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a United Nations agency in Geneva has been helping North Korea prepare an international patent application for production of sodium cyanide -- a chemical used to make the nerve gas Tabun -- which has been on a list of materials banned from shipment to that country by the U.N. Security Council since 2006.
WIPO, like so many other UN agencies, operates in a silo environment. It focuses solely on its own narrow mission, oblivious to the full implications of what it is doing. References to Pyongyang and sodium cyanide in the same patent application should have set off alarm bells. But instead it was business as usual. North Korea was just another UN member state client of WIPO, which needed technical assistance. Never mind what North Korea would do with the chemical it intended to produce, which is a precursor to a sanctioned nerve agent.
The Trump administration has escalated the bombastic anti-U.N. fringe to new levels. As president-elect, Trump tweeted that the U.N. “is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time.” New U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley introduced herself to the diplomatic community by vowing to “show our strength” by “taking names” of those “that don’t have our back.”
If the Trump regime follows through on these threats, it will seriously damage American credibility and capacity. The U.N. is crucial for resolving complex transnational problems, ranging from the refugee crisis to nuclear proliferation and global pandemics like Zika. The U.N. enables international peace and security by providing a forum for communication between states. It helps the United States stabilize insecure regions through the legitimating and cost-sharing systems of peacekeeping, conflict resolution and counter-terrorism cooperation.
Moreover, WIPO is not the only UN agency found to have helped North Korea illicitly. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) had previously involved itself in the transfer of hard currency and dual-use technology to North Korea. A 2008 report by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs concluded that the North Korean government had used its relationship with the United Nations Development Program to execute deceptive financial transactions. The UN agency also reportedly transferred UN funds to a company with ties to an entity involved in North Korean weapons activity.
I guess Trump's administration deserves brownie points for bashing the UN earlier in the year. Some news outlets thought that Trump's rhetoric was "dangerous." Seems to me, helping North Korea's chemical weapon's program is more dangerous!
North Korea is applying for a patent, that means that any third party that uses it would be expected to pay a royalty payment to the north koreans...
the north koreans can still use this process them selves - with or without a patent...
An inorganic and very innocent looking white solid with deadly properties, sodium cyanide (NaCN) can be fatal at amounts as little as 5% of a teaspoon. It is produced from the equally dangerous gas hydrogen cyanide (HCN) in a simple process with sodium hydroxide.
As with the very similar potassium cyanide used in the L-pill, sodium cyanide is extremely toxic to humans. Although there are risks with skin absorption, the biggest risk is ingestion. Inhaling or swallowing sodium cyanide blocks oxygen transport causing serious medical problems and ultimately death.