The publishers of this article, the Integrity Initiative, found me through social media, mainly my Twitter account (@DanKaszeta). In the 6 years I’ve had an account, I have accumulated a small degree of notoriety on Twitter. But I have also been the target of a ridiculous amount of abuse. I’ve been asked to write about my experience. The majority of this abuse has been on Twitter, but some has been by email (my name is unique so I am not too hard to find online), and some of it has been in the comments sections below online articles I’ve written.
Investigations of alleged use of illegal chemical warfare agent use are painstakingly slow, and this leads at times to criticism. Why does it take days to search a house? Why can it take weeks for results to come back from a laboratory? For the most part, people derive their understanding of forensic sciences from films and television, neither of which provide an accurate picture of reality. The purpose of this particular article is to describe what chemical warfare forensics is really about, whether it involves Syria or Salisbury.
The Russian annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine in 2014 served as a wake-up call for NATO countries. It not only helped understand the threat of hybrid warfare, but also rally public support for increased NATO defense measures. One of the most successful was the deployment of the Enhanced Forward Presence Battalions on NATO’s eastern flank. The Baltic states and Poland each received a multinational battalion of NATO troops, making this vulnerable front more tricky for the Kremlin.
Until recently, few people have ever heard of the chemical warfare agent known as “BZ”. However, in recent months, there have been accusations and insinuations that BZ was somehow used or implicated in the Skripal poisoning incident, either in conjunction with or instead of a nerve agent. This seems to stem from a statement Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made in April 2018 claiming that a Swiss laboratory had found the substance BZ in the samples taken in Salisbury.
The new Astravyets nuclear power plant presents a mounting challenge for Lithuania and the Baltic Sea Region, as well as Europe and NATO. The facility, announced in 2008 and due to begin operation in late 2019, is being built a mere 50km from Vilnius - the capital of Lithuania and a major population centre.