Monthly Archives: March 2017

Below the headlines: CBW matters (6)

(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 March 2017.)

CBW disarmament

Poroshenko replaces Ukrainian ambassador to the Netherlands (Interfax, 18 March 2017): Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has dismissed Oleksandr Horin from the post of Ukrainian Ambassador to the Netherlands and the post of permanent representative of Ukraine in the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. King to attend OPCW’s 20th anniversary commemoration in The Hague (Royal House, 23 March 2017): On Wednesday 26 April, His Majesty the King will attend a commemorative ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the founding of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), at the Hall of Knights in The Hague.

His Majesty the King of the Netherlands and High Dignitaries to Attend OPCW 20th Anniversary Commemoration read more

Below the headlines: CBW matters (5)

(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 13 – 19 March 2017.)

Chemical warfare in Iraq

Iraq says there is no evidence of ISIS chemical attack in Mosul (Rudaw, 12 March 2017): Iraq has “no evidence” that ISIS had used chemical weapons in Mosul, the country’s ambassador to the United Nations Mohamed Ali Alhakim told reporters on Friday. Alhakim made the remarks as the UN Security Council was briefed on the situation of Mosul behind the closed doors. VIDEO: ISIS chemical attack hits Iraqi forces (GEOPOLMonitor Staff, 14 March 2017): A mortar believed to be fired by ISIS landed near a Rudaw news agency team embedded with Iraqi forces in Mosul, causing severe respiratory problems among the advancing Iraqi soldiers and media. Doctors ‘100 percent sure’ chemical weapons used near Mosul (Chad Garland, 15 March 2017): The incident followed allegations earlier this month that Islamic State fighters turned chemical weapons on civilians in the battle for Mosul, now in its fifth month. The United Nations has said it would be a war crime, if confirmed, but Iraq’s U.N. ambassador said last week there is no evidence to support the allegations. Medical workers, however, say they’ve seen and treated the evidence — the symptoms of about a dozen civilian patients.

Russian Foreign Ministry reiterates IS systematically uses chemical weapons in Mosul read more

Below the headlines: CBW matters (4)

(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 6 – 12 March 2017.)

Chemical warfare in Iraq

Iraq: ICRC strongly condemns use of chemical weapons around Mosul (ICRC, 3 March 2017): The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons during fighting around the Iraqi city of Mosul. UN: Alleged Mosul chemical attack amounts to war crime (Al Jazeera, 4 March 2017): Investigation urged into possible use of toxic agents as Iraq hospital chief says he is certain chemical gas was used. Statement from the OPCW Spokesperson on Allegations of Chemical Weapons Use in Mosul, Iraq (OPCW, 5 March 2017): The OPCW has asked Iraqi authorities for more information and has offered its assistance to the Iraqi investigation.

Iraq: Chemical weapons reportedly used in Mosul, WHO responds read more

Below the headlines: CBW matters (3)

(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 27 February – 5 March 2017.)

Assassination of Kim Jong-Nam

Killing Kim Jong Nam With VX Nerve Agent Crossed a ‘Red Line’ (Brian Barrett, 24 February 2017):  That this particular chemical weapon would be used in a political assassination in a third country is very alarming. It’s a red line. It should be considered a new threshold that’s been crossed in terms of unconventional weapons. Did the nerve agent VX kill Kim Jong Nam? (Poison Review, 24 February 2017): Despite the announcement that VX was identified, there are still some puzzling details that don’t seem to fit. Duped into killing Kim? 2 suspects say it looked like prank (Tran Van Minh, 25 February 2017): The two women told officials from their embassies in Malaysia that they believed the entire operation was a harmless prank for a reality show. Malaysian police say the attackers knew what they were doing and had been trained to go immediately to the bathroom and clean their hands.

North Korean leader’s half brother suffered a ‘very painful death’ within 20 minutes, Malaysian officials say read more

VX assassination and ALT+Reality

The assassination of Kim Jong-nam with—according to Malaysian authorities—the nerve agent VX unsurprisingly yielded many press articles, expert commentaries and other opinion pieces. Equally unsurprising is how uninformed several commentators are about the basics of all things chemical warfare. And I am not even referring to the ignorati who characterise VX (or mustard agent, for that matter—courtesy Dan’s unrelenting aspiration to educate the Twitterati) as a gas (it is a liquid with the viscosity of motor oil). It is about not checking basic facts or the accuracy of sources (which may quickly become outdated), as well as copy-and-paste work—particularly from peers or Wikipedia. read more