War on Terrorism

Friday, October 27, 2006

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- October 27, 2006

E. coli [Escherichia coli] was tested on UK towns

“E.Coli bacteria was secretly tested as a possible biological weapon in and around two British towns, it is revealed today. The MoD trials suggested the 'excellent quality and reproducibility' of E.coli meant 'highly satisfactory results' could be achieved if it was developed into a biological weapon. A series of trials involving the release of 'micro-threads' covered in the bacteria – which can cause diarrhoea and kidney failure – were carried out near Swindon and Southampton between late 1965 and November 1967.” (Metro.co.uk, 27Oct06)

KU [The University of Kansas] researchers develop bio-
terror vaccine

“An anthrax vaccine developed by three KU researchers is in its second stage of clinical testing. The vaccine is a stabilized liquid form of the current anthrax vaccine, which is difficult to transport and store because its temperature must remain constant. Duane Brandau, Sangeeta Joshi and Laura Peek, KU research professors, developed a stabilized liquid form of the vaccine and sent it to a laboratory that converted their vaccine to a powder form. Then the vaccine went to its first of up to four stages of clinical testing. The powder vaccine doesn’t have such specific conditions for storage, making it easier to transport. It is administered through an inhaler or a nasal spray. The current vaccine is a liquid and administered by injection.” (Kansan.com, 26Oct06, Anna Faltermeier)


Smallpox Law Needs Fix

“Two years after Congress banned the synthesis of the smallpox virus, a federally appointed panel has recommended that the law be dropped from the books. The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), which is helping the U.S. government develop safeguards against the wrongful application of life sciences research, decided at a meeting today that the law--known as the variola amendment-–is too vague to be helpful in the fight against bioterrorism and is instead hurting research. The amendment, which was enacted on 17 December 2004, imposes a penalty of up to 25 years in prison for attempts to engineer or synthesize the smallpox virus.”
(ScienceNOW Daily News, 25Oct06, Yudhijit Bhattacharjee)

Antibacterial wallpaper

“Zinc oxide nanoparticles have been coated onto paper, giving it an antibacterial surface suitable for use as wallpaper in hospitals. Researchers from the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan led by Yong-Chien Ling found a way of coating paper with zinc oxide nanoparticles using ultrasound. The nanoparticle-coated paper has antibacterial activity, tests against~E. coli revealed. The paper could be used on hospital walls, in particular operating theatres, as well as residential complexes, said Ling. The coating approach could also be extended to textiles to generate suits with antibacterial properties to combat bioterrorism, he said.” (Chemical Technology, RSC Publishing; 26Oct06)


Mock accident is learning exercise for [Kentucky] public and officials

“Several Madison County communities were notified to shelter-in-place Wednesday after a mock accident at the Blue Grass
Army Depot. The exercise is an annual practice of the county’s Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP). Around 9:15 a.m., the EMA was notified that smoke had been detected coming out of a vent on one of the storage igloos. The nerve-agent-filled M55 rockets have been stored in the igloos at the depot since the 1940s and will eventually be destroyed. But, until then, they often are used as the catalyst for this annual exercise.” (Richmond Register, 26Oct06, Ronica

Fourth OPCW [Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] National Authorities Basic Course Held in Paris, France

“A Basic Course for National Authorities implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) was conducted in Paris, France from 16 to 26 October 2006. The Basic Course is a contribution by the Government of France to support of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) Action Plan to enhance national implementation. Three previous courses were held in the French capital in 2005 and 2006. The Centre Français de Formation pour l’Interdiction des Armes Chimiques (CEFFIAC) supported in the organisation in this course. The Basic Course was attended by representatives of the following 23 Member States, ensuring a balanced geographical distribution: Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Azerbaijan, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Equatorial Guinea, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Morocco, Qatar, Sweden and Zambia.” (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, 27Oct06)


Rome Workshop on Chemical Weapons Ban in the Middle East Opens

“The Director-General of the OPCW, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, has appealed to the countries in the Middle East to banish the prospect of chemical weapons from the region. He spoke at the Third OPCW Workshop to promote the universality of the Chemical Weapons Convention among States in the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East, and neighboring regions being held in Rome, Italy from 25 to 27 October 2006. The Workshop, organized jointly by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Government of Italy, received financial support from the European Union.” (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, 26Oct06)


New ‘dirty bomb’ detector sought

“The government apparently is tired of cat litter being mistaken for ‘dirty bombs.’ Hoping to improve its detection of radiological materials at the nation's ports of entry, the Department of
Homeland Security announced yesterday contracts totaling $113 million for five companies to develop better devices, including Science Applications International Corp.
in San Diego.” (San Diego Union Tribune, 26Oct06, Joe Cantlupe)

Terrorism in the Nuclear Age

“Last year, 91 nations signed the U.N. International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear
Terrorism.~ The convention prohibits individuals from possessing radioactive material with the intention of causing death or serious bodily injury.~ But some countries have weak nuclear safeguards. Paul Leventhal, founder of the non-governmental Nuclear Control Institute in Washington, DC says terrorists could exploit such weakness. ‘The states today that we're most worried about in terms of assisting terrorist organizations are Iran and North Korea.~ If they were able to acquire fissile material, not necessarily from the state apparatus itself, but one or two entrepreneurial physicists like A. Q. Khan of Pakistan, and I think you also have to include Pakistan also as a potential supplier of terrorist organizations.’” (Voice of America, 26Oct06, Peter Fedynsky)

India, Russia seek denial of safe haven to

“Russia has joined India in demanding that no country should provide ‘safe haven’ to terrorists as the two countries decided to work together to counter the ‘emerging threat’ to oil and gas installations from
terror. The two countries, at a meeting of Joint Working Group (JWG) on counter terrorism here, sought urgent implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 1642 which prohibits incitement of terrorism and strongly favoured early establishment by the UN of a global legal framework to fight the scourge. They underlined the need for more efficient measures to prevent propagation of terrorism, including in the cyberspace and agreed to enhance cooperation aimed at preventing terrorism through use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).” (The Hindu, 26Oct06)

North Korean ‘Bolt From the Blue’ Attack Remains a Concern

“Lost amid all the discussion over North Korea’s Oct. 9 nuclear test is an issue that Defense Department officials who specialize in that region have studied for decades and continue to study now: the possibility that, as it has before, North Korea could launch a conventional ‘bolt from the blue’ attack on South Korea. …U.S. and South Korean officials say the North has chemical and biological agents. Some believe North Korea would begin any bolt-from-the-blue attack today with a liberal use of the nerve agent sarin, mustard gas and phosgene. Their special operations forces may try to plant biological agents in the south as a prelude to an attack, officials speculate. American servicemembers assigned to the Republic of Korea receive anthrax vaccinations.” (emilitary.org; 27Oct06; Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service)

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