Newsletter August 2013


This is the third Newsletter of our campaign – (now called) the Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign (previously titled the Non-Lethal Weapons for Peace Campaign – see below). The newsletter comes out periodically. Because your time is valuable, the newsletter is brief. You don’t need to keep this – all editions are available on the website .


The Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign aims to reduce death and injury in warfare (and other conflicts) by using non-damaging technology (more info on the website).


On 17th May 2013 the Non-Lethal Weapons for Peace Campaign became the Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign.

There are two main reasons for the change. The word ‘weapon’ is associated so closely with harm and lethality that to many people the term ‘non-lethal weapon’ seems contradictory. The second reason is that non-lethal technology employed for security covers a far wider area than non-lethal weapons alone. So far, everyone seems to agree that the name change is a good idea.


On the world scene, sadly the conflict in Syria continues.  At one point it appeared that government forces were in retreat. However, in recent weeks they seemed to have made gains over the rebels. Both sides continue to receive lethal armaments from outside the country. No quick resolution looks to be apparent and combatants and civilians continue to be killed or injured. The UN Human Rights office has estimated almost 93,000 deaths in the civil war to the end of April 2013 and has also said that the toll had most likely exceeded 100,000 by mid June (Los Angeles Times 13 June 2013).

It is quite appalling that the rest of us on the planet cannot halt this senseless slaughter. The Great Powers – USA, Russia, China – are unwilling to intervene because lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan show that the cost is immense – and so the conflict continues. Intervention by an overwhelming UN force equipped with non-lethal security technology might be a different story. As yet, we don’t have one.

(For an excellent assessment of the current situation in Syria, see Paul Rogers’ July Global Security Briefing  and also his May Global Security Briefing for the Oxford Research Group.)


A symposium on non-lethal weapons is held in Europe every two years. The most recent European Symposium, took place in June 3-5 2013 at the Stadthalle in Ettlingen (near Frankfurt) Germany. The theme for the symposium was ‘how fielded non-lethal technologies have performed in real operational environments’.

How did the conference go?

My overall assessment is that the sector is progressing steadily but still quite slowly. The participants were the usual mix – from the military, the police, the arms industry and academia. There were delegates from the Netherlands Defence Academy and the Royal Military Academy in Brussels – but no-one from Sandhurst, West Point – or for that matter from the Royal Military College Duntroon, Australia.

The majority of the papers were concerned with the safety aspects of non-lethal weapons, a very necessary topic. Some papers discussed operational issues (the conference theme). Most of the experience in this area comes from policing operations (as in Northern Ireland). To date there has been relatively little use of NLWs in a mainstream military environment. Some quite simple applications have been successful. For example the ‘Laser Dazzler’ appears to have reduced casualties when used to warn drivers of road blocks.

Conference details are at .

Guns – still guns

At the time of writing, the arrival of the newest Windsor is being marked with a 41 gun and a 62 gun salute – welcoming a new young human being to the world with machines designed for killing…

Thank you for your time.

 Andrew Greig


Questions and comments to .

The Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign Newsletter – August 2013



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