Data Capture of Syria Chemical Weapons Allegations

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sussex
Department Name: Sch of Business Management & Economics

Abstract

This project seeks to collect information related to the recent United Nations investigation into allegations of chemical weapons use in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria on August 21st 2013. Confirmed by that investigation team in its interim report on September 16th 2013 the UN investigation team found that the nerve agent Sarin had been used. The UN Secretary-General described this attack as constituting "the most significant confirmed use of chemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein used them in Halabja in 1988".
Data collected during this project will include government policy documents; media reports; non governmental comment and analysis. Key to the project will be the collection of material from social media platforms. These will span media sharing platforms (e.g. Youtube, Vimeo, Flickr etc.), Networking (e.g Facebook, Linkedin etc.) Blogs (e.g. Wordpress, tumblr) Microblogs (Twitter), Discussion platforms (Reddit) the more innovative sources such as crowdsourcing sites (ushahidi, irevolution, etc.) and live streaming services such as Bambuser. These materials constitute citizen reporting on the events related to the UN report and on the conduct of the investigation itself. The richness of the media means that useful data is collected both intentionally and unintentionally within meta data and background information. To increase the utility of these data a series of initial analysis papers and/or detailed thematic chronologies will be generated as well as a searchable database.
The collection of information relating to the United Nations confirmation of nerve agent use in Syria is an important task for a number of reasons including:
1. The confirmation of use has set in motion a series of unexpected events which have potentially profound consequences, not just for how in the future allegations of chemical weapons use are dealt with, but also for scholars in areas such as international relations, regional studies, toxicology and international law.
2. International responses to the allegation of use have given unusual weight to data produced by non governmental sources. This includes for example, intelligence agencies publicly referencing Internet and social media evidence as indicative of a chemical attack occurring with such force that a potential kinetic response was considered. The value of such material, as intelligence or court admissible evidence, is yet to be decided including how such material should be gathered and presented to be admissible.
3. Already we are witnessing data relating to the investigation 'disappearing' from public view as narratives concerning, for example, who authorised the use of the nerve agent are debated. Near contemporary collection of data therefore generates a more accurate repository and acts as a witness to such events, and in particular gives victims a voice in future academic and policy shaping analysis.
4. Past experience concerning allegations of chemical and biological weapons use suggests that data will continue to 'disappear' from public (and therefore academic) view as a narrative becomes dominant. Failure to collect information now that attests to multiple narratives may result in future research being based on incomplete or potentially flawed or otherwise contaminated dataset.

Planned Impact

The impact plan builds on the team's outstanding track record of impact across a range of audiences. The PI and Co-I have been involved in a range of communication and engagement activities and have built an extensive range of contacts with stakeholders including senior policy actors directly interested in preventing CBW use.
The research is of significant relevance to users outside the academic community particularly those concerned with the development of robust national and international investigation mechanisms for allegations of chemical and biological weapons as well as operational personnel capable of delivering investigations. These include international organisations such as the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the World Health Organization, policy makers, civil servants, the security community, including police, NGO workers and campaigners. More generally, NGOs and organisations concerned with monitoring potential war crimes will also find this project and its outputs a useful resource. The International Committee of the Red Cross for example have a particular interest in monitoring such situations and will be engaged during the course of this project.
In the UK, government departments such as the FCO and DFID and the MoD will be contacted early on. The Ministry of Defence for example has significant interest in the handling of 'open source intelligence' and the methodological approach used in this project may be beneficial to a number of their projects within DSTL and Niteworks open source intelligence project (see pathways to impact).
The outputs will be primarily disseminated as the Harvard Sussex Program Occasional Papers, and via its powerful contacts database which contains c.1500 entries. Use will also be made of the various expert email groups and listservs the project team belongs to and the various opportunities and invitations to speak which we regularly receive.
Both the PI and Co-I are deeply committed to communicating their research in an accessible manner to non-academic communities and so will produce succinct materials accessible to a wider audience to be disseminated along established channels in national newspapers and specialist journals. For example, together with the partner organisation, the PI will write for CBRNe World a magazine which serves the information needs of professionals around the world charged with planning for or responding to a CBRNe threat or incident.
The research team also intends to host a seminar that will function as both a means of communicating emerging outputs and co-producing the future programme of research. The project partner will also enable a presentation at the Cranfield University CBRN Symposium in 2014, the longest running CBRN conference in the UK. These occasions will also provide an opportunity to be advised on how current outputs might be tailored to be of maximum use to stakeholders. In organising our seminar we will also exploit our links to younger scholars - an increasingly important activity because the community of academics engaged in this area is suffering from demographic problems with many of the leaders nearing retirement.
 
Description Through the preliminary analysis conducted during this project, the following key findings were developed.
1. The project has suggested that the ways in which chemical weapons (CW) are being used in Syria might be indicative of a new utility for them - one of 'tactical terrorisation' whereby relatively small amounts of toxic chemical are delivered by crude means to key nodes of resistance for purposes other than killing. This suggested new utility is considerably different to the Cold War assumptions of chemical warfare that underpin the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and as such may constitute a potential threat to the future relevance of that Convention. Indeed, the Syria case presents the CWC and its implementing organisation, the OPCW, with a number of potentially significant and serious challenges. These should be the subject of considered research.
2. The project has found that as with other forms of data detailing alleged CW use, online data about should not be used without a great deal of circumspection, as it too contains much that is unreliable, incomplete - and often contains error, lies and spin. Traditional and social forms of media were found to have acted as a superconductor for Ghouta-related information. Whilst this militates against the hiding of "bad news" from populations and provided valuable insights that something had happened in the Ghouta district, the project found that the data brings us no closer to understanding exactly what happened and who was responsible. Our initial analysis for example has found at least eight competing narratives or sub-narratives about what happened, that have resonated widely. Whilst some of these can now be dismissed, several competing explanations continue to exist online generating a pervasive sense of uncertainty amongst the general public and experts. Indeed we found the uncertainty about who was responsible for the Ghouta attacks being repeated to create uncertainty about responsibility for more recent allegations of use.
3. Related to this however, the project found that inserting online an entirely fake narrative about a chemical-related incident is difficult to do without the author becoming part of a real online community. This massively increases the effort required to maintain fake incident narratives and so offers the researcher the means to identify such cases. Our initial analysis suggests there may be a series of potential online behavioural markers that might assist a future CW (or BW) allegation verification process. These should be subjected to further tests.
4. Finally, as online platforms are likely to continue to be a dominant medium through which allegation and related information are shared, the project found that those collecting and analysing such data, face a number of particular ethical-related issues, including responsibilities for the wellbeing of sources of the social media data being collected as well as for future users of collected data. These should be the subject of further elaboration and exploration. As some of these issues cross the academic-practioner divide we believe that a valuable academic contribution could be to work with practioners with the aim of co-constructing common ethical principles that can be applied in any analytical setting.
Exploitation Route Several of the specific initial analysis findings and recommendations from this project could be taken forward and the process of co-production of knowledge and interaction with policy makers and governmental experts has already led to fruitful discussions on how such findings could be advanced by academics or government and international agencies following CW/Syria issues. Although these are findings from initial analysis only, the possibility of their being a new utility for chemical weapons being demonstrated that may affect the standing of the chemical weapons regime should be taken forward by further academic research. The comparative analysis of three chemical related incidents (one known to be fake, a second that has been verified and a third of unknown provenance) to suggest potential online behaviour markers that could assist in future verification processes has already generated much interest and needs to be developed and tested by an interdisciplinary team of experts. The role of online platform in allegation related information dissemination and subsequent narrative construction relating to accountability also provides fertile ground for further exploration by academics and policymakers alike. These research outcomes will continue to be disseminated at conferences and meetings and taken forward through publication.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy

 
Description The primary focus of this project was to gather information relating to the allegations of use of chemical weapons in Syria with particular reference to the Ghouta attacks. From this a number of working papers were written that provided an initial analysis of our data collection, and which were presented at an international workshop hosted by the project team. As the conflict in Syria continues, so too the allegations of chemical weapons use, it is still too early to say how the findings from our data collection have been used. Moreover, it is too soon to say whether our data collection (the main output of this project) will be used in the future by the accountability mechanisms that are now being set up in relation to chemical weapons use, although as one workshop participant noted of online materials pertaining to Ghouta "You might be the only ones who gathered that data". Nevertheless it is possible to begin to identify areas that have resonated in the open domain with non-academic audiences. We have for example been called to participate in high level international meetings on aspects of the investigation into alleged uses of chemical weapons (see for example participation in successive UNSGM Designated Laboratories workshops for example), and invited to present at policy meetings on chemical and biological terrorism (see for example CBW Protection symposium) and issues pertaining to the use and manipulation of social media during conflicts (see for example Niteworks and Brigade Study Day engagement activities). In particular this latter aspect seems to be attracting attention. Our work on propaganda and narrative building about the Ghouta attack and in particular the 'faking' aspect has been requested by government departments to inform their discussions about the impact of social media on strategy. In one instance this led directly to the authoring of a concept paper for UK Defence Concepts and Doctrine Centre on this issue. Members of the team continue to be invited to present (see for example Chatham House, 2018) and provide views (see for example POST Note, 2019) on matters related to this project.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Co-authored concept paper on New Media and Deterrence produced for the Defence Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description Project partner Steve Johnson passed project papers to Mod and SOCOM. This was done at their request to inform discussions on the impact of new media on strategic policy
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description Revill is cited and acts as external reviewer for POST Note on chemical weapons
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
URL https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/POST-PN-0596#fullreport
 
Title Dataset on Syria Chemical weapons allegations (traditional media) 
Description This dataset contains a collection of nearly 5000 news articles, blogs, statements and other materials of relevance to Syria Chemical weapons allegations. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact There are no notable impacts as yet, but the collection and preservation of original documents and materials remains important. 
 
Title Dataset on Syria chemical weapons allegations (social media) 
Description This database contains material (primarily pdfs, but also mp3 and jpegs) and social media data across 6 platforms (blogs, twitter, facebook etc) relating to events leading up to and as a result of the release of the interim report by the United Nations Secretary General's Investigation into Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria. The material gathered is multilingual. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This database has underpinned all of the outputs from this project. 
 
Description Collaboration with LSE/SPRU project on Strategic Governance of Science and Technology Pathways to Security References (ES/K011324/1) 
Organisation London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This partnership involved - and continues to involve - knowledge exchange and interaction between the HSP and LSE.
Collaborator Contribution Contributions primarily in terms of knowledge exchange and experiences, particularly in relation to Syria and Social media.
Impact Early draft papers on Social media and Syrian chemical weapons allegations were submitted for discussion at workshops of the LSE led project
Start Year 2013
 
Description Collaboration with the UCL/SPRU project: Understanding Biological Disarmament: The Historical Context of the Origins of the Biological Weapons Convention, AH/K003496/1 
Organisation University College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Contemporary understandings of the Geneva Protocol and United Nations Secretary General's Investigatory Mechanism, especially as they apply to the situation in Syria.
Collaborator Contribution Historical understandings of the role of the Geneva Protocol in the arms control disarmament architecture.
Impact Guardian Blog: The Geneva Protocol at 90: An Anchor for Arms Control? 17th June 2015 (See outputs)
Start Year 2014
 
Description 20th Conference of the States Parties of the Chemical Weapons Convention 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact In 2015 McLeish attended the 20th Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Of significance for this project was the ability to network with international diplomats and members of the international organisation working on chemical weapons allegations in Syria and raise the profile of this project within those audiences. In particular McLeish was introduced and was able to put questions to several of the inspectors that had recently returned from Syria.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description BTWC Meeting of States Parties 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact In 2015 Revill & McLeish attended the BTWC meeting of States Parties where both presented at different events on topics related to biological warfare. Of greater significance for project ES/L014505/1 was the opportunity to network and raise awareness of the project, but also feed into efforts to prevent chemical weapons, particularly in terms of the dissemination of codes of conduct devised by other organisations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/newsandevents/2015h/talks/bwcmeeting
 
Description British Pugwash Discussion Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact British Pugwash, a membership organisation that brings together scientists with others concerned about international security, organised an evening discussion meeting on Syria chemical weapons issues. The two speakers were Richard Guthrie and Caitriona McLeish. The meeting ended with a vigorous discussion about Syria. Much interest was shown in the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://britishpugwash.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/British-Pugwash-discussion-meeting-1-July-20...
 
Description Engagement with Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) on Chemical Weapons POSTnote 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Revill acted as a reviewer of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) note on chemical weapons.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/POST-PN-0596
 
Description Foreign and Commonwealth Office Seminar: Arms Control at 50 - Does Arms Control Have A Future? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Several member of the project team attended a seminar hosted by the FCO and titled: Arms Control at 50 - Does Arms Control Have A Future? At this meeting Perry Robinson spoke on "Chemical Weapons: past, present and future" and in the process raised a number of questions related to Syrian chemical weapons. In addition Revill served as rapporteur for the meeting which allowed all members of the project team to raise questions and awareness of the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description History of nerve agents and the Chemical Weapons Convention, 1 May 2018, Canterbury 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This small meeting of c.25 academics, policy-makers, arms control practitioners and civil society group representatives was organised in the wake of the Salisbury nerve agent poisoning incident. The three organisers (Balmer at UCL, McLeish at Sussex and Schmidt at Kent) were able to organise this meeting at short notice because of the existing network of contacts established through the AHRC project and Urgency Grant. Short presentations were given on the history of nerve agents and current issues around their control, which sparked a wide-ranging discussion and knowledge exchange.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description James Revill serves as Rapporteur at the second United Nations SecretaryGeneral's Mechanism Designated Laboratories workshop in Spiez. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact James Revill served as rapporteur for the second Spiez United Nations SecretaryGeneral's Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons (UNSGM) Designated Laboratories workshop, between the 22 - 24 June 2016. This meeting which was hosted by Spiez Laboratory brought together experts from laboratories, policy making and other relevant government offices to address a number of questions related to the UNSGM designated laboratories, drawing from the experience in Syria among other things.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description McLeish acts as rapporteur to Wilton Park meeting on The Fourth CWC Review Conference and Beyond 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Wilton Park meeting on the CWC - the fourth review conference and beyond was intended to assist in the preparation of States Parties to the upcoming Review Conference. The 3 day meeting covered a range of issues including: the implications of response to use for the integrity of the CWC; the role of the OPCW in combatting non-state actor threats; requirements for an effective Technical Secretariat; the Convention's relationship with the G7 Global Partnership, UNSCR 1540.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description McLeish gave a statement to the OPCW's Open-Ended Working Group for the Preparation of the Fourth Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention, 16th May 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact McLeish was one of six civil society representatives invited to present a statement to the OPCW's Open-Ended Working Group for the Preparation of the Fourth Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention on 16th May. The other five civil society representatives came from Sweden, Iran, Turkey, India and Kenya. Their statements were posted to the internal server of the OPCW which can be accessed by all 193 States Parties.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.opcw.org/sites/default/files/documents/2018/11/wgrc401%28e%29.pdf
 
Description McLeish presents 'Thinking again about chemical terrorism' to the conference Germs, Bioterrorism and Chemical Attacks: Internal and External EU Security Perspectives 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact McLeish presented a paper looking at the issue of chemical terrorism within Europe as it is framed by the Syrian crisis. The paper led to a healthy discussion and is to be published in a special issue publication with the European Journal of Risk Regulation (Cambridge University Press) in 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description McLeish took part in a Chatham House event, 'Stopping the use of chemical weapons in modern conflict' on 25th May 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact McLeish was invited to speak at the Chatham House event, Stopping the use of chemical weapons in modern conflict, on May 25th 2018. On the panel were the OPCW Director General and a senior researcher from the Clingendael Institute. The event reflected on the recent chemical weapon events in the UK and Syria and how they were forcing the international community to re-examine how the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons can be upheld in modern conflict situations and how both state and non-state actors can be made accountable for any violations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.chathamhouse.org/file/stopping-use-chemical-weapons-modern-conflicts-0
 
Description Participation 'Streets to Screens: Mediating Conflict Through Digital Networks' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Discussions after presentations sparked offers of collaboration in areas of common interest

Yet to be determined
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Participation at Annual Meeting of the EU Non proliferation consortium 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Questions asked sparked discussion concerning potential impacts for the CWC on allegations and confirmed use of chemical weapons in Syria and also impacts suggested by the internationally supported programme to destroy the declared chemical weapons programme of that country

Further information given and first thoughts offered about what areas of this activity might have impact on the international convention which require further study.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Participation at IISS workshop Bringing the Chemical Weapons Convention into Effect throughout the Middle East 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The workshop was organised by The International Institute for Strategic Studies (London), in collaboration with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and brought together expert commentators, practioners from the region (including government officials) and representatives from international organisations. Building on Syria's chemical disarmament, the event aimed to stimulate discussion in the Middle East about the benefits of the prospects for regional universalisation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and to understand and help to overcome existing obstacles to adherence by the two remaining holdouts in the region: Israel and Egypt

Too soon to say.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.iiss.org/en/events/events/archive/2014-0f13/august-ffd8/npdp-cwc-workshop-41f2
 
Description Participation at Wilton Park Conference 1256 WMD Verification: global capacity challenges 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This three day conference examined whether we have the qualitative and quantitative capacity to implement global verification and what the future paths for verifying WMD agreements might look like. Amongst other things the role of societal verification and open source intelligence (including social media) were discussed, so too the implications of the Syrian case for the Chemical Weapons Convention. Questions asked in relation to these aspects of the conference sparked likely discussions both inside the conference meeting and in the sidelines.

Discussion of the points raised in my questions continued outside of the meeting room. Further information was requested and meetings arranged.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.wiltonpark.org.uk/conference/wp1256/
 
Description Participation in 'Preventing Proliferation Through Intangible Technology Transfer And Balancing Academic Freedom and Non-proliferation' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Questions triggered side discussion on use of open source material

Invited to continue discussions outside of conference venue.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Participation in ESRC Social Media Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Ghionis, project officer and research assistant attended the ESRC-funded workshop on big data and social media held at the University of Nottingham on 14 October 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Presentation at CBRNe World South America 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In this presentation McLeish gave account on how to respond to chemical and biological weapons using a web of prevention approach. The presentation, amongst other things, draws on Syria-related research. The presentation given to a regional audience from Central and South America sparked questions from the audience and request for further information.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentation at Niteworks Academathon, 19 July 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr McLeish participated in two panel discussions at this invite-only NitesWorks Academathon. The first was on 'Predicting offline behaviour from understanding online behaviour' and the second was 'Understanding patterns of social media use within conflict'. Steve Johnson, the project partner from Cranfield, also participated in the 'understanding patterns of social media use within conflict' as well as another on 'Accurate modelling and simulation of complex human behaviour in SM environments.' Each of the panels stimulated lively discussion afterwards from the audience of interested Industry leaders and senior MOD representatives. Niteworks is an MoD-industry partnership with the aim of "helping the MoD to make better faster and more informed decisions." The purpose of the Academathon was to was to engage UK academia, in order to understand the latest research developments relevant to Defence and understand their likely direction in the near to mid-term future out to 2021.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.niteworks.net/
 
Description Presentation at Use of Open Source Information in Biological Arms Control Information and Contacts, Hamburg 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The Research Group for Biological Arms Control at the University of Hamburg held an international workshop on the use of open source information in arms control verification. Approximately 30 people attended from around the world. There was a vigorous debate after my presentation on the work we are doing on Syria and this has led to interest being shown in the work by foreign governments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Presentation at the CWCs 22nd Conference of States Parties 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact During an NGO event, this presentation proposed a new method to engage to prevent re-emergence of chemical weapons and was delivered to an international audience at the OPCW's headquarters in The Hague. The presentation sparked much discussion and there was evidence of increased interest in the proposed process for engagement.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://csp22.opcw.org/
 
Description Presentation of Paper at workshop ran by Kings College London on Open Source Intelligence 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Steve Johnson presented a Syria project paper, a Comparative Analysis of the Online Behaviors Exhibited in Incidents where there is Doubt about Veracity, to participants at a workshop on Open Source Intelligence hosted by Kings College London.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presentation to Defence Information 16, hosted by Cranfield University, Shrivenham 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Steve Johnson presented a Syria project paper, a Comparative Analysis of the Online Behaviors Exhibited in Incidents where there is Doubt about Veracity, to participants at the Defence Information '16 Symposia hosted by Cranfield University, Shrivenham.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.ukceb.net/event.php?event=1000093
 
Description Presentation to the 12th International Symposium on Protection against Chemical and Biological Warfare Agents, 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The adoption of chemical and biological weapons by non-state actors
Dr James Revill gave a presentation on the adoption of chemical and biological weapons by non-state actors at the 12th International Symposium on Protection against Chemical and Biological Warfare Agents, June 8-10 2016, Stockholm, Sweden.

Dr Revill outlined several key factors that can be seen as influential in the adoption of chemical and biological agents including the perceived utility of such weapons, their complexity, compatibility with both ideology and organisation, visibility and the broader environmental context.

He also gave an overview of validated historical examples adoption of Chemical and Biological Weapon (CBW) technology by non-state actors to illustrate the significance of such factors, but also to highlight the relatively small number of real events compared with the number of hoaxes and non-events.

The presentation concluded with a note on the potential of Daesh use of chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq, and it was suggested that whilst the opportunistic use of crude chemical weapons was an ongoing concern, the use of CBW on a mass destructive scale would face a significant number of challenges.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.foi.se/en/Our-Services/Conferences-and-Seminars/12th-CBW-Protection-Symposium/
 
Description Rapporteur summary at Wilton Park Meeting on The future of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the 2013 Review Conference [WP1178] 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Revill was invited to act as rapporteur for a session of a Wilton Park meeting on the future of the CWC, this required facilitating discussion and reporting back to the meeting.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Revill presents a paper on CBW technology adoption at a workshop on Germs, Bioterrorism and Chemical Attacks: Internal and External EU Security Perspectives 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Revill presents a paper using project related material on CBW technology adoption. The paper led to an interesting discussion and he will be publishing it in a special issue publication with the European Journal of Risk Regulation (Cambridge University Press).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Revill rappoerteurs at the Fourth Spiez UNSGM Designated Laboratories Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The objective of the workshop in general was to review exercises recently conducted or initiated, to ensure a close interaction between the UN Secretary General's Investigative Mechanism for the investigation of allegations of chemical and biological weapons use, on the one hand, and the Mission Team and the UNSGM Designated Laboratories, while respecting the mandate and confidentiality and to explore elements for quality assured sample collection, analysis and reporting procedures.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.labor-spiez.ch/en/akt/index.htm
 
Description SPRU work in progress seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I present the Syria project work at one of SPRUs work in progress seminars with the intended purpose of disseminating initial findings from the project. These seminars are open to all students. A lengthy question and discussion period followed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Steve Johnson presents faking the internet paper to MoD Brigade study day to examine the issues of social media and its impact on operations in a CBRN environment. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Steve Johnson gave a lecture related to his project paper 'faking the internet' to military staff officers across a Brigade Headquarters (so max rank Brigadier) so as to examine the issues of social media and its impact on operations in a CBRN environment. This led to further engagements and ultimately to the request to write the DCDC concept paper.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description UNSGM Designated Laboratories workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Project staff participated in a workshop on the United Nations Secretary-General's Mechanism (SGM) which discussed, inter alia, the challenges posed in the investigation of chemical weapons allegations in Syria. In terms of substance the workshop was insightful, in terms of the process, Information about our project was shared and networks developed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.labor-spiez.ch/de/akt/pdf/UNSGM_Bericht_LOW.PDF
 
Description Wilton Park: The Australia Group: challenges and future directions (WP1143) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Revill participated in the Wilton Park Conference: The Australia Group: challenges and future directions (WP1143). This conference provided an opportunity to raise questions generated by events in Syria for the Australia Group and learn from other participants as to the current status and health of the export control regime. Sideline discussion raised awareness of our project and fed into request for further information.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.wiltonpark.org.uk/conference/wp1143/