War on Terrorism

Friday, October 06, 2006

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- October 6, 2006

Companies viewing legislation as lifeline: $1 billion would go toward developing bioterror remedies

“Several cash-strapped biotechnology companies in San Diego are embracing proposed federal legislation that would provide a new funding source for the development of vaccines, therapies or medical devices that could be used in response to a bioterrorist attack. With part of the proposed $1 billion fund, the companies said they could bring their products closer to being production-ready when the government might buy them for the nation's defense stockpile. But many biotech companies are apprehensive that the Department of Health and Human Services would control the spigot to the money because of the department's performance as a partner in the bio-defense arena over the past two years.” (San Diego Union Tribune, 06Oct06, Terri Somers)


New $24 million public health lab dedicated

“Gov. Mike Huckabee [of Arkansas] and state health officials officially dedicated the new $24.6 million Arkansas Public Health Laboratory on Wednesday, saying the facility will be able to culture and identify bacteria and viruses that may be released by terrorists.” (Arkansas News Bureau, 05Oct06, Rob Moritz)


Scientists set to open lab, despite opposition

“Scientists are preparing to open a new biodefense lab inside Lawrence Livermore nuclear weapons laboratory, even as a federal appeals court weighs legal challenges to the new facility. A Livermore watchdog group filed an emergency request late Tuesday night that asked a federal judge to halt the start of work in Lawrence Livermore's new biosafety level 3 lab. The group, Tri-Valley Citizens Against a Radioactive Environment, argues that earthquakes, accidents or a
terrorist attack could release the lethal germs being studied inside.” (Contra Costa Times; 05Oct06; Ian Hoffman, Medianews)

EU to step up legal case against French foreign takeover legislation on Thursday

“The European Commission will take the next step in legal action against the French government over a national decree that shields certain industrial sectors from foreign takeovers on Thursday of next week, a source close to the case said. The commission suspects that the controversial decree that protects up to 11 sensitive sectors from foreign takeovers violates European Union rules. The decree, adopted at the beginning of the year, allows France to veto or impose conditions on foreign takeovers in sectors that France says are closely linked to national security. These sectors include arms production and research, aspects of pharmaceutical research and development aimed at countering bioterrorism and the production of dual civil-
military technologies.”
(Hemscott, 06Oct06)

Biotechnology and the Challenge to Arms Control

“Advances in biotechnology pose grave challenges to arms control for the coming decades. The increasing capabilities of the biological sciences and the global spread of the underlying technologies raise the prospect of misuse of these technologies by small groups or individuals with the necessary technical competence. The challenges lie both in the mismatch between the rapid pace of technological change and the comparative sluggishness of multilateral negotiation and ratification, as well as the questionable suitability of monitoring and inspections to a widely available, small-scale technology. But this is not a counsel for despair. Rather, this international and human-security dilemma should serve as a spur to construct an appropriate web of prevention and response that allows the world to benefit from this
technology while minimizing its dangers.” (Arms Control Today, October 2006, Christopher F. Chyba) http://www.armscontrol.org

U.S. Army prepares to destroy VX filled munitions

“Another step has been completed in the effort to destroy the aging chemical weapons stockpile at the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility. Officials announced yesterday they have completed the VX agent trial burns. The tests were completed Tuesday and involved the monitoring of emissions from the furnace and incinerator to make sure the system was not allowing deadly chemical agents to escape into the open environment. The
Army also said the system is within one ten-thousandths of a percent of completely destroying the nerve agent. Preliminary results showed they exceeded that requirement.” (al.com, 05Oct06, AP) http://www.al.com

[Chemical Weapons Convention] Review Conference Working Group Meets

“The Open-Ended Working Group for the Chemical Weapons Convention’s Second Review Conference (WGRC) held its second meeting on 29 September 2006 at the headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague. At the meeting, States Parties made general statements about the substance of the review and discussed the contribution of civil society to the review process.” (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, 05Oct06)


Seizures of ‘dirty bomb’ materials rise “The International Atomic Energy Agency reportedly has found a sharp rise in seizures of smuggled radioactive materials that can be use to make ‘dirty bombs.’ The Times of London, quoting IAEA figures, says such seizures, mostly in Europe, had doubled in the past four years. The report says there have been more than 300 instances of smugglers caught in such trafficking activities since 2002.” (Washington Times, 06Oct06, UPI)

Terminal operators warned about inspecting shipping containers

“In laymen's terms, it's known as jumping the gun. At the ports, though, it's called a ‘gateout’: when a container is sent on its way despite being flagged for inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Though customs officials and industry representatives say gateouts are infrequent, they happen enough at Washington state ports and elsewhere that this week customs reminded terminal operators and carriers of security requirements -- and detailed the punishments should they breach them. The motives go beyond fear of a dirty bomb -- the search for narcotics and pirated software have also opened many a container, as have tracking trade issues such as the Chinese textile quota.” (Seattle Post Intelligencer, 05Oct06, Kristen Millares Bolt)


Czech soldiers to help with security at NATO summit in Latvia

“Czech chemical and biological warfare specialists will be involved in security measures at the forthcoming NATO summit in Latvia as the Czech government approved the Latvian request, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek told journalists. The Riga summit will be protected by 27 Czech chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons experts, the Defence Ministry said. The Czech Republic specialises on defence against chemical and nuclear weapons within NATO forces. Its unit, based in Liberec, North Bohemia, is part of the multinational battalion of chemical, biological and radiation protection of NATO.” (Ceskenoviny.cz, 06Oct06)

Japan, Australia Sanction North Korea

“In a coordinated action, Japan and Australia announced Sept. 19 that they had adopted sanctions targeting multiple foreign entities tied to North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs. The governments said that the sanctions were adopted in response to UN Security Council Resolution 1695, which the council adopted in July after North Korea launched several ballistic missiles. The resolution condemned the launches and called on Pyongyang to return to the six-party talks designed to resolve the crisis surrounding the country’s nuclear weapons program. The last round of such talks was held in November 2005. The resolution requires states to prevent missiles and related ‘items, materials, goods and technology’ from being transferred to North Korea’s missile or chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons programs. This requirement includes preventing the transfer of ‘any financial resources in relation to’ Pyongyang’s weapons programs.” (Arms Control Today, October 2006, Paul Kerr)


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