Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Combatting Chemical Weapon Disinformation

By Adaku Jane Echendu

The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction poses serious concerns for global peace and security. There are growing concerns over the manner chemical weapons are being deployed in conflicts like in Syria where it has been used persistently (Koblentz, 2019). It has also been used in attacks by presumably state agents on dissidents giving cause for even more concern like in Britain in 2018 (Vale, Marrs, & Maynard, 2018), and most recently in Russia in2020 (Masterson, 2020). Chemical weapons are chemicals with toxic properties deployed to cause willful harm or death through their toxic properties. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is the international body tasked with eradicating chemical weapons. In its quest to carry out mandated duties, it has been met with coordinated disinformation. Disinformation is information that is designed to be deliberately misleading or deceptive (Jack, 2017). The level and effectiveness of disinformation in recent times is to such an extent it could be deemed a threat to global peace (Stewart, 2021).The method of disinformation dissemination varies and ranges from Nations-led initiatives to groups and individuals acting in both covert and overt manners to disinform. Covert manners involve some form of disguise using bots, trolls for example, and disguising as citizens expressing their legitimate opinions with no ulterior motives. Overt disinformation is usually executed by government-backed media as has been the case in Russia (Wilson & Starbird,2020). However, both manners of disinformation easily become embedded in each other, and with the activities of unwitting users who propagate the disinformation even further (Starbird, Arif, & Wilson, 2019).

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