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Friday, August 23, 2013

Widespread use of Poison Gas outside Damascus.

HISTORY IN THE NEWS

Dedicated to the background of contemporary events around the world.



War Crimes and Human Rights.




IN BRIEF:  The use of poison gas has been outlawed as a weapon of war because of the agonies of those who survive it and the slow and painful death of those who do not. In history, some antagonists have avoided using poison gas for fear the enemy would retaliate in kind. Not unlike the nuclear deterrent.
 
IN THE NEWS:   NERVE GAS IS BELIEVED TO HAVE KILLED OVER A HUNDRED, MANY OF THEM CHILDREN ON WEDNESDAY IN A SUBURB OUTSIDE DAMASCUS, ACCORDING TO NUMEROUS AMATEUR VIDEOS. EXPERTS BELIEVE THE VIDEOS WOULD BE DIFFICULT IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE TO FAKE. SO FAR THE ASSAD REGIME HAS REFUSED ACCESS TO THE AREA FOR U.N. INSPECTORS.  THOUGH EVIDENCE POINTS TO THE SYRIAN GOVERNMENT, RUSSIA IS CLAIMING THE ATTACK WAS CARRIED OUT BY THE OPPOSITION REBELS AND HAS URGED DAMASCUS TO OPEN THE SITE TO UN INSPECTORS.


THE FACTS: 

-in 1993 the UN outlawed the use of the nerve agent, Sarin gas.

in late 2002 and early 2003, as the U.S, looked for pretexts for the invasion of Iraq, UN weapons inspectors found no evidence that Iraq was in possession of any weapons of mass destruction, including bacterial and nerve agents. The Bush administration, under the instruction of Vice President Dick Cheney began to fabricate the evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that would persuade Congress to approve the invasion.

-there is little comparison between Iraq in 2002-2003 and the present situation, since the evidence of the use of poison gas in Syria has been found to be genuine.

-evidence for the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war, most likely a nerve gas like Sarin, was first claimed by Israel on April 24, 2013, indicating attacks in March near Aleppo and Damascus.

-evidence generally agreed to be conclusive and attributed to the Assad regime emerged with over 100 victims of a gas attack on June 13.

-the "red line" of chemical warfare having been passed, western powers including the United States and the European Union agreed to begin arming the the rebels, but so far that does not seem to have transpired.





IN HISTORY:
  
1,000 BC- Use of arsenical smokes in warfare were known to the Chinese.

672-1300- Greek fire, a burning liquid, fired as an incendiary device and compared to modern napalm was originated by the Byzantines but used well into the middle ages. 

1500- (circa) The use of poison gas, occasionally employed in ancient and medieval times before dying out, is reintroduced, in limited form, during the Italian Renaissance.

1899- The Hague Conference- it was obvious that weapons of chemical warfare had already been developed during the 19th century: "A general concern over the use of poison gas manifested itself in 1899 at the Hague Conference with a proposal prohibiting shells filled with asphyxiating gas. The proposal was passed, despite a single dissenting vote from the United States. The American representative,  justified voting against the measure on the grounds that 'the inventiveness of Americans should not be restricted in the development of new weapons.'- Wikipedia

1914-1918- Use of poisons as weapons -All major belligerents used poisonous gasses against enemy personnel in combat.

1938- Sarin gas discovered in Wuppertal-Elberfeld in Germany by two German scientists attempting to create stronger pesticides.

1987-1988- Iraq, Halabja Massacre-  Saddam Hussein used poison gas against Kurdish resistance first gassing the population ol Halabja. "By 1988, some 4,000 villages had been destroyed, an estimated 180,000 Kurds had been killed and some 1.5 million had been deported."

RELEVANT DATES for August, 2013 nervea gas attack near Damascus, Syria.

1,000 BC- Use of  arsenical smokes in warfare were known to the Chinese.

1500 AD- The use of poison gas, not employed since ancient and medieval times, is reintroduced, in limited form, during the Italian Renaissance.

The Geneva Conventions
1864 – 1949 The Geneva Conventions - four related treaties providing a legal basis for international law with regard to conduct in warfare
Fourth Geneva Convention: Protection of civilians in time of war

Chemical Weapons
1899- The Hague Conference- it was obvious that weapons of chemical warfare had already been developed during the 19th century: "A general concern over the use of poison gas manifested itself in 1899 at the Hague Conference with a proposal prohibiting shells filled with asphyxiating gas. The proposal was passed, despite a single dissenting vote from the United States. The American representative,  justified voting against the measure on the grounds that 'the inventiveness of Americans should not be restricted in the development of new weapons.'- Wikipedia

World War One
1914-1918- Use of poisons as weapons (All major belligerents used poisonous gasses, mostly mustard chlorine gas against enemy personnel in combat.)
1916- Anton Dilger (1884-1918), an American educated as a surgeon in Germany, set up a basement laboratory in Washington DC for cultivating anthrax bacteria and Pseudomonas mallei to infect horses and cattle destined to supply Allied armies. German saboteurs disseminated the bacteria. Dilger later moved to Mexico to help goad Mexico into attacking the US. He died of the Spanish flu in Madrid. In 2007 Robert Koenig authored “The Fourth Horseman: One Man’s Mission to Wage the Great War in America."

Poison Gas.
1937-1838-  The Japanese generally used poison gas in their invasion of China.
1938- Sarin gas discovered in Wuppertal-Elberfeld in Germany by two German scientists attempting to create stronger pesticides.

 
World War Two  and the Holocaust.
Both sides generally avoided the use of Poison gas during military operations during World War Two for fear of retaliation in kind. 1943-1945- The Holocaust- the policy of detaining Jews in forced labour camps developed into a program of extermination or genocide in which 6 million Jews were gassed to death, mostly with carbon monoxide many by summary execution, resulting in the killing of 70% of German Jewry. Casualties numbers all told from Nazi abuse, internment and murder of different groups and nationalities reached 20 million.

Iraq- the Halabja Massacre.
1987-1988- Iraq, Halabja Massacre-  Saddam Hussein used poison gas against Kurdish resistance first gassing the population ol Halabja. "By 1988, some 4,000 villages had been destroyed, an estimated 180,000 Kurds had been killed and some 1.5 million had been deported."

The 2003 US Invasion of Iraq,
2002-early 2003- UN weapons inspectors find no evidence that Iraq is in possession of any weapons of mass destruction, including bacterial and nerve agents.
-the Bush administration, under the instruction of Vice President Dick Cheney attempts to fabricate the evidence that will persuade Congress to approve the invasion of Iraq.

Syrian Civil War.
1993- UN outlaws the use of the nerve agent Sarin gas.
2013- April 24- Syria's Assad regime suspected  by Israel of using poison gas, possibly Sarin, against civilians- in March near Aleppo and Damascus.
2013-  June 13- Syria's Assad regime all but confirmed to have used poison gas, a nerve agent like Sarin on civilians.
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