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Global chemical weapons expert visits ChemCentre

Global chemical weapons expert visits ChemCentre

Date Published: 26-Feb-16

ChemCentre’s international reputation in chemical weapons expertise was acknowledged by one of the world’s leading experts on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons during a presentation at our Bentley facility in February. 

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon OBE, a former British Army Commanding Officer of the CBRN Regiment, has been a regular visitor to Syria and Afghanistan in recent years advising government, non-government and community organisations on how to combat chemical weapons attacks in conflict zones. He has also briefed the Global Resilience Summit in London on ISIL attempts to produce Improvised Nuclear Weapons, and provides expert commentary to global media on CBRN activity.

During a whistle-stop tour to WA, Hamish addressed a crowd of invited defence, police, emergency services, security industry, academia and ChemCentre representatives to provide an update on the use of chemical warfare agents in Syria by the Assad regime and ISIL.

Hamish came to be in WA through a professional relationship developed over years with ChemCentre Emergency Response Senior Scientist Keith Norman.

“I’ve known about ChemCentre for some time with my experiences as CO of the CBRN Regiment, and working closely with ChemCentre colleagues at the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory Porton Down,” said Hamish.

“Keith and I met through mutual friends when I was working with the Kurdistan Regional Government at Halabja in Northern Iraq.  I was looking for a chemical attribution expert and was told ChemCentre is the place to go.  Keith and I spoke often on the challenges of trying to attribute the chemicals we found at Halabja, mainly derivatives of Mustard Agent.  Unfortunately ISIL got in the way and the work was suspended, but I’m hopeful in future we may be able to restart that work, and I’m keen to further develop links with ChemCentre on this and other projects.”

While introducing Hamish, Emergency Response Manager Dr Steve Wilkinson spoke of the strong links and collaboration that ChemCentre continues to enjoy with key partners WA Police and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, and other agencies and industry clients with whom we work to manage chemical threats and hazards in public and not-so-public spaces.

By sharing knowledge and building strong relationships with experts such as Hamish, ChemCentre is able to further build and maintain its reputation on a state, national and international level. For more information, contact Dr Steve Wilkinson on 9422 9930.

Photo (L to R): Dr Bob Muir and Dr Steve Wilkinson (ChemCentre Emergency Response), Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, Keith Norman (ChemCentre Emergency Response), Dr Alexey Muraviev (Head of Department of Social Sciences and Security Studies, Curtin University).

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