Join 3,554 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Cocaine's a helluva drug.
December 3, 2008 12:42 PM   Subscribe

The Mumbai terrorists took cocaine, acid, and other drugs to stay awake during the attacks. Not the first.
posted by gman (107 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
The 10 men who attacked prominent Mumbai landmarks were able to hold off hundreds of India's best trained special forces by mounting sophisticated ambushes, maintaining a constant, steady rate of return fire and a superior knowledge of the layout of the buildings seized.

That does not sound like the work of someone on acid.

Cocaine and steroids, maybe.
posted by mannequito at 12:47 PM on December 3, 2008


So they used blackberries and took drugs?

There's a thin line between terrorists and club kids it seems.

This is actually fascinating, though. I hadn't realized that steroids aren't uncommon in preparation for a suicide attack.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:49 PM on December 3, 2008


"We found injections containing traces of cocaine and LSD left behind by the terrorists and later found drugs in their blood," said one official.

Who injects acid? Even if it was diluted liquid LSD, sweet Christ, you'd be out of your skull. And probably sitting in a corner giggling hysterically. Going on a coordinated hostage-taking shooting rampage would probably be the last thing on your mind.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:51 PM on December 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Christ - I thought spending four hours in a WalMart without a wallet was the worse thing you could do on acid.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 12:55 PM on December 3, 2008 [14 favorites]


And that third link is amazing.
“On the second day of the fight, word came down to focus on head shots, that body shots were not good enough,” said 1st Lt. Tim Strabbing, a platoon leader with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, one of the lead units in the assault to oust the insurgents. The battalion, known as the Thundering Third, suffered 23 dead and 300 wounded.

Strabbing said his platoon found five locations with stockpiles of needles and adrenaline. “My guys put five [machine gun] rounds into a guy who just stood there and took it and then took off running,” he said.

Stimulants enable the body to continue functioning despite mortal wounds, forestalling, although not preventing, death, medical experts say.

Many combat veterans recall watching insurgents in Fallouja who had been shot at close range return fire and hurl grenades at Marines who stormed their strongholds.

“We actually shot four or five guys multiple times and they got up and moved across the room,” said corpsman Quinton Brown, who had accompanied a front-line platoon to treat wounded Marines.

“When you see a house land on somebody and they’re still kicking, you know something is wrong,” he said.
Apparently, this sort of thing goes back even further.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:56 PM on December 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Going on a coordinated hostage-taking shooting rampage would probably be the last thing on your mind.

Yeah, that's more of a cannabis thing.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:57 PM on December 3, 2008


Interesting. In the future we'll see genetically bred soldiers AND terrorists.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:57 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


It is popularly believed that the assassins were under the influence of hashish and opium during their killings or during their indoctrination, and that assassin derives from hasishin, the influence of the drugs. However, most Islamic scholars now think this unlikely

Time for a re-think?
posted by Joe Beese at 12:59 PM on December 3, 2008


“When you see a house land on somebody and they’re still kicking, you know something is wrong,”

Even the Wicked Witch of the East knew when it was time give up.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:03 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing - Apparently, this sort of thing goes back even furtherer.
posted by gman at 1:04 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Who injects acid?

My dad told me about how he went to visit his brother out in San Francisco back when he was fifteen (latish '60s) and walked into the apartment to find my uncle barricaded in his room while the housemates were cooking needles in oil so they could shoot up acid.

But yeah, who the hell would take acid when they're planning on pulling something like that off? They'd be too concerned with the crazy patterns and analyzing the cool shapes in the music to pay attention to anything, much less shoot a gun.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:04 PM on December 3, 2008


These are good links, but do we need two Mumbai-terrorists-used-this posts in a row? Shouldn't these go in the prior post?
posted by dersins at 1:05 PM on December 3, 2008


dersins - I think you're just having a flashback.
posted by gman at 1:09 PM on December 3, 2008


I've read that troops in Iraq have found stockpiles of methamphetamines, steroids, and other stimulants, but using acid during a time of high stress and situations that require all of one's concentration?

If you've ever watched COPS you'll undoubtedly have seen the pain-removing effects of PCP and the like, but I'm having a hard time seeing how LSD would assist these crazy mofos.
posted by pyrex at 1:09 PM on December 3, 2008


Drugs: Not the way to reach the Most High.
posted by yeloson at 1:10 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing - Apparently, this sort of thing goes domestic too.
posted by Bitter soylent at 1:10 PM on December 3, 2008


While taking a psychedelic dose would be inadvisable in such a situation, low doses of LSD have effective stimulant properties and impart (at least the perception of) sharper senses and clarity of mind. I could definitely see it being applicable.
posted by gngstrMNKY at 1:10 PM on December 3, 2008


The 10 men who attacked prominent Mumbai landmarks were able to hold off hundreds of India's best trained special forces by mounting sophisticated ambushes, maintaining a constant, steady rate of return fire and a superior knowledge of the layout of the buildings seized.

Well, no. 10 guys simply cannot hold off hundreds of trained special forces for days with nothing but small arms, regardless of their sophistication, if the hundreds of trained soldiers are willing to take significant casualties. Clearly force preservation was a primary concern of the Indian troops. I'm not criticizing that decision; it's quite possible that the terrorists killed most of the people they were going to kill in the first hour or two of the event and nothing much would have been gained by storming the place, except for a bunch of dead soldiers.

But this wasn't Leonidas at Thermopylae. The Indians undoubtedly could have ended it quickly if they'd thought the higher body count was worth it.
posted by Justinian at 1:12 PM on December 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


> Apparently, this sort of thing goes back even furtherer.

Even furthererer: " Modern scholars believe that certain examples of [Viking] berserker rage to have been induced coluntarily by the consumption of drugs such as the hallucinogenic mushroom Amanita muscaria, or massive quantities of alcohol."
posted by ardgedee at 1:12 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


British soldiers on LSD. Yes, LSD does not sound like the kind of drug for mass murder.
posted by dirty lies at 1:12 PM on December 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


Not being a terrorist is my anti-drug.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:13 PM on December 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


And who doesn't prefer drugs over their Blackberry?
posted by gman at 1:13 PM on December 3, 2008


Even furthererer: " Modern scholars believe that certain examples of [Viking] berserker rage to have been induced coluntarily by the consumption of drugs such as the hallucinogenic mushroom Amanita muscaria, or massive quantities of alcohol."

That explains the recent bartender thread.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:14 PM on December 3, 2008


I'm not convinced about the LSD thing. First it seems rather daft, and second it's the same quote in both articles, and the source is attributed only to "an official."
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 1:15 PM on December 3, 2008


Oh and dirty lies posted the video I was just about to go look for. Thanks!
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 1:16 PM on December 3, 2008


Sometimes, in the depths of a trip, it can take significant restraint and self-control to NOT go on a killing spree. As HST said - "You can turn your back on a person, but never turn your back on a drug, especially when its waving a razor sharp hunting knife in your eye."

Altho the co-ordination of group ambush tactics would seem a bit unwieldy to work with, especially when everyone is just starting to get different ideas of what the concept of 'language' is, aside from a definition of absences and differentiation between the fundamental sames. Also, holy shit guys, have you looked in the oven? Just open the door a little, it's like a forty five degree angle aperture is necessary for this kind of energy collection, altho the number of degrees is, in itself, an abstract, and... did I have to use the bathroom a little while ago?
posted by FatherDagon at 1:17 PM on December 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


I dunno. Based on my empirical studies of GTA IV, you can cause quite a bit of damage while on hallucinogens. You can also spend an hour swimming in circles and staring at the reflections of skyscrapers in the water, but I digress.
posted by naju at 1:18 PM on December 3, 2008


but I'm having a hard time seeing how LSD would assist these crazy mofos.

I know one guy who would beg to differ.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:18 PM on December 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


gngstrMNKY is right though, while taking psychadelic doses of LSD would certainly interfere with this kind of plan, acid keeps me up like a motherfucker, I can't sleep for at least 16 hours after dosing. I can see how taking small amounts (less than 10 micrograms) at periodic intervals could at least keep you from falling asleep, my own experiences suggest that even small doses prevent any kind of meaningful sleep for quite a while.
posted by baphomet at 1:21 PM on December 3, 2008


They must have LSD mixed up with PCP.

but I'm having a hard time seeing how LSD would assist these crazy mofos.

I know one guy who would beg to differ.


i can think of someone else that might disagree too though.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:22 PM on December 3, 2008


Sometimes, in the depths of a trip, it can take significant restraint and self-control to NOT go on a killing spree.

Oh man, I know exactly what you mean. Gets easier each time after the first, though.
posted by baphomet at 1:22 PM on December 3, 2008


They must have had terrible nasal congestion the next morning.
posted by jmmpangaea at 1:23 PM on December 3, 2008


The first time I saw this now-famous image of one of the terrorists, "cocaine" was the first thing I thought. Look at his eyes.
posted by vibrotronica at 1:24 PM on December 3, 2008


Only terrorists use coke. Real American fighting men stick to real American speed.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:24 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


This goes way way WAY back. Ever heard of the Hashishim?
posted by grubi at 1:27 PM on December 3, 2008


The first time I saw this now-famous image of one of the terrorists, "cocaine" was the first thing I thought.

The first time I saw that image, "virgin" was the first thing I thought.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:28 PM on December 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


Yes, LSD does not sound like the kind of drug for mass murder.

I've personally known people who, while serving as British combat troops in Northern Ireland, used to take acid prior to going out on patrol. Soldiers are mostly teenagers and young men. Teenagers and young men are pretty dumb at the best of times.

I've also read accounts of football hooligans who would take acid prior to going out for a ruck. They'd supplement it with speed or coke as well.

People who've done it tell me that the injecting acid thing has no significant impact on intensity of trip, it just impacts onset of dose. There's no rush or anything, but the acid comes on immediately rather than having to wait for it.

It takes all sorts, I suppose.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:28 PM on December 3, 2008


I can't sleep for at least 16 hours after dosing.

I don't sleep for at least 16 hours after waking up in the morning. Seriously, 16 hours is not that long.
posted by desjardins at 1:30 PM on December 3, 2008


So you're saying there's a down side to our turning the control of Afghanistan over to drug lords?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:30 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Real American fighting men stick to real American speed.

Of course, meth was concocted by the Nazis to help their pilots stay awake.
posted by yeloson at 1:30 PM on December 3, 2008


I would have made a great addition to the squad back in the day had they needed someone to stand nervously by a window constantly peeking out the blinds every 15 seconds for 48 straight hours.
posted by The Straightener at 1:31 PM on December 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Gotta agree with Justinian. Something's wrong with the "hundreds of India's best trained special forces" quote. Either they weren't very well trained special forces, they didn't number in the hundreds, or they weren't allowed to take the gloves off. Could have been an order to not get killed rescuing bodies, could have been an order to not use significant fire power in a civilian setting, or maybe it was to protect the buildings/architecture, but I don't believe cocaine is the reason 10 terrorists held off hundreds of India's best. Even if it was really good cocaine.
posted by ShadowCrash at 1:32 PM on December 3, 2008


Only terrorists use coke. Real American fighting men stick to real American speed.

"Go" pills, please.
posted by anthill at 1:33 PM on December 3, 2008


I don't sleep for at least 16 hours after waking up in the morning. Seriously, 16 hours is not that long.

It is if you drop at 8 or 9 pm after having already put in 12 waking hours.
posted by gman at 1:34 PM on December 3, 2008


The end of an LSD trip is probably OK to do something that requires dexterity and thought. There is a greater sense of focus and physical strength at the end of a trip. I would use my fingers to load my bong at that time, not load my gun. That is my professional drug abuser opinion.
posted by brando_calrissian at 1:36 PM on December 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


Something's wrong with the "hundreds of India's best trained special forces" quote.

It's makes sense if the special forces are concerned about not killing civilians, searching rooms for boobytraps, have no knowledge of the terrain or the enemy and are just trying to figure out what the fuck is going on.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:37 PM on December 3, 2008


These "steroids" sound fantastic, like amphetamines and PCP and painkillers all rolled into one.

Heh. Onward, white knights of the news media, to crush the menace of OMG STEROIDS!
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:39 PM on December 3, 2008


Brandon Blatcher, kind of ignored the rest of my post, where we basically say the same thing. The point still stands though. The fact that the special ops didn't take down the terrorists has more to do with these factors than anything to do with them being on cocaine.
posted by ShadowCrash at 1:41 PM on December 3, 2008


Even if it was really good cocaine.

Apparently it once took 50 Indian special forces operative to get Eric Clapton out of his dressing room.
posted by GuyZero at 1:42 PM on December 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


This would have been great in the existing thread right below.
posted by fixedgear at 1:46 PM on December 3, 2008


Astro Zombie : I hadn't realized that steroids aren't uncommon in preparation for a suicide attack.

If drugs are being used by suicide bombers, I'm actually more surprised that PCP isn't more common. I would think that the detachment and analgesic properties would be perfect for someone on a killing spree.
posted by quin at 1:52 PM on December 3, 2008


Not exactly surprised, I've previously heard that suicide bombers are doped out of their skulls on ecstasy
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:54 PM on December 3, 2008


Holy shit, these guys are Juicers!
posted by Afroblanco at 1:56 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


The point still stands though.

I disagree, though we may be talking about different things.

Namely, these were not stupid men with guns and oh, it's so amazing they held off special forces troops. They came with a mission, supplies to carry out and back up that mission and a terrifying willingness to kill. One could argue that the terrorists themselves were also special forces.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:57 PM on December 3, 2008




"We found injections containing traces of cocaine and LSD left behind by the terrorists and later found drugs in their blood," said one official.

Who injects acid? Even if it was diluted liquid LSD, sweet Christ, you'd be out of your skull. And probably sitting in a corner giggling hysterically. Going on a coordinated hostage-taking shooting rampage would probably be the last thing on your mind.


Yeah I don't know about the acid claim. Why would they bother? You couldn't really get a tiny enough amount into a syringe accurately, and if you got just a little more you;'d be ineffective as a physically functioning person. Plus it's hard to get acid these days!

Malt Liquor would've worked just fine. Jihad Juice.
posted by Liquidwolf at 1:58 PM on December 3, 2008


If drugs are being used by suicide bombers, I'm actually more surprised that PCP isn't more common.

It would be, but once a terrorist starts greening, you can't pull him away from his Iron Maiden collection.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:08 PM on December 3, 2008


I think the worst part of all of this is how much drugs they took/had... I mean, I lost my last connection two months ago, and now it's dry as a mofo round here. Where can I get injectable acid anyways? How much does that stuff cost? How about some Ketamine? These guys should be dealing, not shooting people. I would have given them all kinds of money for some wares.

*sigh*
posted by Bageena at 2:08 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


This goes way way WAY back. Ever heard of the Hashishim?
posted by grubi
Hmmm, somewhere, yeah...
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:12 PM on December 3, 2008


I don't sleep for at least 16 hours after waking up in the morning

Right, but the point is that if you take it at 8:00 at night when you've already been up for 8-12 hours, and then you're up for another 16 or 20 because the drug inhibits sleep, you've been up significantly longer than you otherwise would normally be able to. That was my point.
posted by baphomet at 2:17 PM on December 3, 2008


Fair enough, Brandon Blatcher, I may have been getting my quotes crossed up in my original post. My point was that the terrorists holding off the special ops had nothing to do with them being on drugs and everything to do with the special ops not being allowed to level the buildings and not wanting to take casualties or kill civilians. I originally read the post as saying the reason the special ops couldn't overtake the terrorists was because they were cracked out and could keep standing after being shot. If you look at just the quote I mentioned, it doesn't specifically state that and actually mentions the ambushes and intimate knowledge of the area/buildings.
posted by ShadowCrash at 2:18 PM on December 3, 2008


Yeah, this has been going on for a long long time. The Templars (who were perhaps the best knights the west had to offer) had real problems (fighting, I mean) with the otherwise under-armored, under-muscled Hashshashin. Obviously tactics differ, but if I’m a well trained, fast, muscular, combat expert in a suit of heavy armor, I’d pretty much expect to wipe out some scrawny dude armed with a curved blade in no time. It’s that 1/2 second of wtf!? that gives the scrawny dude a chance to even up the odds.
Still works in the age of firearms. (’I got you!’ ‘No way!’ ‘I did! I shot you like six times, cheater!’ ‘I’m not going down’ etc)

And pretty common in the modern age. I suspect this is only news because it’s newsy. Not because it’s a new trend.

And gngstrMNKY has it. Acid can be very useful this way. I know first hand.

(Also, didn’t what’s-his-name pitch a no-hitter on acid?)

“The Indians undoubtedly could have ended it quickly if they'd thought the higher body count was worth it”

Well this group did have significant knowlege of counter-terrorism tactics.
IMHO it was a brilliantly executed sophisiticated operation (just talking methodology here, I’m not lauding it as virtuous) that anticipated many aspects of the response.

...of course, it’s not like anyone paying attention couldn’t see this coming.
But large organizations move slowly. I’ve been saying “OMFG! Pakistan” for some time now. Hell, just recently (here, but in other quarters) I mentioned we were going to be hearing from Pakistan terrorism outfits quite soon.
But right now, counterterrorism is filled with politico dufuses in suits rather than professionals.
It’s a target rich media friendly atmosphere for terrorists.

As it is, the big advantage regular forces have always had is command and control. As those tools (communications, organization, planning, etc. etc.) become more available, we’ll see more terrorist operations like this and further adaptations to confound the expected pace of the engagement for the regular troops.

For the terrorist field guys tho’, the coke, other drugs, just a quick fix substitute for training cool nerves, all that.

Not much of a factor otherwise really.

Other than, yeah, makes ‘em a pain in the ass to put down and eliminates that expectation reflex when you think you’ve killed someone and they’re supposed to be going into shock and dying and all that and they pop up to shoot back at you.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:23 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mumbai Terrorist Wanted to 'Killl and Die' and Become Famous: Commando Tells Cops He Murdered For Money and Offers to Help Police For Cash
posted by homunculus at 2:24 PM on December 3, 2008


The first time I saw that image, "virgin" was the first thing I thought.

The first time I saw that image, "72 virgins" was the first thing I thought.
posted by gman at 2:27 PM on December 3, 2008


According to homunculus, one of the terrorists who was interrogated had a very vague understanding of Islam. He did it for the money, pure and simple, which would have gone to his parents in Pakistan. Religion can be a powerful tool for hate, but so can poverty.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:30 PM on December 3, 2008


A study of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad suicide terrorists from the late 1980s to 2003 found only 13 per cent were from a poor background, compared with 32 per cent of the Palestinian population in general, according to a New Scientist report.
posted by gman at 2:34 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


These were not Palestinian Islamic Jihad suicide terrorists.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:52 PM on December 3, 2008


Astro Zombie - Thanks. All I was getting at is that in the Palestinian cases, money isn't the prevailing motivator, by any means.
posted by gman at 2:55 PM on December 3, 2008


Let me add, the Indian special forces (et.al.) have caught a lot of PR flak - didn’t see it coming, lack of a coordinated response, etc.
They did, in fact, run their playbook. IMHO the terrorists not only got training (and coordination) from a sophisticated source, they got information as to the details of the response.

(Maulana Azhar has been linked to the ISI. Jaish-e-Muhammad was his organization. His brother (Mufti Abdul Rauf) reorganized the group last year when Azhar went underground. Still - how hard is the Pakistani government looking for him? And how is, if he is, relaying orders? Pretty sophisticated, I mean, JeM pulled off some attacks in the UK)

But this “this or that” group thing...it’s a bit like the Dread Pirate Roberts.
You’ve got JeMers who are ex-Harakat ul Mujahedeen, their objectives aren’t exactly at cross putposes with Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Pakistan ‘outlaws’ one (or genuinely outlaws and tries to prosecute them) and they show up as al-Qanoon or Lashkar e Omar. So who’s the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi other than a bunch of guys who hate the shiites? What’s the Save Kashmir Movement all about?

Kinda silly hanging one’s hat on this stuff, but the newspapers and talking heads seem to insist on it. Like terrorists can’t figure out how to use sock puppets.

I mean, even if they’re disparate groups, you can’t swing a dead cat in Kashmir without hitting an extremist outfit that would like to see greater tension between India and Pakistan anyway.
And that includes guys who work for the Pakistani government. Not castigating them all of course, but one bad apple in a high enough place...

Anyway, the drugs make sense since keeping the intensity of the scene high while prolonging it was part of the objective. Again - very smart. It attracted (and continues to attract) a lot of public speculation and attention.
Delicious, delicious attention. Om nom nom nom.

(and recruiting cadre has always been one of the easiest things to do for these groups regardless of background. Hell, we do it here with our regular forces. The psychological tactics in getting someone to die for something aren’t exactly new)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:59 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


This sounds like flat-out drug propaganda to me. Cocaine yeah possible-- but it's pretty hard to detect LSD use because it's potent in micrograms and you have to do sophisticated tests for it. If there was enough left on the syringe to be readily detectable, the dosages would have likely been pretty extraordinary-- so much so that coordinated action seems rather unlikely. I suppose if they trained on acid it might work-- but I just don't buy it.

Also, the bit about stimulants keeping you alive longer-- citation please! Not likely. In long term, dopaminergic drugs in general shorten life. Awake longer, sure. But there's no plausible physical mechanism for alive longer after injury.

And,the poster who wrote about his father seeing people cooking needles in oil before shooting LSD? Clearly Dad was either hallucinating, the people putting the needles in oil were already off their heads and doing something stupid for no reason or they were just plain crazy. Why would you do that? It's hardly going to sterilize them and you really don't want to inject extra substances that could sludge up your veins. [I'm a former IV drug user].

This sounds like the myth about people shooting LSD into their eyeballs-- something spread by people who don't know much about drug use. Probably every weird thing has happened once, but there's no reason anyone would do anything like that in terms of getting a good high and minimizing pain. No veins there.

As for the steroids, that would be basically useless-- yes, they work for strength training and muscle building but they really don't have a reliable psychoactive effect. I guess the placebo idea that they make you feel like a man-- and the irritability people get from long-term use, but as a one-off, not likely to do much.
posted by Maias at 3:05 PM on December 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


This whole story was propagated by the Americans as proof that drugs and terrorism go hand in hand.
posted by gman at 3:13 PM on December 3, 2008


Oh man, I loved the Dock Ellis story:
"I was in Los Angeles, and the team was playing in San Diego , but I didn't know it. I had taken LSD..... I thought it was an off-day, that's how come I had it in me. I took the LSD at noon". At 1pm, his girlfriend and trip partner looked at the paper and said, "Dock, you're pitching today!"
And isn't that really the last thing you want to hear, just as you're starting to peak? "Dude, you're working tonight." Granted, pitching a major league baseball games sounds a hell of a lot more fun than, say, working the cash register at Cinn-A-Bun. Sounds like he had a blast, anyway.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:23 PM on December 3, 2008


A possibly related story?

Man Uses Candy Cane to Subdue Attacker:

"He said the 49-year-old suspect became intoxicated, went over to a neighbor's home on Thanksgiving and began waving a kitchen knife at people gathered on the lawn."

Unfortunately, no photos.
posted by jabberjaw at 3:29 PM on December 3, 2008


Maias: It was Wesson corn oil, and they were completely nuts and stupid to boot - hence my uncle barricading them out.

Now he's a well-respected lawyer. Go figure.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:36 PM on December 3, 2008


Not exactly surprised, I've previously heard that suicide bombers are doped out of their skulls on ecstasy.

The thought of 72 virgins'll do that to ya.
posted by gman at 3:47 PM on December 3, 2008


I think the risk/benefits of taking drugs on a suicide mission would be pretty one sided. And yeah, this is an old tactic. The Anglo-Zulu War comes to mind. Also, check out Gary Brechers take on "War on Drugs".
posted by goat at 4:08 PM on December 3, 2008


Please. This is at best a third-hand report of a Telegraph story for which the source is an unnamed Indian government official. By definition, that's propaganda and not journalism.
posted by grounded at 4:22 PM on December 3, 2008


Maias - cortisol steroids are useful in preventing adrenal fatigue. It would help in smoothing out stress response over a long period. And it amps up your aggression level, oh yeah. (Did I mention I played football?)

In addition - the main reason people die when they get shot is that they go into shock. There’s many different kinds of shock too - hypovolemic shock, cardiogenic shock, anaphylactic Shock, septic shock, all of which can kill you. You can die from shock from loss of fluid by burns, vomiting or diarrhea.

Part of the reason I prefer knives in close quarter battle is that not everyone handles shock the same way. So if I shoot you, maybe you lay down and die. If I sever an artery - you stop being my problem almost immediately. (Plus, ample evidence one can close distance before a target can draw in most instances where gunfights occur)

Look at bowhunting - an animal killed by an arrow doesn’t live long enough to go into shock. With bullets there’s bloodloss but most of it is nervous system disruption. The body takes in all the oxygenated blood to protect the brain, blood pressure falls, and somewhat quickly, tissues fill up with acid (because your muscles are deprioritzed) and you can’t move.

Which brings us back to ‘Do.’
The psychological side of the acute stress reaction - which is all nervous system reaction, but not less real for that.
Cocaine (et.al) numbs pain, steroids get you pissed off, all of which can alleviate the psychological reaction and so, slow the onset of hypoxia (and anoxia) because all those stress hormones don’t flood the nerves with emergency signals.

It’s possible to accomplish the same thing with training, but that takes time and resources these folks obviously can’t risk having. (There’s a lot of exposure in training)

Low doses of acid - what can I tell you.

If I’m tired, I shoot better on a little bit of LSD as compared to not.
Also caffeine. But caffeine doesn’t last as long.
(although the studies, on that, have been published *cough*).

How they detected the LSD (if they did) I don’t know.
I’m willing to entertain the notion it’s all anti-drug propaganda. I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

But the use of stimulants, hallucinogens, all kinds of other drugs has a long and solid history in combat.

The ‘Juicer’ comment is apt. You create a disposable human weapon. Disposability isn’t the downside it is in the west.

...I could write a few books on that last thought. But it is true. With training comes education. That risks orthodoxy. And having your trained cadre come back and tell you it’s all bullshit is a huge downside that - some certain - Middle Eastern forces (historically, but obviously currently) don’t want to deal with.
So they all go to heaven, martyred, etc. etc.
We get more use out of ours, but risk them coming back saying ‘war is shit’ in general or disagreeing ideologically with a specific conflict so we have to be a bit more liberal.
(Of course, those degrees vary, and the west has on occasion used suicide troops, but not as a matter of ongoing practice - but I digress.)

So what I’m saying is it does have -some- practical uses (given the perspective) but even if it’s complete anti-drug propaganda it’s not ideologically or historically inconsistent with radical muslim guerilla fighters any more than oblique tactics in desert warfare would be historically inconsistent for a modern middle eastern warfighting outfit.

So to somewhat smooth the point of contention - if it’s bullshit it’s plausible bullshit
posted by Smedleyman at 4:49 PM on December 3, 2008 [11 favorites]


Plus it's hard to get acid these days!

QFT
posted by empath at 4:52 PM on December 3, 2008


The first thing this makes me think of is the [previously on Metafilter] North Hollywood Bank Job.
posted by The Michael The at 4:54 PM on December 3, 2008


So are we now in a War On Terror On Drugs?
posted by Remy at 5:23 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Remy - see previous comment.
posted by gman at 5:34 PM on December 3, 2008


Oh yeah,low doses of LSD can have a strong effect on performance when one is tired, one can ignore pain, focus and so on. I assure you. I'm not saying any was actually present in Mumbai, I'm just saying different drugs have different effects at different dosages.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:55 PM on December 3, 2008


Heck, Shia Muslims invented assassination using hashish.
posted by Balisong at 6:00 PM on December 3, 2008


I actually just remembered this story. One evening in the summer of grade 8 (my first on acid), a buddy of mine was chased by a group of older kids through a schoolyard. He tripped over a chain barrier, which was set up in the parking lot at shin level to keep cars out. Needless to say, he FLEW and broke both femurs in the process. Now imagine that shit on LSD.
posted by gman at 6:05 PM on December 3, 2008


Smedleyman, I wasn't saying that cocaine or speed or muscles built from steroids wouldn't be useful in battle or for a terrorist. I was saying that there's no evidence taking stimulants would keep you alive when you are dying of wounds, which is what the article claimed.

And, from what I read, they were on androgenic steroids (the kind typically used in sports) not corticosteroids (the kind that work on your stress system). If people are taking cortisol or whatever the pharmacological version is for sports use, that's pretty stupid because why would you want additional stress hormones?

Presumably, you are already amped up for the game and additional cortisol is going to worsen your performance-- it's an (upside down) U shaped curve. Adding stress hormones to a high stress situation is going to put you on the wrong side of the U. If you are taking them chronically, that's even worse-- you are shutting off your immune system, burning out your stress system and flooding your hippocampus with glutamate, which kills brain cells and can fuck with memory and cause depression. This is why chronic stress is bad for you, it dysregulates multiple systems and so it would be a dumb strategy for an athlete.

For a suicide terrorist, I guess it wouldn't matter except in terms of actually reducing performance, which is a good thing by my lights...
posted by Maias at 6:17 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Disposability isn’t the downside it is in the west.

Tell it to Donald "people are fungible" Rumsfeld.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:27 PM on December 3, 2008


I once knew a person who, while on a combination of strong liquid acid and cocaine, delivered more pizzas per hour than one should be able to deliver in an hour. (Not the same as fighting off Indian special forces, perhaps.) That same person, once the cocaine wore off, was unable to find their way out of a grocery store parking lot or remember that they had a cell phone in their car to call a friend for help.
posted by nosila at 6:50 PM on December 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


thanks again, master smedley, for the depth and breadth of your (obviously hard-won) insights. as always, i really appreciate your take on the issue-
posted by Philby at 7:23 PM on December 3, 2008


Cocaine--absolutely. LSD--absolutely not. There's NO WAY these guys were on acid. They'd either be laughing hysterically or in a quivering pile on the floor after the first shot.
posted by zardoz at 8:15 PM on December 3, 2008


When I first heard that they'd been fighting for over 24 hours, I thought that they were probably on meth. I also nth the general disbelief that they were on acid-- how could you possibly hit a target with any accuracy if you were?
posted by jokeefe at 9:21 PM on December 3, 2008


I would take Indian reporting on drugs with a very large grain of saltacid. Last year, there was a raid on a private party in Goa, and about 200 kids were rounded up. Among the drugs seized was "phenylfine". That term appeared in a few follow-up articles as well. I still don't know what that is. Also, there exist only dealers and addicts("victims"). And LSD, as per a "prominent psychiatrist" quoted in the Times, is 'extremely dangerous'. So, yeah..
posted by daksya at 9:31 PM on December 3, 2008


At the risk of being blatantly racist, would the average Indian reporter really know the difference between acid, meth or PCP? I mean, maybe they would, but I'm not sure of it. Heck, maybe they were all whacked out on amyl nitrate. I mean, all that shooting would make you tense up a lot.
posted by GuyZero at 9:40 PM on December 3, 2008


At the risk of being blatantly racist, would the average Indian reporter really know the difference between acid, meth or PCP?

I don't think it's racist to wonder why a journalist wouldn't question how one finds "traces" of LSD in syringes or the blood. A lot of reporters are pretty bone ignorant when it comes to drugs. Seems not a year goes by that I don't see some article somewhere contain a sentence such as "possibly while overdosing on marjiuana".
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:26 PM on December 3, 2008


Seems not a year goes by that I don't see some article somewhere contain a sentence such as "possibly while overdosing on marjiuana".

Yup, impossible. One day, when I have the energy and the story fits, I'll tell y'all about my buddy who digested 80 grams of hash 'accidentally'.
posted by gman at 4:12 AM on December 4, 2008


Not sure but maybe they took them after getting severly injured to stave of the pain or something.
posted by chrisranjana.com at 4:59 AM on December 4, 2008


Right, but the point is that if you take it at 8:00 at night when you've already been up for 8-12 hours, and then you're up for another 16 or 20 because the drug inhibits sleep

You know, I used to think I was hard core when I would party all night, but then I had kids. Days man, you have to stay up for fucking days, sober, and all the while you, yes YOU are the one that has to act responsible! That is hard core man.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:07 AM on December 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


When I was about that age range I used to plow snow for 40 hours straight.

Doctors in training are often on extended shifts.

Staying awake for 24 to 48 hours is not such a big deal.
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 6:22 AM on December 4, 2008


When I was about that age range I used to plow snow for 40 hours straight.

That's some fuckin' coke habit, man.
posted by gman at 6:46 AM on December 4, 2008


Plus it's hard to get acid these days!

Chicago has LSD running all over the east side, where daddy was a cop.
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:31 AM on December 4, 2008


“I was saying that there's no evidence taking stimulants would keep you alive when you are dying of wounds, which is what the article claimed.”

Ah. Fair enough. I stand corrected.

“why would you want additional stress hormones”

Well, again - there’s a surge there (multiple successive surges really, if you’re in and out of gunfights) which is mitigated by those. We’re talking avoiding systemic shock, performance is a whole other thing.
Plus the aggression. Although the androgenic steroids gooses your aggression level as well. But sort of a moot point given I’m ceding the accuracy of the article. My only point is that there are drugs that are very useful in combat.

“Staying awake for 24 to 48 hours is not such a big deal.”

Try doing it surging on and off adrenaline as you get into and out of firefights. No contest.
Hell, most people fall asleep after they have one orgasm and that’s not even -bad- stress on your body (it is stress tho - so's sneezing, coughing, etc - s'why you're so 'achy' when you have a cold).

Cocaine is nothing to the opiates and hormones you have on tap in your own system.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:25 PM on December 4, 2008


Cocaine is nothing to the opiates and hormones you have on tap in your own system.

In fact it isn't the coke that gets you high, it's how the coke makes your body release your own juices.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:38 PM on December 4, 2008


I’ll add that drugs can *appear* to keep you alive when you’re wounded, because folks who do some shooting but aren’t professionals are used to the shock response and take it as read.

So, yes, wound principles, ballistic trauma, is the same whether you’re on drugs or not.
However - responses are different. F’rinstance - stress cavity formation in a rifle shot (handguns usually aren’t powerful enough to make one) when someone is shot in the movies you see this red goop (not blood, thick stuff like tomato sauce) in their chest. That isn’t there before they get shot. Before someone gets shot their organs are (for lack of a better word) neatly stowed. The tomato sauce is from the destruction of organ integrity and is pumped into the bullet cavity by the lungs (capillary bleed off) and the heart (through whatever blood vessals were severed).

I see I’m skipping some stuff - ever seen a slow motion film of someone being punched? There’s a hydraulic shock wave that runs through the body because of the transmission of energy from the fits.

Bullets - because they’re pretty blunt - do this as well. If the transmission of force is strong enough or fast enough (I’ve mentioned before a faster, lighter bullet can be more damaging than a heavy, slower one - and the density matters as well - e.g. rubber bullets can knock you out or put you into shock too) it can displace your muscles along your spine, say, and break your ribs.
I’m talking higher powered weapons here obviously (rifles).
So with softer bullets, you get expansion and a larger stress cavity and greater likelyhood of shock - which is why people use ‘dum dum’ bullets.
Now, FMJ and other penetrating bullets and tumbling bullets spread damage around - and there’s a lot of different philosphies on “stopping power.”
Generally speaking - big nasty large cavitating bullets are better.

The 1911 .45, for example, was developed to stop the juramentados (the Moros who were, ironically given what we’re discussing, Islamic berzerkers) in the Philippines who had gone ‘amok’ (at Bud Bagsak, Bud Dajo, et.al).

So, if someone takes drugs which counteract the effects of shock, it’s possible to ignore the effects of what looks like this huge gaping damaging wound that, in most folks’ experience, should have killed them.
I bring up the Moros as an example of doing it ‘naturally.’

The only thing that really kills is blood loss in the brain (number of ways to speed this along quite quickly, shooting the head or the heart, say), everything else is doing damage in order to convince your body to shut down.

If you can’t convince their bodies to fall down, they’re not going to fall down.

So in terms of staving off death, wounds, all that, no. But in terms of being able to maintain someone in an operational combat capacity, drugs (or training, or berzerk states of mind) can keep someone fighting long after their bodies would have otherwised convinced them to quit.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:08 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


They must have meant PCP not LSD. I think we will see a correction sometime soon.
posted by eperker at 3:54 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pollomacho: In fact it isn't the coke that gets you high, it's how the coke makes your body release your own juices.

This is true of all drugs, legal or illegal, psychoactive or not. The maxim is that drugs alter function, not create it.
posted by daksya at 9:30 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Mumbai terrorists took cocaine, acid, and other drugs to stay awake during the attacks.

Horseshit. Cocaine would be like a fart in a windstorm compared to the adrenaline rush these guys were getting during the Mumbai assaults. But the idea that they would "inject acid" really put the final nail in the old credibility coffin with this story.
posted by telstar at 10:57 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


From the Mumbai Mirror 5/12/08, pg 11:

Traces of drugs on Kuber
"Police have found silver foils, with traces of hashish, on the hijacked fishing trawler, Kuber, that was brought to Mumbai on Thursday."
posted by daksya at 4:35 AM on December 5, 2008


Hash I could see. To modulate the adrenaline. But Cocaine/LSD? No effing way.
posted by telstar at 2:13 AM on December 13, 2008


« Older They navigated by GPS....  |  Henry G. Molaison, known to ps... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments