(A weekly digest from the internet on chemical and biological warfare issues. Emphasis is on incidents and perspectives, but inclusion of an item does not equal endorsement or agreement with the contents. This issue covers items collected between 20 – 26 February 2017.)
According to an overnight statement by the Malaysian police, Kim Jong Nam—half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un—was assassinated with the nerve agent VX at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
VX is one of the high-end chemical warfare agents developed and produced in large quantities by the USA, USSR and some secondary powers during the cold war. Former military chemical weapon arsenals are being eliminated under the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), of course, is together with Egypt, Israel and South Sudan one of the four hold-out states. It is widely believed to have a significant chemical warfare capacity, but how militarily effective it might be is anyone’s guess.
(A weekly digest from the internet on chemical and biological warfare issues. Emphasis is on incidents and perspectives, but inclusion of an item does not equal endorsement or agreement with the contents. This first issue covers items collected between 1–20 February 2017.)
- BWC Newsletter (February 2017): The BTWC Implementation Support Unit published the first issue of its periodic newsletter.
BW ThreatsBioterrorism poses catastrophic threat to U.S. agriculture (Homeland Security Newswire, 30 January 2017): Members of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense consider the threat of terrorism with BW against the US agricultural sector as a major threat. Congress needs to act now to prevent another biodisaster like anthrax, Zika (Jeff Schlegelmilch; Ellen P. Carlin, 30 January 2017): Opinion piece on the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes a critical provision that implements a major recommendation of the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, namely the development of a strategy and implementation plan for national biodefense. Synbio and Biosecurity (Devang Mehta, 5 February 2017): Discussion about the evolution of the debate on the threats posed by synthetic biology over the past 15 years. Bioterrorism could kill more people than nuclear war, Bill Gates to warn world leaders
Warning: contains extreme graphic images of injuries and infection
Last September Amnesty International (AI) issued a 105-page report entitled Scorched Earth, Poisoned Air alleging the use of chemical weapons (CW) among other atrocities committed by Sudanese forces in the Darfur region. The chemical warfare section contains numerous images of civilian victims with horrifying skin lesions. It suggests that these are the consequence of exposure to a vesicant, possibly a mustard agent. The report is accompanied by a 4-minute video on YouTube. Several press articles and contributions to on-line media after the report’s publication have reinforced the allegation of mustard agent use.