Saturday, September 01, 2007

Chemical Agents Found Near U.N. HQ


READ ON (And this is no joke!):

Potentially Dangerous Chemicals Removed From Iraq A Decade Ago Found At U.N. Office In NYC

New York Aug. 30, 2007

(CBS/AP) U.N. weapons inspectors said Thursday that vials of potentially hazardous chemical agents removed from Iraq more than a decade ago were discovered near the world body's headquarters in New York.

"There is no immediate risk or danger," U.N. deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said.

She said there was no evacuation of the office of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, known as UNMOVIC, about a block north of U.N. headquarters on New York's east side, and U.S. authorities were called in to dispose of the material.

Okabe said one of the substances, identified Wednesday, was phosgene suspended in oil, "whose present state is unknown but which could be potentially hazardous."

Phosgene can be used as a chemical weapon - and was used extensively in World War I - as a choking agent. Both phosgene gas and liquid can damage skin, eyes, nose, throat and lungs.
A joint U.S.-U.N. investigation will delve into how and why the highly toxic chemicals got into the office, and although they have been there for more than a decade, a spokesman said they posed no risk to public safety...




Anonymous said...

The Keystone cops are running our country,

the teach said...

Oh how right you are J. Thanks for commenting...see you soon. ;)

Leonard Blumfeld said...

Don't know whether to laugh or cry about this one!

jurassicpork said...

No wonder John Bolton hated the UN. I say we shoehorn him back in there.

the teach said...

leon, I couldn't believe it when I read it...

jurassicpork, I don't hate the UN but this is ridiculous!

AnimeFreak40K said...

Ok...this makes my head hurt. Yet again.

No...seriously. I have no idea why this stuff was around, and who had possession of it before it was discovered. You know what? I don't care.

I say this because whatever the reason is, it will most likely be soemthing stupid and makes little sense to anyone but the Sheeple will accept it anyway and it will all make my head hurt.

Now, I do not hate the UN directly. But I DO think the UN is about useless.

the teach said...

Anime, what I noticed about this article was that everybody claimed there was no risk to public health...
Hell phosgene is a very toxic chemical! Ah well, you know the rule when confronted with an accusation...deny, deny, deny.

AnimeFreak40K said...


Y'know, I noticed that too. But I did not think too much about it because of the plethora of semi-usless information about different things based on my interests...

What I mean, is that I know a little bit about chemestry and other subjects (enough to look like an idiot ot a chemist really...), and although phosgene can be dangerous, the question is, in what quantity is it dangerous? What other factors must exist for it to be dangerous? Is having it in a vial itself, dangerous? What about suspending it in oil? What reactions could occur? What concentration is needed to make phosgene deadly to a human?

The article has suggested a vial of the stuff. Unless it is VERY potent (unlikely or it would have seen use beyond WWI), a single vial is dangerous, but not deadly to humans, especially in a building the size of the UN building. And could the phosgene even react and do anything if it was suspended in oil in the first place?

I mean, with all of those factors, it is likely that the sample that was found did not pose any real threat in its current state and/or quantity.

Actually, looking at the whole thing now, I pretty much shrug my shoulders and say 'meh'. The reason being is because this whone thing seems to me that the stuff was brought in for evidence, looked at, used in meetings or whatever and then left in someone's office. I am willing to bet that the only reason why it was found in the first place was because the person who put it in the desk/office/safe/whatever forgot that it was there and his/her replacement found it and filed a report.

I am not saying that is what did happen...but that is my guess.

Where I start taking issue though, is Physical Security and responsibility. Sensitive materials (regardless of what they are) were not handled or secured properly. This shows me that despite all the security that we can implement, it takes an idiot who is lazy to do the wrong thing...and because they are on the inside, they will not be questioned, suspect or watched.

the teach said...

Anime, phosgene is a highly toxic chemical compound with the formula COCl2.

Via Wikipedia:
When phosgene reacts with water (human body fluids) it releases hydrogen chloride and carbon dioxide.

Hydrogen chloride forms corrosive hydrochloric acid on contact with water found in body tissue. Inhalation of the fumes can cause coughing, choking, inflammation of the nose, throat, and upper respiratory tract, and in severe cases, pulmonary edema, circulatory system failure, and death. Skin contact can cause redness, pain, and severe skin burns. Hydrogen chloride may cause severe burns to the eye and permanent eye damage.

Vials(plural) of the stuff was found at the UN. It was UN weapons inspectors that took it out of Iraq and slipped it in a drawer at the UN.

Via CDC:
# Phosgene is a major industrial chemical used to make plastics and pesticides.
# At room temperature (70°F), phosgene is a poisonous gas.
# With cooling and pressure, phosgene gas can be converted into a liquid so that it can be shipped and stored. When liquid phosgene is released, it quickly turns into a gas that stays close to the ground and spreads rapidly.

Via The Opinionator:
And how about the fact they were discovered last Friday and we are just hearing about it now? Hmmmm.......

Anyway, Anime, I just thought I'd look into it a little more.

The Guardian has a good article on it:

I guess in the end it's no big deal. Just some red-faced inspectors when they find out who left the stuff where they found it.

Anime, my post on this blog for tomorrow might prove very interesting to you. Again another provocative entry.

AnimeFreak40K said...

Oh, I know what phosgene is. I checked out the Wikipedia article on it too before making my last post.

I had also read the presented article a couple of times (and I am going over it again as I write this). Due to the verbage used, I have been given the impression that several chemical agents were found...not just phosgene.

That tells me that the phosgene found was the most dangerous or in the largest amount, only because it was the only one named.

Continuing on; yes, I know phosgene is deadly...but what I do not know is how much is required to *be* deadly. What I mean is, Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide are both deadly, but they must be at a certain concentration for a set duration for either to become deadly.

How much phosgene is needed? How much was found? It is my guess that the amount that was found was not enough to be a real threat other than making those exposed sick. I mean, "potentially hazerdous" does not tell me very much...mixing clorine and amonia in any quantity is "potentially hazerdous" too.

Anyway, looking over the BBC article (god, I LOVE the BBC!), it seems more like my original theory: The stuff was sent to that office and because nobody knew what to do with it...they left it there.

In the are right, a lot of red-faced inspectors (and politicians) are going to try to find out how this happened. For me though, it is quite obvious that someone has been asleep at the wheel (again) and shows just what sort of things can be done.

Oh...and in both the BBC AND the CBS report, they explain why it took so long to release the information: All they had to go on was a line-number and 1,400 feet of files and papers to sift through takes a LONG time to find just one number.

Anyway... yeah... it is things like this that does not exactly bolster my confidence in the UN or security organizations.

And I do look forward to what you have to say tomorrow ^_^

the teach said...

Oh god, I heard on Fox News early this morning that what was found at the UN was not phosgene! Well it's still early let's see what develops as day dawns.

the teach said...

Anime, Didn't find anything further on chemical agents at UN. So I guess that's over.

When I said see what I posted on my blog for tomorrow I meant Wednesday, Sept. 5 which is today.