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Drone War Prize Obama And The Islamic-Judaic Apocalypse

Politics / Nuclear Weapons Nov 07, 2013 - 06:40 PM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


As Nadeem wrote in his recent “US Drone War on Pakistan” the USA of Barack Obama, either wittingly or unwittingly, knowingly or not, has accelerated the final countdown in the tinderbox region called the MENA-Middle East and North Africa. To be sure this is a majority-Sunni muslim Arab region, but it also includes Iran and Israel. Europe is very close, like Turkey and Russia, making it what Halford John Mackinder called the “geographical pivot of history” and “the world island”.

The strivings for Armageddon, like Nadeem says, are hard-wired into the mindset peddled by all three so-called Religions of the Book. He also noted that some interpretations of Islam claim the “final battle of the faith” will take place in what is now Syria. Led by the one-eyed Dajjal, Islamic mythology says, the army opposing Islam's army of true believers will sow anarchy (fitna) and strife when the Muslim army of the faith has occupied Syria and prepares to take Constantinople.

Any and all weapons are permitted in the struggle against Dajjal, this entity being part-human and prophetic with the symbols of disbelief engraved on his forehead. Fitna, a concept wider than only anarchy and featuring disbelief, is most surely and certainly hard-wired in Sunni Muslim dogma as one of the ultimate evils. To be sure, this seems centuries and thousands of miles away from Obama's Washington, but the grave potentials for Russian-US military standoff, in Syria, was recognized by Obama's administration – if late in the day.

Weapons proliferation in the MENA is now a longstanding fear among world powers, witnessed by the role of WMD, either real or imaginary, in all major regional conflicts, from Saddam Hussein's Iraq, through Gaddafi's Libya, to al Assad's Syria. Calls for ridding the whole MENA, and especially the Middle East of all WMD are recurrent – and the theme was recently used by Saudi Arabia when it boycotted the UN General Assembly and rejected a temporary seat on the Security Council. While its claim that the five permanent members of UNSC were doing little or nothing to rid the region of WMD was mostly or exclusively directed at Iran, Israel is now a major nuclear weapons power and the most extreme Zionist interpretations of Judaism call for Armageddon.

Chemical and biological weapons can certainly be called “the poor man's bomb”, shown in a negative sense by major government-friendly media avoiding to provide the public with details on the ease of production, delivery and devastating effects of an increasing-range of low cost weapons, able to be produced from mass produced chemical and biological precursors. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an intergovernmental organization based in Holland was awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize for its "extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons." The OPCW was launched in 1997 to act as watchdog for applying the 1992 UN General Assembly's convention on chemical weapons, part of the UN's Conference on Disarmament, which is a long-term process.

The first problem, however, is defining CW, and this problem applies equally to BW and this is the dilemma the OPCW faces every day, like other organizations and entities policing and reporting international action to limit or destroy NBC weapons (nuclear-biological-chemical).

As just one example, we can take DU or depleted uranium munitions. Firstly, if these aren't nuclear weapons, are they chemical weapons due to the highly-toxic nature of uranium dust, not its radiation danger, but its chemical danger? Currently they are not defined as either nuclear or chemical. Massive production of DU ordnance, from projectiles of small calibre (30 mm and below) to bunker buster shells and projectiles (203 mm and above) able to travel 75 kilometres, is now widespread. About 75 nations produce and-or possess DU weapons today. The nuclear power industry which is intrinsically uneconomic and forced to grub subsidies and support from governments is happy to sell low level irradiated materials for DU weapons production – rather than having to pay to store them as what they are, nuclear wastes.

The 1992 UN CW convention defines three classes of what it calls “controlled substances”, chemicals which can either be used as CW themselves or used to manufacture CW. This however places “ordinary chemicals” which are used, or can be used to make “ordinary weapons”, in the category of controlled substances only if they are used as CW. The UN convention's classification gets around this by setting criteria on how much of the controlled substances are used in each of the convention's list of defined CW, other than the utilisation of these substances for ordinary “commercial legitimate purposes”.

Which as we know include weapons manufacture and sales.

The UN convention splits the controlled chemicals into those which can be used directly as weapons – such as nerve gases although these are also biological weapons (BW) – and those which are merely used in manufacturing CW. This brings in the basic problem of so-called precursors. For nerve gases, even phosphate fertilizers can be called precursors, and the organophosphorus pesticides can surely and certainly be called precursors, or in fact and reality, ready-to-serve CW and BW. The UN CW convention addresses this problem by setting toxicity thesholds, above which the substance is a defined CW. The definition of “toxic controlled chemicals” in the UN Convention is any chemical “which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacity or permanent harm to humans or animals”.

The Seveso and Bhopal disasters are rightly considered by many as comparable with the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters by their aggregate impact on human health, local communities, the environment and the economic damage they caused. Following the 1976 Seveso disaster at a dioxin-producing factory in Italy, the extreme risk category “Seveso-type” was added to industrial classification and emergency preparedness legislation in Europe. Apart from human deaths, some 80 000 animals in a region of 18 sq kms were hunted down and slaughtered to prevent human contamination. In the case of the 1984 Bhopal disaster at a pesticide factor in India, the local Madhya Pradesh state government's official human death toll from the disaster was about 3800 although other estimates were much higher, with at least 550 000 injured. Tens of thousands of buffalo, goats, cows and other animals also died.

As Nadeem's article featured, Pakistan is instantly disposed to provide Saudi Arabia with nuclear weapons on call – or has already supplied them to the Wahabite Kingdom – meaning that at least 3 countries in the region now possess, or can very rapidly access nuclear weapons – Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia. In the Iranian case, we can note, whether it has fully functional explosive-type nuclear weapons or very large stocks of highly radioactive materials able to be “packaged” as dirty bomb weapons, is not of real importance.

The major point concerning Seveso, Bhopal, Chernobyl, Fukushima is that none of these disasters happened at military facilities. In all cases local populations were either unaware or misinformed about the potential danger. In no case were these establishments or facilities defined as producing weapons or being equivalent to weapons producing entities. In all cases the human health, environmental damage and economic losses were either massive or extreme. The 1986 Chernobyl disaster can be posited as a cause at least equal to the Afghan war defeat in the collapse of the USSR.

The border zone between “weapons” and “legitimate commercial” products or civilian activity is a recurring theme of UN debate and conventions on weapons, and is heavily covered by the UN CW convention and by the OPCW itself. Basically, industrial activity produces an always-increasing range of technological, chemical, biological and radiological risks for human society and the environment. Under conflict conditions – starting from civil war – it would be very stupid to imagine that ultra-soft military-equivalent targets including nuclear reactors and facilities, pesticide factories, pharmaceutical factories, industrial establishments producing or using gases such as phosgene or hydrocyanic gas (which was released in the Bhopal disaster) would not become prime enemy targets.

Previous conventions to limit or destroy NBC weapons, by definition, would not have covered them.

Taking the “simple' case of phosgene, this colorless gas with an odor of fresh-cut grass started out as a French-invented CW during World War I where the gas was often used with chlorine gas, killing about 85 000 soldiers and civilians. Later it became a valued industrial reagent and building block in the synthesis of high-value pharmaceuticals, plastics and other organic compounds. Trying to ban phosgene, or the precursors of sarin and other nerve gases – the organophosphorus pesticides and raticides - would be close to or totally impossible. So these chemicals exist, and have to be produced and stocked somewhere. These are military-equivalent targets for massive destruction.

Old or “traditional” CW like phosgene are completely upstaged by modern nerve gases and organo-phosphorus pesticides such as TEPP, of which the commercial range presently extends to 31 different molecules.  In World War I, to kill a total of 85 000 persons, about 36 000 tons of phosgene was used by German, French and British armed forces. The toxicity of TEPP (and of course nerve gases derived from TEPP, like sarin) starts at around 100 milligrams or 0.1 gram by skin contact causing death within 40-50 minutes for any exposed human not wearing total exclusion bodywear and breathing equipment. In theory, therefore, a few tons (5 – 20) of TEPP would be more than sufficient to kill 85 000 persons, and severely injure many times that number of persons who were not killed by it.

According to the OPCW, some 70 nations are presently categorized as either producing, or capable of producing chemical and biological weapons, CW or BW. This classification can in fact be extended to most of the world's 200 nations, as shown by the current Syrian case where the country has only one or a few small scale, and no major industrial plants or facilities able to produce, or producing recognized and defined “controlled chemicals” or downstream CW or BW. Very low cost and rapidly built local  facilities can be developed to produce functional CW and BW using imported precursors. The OPCW is led by Turkish diplomat Ahmet Üzümcü, who among his previous activities was Turkey's delegate to the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) council, and a former Turkish ambassador to Israel.

NATO's weapons standardisation committees operate in each of NATO's 28 member countries and pursue goals including the development and industrial production of DU weapons among a range of lower-cost multi-role infantry and battlefield tactical weapons. These range from low-cost (even use use once and throw away) DU launcher weapons for anti-building as well as anti-tank roles, to a very wide range of anti-aircraft and anti-personnel weapons. NBC weapons, other than DU ordnance are conversely never described in NATO weapons standardisation documents, which in any case are restricted-access. Obviously the targeting and destruction of – for example - organophosphorus pesticide factories and stockpiles, or nuclear waste reprocessing centers can be easily covered by a very wide, always increasing range of weapons.

All or nearly all NBC weapons are developed and produced in exclusively national facilities under national policy control. Apart from the “sensitivity” of these weapons - for the so-called “declared” nuclear powers (the UN Security Council permanent five) this is a question of political kudos - the major problem for limitation, control and destruction of NBC weapons stems from their definition and classification. Whenever and wherever they are categorized as “secret” there are obvious problems for identifying and localizing these weapons, let alone controlling their production and destroying stockpiles of them. In the Syrian case, we can note, its previously secret CW arsenal was described by sources close to the OPCW as being “possibly one of the largest in the world”.

Although deliberately excluded from mainstream media, world nuclear weapons arsenals – and weapons-equivalent radiological materials – are extreme and are mostly held by the developed countries, although this is changing quite rapidly. To be sure, the mainstream media gives huge coverage to US-North Korea political dispute and US-Chinese attempts to pressure Pyongyang to disarm, but this concerns a present North Korean nuclear weapons “arsenal” of about 4 warheads. At the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in South Korea, delegates noted that current known stockpiles of high level nuclear wastes, worldwide, could probably produce 13 000 Hiroshima-sized weapons if stolen or misused. Even worse, as the “Seoul communique” following the summit said, the quantities of lost, missing or stolen high level radioactive materials can only cause concern. Various estimates place the current missing quantity as able to produce 150 - 250 Hiroshima-size atomic weapons.

The Nobel peace prize committee when announcing this year's peace prizewinner, without in any way trying to be ironic said:  "Disarmament figures prominently in Alfred Nobel's will.....By means of the present award to the OPCW, the committee is seeking to contribute to the elimination of chemical weapons", following its early and long-standing attempts to limit and then destroy nuclear weapons.

The main problem is that since Alfred Nobel's time, weapons development has surged, always increasing the range and type of lethal weapons. When mixed and mingled with the mythical, allegorical and extremely aggressive armageddon cravings of the “Holy Books” we can only fear the potentials not only for deliberate use – but accidental utilisation of dual-use weapons, whether imported, locally produced, stolen or lost.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2013 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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