NBC Weapons: October 29, 2002

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Russia will not reveal which type of chemical weapon they used to subdue Chechen terrorists when Russian Spetsgruppa Alpha commandos stormed a Moscow theater on October 26th. Russia has been secretly (and in violation of a treaty not to) working on chemical weapons for over 30 years. So it's unknown what new stuff they have created. There were reports of Russian troops using such non-lethal gases during their 1980-89 Afghan war, but Russia never admitted any such use or provided any details. One known Russian "disabling" gas, BZ, might have been used, although this chemical requires about an hour to take effect. Apparently the Russians did quietly pump the gas into the theater for an hour or more, so it may have been the mysterious BZ, or some other opiate based gas. That said, there have been advances in anesthesiology that might have been used as a non-lethal weapon. One substance in particular, the tranquilizer Valium in an aerosol form, is suspected. Valium has been successfully used, in conjunction with other substances, as a pain killer. Actually, it doesn't kill the pain, it just knocks you out and makes you forget the pain. Because foreigners were involved, there will be diplomatic on pressure to reveal what type of gas they used so that foreign victims can better be treated. At the same time, the Russians may realize that there is a market out there for a non (or less) lethal situations.

 


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