Per chi ama i thriller e i polizieschi ecco risolto il Mistero del Gas segreto russo. Jack Wheeler è l'autore. (un personaggio che è stato definito, il vero "Indiana Jones", a 17 anni andato a vivere con i tagliatori di teste dell'amazzonia, scalato diverse volte il kilimangiaro, compiuto viaggi di esplorazione al Polo Sud, ha combattito con la guerriglia afgana e nicaraguense negli anni 80....) -------------------------------------------------------------- The Secret Russian Gas Identified Jack Wheeler Freedom Research Foundation Monday, Oct. 28, 2002 ...Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered a commando assault on the theater, led by crack Speznaz special operations teams. Prior to the assault, the commandos pumped an "incapacitating gas" into the theater via the ventilation system. The gas did its job. All of the terrorists were immobilized, some of them women, wearing bomb belts and sitting among the hostages, who had threatened to blow themselves up along with all the people around them if an attack was made upon them. Tragically, the gas did its job far too well: 118 hostages were found dead. Two had been killed by the terrorists, 116 by the gas. Doctors in Moscow hospitals report that, in addition, over 150 hostages remain in critical condition. The doctors – and many Russian citizens – are outraged that President Putin refused to supply the gas's identity and its antidote. As of this writing, he continues to refuse to do so. The identity of the deadly Mystery Knockout Gas is clear, however. It is a synthetic opiate called etorphine. We all have seen Africa wildlife documentaries, such as on the Discovery Channel, showing researchers immobilizing and capturing big animals such as elephants, giraffes, rhinos and hippos by "darting" them – firing a hypodermic needle into them with a dart gun. The incapacitating chemical the animals are darted with is etorphine, known to animal researchers as M99. M99 is a synthetic opiate more than 500 times as powerful as morphine, more than 250 times as powerful as heroin. The great danger with M99 is that the lethal dose is only a few (normally three to six, depending on the animal) times higher than the effective incapacitating dose. M99 is widely and commercially available. The Russians' "secret" is that they made an aerosol spray out of M99 (normally a powder dissolved in water), converting it into a "gas." Their grave mistake was that they guessed too high on what the effective dose would be. Too much M99 causes respiratory paralysis. The muscles of your lungs and diaphragm can't move. Death from hypoxia – no air, no oxygen – comes quickly. And that's what happened to the 116 dead hostages: They stopped breathing. Once this is disclosed, the anger of Russian doctors may explode – because the antidote for M99 overdose is well known and available. It is a drug called naloxone, which, when injected into the bloodstream, immediately blocks the opiate receptors and thus M99's effects. African researchers using M99 always carry with them vials of a naloxone variant called M50-50 (diprenorphine). Removing a M99 dart from a big, dangerous animal is risky. The animal may twitch violently, and the researcher may get stuck with the dart himself. They realize that in such cases they will be dead in about two minutes, unless a shot of M50-50 is immediately administered. Perhaps Mr. Putin still refuses to disclose his use of M99 gas because its antidote is so well known and he fears that terrorists in future attacks will take naltrexone tablets (a naloxone analog) in advance or have naloxone injections at the ready. (What really is a mystery is why the Speznaz commandos weren't equipped to naloxone-inject the gassed hostages.) In any case, he would have been far better off using the U.S. Army's incapacitating agent, a fascinating substance called BZ, quinuclidinyl benzilate. BZ works by blocking the brain and body's cholinergic receptors, so the brain can't get use very much of a natural brain chemical called acetylcholine. When that happens, a person behaves as if he or she has terminal Alzheimer's disease. The safety factor for BZ is enormously higher than for M99: The lethal dose is over 500 times higher than the effective dose. Further, the effects are reversible within three days if no antidote at all is given. An injection of the drug tacrine (approved by the FDA for treatment of Alzheimer's) will bring the person back to normal in less than 60 seconds. It will do no good, however, for a terrorist to anticipate this and have injections of tacrine in his terrorist kit bag. Once hit by BZ, he will simply forget why he is a terrorist. His short-term memory evaporates. "Why am I holding this gun?" he may ask himself. It's heavy – his muscles have lost their tone, and thus their strength – so he drops it. "It's hot," he tells himself. BZ prevents sweating. So he decides to take off his clothes, and that heavy, uncomfortable explosives belt, which he has forgotten what it's for. The U.S. military has done extensive research with BZ. In one study, a group of well-trained Marines was sent out on a simulated mission at Parris Island and subsequently exposed to BZ. They proceeded to take off their clothes and sit on the beach. They wouldn't obey their commanding officer because they simply couldn't remember his orders. They didn't have the faintest idea of what their rifles were for, or why they should salute this stranger ("What's a salute, anyway?"). Besides, it was hot, far too hot to wear some uniform, much less carry some heavy pack. And if, for some reason, they got belligerent in response to the officer's barking at them, they would quickly forget why they were mad a few seconds before. In any case, with so little muscle tone, their officer could have literally pushed them to the ground with his forefinger. Condemned as the "Superhallucinogen," BZ has been made illegal in warfare. But terrorists are not in uniform. They are fair game for BZ. As far safer and humanitarian than M99, Mr. Putin should consider BZ the next time Moslem terrorists assault his country. For now, he needs to come clean on his Mystery Gas. No more secrets, Mr. Putin. We already know what the secret is. Edited by - gz on 10/28/2002 23:45:50