War on Terrorism

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- October 30, 2006

Experts defend city E. coli [Escherichia coli] weapons tests

“Defence chiefs have denied ever putting the public at risk following revelations that Southampton was involved in biological weapons tests. They have spoken out after MPs called for more details into the bacterial tests, which were carried out in the city during the 1960s. A spokeswoman for the top secret chemical research centre at Porton Down insisted the 12 tests only involved E.Coli bacteria being exposed to the air, not being released. And they say public health was never put at risk because the bacteria were harmless and that the tests were simply to see how tiny threads of E.coli could withstand exposure to urban environments, to assess their viability for use as biological weapons.”
(thisishampshire.net, 30Oct06, Jon Reeve)

Anthrax vaccine opponents gear up to renew fight

“As the Pentagon prepares to resume mandatory anthrax shots, vaccine opponents — including lawyers, medical experts and veterans — gathered Saturday in Washington to discuss current cases and potential legal avenues for helping those who say they were harmed by the vaccine. The day-long seminar was held in the shadow of the Defense Department’s Oct. 16 announcement of its plan to resume mandatory anthrax vaccinations after a nearly two-year, court-ordered hiatus. But Byron Holcomb, the lawyer who organized the seminar, said the day-long event was not prompted by the Pentagon’s policy change. He said it had been in the works since July with an underlying goal of trying to ‘see what we can do … to get us yoked together to do the right thing.’” (ArmyTimes.com, 29Oct06, Gayle S. Putrich)

Many say they’ll take anthrax shot willingly

“Most U.S. troops interviewed said they were OK with the Department of Defense announcement earlier this month that the anthrax inoculation will once again become mandatory for anyone deploying downrange. But some questioned the need for the shots and were less than enthused about getting or giving them. The Pentagon announced that the series of six shots would be given to U.S. troops and emergency-essential DOD civilians and contractors already in or waiting to deploy to the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility. Several hundred thousand troops are expected to receive the vaccine under the program, which is to resume within 30 to 60 days of the Oct. 16 announcement by William Winkenwerder, the medical doctor who is assistant secretary of defense of health affairs. ‘Anthrax, it’s not a threat,’ said Spc. Vincent Grillo, 25, from Brooklyn, N.Y.” (Stars and Stripes; 29Oct06; Ben Murray, Bryan Mitchell, and Matt Millham)

Powder found at Bill Clinton’s NY [New York] office non-toxic

“A suspicious white powder delivered by mail to former President Bill Clinton's New York office on Friday was not dangerous, a Secret Service spokesman said. A staffer opened an envelope on Friday afternoon addressed to the former president that contained the white powder, showed it to a colleague and then the
police were notified, said police spokesman Kevin Czartoryski. Field tests on the powder determined it was "an inert substance and non-toxic," said Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren.”
(Reuters, 27Oct06)

Aberdeen Chemical Agent Disposal Facility Building Tests Clean and Demolition Begins

“Today, the
Army began demolition of the Aberdeen Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (ABCDF) Process Neutralization Building (PNB) where containers of mustard agent making up the Aberdeen stockpile were drained and their contents neutralized. Workers began demolishing the PNB after decontaminating it, and after it passed a test in which the air handling system was turned off for four hours and the inside of the building was monitored for residual agent vapor. Workers then removed the air handling system, which filtered plant air before it was released to the environment. This step cleared the way for large-scale demolition of the building.” (U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, 30Oct06)

Weapons Neutralization Plant

“Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell joined local officials Saturday morning to mark the groundbreaking of a plant that will get rid of chemical weapons stored at an
Army depot in central Kentucky. The deadly weapons are leftovers from the Cold War and have been stored in bunkers at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond for more than six decades.” (WBKO.com, 30Oct06, AP)

More delay, cost up in Tulalip chemical weapons site cleanup

“Another delay has been announced in the cleanup of a
World War II-era chemical weapons storage and training site on the Tulalip Indian Reservation, and the estimated cost has doubled. Crews from the Army Corps of Engineers began excavating and removing contaminated soil and toxic material in May at a site by Quil Ceda Village, the tribe's retail center along Interstate 5, but the work was halted in August after three workers noticed an unusual odor. …Federal officials remain unsure what is now present at the site but know that the chemicals once stored there include tear gas, hydrogen cyanide and a liquid form of mustard gas. So far cleanup crews have found a rusted 55-gallon drum, nearly two dozen smaller drums and shattered glass containers, corps officials have told tribal leaders.” (kgw.com, 30Oct06, AP) http://www.kgw.com

Passing battle-damage info focus of [U.S. Air Force] exercise at Kunsan [South Korea]

“The 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base plans a one-day training exercise Monday to drill airmen in proper methods for passing battle-damage information to their top leaders and for passing on the leaders’ orders about what to do next. The wing, also known as the Wolf Pack, calls the exercise a ‘Wolf War Day.’ Among Monday’s scheduled mock-warfare scenarios are those in which the base is hit by mortar fire, a chemical-weapons attack and assault by ground troops, said Capt. Benjamin Wolf, the wing’s chief of inspections and exercises.” (Stars and Stripes, 29Oct06, Franklin

Saddam’s Defense Lawyer Walks Out

“Saddam Hussein's chief lawyer walked out of the former leader's trial Monday after a series of defense requests were rejected. The chief judge immediately appointed other attorneys to defend the deposed president. Chief defense attorney Khalil al-Dulaimi had just ended a monthlong boycott of the trial, in which Saddam and six other defendants are charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity for a 1987-88 offensive against Iraq's Kurdish population. The charges against Saddam and one other defendant include genocide. Four Kurdish witnesses testified Monday about atrocities committed under Saddam's regime, involving alleged chemical attacks against their northern communities, before the trial was adjourned until Tuesday.” (CBS News; 30Oct06; Sameer N. Yacoub and Jamal Halaby, AP)


German Nuclear Waste to Go Back to Mother Russia by Air

“The state of Saxony has applied for 200 kilos (440 pounds) of nuclear waste enriched by uranium to be flown, instead of transported by train, from the former East Germany back to Russia. Saxony is seeking permission to fly nuclear waste back to Russia for reprocessing before the end of the year, the German environment ministry confirmed on Sunday. The federal office for radiation protection must first approve the transport. Safety experts and environmentalists have expressed concerns about the plans. They said the risks involved in transporting radioactive materials by air instead of by train, the most common means of transportation, could be higher. …Security experts say that air transport is particularly vulnerable to an international
terrorist attack.” (Deutsche Welle, 30Oct06)

New tools for a new world order: Nuclear forensics touted as method to trace bomb materials, deterrent for rogue nations

“Amid all the frightening uncertainties of the decades-long Cold War, one thing was reassuringly clear: If a nuclear bomb ever fell on America, everybody would know where it originated, and retribution would be swift and sure. That guarantee was called ‘mutually assured destruction.’ The promise that a nuclear attack, however devastating, would trigger an equally devastating response was a critical component of Cold War deterrence. …At a time when nuclear devices are increasingly the weapons of choice for weaker nations rather than superpowers, can deterrence still work? Can it restrain emerging nuclear powers such as North Korea and Iran, or even smugglers and thieves and rogue scientists who sell plutonium to the highest bidder? A growing number of respected nuclear scientists want more attention focused on the esoteric field of nuclear forensics as a means of keeping track of fissionable material and -- they hope -- enhance deterrence in an era of international terrorism and defiant nationalism. (San Francisco Chronicle, 29Oct06, Matthew B. Stannard)

Nations Meet in Morocco on How To Counter Nuclear
Terror Threat

“Representatives of 12 nations are gathering in Rabat, Morocco, October 30-31 to discuss how to address effectively the ever-present threat to the international community from terrorists determined to detonate a nuclear or radiological device. This will be the first diplomatic meeting to discuss the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear
Terrorism since the United States and Russia proposed it at the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, in July. The United States and Russia discussed the need for partners to counter this dangerous threat for about six months before it was announced.” (U.S. Department of State, 30Oct06, Jacquelyn S. Porth)

WMD team’s funds sliced

“A Denver-based federal counterterrorism team charged with saving lives after nerve gas, nuclear or dirty-bomb attacks is facing its own challenges that threaten its ability to quickly respond. ‘If getting there early is going to save lives, we are not going to save as many lives,’ said Dr. Charles Goldstein, commander of the 90-member unit. The team of doctors, nurses and paramedics - a unique unit in the 107-team National Disaster Medical System - is supposed to be able to mobilize within hours, then fly into chaos and work through the crucial first few days after an attack to contain casualties. But overspending has mired the system in debt, forcing the suspension of funding for such teams while Federal Emergency Management Agency supervisors scramble to sort out irregularities. Team members say the problems threaten to compromise their work in a disaster by impeding maintenance of equipment, limiting paid training and increasing the time it takes to prepare to go. The Denver team now requires eight hours to mobilize, two hours more than the FEMA standard, for lack of a functioning centralized pager-notification system, Goldstein said. He blames poor FEMA oversight.” (Denver Post, 28Oct06, Brice Finley)

Twenty-five Nations To Join in Nonproliferation Exercise

“Twenty-five countries will take part in the first Gulf exercise under the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) aimed at preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems. The interdiction training exercise, called Leading Edge, will be held October 30 and 31, according to a Department of State statement issued October 27. PSI is a voluntary group of nations working together to halt the trafficking of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems and related materials to and from states and nonstate agents that raise proliferation concerns.” (U.S. Department of State, 28Oct06, Ralph Dannheisser)

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