GAS,GAS,GAS

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by trog, Oct 28, 2002.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Not 2 good on NBC, so some answers might clash with others, don´t write in, especially those of you in NBC Regts. 8) 8) 8) 8)
     
  2. I was a bit concerned you were taking my name in vain!

    It appears that the US have identified it as an opiate.  Looks like Ivan got the dosage a bit wrong.
     
  3. Heard a Box head doctor on R4 this morning. His opinion based on the people he had treated was that it was bog standard general anasthetic.

    The reason people died was the fact that they were not managed with regard to dose or aspiration.

    It doesnt look like a CW agent to me. I would be suprised if the terrorists didnt have respiratiors, which would protect against known agents. The russians are developing some others that can get past the filters we have now, but I dont think they would tip there hand so publicly.
     
  4. Janes have suggested the following:

    As Russians remain quiet, certain candidates emerge as the gas used to break Moscow hostage crisis

    By John Eldridge, Editor, Jane's Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Defence

    The Russians remain reluctant to identify the gas that was used at dawn on 26 October to overcome around 50 Chechen rebels who had taken several hundred people hostage in a Moscow theatre on 23 October.

    This has presented an enduring challenge to the medical services at Moscow hospitals in providing the right type of care.

    It is not clear from the reports emerging from Moscow whether the hostage casualty and death toll discrepancies (from ‘some 75’ originally announced by a Russian minister to over 108 at 21.00hrs on 27 October) are due to the after-effects of the gas, to trauma injury or simply due to early miscounting in the aftermath.

    In order to achieve surprise, the Russian special forces would have needed three features of a chemical agent (a ‘gas’). The first two would be vital; the third highly desirable. The agent would need to be extremely quick-acting and invisible; otherwise some of the terrorists would have been able to see it, avoid it and detonate their explosives. Also, injury caused to the hostages would need to be temporary if the authorities were not to be accused of taking unnecessary risks.

    Assuming a considered reaction to the crisis, there are two possibilities. Firstly, the agent used may have been something completely new or a new combination of existing agents. This would be one explanation for the PR clamp-down and its identity would be unlikely ever to be revealed. Only the long-term victim effects would identify it over time. Secondly, the agent used could be something old but effective, such as a riot-control agent.

    However, there are older types of agent that have in the past been used both for riot control and for training but are now no longer used because of their toxicity. Included among these is Adamasite (agent DM). It is very quick acting and causes intense flu-like symptoms in the victim and, at high concentrations, severe respiratory distress, nausea and vomiting. In other words, most of those affected with high concentrations would have been removed by stretcher. The symptoms are likely to disappear within an hour or so, according to most sources, but in susceptible victims the effects may be more severe, requiring hospitalisation.

    Adamasite is thus a likely candidate for the mystery ‘sleeping gas’, although the hostage death toll from the event is unusually high. Even though DM is lethal in extremely high concentrations, a huge quantity would have been required to deliver this level of death and injury.

    However, it is by no means impossible that sarin or another nerve agent was used alone or in combination with other types of agent. The two-fold imperative of achieving complete surprise and instant incapacitation would have been the top Russian priority. A nerve agent constituent to the ‘sleeping gas’ may have been the reluctant choice to achieve this aim.

    Scary stuff no?
     
  5. The question is whether this is an acceptable level of casualties.  From a Russian point of view the answer has to be yes.  The terrorists were defeated and the message sent back to the ragheads in Chechnya that they will not get away with this type of crime.  Also as more hostages survived the rescue than were killed it would justify the type of gas used.  Better 100 dead than 800. Hopefully they have learnt and next time there will a higher survival rate, or maybe the Chechens will wear respirators?
     
  6. I fear Putin will be looking to historical perspectives and lessons, for ways of dealing with the Chechen "Problem"

    I think his bedtime reading at the moment, may well be "The collected thoughts of Joe Stalin" or "You can't make an omlette. without shooting a few ringleaders"

    Looks like it's open season in Chechnya  :-/
     
  7. A hospital in Munich has run some tests on two of the german hostages and identified it as a known anasthetic.

    Not used in the west for some years/////
     
  8. Colonel Bob Van Damme, head pharmacist in the Belgian armed forces, provides answers to questions arising from the Russian special forces' use of incapacitants to end the recent occupation of a Moscow theatre by Chechen terrorists

    It appears that Russian special forces used aerosolised fentanyl and gaseous halothane during a siege to end last month's terrorist occupation of a Moscow theatre. The combination seems to have been designed to stun the terrorists with the fentanyl, a potent synthetic opiate, and then to push them to unconsciousness with the halothane, a volatile halogen derivative.

    Many questions arise, but we focus on four particular ones. The answers are based on information from commonly known sources as well from classified ones, explaining the lack of literature citations in this article.

    Did the Russian authorities try to cover up? For several days after the siege, Russian authorities declined to identify the gas, earning criticism from doctors who had to guess what sort of treatment to give to innocent victims caught up in it.

    Previous contacts with Russian medical practitioners have shown that, in the past, their approach to medicine has been more pragmatic than in most Western countries. One could see a link with the former Soviet importation system of "Western" drugs, without proper clinical, pharmacological or toxicological knowledge. It is therefore likely that the term "ignorance" is more appropriate than "cover-up" in the handling of the victims.

    Emergency specialists claim that lack of information and antidotes does not prevent physicians from treating patients symptomatically. Besides, the effects of fentanyl should have been obvious since surgeons use it daily. Medical support seemed to be underestimated and not well co-ordinated. This could be deduced from the way people were carried out of the theatre, the apparent lack of sufficient ambulances, and the rather unprepared admittance at various hospitals.

    It can be concluded that the complexity of the medical support required was underestimated in the preparation of the action to end the occupation. This endorses the evidence that medical tactics should be fully integrated in the planning of such operations.

    Hostages reported witnessing assault troops administering antidotes — most probably naloxone — but they hesitated about the number of syringes used and the way the antidote was administered. The presence of some anaesthetists or paramedics at the scene with mayo cannulae and respiration bag devices could have saved the lives of many of the victims.

    Was the choice of fentanyl and halothane appropriate? An "incapacitant" is a chemical agent which produces a persisting disabling condition for hours or days. It should:

    • Be highly potent at low doses

    • Be able to alter the higher regulatory activity of the central nervous system (CNS) during several hours or days.

    • Not be life threatening or produce permanent injury in effective reasonable doses

    These criteria should eliminate opiates since they show a low margin of safety. In high doses, fentanyl can cause severe respiration depression and lead to coma — a condition seen in many of the hostages carried out of the theatre.

    Furthermore, it loses its incapacitating potency quickly, explaining the need for halothane for the final knock-out. Odourless and non-combustible, halothane works through the nervous system. In regular anaesthesia its use has been limited because of its hepatotoxicity. In larger concentrations, it can provoke respiratory failure and cardiac problems. According to the World Health Organization it should only be applied with artificial respiration equipment at hand. The use of a massive amount in such a closed space seems a deadly gamble. In our opinion, a better choice would have been sevoflurane.

    Since fentanyl and halothane enforce each other's respiratory depression, the high-dosed combination of both compounds might be considered a serious misjudgement.

    Is there evidence that certain gases could be used in a safe way in similar circumstances, incapacitating terrorists but without serious long-term effects for the weakened, dehydrated and hungry hostages? First, for clarification, the fentanyl was aerosolised, ie, not a gas. In order to make a proper choice of incapacitant, it is important to look to its safety margin (ie, the ratio of lethal to incapacitating dose). But if a quick effect is desired, high doses tend to be used. In a building such as the Moscow theatre, there are several factors that influence efficiency:

    • As the nebula disperses, the concentration of the incapacitant reduces and this means that several sources of incapacitant are needed

    • The relative weight of the gas towards air might provoke different concentrations of incapacitant in corners and angles

    • The recipients differ with respect to age, sex, state of general health, fatigue, dehydration and panic or fatalism (which influence respiration)

    • If the aerosol takes up a large volume it can push away the air, resulting in asphyxia

    • There needs to be quick evacuation of the stunning compounds after the assault

    There are some compounds that could be appropriate for use in similar circumstances. CNS depressants, such as 3-quino-clinidinyl benzilate (BZ), block the peripheral and central muscarinic action of acetylcholine, resulting in a disruption of the cognitive functions. Hence, forces using them have to wear protective clothing. Less than 1mg of BZ produces delirium for days. The safety margin (ratio of lethal to incapacitating dose) in people is estimated to be at least 30. BZ-intoxication could however lead to random unpredictable behaviour.

    CNS stimulants, such as D-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) cause excessive neuronal activity by facilitating neurotransmission, overloading the higher regulatory centres, inhibiting concentration and appropriate action and causing indecisiveness.

    As little as 50µg of LSD produce dramatic psychological changes. Doses of 2–5mg have been taken without harm (apart from, sometimes, convulsions) and animal studies suggest that much higher doses may be tolerated. Initial effects appear within a few minutes of inhalation. The question of long-term effects is unresolved, but single exposures to doses in the clinical range appear unlikely to cause permanent biological damage.

    But even for those products, too many factors can influence the activity and assessment of the variable sensitivities in individuals is impossible.

    Can individuals carry antidotes to protect themselves against such attacks? This is really not realistic. Many agents might be used, some with specific antidotes, some without.

    Even if one had a battery of antidotes, how could one know which agent has been used, let alone the probable lack of time one would have just to unwrap it.

    In general, there are no detector systems for these agents, only limited field laboratory methods for their identification in environmental samples. Therefore, initial diagnosis rests almost entirely upon clinical acumen. Entry of aerosols through the respiratory tract makes respirators essential, but some agents may as well be absorbed percutaneously.

    To conclude ...

    if the Moscow rescue operation had been performed with better medical involvement, the number of victims might have been much lower. However, had nothing been done, the outcome may have been worse. The Russian special forces were surely facing a dilemma.

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Thanks are due to Dr Col Bellanger of the Belgian Medical Service HQ, and Dr Jean Pirson, chief of the burns unit at the Belgian Military Hospital. The Pharmaceutical Journal, Vol 269 No 7224 p723-724
     
  9. So to sum it up.... Spetsnaz completely ballsed it up :evil:
     
  10. Aye, that's about right. The silly buggers mustv't adopted the attitude of:

    "Hey Boris what drugs really knock people out?",
    "Erm, we could try an opiate and some anaesthetic Yuri, that should do it, especially as we don't know the proper dosages eh?",
    "Yeah that should do it, fancy a vodka"

    Complete bunch of Spetznaz Cowboy Arrse 8O
     
  11. Ukraininan Spetnaz covered themeselves in glory last year :eek: two blew themselves with british grenades helpfully proving cba can save your live :lol: one drank himself to death they then lost a falling plate comp against the TA :twisted:
    not exactly an elite fighting force
     
  12. Did no one ever see the video of the aftermath of the siege instead of getting the hostages out spetnaz left them lieing in the gas to be picked up by the medics while they retired to the bar for a piss up (honestly all caught on camera!).
     
  13. I saw the video of them just laying there moving around except for the ones who were dead from being shot. That is, if we're still talking about the Chechen people who held the people hostage in the theater during that crisis. Is that the one?
     
  14. Sure is! Spetsnaz arrses! Anaethetic indeed!
     
  15. If anyone is still interested in this topic:

    BBC 2 Tonight (15th Jan 04) 2100Hrs - 2150Hrs

    Horizon - "Documentary following scientists as they attempt to find out which secret gas was used by Russian special forces to end the 2002 Moscow theatre siege"

    Sounds interesting....