War on Terrorism

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- October 16, 2006

Vaccine Safety Advocates Oppose Pentagon’s Return to Mandatory Anthrax Vaccination of U.S. Military Personnel

“Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs William Winkenwerder, M.D. reportedly will announce later today that U.S. soldiers will once again be forced under threat of court martial to be injected with anthrax vaccine without their voluntary, informed consent. The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is warning that one-size-fits- all mandatory vaccination policies are dangerous for those with genetic and other biological risk factors, making them vulnerable to brain and immune system dysfunction following anthrax vaccination. Today, NVIC is launching the Military and Biodefense Vaccine Project (MBVP) with a website (http://www.military-biodefensevaccines.org) dedicated to providing the public with information on the research, development, regulation, policymaking, legislation and government promotion of military and biodefense vaccines that may be mandated for mass use in both military and civilian populations.” (Yahoo! Finance, 16Oct06, National Vaccine Information Center)

[U.S. Senator Joe] Lieberman gains from drug industry

“After anthrax-tainted letters killed five Americans in late 2001, U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman was among the first to respond with a legislative answer. His proposal, in part, would lead to Project BioShield — a $5.6 billion government commitment to buy and stockpile vaccines and drugs to fight anthrax, smallpox and other potential agents of bioterror. When President Bush signed it into law on July 21, 2004, he said it would transform the nation's ability to defend against bioterrorism. Lieberman also praised the new law that Congress approved with near-unanimity, but feared pharmaceutical manufacturers would not participate without further incentives. On the day of the bill signing, Lieberman announced that he and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, were preparing a second version of the law: BioShield II. ‘We want the most innovative and skilled firms in the United States leading the way on their vital research. We will not recruit them if we adopt a government-subsidized, government-dominated defense contractor model,’ Lieberman said at a hearing three months later. ‘They can only be engaged as entrepreneurs.’ Lieberman and Hatch introduced BioShield II in April 2005, but it has not cleared Congress. Opponents say it would give excessive benefits to big pharmaceutical manufacturers without guaranteeing bioterror cures. And some critics question Lieberman's motivation for the bill. (Connecticut Post, 16Oct06, Peter

Drive-through flu queue

“[A]…drive-through flu clinic yesterday in Columbia [Maryland] did brisk business of the sort even a fast-food restaurant would envy. From 11 a.m. to about 5 p.m., nearly 2,100 people got vaccinations without leaving their cars, according to estimates of Howard County health officials. In addition to helping people prepare for the flu season, the clinic was a drill, of sorts, designed to prepare county agencies to distribute medications or vaccines in the case of a large-scale medical emergency such as a pandemic influenza outbreak or bioterrorism attack.” (Baltimore Sun, 16Oct06, Chris Emery)

Albany prepares in case of bio terrorism [sic] attack “Would the capital region [of New York] be prepared if disaster struck?

This morning, police and fire personnel along with medical staff ran through a scenario to see just how they would handle a bioterrorism attack in Albany.~ In this bio terror drill, a disgruntled janitor purposely exposed anthrax in the building.~ As firefighters help the mock victims out, others are being treated by medics standing by. Not too far away, a fire truck spraying water serves as a decontamination area and police officers continue to go over plans...a must no matter what type of dangerous scenario occurs.” (WNYT News, 14Oct06, Matt McFarland)

FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] puts emergency plan to the test, finds major gaps

“A warning system meant to alert food companies in the event of a food poisoning outbreak failed one-third of the time in a recent government test. The Food and Drug Administration was able to reach an emergency contact for a food facility in every two out of three cases. Developed in response to the Sept. 11 attacks, the system is supposed to help the government track the source of an outbreak of foodborne illness and help notify companies that might be affected.” (MSNBC, 13Oct06, AP) http://msnbc.msn.com

Canada demands U.S. drop user fee plan for more border inspections

“Canada has formally demanded U.S. officials drop plans to levy new user fees on air travellers and commercial shipments, saying the risks have been exaggerated and the charges for more agricultural inspections are too steep. In a submission to the U.S. Agriculture Department obtained by The Canadian Press, Canada says American officials are overstating the risks of pests, disease and bioterrorism and ignoring bilateral safety efforts already in place. Canada is also assessing whether the new U.S. rule proposed in August complies with international trade obligations that require inspections to be limited to what is ‘reasonable and necessary’ and fees to be no higher than the actual cost of doing the work.” (The Vancouver Sun; 15Oct06; Beth Gorham, Canadian Press)

European Commission gives out 15 million euro to anti-terrorism research projects

“The European Commission has allocated €15 million of funding to 15 projects in the field of security research. The projects are funded under the 'Preparatory Action for Security Research' (PASR), which focuses on bridging the gap between civil research and national security research initiatives. The projects allocated funding address a range of security issues, from the detection of explosives and biological agents to the development of tracking and surveillance systems. …For example, the AEROBACTICS project (Assessment of the quantity, identity, viability, origin and dispersion of airborne micro-organisms for application in crisis management tools) will develop models to distinguish biological attacks from naturally occurring micro-organisms and then predict how these will disperse.” (Cordis News, 16Oct06)

Nuclear energy growth not a weapons risk: summit

“The global expansion of nuclear energy is not a threat to the non-proliferation regime, but the greatest risk is from terrorists who could build a dirty bomb with nuclear waste from a medical facility, industry experts said.” (Reuters, 16Oct06, Michael Perry)

Practice makes perfect

“Computer-based training [CBT] helps first responders strengthen decision-making. Whether it’s a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, first responders need to react and make decisions quickly. For the Indiana National Guard, getting the kind of training needed for those situations was not easy. Then Col. Barry Richmond learned about the computer-based training that the Army is using for officers at Fort Knox, Ky. Adaptive Leader Training CBT takes officers through decision-making exercises to prepare them for real-life experiences. The National Guard worked with Aptima Inc. of Woburn, Mass., to develop a similar application for guardsmen and other first responders. The result is the Red Cape: Crisis Action Planning and Execution multimedia training program. Red Cape lets officers practice their crisis management skills on 15 realistic homeland security and national disaster scenarios, including earthquakes, dirty-bomb attacks, prison and sports riots and snowstorms.” (Washington Technology, 16Oct06, Doug Beizer)

Study: Docs need more bioterror training

“Asked to tell which of five likely bioterror weapons would cause specific symptoms, emergency room doctors in Chicago did poorly. The 36 physicians and 37 doctors in training missed more than two-thirds of the questions about chemical weapons and more than half of those about biological agents, according to a report presented Sunday at the convention of the American College of Emergency Medicine in New Orleans. ‘It was meant to be hard,’ said Dr. S.B. Chan, research director for emergency medicine residency at Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago, where the study was done. Dr. Joseph Lester conducted the survey last year and discussed his findings Sunday.” (The Herald News, 16Oct06, AP) http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com

Flight Rules Change Days After NYC [New York City] Crash

“Two days after a small plane smashed into a Manhattan apartment building, the government is changing the rules for pilots of small, fixed-winged planes. The Federal Aviation Administration said fixed-wing planes flying along New York City's East River have to be in contact with air traffic control. Otherwise, those flights are banned, effective immediately. Several New York lawmakers, including the governor, have been demanding the FAA take a tougher stand in dealing with private flights over the city. Senator Charles Schumer warned a terrorist could fly a small plane with chemical or biological weapons right up the river.” (KXTV News, 14Oct06, AP)

Security Still A Concern At Port Of Oakland [California]

“11 million shipping containers enter the United States every year. The Department of Homeland Security wants to reduce the chance terrorists could slip nuclear, chemical or biological weapons in those containers. A new law will fund $400 million a year to boost port security. The Port of Oakland wants to invest in new technology, such as thermal imaging cameras that can literally see through container. The port is also looking at biometric identification for its 27,000 workers. ‘There's technology out there we'd like to prototype. And being a busy port, as we are, with both imports and exports, we become a good model for rest of nation.. in terms of what works and what doesn't,’ said Harold Jones of the Port.” (CBS 5 News, 13Oct06, Linda Yee)

Security Council imposes sanctions on DPR Korea after its claimed nuclear test

“Following intensive negotiations triggered earlier this month when the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) claimed to have conducted a nuclear test, the United Nations Security Council today imposed sanctions against the country as well as individuals supporting its military programme and demanded that Pyongyang cease its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. …Aiming to prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, the Council called on all Member States to cooperate including through inspection of cargo to and from the DPRK.” (UN News Centre, 14Oct06)

China will inspect cargo from North Korea for illegal weapons and missiles, China’s U.N. ambassador says “China will implement a U.N. Security Council resolution and inspect cargo from North Korea for illegal weapons and missiles, China's U.N. ambassador said Monday. But Ambassador Wang Guangya indicated that China will not stop and board ships to search for equipment or material that can be used to make nuclear, chemical and biological weapons or ballistic missiles. ‘This is a resolution we have to implement,’ Wang told reporters. ‘The question was raised whether China will do inspections. Inspections yes, but inspection is different then interdiction and interception. I think different countries will do it different ways.’” (International Herald Tribune, 16Oct06, AP)

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