Saturday, 28 May 2016

Chemical weapons experiments by US and Australia - troops "used and betrayed"

In recent times it's been bought to light the joint Australian and British chemical weapons experiments that took place in Queensland. The British were keen to see what a tropical climate did for the effectiveness of mustard gas, being as we were at war in the Pacific with the Japanese. Unfortunately though for the Australian troops who were experimented on, the mustard gas effects were much amplified by the tropical heat.

This can all be read about in the book "Keen as Mustard" by war veteran Bridget Goodwin

There's also a DVD documentary available, which aired some years back here on Australian TV. The DVD is here.
Australian Chemical Warfare Research and Experimental Section at Innisfail


Originally released in 1989, this disturbing documentary looks at a little known aspect of Australian wartime history. Scientists, laboratory staff and military volunteers recount experiences with the Australian Chemical Warfare Unit, which, with the active involvement of both British and American resources and personnel, tested mustard gas in Queensland during the Second World War. 

These tests were recorded in films which were once as secret as the experiments themselves. Now available to the public, these images provide vivid illustrations for the stories told by the men and women who participated in the experiments. Keen as Mustard
Australian Field Experimental Station at Proserpine
All very shocking if you've never heard of it here in Australia. Even to think that the plan ultimately was to use chemical weapons against the Japanese. We however should recognise this as a dark part of Australia's and Britain's history. Albeit little was known about the long term effects of mustard gas and the thinking at the time was that once the boils were healed then that was the end of it.

If you think that's bad though, just have a look at what the US did to it's service men and women. Keen to be the most superior military ever, they experimented on their troops like they were nothing more than guinea pigs. At times they literally used live pigs along side their troops in the same operations to see what happened to them.