Did Syria drop hallucinogens on rebels?

"Something horrible happened in Homs on December 23. Exactly what that horrible event was still isn’t clear," writes Noah Shachtman at Danger Room. There is some speculation today that Syria dropped the hallucinogenic chemical weapon 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate or BZ on rebels.


  1. Actually according to the article the speculation is that the agent *wasn’t* the hallucinogen BZ.
    There was an article in the New Yorker just a couple of weeks ago about the US testing of BZ (which I’d never heard of before) on unsuspecting GI volunteers. BZmakes people trip out and do weird shit, and lose interest in killing their opponents on the field of battle, which I guess was the point, but the US Army eventually concluded it was too hard to deploy effectively to be of any use as a weapon. You need a high, concentrated dose, which is basically impossible to administer on the battlefield rather than in an enclosed laboratory.

  2. It was “Trixie” (2-4-5 Trioxin): the same shit they were testing out on our homeless brothers and sisters a few months back, and attributing it to (ha!) “Bath Salts”.  WhatEVER…

  3. Because killing people indiscriminately is perfectly fine, provided you do so with guns and bombs as god intended.

  4. There are some very very funny videos of early LSD experiments including the British giving some acid to infantry troops out on maneuvers. Nobody ever seemed to have bad experiences in these videos, probably because they were getting pure pharmaceutical grade LSD. Anyway, the British determined that the troops were rendered useless and unable to make decisions. One guy climbed a tree trying to feed the birds, but they talked him down OK. They all had quite the jolly time. It’s on youtube.

    1. I can hear it now, the men tripping on Sandoz:
      – Blimey!
      – Jolly good, carry on Sergeant Major.

    2. Actually at 0:16 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiW9Js4RiAw you see one trooper who didn’t have a happy trip at all, but he’s the odd one out here. David Nutt’s book on drugs suggests that Physical Setting and Personal Mindset (my terms) are highly important if you seek a good experience while tripping. Considering the setting in this case was common to the other soldiers, perhaps this guy was struggling with another issue (something from his personal life?) on the day of the test.

  5. Wait, they are giving the rebels FREE hallucinogens?  From a strategy point of view, if they didn’t run in and kill them all while they were tripping, I think they screwed up.  Nothing helps relieve some of the stress of rebellion like a nice 12 hour tripping party.

  6. This story was “first reported by Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin and laid out in a secret cable from the U.S. consul general in Istanbul.”

    “Secret cable” indeed. Finally a leak that does actually help Al Qaeda fighters. But not via Wiki Leaks, so that’s ok then.

  7. Reading about possible battlefield use of hallucinogens always makes me think of the comic book CROSSED – how willing the governments of the world would be to unleash something really, truly terrible.

    1. It’s called bullshit (“propaganda” is the more polite word).  Unsurprising.

      Those of you in your late 30s or older might remember the horrible story about invading Iraqis tossing baby Kuwaitis out of incubators and stealing the incubators. Later (after the Gulf War was over) it came out that the emotional young woman telling the story was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador (she testified under a false name) and the whole thing was made up.

      1.  The motive may be that Obama declared that the use of chemical weapons was a “red line” that might cause us to intervene.  Syrian rebels hearing that now have an incentive to make up a story about a chemical weapons attack.

  8. The thing that doesn’t make sense to me is if you’re going to drop chemical weapons on your opponents, why use fruity hallucinogens that are difficult to administer in a battlefield environment instead of more conventional chemical weapons like nerve gas, mustard gas, or even simple chlorine gas? 

    1.  “Ooooh, I want some fruity hallucinogens…”   <— said in a "George from 'Bored to Death' voice")

  9. Xeni, FAIR.org has been covering this quite a bit.  This is very likely just bullshit that’s trying to get us Americans into yet another profitable (for the very few, that is) war.





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