World War I in Color
is a documentary designed to make the Great War come alive for a 21st-century audience. The events of 1914-18 are authoritatively narrated by Kenneth Branagh, who presents the military and political overview, while interviews with historians add different perspectives in six 48 minute installments annotated within. [more inside]
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
has been awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize
, with the Norwegian Nobel Committee saying, "Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to use, have underlined the need to enhance the efforts to do away with such weapons." [more inside]
Syria Options Go From Bad To Worse
As reports have surfaced of possible use of sarin gas in the Syrian civil war, calls by long-time proponents of U.S. intervention on behalf of the anti-Assad rebels have grown to a fever pitch. These same voices, both at home and abroad, have evoked the administration’s previously stated “red line” on use of chemical weapons. But even assuming that reports of WMD usage in Syria turn out to be true, the Obama Administration’s position may be far more nuanced than previously thought. [more inside]
"The military’s secret Cold War experiment to fight enemies with clouds of psychochemicals. Decades after a risky Cold War experiment, a scientist lives with secrets." [Via]
Halabja chemical weapons:
A chance to find the men who armed Saddam?
"Nearly 25 years ago, Iraqi forces killed thousands of their own civilians using chemical weapons on the Kurdish town of Halabja. Now steps are about to be taken to discover which country - and possibly which factory - supplied some of the chemicals."
The WMD was discovered, quite by chance, lying by the side of a Bridgeville road in late July by a Delaware state trooper on an unrelated callout. Jutting out of the ground, the 75mm shell was encrusted in barnacles and pitted with rust; barely recognisable as a munition at all. The trooper called in his find and a military team took the bomb to Dover Air Force Base for disposal. As with most conventional rounds, a small charge was placed on the side of the shell and detonated to trigger the vintage munition’s own explosive. But something went wrong, and the bomb failed to explode. When the two staff sergeants and technician walked over to inspect the failed detonation, they found a strange black liquid seeping out of the cracked mortar. Given that the shell had been under the sea for the better part of fifty years, the men thought little of the foul-smelling substance until hours later, when their skin began to erupt in agonising blisters. All three were rushed to Kent General hospital, where two were released later after minor treatment. A third, more seriously injured serviceman was transported to Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, where he remained in serious but stable condition with what were only described as “burns or blisters” in a statement issued by the Army later that week. A scientific team were sent to Dover to collect soil samples from the area. The results were clear: the shell had been filled with mustard gas.
- Now It’s a Chemical Weapon, Now It’s Not; was used
by US forces in the siege of Fallujah. Now Haaretz
has questioned if White Phosphoros is being used against Gaza. Here
is apparent video proof. Willy Pete has a strange legality
; but whether legal or not is certainly one of the nastiest chemicals
used in warfare.
There is a killer
lurking in your local auto wrecking yard. Sodium Azide
, the chemical used in automobile air bags, is available to anyone who asks for it. Conceivably anyone could obtain several pounds of this poison, yet it takes only a few grams to kill
. A late model SUV will have enough in it's air bags to kill a couple of hundred people
It explodes. It kills
on contact with the skin. It kills via air, food, or water. It is odorless and colorless
. There is no antidote. Even minor exposure will result in permanent damage to brain cells.
University of Arizona atmospheric scientist Eric Betterton
was one of the first to expose the hazards of this unregulated material in 2000. The author J. A. Jance used it as the poison of choice in her book 'Partners in Crime
The perfect terrorist weapon
? It would seem so, but the Federal government doesn't regulate it's post-manufacture distribution. Got a grudge? Go pick up a few hundred pounds
The Deadly Deseret Chemical Depot
is one of the scariest places on Earth, if you believe Alien Dave
, which most people probably don't. Seen anomalous wildlife in Utah? Alien Dave wants to know about it
. Need deprogramming? Dave's got you covered
. But as for the chemical depot, its days as one of the biggest concentrations of chemical WMDs on the planet are numbered
Check out the stuff WE gave Saddam...
In light of the recent news about the prosecution
for supplying Saddam w/ WMDs, I was reminded of the Senate report that revealed what we were giving him at the same time.
Scroll down to the "U.S. Exports of Biological Materials to Iraq
section. SCARY STUFF!!!
- Bacillus Anthracis -
Clostridium Botulinum -
Check it out! We even sent him West Nile Fever Virus in 1985.
The British find WMDs, evidence of gruesome experiments on human guinea pigs.
This, plus recent shipments
of the chemical precursors needed to produce sarin and other chemical weapons to countries such as Libya, Iran, Syria, and Sudan should pretty much wrap things up, no?!
Where did those chemical and biological weapons come from?
”According to the December declaration, treated with much derision from the Bush administration, U.S. and Western companies played a key role in building Hussein's war machine. The 1,200-page document contains a list of Western corporations and countries -- as well as individuals -- that exported chemical and biological materials to Iraq in the past two decades.”
I’ve always been surprised that this type of report doesn’t get more attention. During the UN hearings I half expected the Administration to level with the world and simply say: ”We know they have the stuff because we sold it to them.”
Maybe there are no weapons, after all...
"On February 24, Newsweek broke what may be the biggest story of the Iraq crisis. In a revelation that "raises questions about whether the WMD [weapons of mass destruction] stockpiles attributed to Iraq still exist," the magazine's issue dated March 3 reported that the Iraqi weapons chief who defected from the regime in 1995 told U.N. inspectors that Iraq had destroyed its entire stockpile of chemical and biological weapons and banned missiles, as Iraq claims...." This is the same defector cited by the Bush administration numerous times as a reliable informant on the scope of Saddam's long-term WMD plans.
If Saddam Hussein were to use chemical/biological weapons
in an Iraq conflict, how safe would soldiers in the field be? The Department of the Defense says "no problem"
, but some of the men on the ground seem to believe
otherwise. The gear the soldiers will use to protect themselves and their water supply appears to be old, prone to failure
while the training received in the usage of these tools looks inadequate. It could be the return of "Gulf War Syndrome"
A War Crime or an Act of War?
But the truth is, all we know for certain is that Kurds were bombarded with poison gas that day at Halabja. We cannot say with any certainty that Iraqi chemical weapons killed the Kurds. This is not the only distortion in the Halabja story. ..
This much about the gassing at Halabja we undoubtedly know: it came about in the course of a battle between Iraqis and Iranians. Iraq used chemical weapons to try to kill Iranians who had seized the town, which is in northern Iraq not far from the Iranian border. The Kurdish civilians who died had the misfortune to be caught up in that exchange. But they were not Iraq's main target.
And the story gets murkier: immediately after the battle the United States Defense Intelligence Agency investigated and produced a classified report, which it circulated within the intelligence community on a need-to-know basis. That study asserted that it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, not Iraqi gas. (NYT)
Canada's forgotten weapons of mass destruction.
Shortly after the end of World War II, the Canadian navy began to dispose of its surplus chemical weapons by dumping them off the shore of Atlantic Canada. Large quantities of chemical agents, including mustard gas, were loaded onto barges and scuttled at undisclosed locations.
Over 50 years later, some of these military dumpsites have become lost due to poor record keeping. With increasing offshore oil exploration and a commercially successful shellfish industry, there's a possibility that these forgotten chemical agents could return
to the coasts of "Canada's Ocean Playground".
Russian Theatre Debacle : BZ Gas? BZ Gas..
your friendly 'non lethal' incapacitator. Originally designed for military use, (" Just blow their minds, move in, and take over")
they gave it to 2800 soldiers at Edgewood
before the CIA got hold of it. Due to shifting wind patterns, BZ's tendency to trigger maniacal behavior, and the difficulties of controlling the amount of BZ absorbed during combat undermined its usefulness as a nonlethal incapacitant. An overdose of BZ could be fatal
- and those tests had been concluded on physically fit army troops. This little puppy is simple to produce
, and shows up in films
, the Bosnian Serbian Army
and also South Africa
. Oh yeah - some people call it a warfare agent
, others call it a Calmative agent
... ( tell that
to the relatives of 115+ russians). People disagree whether its short term effects are anything from 6 hrs or 2 weeks and long-term damage is still unknown..
Two ways to destroy Chemical Weapons.
When UNSCOM was in Iraq they destroyed in place tons of chemical weapons: VX, Sarin. and Mustard gas were burned out in the open
. The effort to destroy the United States' aged chemical arsenal includes building special incinerators costing over 1.5 Billion Dollars each
. If we didn't need them in Iraq why do we need them here? What's the difference? And now that the incinerators are ready for testing why is the goverment switching from burning to neutralization with water at three sites? Billion Dollar toilet seats?
The new tapes obtained by CNN
are somewhat disturbing. Has anyone else been able to catch some of them, either online, or on CNN Live? The chemical testing on the dogs is particularily interesting. Suddenly, experts are wondering if Al Qaeda has more technological capability then was previously estimated. Do you think that they have indeed made it past the stage of torturing dogs, and could pose a serious chemical threat? What is the likelihood that these weapons will be used?
Beyond the Axis of Evil
- The United States has added Cuba, Libya and Syria to its "axis of evil" - nations it claims are deliberately seeking to obtain chemical or biological weapons. The Under Secretary of State also warned that the US would take action.
Chief of Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons sacked
, after intense US pressure. The whole thing was predicted a few days ago by Georges Monbiot
. It seems that the succesful head of the OPCW wanted to restart UN chemical weapons inspections in Iraq. Washington has other plans in mind.
The Republican Administration is ready to back out of the verification and enforcement protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention
, only their latest move after abandoning talks with North Korea
on ending their nuclear and missile programs, slashing assistance to Russia for dismantling their nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons infrastructure
in the new budget, going ahead with plans to unilaterally abrogate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
that underlies nuclear arms control, and preparing to place weapons in outer space
. It's not a secret that the Administration is leaning toward tearing down the entire edifice of strategic arms control
and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but you would think there would be more of an outcry that the Republicans seem hell-bent on making the world a noticeably less
safe place as quickly as possible... especially taking into account the other foreign policy faux-pas
they've committed in the past four months.