DG Pfirter speaking in Washington this week

OPCW Director General Rogelio Pfirter will be speaking on “Going to Zero With Weapons of Mass Destruction: Lessons From the Chemical Weapons Convention”  June 16 from noon-1pm at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC. The event will also be webcast live.

Go here for additional event details, webcast, and to RSVP.

Amb. Pfirter will also be speaking at the Carnegie Endowment (1779 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington) on June 17, 2009 from 9-10:30am. RSVP to Katie Donaldson by email.

Annual Day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Warfare

On April 29 each year, the anniversary of the CWC entry into force, the OPCW observes a day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Warfare. Today is the 12th anniversary of the CWC and with the announcement of the Bahamas depositing its instrument of ratification last week, 188 nations are currently states parties to the convention.

UN Secrerary General Ban Ki-Moon sent a message acknowledging this day as “an occasion to recall some of the greatest atrocities in human history, to assess our progress in preventing any recurrence, and to pledge to continue advancing this cause in the future.”

Chemical Weapons News – April 28

India Completes Chemical Weapons Disposal; Iraq Declares Stockpile – Chris Schneidmiller – Global Security Newswire
India has become the third nation to eliminate its known stockpile of chemical weapons, the organization that monitors adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention announced last week…

Seattle militant to testify in high-stakes terror trial – The Seattle Times
Ten years ago, on a dusty ranch in southern Oregon, one-time Seattle hustler and Muslim convert James Ujaama came close to having his head cut off by a Swede named Oussama Kassir…

Chemical Weapons Prohibition Committee annual plan approved – Yemen News Agency
he National Committee for the Prohibition of Chemical, Biological and Toxic Weapons approved on Saturday a draft of its bylaw and the annual plan…

Bahamas Joins Chemical Weapons Convention – Global Security Newswire
The Bahamas has become the 188th nation to join the international pact banning the production, stockpiling or use of chemical weapons, the treaty’s monitoring agency announced yesterday…

Responders Face Mock Emergency at Umatilla Chemical Depot – Global Security Newswire
Emergency personnel from the Umatilla Chemical Depot in Oregon and nearby jurisdictions on Tuesday conducted a drill involving the accidental release of mustard blister agent and other crises…

Alabama CW Disposal Site Might Need $40M Addition – Global Security Newswire
The Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Alabama is likely to require new technology priced at up to $40 million to safely destroy decaying weapons filled with mustard blister agent…

Report Warns of Future Chemical, Biological Threats – Global Security Newswire
The United States is likely to face a growing threat in coming years from biological and chemical weapons that are increasingly lethal and easy to manufacture, the Defense Department said in a report published this month…

Removing our bad mustard: Somehow, weapons must go – The Anniston Star
It sounds like a worn-out cliche, but it’s fitting nonetheless: There may be no such thing as a welcomed surprise at Anniston’s incinerator…

Annual CSEPP Drill Tuesday Night at the Umatilla Chemical Depot – KNDO NBC
The Umatilla Chemical Depot had its annual Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program, or CSEPP, Tuesday night. Every year they simulate a chemical accident…

Tamil American Diaspora Groups Meet with U.S. State Department on Sri Lanka Crisis – EmMediaWire
Americans for Peace in Sri Lanka (APSL), a U.S.-based human rights activist group, led a delegation of 11 Tamil American organizations for a meeting at the United States Department of State with Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher and U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert Blake…

Kuwait backs global bodies against chemical weapons – Arab Times
Kuwait affirmed here Tuesday that it supports all international organizations in its efforts to counter the use of chemical weapons against any state…

Killer Beets – Cecil Adams – Connect Savannah
I recently heard a rumor that sugar processed from beets contains traces of a poison used as a combat weapon in World War II. Is this true? What’s the difference between beet sugar and cane sugar, anyway?…

The Bahamas Joins the CWC

On April 21, 2009 the Bahamas deposited its instrument of ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention. On May 21, 2009 the Convention will enter into force for the Bahamas and it will be the 188th State Party to the CWC. This announcement comes only weeks after the Dominican Republic deposited its instrument of  ratification of the CWC, and during the past year IraqLebanon, and Guinea-Bissau have also joined.

The OPCW is quickly making progress towards it’s goal of univerality as now only 7 states, Israel, Myanmar, Angola, the People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Somalia and the Syrian Arab Republic remain outside of the Convention.

The Dominican Republic Joins the CWC

The Dominican Republic has deposited its instrument of ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The CWC will enter into force for the Dominican Republic on April 26, 2009 making it the 187th State Party. The OPCW has made significant steps toward achieving its goal of CWC universality with IraqLebanon, and Guinea-Bissau all becoming states parties within the past year.

Now only 8 states, the Bahamas, Israel, Myanmar, Angola, the People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Somalia and the Syrian Arab Republic remain outside of the Convention.

Chemical Weapons News – March 30

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY: Cleanup missions benefit from high-tech experts – Tri-city Herald
This will be another exciting year for Parsons’ Technology Development and Fabrication Complex (TDFC). Since our establishment in the Tri-Cities in 1999, TDFC has been regularly challenged by the departments of Defense and Energy to develop, fabricate and test some of the world’s most innovative and complex machines…

Elite National Guard team trains at Oriskany site – UTICA Observer Dispatch
The makeshift weapons lab was littered with crushed cans and broken glass. And a wading pool in a nearby room stood ready should one of its owners need to decontaminate himself…

Rail Firm Opposes Some Chlorine Shipments – Global Security Newswire
Union Pacific has asked federal regulators to allow the railroad to refrain from transporting chlorine to some specific destinations because of safety concerns…

Report condemns Israel’s phosphorus shell use in Gaza – CNN
The Israeli military’s firing of white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas during the Gaza offensive “was indiscriminate and is evidence of war crimes,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report on Wednesday…

Israel accused of indiscriminate phosphorus use in Gaza – the Guardian
Israel’s military fired white phosphorus over crowded areas of Gaza repeatedly and indiscriminately in its three-week war, killing and injuring civilians and committing war crimes…

Controlled burn planned for Newport Depot – the Tribune Star
Vermillion County residents should not be alarmed if they see smoke coming from the southwestern part of the Newport Chemical Depot on Friday or Saturday…

Prairie to burn at Newport Chemical Depot – Chicago Tribune
State forestry officials will conduct a controlled burn of prairie grass at the Newport Chemical Depot, where 275,000 gallons of deadly nerve agent was destroyed under an international treaty…

Porton Down ‘not death sentence’ – BBC
Porton Down veterans used as guinea-pigs to test chemical weapons face no greater risk of dying from cancer but health worries remain…

Depot’s weapons disposal plant a work in progress – Richmond Register
The construction of the chemical weapons disposal plant at the Blue Grass Army Depot has come a long way, but still has a long way to go, according to acting site project manager Ralph Collins…

Sarin Disposal Project Completed at Kentucky Depot – Global Security Newswire
All aspects of a small-scale sarin nerve agent disposal project at the Blue Grass Army Depot have been completed, the U.S. Army announced yesterday…

Simulated attack – Lake County News-Sun
The terrorist was late during a simulated chemical attack drill staged at North Chicago High School on Friday morning to practice coordination between police, fire and Army Reserve units…

Chemical Ali’s victims have waited too long for justice – Daily News
I’ve begun to wonder of late why the worst mass murderer on the planet is still drawing breath, especially as he was sentenced to death years ago, a sentence that was to have been carried out almost as soon as it was imposed…

Also of interest – OPCW Director-General Rogelio Pfirter’s name has been mentioned in the list of potential candidates to head the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA):

IAEA Board Fails to Pick New Agency Chief – Global Security Newswire
Neither candidate to become the next head of the International Atomic Energy Agency received the nod this week from the organization’s governing board, opening the door for other aspirants to grab the position…

Nuclear watchdog agency fails to elect new chief – Los Angeles Times
Diplomats meeting in Vienna failed Friday to elect a new leader for the world’s nuclear watchdog agency amid a hardening split between industrial powers and developing countries over how best to control atomic weapons and energy…

Finally on a lighter note:

I love the smell of napalm and soccer in the morning – Denver/Boulder Decider
So here’s my suggestion: call the team Rocky Mountain Arsenal. The Dick is built on the old site of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, which was a chemical weapon manufacturing facility until it closed in 1992. What’s a better way to honor that horrific factory of death than by making opposing teams think they might get napalmed…

OPCW News – Feb18, 2009

OPCW Director General, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter received a letter from US President Barack Obama in response to the DG’s letter congratulating the President on his electoral victory. In the letter, President Obama stated he was confident that the US and the OPCW could work closely to ‘build a more secure world.’

Iraq, the most recent nation to accede to the CWC has designated its National Authority for the CWC. The Convention entered into force for Iraq on February 12, 2009.

On February 17, Chinese H. E. Ambassador Zhang Jun addressed the General Debate of EC-55 of the OPCW. In his address he gave a positive evaluation of the OPCW’s work but also voiced concerns over chemical weapons left in China after the Japanese occupation in WWII. Ambassador Zhang, asserted that, ‘the destruction of JACWs [Japanese Abandoned Chemical Weapons] is even more important and urgent since they constantly constitute a real threat to the people.’

Iraq Joins the CWC

On January 13, 2009 Iraq deposited its instrument of accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The convention will enter into force for Iraq on February 12, 2009, making them the 186th State Party to the convention. The accession of Iraq leaves only 9 states outside of the CWC; the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Israel and Myanmar are CWC signatories but have yet to ratify it. Angola, the People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Somalia and the Syrian Arab Republic have neither signed nor ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The accession of Iraq coupled with the December 2008 accession of Lebanon mark significant progress toward the OPCW goal of CWC universality.

On January 14 the US State Department issued a press release regarding Iraq’s accession into the CWC.

News Stories:

Iraq Joins Chemical Weapons Convention – Global Security News Wire

Iraq Signs UN Treaty Banning Chemical Weapons – VOA News

Iraq ratifies treaty banning chemical weapons – Yahoo News

Iraq Ratifies Treaty Banning Chemical Weapons – The Telegraph

Iraq Ratifies Treaty Banning Chemical Weapons – Kansas City Star

Iraq Signs UN Treaty Outlawing Chemical Weapons – Channel News Asia

Iraq Ratifies Treaty Banning Chemical Weapons – Khaleej Times

Iraq Signs UN Treaty Outlawing Chemical Weapons – The Morning Star

Iraq Signs Up For Chemical Weapon Ban – ABC News Australia

Iraq Ratifies Treaty Banning Chemical Weapons – Las Vegas Sun

Iraq Ratifies Chemical Weapons Treaty – UPI

Iraq Accedes to International Chemical Weapon Ban – Reuters

Ban Welcomes Iraq’s Deposit of Instrument to CWC Accession – Zawya

Lebanon Joins the CWC

On November 20, 2008 Lebanon deposited its instrument of accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The CWC will enter into force for Lebanon on Dec 20, 2008, 30 days after accession.

With the inclusion of Lebanon in the CWC only 10 states remain outside of the Convention. The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Israel and Myanmar have signed but not ratified the CWC and Angola, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Iraq, Somalia and the Syrian Arab Republic have neither signed nor ratified the CWC.