[This was a comment, but, like half of all Lure posts, it became too long and gained a life of its own]
Regarding CF’s lethal legal love triangle, I wonder how one defines a chemical weapon. I fully recognize that this is not the constitutional matter at hand, so everything here is idle meadering. Anyway, it seems obvious that all chemicals are lethal and all that differs between them is the lethal dosage, so seemingly anything could be a chemical weapon. However, the plain usage of the term would seem to discount, for example, a lethal dose of alcohol, so some confusion arises. For its part, the Chemical Weapon Convention defines chemical weapon as:
“Toxic chemicals and their precursors, except where intended for purposes not prohibited under this Convention, as long as the types and quantities are consistent with such purposes”
where “toxic chemical” means:
“Any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to humans or animals. This includes all such chemicals, regardless of their origin or of their method of production, and regardless of whether they are produced in facilities, in munitions or elsewhere.”
This definition strikes me as pretty fascile, since, as stated at the outset, pretty much anything can “through its chemical action on life processes cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to humans or animals.” Thus using this definition pins classifying “chemical weapons” onto their use in actions prohibited by the CWC.
Focusing on just actions prohibited by private citizens, Article VII, Section 1, a-c lays out the specific regulations for states to implement in their jurisdictions (and thus the authority under which the federal government used Sec. 229(a)(1) to prosecute Bond):
1. Each State Party shall, in accordance with its constitutional processes, adopt the necessary measures to implement its obligations under this Convention. In particular, it shall:
(a). Prohibit natural and legal persons anywhere on its territory or in any other place under its jurisdiction as recognized by international law from undertaking any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention, including enacting penal legislation with respect to such activity;
(b). Not permit in any place under its control any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention; and
(c). Extend its penal legislation enacted under subparagraph (a) to any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention undertaken anywhere by natural persons, possessing its nationality, in conformity with international law.
The actions prohibited to a State Party are as follows (Art 1, Sec. 1, a-d):
(a) To develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons, or transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons to anyone;
(b) To use chemical weapons;
(c) To engage in any military preparations to use chemical weapons;
(d) To assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.
With the caveat from Art VI, Sec 1:
1. Each State Party has the right, subject to the provisions of this Convention, to develop, produce, otherwise acquire, retain, transfer and use toxic chemicals and their precursors for purposes not prohibited under this Convention.
I cannot seem to wrest a clear definition from this vague and ultimately circular language. To me, it reads that one is not permitted to use chemical weapons, defined as chemicals one is not permitted to use, unless one is permitted to use them, which is transparent nonsense. Fortunately, the Convention does specify certain chemicals as controlled substances, and thus candidates for chemical weapons. Unfortunately, potassium dichromate is not listed as a controlled chemical by the CWC, nor as a chemical weapon by either the CDC or the NIH.
One recourse is to assume the “quantities…consistent” clause refers to the use of lethal or toxic dosages of chemicals for that purpose. A lethal dose of potassium dichromate is 100mg/kg (compared to 1.5mg/kg for cyanide and 0.003mg/kg for sarin gas). For a 70kg (154 lbs, not including baby weight) woman, a lethal dose (injested) is thus roughly 7 grams. The government calls this a few crystals or a quarter of a tablespoon, which I think is some underestimation on their part. Additionally, they claim potassium dichromate has “the rare ability to cause toxic harm to individuals through minimal topical contact” but then strangely proceed to justify the toxicity of potassium dichromate based on injestion quantities. Unless the victim had a tendency to lick mufflers and doorhandles, it is likely either a) the injested toxicity is irrelevant or b) the actual injested dosages were far lower than the applied dosages and quite likely were nontoxic. Since the victim was utterly unaffected by Bond’s “chemical weaponry,” this is likely the case.
Thus, I really cannot see how the potassium dichromate used here classifies as a prohibited chemical weapon under the CWC. Why the feds decided to try the case using the federal statutes enacted through this treaty, as opposed to getting her on attempted murder or mail tampering is equally mysterious.