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I was aware that they were considering the possibility (see eg. the piece that appeared in the Independent on February 16th: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=378740) - what's appears to be new is the claim that the Pentagon has now authorised their use. Best wishes, Gabriel ----- Original Message ----- From: "ppg" <email@example.com> To: "Voices UK" <firstname.lastname@example.org>; "CASI discussion list" <email@example.com> 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 imposed > 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 biological > 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 least > 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 shoot > 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 as > a method of warfare, and the Geneva Conventions place other restrictions on > 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 are > 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 W. > 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 were > 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 make > 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 said." > End. > > The reason this is alarming is that we are hearing today a great deal about > Iraqi fedayeen use of "HUMAN SHIELDS" -all over the news.. THIS IS PRECISELY > THE CIRCUMSTANCE UNDER WHICH "NONLETHAL" GAS IS JUSTIFIED ACCORDING TO > RUMSFELD. > Pay attention. pg > > > ----- Original Message ----- > From: "Voices UK" <firstname.lastname@example.org> > To: "CASI discussion list" <email@example.com> > 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 confirmed > 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 prevent > > chemical weapons being used.' > > (http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=391480). > > > > Haven't seen much coverage - or any wire agency reports - on this. Does > > anyone know anymore? > > > > Best wishes, > > > > Gabriel > > > > > > > > _______________________________________________ > > Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. > > To unsubscribe, visit > http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss > > To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org > > All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk > > _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk