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The mysterious case of the 'gay-bomb' request

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The US military, planned to use stink bombs, chemicals that cause bad breath, and a so-called "gay-bomb" that would make enemy soldiers irresistible to one another as part of a range of non-lethal, but disruptive and morale-damaging weapons.

An Air Force laboratory in Ohio applied for $7.5m funding to develop these, and other similar ideas described as "harassing, annoying and 'bad guy'-identifying chemicals". The 1994 proposal was uncovered by The Sunshine Project, a chemical weapons watchdog group.

In the hunt for "Chemicals that influence human behaviour so that discipline and morale in enemy units is adversely affected", the researchers proposed that strong aphrodisiacs be dropped on enemy troops. The idea was that the deliriously loved-up men would unable to resist one another, but would be suffused with regret once the potion wore off.

The "gay bomb" was just one of many ideas. Researchers at the Wright Laboratory planned a chemical weapon that would encourage swarms of wasps of rats to attack the enemy soldier. Other proposals include a chemical that would cause "severe and lasting halitosis", so that enemy soldiers could be identified even out of uniform; a substance to make skin painfully sensitive to sunlight light and a so-called "who me?" bomb, essentially a very large scale stink bomb that would make enemy living quarters unpleasant places to be.

That last idea was abandoned because, according to the government papers: "people in many areas of the world do not find faecal odour offensive, since they smell it on a regular basis".

Marine Captain Daniel McSweeney explained that the Pentagon receives hundreds of suggestions for non lethal weapons, but stressed: "Gay Bomb' is not our term.It was not taken seriously. It was not considered for further development." The US observes chemical weapons treaties, he added. ®

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