Friday, December 2, 2011

Gay Bombs, Fart Bombs and Halitosis…


Some years ago a group of scientists and other professionals set up the Sunshine Project, an international non-government organisation dedicated to upholding prohibitions against biological warfare  and, particularly, to preventing military abuse of technology.  As part of its operations to expose biological and chemical weapons it uses Freedom of Information applications to access records and documents and then publishes its findings.

The website of the Sunshine Project is at:

The website has an announcement that the project has suspended operation since 2008 due to lack of funding but it remains online as an archive of its operations.

The Project’s name is a reference to the fact that many biological weapons are quickly broken down and rendered harmless by exposure to bright sunlight.

Some of the more amazing WTF revelations of FOI applications in 2005 by the Sunshine Project are that in 1994 the US military investigated building a "gay bomb", which would make enemy soldiers "sexually irresistible" to each other and another to make soldiers obvious by their bad breath.

The report obtained by the FOI application revealed that the US Defence Department considered various non-lethal chemicals meant to disrupt enemy discipline and morale. The US Air Force Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, sought Pentagon funding for research into what it called "harassing, annoying and 'bad guy'-identifying chemicals”, the 1994 plans being intended for a six-year project costing $7.5m.

The plans were, however, never pursued.

Some of the ideas and proposals for which funding was sought are like a script from The Goodies or Get Smart:

·      A "love bomb" whereby an aphrodisiac chemical would provoke widespread homosexual behaviour among troops, causing what the military called a "distasteful but completely non-lethal" blow to morale.

·        A "sting me/attack me" chemical weapon to attract swarms of enraged wasps or angry rats towards enemy troops.

·         A substance to make the skin unbearably sensitive to sunlight.

·         A chemical causing "severe and lasting halitosis", so that enemy forces would be obvious even when they tried to blend in with civilians.

·         A "Who? Me?" bomb, which would simulate flatulence in enemy ranks.

A "Who? Me?" device had been under consideration since 1945, the government papers say. However, researchers concluded that the premise for such a device was fatally flawed because "people in many areas of the world do not find faecal odour offensive, since they smell it on a regular basis".

Captain Dan McSweeney of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate at the Pentagon, in commenting on the proposals, stated that the defence department receives literally hundreds of project ideas.  He further said that:

"…none of the systems described in that [1994] proposal have been developed.  It's important to point out that only those proposals which are deemed appropriate, based on stringent human effects, legal, and international treaty reviews are considered for development or acquisition."

Nonetheless the citizens of the world can sleep comfortably knowing that the brains behind the world’s greatest military power are ever vigilant, that to ensure the world’s safety they are even now devising unique weapons that would rival those of Q in a James Bond movie.

Or does it make you feel just a little uneasy?


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