CBW Events is a project to create a record of events to enable and encourage understanding of how policies on the issues relating to chemical and biological warfare (CBW) and its prevention are developed.

CBW Events -- recent/notable additions/updates include: (these links will each open in a new window)


CBW Events -- November 2022 selections

Each month, entries for a small number of selected anniversaries of notable CBW-related events are posted. All will appear in the relevant final versions of the chronologies.

20 years ago | 25 years ago | 30 years ago | 70 years ago

20 years ago:

1 November 2002     US Under-Secretary of State John Bolton alleges Iraq "has rebuilt its civilian chemical infrastructure and renewed production of chemical warfare agents, probably including mustard, sarin and VX. It actively maintains all key aspects of its offensive BW program. And in terms of its support for terrorism, we have established that Iraq has permitted al-Qaeda to operate within its territory". He says further: "our greatest fear is that terrorists will find a shortcut to their mad ambitions when an outlaw regime supplies them with the technologies to kill on a massive scale’. His comments are made at the Second Global Conference on Nuclear, Bio/Chem Terrorism: Mitigation and Response at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC.[1]
     [1] As reported in: US Department of State, "Transcript: Bolton says rogue states seek WMD capabilities", Washington File, 1 November 2002.


25 years ago:

18 November 1997     In the United Kingdom, excerpts from a formal intelligence assessment are released by the Foreign Office. This states that the possibility cannot be ruled out of Iraq having successfully hidden "a handful" of largely complete guided-missiles as well as CBW weapons. "In a crisis these could be available for use within a matter of weeks or perhaps even days". The assessment continues: "Provided it still has key components — and that is unclear — Iraq could within a few months build, with little risk of detection, missiles capable of hitting Israel and key targets in Saudi Arabia. ... If the UN Special Commission were to be removed or prevented from operating for a sustained period, Iraq could produce within a matter of months a small number of chemical or biological weapons, including missile warheads". Large-scale production of CW agents would, however, "almost certainly" be detected.[1]
     [1] Charles Miller (from London), Press Association, 1634 GMT 18 November 1997, as reported in FBIS-WEU-97-322, 18 November 1997; [no author listed] (from London), Associated Press, 1833 GMT 18 November 1997; Mary Dejevsky, "Britain warns of Saddam's timebomb", Independent (London), 19 November 1997, p 10.


30 years ago:

10 November 1992     The British government announces an independent judicial inquiry, to be headed by Lord Justice Scott, to investigate the operation of export licensing policy in relation to Iraq.[1] The inquiry follows the collapse of the prosecution case in the trial of three Matrix Churchill executives amidst indications of ministerial and official connivance in illegal arms sales to Iraq,[2] including sales of equipment destined for Iraqi chemical-weapons factories [see 12 October].[3] The terms of reference of the inquiry are subsequently extended to cover all British arms sales to Iraq, including supergun technology [see 11 April 1990], from 1984 to August 1990.[4] Findings are not expected much before the end of 1993.[5]
     [1] Nicholas Lyell, Attorney-General, Statement, Hansard (Commons), 10 November 1992, Vol 213, c743<196>58.
     [2] Chris Cowley, Guns, Lies and Spies: How We Armed Iraq (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1992), pp 269-70; John Sweeney, Trading with the Enemy: Britain's Arming of Iraq (London: Pan Books Ltd, 1993); David Leigh, Betrayed: The Real Story of the Matrix Churchill Trial (London: Bloomsbury, 1993).
     [3] John Sweeney, "Proof of UK aid for Saddam's poison", Observer (London), 7 February 1993, p 1.
     [4] Nicholas Wood and Jill Sherman, "Downing St widens scope and powers of Iraq enquiry", Times (London), 17 November 1992, pp 1-2.
     [5] Jimmy Burns, "Iraq arms inquiry swamped with papers", Financial Times (London), 2 February 1993, p 7; Richard Norton-Taylor, "Iraqgate inquiry "must be in public"", Guardian (London), 5 February 1993, p 7; Philip Johnston, "Sceptics fear Iraq arms inquiry may be lost in Whitehall sands", Daily Telegraph (London), 5 February 1993, p 8.


70 years ago:

4 November 1952     In the UK House of Commons, during the "Debate on the Address" which follows the Queen's Speech, backbench MP Emrys Hughes says: "I now want to say a few words about the germ warfare controversy. Everybody in China believes that the allegations about germ warfare in Korea have been proved. I went to the bacteriological warfare exhibition in Pekin [sic], and it was impressive. I did not express any opinion in the visitors’ book, as was I asked to do. I am not a biologist or a biochemist and I should not like to commit myself in a foreign country to something which might be used as propaganda against my own country.
     "However, if we want to rid the minds of the people of China and of Asia as a whole of the idea that the West will destroy them by methods of bacteriological warfare and has been experimenting in bacteriological warfare in Korea, the best thing we can do is to close our bacteriological research stations and say that on no account will we take part in a war of extermination of the people of the East by introducing the germs of plague, cholera and all the dreaded diseases which may be used in another war."
     [1] Emrys Hughes, Debate on the Address, Hansard (Commons), 4 November 1952, Vol 507, c125-26