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Pentagon Developed 'Laughing Bullets' 286

plasmadroid writes "It might sound like a joke, but documents unearthed by New Scientist show that the Pentagon actually funded research into 'non-lethal' bullets that would also hit a target with a dose of laughing gas. That way, they'd not only be stunned but incapacitated by fits of giggles. Another idea was to put stink bombs inside rubber bullets. I guess it would work, but the idea of crowds of rioters giggling uncontrollably while being pelted with rubber bullets is truly bizarre..."
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Pentagon Developed 'Laughing Bullets'

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  • I feel safer already (Score:5, Interesting)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Monday July 02, 2007 @09:38AM (#19716459)
    Between stuff like this and a CIA who wasted millions of $ over 25 years on a program employing psychics [wikipedia.org] (I kid you not), don't you feel so much safer?

    I wonder who the lucky contractor is who is going to be making a fortune off this one? Must be nice to make big money and never have to deliver anything which actually works. We have a military that was having to jerry-rig their own humvee armour and raise money from their parents to buy decent body armour--while contractors like this play around with nitrous bullets and loudspeakers.

  • by borizz ( 1023175 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @09:39AM (#19716463)
    The article claims that the bullets would be safe over the entire range. I wonder how they made the bullets strong enough to survive the force of being fired, but weak enough to disintegrate harmlessly when striking flesh at point blanc.
  • Paintball fills (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Baljet ( 547995 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @09:40AM (#19716481)
    I thought the use of paintballs filled with CS gas and permanent markers was already fairly wide spread by law enforcement...
  • by trolltalk.com ( 1108067 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @09:41AM (#19716489) Homepage Journal

    Now THAT had me laughing ... except for the price tag - $7.5 million. I guess they wanted to add a whole new meaning to the term "comrades-in-arms."

    http://cbs5.com/topstories/local_story_159222541.h tml [cbs5.com]

    Pentagon Confirms It Sought To Build A 'Gay Bomb'

    (CBS 5) BERKELEY A Berkeley watchdog organization that tracks military spending said it uncovered a strange U.S. military proposal to create a hormone bomb that could purportedly turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting.

    Pentagon officials on Friday confirmed to CBS 5 that military leaders had considered, and then subsquently rejected, building the so-called "Gay Bomb. Edward Hammond, of Berkeley's Sunshine Project, had used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain a copy of the proposal from the Air Force's Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio.

    As part of a military effort to develop non-lethal weapons, the proposal suggested, "One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior."

    The documents show the Air Force lab asked for $7.5 million to develop such a chemical weapon.

    "The Ohio Air Force lab proposed that a bomb be developed that contained a chemical that would cause enemy soldiers to become gay, and to have their units break down because all their soldiers became irresistably attractive to one another," Hammond said after reviewing the documents.

    "The notion was that a chemical that would probably be pleasant in the human body in low quantities could be identified, and by virtue of either breathing or having their skin exposed to this chemical, the notion was that soliders would become gay," explained Hammond.

    The Pentagon told CBS 5 that the proposal was made by the Air Force in 1994.

    "The Department of Defense is committed to identifying, researching and developing non-lethal weapons that will support our men and women in uniform," said a DOD spokesperson, who indicated that the "gay bomb" idea was quickly dismissed.

    However, Hammond said the government records he obtained suggest the military gave the plan much stronger consideration than it has acknowledged.

    "The truth of the matter is it would have never come to my attention if it was dismissed at the time it was proposed," he said. "In fact, the Pentagon has used it repeatedly and subsequently in an effort to promote non-lethal weapons, and in fact they submitted it to the highest scientific review body in the country for them to consider."

    Military officials insisted Friday to CBS 5 that they are not currently working on any such idea and that the past plan was abandoned.

    Gay community leaders in California said Friday that they found the notion of a "gay bomb" both offensive and almost laughable at the same time.

    "Throughout history we have had so many brave men and women who are gay and lesbian serving the military with distinction," said Geoff Kors of Equality California. "So, it's just offensive that they think by turning people gay that the other military would be incapable of doing their job. And its absurd because there's so much medical data that shows that sexual orientation is immutable and cannot be changed."

  • by apparently ( 756613 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @10:03AM (#19716763)
    And please, don't misunderstand the non-lethal aspect of the technology. Non-lethal doesn't mean harmless. These rounds would likely cause bruises and sometimes breaks of the skin. I guess it's still better then being dead.

    Acquantances of Victoria Snelgrove [wikipedia.org] might disagree with your definition of non-lethal.

  • Re:freedom? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Undefined Parameter ( 726857 ) <fuel4freedom@y[ ]o.com ['aho' in gap]> on Monday July 02, 2007 @10:28AM (#19717113)
    I think you would find it interesting were you to read more on the Delian League (aka the Athenian Empire) [wikipedia.org]. There are some interesting parallels between the ancient Delian League and the post-Cold War United States of America, especially regarding political power structures, foreign policy, and economics. If you can get your hands on Thucydides' History, and read through the first half, you might find that especially educational.
  • Prior Art (Score:5, Interesting)

    by delete ( 514365 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @10:48AM (#19717371)
    Conclusive proof, as if it were needed, that Monty Python were ahead of their time.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IysnS5wO60g [youtube.com]
  • Re:freedom? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DrDitto ( 962751 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:23AM (#19717817)
    In Germany you go to jail if you speak the words "the holocaust never happened".
  • Re:freedom? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by soren100 ( 63191 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @02:52PM (#19720529)

    Would you rather they just used lead bullets when rioters take to the streets?
    America is a very peaceful country -- we don't have "rioters taking the streets" every day, or every year, or even every decade. When was the last significant riot in America? . So "Rioters" is a straw-man argument. So why spend huge amounts of time, energy, money on a rare problem that actually costs less than the solution?

    "Political Protesters" is the target of these non-lethal systems. As Americans get more and more unhappy with the direction the country is taking, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the two ruling parties are cooperating rather than competing, people will realize that voting is largely ineffectual.

    The Democrats were elected to "bring home the troops". So what did they do? The Democrats provided Bush with all the funding for the Iraq war that he wanted, and have yet to substantially limit Bush's power. When the ballot box is proven useless as a means of creating change, you will have people exercising their rights of free speech, protesting loudly in large gatherings in American cities.

    These will turn into massive political protests as Americans demand change. That will be the time when the non-lethal crowd control measures that this administration has been so energetically developing will be used -- against the people who will be protesting the administration.
  • Re:freedom? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @01:31AM (#19726957) Homepage

    When was the last significant riot in America?
    The last one of the top of my head was approximately two months ago at the May Day immigration reform demonstration in Los Angeles. It wasn't really a riot because the protesters weren't violent, it was more of a "run the fuck away from the cops because they decided to start shooting at us". However I think it counts because the cops employed tear gas and rubber bullets.

    There has probably been a more recent one that I just haven't heard about. There have definitely been larger, more violent protests in other Western countries since then (think G8)
    I was actually present near the May Day rally (my wife works for one of the organizers). It wasn't even close to a riot. Heck, by your own admission, the May Day incident wasn't a riot. Hell, it was hardly even a good head busting! The only reason it got so much coverage was because the LAPD had the audacity to hit reporters. And no, you cannot define a riot based on the police firing tear gas and rubber bullets. A riot is determined by the action of the people the cops are firing at. In the absence of violence, vandalism, or other crime, you are simply wrong if you call it a riot.
    And no, there haven't been more recent ones you haven't heard of. The LAPD is infamous for being bastards, and May Day was probably their most egregious transgression in a decade. As far as "other Western countries", you're actually proving his point. We don't riot in the US very often, compared to other western countries: Quebec City in 2001, french muslims burning hundreds of cars in 2005, UK football fans every time their club wins. Heck, the last riot of note in the US was the Toledo riot of 2005, when the police started firing tear gas and rubber bullets to protect a bunch of marching Nazi fucktards from an angry mob. Personally, I'm all for angry mobs running Nazis out of town on a rail, but free speech must trump decency sometimes I guess.

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