USA, big rogue superpower, wanted to test deadly chemical agent on 200 Australian soldiers

This is a simply astounding piece of news that is being largely ignored by US media outlets.  I checked the New York Times archives, for example, for the last week and found nothing on this:

http://query.nytimes.com/beta/search/query?query=vx+nerve+gas%2C+sarin&more=past_7

As the story goes, the US wanted to test Sarin nerve gas on Australian soldiers in the 60s:

Washington wanted to bomb a rainforest area lying more than 600 kilometres (400 miles) north of Cairns, Channel Nine’s ‘Sunday’ programme reported, citing newly declassified documents from the Australian Defence Department.

In 1962, then US defence secretary Robert McNamara wrote to Australian officials asking that the US and Australian military conduct secret joint testing of several nerve agents, including sarin, the report said.

“The United States proposes to use the agents GB (sarin), a non-persistent nerve gas, and VX, a persistent nerve gas — both to be disseminated by aircraft delivered by bombs and tanks,” it quoted one document as reading.

Some 200 Australian soldiers would have been involved in the testing to “determine persistency of chemical agents on jungle foliage and pick-up of such agents by personnel traversing area under simulated military operation.”

The testing was vetoed by then prime minister Harold Holt in 1966.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080706/wl_asia_afp/australiausmilitaryweapons

Sarin is a deadly nerve gas that can kill upon contact with the skin:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarin

It’s deadly effect was well known in the 60s when the request to test it on Australian soldiers was made by the USA.  Not only would the chemical have been potentially deadly to the Australian soldiers, but the test itself would have violated international law. 

A much better treatment of this story has appeared in the Australian press:

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23979410-601,00.html

When the average American sees this sort of story does his patriotism suffer?  Or is it all for the glory of the Flag?

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1 Response to “USA, big rogue superpower, wanted to test deadly chemical agent on 200 Australian soldiers”



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