June 18, 1998
"...all efforts should be made if the use of gas is
contemplated to supply plenty of it."
- Douglas MacArthur from the US Army manual
"Military Aid in Civil Disturbances" (1935)
Experimental weapons and tactics
1. A reader points out that Douglas MacArthur was not the
only war hero shooting at and gassing fellow veterans during
the 1932 demonstrations in Washington DC. Dwight D. Eisenhower
was also involved in the operation. He's the president
who warned us on his last day in office to watch out for
the "military-industrial complex."
Since the winners get the privilege of writing history,
few people are aware of the bombing attacks on German
civilian targets that were a regular feature of
World War II. In the city of Dresden for example, a
non-military target, tens of thousands of civilians
were killed in just one night as the result of an
Allied bombing raid testing an experimental technique
designed to induce a firestorm large enough to engulf
an entire city.
2. Yes, the US Army was involved at Waco - and the
operation had formal approval of the Joint Chiefs of
An Army memo dated May 13, 1993 for the Commander U.S.
Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, NC
summarized a meeting held April 14, 1993 between
the FBI, the Justice Department, and Army officials.
The names of the latter were blacked out.
"The meeting began with an explanation by the
(Army) scientist on the effects of CS...His
assessment was that CS as non-lethal and presented
very little physical threat to the Branch
(Brasscheck note: "CS concentrations in the rooms directly
injected by the M5 delivery (Army tank) alone ranged from
2 to 90 times that required to deter trained soldiers.
Methylene chloride concentrations in the rooms directly
injected by gas were as high as 1.8 times the IDLH
[Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health] concentration
and nearly to the concentration that would render a person
unconscious." - Failure Analysis Associates report on Waco)
More from the post-mortem US Army memo on Waco:
"Prior to deployment all DELETED were advised
as to the legal restrictions on the nature and scope
of assistance they could provide to the FBI and other
law enforcement agencies. Their activities fell within
these boundaries. All support to the HRT (hostage rescue
team) was approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff."
You can see the faxed original, marked SECRET, here:
The current print edition of Counter Punch has
an article devoted to this story.
3. References to experimental weapons used in the
assault on Yugoslavia are starting to pile up though
no one has yet issued a comprehensive report on
the "nonconventional weapons" used there.
As a recent Le Monde article points out, use
of these weapons is usually kept secret and
denied until overwhelming forces compel admission.
For example, it wasn't until late April
that a NATO spokesman confirmed that
depleted uranium (DU) rounds were being used
in Yugoslavia as they had been in the Gulf
War. Here's what that means for the civilians
returning to their homes - not to mention
the NATO peacekeeping troops:
"It was only with the revelations about "friendly
fire" that the US was forced publicly to admit the
use of DU armaments during the Gulf war. During
Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm 29
American vehicles were contaminated by DU on the
battlefield. Twenty-one of them (6 Abrams tanks
and 15 Bradley combat vehicles) had been damaged
by these munitions. In total 15 soldiers were killed
and more than 60 injured by fire from DU arms. Since
Iraq did not possess these kinds of weapons, it was
obvious that the damage must have been a result of
targeting errors by US troops (6). The Army Times
(the US army's official newspaper) of 26 July 1993
published a detailed list of damage sustained as a
result of "friendly fire" without, however, saying
anything about deaths that may have occurred after
Five years after the war, 30 of the soldiers who had
been victims of this "collateral damage" were
checked by the Depleted Uranium Program at the MD
VA Medical Centre in Baltimore. Fifteen still
presented with a high level of radioactivity in
their urine. Dietz subsequently carried out a study
into DU contamination effects among Gulf war veterans
and noted that "If you've got any indication of DU at
this late date, even at low levels, it would indicate
you'd had a pretty heavy dose five years ago!". But he
adds that "the US army and the Department of Veterans'
Affairs have shown an unwillingness to investigate
health issues associated with the toxicity and radioactivity of
inhaled and ingested DU aerosol particles that have become
absorbed in the body. Both have refused to test large
numbers of veterans for the presence of DU in their bodies" (7).
Nevertheless, it is by now accepted that some of the
pathologies listed as "Gulf war syndrome" were actually
due to the presence of DU. The International Action
Center, set up by the former US attorney-general, Ramsey
Clark, has been very active against the Gulf war, campaigning
for the embargo against Iraq to be lifted. One of its members,
Sara Flounders, reports that the Department of Veterans'
Affairs has carried out a study among 251 veterans' families
in Mississippi. Since the war 67% of them have had children
with serious abnormalities (8).
There has been an increase in certain cancers and hitherto
unknown congenital malformations - and exactly the same has
been reported, on an alarming scale, from Iraq. It is difficult
to evaluate the exact quantity of DU armaments that were used
in Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. According to the US armed
forces, more than 14,000 rounds were used by US troops, of
which 7,000 were during training in the Saudi Arabian desert
prior to the war and 3,000 were lost during a fire at a US Army
arms dump at Doha in Kuwait. Ammunition used by the British and
probably other armed forces needs to be added to the count.
A secret report from Britain's Atomic Energy Authority, made
public in November 1991 (9), indicates that at least 40 tons
of DU were left in the desert by the Allied forces. It notes the
presence in Kuwait and Iraq of enough uranium to cause "500,000
potential deaths". Nine years after the end of the conflict
Iraqi doctors are still reporting abnormally high incidences
of leukaemia among children, tumours and cancers among adults,
and births or abortions of foetuses with monstrous abnormalities."
Source: Le Monde Diplomatique, June 1999
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