COMMENT 27 November 2015 

The terrorist attacks in Paris are still fresh in our memories. This is a tragic and worrying event, but predictably the response from many quarters has been that we must ‘step up the war on ISIS’. This is exactly the reaction that the terrorists would have wished for.
Obviously the world needs to express great sorrow at the death and injury - just as one would mourn the deaths from an earthquake. At the same time, the perpetrators should not be treated as ‘warriors’, but as deluded criminals.

How do such events relate to nonlethal security?

Hypothetically of course, if the conflicts in the Middle East had been confronted without killing, then the motivation for lethal terorism would have been much less. The fact that the Paris terrorism could point to the many deaths of ISIS fighters and of civilians in Syria and Iraq in no way excuses their actions but it does make them more understandable.

Effective nonlethal technology could help resolve such conflicts as we are witnessing in Syria. Terrorism might not be eliminated but it might certainly be reduced.

COMMENT 24 October 2015 

Today is United Nations Day. Seventy years ago saw the start of an organisation which would try to civilise nations. The UN has had many successes but so far it cannot prevent those organisations that we call nations from behaving like adolescent individuals – or worse, like despotic monarchs.

In the thrall of the five permanent members of the Security Council and their vetos, the UN has proved powerless in halting the futile and deadly conflict in Syria.

A properly empowered United Nations could hose down Assad and ISIS within a week. Instead we have to tolerate ongoing slaughter and the displacement of millions of refugees.

Just a few days ago I stood at the ‘atomic bomb dome’ in Hiroshima, almost exactly below the point where the atomic bomb was detonated over that city in August 1945 – also some 70 years ago. Over 140,000 people died as a result before the end of 1945.

If we cannot improve the United Nations and move on from the primitive lethal technologies we still employ in conflicts between nations, all too soon we might see more Hiroshima-like nuclear explosions – but far far worse.


If you haven’t seen it, here’s Nina Paley’s excellent animation of the history of lethal warfare in the Middle East:

This Land of Mine…  (3min 30sec)




2015 is the Year of Committing to Nonlethal Technology in War. Lethal weapons – like fossil fuels – are becoming obsolete. Weapons cause huge grief and quite often they don’t resolve conflict.   ‘Clean green’ nonlethal technology will ensure peace across the world without killing people. Just as we’re changing from burning coal and oil to sustainable ways of generating energy we can start to move from bullets and bombs to devices which keep us safe but don’t kill. During 2015 we must start making the move to a new nonlethal technology of war.

1915 – the Centenary of Gallipoli – also saw the start of World War One’s industrial scale slaughter by rifles, machine guns and artillery: over 100,000 dead at the 2nd Battle of Ypres, over 420,000 at the Battle of Loos and nearly 120,000 at Gallipoli, including some 8,000 Australians.

In the century since then the weapons of war have become ever more deadly. There is less ‘major’ warfare at present, but the ongoing lethal conflict in the Middle East puts us at risk of a nuclear war, triggered by terrorists or failed states.

In this Centenary Year, we need a commitment by nations around the world to begin the serious development of nonlethal technologies which can protect us from aggression and ensure peace and justice without death and injury.

(See Media Release http://www.tamingwar.com/media-releases)


The April 2015 Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign Newsletter is now out.



The overall purpose of the Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign is to reduce the damage of war, specifically to:

  • Reduce death and injury in warfare by promoting the use of non-damaging technology in conflict resolution
  • Influence peace-keeping agencies (such as the UN) to move progressively from lethal to non-lethal weaponry
  • Subsequently influence defence forces in nations around the world to make the same transformation to non-lethal defence
  • Over the course of time, change world culture from lethal to non-lethal conflict resolution, with the result that the nuclear weapons that threaten our species will finally be eliminated
  • By removing lethality from conflict resolution, help to lower the overall level of violence in society, promoting a more peaceful and just world.

Why do we need to develop Nonlethal Security?



  • One day, except as curios, guns designed for killing people will be illegal

(Sporting guns – for responsible shooters – will be OK)

  • Explosives will only be used in mining, engineering and fireworks.


Comment at 14 November 2014

Just a day or two ago the Philae space probe landed on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The technology that achieved this is quite astounding. The Rosetta module had to journey over seven billion kilometres around the solar system, with a scheduled period of hibernation, before it was finally able to rendezvous with the comet and launch Philae.

If humans can successfully design and manage such a system, surely they can easily design technology to constrain international aggressors without killing them. In comparison to Rosetta/Philae nonlethal security should be a piece of cake.

(See recent article in New Matilda)


The 8th European Symposium on Non-Lethal Weapons is scheduled  for  May 18-20 2015 at its usual location in Ettlingen, Germany. The theme for the symposium will be ‘obstacles still faced in fielding non-lethal technologies’. The closing date for abstracts is October 6th 2014. For the conference brochure go to www.non-lethal-weapons.com .

(Details of 7th European Symposium on Non-Lethal Weapons)



(earlier Comments)


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