowed to use these weapons. Allies of the US must insist on this point. The potential consequences of failure to do so will enable conditions conducive to the use of weapons of mass destruction and heighten the possibility of chemical and biological war (Sunshine Project, 2001).
Title: US Department Of Justice Receives
"Non-Lethal" Biological Weapons Documents
Date: May 24, 2002
Source: Sunshine Project
Abstract: Three Pentagon documents proposing development of offensive biological weapons have been turned over to the US Department of Justice, the US government law enforcement agency.
Two of the documents are from the US Naval Research Laboratory and the US Air Force's Armstrong Laboratory. These two documents propose anti-materiel biological weapons and were described in the Sunshine Project's news release of May 8. On May 10th, in response to a Sunshine Project request, the National Academies of Science (NAS) released another US government proposal for offensive anti-material biological weapons. The third proposal is from the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL). The three documents have been turned over to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) accompanied by letters from the Sunshine Project requesting United States Attorney action pursuant to the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989.
Biological Weapons Proposal
On May 10th, the National Academies released "Biofouling and Biocorrosion", a 1994 document from the National Security Programs Office of the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL), a facility of the US Department of Energy. In the paper, INEL proposes US development of offensive biological weapons that destroy materials. Like the Air Force and Navy proposals discussed on May 8th, the INEL document has recently been distributed to government officials by the Marine Corps-directed Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program (JNLWP) and in 2001 was submitted for consideration by the National Academy of Sciences Panel "An Assessment of Non-lethal Weapons Science and Technology" (NAS Study NSBX-L-00-05-A).
In "Biofouling and Biocorrosion", INEL specifically proposes "selection of particularly active [microbe] strains" and "consideration of genetic techniques for further optimization and control". INEL also proposes "investigation of probable scenarios for [microbe] employment" and development of "organisms with faster rates of degradation and production of fouling agents, as well as novel methods for introducing the organisms to their targets." This proposal is available on the Sunshine Project website for independent analysis.
In two letters, one on 16 May and another on 23 May, the Sunshine Project has provided copies of three documents to Mr. Johnny Sutton, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas. They are: "Biofouling and Biocorrosion" (INEL, Idaho Falls, ID), "Enhanced Degradation of Military Materiel" (US Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC), and "Anti-Materiel Biocatalysts and Sensors" (Armstrong Laboratory, Brooks Air Force Base, San Antonio, TX). Letters accompany the documents requesting Department of Justice action pursuant to the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989.
Title: Pentagon Program Promotes
Date: July 1, 2002
Source: Sunshine Project
Abstract: The Advantages and Limitations of Calmatives for
Use as a Non-Lethal Technique, a 49 page report obtained last week by the
Sunshine Project under US information freedom law, has revealed a shocking
Pentagon program that is researching psychopharmacological weapons. Based on
"extensive review conducted on the medical literature and new
developments in the pharmaceutical industry", the report concludes
that "the development and use of [psychopharmacological weapons] is
achievable and desirable." These mind-altering weapons violate
international agreements on chemical and biological warfare as well as human
rights. Some of the techniques discussed in the report have already been used
by the US in the "War on Terrorism".
In The Futurological Congress (1971), Polish writer Stanislaw Lem portrayed a future in which disobedience is controlled with hypothetical mind-altering chemicals dubbed "benignimizers". Lem's fictional work opens with the frightening story of a police and military biochemical attack on protesters outside of an international scientific convention. As the environment becomes saturated with hallucinogenic agents, in Lem's tale the protesters (and bystanders) descend into chaos, overcome by delusions and feelings of complacency, self-doubt, and even love. If the Pentagon’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) has its way, Lem may be remembered as a prophet.
The team, which is based at the Applied Research Laboratory of Pennsylvania State University, is assessing weaponization of a number of psychiatric and anesthetic pharmaceuticals as well as "club drugs" (such as the "date rape drug" GHB). According to the report, "the choice administration route, whether application to drinking water, topical administration to the skin, an aerosol spray inhalation route, or a drug filled rubber bullet, among others, will depend on the environment." The environments identified are specific military and civil situations, including "hungry refugees that are excited over the distribution of food", "a prison setting", an "agitated population" and "hostage situations". At times, the JNLWD team's report veers very close to defining dissent as a psychological disorder.
The drugs that Lem called "benignimizers" are called "calmatives" by the military. Some calmatives were weaponized by the Cold War adversaries, including BZ, described by those who have used it as "the ultimate bad trip". Calmatives were supposed to have been deleted from military stockpiles following the adoption of the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1993, which bans any chemical weapon that can cause death, temporary incapacitation, or permanent harm to humans or animals.
Calmative is military, not medical, terminology. In more familiar medical language, most of the drugs under consideration are central nervous system depressants. Most are synthetic, some are natural. They include opiates (morphine-type drugs) and benzodiazpines, such as Valium (diazepam). Antidepressants are also of great interest to the research team, which is looking for drugs like Prozac (fluoxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline) that are faster acting.
Many of the proposed drugs can be considered both chemical and biological weapons banned by the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). As a practical matter, biological and chemical "calmatives" must be addressed together. As the agents are explicitly intended for military use, and are intended to incapacitate their victims, they do not fall under the CWC's domestic riot control agent exemption. Toxic products of living agents – such as the neurotoxin botulinum – are considered both chemical and biological agents. Any weapons use of neurotransmitters or substances mimicking their action is similarly covered by both arms control treaties. The researchers have developed a massive calmatives database and are following biomedical research on mechanisms of drug addiction, pain relief, and other areas of research on cognition-altering biochemicals. For example, the JNLWD team is tracking research on cholecystokinin, a neurotransmitter that causes panic attacks in healthy people and is linked to psychiatric disorders.
The drugs have hallucinogenic and other effects, including apnea (stopped breathing), coma, and death. One class of drugs under consideration are fentanyls. The report's cover features a diagram of fentanyl. According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the biological effects of fentanyls "are indistinguishable from those of heroin, with the exception that the fentanyls may be hundreds of times more potent." The report says that the drugs’ profound effects may make it necessary to "check for the occasional person who may stop breathing (many medical reasons in the unhealthy, the elderly, and very young...", as well as victims who "'go to sleep' in positions that obstruct their airway".
The report also points out that pharmaceutical candidates that fail because of excessive side-effects might be desirable for use as weapons: "Often, an unwanted side-effect... will terminate the development of a promising new pharmaceutical compound. However, in the variety of situations in which non-lethal techniques are used, there may be less need to be concerned with unattractive side-effects... Perhaps, the ideal calmative has already been synthesized and is awaiting renewed interest from its manufacturer."
As of March 2002, the team was researching a mix of pepper spray ("OC") and an unidentified calmative agent. Pepper spray is the most powerful chemical crowd control agent in use, and has been associated with numerous deaths. Adding a pharmacological "calmative" to OC would create a hideous concoction. The report prioritizes Valium and Precedex (dexmeditomidine) for weaponization, and it is possible that these are the agents that could be mixed with OC. The researchers also suggest mixing ketamine with other drugs (see below). The chemical cocktail proposals bear a resemblance to South Africa's apartheid-era weapons research, whose director claimed under oath to have attempted to develop a BZ and cocaine mixture for use on government enemies.
Precedex is a sedative approved for use in the US on patients hospitalized in intensive care units. The report draws attention to an "interesting phenomenon" related to Precedex use - the drug increases patients' reaction to electrical shock. The researchers suggest sensitizing people by using Precedex on them, followed by use of electromagnetic weapons to "address effects on the few individuals where an average dose of the pharmacological agent did not have the desired effect." Obviously, such a technique might be considered torture, and certainly could be used to torture. To add to hypnotic and delusional properties, the researchers suggest that psychopharmaceutical agents could be designed to have physical effects including headache and nausea, adding to their torture potential.
The researchers suggest that transdermal patches and transmucosal (through mucous membranes) formulations of Buspar (buspirone) under development by Bristol-Myers Squibb and TheraTech, Inc. "may be effective in a prison setting where there may have been a recent anxiety-provoking incident or confrontation."
Use in the War
Of course, uncooperative or rioting prisoners would be extraordinarily unlikely to accept being drugged with a transdermal patch or most conventional means. Any such application of a "calmative" would likely be on individuals in shackles or a straightjacket. The US has admitted that it forcibly sedates Al-Qaida "detainees" held at the US base in Guantanamo, Cuba. Former JNLWD commander and retired Col. Andy Mazzara, who directs the Penn State team, says has he sent a "Science Advisor" to the US Navy to assist the War on Terrorism.
A number of weaponization modes are discussed in the report. These include aerosol sprays, microencapsulation, and insidious methods such as introduction into potable water supplies and psychoactive chewing gum. JNLWD is investing in the development of microencapsulation technology, which involves creating granules of a minute quantity of agent coated with a hardened shell. Distributed on the ground, the shell breaks under foot and the agent is released. A new mortar round being developed could deliver thousands of the minute granules per round. The team concludes that new delivery methods under development by the pharmaceutical industry will be of great weapons value. These include new transdermal, transmucosal, and aerosol delivery methods. The report cites the relevance of a lollipop containing fentanyl used to treat children in severe pain, and notes that "the development of new pain-relieving opiate drugs capable of being administered via several routes is at the forefront of drug discovery", concluding that new weapons could be developed from this pharmaceutical research.
The researchers express specific interest shooting humans with guns loaded with carfentanil darts. Carfentanil is a veterinary narcotic used to tranquilize large, dangerous animals such as bears and tigers. Anyone who has watched wildlife shows on television is familiar with the procedure. In the US, carfentanil is not approved for any use on human beings. It is an abused drug and a controlled substance. Under US law, first time offenders convicted of unlicensed possession of carfentanil can be punished by up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Most of the JNLWD team's weapon candidates are controlled substances in most countries. Some are widely used legitimate pharmaceuticals that are also drugs of abuse, such as Valium and opiates. The Pentagon team advocates more research into the weapons potential of convulsants (which provoke seizures) and “club drugs”, the generally illegal substances used by some at "rave" and dance clubs. Among those in the military spotlight are ketamine ("Special K"), GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutrate, "liquid ecstasy"), and rohypnol ("Roofies"). The latter two in particular are called "date rape drugs" because of incidences of their use on victims of sexual and other crimes. Most are DEA Schedule I or II narcotics that provoke hallucinations and can carry a sentence of life imprisonment. For example, according to the DEA, "Use of ketamine as a general anesthetic for humans has been limited due to adverse effects including delirium and hallucinations... Low doses produce vertigo, ataxia, slurred speech, slow reaction time, and euphoria. Intermediate doses produce disorganized thinking, altered body image, and a feeling of unreality with vivid visual hallucinations. High doses produce analgesia, amnesia, and coma."
The Sunshine Project is calling for immediate termination of this research and urges Parties to both the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) to quickly condemn this research and to approve decisions reiterating the ban on these weapons. For the CWC, opportunities to act will arise at the Conference of the States Parties, to be held in The Hague beginning on October 7th of this year, and the 1st Review Conference of the CWC, to begin on April 28th 2003. For the BTWC, Parties should make proposals at the 5th Review Conference, to begin in Geneva this November, and place biological and toxin "calmatives" on the agenda of the next Conference of States Parties or other multilateral group(s) created at the Conference.
This news release is a first report on this disturbing research program. Additional information, on relationships between these weapons and protection of human rights, medical ethics, and drug research is forthcoming (Sunshine Project, 2002).
Title: An Outline Of The Case Against The Joint
Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate
Date: September 24, 2002
Source: Sunshine Project
Abstract: The charges made by the Sunshine Project are supported by thousands of pages of US government documents, many obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act, and many of which are available on our website. This news release and annex are accompanied by a map and fact sheet on JNLWD's program. This is available for download from our website. The charges against JNLWD will be further detailed in a briefing for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and diplomats attending the October meeting of the Chemical Weapons Convention. A brief outline is provided here:
1. JNLWD is conducting a research and development program on toxic chemical agents for use as weapons in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
JNLWD's desire for chemical weapons is intense and widely documented. JNLWD has explicitly stated that it is operating a program to develop "calmative" chemical weapons (9). In May 1999, its Research Director told Navy News and Undersea Technology "We need something besides tear gas, like calmatives, anesthetic agents, that would put people to sleep or in a good mood." In 2000, JNLWD's Commanding Officer told New Scientist "I would like a magic dust that would put everyone in a building to sleep, combatants and non-combatants." (10) The Marine Corps Research University (MCRU), a major JNLWD contractor, produced an October 2000 study that concluded "the development and use of calmatives is achievable and desirable" and urged "immediate consideration" of drugs like diazepam (Valium). (11) The unit that produced the study is headed by JNLWD's former commander. JNLWD currently has a secretive technology investment program for incapacitating chemical weapons that is being conducted in cooperation with the US Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground. (12) It is urging academic and private institutions to bring it new proposals for chemical agents (13) and has repeatedly emphasized the need for the US military to develop a calmative capability. In addition, it recently concluded a new request for proposals that includes a call for "advanced riot control agents", (14) a military synonym for drug weapons. In October 2001, it offered to equip US commercial aircraft with calmative-dispensing weapons. (15)
2. JNLWD is developing long-range military delivery devices for these chemicals that violate the Chemical Weapons Convention and have no law enforcement application.
JNLWD has been funding the development of chemical weapons delivery devices since the late 1990s. 1999 and 2000 photos of outdoor tests of chemical aerosol equipment and wind tunnel tests at the US Army Soldier Biological Chemical Command are included on the obverse side of the accompanying map. JNLWD has funded a multi-year program to microencapsulate chemical agents, specifically, anesthetics and anesthetics mixed with corrosive chemicals to penetrate thick clothing. (16) In 2001, JNLWD accelerated this effort, developing a specification for an 81mm "non-lethal" mortar round with a 2.5 kilometer range. (17) The round can use chemical payloads and is required to work in standard issue military M252 mortars. (18) Under this program, in September 2001, JNLWD inked a deal with General Dynamics that calls for building a "dispersion gas generator" for this mortar round and to "identify analytical tools that can be used in follow-on design/performance modeling of droplet formation and dynamics" and to perform "preliminary parametric estimates of ground area coverage versus payload volume and height of burst." (19) The JNLWD team which developed chemical microencapsulation methods and the Aberdeen Proving Ground team which is participating in the chemical agents technology investment program are both collaborating with JNLWD in the mortar round design. (20)
3. JNLWD is pursuing this program despite being fully cognizant that it violates the Chemical Weapons Convention and US Department of Defense regulations.
The JNLWD program runs afoul of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the global ban on the development and use of all chemical weapons. And JNLWD is well aware of this fact. JNLWD presentations in 2001 list the Chemical Weapons Convention as a major "challenge" to its calmatives program. (21) In 2000, JNLWD held a series of war games with British military officials. JNLWD’s report of the war games concludes "In all three game scenarios, players espoused calmatives as potentially the most useful anti-personnel non-lethal weapons” but that “the principle concern was about the legality of the weapon and possible arms control violations..." Despite this, it continues "The end result is that calmatives are considered the single most effective anti-personnel option in the non-lethal toolkit." (22)
At the end of the wargames series, JNLWD held a final, high-level meeting with UK officials. It included the participation of five active duty US Marine Corps and Army generals. British officials objected to the US calmatives program, saying that it is illegal. JNLWD replied by saying but that it would proceed anyway (quoting from the report): "a research and development program with respect to... chemically based calmatives... [will] be continued as long as it is cost-productive to do so." In the same report, JNLWD acknowledges that its research and development program violates Department of Defense regulations, declaring its intent to evade the law: "DOD is prohibited from pursuing [calmative] technology... If there are promising technologies that DOD is prohibited from pursuing, set up MOA with DOJ or DOE." (DOD is the US Department of Defense. DOJ is the US Department of Justice. DOE is the US Department of Energy. MOA is a Memorandum of Agreement.) (23)
4. JNLWD is seeking to cover up this illicit program by cloaking it behind US secrecy law.
JNLWD has made a
systematic effort hide its program from public view and to impede the Sunshine
Project's investigation. JNLWD asked the US Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG)
to perform a legal review of its "non-lethal" chemical weapons; but
then classified the JAG opinion, preventing its release. (24) JNLWD has placed
export control restrictions on its 81mm "non-lethal" mortar
specification. (25) In 2002, JNLWD officials trained US Marine Corps officers
in its anti-personnel chemical weapons capabilities. It classified the training
"secret". (26) Interviewed by news media, JNLWD officials deny developing
chemical weapons; but have informed the Sunshine Project in multiple telephone
conversations that they will deny release of documents requested under FOIA
because of "classified weapons development". With 18 months elapsed
since the Sunshine Project's first Freedom of Information Act requests to
JNLWD, almost two thirds of the documents requested have not been released.
JNLWD has ordered the US National Academies of Science to halt release of
documents it deposited in the public record at that institution, (27) despite
the fact that the National Academies states that there are no security markings
on the documents requested, (28) and in apparent violation of US (Sunshine Project, 2002).
Title: Pentagon Perverts Pharma With New Weapons:
Liability And Public Image In The Pentagon's Drug Weapons Research
Date: February 11, 2003
Source: Sunshine Project
Abstract: The conventional view is that pharmaceutical research develops new ways to treat disease and reduce human suffering; but the Pentagon disagrees. Military weapons developers see the pharmaceutical industry as central to a new generation of anti-personnel weapons. Although it denied such research as recently as the aftermath of the October theater tragedy in Moscow, a Pentagon program has recently released more information that confirms that it wants to make pharmaceutical weapons. And on February 5th, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld went a big step further. Rumsfeld, himself a former pharmaceutical industry CEO (1), announced that the US is making plans for the use of such incapacitating biochemical weapons in an invasion of Iraq (see News Release, 7 February 2003).
The Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) and the US Army's Soldier Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM) are leading the research. Of interest to the military are drugs that target the brain's regulation of many aspects of cognition, such as sense of pain, consciousness, and emotions like anxiety and fear. JNLWD is preparing a database of pharmaceutical weapons candidates, many of them off-the-shelf products, and indexing them by manufacturer. It will choose drugs from this database for further work and, according to Rumsfeld, if President Bush signs a waiver of existing US policy, they can be used in Iraq. Delivery devices already exist or are in advanced development. These include munitions for an unmanned aerial vehicle or loitering missile, and a new 81mm (bio)chemical mortar round.
Many of the Pentagon’s so-called "nonlethal" (bio)chemical weapons candidates are pharmaceuticals. Different names are used for these weapons ("calmatives", "disabling chemicals", "nonlethal chemicals", etc.). Used as weapons, all minimally aim to incapacitate their victims. They belong to the same broad category of agents as the incapacitating chemical that killed more than 120 hostages in the Moscow theater. That agent was reported to be based on fentanyl, an opiate that is also among the weapons being assessed by JNLWD. In the US, pharmaceutical fentanyl is sold by Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutica. Remifentanil, a closely related drug, is a GlaxoSmithKline product.
contractors have identified a host of other agents manufactured by a Who's Who
list of the pharmaceutical industry. In 2001 weapons researchers at the Applied
Research Laboratory of Pennsylvania State University assessed the anesthetic
drugs isoflurane and sevoflurane, produced by Syngenta and Abbott Laboratories,
respectively. The same Penn State team recommended other drugs for
"immediate consideration," some of which are in the chart below. The
Pentagon is also interested in industry’s new ways to apply (bio)chemicals
through the skin and mucous membranes, which could bring previously impractical
drug weapons closer to reality by overcoming technical hurdles related to delivery
of certain agents.
DRUG / LEGITIMATE / USE COMPANY
1. Fentanyl / Analgesic (Johnson & Johnson) (and others)
2. Carfentanil / Veterinary Anesthetic Wildlife Pharmaceuticals
3. Dexmeditomidine / Anesthetic (Abbott Laboratories)
4. Isoflurane / Anesthetic (Abbott Laboratories)
5. Sevoflurane / Anesthetic (Syngenta)
6. Pramipexole / Parkinson's Disease (Pharmacia)
7. CI-1007 / Experimental (Pfizer)
8. Lesopitron / Experimental Anxiolytic (Esteve Pharmaceuticals)
9. MKC-242 / Experimental Antidepressant (Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation)
10. Ketamine / Anesthetic Pfizer (and others)
11. Diazepam (Valium) / Anxiolytic (Hoffman-LaRoche) (and others)
Questioning Industry's Role: The silence of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) and its members is becoming increasingly conspicuous. The Pentagon research described here has been underway for more than two years. It’s no secret that pharma is queuing up for lucrative biodefense contracts; but does industry's enthusiasm for defense dollars extend to weaponsmaking?
If the pharmaceutical industry assists or accepts weaponization of its products, it will negatively transform the public's view of the nature of pharmaceutical research. Yet PhRMA's silence raises fundamental questions about industry's commitment to peaceful research. Will it work to prevent its drugs from being weaponized? Or are weapons viewed as an emerging new market? Will industry cooperate with the Pentagon to design weapons? Military researchers want such collaborations. What if drug stockpiles are diverted into weapons? Will industry be complicit by continuing to look the other way?
Liability: Serious liability questions will be raised if these drugs are used as weapons in Iraq or elsewhere. Scores of innocent hostages died in the Moscow theater. Many survivors are likely suffering lasting, even permanent effects. If the US uses these weapons, more casualties are inevitable.(3) So long as the pharmaceutical industry does not make every possible effort to prevent the Pentagon’s perversion of its products, manufacturers should be held liable for the damage that weaponized drugs inflict (Sunshine Project, 2003).
Title: The Return Of ARCAD
Date: January 6, 2004
Source: Sunshine Project
Abstract: Accidentally-released documents reveal links between
current 'non-lethal' weapons research and a Cold War chemical weapons program
cancelled in 1992 because of its treaty-busting implications.
Newly-released US government documents indicate that recent Pentagon research on so-called "non-lethal" weapons is a revived version of a weapons program that was cancelled due to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Elements of the decade-old program on incapacitating chemicals, called ARCAD (Advanced Riot Control Agent Device), have been re-initiated by the Pentagon's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate. The links that Sunshine Project Freedom of Information Act requests have established between ARCAD and recent research underscore how and why the Pentagon's "non-lethal" weapons program threatens treaty controls on chemical and biological weapons.
In 1992, the US Army's ARCAD program was supposed to have been terminated because of prohibitions in the Chemical Weapons Convention, which was then in late stages of negotiation. But it is now clear that elements of the program continued to operate under a new guise. As of 2002, ARCAD's legacy was being pursued with a new institutional base - the US Marine Corps-directed Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD). Weapons development deemed legally unacceptable in 1992 has found new life with the "non-lethal" moniker, despite US ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention and attacks on states alleged to be developing chemical and biological weapons.
The Story: From
ARCAD to Front End Analysis (and Beyond?)
Building on Cold War research, by the early 1990s, US Army weapons developers at Aberdeen Proving Ground (Maryland) were making headway in a quest for new incapacitating chemical weapons. Foreshadowing the Moscow Theater disaster a decade later, they reported in early 1992 that they had weaponized chemical cocktails of powerful opiates, such as fentanyl, mixed with supposedly safety-enhancing chemicals (opiate antagonists, similar to those used to treat heroin overdose). The weapons were designed to knock out groups of people, in battle and in other situations, presumably including "rioting" civilians.
The Army was making headway in weapons design, but the collapse of the Soviet Union had turned political winds toward disarmament and decidedly against new chemical weapons. International momentum was building for a global ban on chemical weapons and, in September 1992, the text of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) was completed. Anticipating the CWC's restrictions, in 1992 the Pentagon cancelled the Advanced Riot Control Agent Device (ARCAD) program. The decision, quoting an Army official in the recently-released papers, "because of multilateral treaty language restricting the use of riot control agents".
But frustrated Army weapons developers were unwilling to let ARCAD die. Spurred on by a dispute that arose between experts about the extent of the CWC's prohibitions on use of incapacitating chemicals, they cited a Vietnam-era policy (Executive Order 11850, still standing) that conflicts with the CWC. They found interest in their chemical weapons research at the Non-Lethal Coordinating Cell, a small new Pentagon office with big plans and influential backers, including US military strategist Paul Wolfowitz. Impelled by the US military's disastrous deployment to Mogadishu, Somalia, the Coordinating Cell was looking for new ways to neutralize crowds of civilians. Later, the Coordinating Cell came under the administration of the US Marine Corps and was renamed the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD).
When the Coordinating Cell obtained research funding and put out a request for proposals, the Army chemical weaponeers saw their chance. In proposals written in 1994, they not only sought to restart ARCAD, they requested JNLWD support to move into aerosol testing of the opiate cocktails. They also proposed new ideas, such as studying weaponization of an experimental pharmaceutical suggested to the Army by a University of Utah anesthesiologist who had seen it used to tranquilize wild elk (Cervus elaphus). Also new were short-acting opiates being developed by Glaxo Pharmaceuticals (now GlaxoSmithKline). In its proposals, the Army group asserted that the military could legally use the chemical as weapons for "peacekeeping missions; crowd control; embassy protection; and counterterrorism."
From here, the story gets murky; but important new detail is available. For five years, there was no public action by JNLWD on the (heretofore confidential) Army proposals. Despite JNLWD's denials that it is engaged in chemical weapons development, a contract released to the Sunshine Project under FOIA in 2002 states that, in 2001, the Directorate trained Marine Corps officers in the use of classified antipersonnel "non-lethal" chemical weapons.
In light of the newly-released documents, it was in 2000 that the ARCAD program resurfaced publicly in the form of a Pentagon contract awarded to the Optimetrics, Inc. The Optimetrics studies parallel those proposed by the Army to JNLWD in 1994. Not coincidentally, the lead researcher was C. Parker Ferguson, an Aberdeen Proving Ground veteran who pushed JNLWD to revive ARCAD in 1994. By 2000, Ferguson had left for Aberdeen for Optimetric's nearby office in Bel Air, Maryland. Phase One of the Optimetrics contract was a "Front End Analysis" of Chemical Immobilizing Agents, including testing of "promising" chemical cocktails on animals. Phase Two moved into human testing.
Not long after the Optimetrics contract issued, JNLWD launched a two year research program titled "Front End Analysis for Non-Lethal Chemicals" (FY 2001 and 2002). While this JNLWD program was operating (including during the Moscow Theater disaster), the Directorate vociferously, incorrectly denied that it was conducting research on incapacitating chemical weapons. Contradicting its own public relations officers, in early 2003 a short document describing the "Front End Analysis" program was briefly posted on the JNLWD website (and then rather quickly removed). The Optimetrics and JNLWD efforts appear to be linked; but the exact relationships remain unclear because both JNLWD and the Army deny that they are collaborating to develop new chemical weapons.
With the recent release of papers, how JNLWD's research has come from the cancelled ARCAD program can finally be documented. The documents are the set of proposals made in 1994 by the Army and, interestingly, it is in these proposals that the term "Front End Analysis" first appears to describe phase one of ARCAD's revival. The totality of the circumstances, including specific terminology, personnel, preferred chemical formulations, and other materials obtained under FOIA (available on the Sunshine Project website), make clear that, after ARCAD was officially cancelled, at least part of the program was folded into the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate. (What additional work has been conducted under classification is unknown.)
The significance of the documents is far more than historical. ARCAD was terminated because, in 1992, the Pentagon determined that it would violate the Chemical Weapons Convention. But it is now clear that the weapons research did not end. As of 2002 ARCAD's legacy was being pursued with a new institutional base - the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate. The research appears to have resulted in classified antipersonnel chemical capabilities, according the JNLWD contract to train Marine Corps officers. US chemical weapons development deemed legally unacceptable in 1992 has found new life with the "non-lethal" moniker.
(Apparently) Accidental Release
Using the Freedom of Information Act, the Sunshine Project requested the documents from the US Marine Corps in September 2001. After delaying for more than two years, in late 2003 the Marine Corps responded in a letter stating that the documents, titled "Demonstration of Chemical Immobilizers", "Antipersonnel Calmative Agents", and "Antipersonnel Chemical Immobilizers: Synthetic Opiods", required a security review that the Marine Corps Systems Command could not perform. This status strongly suggested that the documents would be severely edited or not released at all.
Inexplicably, in the same envelope as the security review letter, the Marines enclosed a complete set of the documents. The Marines also sent the Sunshine Project versions of the chemical weapons papers with large blocks of text blacked-out. These apparently were the Marines' view of what portions should remain secret. The circumstances suggest that the Marines sent the Sunshine Project the documents that were supposed to go to the Pentagon for security review. After study, the Sunshine Project determined to publicize the documents because they shed light on JNLWD's secretive chemical weapons research program and how it threatens international treaties.
The documents mentioned above, as well as related materials on US research on "non-lethal" chemical and biological weapons may be downloaded here (Sunshine Project, 2004).
Title: US Defense Science Board Calls For
Strategic Use Of Calmative Chemical Weapons
Date: April 16, 2004
Source: Sunshine Project
Abstract: The US Defense Science Board, a senior advisory body to the Pentagon, has recommended exploration of the use of calmatives as strategic weapons. Calmatives, such as anesthetic or psychoactive drugs, are the same type of weapon was that tragically used at the end of the Moscow Theater siege in October 2002. The lethality of calmatives is difficult to predict, and will vary by the concentration and circumstances they are used in.
In its recently released report titled Future Strategic Strike Forces, the Defense Science Board (DSB) outlines new technologies to increase US long-range strategic capabilities over the next 30 years. The DSB suggests, "Calmatives might be considered to deal with otherwise difficult situations in which neutralizing individuals could enable ultimate mission success." The report names two categories of individuals as possible targets, advocating, "when striking rogue or terrorist leadership, the mission is to kill the leaders themselves" and "to decapitate regimes".
The 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) prohibits all kinds of chemical weapons, lethal and less-lethal. "If the US government is considering calmatives for strategic leadership targeting, this is going to be a more than a controversial issue," says Otfried Nassauer, the director of the Berlin Information-Center for Transatlantic Security (BITS), an independent think tank specializing in military affairs, "however, the impact on the CWC might become worse, if not a non-proliferation nightmare."
The DSB admits that the "treaty implications are significant" if the US pursues a new generation of calmative chemical weapons as a strategic asset. Yet the DSB calls on the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, the Pentagon office charged with developing so-called non-lethal weapons, including calmatives, to "broaden [its] tactical and operational focus to consider the strategic applications and associated treaty issues."
Thus, after specifically recommending consideration of chemical weapons in attacks to disable, derange, or do worse to US enemies' leaders, the DSB's report appears to encourage the US Department of Defense to engage in political efforts to weaken the CWC. According to Jan van Aken of the Sunshine Project Germany, "The US government seems to be readying to attack yet another arms control treaty as soon as new technology becomes available that is militarily interesting."
The DSB provides further, ambiguously phrased, advice on 'non-lethal' weapons, stating that there is a need for "Non-lethal effects directed at the physiological or psychological functions of specific individuals or the populace. Applications of biological, chemical, or electromagnetic radiation effects on humans should be pursued."
The odd language of the second sentence, referring to applications of effects, is of concern. Since the official end of US offensive chemical weapons research in the early 90s, JNLWD has funded the work of ex-chemical weapons makers and their protégés, who are reviving old programs under the 'non-lethal' name. JNLWD has classified research programs and, for at least two years, has taught Marine Corps officers classified classes on 'non-lethal' anti-personnel chemical weapons. In 2002, it engineered another recommendation for development of calmatives, which turned into an embarrassing situation for the US National Academy of Sciences.
According to Edward Hammond of the Sunshine Project US office, "The convoluted language of the DSB recommendation is no accident. It is crafted to avoid blatant endorsement of illegal weapons, yet in a manner so that it can also be read to support JNLWD's chemical weapons work, both applied and political. We fear that JNLWD has new chemical weapons that are nearly ready for use, and that the DSB recommendations reflect another attempt to take JNLWD's chemical program out of the closet and put it on the battlefield" (Sunshine Project, 2004).
Title: German Army To Be Equipped With
"Non-Lethal" Chemical Weapons: Cabinet Decision Undermines Chemical
Date: June 17, 2004
Source: Sunshine Project
Abstract: Last week, the German cabinet decided to equip the German Army, for the first time in recent history, with riot control agents for use in operations abroad. Previously, Germany has adhered to Article 1 of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which explicitly prohibits the use of "riot control agents as a method of warfare".
The German administration decided to alter its implementation law for the CWC. The change will permit the use of - so far undefined - riot control agents in equally undefined military operations outside Germany. The Parliament still must approve the law, which is unlikely to happen before summer break. The German government's new position comes in a fragile international situation in which the development and use of so called "non-lethal" chemical weapons such as tear gas or anaesthetic compounds is increasingly seen as a major danger to global chemical disarmament.
"With this move to put perceived - and questionable - military needs over international peace accords, the German defense minister has presented qualifications for a junior position in the disarmament treaty-dumping Bush administration in the US," says Jan van Aken from the Sunshine Project's German office.
While the CWC allows the use of tear gas by police in domestic riots, it prohibits any use of any chemical weapon in warfare. A major reason is the escalation risk: Historically, every instance of military use of lethal chemical weapons was preceded by the use of "non-lethal" agents.
Some governments have already adopted a dangerous interpretation of the CWC's Article 1 prohibitions and the term "warfare". Several armies are already equipped with tear gas for use in foreign operations - a practice that arguably violates the CWC. The US government has gone a step further and is trying to stretch the definition of "riot control agent" in its programs to develop psychoactive and anaesthetic compounds for weapons use. Worsening the deteriorating situation, the German cabinet did not even define clear limits on its decision to deploy riot control agents, for example, by restricting the permitted scenarios to police-like operations or by unambiguously defining riot control agents as tear gases.
"In the worsening international climate, the German decision is a big step backwards for chemical disarmament. Instead of defending the Chemical Weapons Convention, the German government appears to be lending its support to US-led efforts to weaken the treaty," says Edward Hammond from the Sunshine Project US.
Last week's decision was triggered by March 2004 riots in Kosovo, when German soldiers were unable to stop a violent mob burning down monasteries. After a criticism in the German weekly the Spiegel in early May, the Minister of Defense felt pressure to take political action. The quick decision to equip the Army with chemical agents, however, ignores the actual situation in Kosovo. The German Army itself acknowledges that their soldiers were equipped with non-lethal weapons such as rubber bullets, but decided not to use them in this particular situation in order not to harm women and children. And the Army acknowledges that they do not have any plan or scenario for the use of chemical agents.
"The government's rushed response to a newspaper article is frighteningly myopic. There is no real need and strategic thinking behind it. It is deeply disturbing to see how little prompting the German government needs before it gives up its arms control obligations," says van Aken.
The law the German administration wants to amend is the CWÜAG - Chemiewaffenübereinkommen-Ausführungsgesetz, §2, which currently restricts the use of riot control agents to police and to army personnel within German borders to protect military facilities. According to Sunshine Project research, the law will be introduced into the Bundestag (parliament) in early July (Sunshine Project, 2004).
Title: Time For The Pentagon To Lift The Secrecy
Surrounding Its "Non-Lethal" Chemical And Biological Weapons
Date: July 19, 2004
Source: Sunshine Project
Project Challenges the Defense Department to Release "Non-Lethal"
Last week, when the Pentagon's lawyers insisted that the Sunshine Project remove documents about US Army chemical weapons research from its website, they called attention to the secrecy that surrounds US development of so-called non-lethal weapons. Belatedly realizing that censorship might backfire and draw more – not less - attention to "non-lethal" secrets, the Marine Corps tried to compensate with delay. It waited until 5:00 PM on Friday to respond to journalist's inquiries so as to try to ensure that the news cropped up outside of major US and international news cycles. Even then it said nothing of substance – it says it is investigating the matter.
The Pentagon has never been forthcoming about the extent of its "non-lethal" programs; but after the Sunshine Project and others began to take action against them at the Chemical Weapons Convention, secrecy has increased and the quality of disclosure under laws such as the Freedom of Information Act has plummeted.
For more than three and half years, the Sunshine Project has closely followed the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD), the coordinating body for US military "non-lethal" weapons research. In September 2002, the Sunshine Project went to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and called for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to investigate programs to develop prohibited chemical weapons under the "non-lethal" moniker. In reply, the US State Department blocked the Sunshine Project’s accreditation to the meeting.
One month later, more than 120 innocent hostages were killed in the Moscow theater by the same kind of "non-lethal" chemical weapon. In 2003, it wasn’t the Sunshine Project that went to the CWC to request action, it was the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC). But the result was much the same: The Bush administration again used backroom maneuvers to prevent the ICRC from speaking and to keep "non-lethal" chemical weapons off the CWC's agenda.
"Non-lethal" weapons are a hodgepodge of technologies ranging from simple, well-understood items such as police batons and shields, to the weirdest frontiers of weapons science, like the Navy researcher whose proposal is to permanently "pacify" people by chemically burning out the neurological systems that make humans capable of violence. (His paper was accepted for discussion at a JNLWD-sponsored conference.) With new technologies, such as directed energy, JNLWD plays up the "gee-whiz" factor, resulting in headlines such as "Set Phasers to Stun", although to many observers the various directed-energy devices remind them more of the electric chair than reruns of Star Trek.
When it comes to chemical and biological "non-lethal" weapons, which are prohibited by treaty, JNLWD has the most explaining – and disclosing – to do. To begin with, if all of JNLWD's programs are treaty-compliant and truly "non-lethal", as it insists they are, why operate these programs under high classification? It is difficult to understand why a purportedly non-lethal weapon for missions such as peacekeeping would need to be shrouded in secrecy like that applied to nuclear weapons technology.
Beyond the three documents that the Marine Corps has insisted that the Sunshine Project remove from its website, a world of recent and undisclosed JNLWD and other Pentagon chemical and even biological "non-lethal" weapons research exists. The outlines of these programs can be ascertained through the Freedom of Information Act, related laws, and open sources. It is time for JNLWD and its military partners to come clean and prove that these programs are treaty-compliant and "non-lethal".
To begin the process of adequate public disclosure and discussion, Sunshine Project challenges the Pentagon to release the following materials:
1. The unredacted reports of the project Chemical Immobilizing Agents for Non-Lethal Applications, conducted by Optimetrics, Inc for the US Army Aberdeen Proving Ground in 2000 – 2001, as well as those of all follow-on projects;
2. The unredacted reports of the JNLWD technology investment project Front End Analysis for Non-Lethal Chemicals, conducted in fiscal years 2001 and 2002;
3. The unredacted reports of the project Technical Assessment of Antimateriel Chemical and Biological Agents, conducted at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, in 2000;
4. The unredacted videotapes of late 1990s US Navy (Dahlgren, VA) testing of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or "drones") equipped with "non-lethal" payload systems, requested by the Sunshine Project under FOIA a year and half ago, as well as documentation related to this program;
5. The unredacted reports of JNLWD's Loitering Non-Lethal Submunition program, as well the reports of Pentagon projects to develop "non-lethal" chemical missile payload systems, such as those for the ERGM (extended range guided missile) and the loitering "Tomahawk Tactical" cruise missile.
6. The full record of the lectures on antipersonnel "non-lethal" chemical weapons, classified "secret" and periodically given by JNLWD staff at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College since at least 2002.
7. All records deposited at the National Academies of Science for its JNLWD-sponsored non-lethal weapons study. (NAS has been refusing to release these records, at the behest of the Marine Corps and in violation of the Federal Advisory Committees Act, for a year and a half.) (Sunshine Project, 2004).
Title: French Biodefense Research Clouded In
Secrecy; Concern Over French ‘Non-Lethal’ Chemical Weapons Activities
Date: November 16, 2004
Source: Sunshine Project
Abstract: Today, the Sunshine Project has released detailed studies of the national biodefense programs of France and Germany. The reports are the first in a series whose aim is to better document biodefense programs in many countries.
French secrecy: The country study on France concludes that the French government is not in compliance with its obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), as it has failed to provide comprehensive annual declarations to the United Nations on its biodefense program. The French government is very secretive about its BW-related activities. France has omitted major information from its official declarations and publications, and French officials did not respond to written questions about biodefense activities.
French military biodefense research is mainly conducted at two facilities, the Centre d'études du Bouchet (CEB) near Paris and the Centre de recherches du service de santé des armées (CRSSA) near Grenoble. In addition to standard features of a biodefense program, France is also working on so-called ‘threat assessment’ studies, which may involve the practical imitation of offensive capabilities to assess the possible capacities of an enemy. As this kind of research blurs the distinctions between defensive and offensive research, ‘threat assessment’ type projects are a major concern for international arms control. It was not possible, through open sources, to establish the concrete nature of France’s threat assessment projects.
Among the manifold projects pursued by the French biodefense program is the construction of mobile biological labs, the study of microencapsulation of microorganisms and the production of toxins by means of genetic engineering.
Non-lethal chemical weapons activities: A variety of evidence suggests that France is working in the area of so called ‘non-lethal’ chemical weapons and thus may be in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. French military scientists have investigated a broad range of incapacitating agents – from tear gas to neurotoxins and psychoactive drugs – and a variety of delivery devices for ‘non-lethal’ chemical weapons have been developed, patented, and marketed by French companies in the past years. Earlier this year, a salesperson from the weaponsmaker Etienne Lacroix offered to sell us chemical payloads – including malodorants – for one of its weapons system.
In summary, the secretive and intransparent behaviour of the French government with regard to its biodefense programs and its non-lethal weapons activities may give rise to a broad range of suspicions. A radical move by the French government towards transparency and improved confidence building measures may counter similar suspicions in the future.
Germany has a well developed biodefense program located at two military research centers: the microbiological laboratory of the Sanitätsakademie der Bundeswehr (SanAk) in Munich and the Wehrwissenschaftliches Institut für Schutztechnologien (WIS) in Munster. While Germany is comparatively open about its military biodefense activities and submitted rather comprehensive declarations to the United Nations, it is still keeping secret its civilian contractors that are involved in military biodefense programs. There is no indication that the Federal Armed Forces perform so called ‘threat assessment’ type of research. One particular experiment with genetically engineered bacteria that raised concerns in the past was apparently stopped some two years ago after critical public discussions in Germany. No indication of research or development projects related to new types of so-called ‘non-lethal’ chemical weapons in Germany were identified.
The Sunshine Project country studies were initiated in early 2004 to increase transparency and to contribute to building confidence in the critical area of biological arms control. They are based on open sources, such as scientific publications, general media, or government publications. More country studies will follow, including reports on Turkey and the United States.
The Sunshine Project calls on all governments to strengthen the international ban on biological weapons, to restrict themselves in biodefense programs and to guarantee full transparency in all aspects of biodefense research. They should contribute to building confidence in this critical area of biological arms control by submitting future declarations to the United Nations that are complete, consistent and unambigious.
The country studies
on France and Germany are available on our website at www.sunshine-project.org (Sunshine Project, 2004).
Title: Sunshine Project Responds To Pentagon
Statements On "Harassing, Annoying, And 'Bad Guy' Identifying
Date: January 17, 2005
Source: Sunshine Project
Abstract: In the past several days, international media have focused attention on the US Air Force biochemical weapons proposal titled Harassing, Annoying, and 'Bad Guy' Identifying Chemicals. The document was submitted to the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) in 1994. It was acquired by the Sunshine Project under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and posted on our website in late December.
At the same time in 1994, the US Army proposed developing a number of other drugs, principally narcotics, as "non-lethal" weapons. These documents were also obtained under FOIA and are posted on the Sunshine Project website.
Harassing, Annoying, and 'Bad Guy' Identifying Chemicals proposes development of a mind-altering aphrodisiac weapon for use by the US armed forces, as well as other biochemicals, including one that would render US enemies exceptionally sensitive to sunlight.
With respect to the Air Force proposal, the Department of Defense has recently been quoted as saying the following:
DOD Spokesman Lt. Col Barry Venable to Reuters: "[The proposal] was rejected out of hand."
JNLWD spokesman Capt. Daniel McSweeney to the Boston Herald: "It was not taken seriously. It was not considered for further development."
These statements are untrue. The proposal was not rejected out of hand. It has received further consideration. In fact, it was recent Pentagon consideration, in 2000 and 2001, that brought this document to the Sunshine Project's attention and resulted in our FOIA request:
In 2000, the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) prepared a promotional CD-ROM on its work. This CD-ROM, which was distributed to other US military and government agencies in an effort to spur further development of "non-lethal" weapons, contained the Harassing, Annoying, and 'Bad Guy' Identifying Chemicals document. If the proposal had been rejected out of hand and not taken seriously, it would not have been placed in JNLWD's publication.
Similarly, in 2001, JNLWD commissioned a study of "non-lethal" weapons by the National Academies of Science (NAS). JNLWD provided information on proposed weapons systems for assessment by an NAS scientific panel. Among the proposals that JNLWD submitted to the NAS for consideration by the nation's pre-eminent scientific advisory organization was Harassing, Annoying, and 'Bad Guy' Identifying Chemicals.
(Click here to see a partial list of documents deposited at NAS and/or contained on the JNLWD CD-ROM.)
Thus, the Pentagon's statements (as quoted in news reports) are inaccurate and should be corrected.
While the Sunshine Project does not have evidence suggesting that Harassing, Annoying, and 'Bad Guy' Identifying Chemicals has been funded, US Army proposals to weaponize narcotics that were made at the time have moved forward. These include proposals such as Antipersonnel Calmative Agents and for development of opiate and sedative biochemical weapons. Those proposals are discussed in detail in the Sunshine Project news release "The Return of ARCAD" available at the URL:http://www.sunshine-project.org/publications/pr/pr060104.html
According to Sunshine Project Director Edward Hammond: "What the Pentagon's reaction shows is the biochemical dependency problem of the DOD 'non-lethal' weapons program. JNLWD has never divorced itself from biochemical weapons, and when confronted with that fact, it goes into denial. The denials are contradicted by DOD's own records. The fact of the matter is that Pentagon continues to pursue biochemical weapons, perhaps including those proposed by the Air Force, but certainly including those proposed by the Army" (Sunshine Project, 2005).