Progressive Calendar 07.15.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2008 05:59:40 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   07.15.08

1. Violence/women  7.15 12noon
2. Banner/WAMM     7.15 4:30/6pm
3. Michelle Gross  7.15 5pm
4. Trans health    7.15 6:30pm
5. Open discussion 7.15 6:30pm

6. RNC/KFAI        7.16 11am
7. Cops/our rights 7.16 1pm
8. Womens Consort. 7.16 5:30pm

9. Paul Street    - Barack Obama's deceptive left impression
10. Tom Burghardt - Class crowd control: the calmative before the storm

--------1 of 10--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Violence/women 7.15 12noon

Tuesday, 7/15, noon to 1 pm, brown bag presentation on Legislative
Initiatives and Advocacy on Violence against Women, Advocates for Human
Rights, 650 - 3rd Ave S, suite 550, Mpls.  Register by 7/11 with
mhunt [at] or 612-341-3302 ext 107.  Info at

--------2 of 10--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Banner/WAMM 7.15 4:30/6pm

Bannering Action followed by WAMM New Member Meet-Up

Tuesday, July 15, 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. Corner of Nicollet Avenue and
Burnsville Parkway, Burnsville. Join former FBI agent and Time Magazine
person of the Year Coleen Rowley in highly visible bannering against war.

6:00 to 7:30 p.m.  Caribou Coffee, 12601 Nicollet Avenue, Burnsville. New,
current and re-activating WAMM members welcome. Meet with an experienced
WAMM member and peace activist who was once a part of Peace Fresno, the
group featured in Michael Moore's "Farenheit 11" and who began a Cindy
Sheehan solidarity rally in St. Paul. Receive a WAMM packet with bumper
sticker, button, activist info and hear about upcoming local opportunities
to be involved. FFI: Call WAMM, 612-827-5364.

--------3 of 10--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Michelle Gross 7.15 5pm

St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN 15) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts in St. Paul on Tuesdays at 5pm, after
DemocracyNow!, midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am.  All households
with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 7/15, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 7/16, 10am "Holding Police
Accountable" Interview of Communities United Against Police Brutality
organizer Michelle Gross. Hosted by Eric Angell. (a repeat)

"Our World In Depth" is available worldwide: features video streaming... to the world.   visit, watch, comment and spread the news!

--------4 of 10--------

From: David Strand <lavgrn [at]>
Subject: Trans health 7.15 6:30pm

We hope you can make it to our first-ever "Trans Health Matters" Community
Forum on July 15! We plan to make this a regular event for our
communities. See below for details!
-Max from the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition

A free Community Health Forum for trans and allied communities
Presented by the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
6:30 -- Social time with refreshments provided
7-9 -- Facilitated community discussion
Location: Spirit of the Lakes UCC, 2930 - 13th Avenue South (at East
Lake Street), Minneapolis, MN 55407

What's on your mind when it comes to transgender health care?

Getting and maintaining insurance coverage? Finding the right surgeon?
Learning how to be your own best health care advocate? Locating a doctor?
MTHC invites you to join with other community members for the first Trans
Health Matters, an ongoing forum to discuss issues and concerns
surrounding health care for ourselves and for our communities.

Everyone is welcome: transgender, genderqueer, intersex, transsexual, M to
F, F to M, crossdresser, partner, family, friend and ally. Be sure to come
and bring a friend!

Spirit of the Lakes is wheelchair-accessible with free parking lot.
So that people with multiple chemical sensitivities can participate,
please refrain from wearing perfume or other scented products.

--------5 of 10--------

From: patty <pattypax [at]>
Subject: Open discussion 7.15 6:30pm

Tuesday, July 15 is Open Discussion night.  Maybe you have a topic you
would like to discuss.  If so, don't be shy.  It would be fun to get a
discussion going around it.

Pax Salons ( )
are held (unless otherwise noted in advance):
Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Mad Hatter's Tea House,
943 W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.

--------6 of 10--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: RNC/KFAI 7.16 11am

Wednesday, July 16 -11:00AM: THE REPUBLICANS ARE COMING! PART II - Passive
or Aggressive?
KFAI Radio, 90.3 Minneapolis /106.7 St. Paul / Streamed [at]
A CivicMedia/Minnesota production

The Republican National Convention (RNC) has been on our local agenda for
a couple of years and dozens of groups and agencies have been preparing to
accommodate the 115,000-120,000 conventioneers, media hounds, protesters,
lawyers/legal observers and police personnel will descend on St. Paul's
Xcel Center September 1st for four days of the chaotic crowning of the
party's Presidential nominee, confronted by protests and potential clashes
of all kinds and a series of counter-convention activities at various
locations through the Twin Cities.

Which protest and communications strategies are the most effective and

TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL brings into the KFAI studios representatives of the
wide diversity of organizations of varying agendas for the coming visitors
and query them on their strategies and planned tactics for participating
in what many consider will be a circus they'd rather not be around for. We
talk with convention organizers, arts, peace and protest leaders, law
enforcement and just plain folks over several show to clarify for
listeners what we can expect to see on the news each night.


 JESS SUNDIN Coalition to March on the RNC & STOP the War
 MICHELLE GROSS  Citizens United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB)
 KATRINA PLOTZ  Coalition to March on the RNC & STOP the War
 DOUG MICHEL  Coalition to March on the RNC & STOP the War

SEGMENT 2: PEACE ISLAND CONFERENCE of the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers
 SUSU JEFFREY Peace Island Conference Organizer, Minnesota Alliance of
 DENNIS DILLON Peace Island Steering Committee Chair, Minnesota Alliance
of Peacemakers

 ANDREW HINE   True Blue

--------7 of 10--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: Mpls/cops/rights 7.16 1pm

June 24, 2008

We normally try our best not to blow up your inbox with emails but this is
an urgent update to the situation we alerted you to yesterday.  As we told
you yesterday, the Minneapolis City Council deviously plotted to strip
away important protections for activists including a prohibition on the
use of rubber bullets, restrictions against police confiscating cameras
and harassing journalists and legal observers, etc.

Turns out that the hearing on the Cam Gordon proposal to return those
protections to the community is being delayed until the next council cycle
at the request of the MPD.  So, in other words, this council can strip
away our protections without as much as a public hearing or even advance
notice of their plans but they allow the cops to tell them when to have a
hearing on the proposal that might restore some of those
protections--makes you wonder who they really work for.

MEETING unless you just want to sneer in the council members faces for
doing this to the community.  Save your time off and use it when this item
will come up on their agenda.  We need a mass turnout of people on this

Wednesday, July 16, 1:00 p.m.
Minneapolis City Hall
350 S 5th Street, Room 317, Minneapolis

important and should be done as soon as possible. Call them all but
concentrate on the members of the PS&RS Committee:

Don Samuels, President 673-2205 Don.Samuels [at]
Paul Ostrow 673-2201 Paul.Ostrow [at]
Cam Gordon 673-2202 Cam.Gordon [at]
Diane Hofstede 673-2203 Diane.Hofstede [at]
Barb Johnson 673-2204 Barbara.Johnson [at]
Gary Schiff 673-2209 Gary.Schiff [at]

Talking points:

1) It is an outrage that they would rescind an ordinance that provides
important protections to the community without even knowing what they were
passing and without seeking the community's input.

2) How dare they empower police to use rubber bullets on protesters when
we are only weeks away from protests against the RNC?  Was this by design?

3) Do they honestly believe police should be allowed to confiscate
cameras, harass legal observers and infiltrate organizations that haven't
broken any laws?

PLEASE, PLEASE contact your council member and the council members on the
PS&RS committee listed above.  And make your plans now to pack the council
chambers on July 16th.

--------8 of 10--------

From: Bonnie Watkins <bonnie [at]>
Subject: Womens Consortium 7.16 5:30pm

RSVP for Get Connected #28
Register Today for the
Women's Consortium Annual Meeting #28!

Connect, Renew, Enjoy....
Are you a faithful meeting-attender, or is this computer your only link to
humanity? Are you are an honored veteran of feminist activism, or a
curious newcomer?  All of the above, depending on the day of the week?
My dear FMA, COLs, HVs, and CNs, we need your wisdom and energy at the
28th annual meeting of the Minnesota Women's Consortium!

Wednesday evening, July 16
5:30PM - 8PM
Crossroads Room, St. Michael's Lutheran Church
1660 West County Road B
(near Snelling & County Road B)
Roseville, Minnesota 55113

No time to read further?  Just drop me a line [mailto:Bonnie [at]]
to RSVP. Agenda highlights:

Unveiling of the Consortium's Member Group Directory,an awesome resource
with purpose & services available from all 171 of our member groups, more
info than we can ever put online.

Supper, table talk, & introductions of all the people & organizations
present.  I always marvel at the diversity of issues, strategies &
resources we bring together for changing the world.  (Also great for
enriching your personal contacts for the job hunt, elections connections,
and more.)

Voting (by organizational reps) on the 23 new organizations that have
joined in the past year, candidates for the board of directors, and budget
for the coming year.

State of the Consortium - my entrancing annual 5-minute speech.

Keynote by Dr. Rusty Barcelo, U of M VP for Equity & Diversity.  A leader
in creating the higher education "Agenda for the 21st Century," Rusty has
seen the time arrive when women are a majority of college students and
women of color have made gains as students, staff, and faculty.  But she
will clue us in as community members on the work that is still needed, and
comment on these ideas from the landmark national project of 2000:

- "We need to really move from incremental changes & adding equity and
diversity as add-ons... to really transforming the academy and looking at
what are the structural changes that we need to make a difference..."
(Lynn Gangone, Nat'l Assn for Women in Education).

-"If we are to have a voice, to lead and to command new levels of respect
in higher education, we must not only survive in the system, but
reconstruct a system where we can actually thrive as women and women of
color..."  (from Women of Color Preconference Session).

- "Universities should be intricately intertwined with the communities of
which they are a part, representing models of democracy, committed to
social good & to social justice."  (Vicky Ruiz, Arizona State U)

- "Pool all resources/services throughout the college & university to
determine the best way to serve community partners who share the vision to
improve women's status & environment."  (recommendations list)

-- "And so, my sisters and brothers all, to the questions:  Why so much
focus on education... I can only respond with yet another question: if
equal opportunity cannot be achieved within the academic community, where
there is said to be great respect for rationality, for fairness and for
equality, then where in the world can it be achieved?"  (Johnnetta B.
Cole, then professor at Emory University)

How can you resist?  Do write me today [mailto:Bonnie [at]] to say
you'll be there!  We would love to have you prepay through our website
but you can also mail a check to the address on our masthead (above), or
pay Lorraine at the door.  $45 covers your supper & the program, or take
advantage of the $35 discount rate for paid-up individual members,
for-profit Friends of the Consortium, and Seneca Falls Society members.
If you are a member group president/chair, delegate, or alternate listed
in the Member Group Directory, the cost is only $25.  Everyone also has
the option of "paying your age," which can be a scholarship for younger
people or an opportunity to be proud of your 78 years.  See you there!
Yours in celebrating the survival and victories of the women's community -
and our next adventures together!

--------9 of 10--------

Barack Obama's Deceptive Left Impression
By Paul Street
Jul 14, 2008

The deception conducted by political "elites" is about more than specific
factual lies.  It is also and perhaps more significantly about the
creation of a sense, a feeling, an impression, an atmosphere, and/or even
a mood. 

Look at how the Cheney-Bush administration and the Pentagon worked with
congressional allies and corporate media to manufacture early consent for
the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The war masters concocted and
disseminated a large number of specific and materially false claims -
factual lies - to build their case for "war."

But it took more than that. Beyond the cooked intelligence, the White
House and its partners and "free press" enablers created a sense and
atmosphere of imminent danger.  They generated the false impressions that
Saddam Hussein's Iraq was linked to 9/11 and al Qaeda and that Iraq and
the Arab and Muslim worlds posed grave threats to ordinary Americans. They
set the mood for a bloody invasion. 

Another and different example comes from the supposedly "antiwar"
presidential campaign of Barack Obama. Facing criticism from some of his
leftmost supporters for his latest right-leaning actions and statements
(on gun control, the death penalty, campaign funding, Iraq, Iran,
Israel-Palestine, Latin America, federal wiretapping, economic
policy...the list goes on), Obama has admonished his "friends on the left"
for failing to pay sufficiently close and careful attention to him over
recent months and years.  Obama wants those increasingly irritated
supporters and (more importantly) the corporate forces that manage the
U.S. electorate to understand that his version of "progressivism" has
never been left. 

He's got a point. From the beginning of his political career (in the
Illinois legislature in 1996) through his historic presidential campaign,
Obama has been a dedicated centrist.  He has shown himself (for those
willing and able to see) to be deeply respectful to - and invested in -
dominant hierarchies and doctrines of class, race, nationality, religion,
gender, and global power. A close and careful analysis of his record shows
that he is man from whom the lords of capital and the masters of empire
have nothing to fear.

Many progressive Obamanists have been woefully derelict when it comes to
investigating the historical record that shows this to be true. Some of
them have gone to remarkable lengths to advance the silly idea  that the
real Obama beneath that record is a stealth "true progressive" -a
Manchurian leftist doing "what he has to in order to win the presidency."
Many of them have a painfully  pale and partial sense of what they mean
when they call themselves "progressives." And many have fallen prey to the
illusion that Obama must be a left-leaning progressive because of the
color of his skin.   

Still, I do not entirely blame many progressive Obamanists for becoming
excessively invested in "their" corporate candidate.  Obama likes to
complain that voters see him as a blank sheet on to which they project
their own particular world view and aspirations. But he knows very well
that he and his corporate image and marketing consultants have done their
best to sell Obama as a man for all moral and ideological seasons (as well
they "should" given the ideology-blurring logic of the American
"winner-take-all" "two party" and candidate-centered elections system). 
And Obama knows very well that his campaign has responded to widespread
progressive sentiments and anger (fed by eight incredibly reactionary and
plutocratic years under George W. Bush) by working to create the false
impression among certain targeted audiences that he is a progressive,
populist, and peace-oriented opponent of Empire and Inequality, Inc.

I observed Obama pose as a left-leaning antiwar and social justice
progressive again and again across Iowa during the long lead-up to his
pivotal Caucus victory in that state.  I saw his faux-left act in numerous
large speeches, small town halls meetings, and in countless television
commercials.  In those speeches and ads, Obama played up his brief history
as a community organizer and "civil rights lawyer" and deceptively
trumpeted himself a strong opponent "from the beginning" of the Iraq
"war." He tried to steal John Edwards' "populist" thunder by railing
against NAFTA, Wal-Mart ("I wouldn't shop there"), Maytag (for abandoning
workers in Galesburg, Illinois and Newton, Iowa), and the control of U.S.
government by corporate interests - "the folks who write the big checks."
Obama deleted his long record of accommodation with - and sponsorship by -
powerful economic and political interests like (leading nuclear plant
operator) Exelon, Lester Crown (a leading Maytag director), Henry Crown
Investments, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Bros., UBS, Arial Capital, Google, the
insurance lobby, Richard M. Daley, a number of corrupt Chicago real estate
[under-]developers (including Tony Rezko), and the Council on Foreign
Relations.  He railed against big money control of U.S. politics even as
he underpinned his soon-to-be record-setting funding base with massive
bundled investments from the giants of Wall Street and while he took his
economy policy counsel from pro-"trade" (corporate-neoliberal) economists
from the University of Chicago and Harvard.  From the start, "Obamanomics"
has been a distinctly corporate-friendly tendency in the militantly
centrist tradition of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and the
Hamilton Group - something few voters would have guessed after hearing one
of Obama's populace-pleasing speeches during the primaries.

When primary candidate Obama denounced the "old politics of Washington,"
he  talked about driving out the oil, insurance, and pharmaceutical
lobbyists, not collaborating with Republicans on federal wiretapping,
limiting consumer damages in civil lawsuits, and sustaining the criminal
occupation of Iraq for an indefinite period.  At one point last fall, I
actually received a mailing from the Iowa Obama campaign telling me that I
could "join the movement to stop the [Iraq] war" by caucusing for Obama. 
Never mind that Obama was (and remains) a fiscal and political supporter
of the criminal occupation.

My efforts to educate Iowa Democratic voters about the progressive Obama
illusion stumbled on (a) the limits of my own persuasiveness and (b) the
determination of many of those voters to accept almost as a matter of
faith that Barack Obama was a left-leaning progressive.  But both the
voters and I were both up against (c) the Obama campaign's carefully
crafted and well-funded effort to sell ("brand") their candidate to
certain targeted voters and activists as some sort of left progressive.

Should "left" Obama supporters have looked more deeply and critically into
the reality of their candidate's record and world view beneath his image? 
Sure. Should they do the same now? Absolutely.

But Obama and his campaign are leading agents in the manufacture of left
illusion among progressive Democrats. There's an ugly undercurrent of
blaming your own victim in Obama's recent criticism of his leftmost

Beneath this insulting treatment lurks Obama's sense that he can take left
progressives' support for granted in light of the alternative: Mad Bomber

He might want to re-think that. Obama's recent and ongoing lurch right,
including his terrible vote for federal wiretapping (with retroactive
immunity for telecommunications corporations), is costing him with
left-leaning voters - not a small group.

Obama is the likely winner in November. As his ascendancy approaches, it
is urgent that progressively inclined U.S. citizens peel off the layers of
seductive deception to see Obama and the Democrats for what they really
are - partners in corporate and imperial domination.

My forthcoming book "Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics" is
not an effort to help elect the arch-authoritarian messianic militarist
John McCain.  It is designed to help progressive and other citizens
distinguish myth from reality in understanding the meaning of Obama.
Besides giving a deep historical interpretation of Obama's political and
ideological origins and essence, it seeks to help position activists and
citizens to respond positively and productively to the Obama phenomenon in
coming months and years. That starts by differentiating the really
existing Obama from the Obama that many wish to see. 

Veteran radical historian Paul Street (paulstreet99 [at] in
Iowa City, IA. Street is the author of Empire and Inequality: America and
the World Since 9/11 (Boulder, CO: Paradigm), Segregated Schools:
Educational Apartheid in the Post-Civil Rights Era (New York: Routledge,
2005); Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis (New York: Rowman &
Littlefield, 2007); and Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics
(Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, order at: 

--------10 of 10--------

The Calmative Before the Storm
by Tom Burghardt
July 14th, 2008
Dissident Voice

Ours is a social system spinning wildly out of control. Wherever one
glances, the political-economic-ecological crises engulfing late
capitalism are insolvable in terms of structural reforms that might
mitigate the system's approaching zero hour. Call it the proverbial
band-aid over gangrene syndrome; a plethora of terminal "fixes" that fix

During periods of extreme crisis, ruling class elites and the technocratic
"wizards of armageddon" who serve them - bankrupt authoritarians without
authority - harbor a not-so-secret longing for "magic bullets" that will
put things right.

Thus, the quixotic crusade by politicians, military planners and corporate
grifters out to make a buck to discover what they hope will be an antidote
to the spreading virus of desperation and anger gripping the planet as the
alleged "beautiful world" promised by neoliberalism morphs into an
unlimited - and endless - low-intensity "war on terror" waged against the
world's poor.

A futile quest to be sure, while the immense, untapped social potential
for resolving humanity's most pressing needs - food, shelter, healthcare,
repair of the environment - are grimly shuttled "off world" to various
"green zones" and "secure, undisclosed locations" where science, and
scientists, function as the equivalent of nerdy call-girls in the
"Pentagon Madame's" little black book of atrocities.

In "'Non-Lethal' Weapons: Where Science and Technology Service
Repression," I began a preliminary inquiry into "less than lethal" weapons
research; that investigation continues.

Calmative Agents

For six decades, the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
have explored ways to harness biochemical substances as incapacitating
weapons of war. During 1977 congressional hearings, the Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence published material on "Project MKULTRA, The
CIA's Program of Research in Behavioral Modification".

While the media focused on the sensationalistic dosing of unsuspecting
"subjects" with LSD and other psychoactive substances during unethical CIA
and Army experiments, purportedly as a means to gain "control" over the
minds of "enemy agents" or "target populations," the demise of MKULTRA
supposedly signalled that research into these forbidden zones were a
closed book.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. While "mind control" as a weapon of
war has proven chimerical, the Pentagon has hardly neglected its search
for biochemical agents as mechanisms for repressive domination. Under the
broad heading "calmatives," such research continues to this day. The
now-defunct Sunshine Project offered a preliminary assessment and defined
calmatives as,

chemical or biological agents with sedative, sleep-inducing or similar
psychoactive effects. Chemical calmative weapons such as BZ
(3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, a compound related to scopolamine) were
developed during the Cold War. Proponents of calmatives are creating a new
and alarming legal ambiguity surrounding their use. .

The US Department of Defense (DoD) arguments imply the creation of two
loopholes in the Chemical Weapons Convention: the possible definition of
psychoactive substances as riot control agents, and a distinction between
"military operations other than war" [MOOTW] and armed conflicts. In the
latter, DoD argues that even toxic chemicals would be of operational
utility. ("Non-Lethal Weapons Research in the U.S.: Calmatives and
Malodorants," The Sunshine Project, Backgrounder Series #8, July 2001)

In other words, while deploying these agents in the "battlespace" is
prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention, their use on civilian
populations during MOOTW, "if classified as riot control agents, can be

As Neil Davison, a researcher at the University of Bradford's Disarmament
Research Centre (BDRC) describes,

>From a military perspective, specific characteristics of such agents have
been seen as follows:

(1) Highly potent (an extremely low dose is effective) and logistically

(2) Able to produce their effects by altering the higher regulatory
activity of the central nervous system.

(3) Of a duration of action lasting hours or days, rather than of a
momentary or fleeting action.

(4) Not seriously dangerous to life except at doses many times the
effective dose.

(5) Not likely to produce permanent injury in concentrations which are
militarily effective.

However, contemporary definitions emphasise rapid onset of action and
short duration of effects, characteristics which reflect the current
preoccupation with counter-terrorism and the associated convergence of
military and policing requirements. Generally for reasons of politics and
public relations rather than accuracy these weapons have also been
referred to as "calmatives" and "advanced riot control agents". (Neil
Davison, Bradford Disarmament Research Centre, "Off the Rocker" and "On
the Floor": The Continued Development of Biochemical Incapacitating
Weapons, Bradford Science and Technology Report No. 8, August 2007)
[emphasis added]

As Davison narrates, BDRC's title refers to the nomenclature assigned
these substances by Cold War researchers.

Broadly speaking agents were colloquially divided into "off the rocker"
agents having psychotropic effects and "on the floor" agents causing
incapacitation through effects on other physiological processes. "Off the
rocker" agents prevailed since the safety margins for other agents,
including anaesthetic agents, sedatives, and opiate analgesics, were not
considered sufficiently wide for them to perform as "safe" military
incapacitating agents.

This is hardly an academic exercise considering that the Pentagon's Joint
Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) is carrying-out on-going
experimentation into what it euphemistically calls "Human Effects
Research" to develop an "Advanced Total Body Model (ATBM) for predicting
the effects of non-lethal impacts".

The JNLWP non-lethal human effects community has begun to increase its
focus on improving the characterization and quantification of NLW
effectiveness. In other words, researchers are attempting to better answer
the question of how well the human response relates to desired mission
outcomes. This area of research is critical to ensuring that the end user
will get reliable, repeatable, and safe results from future non-lethal
capabilities. ("Human Effects Research," Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program,
April 10, 2008)

Perhaps, the JNLWD "human effects community" should ponder the "living
laboratory" on display during the October 2002 Moscow Theatre siege. Under
"real world" conditions, 50 Chechen terrorists (some allegedly linked to
the Afghan-Arab database of disposable intelligence assets known as
al-Qaeda) and 129 hostages were killed when Russian OSNAZ forces pumped an
aerosolized fentanyl derivative through the ventilation system. A
KGB-developed "psycho-chemical gas" known as Kolokol-1 was the suspected
calmative used during the "rescue". Kolokol-1 has been described by
medical experts as being 1000 times more potent than morphine.

When a normal dose of fentanyl enters the brain, it is quickly
redistributed throughout the body and acts as a short-lived anesthetic. A
larger, more concentrated dose however, is not so easily redistributed and
remains concentrated in the brain and shuts down normal respiratory
functions. This was the mechanism that caused the Moscow deaths; hostages
were chemically suffocated by their "rescuers".

The former Soviet Union however, wasn't alone in looking at fentanyl
derivatives as "non-lethal' incapacitating agents. In 1987, the U.S.
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) had established a "Less-Than-Lethal
Technology Program," and awarded its first contract to the U.S. Army's
Chemical Research, Development, and Engineering Center (CREDEC, [rebranded
as the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center [ECBC)] ) at the Aberdeen
Proving Ground, "for a feasibility assessment of a dart to deliver an
incapacitating agent to stop a fleeing suspect," BDRC reports.

According to Davison, "the requirement for rapid immobilization apparently
led to consideration of fentanyl analogues, in particular alfentanil".
However, its "low safety margin was a major problem". The prototype
delivery system was a failure and NIJ moved on.

But "mission creep" being what it is the military, perhaps "inspired" by
NIJ's pursuit of incapacitating agents for civilian police use, quickly
adopted the "less-than-lethal" terminology and rekindled its own interest
in fielding such weapons. By 1990, Davison writes, the "Army terminated
their 'Incapacitating Chemical Program' and reinvented it as the 'Riot
Control Program'".

Through slight-of-hand tricks designed to circumvent the 1993 Chemical
Weapons Convention, the Pentagon sought to place incapacitating agents in
the same category as irritant riot control agents (RCA) such as pepper

However, the British Medical Association (BMA) in its 2007 report, "The
Use of Drugs as Weapons," raised serious ethical concerns for healthcare
professionals' involvement in what they term "tactical pharmacology" as
deployable "non-lethal" weapons. To wit,

The use of a drug as a method of warfare would constitute a violation of
the 1925 Geneva Protocol and the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
Ambiguity in the text of the CWC leaves open the possibility of the use of
a drug as a weapon for the purposes of "law enforcement including domestic
riot control". There is also a question as to whether some drugs fall
within the definition of a biological weapon as defined in the 1972
Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). It is vital that the
international community makes every effort to ensure that these weapons
conventions remain intact. The development and deployment of drugs as
weapons for whatever reason risks undermining the norms these conventions

Serious questions are raised by the BMA over the state's proposed use of
drugs as weapons. Indeed, the use of these agents by military and security
forces "is simply not feasible without generating a significant mortality
among the target population". The BMA concludes, "it is and will continue
to be almost impossible to deliver the right agent to the right people in
the right dose without exposing the wrong people, or delivering the wrong
dose". But over and above "tactical" considerations, the BMA avers,

>From an ethical perspective, healthcare professionals need to begin a
deeper examination of their roles in relation to such use of biomedical
knowledge and medical expertise for hostile purposes. This is, ultimately,
a matter relating to health because the lives and wellbeing of humans are
at stake.

But as we have seen in the anemic response by many American healthcare
professionals to CIA and U.S. military torture policies at Guantnamo Bay
and transnational "black sites," biomedical knowledge has been perverted
for devilish "national security" considerations. Indeed, some doctors,
nurses and psychologists - military officers and/or "outsourced"
contractors - like their Argentine and Chilean colleagues during the
"dirty war" period of the 1970s and 1980s have been complicit in U.S. war
crimes.  This too, seems to be the case as Pentagon specialists transform
drugs into "tactical" weapons.

By 2000, the Pentagon's JNLWD was pressing for a range of programs to
develop new incapacitating agents, rechristened as we have seen, as
"non-lethal" weapons. Indeed, Davison reports that the U.S. Army issued a
solicitation under its Small Business Innovation Research programme that
included a request for proposals on "Topic# CBD 00-108: Chemical
Immobilizing Agents for Non-Lethal Applications".

"Phase I" sought "to identify new agents and agent combinations including
an analysis of ..recent breakthroughs in pharmacological classes such as
Anesthetics/analgesics, tranquilizers, hypnotics and neuromuscular
blockers.," Davison reports.

Program design and testing regimens would lead to the development of an
appropriate delivery system(s) and the consideration of "dual-use"
applications of the technology by the military and civilian law
enforcement agencies.

Potential military uses, according the JNLWD solicitation included
"meeting US and NATO objectives in peacekeeping missions; crowd control;
embassy protection; rescue missions; and counter-terrorism" whereas law
enforcement applications cited were "hostage and barricade situations;
crowd control; close proximity encounters, such as, domestic disturbances,
bar fights and stopped motorists; to halt fleeing felons; and prison
riots". In other words, military/law enforcement deployment of
"calmatives" are envisaged as weapons for social control.

[When the rich come and kick us in the teeth, they have to be able to stop
us from kicking them back. It's their right to hurt others without
ever being hurt back. One-way pacifism. -ed]

The JNLWD awarded its initial "Phase I" contract to Ann Arbor, MI-based
capitalist grifter OptiMetrics Inc., for work on the program at ECBC. As
of this writing, there is no available information on "Phase II" or "Phase
III". If the program panned-out, the JNLWD isn't saying. However, research
continues at Pennsylvania State University's (PSU) College of Medicine and
the Navy's Applied Research Laboratory (ARL). The ARL/PSU study sought to,

* Define the advantages and limitations of pharmaceutical compounds as
calmatives with potential use in non-lethal techniques.

* Provide a comprehensive survey of the medical literature utilizing
pharmaceutical agents to produce a calm state with potential for use as a
non-lethal technique. This information will provide a current database of
the relevant literature on calmatives.

* Provide an in-depth review of selected calmatives identified by the
literature search with high potential for further consideration as a non
lethal technique.

* Identify and recommend promising new areas in pharmaceutical drug
development that are poised to uniquely meet the requirements of
calmatives as non-lethal techniques. (emphasis added)

Davison notes that the October 2000 ARL/PSU report, The Advantages and
Limitations of Calmatives for Use as a Non-Lethal Technique, concludes
ominously that "different chemical agents would be required for different
scenarios with ..different mechanisms of action, duration, of effects and
different depths of 'calm'".

While the report doesn't specify a delivery system, Davison writes "the
authors envisage a variety of delivery routes including 'application to
drinking water, topical administration to the skin, an aerosol spray
inhalation route, or a drug filled rubber bullet'". Perhaps the authors
propose drugging municipal water systems to suppress "anti-social
behaviors" such as a general strike or mass antiwar protests to achieve
their goal of effecting "different depths of 'calm'"!

The ARL/PSU report concludes: "The extensive survey of the literature
conducted on calmatives serves to emphasize that the 'time is right' with
respect to considering pharmaceutical agents.. as new a new class of
'non-lethal' weapons. (emphasis added) The time is "ight" indeed as the
JNLWD considers newer and ever-more insidious methods of repression!

Currently under development are programs that employ unmanned aerial
vehicles (UAV) as a delivery system for calmatives as well as other
"non-lethal" weapons. With tens of billions of dollars invested by the
Pentagon in UAVs since the 1990s, a small, though significant area of
interest is the use of UAVs as a "non-lethal" dispersal platform. One 1998
study concluded that a "UAV-dispenser system could be used with any UAV
with a 40 lb or more payload capability".

The JNLWD has funded development of an "unmanned platform" to "spray
liquid payloads" by remote control at the Southwest Research Institute
(SwRI). According to Davison,

SwRI engineers developed a computer-controlled unmanned powered Para foil
(UPP) equipped with a payload that dispenses liquid spray while in flight.
Developed for the Marine Corps Non-Lethal Directorate, the system is
intended to provide non-lethal crowd control options for the U.S.
military. The UPP was fitted with a pan-tilt camera to continually locate
the impact point of the liquid spray. Using computer-assisted flight modes
and the camera image, a remote operator can direct the UPP over a target
at low altitude and release the spray.
[Say, like over crowds of protestors at the RNC in St Paul this fall. -ed]

Similarly, Raytheon was "tasked" with "assessing the feasibility" of
delivering "non-lethal" payloads, including chemical agents from its
Extended Range Guided Munition. Another "major recommendation" was for
"further development of unmanned vehicles to deliver 'non-lethal' weapons
including chemical agents at long distance with greater accuracy," Davison

Just this week, The Guardian reported a new "tool" appeared in the
Pentagon's "non-lethal" weapons arsenal. The U.S. Army's XM1063 155mm
howitzer launched projectile is capable of scattering "152 small
non-explosive submunitions over a 1-hectare area; as each parachutes down,
it sprays a chemical agent". [Say, along W 7th. -ed]

Designed by major corporate grifter General Dynamics for the U.S. Army's
Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny
Arsenal, the XM1063 is touted as the latest in a series of "non-lethals"
which will "'suppress' people without harming them".

The Guardian reports,

Testing of the XM1063 was completed successfully last year and it is due
for low-rate production from 2009. Ardec says that the production decision
is on hold awaiting further direction from the program manager. It seems
the decision on whether to enter a new age of chemical warfare now rests
with the military rather then civilians. Unless put under pressure, the US
Army seems unlikely to give any details of what's in the surprise package
until it is used. And maybe not even then. (David Hambling, "U.S. Weapons
Research Is Raising a Stink," The Guardian, July 10, 2008)

As we have seen in this outline, there is no question that research into
these appalling weapons systems will continue. The Defense Science Board
(DSB), which advises the Pentagon on science and technology issues, have
recommended that work on "non-lethal" weapons - including so-called
'calmatives' - move forward.

In 2004, the DSB concluded that "Applications of biological, chemical or
electromagnetic radiation effects on humans should be pursued". Davison
notes that in the section on "strategic payload concepts" the report

* Calmatives might be considered to deal with otherwise difficult
situations in which neutralizing individuals could enable ultimate mission

* The principle technical issue is the balance between effectiveness
(i.e., the targets are truly "calmed") and margins of safety (i.e.,
avoiding overexposure and resulting fatalities of neutral bystanders)

* The treaty implications are significant

But as with other treaties to which the U.S. is a signatory, notably the
Geneva Conventions, the U.N. Convention Against Torture and the
now-renounced Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, "national security," in the
Orwellian sense understood by the United States, always trumps human
rights and the rule of law.

The democratic Republic which most Americans have long-cherished is
rapidly falling by the wayside as economic crisis, endless wars and
ecological collapse fuel moves by the U.S. ruling class to complete
constructing their corporatist police state. It within this context, that
"calmatives" and other "non-lethal" weapons technologies arise: both as
metaphor and method for an ever-more sinister rebranding of fascism.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay
Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage
and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military
"Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press. Read other articles
by Tom, or visit Tom's website.

This article was posted on Monday, July 14th, 2008 at 9:32 am and is filed
under Fascism, Human Rights, Military/Militarism, Science/Tech. Send to a

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