[R-G] US Military Planned Nerve Gas Test on Aust Troops

Yoshie Furuhashi critical.montages at gmail.com
Mon Jul 7 10:58:15 MDT 2008

US military planned nerve gas test on Aust troops

Posted Sun Jul 6, 2008 9:05am AEST
Updated Sun Jul 6, 2008 11:23am AEST

Defence files have revealed the United States military was planning to
test deadly nerve gas on Australian troops in a far north Queensland
rainforest in the 1960s.

Australian Defence Department files obtained by Channel Nine show the
US was planning to test Sarin and VX nerve gas on up to 200 Australian
combat troops by aerial bombing areas around Lockhart River.

The plan never went ahead, but American survey teams inspected the
proposed testing site.

The prime minister at the time, Harold Holt, vetoed the plan.

His former staffer, Peter Bailey, says the Australian government was
concerned that its Cold War alliance with the US would be damaged if
it did not acquiesce.

"If they weren't pretty good and pretty faithful to the Americans we
would be dumped, so I think ministers were very aware that this was
probably our one main support," he said.

Former Democrats Senator Lyn Allison has told Channel Nine the current
Government should make the documents public.

"There's apparently a whole unit which the minister says didn't
conduct testing but I think we need to know what they were doing and
it is time for these documents to be released," she said.

"Let us have a look at what was being contemplated just 40 odd years
ago - it's not the deepest, darkest history of Australia we're talking

US wanted to test sarin on Australian troops: report

Sun Jul 6, 3:40 AM ET

The United States military wanted to test deadly nerve gases on
Australian troops in a remote area of far north Queensland in the
1960s but Canberra refused, a report said Sunday.

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

"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.

Holt's former staffer Peter Bailey told Channel Nine the nerve gas
plan had been considered by the Australian government and ministers
were concerned that scuttling it could damage Canberra's relationship
with the US.

He said the ministers felt "if they weren't pretty good and pretty
faithful to the Americans we would be dumped," he said.

"Forty years on I'm a bit surprised that it actually happened but it
did," he said.

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