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Re: [casi] "non-lethal" gases

I was aware that they were considering the possibility (see eg. the piece
that appeared in the Independent on February 16th: -
what's appears to be new is the claim that the Pentagon has now authorised
their use.

Best wishes,


----- Original Message -----
From: "ppg" <>
To: "Voices UK" <>; "CASI discussion list"
Sent: Monday, March 31, 2003 4:04 PM
Subject: Re: [casi] "non-lethal" gases

> Re: "non-lethal" gas considered by Rumsfeld
> Thursday, 06-Feb-2003 3:30AM      Story from AFP /
> Copyright 2003 by Agence France-Presse
> "WASHINGTON, Feb 5 (AFP) - The Pentagon is writing rules of engagement to
> allow US forces to use non-lethal riot control agents to minimize civilian
> casualties if the United States goes to war in Iraq, US Defense Secretary
> Donald Rumsfeld said Wednesday.
> But Rumsfeld said treaty restrictions and other laws that bar the use of
> riot control agents in warfare without a presidential waiver have made the
> process "very complex."
> "We are doing our best to live within the straitjacket that has been
> on us on this subject," he said at a hearing of the House Armed Services
> Committee.
> US military planners fear that US forces may have to contend with massive
> movements of panic-stricken civilians if Iraq uses of chemical or
> weapons, or hostile crowds if an invading force meets popular resistance.
> Army General Tommy Franks, the commander of US forces in the region, has
> drawn up a plan that seeks to achieve US military objectives with the
> interference with civilians, Rumsfeld said.
> The plan deals with "a host of very unpleasant contingencies," he said.
> "Absent a presidential waiver, in many cases our forces are allowed to
> somebody and kill them but they are not allowed to use a non-lethal riot
> control agent under the law," he said. "It is a very awkward situation.
> The 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention bars the use of riot control agents
> a method of warfare, and the Geneva Conventions place other restrictions
> the military's treatment of civilians.
> A 1975 US executive order, however, says the use of riot control agents
> would be permissible in certain situations, for instance when civilians
> used to mask or screen attacks and civilian casualties can be avoided.
> Although intended to save civilian lives, the use of non-lethal agents is
> controversial.
> Russian authorities discovered that last November when they tried to end a
> Chechen hostage-taking at a Moscow theater by pumping in opiate gas to put
> the hostagetakers to sleep. The gas killed 129 captives. President George
> Bush, however, defended the Russian action.
> Rumsfeld said the use of non-lethal agents was "perfectly appropriate" in
> some situations encountered by US forces in Afghansitan: transporting
> dangerous prisoners on airplanes, or flushing out caves where fighters
> hiding with women and children.
> But he said writing simple rules for what were often complex and stressful
> situations has proven difficult.
> "We have tangled ourselves up so badly on this issue," he said.
> He and General Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
> wrestled for more than hour last week trying to fashion rules that were
> clear enough that a soldier on the front line could "in a second or two
> a decision about what they can do, what they can't do."
> Myers said military commanders also were working out ways of dealing with
> the potential use of civilians as human shields at Iraqi targets, or Iraqi
> civilians taking up arms against US forces.
> "If the regime were to use civilians as human shields and so forth it's a
> different matter and you would have to address that differently. If they
> take up arms, they are combatants. They will be treated as such," he
> End.
> The reason this is alarming is that we are hearing today a great deal
> Iraqi fedayeen use of "HUMAN SHIELDS" -all over the news.. THIS IS
> Pay attention.  pg
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Voices UK" <>
> To: "CASI discussion list" <>
> Sent: Monday, March 31, 2003 9:00 AM
> Subject: [casi] "non-lethal" gases
> > Dear List Members,
> >
> > Friday's Independent reported that 'in Washington, the Pentagon
> it
> > was authorising use of "non-lethal" gases of the type used in last
> October's
> > disastrous Moscow theatre siege - a move that has already provoked
> > accusations of hypocrisy by a country that claims to be at war to
> > chemical weapons being used.'
> >
> >
> > Haven't seen much coverage - or any wire agency reports - on this. Does
> > anyone know anymore?
> >
> > Best wishes,
> >
> > Gabriel
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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