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Author: Subject: Department of Homeland Security proposing anti-terror regs worse than anything DEA ever dreamt about...
joeflsts
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politically responsible

Sure.. start holding your breath now...

Joe
Sauron
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Well, that's the irony of the whole thing, vulture.

Every chemical weapon was selected and used as such by governments to have at each other since 1914. Now that the superpower (singular) and the former superpowers (plural) have better toys, they are afraid of subnational actors, and smaller nations, making use of their obsolete toys. The terrorists, and the likes of Saddam, did not invent chemical weapons. They are just exploiting them (or trying to.)

The response of the West to this is essentially a Luddite one.

Anyway the main practical consequence of this DHS action will be

Cost of chemicals will increase to compensate for the extra admin burden

Researchers will have to justify their reagent acquisitions to their administrators and the administrators to the Nanny State much more than before.

I am not sure what effect will be on industry yet.

The document is 226 pages long and only a few pages of that is Appendix A the chemicals of interest list.

I would guess that DHS is demanding that every company, every institution, and every individual report to them every instance of the following that meets the threshold quantity for each chemical

In inventory
Proposed production
Proposed sale
Proposed purchase
Proposed transport
Proposed import
Proposed export

And that DHS will have the totally arbitrary right to VETO any of the above without explanation. Technically there might be provisions for appeal to the administrative courts but I bet that will rarely be utilized and even more rarely will it succeed.

As a chemical purchaser, my personal response to this is that I simply will not be purchasing from USA in future. I simply do not want some pencil leck bureaucrat on the other side of the world having to be arbiter of what I can buy. Already my primary suppliers are outside of USA. And I am an American!
quicksilver
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Is it possible that the thrust of the law will not be to intervene in each & every situation but to circumvent certain rights to privacy in specific investigations? Sauron, what you are saying is certainly true and thus the impact to the economy may be highly destructive. That seems powerfully obvious even to me. Bean-counters would have picked up on it as soon as it was proposed. Could this simply be a method to circumvent 4th Amendment rights in specific higher-level investigations?

There are other laws that are used for "padding" for a prosecution (like the "glass-ware laws" of Texas) that were they fully implemented would ham-string a state's economy, research Universities, private enterprise, etc. Could this simply be a Federal "prosecution enhancement" or similar?
Sauron
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Effectively (I think withut actually having absorbed the entire 226 pages) this rule puts everyone (private, commercial, industrial, academic and institurional, but NOT governmental) in the position of having to notify DHS (presumably, formally in writing) of any of the above, and that there is probably a mandated waiting period for DHS to respond if they want to inspect or otherwise intervene. This is tantamount to having to ask DHS for permission to conduct research, business or any other activity if it involves a chemical of concern (or more than one) and in the case of the Any Amount chemicals of concern, no quantity is sufficiently small to be exempt.

The DHS can anytime it wants say NO.

If you think this is absurd let me offer two examples.

1. The shellfish toxin saxitoxin is on the CWC. A Canadian company manufacturing a test kit to detect the presence of saxitoxin in Pacific Northwest mollusks intended for human consumption (thus saving human lives) included a miniscule (microgram or less) sample of saxitoxin in their kits as a ctsndard. The CWC administrators in The Hague ruled that this had to be removed from sale.

2. Recently I sent three Moneygrams from Bangkok to USA at same time from Thai Military Bank, to three different people in different states. DHS now has agents posted at the Moneygram head office screening each and every money transfer regardless of how small. One of my transfers was for $100 (the other two were almost as small, total of the three only about$600). Two of them were allowed through, one of them was held up by DHS. The next day the bank got on the phone with Moneygram USA and the DHS agent wanted to know what the $100 was for. I replied "NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!" because of course it was not. The transfer was declined and the money returned to me. QERD, DHS can be petty, and DHS can be arbitrary, and they want to stick their large long noses into everyone's business for no good reason. (The$100 was for renewal of one of my websites, which has nothing to do with national security, nor drugs, nor anything else of conceivable federal interest.)
vulture
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You know what they say about guerilla warfare...turn an apparent disadvantage into an advantage. If the DHS wants to know about every purchase, sure, why not? They also have the mission of informing the people about their enforcement, no, hearts and minds crap?

So what if everybody having to deal with these regulations sends letters and letters full of questions about these new rules, liability, responsibility, lots of legal small talk, blah blah blah. Drown em in their own paperwork?

Dear Mr. DHS overzealous bureaucrat,

In the future my company may wish to purchase for research purposes:
Chemical A in quantity X
Chemical B in quantity Y
....
blah blah blah

Have fun pencil licking,

Ali Chemicali

[Edited on 25-8-2007 by vulture]

One shouldn't accept or resort to the mutilation of science to appease the mentally impaired.
Sauron
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I'm sure they will generate reporting forms for this just as ATF and DEA have done for firearms & explosives and for drug related chemicals and controlled substances.

And everyone gets to be an unpaid clerk for the federal government and if you are a losy cleark you get fined pr imprisoned or both.

Fortunately for me I have already been down that road, all the way, a long time ago and will not travel that way again.

I do not live in that jurisdiction.

I hope not only ACS but the presidential science advisor, the National Research Council, the National Institutes of Health and other such heavyweights come to bear on this bullshit.

That list needs serious paring down, in particular the Any Amount entries should be limited to only CWC list one (actual CW agents) and the rest, set at a reasonable threshold that will alleviate the impact on industry and research. 50 or 100 Kg would be my suggestion, but, they should be weighed case by case (I mean instance by instance) on a risk vs dual use basis. For example thiodiglycol is still valuable to the textile industry, and thionyl chloride is still a useful laboratory reagent. Hydrogen bromide and hydrogen chloride are very useful, hydrogen iodide is already regulated by DEA isn't it? Hydriodic acid certainly is. The drug cops looking for meth labs and the DHS agents looking for islamic jihadis under the bed, are going to start bumping into each other. Though of what use the halogen halides are to the latter is a mystery to me.
quicksilver
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Ohhh Jesus.....I really had no idea they would REALLY go to that length. (I stand corrected)

In this instance I can foresee no real reason at all for the frank overload of encumbrances that such a thing would create! I would have thought that the GAO would have either been consulted OR would intervene and stand for a limited level of activity.
While I don't really believe in the classical "trickle down" economic theories espoused during Regan's time I do believe that these things snowball in their relationship to our economy; seems only obvious......

With the market (NYSE mostly) all over the place such a thing was very ill timed. But maybe there are issues we don't see here. Of course I'm wildly guessing but perhaps the effort is to create some sort of "economic isolationist" thing. We are so deeply in bed with China that we are actually at their mercy in a sense. This shit really doesn't make sense!
We have a overburdened agency(s) with abundant power grasping at more & essentially miring itself in all sorts of little bullshit snooping. What possible reason could there be for such a overload of work (after all that's just what it is!) ????

It seems like the guy at work who wants more power in the office so he micro-manages everything; just to find that it makes him less potent as a manager!

[Edited on 25-8-2007 by quicksilver]
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DHS

Vulture's suggestion of swamping them with paperwork is a good one but I couldn't do it.
I would be tempted to address them in the opening as "To The Wanker In Charge:".
And do expect them to prosecute people for such minor things as typos. The BATF
was infamous for this back in the 1970s, vigorously prosecuting FFL holders for
even the slightest mistakes on federal forms.

From opening of NCIS New Orleans - It goes a BOOM ! BOOM ! BOOM ! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA !
Sauron
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Were you ever an FFL holder? I was

From 1975 to 1988 I was a licensed manufacturer of firearms, Class 2 NFA tax stamp and all, and also registered with the State Department Office of Munitions Control as a manufacturer/exporter.

On your ftp site there is a book in which I appear prominently on the cover and also there is an entire chapter devoted to my work. Unfortunately those are 1981 photos.

In 1983 I was appointed as US agent for a major foreign arms company and spent the next four years trying to sell their excellent 5.56mm LMG to the Navy SEALs to replace the aging Stoner 63. In fact it was designed by Gene Stoner's former assistant Jim Sullivan. Sullivan had done the scaledown of the Ar10 to 5.64 (later called 5.56) and of the Stoner 62 to Stoner 63. Gene, who was a friend of mine, always designed in 7.62 NATO - he never thought much of the .223/5.56 although he was its designer!

ATF ran me out of business over a technicality. About a year after that finally went into effect I moved to Bangkok where I remain. In 1994-1995 Gene and Reed Knight and I collaborated on the Stoner 93, an update of the Stoner 63A, which we entered in the Thai Army small arms trials in both rifle and SAW categories. The sample guns were all original Cadillac-Gage Stoners from the early 60s, 10 rifles and two LMGs, but we modified them to take the FN Minimi link, put fast-twist barrels on them, and made them accept the 200 rd M249 belt-box. Also fitted them with M14E2 bipods.

They were sweet weapons, 2/3 the weight of the FN, and field convertible without toold between rifle, carbine, box fed LMG, belt fed SAW, medium MG on tripod, and solenoid operated fixed MG. There has never been anything like the Stoner.

Anyway that was my swan song. I was giving the finger to every major military small arms maker who participated, showing conclusively that Stoner's 1963 system with a few mods, was as good as or better than their best 1990s products. This did not endear me to HK, Colt, RSAF, Steyr, IMI, Santa Barbara, of LIW of South Africa, the last two perhaps more so because I was also their agent and had entered them as well. And Oh yes my former clients from CIS Singapore were there too. Ha ha ha.

In the end the trials were just a smokescreen for done deals with Colt, FN and Saco Defense (M60E3) but before any of those companies could cash in, the 97 crash hit and took the budget away, so everyone came up empty handed.

After that I well and truly retired from the arms business.
pantone159
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The Washington Post has a story today
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11...
stating that the DHS had scaled back some of the proposed restrictions. Mostly though, it discussed industrial scale threshold changes (e.g. propane) and didn't mention anything about the zero-threshold chemicals.
microcosmicus
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Green Cloud

Today on the evening news, there was an account of "Operation
Green Cloud". This was an undercover operation by the New
York Police in which they set up a company, set up a mail drop,
etc., then proceeded to purchase some chlorine. Once this succeeded.
they proceeded to make a big stink about how they had been able
to obtain the chlorine without having been stopped by the authorities,
how a terrorist could have done the same and made a nasty chemical

The punch line (delivered by the police commissioner):
"We think the whole area needs a lot of regulation."

chloric1
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 Quote: Originally posted by microcosmicus The punch line (delivered by the police commissioner): "We think the whole area needs a lot of regulation." http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iEV-RYkZ8ug64FLvt3tuxf8o_...

Yeh that is one hell of a punch line. Personally, I like how the stupid desk jockey said chlorine "it could turn into a deadly toxic gas on contact with air". It is still deadly inside the cylinder you oaf!!! Notice the double description, "deadly toxic". A highly toxic comment would have done the job equally.
I am far past being tired of this crap.

In the theater of life its nice to know where the exit doors are located.
kilowatt
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Why couldn't they have just made a big membrane cell with tyvek house wrap and rock salt and made their own damn chlorine? Or reacted mineral acid with hypochlorite bleach? Then they would have an excuse to ban those things.

It's all about what looks easiest to ban but still makes them look as though they were doing something useful. All this acting so they can look busy and get funding, while we are not one bit safer as a result, rather quite the opposite. I have some friends that work at the US Forest Service, and this is a harmless branch of government which can teach one a lot about how government bureaus work, because they all do the same thing. At the forest service, if there is nothing to do, they will bullshit and make up tasks in order to appear busy. No one gives a crap and they work solely to minimize their actual usefulness while maximizing pay. I wouldn't be surprised if a few remote forest fires have even been started by forest service workers just so they can get extra hazard pay. The same principles apply to the DHS, FBI, ATF, DEA, police forces, etc, only they get to do it with machine guns and body armor. They do not exist to make anyone safe or improve anyone's well-being, rather they exist solely to generate large paychecks for their members with minimal effort.

With the elections coming up we'd better be stocking up now, because a wave of further federal bannings is sure ensue. It doesn't look like there is any hope for Ron Paul, the only candidate to stand for improvement.

The mind cannot decide the truth; it can only find the truth.
The_Davster
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They obviously know nothing about chlorine as a chemical agent. In WWI when it was used for the first time in the second battle of Ypres, the Germans had to wait for months before conditions were right, and they used massive massive ammounts, on the order of tonnes. One cylinder or whatever they purchased would not be easy to use practically, however the psychological effect would work, as the uneducated chemophobic morons wout run around like chicken little crying the sky is falling. Kinda like what they just did.

microcosmicus
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I just had a look at the late news to see their coverage --- among other things, they showed
a test tube marked "NH3" being poured into a beaker marked "HCl". Cutesy visuals aside,
what really caught my attention was how they said that police need to work more closely
with chemical distributors (makes me think NACD) and their emphasis on the Cl2 being
purchased over the internet using a credit card. Putting these observations together, it
seems quite clear is that the net intended effect is to make it harder for individuals to
purchase chemicals, with the usual effects for amateur scientists (and professional scientists
for that matter).

As for use as a chemical agent, what they did was to talk about Iraq and state that Cl2 was
used there. From what I understand, the insurgents there are using Cl2
because it is a poison they can obtain --- there are also stories about
suicide bombers using rat poison, pesticides,. and whatever else. Also,
note that the attack which killed 5 people in Iraq recently involved a
whole truck full of chlorine being blown up, not just a few tanks being
opened.

As a sign of the deep ignorance involved here, on one bulletin board, I
saw somebody post that chlorine is the same thing as phosgene
without anybody crying "poppycock"! Given this level of confusion,
the results of these news broadcasts is not likely to be too good ---
most likely, they will increase the general level of chemophobia and
give the general impression that a private citizen purchasing
chemicals over the internet must be up to no good.

[Edited on 14-2-2008 by microcosmicus]
Sauron
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As far as I know, the insurgent usage of chlorine has been ill considered and ineffective. The US has rounded up a lot of chlorine cylinders in Iraq, and (as described in this forum by SSgtHazMat) disposed of the contents. ALl of that chlorine was provided by the US in the first place for water purification.

Sic gorgeamus a los subjectatus nunc.
Ephoton
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Mood: trying to figure out why I need a dark room retreat when I live in a forest of wattle.

oh well there goes my salt on my chips could be worse at least I wont get a heart attack now

truly though this kind of stuff realy effects the got to buy it people
in the hobbie scene not the got to make it from nature or the suppermarket/hardware types kind of makes it more of a hobbie then and not a home sigma cataloge

long live chromic.

[Edited on 20-2-2008 by Ephoton]

e3500 console login: root
bash-2.05#

hectic
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What is germane doing on there? It's tetrafluoride is on there as well.
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Germane is there??? What the hell? What is so special about it's toxicity compared to anything else? That is some stupid shit. Boooooo!

"There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry ... There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. ... We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it and that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. And we know that as long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost, and science can never regress." -J. Robert Oppenheimer
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DHS

Apparently they need to justify their jobs. Going through the local airport a wile back, I saw all
these TSA guys standing around in the terminal with their thumbs up their asses. What a waste
of taxpayer money !

From opening of NCIS New Orleans - It goes a BOOM ! BOOM ! BOOM ! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA !
Sauron
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The raison d'etre for the TSA is not to make the flying public secure but to make the flying public think they are secure.

Sort of in the same way that scarecrows make the corn think it is safe from being eaten by crows.

Sic gorgeamus a los subjectatus nunc.
MagicJigPipe
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I know this adds nothing to the discussion but I just have to say this. Please, just let it fly this one time!

Sauron, that was the best analogy I have ever heard on the subject. I laughed for a good 5 minutes. Perfect. Bravo!

"There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry ... There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. ... We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it and that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. And we know that as long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost, and science can never regress." -J. Robert Oppenheimer
quicksilver
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The TSA airport people were originally just security guards but someone thought it would be a good idea to make another bureaucracy.
...However, that might be a great movie...."The Story of the TSA". Or it could be made in the "CSI" vein - like "TSA-Los Angeles". It could be very bombastic and heroic. Think of the musical score for such a work!!! Imagine getting different movie starts to play various roles. Everyone would be "Tom Cruse handsome" and all the women would be super hip. The administrators would never be fat and lazy, they would be older but very chiseled and powerful individual thinkers. ...Hollywood at it's best.
JohnWW
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 Quote: Originally posted by Sauron As far as I know, the insurgent usage of chlorine has been ill considered and ineffective. The US has rounded up a lot of chlorine cylinders in Iraq, and (as described in this forum by SSgtHazMat) disposed of the contents. ALl of that chlorine was provided by the US in the first place for water purification.

I heard in today's radio news that Israel has stopped the delivery of cylinders of chlorine for potable water treatment to Gaza, for some reason. I think it may be because they fear that it might be used for the production by suicide bombers of NCl3, a powerful and unstable explosive, originally discovered in the 19th century by Dulong who was seriously injured by the stuff.
JohnWW
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 Quote: Originally posted by hectic What is germane doing on there? It's tetrafluoride is on there as well.

Why on earth should germanium be on a list of banned or restricted substances? The element is a fairly inert semi-metal with properties intermediate between those of Si and Sn, although probably closer to Si. Besides its well-known use as a semiconductor when doped with Ga or As, for which it been largely superseded by Si, it is also an essential dietary trace element. I have seen it in mineral/vitamin supplement pills at health supplements shops. As for GeF4 being also banned or restricted, then, logically, similar easily-hydrolysed fluorides which yield HF on contact with water should also be banned, e.g. SiF4, SnF4, PbF4.
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 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Non-chemistry » Legal and Societal Issues » Department of Homeland Security proposing anti-terror regs worse than anything DEA ever dreamt about... Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues