Fluoride Action Network

SIDEBAR: A Short History of Chemical Warfare

Source: The Berkeley Daily Planet | September 5th, 2013 | By Gar Smith
Industry type: Chemical Weapons

Chemical Weapons Outlawed

The use of chemical gases in the trenches of WWI horrified the world, prompting a global campaign to ban their use as weapons of war. In 1925, a Geneva protocol was passed outlawing the use of nerve gas, tear gas, and other deadly agents in warfare. The 1992 Chemical Weapons Convention (which went into effect in 1997) called for a ban on the possession or production of chemical weapons. (It’s worth noting that many of these WWI chemicals found a new and “legal” purpose when they were reconfigured and sold as commercial herbicides and pesticides).

As of February 2013, Albania, India, Iraq, Libya, Russia, and the US still admitted to possessing chemical weapons stockpiles. Under the Chemical Weapons Convention, signatory nations are required to destroy their remaining stockpiles. Russia and the US, with the world’s largest inventories of chemical and biological weapons, have still not eliminated their stockpiles. This is why President Obama always qualifies his condemnation of the Syrian regime for possessing “the largest inventory of chemical weapons in the Middle East” (emphasis added).

It’s worth noting that Syria never signed the Chemical Weapons treaty so, technically, Assad cannot be accused of violating the ban on possession and use of chemical arms.

Washington’s History of Chemical Warfare

Between1962 and 1973, the Pentagon’s Project SHAD conducted 37 secret chemical weapons tests, several of which involved firing artillery shells filled with sarin and VX gas at target ranges in Alaska and Hawaii. The Pentagon has admitted to exposing more than 60,000 military personnel to chemical gases in secret experiments like Operation Whitecoat. In 1968, one of the Pentagon’s experiments went awry and wound up killing 6,400 sheep downwind of Utah’s Dugway Proving Ground.

How US Helped Saddam Gas Iran

Declassified CIA documents confirm that the US assisted Saddam Hussein when he used chemical weapons in 1988. The US provided Iraq with critical satellite intelligence that pinpointed the location of Iranian troops. The records made it perfectly clear that Washington knew Saddam was preparing to unleash his stockpile of chemical weapons — including sarin. The US is now considered complicit in the deaths of 20,000 Iranian soldiers killed by Iraq’s CW arsenal.

The US, Israel and Sarin Nerve Gas

On October 4, 1992, an Israeli El Al jet on a flight from New York to Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport lost two engines and crashed into a 12-story apartment in Bijlmer killing all four people on board flight 1862 and incinerating at least 43 people in the housing complex. In the years following the crash, nearly 900 survivors fell victim to mysterious ailments including breathing and neurological problems. For years, El Al officials lied to the public, claiming the flight carried only “a regular commercial load… Israel has nothing to hide.”

On the sixth anniversary of the crash the “official story” collapsed with the publication of a leaked copy of the plane’s cargo manifest. Instead of “regular” cargo, Flight 1862 was loaded with 10 tons of chemicals, including hydrofluoric acid, isopropanol and dimethyl methylphosphonate (DMMP) – three of the four chemicals essential for the production of sarin nerve gas. The DMMP came from a Pennsylvania firm called Solkatronic Chemicals Inc. and was headed for the Israeli Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) outside of Tel Aviv.

The secret shipment was authorized by the US Commerce Department, in apparent violation of the Chemical Weapons Treaty. It was estimated that the chemicals onboard the doomed jet could have produced 270 kilos of sarin — sufficient to kill the entire population of a major world city.