Chemical Weapons

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Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:06 pm

Butterfly Wings Influence Chemical Agent Sensor Work
Friday, Aug. 13, 2010

A business consortium has been awarded $6.3 million in U.S. Defense Department funding for further development of a chemical weapons sensor inspired by the intricate workings of butterfly wings, Wired magazine reported yesterday.

Research sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency seeks to produce dectors modeled on the nanostructures of Morpho butterfly wing scales, which have the ability to alter their spectral reflectivity based on contact with varying vapors.

Radislav Potyrailo, project leader for the GE Global Research-headed group of investigators, wrote in a 2007 article in Nature Photonics that "this optical response dramatically outperforms that of existing nano-engineered photonic sensors."

"This is a fundamentally different approach," Potyrailo told Wired. "Existing sensors can measure individual gases in the environment, but they suffer, big time, from interferences. This approach overcomes that hurdle."

Scientists are working on agent detectors that could be individually adjusted to sense specific kinds of chemical substances or explosives. Measuring one square centimeter, the sensors could be fixed to garments, attached to buildings or scattered "like confetti" across large areas.

"It would be science fiction to say 'here is my sensor, it can selectively detect 1,000 different chemicals,'" the scientist said. "But what we’re saying is that we can detect and distinguish between several important chemicals -- without making mistakes, without false responses" (Katie Drummond, Wired, Aug. 12).

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:09 pm

Turkey Alleged to Use Chemical Weapons on Rebels

The allegation by human rights activists that the Turkish military used chemical weapons to kill eight rebels last September is supported by photographs which purportedly depict the dead Kurds, Der Spiegel reported yesterday.

The images are said to show eight operatives for the Kurdistan Workers' Party who have suffered burns and other extensive bodily damage.

German photo forgery specialist Hans Baumann has verified the photographs were not faked and a Hamburg University Hospital forensic analysis also determined the PKK members are likely to have been killed "due to the use of chemical substances."

Turkey is a state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention which prohibits the production, stockpiling and use of chemical warfare materials. The country is not known now or in the past to have operated a chemical weapons program, according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

"The latest findings are so spectacular that the Turkish side urgently needs to explain things," German politician Claudia Roth of the liberal Green Party said. "It is impossible to understand why an autopsy of the PKK fighters was ordered but the results kept under seal."

Roth said there have been multiple "mysterious incidents of this type that are crying out for an independent investigation."

Turkey specialist Gisela Penteker of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War said suspicions have existed for years about potential Turkish use of chemical weapons. "Local people have said that again and again," she said. However, verifying those accusations is not easy as the remains are frequently released after the point at which a comprehensive autopsy is possible, she added.

Roth called on the Turkish government to make a formal statement on claims of chemical warfare agent use "in order to nullify further allegations."

German lawmaker Ruprecht Polenz, a member of the Christian Democratic Union party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, indicated he would support an international probe of the matter. "Turkey needs to urgently look into these accusations," he said.

The current government in Ankara has refused to comment on past accusations of chemical weapons use or has described them as "PKK propaganda," Der Spiegel reported.

The Berlin newspaper Die Tageszeitung reported yesterday that the Turkish Foreign Ministry denied the allegations, reaffirmed the country's status as a CWC member and said the Turkish military did not have any chemical or biological arms. Autopsy photographs of six possible additional victims have also turned up and been submitted for analysis, according to the newspaper (Steinvorth/Musharbash, Der Spiegel, Aug. 12).

German lawmaker Andrej Hunko has called on the German Foreign Ministry to lodge a complaint against Ankara with the chemical arms treaty's monitory body, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Jerusalem Post reported (Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 12).

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:11 pm



The seal of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Observers worry the organization's existing oversight regime for thousands of industrial chemical plants around the world is not adequate to ensure they are not used
to produce illicit warfare materials.

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:19 pm

Better Oversight of Chemical Industry Sites Needed, Experts Say

By Rachel Oswald

WASHINGTON --As the world’s declared state stockpiles of chemical warfare materials dwindle, the nonproliferation community is turning its focus to another concern -- a multitude of commercial plants that could be converted to produce weapon agents.

These industry sites are formally known as Other Chemical Production Facilities and they are spread in the thousands around the world.

While they are under the watch of an international arms control organization, some issue experts fear that the existing monitoring regime -- premised largely on industry self-reporting -- is not sufficiently stringent to guard against the possibility, however remote, of facilities clandestinely being turned toward illicit activities.

“The big issue under nonproliferation is that many of these chemicals are dual-use and many commercial facilities around the globe potentially could have some deadly breakout potential,” said Paul Walker, security and sustainability chief for the environmental organization Global Green USA.

Other Chemical Production Facilities produce materials that are not listed under any of three Chemical Weapons Convention schedules of toxic materials and precursor substances. Between 10 and 15 percent of these plants could be quickly converted to illicit operations, according to France-based issue expert Ralf Trapp.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which monitors member nations’ compliance with the convention, to date has not uncovered production of warfare materials at any of these “other” facilities. However, there are more than 4,470 known OCPF sites worldwide and only 579 have been inspected.

Some 80 member countries have such plants, though nations that remain outside the convention also have facilities that would fall under the classification, Trapp said. The pact requires OCPF sites to provide annual declarations of the type and quantity of substances they produce to the national authority that acts as a government’s liaison to the organization in The Hague, Netherlands.

While these plants are judged to represent a much smaller public health threat than facilities that produce scheduled chemicals – which are all designated as posing varying levels of danger to the nonproliferation regime -- the technological processes employed by OCPF locations could lend themselves to diversion. Chlorination, for instance, can be used to produce herbicides and insecticides but also the nerve agents sarin and VX as well as mustard blister agent. Likewise, fluorination can produce solvents, pharmaceuticals and sarin.

The number of OCPF plants is also between four times and five times as great as the count of facilities that manufacture schedule chemicals.

Trapp said the “other” facilities with the greatest potential for chemical-weapon production are those with multipurpose engineering and technology. “These are the things that may make ordinary chemicals but because of their technology and equipment could be turned around to make something [else] rather quickly” -- possibly in a matter of hours or a day or two, he said.

“In my opinion, there is a need not only to continue to inspect the Schedule 1, 2, and 3 facilities, in accordance with the convention, but also to extend and deepen the verification of relevant plants in the Other Chemical Production Facilities category, a good number of which could quickly be reconverted for the production of prohibited chemicals and used by terrorists,” Rogelio Pfirter, who led the Chemical Weapons Convention organization for eight years, said in a June farewell address.

Inspections

Facilities that produce more than 200 metric tons of material annually meet the threshold for inspection. There are now 4,390 such operations, the vast majority of OCPF facilities.

Inspections of these sites are aimed at creating an “equitable geographic distribution” among CWC states parties to ensure all meet their treaty obligations, according to a 2009 report by issue expert Robert Mathews of the Australian Defense Science and Technology Organization.

However, there has been a general industry-wide shift in recent years toward locating new chemical production plants in the developing world, according to Trapp.

The United States and other Western nations believe OCPF site monitoring should seek to keep up with that trend, while China, India and other countries resist measures that would place a higher burden on their growing chemical sectors, experts said.

“Countries like Pakistan say that the industry facilities of greatest concern are those that produce scheduled chemicals … so why does the United States want to shift attention to facilities that produce harmless chemicals,” said Jonathan Tucker, a chemical weapons expert at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. “There is a North/ South divide on this issue and the diplomatic challenge will be to find a formula that can bridge that gap.”

Michael Luhan, OPCW spokesman, said by e-mail the monitoring body does not release data on the number of Other Chemical Production Facility sites by country, though he allowed that “certainly both China and India have seen substantial growth in their chemical industries in recent years.”

There are some 125 inspections of OCPF sites annually representing nearly 3 percent of their total numbers, Trapp said. Currently, no facility can be inspected more than twice in a year. Under the convention no state party is to have more than 20 combined checks of its Schedule 3 and “other’ locations in a single year.

“I know the U.S. government and other Western nations would support raising the cap,” Tucker said. “But countries most likely to be affected by the increase, like China, are resisting because they would have to bear a higher burden of inspections.”

Trapp argued it was more important to focus on improving the criteria for choosing sites to be inspected than increasing the number of facilities visited each year.

“Without increasing the ability to better target OCPF inspections, even a significant increase [in annual site inspections] will only marginally improve the probability to select ‘the right’ facilities,” he said.

Tucker said the present OCPF inspection criteria make it difficult to target site visits toward facilities that pose the greatest risk of diversion. As a result, he said, “many of the OCPF inspections are wasted on plants that produce methanol or some other totally harmless chemical.”

Walker said more information was needed to better select which sites should be inspected. The annual declarations provided by the plants are not sufficient, he argued.

Some nonproliferation experts have called for the chemical-weapon control regime to be permitted to supplement the annual industry declarations with additional information that could be gleaned from publicly available sources such as company Web sites. The proposal has been opposed by many states parties, which are sensitive to the idea of the convention using information that they do not provide, according to Tucker.

“I think that makes eminent sense but just because it makes sense doesn’t mean it’s politically acceptable,” he said.

Trapp said he supports “a small increase in the detail” of the annual declarations, which he says would benefit the chemical industry and lower the likelihood of inspections that pose little diversion risk. Additional reported data should inform the monitoring body on whether the plant “has multipurpose character or is … designed to make one and only one product,” he said.

This idea also faces opposition from states parties and industry groups that believe more detailed reporting requirements would create undue hassles, the independent consultant said, adding he did not think the proposal had a very good chance of being implemented.

Trapp said he supports having a space on the annual declaration form where chemical firms can indicate whether their OCPF site houses multipurpose technology. By noting if a facility is not multifunctional -- an ‘opt out’ rather than an ‘opt in’ -- businesses could reduce their likelihood of coming under inspection without increasing their reporting requirements.

“You would never get down to no inspections but you would certainly be able to reduce inspection frequencies compared to other sites,” he added.

The rigor and quality of inspections has also been questioned. “Routine inspections of OCPFs are typically more of a ‘consistency check’ rather than the more accurate quantitative verification associated with other OPCW routine industry inspections,” Mathews noted in his paper.

Chemical weapons expert Richard Guthrie said by e-mail he agrees with the OPCW Technical Secretariat’s 2008 assessment that "the [OCPF] inspection effort carried out so far in this category still does not provide a sufficient level of assurances for nonproliferation purposes.”

Experts said the OCPF monitoring issue is regularly studied in The Hague, though not much headway has been made on agreeing how to improve the annual declarations and inspection selection criteria due to lack of sufficient political will from member nations.

“The challenge for the longer term of the … treaty regime is really to build a very strong, effective and coherent oversight regime,” Walker said. “The OPCW has to work out a cost-efficient best practices inspection regime that can sort of randomly select [Other Chemical Production Facilities] across the globe to verify from time to time.”

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:36 am

Army Secures Leaking Chemical Munitions in Kentucky

The U.S. Army said last week it had identified and secured two munitions that were leaking mustard blister agent vapor at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky.

The weapons were placed into special containers to cap off the leaks. Those "overpacked munitions" were then transported to a structure used for storage of leaking armaments.

"The storage igloo was then monitored for three consecutive days with no further evidence of chemical agent vapor, resulting in the closure of the leaker campaign," according to an Army press release.

The incident posed no threat to the public or environment, the Army said (U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency release, Aug. 20).

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:38 am

Russian Depot Destroys 5,300 Metric Tons of Nerve Agent

A Russian chemical weapons disposal plant has eliminated more than 5,300 metric tons of the nerve agent sarin in the last two years, ITAR-Tass reported yesterday.

Disposal of soman nerve agent stored at the chemical depot near the village of Leonidovka is set to start next month.

Plans are still being developed for building a structure where particularly complicated chemical munitions can be safely disarmed.

The Leonidovka installation held roughly 17 percent of Russia's chemical weapons, originally totaling 6,886 metric tons of warfare materials. The stockpile is scheduled to be eliminated by May 2012, one month past the deadline set by the Chemical Weapons Convention (ITAR-Tass, Aug. 24).

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:04 pm

Marijuana plants worth $100 million seized on California farm believed run by drug traffickers

SAN DIEGO - Authorities say narcotics task force agents have seized an estimated 25,000 marijuana plants worth up to $100 million on a Southern California farm believed to be run by Mexican drug traffickers.

Sheriff's Deputy Steve Reed, a member of the San Diego County Integrated Narcotics Task Force, was on helicopter patrol looking for marijuana farms Tuesday when he spotted the plants growing on the Santa Ysabel Indian Reservation.

Drug Enforcement Administration spokeswoman Amy Roderick says agents believe the grow was run by Mexican drug traffickers.

She says agents loaded the plants onto trucks, which were driven to an undisclosed federally operated facility to be destroyed.

Roderick says no one was found on the farm and there were no arrests.

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:11 pm


(Sep. 7) - Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons chief Ahmet Üzümcü, shown last week putting on a protective mask before entering a VX nerve agent storage igloo at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky. Üzümcü expressed hope that additional Middle Eastern countries could be persuaded to join the international chemical weapons ban (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons photo).

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:20 pm

OPCW Chief Sees Chance to Promote Chemical Weapons Pact in Middle East
By Chris Schneidmiller

WASHINGTON -- An international declaration issued in May at a major nuclear nonproliferation event created a new opportunity to press Middle Eastern states to join the Chemical Weapons Convention, a top arms control official said last week.

Nearly 200 nations attending the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference in New York pledged in a final statement to organize a 2012 meeting "on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction".

The WMD reference includes chemical warfare materials -- blistering agents and nerve gases that have been used in conflicts around the world and are still held by a number of nations, said Ahmet Üzümcü, director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

"To me it seemed as a new opening," Üzümcü said. "At least from our point of view this should be seen as an opportunity by the whole international community to be fully used to impress upon those concerned states to join both the NPT as well as the CWC."

The veteran Turkish diplomat spoke to reporters in Washington during his first trip to the United States after becoming head of the convention's verification body in July.

The chemical arms pact has 188 member nations, each of which pledged not to develop, produce, stockpile or use military agents such as mustard, sarin and VX and to destroy any existing stockpiles. There are now just seven states that have yet to sign up: Angola, Egypt, Israel, Myanmar, North Korea, Somalia and Syria.

Üzümcü's organization has long pressed convention "universality" as a means to ensuring that no state again deploys chemical weapons and that the lethal materials cannot be diverted for acts of terrorism.

Full Middle Eastern membership has been tied up by a host of security issues facing the region. Egypt and Syria have refused to become convention states until Israel joins the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty with a pledge to eliminate its widely presumed nuclear arsenal. Jerusalem, meanwhile, says its inclusion in arms control agreements would depend on progress in the peace process with its neighbors.

"It's a chicken and egg issue. It's difficult to get around," said issue expert Paul Walker, who leads the Security and Sustainability program at the environmental organization Global Green USA.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders met earlier this month in Washington to begin a new round of peace talks, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to visit the region next week in hopes of pushing the process forward. Even if there is a breakthrough on that longstanding dilemma, Israeli suspicions regarding Iran's atomic activities reduce the chances that it would give up its own nuclear weapons, according to experts.

The hope for a WMD-free Middle East was formalized at the 1995 NPT review conference but never materialized. The Obama and Netanyahu administrations have already said that singling out Israel as a focus of the talks could jeopardize the 2012 event on establishing the sector. Plans for discussions this year on the matter have already collapsed, the Associated Press reported last week.

There is not likely to be progress on the zone without a regional peace deal encompassing Israel and Syria, according to chemicals weapon expert Jonathan Tucker.

"The reason is that Damascus appears to view its extensive chemical arsenal and missile delivery systems as a strategic deterrent that partially offsets Israel's undeclared nuclear weapons capability," he told Global Security Newswire by e-mail. "Egypt, which may or may not possess chemical weapons, has established a political linkage between its willingness to accede to the CWC and Israel's potential accession to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapons state."

Participation in the Chemical Weapons Convention could serve as a confidence-building measure to promoting peace and nuclear disarmament in the region, Walker argued.

Üzümcü said his organization would pursue increased contacts with the three Middle Eastern outliers ahead of the 2012 WMD-free zone conference and intends to offer "substantive input" at the event itself.

"Of course our efforts will focus on ... delinking the issue from the NPT," he said. "The use of chemical weapons in any circumstances in my view has become militarily meaningless and morally unacceptable. So having a chemical weapons capacity does not mean much in ... terms in any circumstances."

The organization intends to highlight the benefits of membership in the convention, including obtaining defense assistance from other states against possible chemical weapons attacks and multilateral support for peaceful chemical industry activities, Üzümcü said. It also hopes to persuade member nations to raise the issue during bilateral talks with allied states that have yet to join the pact.

The OPCW chief met with officials from the State and Defense departments and other federal agencies during his trip to the U.S. capital. He did not say beforehand whether he intended to ask their assistance in pressing Israel or other friendly governments to consider joining the convention.

The seven non-CWC states are all "hard nuts" to crack, whose potential membership remains in doubt, Tucker indicated. Angola and possibly Myanmar are the countries most likely to join the convention in the near term, he said. Angola has other priorities but no political objections to membership, while the Burmese junta might look to boost its international standing through ratification, according to Tucker, who cautioned that a "significant effort" would be required to bring even those two states into the fold.

Somalia does not have a working government able to organize membership efforts, while North Korea is focused instead on the apparent passing of leadership from Kim Jong Il to his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, Tucker said.

Üzümcü said he had no interest in adopting an approach similar to one floated informally by supporters of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty -- accepting a nearly universal arms control pact that does not include Pyongyang.

"I hope not," he said. "That is not our goal right now."

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:24 pm

Disarmament

The global chemical-weapon disposal time line has also sustained setbacks recently, Üzümcü acknowledged in the wake of Russia's announcement that it would miss its deadline for disarmament.

More than 60 percent of the world's known amounts of prohibited chemical warfare materials have been destroyed to date. Albania, India and South Korea have eliminated their arsenals, while four CWC member nations continue to hold stockpiles.

The United States has acknowledged that its campaign to destroy 28,600 metric tons of banned chemical agents is likely to be concluded in 2021, nine years past the end date set by the convention. Üzümcü last week visited the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky, which is expected to be the last U.S. site to complete disposal of its stockpile.

Russia, which for years said it would adhere to the 2012 disposal mandate, this summer acknowledged it would not finish off its 40,000-metric-ton arsenal until 2015. The Kremlin's program has been set back by funding issues linked to the global economic crisis and by the failure of some nations to fulfill promises of financial aid in a "timely manner," Üzümcü said.

A Russian official recently told GSN recently his government had spent roughly $5 billion on chemical disarmament and had received slightly more than $1 billion in foreign assistance. The Kremlin, though, generally counts only money it receives directly rather than funds provided to contractors, observers say. Walker estimated that Russia had received between $2 billion and $2.5 billion for the program through the Group of Eight leading industrial powers' anti-WMD program.

Russia this summer sought another $300 million in further assistance, Walker said. The United States has agreed to provide roughly $35 million over three years for construction and operations at the Shchuchye disposal plant and is considering a similar funding plan for another site, he added. No other G-8 state appears to have yet offered further assistance, Arms Control Today reported.

"It is in the interest of the international community to finish this destruction program as early as possible," Üzümcü said. "We would of course encourage the international community and third parties to provide within their means ... some assistance for the possessor states so they can proceed and increase the pace of destruction."

Libya has destroyed some secondary agents but has failed to move forward with disposal of roughly 23 metric tons of mustard agent. Last December, Tripoli received a disarmament deadline extension to May 15, 2011. In June it told the OPCW Executive Council that it would request amendments to the intermediate demilitarization deadlines on the way to the completion of operations, according to the organization.

Iraq holds an uncertain amount of chemical weapons materials and munitions left over from the Saddam Hussein era. Some nerve agent-loaded rockets in one bunker are believed to be leaking due to damage incurred in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, creating hazardous conditions for counting, recovering and finally eliminating the stockpile.

It could cost hundreds of millions of dollars to prepare the munitions for destruction -- a cost that states are reluctant to bear amid extended financial worries, Walker said. One alternative would be to cover the bunker containing leaking weapons with a concrete "sarcophagus" like that used at the Chernobyl nuclear plant following the 1986 disaster, Tucker said.

"I'm concerned that encasement may just be kicking the ball down the field," Walker warned. "And the CWC prohibits dumping or burial."

Nonproliferation

Üzümcü said he plans in coming months to begin a discussion with OPCW member states on the future of the Chemical Weapons Convention regime. His hope is to identify the organization's priorities as the global stocks of chemical warfare materials dwindle but other potential threats remain.

Among those are thousands of so-called "Other Chemical Production Facilities" -- industry sites that could be converted to produce weapons agents but go largely unchecked.

"That doesn't mean that we should neglect what's going on in the destruction programs," the director general said. "But at the same time I think there is a need to be increasingly aware of the threats and risks that the states parties are faced with."

He also wants to promote efforts by OPCW nations to enact measures required to implement the convention at the national level. For example, fewer than half of the organization's member nations have legislation on the books that criminalizes activities banned by the pact, Walker said.

It will be up to member nations to provide the "political will" to change the organization's focus from disarmament to nonproliferation, Tucker stated. The agency itself will need inspectors trained in examining industry sites that could be turned to illicit activities and the ability to monitor advances in chemical manufacturing technologies, he added.

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:00 pm

Japan Begins Destroying Chemical Arms in China

Japan has initiated disposal of chemical munitions its military left behind in China at the close of World War II, Kyodo News reported Friday.

Japanese Cabinet Office Senior Vice Minister Hideo Hiraoka said during an event at the Mobile Destruction Facility in Nanjing that Tokyo would work to quicken the pace of munitions elimination, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

"Today's move marks a new phase in the disposal of abandoned chemical weapons in China, in which the work has shifted from excavation and recovery to destruction," Hiraoka said. "This is the result of years of efforts made by Japanese and Chinese authorities, and will have far-reaching effects on the bilateral relationship."

Under a 1999 deal with Beijing, Tokyo agreed to supply the funds, equipment and structures needed to dispose of the abandoned chemical munitions. The Chemical Weapons Convention obligates Japan to finishing destruction of the arms by April 2012.

The two nations have carried out in excess of 120 joint search and recovery operations leading to the excavation of more than 40,000 old chemical arms. The total number of weapons left underground or discarded in lakes and rivers remains a point of contention, with guesses varying from hundreds of thousands to millions.

The Japanese government has also been hit with lawsuits by Chinese citizens exposed to the decades-old chemical warfare materials (Kyodo News/Japan Times, Sept. 3).

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:30 am

Suspected Cyanide Death Raises Chemical Security Fears

Some experts are again questioning the security of lethal chemical substances at research locations across the country following the recent death of a Northeastern University laboratory worker from suspected deliberate exposure to cyanide, the Boston Herald reported today.

Terrorist groups seeking to acquire chemical weapons have set their sights on universities as they do not perform background checks on students and are frequently relaxed about who can work with potentially dangerous materials, Executive Action President Neil Livingstone said.

"There isn’t adequate screening of who has access to chemicals or biological weapons," Livingstone said. "They’re reluctant because of 'academic freedom.'"

Emily Staupe, a former laboratory technician at the Boston institution, is believed to have killed herself with cyanide at her home over the weekend. Authorities do not yet know through what means or at which point she acquired the lethal substance.

George Washington University cyanide terrorism expert Paul Maniscalco said there have long been fears of extremists gaining access to cyanide.

"Cyanide is still being used by people with bad intentions," Maniscalco said.

"This should be a wake-up call," Livingstone said. "What if her name were Mohammed Atta (a leader of the 9/11 plot) instead?"

"If she’d been a bad guy and gotten hold of a significant amount of cyanide ... who knows?" he speculated. "Cyanide is a good weapon of assassination or for killing a small number of people."

In 2002, left-wing extremist Joseph Konopka was discovered to have squirreled away some cyanide in an old subway tunnel in Chicago.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Security Studies Director Jim Walsh noted that thefts of toxic chemicals are often not linked to plans for attack.

"It's the jilted lover, the disgruntled employee. It's the suicide, not the suicide attack," Walsh said (Edward Mason, Boston Herald, Sept. 13).

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:59 pm

Pentagon Trims Plan For Detonating Pueblo Mustard Munitions

The U.S. Defense Department has withdrawn a proposal to destroy by detonation 125,000 chemical weapons stored at the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado, but a large number of troublesome munitions would still likely be subjected to explosives, the Pueblo Chieftain reported today.

Due to safety issues and other concerns, up to 40,000 mustard agent-filled shells could be destroyed using portable detonation technology brought to Pueblo, officials said.

The Pentagon's Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program, which manages demilitarization activities at Pueblo, said yesterday it had retracted a February environmental review of the proposed plan and would next year submit an alternate assessment that covers work on the reduced number of shells. The revised plan would also use explosives on the bursters and fuses that had originally been set for disposal at separate installations, ACWA program manager Kevin Flamm said yesterday.

The Defense Department had proposed using explosives to destroy the 125,000 munitions as a means of speeding up work on eliminating the depot's 780,000-weapon stockpile. The current schedule calls for Pueblo's chemical agent neutralization plant to come online in 2015. That leaves a three-year gap in U.S. chemical weapons disposal work if all currently operating facilities finish off their stockpiles as planned by 2012.

By closing the gap, the United States would be more strongly positioned to lobby foreign nations to expedite the destruction of their own banned stockpiles as mandated by the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has requested detailed data reporting and extensive modeling be included in the new environmental impact study. That is planned even though the detonation of any munitions would now only occur immediately prior to the beginning of operations at the neutralization facility, Flamm said.

"Until we can do the modeling and obtain the additional data that EPA Region 8 has requested, we will not have solid figures to report," ACWA spokeswoman Kathy DeWeese said. "Our goal at this stage is to conduct the due diligence research and work with the community on a path forward that eliminates all of the weapons in the most safe and efficient manner possible.

"And it’s possible that the most safe manner may not be neutralization/biotreatment for a quantity of them," she said.

Colorado Chemical Demilitarization Citizens Advisory Commission members were surprised that as many as 40,000 leaking and troublesome shells could be too dangerous to go through the neutralization process. They had anticipated that the number would be closer to 1,000.

More than 500 munitions have already been found with leaks and placed in steel containers.

Commission Chairwoman Irene Kornelly said projections for the total amount of leaking shells had recently "varied widely and wildly."

"I have not been able to get a straight answer as to why," Kornelly said yesterday.

She said the revised explosive plan had possibilities.

Commission member Ross Vincent said he thought the plan still needed a comprehensive environmental impact statement and said the altered assessment "would just lead us down the primrose path again."

Flamm said the portable explosive containment equipment would be shipped to the depot as soon as 2014 (John Norton, Pueblo Chieftain, Sept. 14).

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:03 pm

Chemical Terror Attack Called Likely in Coming Years

An Israeli expert said Monday that nations must ready themselves for the increasing threat of acts of chemical terrorism in the years ahead, the Jerusalem Post reported.

"The most immediate threat is chemical terrorism," said Boaz Ganor, executive director of the Israel-based nonprofit International Institute for Counterterrorism. "We know that today, terrorists can download cookbooks from the Internet. They have primitive labs to prepare IEDs (improvised explosive devices), and can use the labs to prepare toxins rather than IEDs."

"Modern nonconventional terror is knocking on our door," Ganor said in remarks at the Tenth Annual World Summit on Counterterrorism.

Brig. Gen. Nitzan Nuriel, who leads the Israeli National Security Council's Counterterrorism Bureau, at the summit in Herzliya accused the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center of providing weapons to the militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah.

"The international community must send a signal that next time the institute supports terrorism, it will be demolished," Nuriel said.

The United States in 2005 said the institute was involved in preparing missiles and biological and chemical weapons. The Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said the center was developing biological weapons that would incorporate the lethal toxin ricin (Yaakov Lappin, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 15).

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:26 am

Kentucky Chemical Weapons Disposal Site 25 Percent Built

Work is 25 percent done on building the main chemical weapons disposal facility at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky, the co-chairman of the Kentucky Chemical Demilitarization Citizens' Advisory Commission said Tuesday.

The facility is not expected to be completed for another five years, despite the growing pace of work on the long-delayed site, the Richmond Register quoted Williams, who also chairs the Kentucky-based Chemical Weapons Working Group, as saying.

Two large cranes last Saturday positioned one side of the planned facility's detonation chamber, site project manager Jeff Brubaker said.

The site's blueprint and equipment plans were ready, but some engineering tasks still remained, added Mark Seely, project manager for construction contractor Bechtel Parson Blue Grass.

Three neutralization reactors built by a separate firm in Louisville have also been put in place at the depot, Seely said. Some of the site's other equipment was also ready, and it would be shipped and placed when the depot could accommodate it, he said (Bill Robinson, Richmond Register, Sept. 16).

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  ฅนไท on Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:09 pm

26 tons of toxic milk powder found, 7 arrested, as China continues to battle tainted food
The Associated Press

BEIJING, China - A Chinese dairy company executive and six other people were arrested after authorities discovered 26 tons of milk powder tainted with a toxic chemical, the latest incident highlighting the country's enduring struggle with food safety, a report said Monday.

The Jinfulai Dairy Company in Yangquan city of Shanxi province traded fresh milk for expired milk powder that contained high levels of the industrial chemical melamine, according to JCRB.com, a legal issues website administered by China's Supreme Court.

The company produced 26 tons of milk powder from the tainted, expired goods obtained in the transaction last December, then sold it in several provinces, the report said. It was not clear whether anyone had been sickened by the tainted milk powder.

Police in Yangquan arrested seven people, including Wang Zhigang, the dairy company's general manager, on charges of producing and selling toxic food, JCRB.com reported.

Jinfulai was named by the National Food Safety Office last month as a company that produced and sold dairy products tainted with melamine. The office said the company sold products under the "Sanlai" brand name.

Jinfulai did not have a listed phone number or website and could not be reached for comment. Officials in the Yangquan police department and prosecutor's office said they had heard about the case but were unclear about details.

China has been shaken by a series of safety incidents, some of them fatal, involving products such as toxic toothpaste, faulty tires and tainted milk. The troubles underscore the challenges in regulating the multitude of small companies producing consumer goods and food products in China.

In 2008, more than 300,000 children were sickened and six others died after drinking infant formula tainted by melamine — which is high in nitrogen — that suppliers added to fool tests for protein content.

The scandal led to a shake-up of the Chinese milk industry, but toxic dairy products have been sporadically uncovered in markets since then.
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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:27 am

Fewer Mustard Shells to be Blown up at Pueblo

The U.S. Defense Department has again trimmed its estimate on the number of blister agent munitions that could be destroyed with explosives at the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado, the Associated Press reported yesterday.

The Pentagon's Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program, which manages demilitarization activities at Pueblo, now expects 38,000 mustard shells will be blown up within a special detonation chamber. That number is down by 2,000 from a figure quoted just weeks ago.

When officials first announced their plan to use explosives on the chemical weapons, they said the process would likely be used on 500 to 1,000 leaking or degraded munitions. In late 2009, that figure was ratcheted up to 125,000 shells.

Officials proposed the 125,000 figure in order to speed up the destruction of the site's 780,000-weapon stockpile. Pueblo's chemical agent neutralization facility is not expected to begin operations until 2015; that creates a three-year gap in U.S. chemical disarmament efforts if all presently operating facilities finish off their stockpiles in 2012 as planned and mandated by the Chemical Weapons Convention.

That proposal was abandoned when officials determined the required environmental review process would take too much time.

"We've had some difficulty coming up with numbers," ACWA Program Manager Kevin Flamm said.

He said authorities are "trying to be transparent in a very dynamic atmosphere where the numbers are changing."

The 40,000 figure was reached by identifying the count of weapons that could not be safely put through the automated disassembly system, along with 28,375 munitions that had been manufactured earlier and featured fewer safety mechanisms. That combined amount was subsequently reduced to 38,000.

Flamm emphasized that the tally was not final.

"We're not trying to hide anything, not trying to alarm the community," he said. "I don't want them to think I'm low-balling" the number of munitions that could be detonated (Dan Elliott, Associated Press/Denver Post, Sept. 29).

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:29 am

Russian Chemical Weapons Disposal Site Halts Work After Accident

The Maradykovsky chemical weapons disposal plant in Russia has halted operations while officials investigate an accident in which four plant workers were apparently exposed to a lethal nerve agent, Interfax reported yesterday.

Kirov Region arms control official Mikhail Manin told journalists Tuesday that elimination of soman-filled munitions at the facility had been stopped for the time being.

"Among the possible causes [of the incident] are both the breach of safety regulations and irregularities in the technological process," Manin said. "The situation at the facility is under total control of both military specialists and the regional government."

Officials from the Chemical Weapon Safe Storage and Destruction Federal Department, the Federal Medical and Biological Agency and military attorneys were probing the incident, he said.

Four plant personnel who worked with an incinerator at the site were found to have constricted pupils during a Sept. 11 medical examination, according to Manin. They were treated at a Moscow hospital and released.

The local Communist Party has asserted the accident actually caused 10 people to be sickened.

The Maradykovsky depot reportedly houses 17.4 percent of Russia's total chemical weapons stockpile in 40,000 munitions filled with organic phosphorus compounds (Interfax, Sept. 28).

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:47 am

Chemical Weapons Attack Drill Planned For Tunisia

A chemical weapons attack drill is planned for next week in Tunisia, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announced. The exercise is intended to test the chemical weapons control regime's ability to provide aid to a member nation following an incident.

The ASSISTEX 3 exercise is set to occur from Monday through Friday at a sports complex in Rades. The drill would be the third of its kind staged by The Hague-based organization that monitors compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention and is being organized with the Tunisian government, according to an OPCW release.

Special units from Denmark, France, India, Italy, Libya, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Kingdom are scheduled to take part in the exercise. Also expected to participate are OPCW Technical Secertariat personnel and personnel from the U.N. Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Office (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons release, Oct. 1).

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  DeathPower on Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:16 pm








ทางการ ฮังการี สั่งอพยพประชาชน หวั่นอ่างกักพิษร้าวเพิ่มอีก

นายวิคเตอร์ ออร์แบน นายกรัฐมนตรีฮังการี แถลงว่า แอ่งเก็บกักสารเคมีของโรงงานผลิตอะลูมิเนียม ในเมืองอัจคา ซึ่งพังถล่มและส่งผลให้น้ำโคลน 7 แสนลูกบาศก์เมตร ทะลักท่วมหลายเมืองฝั่งตะวันตกของประเทศ เมื่อวันจันทร์ ปรากฏรอยแตกร้าวขนาดใหญ่อีกแห่ง ที่กำแพงด้านทิศเหนือ สถานการณ์น่าเป็นห่วงมาก เพราะทางทีมวิศวกร คาดว่ารอยแตกร้าวจะขยายกว้างขึ้น น้ำพิษจะรั่วไหลอีก และทำให้กำแพงพังทลายในไม่ช้า เจ้าหน้าที่จึงได้ช่วยอพยพชาวเมืองโคลอนตาร์ 800 คน ที่อยู่ถัดจากเมืองอัจคา หนีไปอยู่ที่ปลอดภัย ก่อนรุ่งสางของวันเสาร์ เมื่อมีข่าวว่าพบรอยแตกร้าวใหม่

ส่วนที่เมืองเดเวกเซอร์ ซึ่งมีประชากร 5,300 คน มากกว่าเมืองโคลอนตาร์ และอยู่ถัดออกไป โดยเป็นเส้นทางที่คาดว่า โคลนพิษระลอกใหม่จะไหลผ่าน ตำรวจขอร้องชาวบ้านให้เก็บสัมภาระที่จำเป็นติดตัวไว้ เพื่อเตรียมอพยพหนี โคลนพิษที่ทะลักท่วมหลายเมืองของฮังการี คร่าชีวิตชาวบ้าน อย่างน้อย 7 ราย มีผู้บาดเจ็บ 120 คน และโคลนสีแดงมีพิษไหล ถึงสาขาของแม่น้ำดานูบ ซึ่งได้ชื่อว่า เป็นแม่น้ำที่ยาวที่สุดอันดับ 2 ของยุโรป
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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:41 pm

Chemical weapon attack or domestic dispute? Supreme Court will decide.

A Colorado woman was prosecuted under federal chemical weapons law when she planted toxic chemicals at the home of her husband's paramour.


Washington - The US Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to examine a case testing whether federal prosecutors overstepped their authority when they used a chemical weapons law to prosecute a Pennsylvania woman who tried to poison her husband’s mistress.

At issue in the case, Bond v. US, is whether a person charged under the chemical weapons statute has legal standing to challenge the applicability of that law to their case.

Carol Anne Bond and her lawyers argue that federal prosecutors should have turned the domestic dispute over to local law enforcement authorities who usually handle such matters. They complain that US prosecutors are federalizing sections of the law that are the domain of state and local jurisdictions.

Ms. Bond was a 40-year-old microbiologist who lived with her husband and adopted child in Lansdale, Pa. In 2006, Bond learned that her best friend was expecting a child. She was happy for her friend, in part because Bond was unable to bear children. Then she learned the truth: that the father of her friend’s child was her husband.

Bond decided to take revenge. She obtained toxic chemicals and 24 times spread them on various surfaces on or near her friend’s home, hoping she would be poisoned. The chemicals were applied to door handles and a mailbox, among other surfaces.

The friend noticed the chemicals and avoided touching them. She once burned her thumb, but otherwise suffered no injury.

Concerned, the friend contacted the authorities. Postal inspectors set up surveillance cameras and discovered it was Bond who was applying the chemicals.

She was arrested, charged, and convicted of violating the federal law against using a chemical weapon.

Bond’s lawyer argues that Bond did not attempt to use a chemical weapon. She tried to assault her former friend by using toxic chemicals. Had she been prosecuted in state court she would have faced between three months and 25 months in prison.

Instead, under the federal chemical weapons statute, she was sentenced to six years in prison.

"Domestic disputes resulting from marital infidelities and culminating in a thumb burn are appropriately handled by local law enforcement authorities,” wrote Washington lawyer Paul Clement in his brief urging the high court to take up the case.

“Ms. Bond’s assault against her husband’s paramour did not involve stockpiling chemical weapons, engaging in chemical warfare, or undertaking any of the activities prohibited to state signatories under the Chemical Weapons Convention,” wrote Clement, who served as solicitor general under President George W. Bush.

He asked the court to take up the case to “restore a judicial check on the improper federalizing of state and local crimes.”


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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:31 pm

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The toxic sludge now covering 15 square miles of Hungary and seeping into the Danube River is a serious environmental disaster whose severity and long-term consequences are still unclear. Will the release of the 35 million cubic feet of alumina refining waste become one of the Top 10 manmade environmental disasters of the past century?



10. Deepwater Horizon oil spill, 2010
When a blowout preventer failed on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, it led to an oil spill that lasted until mid-July and wasn’t declared over until September. Almost 5 million barrels, or about 210,000,000 gallons, of oil are estimated to have been released into the Gulf – the largest accidental release of oil in history.

9. Baia Mare cyanide spill, 2000
When a dam that had been holding back water contaminated from gold mining in Baia Mare, Romania broke, it released millions of gallons of water laced with cyanide and other heavy metals. The contaminated water reached the waterways of Romania, Hungary, and Yugoslavia, including the Danube River, and although rapid response prevented any human deaths, it resulted in massive fish kills. Greenpeace Hungary Director Zsolt Szegfalvi said that the amount of toxic material that poured out of the containment pool on Monday is almost 10 times the amount of material that was released in Baia Mare. Although the area is once again safe, Mr. Szegfalvi said, traces of the chemicals released in 2000 can still be found in the area around Baia Mare today.

8. Gulf War oil spill, 1991
The Gulf War oil spill, when Saddam Hussein intentionally spilled oil into the Persian Gulf, resulted in anywhere from 240 million to 460 million gallons of crude oil poured into the Gulf. It remains the world’s largest oil spill today.

7. Exxon Valdez oil spill, 1989
The Exxon Valdez spill, which happened when an oil tanker ran aground off the coast of Alaska, is not one of the largest spills in history, but it is one of the worst in terms of environmental impact. Eleven million gallons of oil were spilled into Prince William Sound. It happened in a fragile area with an abundance of wildlife and unspoiled land that hasn’t fully recovered.

6. Chernobyl, 1986
More than 50 tons of radioactive material were released into the atmosphere over Ukraine when the nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl power plant exploded. Ukrainian officials estimate that more than 4,000 died following the blast and 70,000 suffered from radiation illness. Nearby villages and an entire city are now abandoned.

5. Bhopal gas leak, 1984
When a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India released a cloud of toxic gas, it killed more than 3,000 people in days, poisoned hundreds of thousands in the years after the accident, and killed 15,000 total, according to the Indian government. It is the most deadly manmade environmental disaster in history.

4. Ixtoc blowout, 1979
In 1979, an underwater oil well blew out in the Gulf of Mexico near the Yucatán Peninsula. Oil gushed out for 10 months. Four months in, more than half of Texas’s 370-mile Gulf shoreline was covered in oil. In the end, 140 million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf.

3. Love Canal, 1978
Residents of the Niagara Falls, N.Y. neighborhood, Love Canal, noticed strange odors and liquid seeping from the ground. Their children frequently got sick and there was an elevated rate of miscarriages and birth defects. In 1978, reporters discovered that the neighborhood was built on top of a chemical waste dump with 21,800 tons of chemical waste.

2. Minamata Bay mercury, ended in 1968
For more than 30 years, a Japanese company released water containing high levels of mercury into the bay around the Japanese city Minamata. The mercury seeped into the marine food chain, reaching residents through ingestion of local fish. More than 1,700 people have died from a neurological condition named after the company and city.



1. London's 'Great Smog,' 1952
In Dec. 1952, a thick, acidic smog enveloped London, lasting for four days. The smog, which came from fumes from coal stoves, industry and gas-burning cars, caused the deaths of about 4,000 people in a month and more than 8,000 in later months for reasons related to the smog.

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Re: Chemical Weapons

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:48 am

Arkansas Chemical Agent Disposal Nearly Finished
Friday, Oct. 22, 2010

The Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas has nearly finished off its entire stockpile of chemical warfare materials, the Associated Press reported.

The remaining bulk containers of mustard blister agent have been transported to the incineration plant for disposal, said Army Lt. Col Nathaniel Farmer, who heads the Pine Bluff Chemical Activity program.

Elimination of the mustard agent ton containers is the last step to be completed in chemical disarmament operations at Pine Bluff. Work is expected to be completed in December, according to an Army release.

The arsenal once held 3,850 tons of chemical weapon-related materials, 12 percent of the total U.S. stockpile. Disarmament operations at Pine Bluff began in March 2005 (Associated Press/Baxter Bulletin, Oct. 22).

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