- On November 28, the Conference of the States Parties
to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) opened its 16th session in The
- Information on it can be found on the Organisation for
the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) web site.
- OPCW is mandated to implement their elimination, and
"to provide a forum for consultation and cooperation among States
Parties." Its work includes:
- (1) Demilitarization: destruction of all chemical weapons
- (2) Non-Proliferation: ensuring against proliferation
of toxic chemicals and their precursors.
- (3) Assistance and Protection: Member States able to
protect their populations pledge to help others that can't.
- (4) International Cooperation: ensuring chemicals are
used for peaceful, not destructive purposes.
- (5) Universality: promoting adherence to Chemical Weapons
- (6) National Implementation: establishing National Authorities
to assure State Parties meet their CWC obligations.
- CWC prohibits the development, production, stockpiling
and use of chemical weapons. It mandates their destruction. Earlier it
called on all member states to do so by April 29, 2007. Russia and America
requested a delay until April 2012.
- Washington now wants it extended through 2020. It's one
of the few countries obstructing CWC provisions. It has no intention of
destroying illegal weapons. America maintains huge chemical, biological,
nuclear stockpiles. New more dangerous weapons replace older ones.
- CWC mandates non-complying nations be referred to the
Security Council for action against them. America's veto power precludes
efforts to deter its lawlessness.
- Drafted in September 1992, CWC was signed on January
13 1993, and became effective on April 29, 1997. Currently, 188 State Parties
are signatories, including Russia and China. Israel signed on in 1993,
but hasn't ratified it. OPCW functions as its implementing organization.
- For nearly 20 years, Conference on Disarmament negotiations
failed to assure all chemical weapons are destroyed. Most nations comply.
America doesn't. Its 16th session will address the issue.
- Chemical weapons include all toxic ones and their precursors
able to cause death, injury, temporary incapacitation or sensory irritation.
Munitions and other delivery devices are included.
- Toxic substances are categorized as choking, blister,
blood or nerve agents. Best known ones include choking chlorine and phosgene,
mustard and lewisite blister agents (or vesicants), hydrogen cyanide blood
agents, and sarin, soman and VX nerve agents.
- Toxic chemicals used industrially are legal, despite
their harmful effects. However, when used as weapons, they violate CWC
- CWC's purpose is to ensure toxic chemicals are produced
only for purposes unrelated to weaponry in any form.
- History of Chemical and Biological Weapons
- As long as chemicals have been used militarily, international
disarmament efforts tried to eliminate them. The first agreement dates
from 1675 when France and Germany agreed to prohibit poison bullets.
- In 1874, the Brussels Convention on the Law and Customs
of War prohibited poison or weaponized poison in munitions, their projectiles,
or material able to cause unnecessary suffering.
- In 1899, a Hague international peace conference prohibited
poison gas projectiles. The 1907 Hague Convention banned chemical weapons.
Nonetheless, poison gas used in WW I caused 100,000 deaths and 900,000
- In the 1920s, Britain used poison gas against Iraqis.
In 1919, as Secretary of State for War, Winston Churchill advocated them
in a secret memo, stating: "I am strongly in favour of using poisoned
gas against uncivilised tribes."
- In 1928, the Geneva Protocol prohibited gas and bacteriological
- In 1931, Dr. Cornelius Rhoads infected human subjects
with cancer cells - under the auspices of the Rockefeller Institute for
Medical Investigations. Rhoads later conducted radiation exposure experiments
on American soldiers and civilian hospital patients.
- In 1932, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study began on 200 black
men. They weren't told of their illness and were denied treatment to be
used as human guinea pigs to follow their disease symptoms and progression.
They all subsequently died.
- Beginning in 1935, Pellagra affected millions for over
two decades. The US Public Health Service finally stemmed the disease.
- In 1935 and 1936, Italy used mustard gas against Ethiopians.
- In 1936, Japan used chemical weapons against China. In
the same year, a German chemical lab produced the first nerve agent, Tabun.
- in 1940, 400 Chicago prisoners are infected with malaria
to study the effects of new and experimental drugs.
- Since at least the 1940s, America had an active biological
weapons program. In 1941, it implemented one secretly to develop bioweapons,
using controversial testing methods.
- From 1942 to 1945, America's Chemical Warfare Services
began mustard gas experiments on about 4,000 servicemen.
- In 1943, biological weapons research at Fort Detrick,
- In 1944, the US Navy used human subjects in locked chambers
to test gas masks and clothing.
- During WW II, Germany used lethal Zyklon-B gas in death
camp exterminations. Japan's Unit 731 conducted biowarfare experiments
- In 1945, German offenders got immunity under Project
Paperclip. So did Japanese ones in exchange for their data, and (for Germans
at least) to work on top secret US projects.
- In 1945, the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) implemented
"Program F." It's the most extensive study fluoride's health
effects. It's used in atomic bomb production, as well as tooth paste.
- It's one of the most toxic chemicals known. It causes
marked adverse central nervous system effects. Low concentration fluoride
is also found naturally in drinking water and foods. Few people know the
- In 1946, VA hospital patients become guinea pigs for
- In 1947, America produced germ warfare weapons. Truman
withdrew the 1928 Geneva Protocol from Senate consideration. It wasn't
ratified until 1974. Effectively it remains unenforced.
- In 1947, the AEC's Colonel EE Kirkpatrick issued secret
document #07075001. It said the agency will begin administering intravenous
doses of radioactive substances to human subjects.
- In July 1947, the CIA was established. It began LSD experiments
on civilian and military subjects with and without their knowledge. Its
purpose was to learn its effectiveness as an intelligence weapon.
- In 1949, the US Army released biological agents in US
cities to learn the effects of a real germ warfare attack. Tests continued
secretly for years, and may now be ongoing illegally.
- During the Korean War, Washington used chemical and biological
- In 1950, the Department of Defense (DOD) began open-air
nuclear weapons detonations in desert areas. Downwind residents were then
monitored for medical problems and mortality rates.
- In 1951, African-Americans were exposed to potentially
fatal stimulants as part of a race-specific fungal weapons test in Virginia.
- In 1953, the US military released zinc cadium sulfide
gas over Winnipeg, Canada, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Fort Wayne, the Monocacy
River Valley in Maryland, and Leesburg, VA to determine how effectively
chemical agents can be dispersed.
- In 1953, joint Army-Navy-CIA experiments were conducted
in New York and San Francisco. Tens of thousands of people were exposed
to Serratia marcescens and Bacillus glogigii.
- In 1953, the CIA began Project MKULTRA. It was an 11
year research program (continuing under new names) to produce and test
drugs and biological agents to be used for mind control and behavior modification.
Unwitting subjects were used.
- In 1955, the CIA released bacteria from the Army's Tampa,
FL biological warfare arsenal to test its ability to infect human populations.
- From 1955 to 1958, the Army Chemical Corps conducted
LSD research on over 1,000 subjects to study its effect as an incapacitating
- In 1956, the US military released mosquitoes infected
with Yellow Fever over Savannah, GA and Avon Park, FL to test the health
effects on victims.
- In 1956, Army Field Manual 27-10 and The Law of Land
Warfare said biochemical warfare wasn't banned.
- In 1960, the Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence
authorized LSD field tested in Europe and Asia.
- In 1961, the Kennedy administration authorized Project
112. It ran secretly from 1962 - 1973 to test biological and chemical weapons
effects on thousands of unwitting US servicemen. Project SHAD was a related
project in which subjects were exposed to VX, tabun, sarin and soman nerve
gases plus other toxic agents.
- In 1966, New York subway passengers were subjected to
secret germ warfare experiments.
- In 1969, nerve gas agents killed thousands of sheep in
- In November 1969, Nixon's National Security Memorandum
ended production and offensive use of lethal and other type biological
and chemical weapons. It confined "bacteriological/biological programs....to
research for defensive purposes," with other built-in loopholes.
- A February 1970 Memorandum ordered existing stockpiles
destroyed. It restricted "toxins....research and development (to)
defensive purposes only." It declared only small quantities would
be maintained to develop vaccines, drugs and diagnostics. It became another
- In 1969, the General Assembly banned herbicide plant
killers and tear gases in warfare. Nonetheless, open-air testing intermittently
continued unabated. The Pentagon, in fact, "field test(s CBW) systems."
- For decades since the 1960s, Washington used biological
agents against Cuba. It's unclear whether they still continue.
- In 1970, US Southeast Asian forces conducted Operation
Tailwind. Lethal sarin nerve gas was used in Laos. In 1998, Admiral Thomas
Moorer, former Joint Chiefs Chairman, confirmed it on CNN. Under Pentagon
pressure, CNN retracted the report and fired award-winning journalist Peter
Arnett and co-producers April Oliver and Jack Smith for not disavowing
- During the Vietnam War, US forces used Agent Orange through
at least 1971.
- In 1975, the Senate Church Committee confirmed that bioweapons
are stockpiled at Fort Detrick, MD, including anthrax, encephalitis, tuberculosis,
shellfish toxin, and food poisons.
- During the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, Washington supplied Iraq
with toxic biological and chemical agents. Ronald Reagan signed a secret
order to do whatever was necessary and "legal" to prevent Iraq
from losing. In 1994, Congress learned that dozens of biological agents
were sent, including various anthrax strains and nerve gas precursors.
- In 1985 and 1986, Washington resumed open-air biological
agents testing. It likely never stopped.
- In 1987, Congress authorized resumption of chemical weapons
- In 1989, 149 nations at the Paris Chemical Weapons Conference
condemned these weapons. After America signed the treaty, poison gas production
- Nonetheless, GHW Bush reaffirmed America's commitment
to eliminate chemical weapons in 10 years. In 1990, Washington enacted
the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 "to implement....the
Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological
(Biological) and Toxin Weapons and Their Destruction....."
- Use of depleted uranium and other toxic substances (including
experimental vaccines) during Gulf War caused serious health problems to
thousands of US forces. The term Gulf War Syndrome described them without
- In 1997, America ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention
(CWC), banning development, production, stockpiling, and use of these substances
for munitions or precursors.
- In 2001, the Bush administration rejected the 1972 Biological
Weapons Convention (BWC). Claiming a need to counter chemical and biological
weapons threats, it spent multi-billions illegally to develop, test and
stockpile "first-strike" chemical and biological weapons.
- A BWC loophole lets appropriate types and amounts of
biological agents be used for "prophylactic, protective or other peaceful
purposes." It also permits research, not development. BWC predated
genetic engineering that causes harm to human health.
- Post-9/11, America paid lip service alone to disarmament.
Its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs continue. The 1970
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was abandoned to develop and test
- So was the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) because
it expressly forbids the development, testing and deployment of missile
defenses like America's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and
- The proposed Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) to
prohibit further weapons-grade uranium and plutonium production and prevent
new nuclear weapons added to present stockpiles was also rejected. In fact,
new more sophisticated ones replace those outdated.
- America's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) "reserves
the right" to use nuclear weapons "that may be warranted by the
evolution and proliferation of the biological weapons threat and US capacities
to counter that threat." In other words, it's more about war than
- So-called missile defense is for offense. Washington's
New Start Treaty with Russia excluded real nuclear disarmament. New improved
weapons replace old ones. Dangerous testing continues.
- Preemptive first-strike capability is prioritized, including
from space. America's treaties aren't worth the paper they're written on.
It begs the question why Russia or other nations bother negotiating.
- The 16th Session of the Conference of the State Parties
will conclude on December 2. Its most important goal won't be met.
- America won't abolish its chemical weapons like most
other states. Doing so would harm its agenda. Despite being a CWC signatory
and OPCW State Party, it's got them to use, not eliminate.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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