Monthly Archives: June 2017

Below the headlines: CBW matters (19)

(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 19 – 25 June 2017.)

CBW disarmament

Blue Grass Army Depot one of state’s largest military installations (Kentucky Today, 19 June 2017): Established in 1941, this military installation, covering 14,594 acres, is the state’s third largest. The facility employs over 700 people (60 percent of whom are veterans) and adds $225 million in economic value to Kentucky. Blue Grass Army Depot fulfills a number of critical missions for the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense. Contained within the Blue Grass Army Depot is the Blue Grass Chemical Activity, which ensures the safe and secure storage of the installation’s chemical weapons stockpile. The chemical weapons stockpile is housed in 49 earth covered, concrete igloos on 250 acres within the larger Depot. In 1997 the United States signed and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, agreeing to eliminate all of its chemical weapons and former production facilities. The key mission of the Blue Grass Chemical Activity section stems from that treaty, namely, the safe storage of the chemical stockpile until demilitarization (safe destruction) is complete. U.S. Department of State Hosts Forum on Reinforcing the Global Norm Against Chemical Weapons (Office of the Spokesperson, 20 June 2017): On June 20, the U.S. Department of State hosted a high-level forum entitled, “The Chemical Weapons Convention 1997-2017: Progress, Challenges, and Reinforcing the Global Norm against Chemical Weapons.” Since its entry into force 20 years ago, the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)—with 192 States Parties— has verified the destruction of approximately 95 percent of all declared chemical weapons stockpiles, and thereby made a significant contribution to making our world a safer place. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the CWC’s implementing body, has facilitated the destruction of chemical weapons in Albania, China, Iraq, Libya, Russia, Syria, and the United States – among others. Nonetheless, the international community’s work is far from done, and serious challenges remain. Dugway Under Scrutiny Again Over Handling of Deadly Toxins (Richard Sisk, 22 June 2017): The Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, which figured in a major scandal on the shipment of live anthrax, has come under scrutiny again in the handling and accounting of deadly toxins such as Sarin nerve agent. In a report last week titled “The Army Needs to Improve Controls Over Chemical Surety Materials,” the office of the Defense Department’s Acting Inspector General Glenn Fine found that Dugway officials failed to give immediate notice of an accounting discrepancy that showed a 1.5 milliliter shortage of Sarin.

Thousands still to go but 46,000 abandoned Japanese chemical arms destroyed in China to date read more

Below the headlines: CBW matters (18)

(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 12 – 18 June 2017.)

CBW disarmament

“Sarin chemical agent stockpiles completely eradicated in Russia”: official (Ivan Castro, 12 June 2017): All the stockpiles of sarin chemical agent in Russia have been liquidated, Russian Interfax agency reported citing Colonel General Valery Kapashin, head of the Federal Agency on safe keeping and liquidation of chemical weapons. China, OPCW pledge further cooperation (Xinhua, 12 June 2017): Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi on Monday met with visiting Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Ahmeet Uzumcu, and the two pledged to enhance cooperation. Morocco Elected African Coordinator for Chemical Weapons Prohibition Organization (Ezzoubeir Jabrane, 13 June 2017): The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has elected Morocco to be the coordinator for its African state members, the Moroccan Embassy in the Netherlands announced Monday. Morocco succeeded Kenya in this annual function.

Washington: Russian chemical weapons will never threaten U.S. again read more

Below the headlines: CBW matters (17)

(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 5 – 11 June 2017.)

CBW disarmament

  • Buckley hosts intricate Chemical Weapon Convention Treaty training exercise (Nicholas Rau, 8 June 2017): Over the course of three intense training days, Buckley Air Force Base hosted a unique and carefully planned Chemical Weapon Convention Treaty training exercise to test the response of Air Force Major Command Base Assistance Teams in preparation of any possible international challenge inspection.

CW use

  • NYT’s New Syria-Sarin Report Challenged (Robert Parry, 7 June 2017): Special Report: An MIT national security scientist says the New York Times pushed a “fraudulent” analysis of last April’s “sarin” incident in Syria, part of a troubling pattern of “groupthink” and “confirmation bias.”  For U.S. mainstream journalists and government analysts, their erroneous “groupthinks” often have a shady accomplice called “confirmation bias,” that is, the expectation that some “enemy” must be guilty and thus the tendency to twist any fact in that direction. It doesn’t even seem to matter how well-credentialed the skeptic is or how obvious the failings of the mainstream analysis are. So, you even have weapons experts, such as Theodore Postol, professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who are ignored when their judgments conflict with the conventional wisdom.
  • Agency: IS target civilians with chemical weapons in Mosul’s Zanjili (Mohamed Mostafa, 7 June 2017): Islamic State militants used chemical weapons in their current battles with Iraqi forces around western Mosul’s Old City, their last stronghold in the region, causing civilian injuries, a news report said Wednesday.

Other CBW-related incidents

U.S.-led forces appear to be using white phosphorus in populated areas in Iraq and Syria read more

Below the headlines: CBW matters (16)

(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 29 May – 4 June 2017.)

CBW disarmament

OPCW team inspects Roxy Paints factory (BSS, 28 May 2017): A two-member inspection team of Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has visited the Roxy Paints Limited, 1st Unit at Hazaribag in the capital [of Bangladesh] and inspected the factory. Russia Destroys Nearly 99% of Chemical Weapon Stockpile Under CWC – Official (Sputnik, 30 May 2017): The head of the Russian Ministry of Industry’s Department of Conventional Obligations Realization and Trade said that Russia has destroyed nearly 99 percent of its chemical weapon stockpile over the past 20 years. Asian States Parties Pledge Closer Cooperation at Regional Meeting in Dubai=&0=&