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In 2012 the EU halted British corporates’ sale of UK-licensed supplies of sarin gas ingredient to Syria

No laughing matter: arriving in St Petersburg to discuss the Syrian crisis, before this news broke

No laughing matter: arriving in St Petersburg to discuss the Syrian crisis, before this news broke


A reader has just drawn our attention to reports that, although Syria is one of only five countries who have refused to sign protocols against the use of chemical weapons, UK companies supplied sodium fluoride, with government–issued export licences issued in May 2010. The last British supplies of sodium fluoride reached Syria late that year.

Sodium fluoride is a ‘key ingredient’ in the nerve agent sarin, which scientists at the Porton Down proved – after testing items of clothing recovered from the scene – was used in the chemical attack on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21st.

govt bisThe Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) also admitted issuing licences for the export of sodium fluoride and potassium fluoride to Syria in January 2012 before revoking them several months later, following EU sanctions, but refused to say how much sodium fluoride was sold – or which companies were involved.

Professor Alastair Hay, a toxicology expert at Leeds University, told The Daily Mail: “The Government’s approval of sodium fluoride sales to Syria during a period when it was widely suspected the regime was stockpiling dangerous substances is deeply disturbing”.

One report quotes the view of intelligence expert Richard Kemp, a former member of the Government’s COBRA emergency committee, that these exports were ‘grossly irresponsible’.

mp richard ottawayMP Richard Ottaway, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said:

“Any sensible person would be concerned if an ingredient of sarin gas was exported from the UK to Syria”.

He thought that the issue should be brough before House of Commons Committee on Arms Export Controls.

Last word: “The Government is confident that UK export controls continue to be among the most stringent in the world.”


Does John Kerry consider the American use of Agent Orange and napalm in Vietnam ‘cowardly and heinous’?

The United States has ‘form’

vietnamese sculpture AO victimsSculpture by Vietnamese students of disabled child victims of Agent Orange:

Europe and US, currently expressing horror at the killing by chemicals in Syria, must also be reminded of their sales of expertise and material for developing chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein’s regime.

The largest suppliers of precursors for chemical weapons production were Singapore (4,515 tons), the Netherlands (4,261 tons), Egypt (2,400 tons), India (2,343 tons), and West Germany (1,027 tons). A Singapore-based firm affiliated to the United Arab Emirates, supplied more than 4,500 tons of VX, sarin, and mustard gas precursors and production equipment to Iraq.

The Los Angeles Weekly detailed the deadly substances supplied by the US, manufactured by companies which have now changed their names or gone out of business.

According to the New York Times and other sources, the US government was fully aware of Iraq’s use of chemical weapons, condoned it and continued to regard the country as an ally. The provision of chemical precursors from United States companies to Iraq was legalised by the Reagan Administration. See a fuller exposition of the US collaboration with Iraq in the ‘80s by Chip Gagnon, Assistant Professor, Dept of Politics, Ithaca College, givenat Cornell University.

Why does the US Secretary of State consider it acceptable to maim and kill by drone strike in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Yemen but ‘cowardly and heinous’ to maim and kill using chemicals in Syria?


Soapbox for the 99% – addressing Channel 4 News and presenter, Jon Snow

David Halpin, FRCS:

pcu moral pygmies lords commons

We have agreed that use of ‘chemical weapons’ in Syria is a ‘crap red herring’. But why transmit it? Because for one it is the red line, we are told, by the very cruel and unlawful US administration.

You transmit it because this ‘pretext grasped from thin air’ – as I called Blair’s lies before taking a ship to Palestine (with Gaza my target) in February 2003 – was dinned into the prejudiced US and UK populations with some success. Six million Sun readers and those who think the Guardian, Independent and Times tell the truth, have soaked up this crap.

Let people like myself who have dealt with the suffering of illness and injury have some say. I say ‘no mother and child, in our still beautiful world, should be in the least harmed’.

I write about the psychopath and have instanced Blair as being one of the most horrific. The BBC choose to rehabilitate this monster. Playwright David Hare has defined this sort of very flawed human well. Because they are ambitious and cunning, and utterly ruthless, they rise in our so-called democracies and in the dictatorships. They have proliferated in the last few decades.

Separately I ask – what has happened to Channel 4 in the last few years?

I am off down to the 35 acres of woodland I planted 25 years ago. I will enjoy the myriad colours of young oak and hear the blackbird and the yaffle. But in my mind will be the weeping and the bleeding caused deliberately by mostly ‘western’ action backed by the primitive urges within the ignorant moral pygmies on both green and red leather.