Today The Guardian is reporting on a new US Army “non-lethal personal suppression projectile”
Not many details are known about the classified weapon, but the article speculates:
“Experts suggest three possible payloads: an existing riot-control agent, malodorants or a new chemical agent. Existing agents include CS gas and a form of pepper spray. But these seem unlikely choices, because their effects only last minutes, and could wear off before friendly forces arrive. They could also face a legal challenge: the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the use of riot control agents in warfare.”
This week the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published an article by Malcolm Dando called “Missed opportunities at the chemical weapons treaty meeting”. Dando discusses the contentious that has arisen becasue the CWC bans all chemical weapons, but exempts those used for “law enforcement, including domestic riot control purposes.”
For further discussion of incapacitating agents and the CWC check out the Bulletin’s Roundtable Forum, which I highlighted earlier this week. Also, Oliver Meier’s article in Arms Control Today talks about the “hidden debate” of incapacitating agents that took place at last months Review Conference.
I probably should have written about this earlier…
In response to Jonathan Tucker’s article “The Body’s Own Bioweapons” in the March/April issue, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is hosting a roundtable discussion on non-lethal and incapacitating agents. The participants are Jonathan Tucker, Alan Pearson, Paul Aas and Ralf Trapp and they have been contributing to the forum since early March. In many cases the discussion turns to the CWC and how these agents are and should be treated under the Convention.