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WWI in Color

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]
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 31, 2013 - 60 comments

Nobel Peace Prize goes to OPCW, citing Syrian conflict

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]
posted by Etrigan on Oct 11, 2013 - 37 comments

Fettering discretion

Yesterday the House of Commons and the House of Lords debated a response to Syria's use of chemical weapons. The government lost the debate and the commons rejected military action. David Cameron said "the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that, and the Government will act accordingly.." A government MP explains why she voted against and Charles Stross makes a suggestion for what could be done (distributing gas masks, field decontamination showers, NAAK kits, and medical resources to everyone in the conflict zones)
posted by Gilgongo on Aug 30, 2013 - 394 comments

‘the poor man’s atomic bomb’?

Why are we so afraid of chemical weapons? [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 18, 2013 - 46 comments

Crossing the "Red Line"?

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]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 2, 2013 - 289 comments

Operation Delirium

Operation Delirium. "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]
posted by homunculus on Dec 10, 2012 - 44 comments

Decontaminating Halabja

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." Via BBC
posted by marienbad on Dec 4, 2012 - 24 comments

The Deadliest Catch

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.
posted by Blasdelb on Sep 20, 2012 - 52 comments

avenging Blackwater: 'worse than Hiroshima'

"To produce an effect like this, some very major mutagenic exposure must have occurred in 2004 when the attacks happened." Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009 (pdf) suggests the use of depleted uranium by US forces (who also used white phosphorous) might be the cause of soaring rates of cancer and birth defects among citizens of Fallujah. (more DU on the blue)
posted by grounded on Jul 24, 2010 - 95 comments

Sometimes it is; Sometimes it isn't.

Willy Pete - 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.
posted by adamvasco on Jan 16, 2009 - 62 comments

Sodium Azide.

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.
posted by altman on Dec 1, 2006 - 76 comments

Got WMDs?

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.
posted by owhydididoit on Aug 31, 2006 - 21 comments

W.M.D. to IRAQ from US too?

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 - Brucella Melitensis... Check it out! We even sent him West Nile Fever Virus in 1985.
posted by samlam on Dec 7, 2004 - 15 comments

British find WMDs, evidence of gruesome experiments on human guinea pigs!

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?!
posted by insomnia_lj on Sep 28, 2003 - 18 comments

Where did those chemical and biological weapons come from?

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.”
posted by peebo on Mar 26, 2003 - 32 comments

'Huge' Chemical Weapons Plant Found in Iraq

'Huge' Chemical Weapons Plant Found in Iraq - and Hans Blix is somewhere redfaced...
posted by Macboy on Mar 23, 2003 - 99 comments

Weapons of Mass Delusion?

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.
posted by Artifice_Eternity on Feb 28, 2003 - 49 comments

US Soldiers At Risk from Chem Attacks

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" (PDF).
posted by owillis on Feb 20, 2003 - 19 comments

A War Crime or an Act of War?

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)
posted by y2karl on Jan 31, 2003 - 34 comments

Canada's forgotten weapons of mass destruction.

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".
posted by Caffine_Fiend on Jan 13, 2003 - 14 comments

Russian Theatre Debacle : BZ Gas?

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.. Lovely stuff.
posted by HeadSessions on Oct 28, 2002 - 47 comments

Two ways to destroy Chemical Weapons.

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?
posted by Mack Twain on Sep 27, 2002 - 7 comments

The new tapes obtained by CNN

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?
posted by dgt on Aug 19, 2002 - 36 comments

Beyond the Axis of Evil

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.
posted by Stuart_R on May 6, 2002 - 53 comments

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.
posted by talos on Apr 24, 2002 - 24 comments

The Republican Administration is ready to back out of the verification and enforcement protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention

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.
posted by SenshiNeko on May 21, 2001 - 15 comments

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