War on Terrorism

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- November 1, 2006

Military Intelligence — Detrick watchdog group gaining momentum

“Members of a local watchdog group concerned about the expansion of what they have called biological weapons research at Fort Detrick [Maryland] are continuing to pursue a lawsuit, saying the
Army hasn't adequately addressed legitimate concerns about planned biodefense laboratories on post.” (Frederick News-Post Online, 01Nov06, Alison Walker-Baird) http://www.fredericknewspost.com

Senators seek audit of more than $18 billion in biodefense spending

“...Senate and House Democrats and Republicans asked federal auditors Monday to examine how the government has spent more than $18 billion on biodefense capabilities and technologies since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks... A June report by the nonpartisan Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation found that 11 federal agencies have spent or allocated more than $36 billion to address the threat of biological weapons since the 9/11 attacks. Of that, funding for biodefense research, development, testing and evaluation will reach more than $18 billion by the end of fiscal [year] 2007, the report states. [In their request] the lawmakers asked GAO to examine several areas, including how the government will determine the effectiveness of biological detection technologies; the effectiveness of developing technologies with current and future threats; plans to test and evaluate new technologies; the costs of research and development; and whether the government is also tapping private sector resources to develop technologies.” (GovExec.com; 31Oct06; Chris Strohm, CongressDaily)

Weill Cornell findings could foil two potential bioterror agents - viral peptide prevents deadly Hendra, Nipah viruses from infecting cells

“Hendra and Nipah viruses are related, newly recognized zoonotic viruses that can spread from their natural reservoir in fruit bats to larger animals -- including pigs, horses and humans. The mode of transmission isn't clear, but is thought to be relatively easy -- either by close contact with an infected host or by breathing in the microscopic pathogens. Infection often leads to a fatal encephalitis, and there is currently no effective treatment against these illnesses. However, researchers at Weill Cornell say that by tweaking a peptide (protein) related to a third pathogen, parainfluenza virus, they may be able to
prevent Hendra and Nipah virus from infecting human cells.” (Medical Research News, 31Oct06)

TIGER [Triangulation Identification for Genetic Evaluation of Risks] system biting into germ detection at Fort Detrick

“Though plants and tigers may not have much in common, a project at Fort Detrick is bringing them together -- sort of. Scientists are using a system nicknamed TIGER to fight disease and agroterrorism in the nation's plants and crops. The system, whose feline acronym is catchier than Triangulation Identification for Genetic Evaluation of Risks, can identify every microbe in a sample of soil, water, air or blood and show researchers which pathogens are present, even agents they weren't expecting. These systems are rare, with only about five in the country and some versions costing as much as $1 million each. Scientists at the
Army's biodefense laboratory, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, and a U.S. Department of Agriculture lab also on post, are collaborating on agroterrorism research using TIGER. The USDA's Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit is part of the Agricultural Research Service.” (Frederick News-Post Online, 31Oct06, Alison Walker)


MCH [Memorial Community Hospital in Nebraska] gets ‘contagious’ victim in drill

“Memorial Community Hospital in Blair participated in ‘Operation Triple Play,’ a full-scale disaster exercise conducted by the Omaha Metropolitan Medical Response System (OMMRS) on Saturday, Oct. 28. Organizers said it was the largest disaster drill in Nebraska's history. In the drill scenario, two people in Washington County contracted smallpox from a
terrorist plot.” (Washington County Pilot-Tribune & Enterprise, 31Oct06)

Mass inoculation clinic will serve as bioterrorism drill for [Craig] county [Virginia]

“A planned mass flu clinic Nov. 7 will serve a two-fold purpose for the county. ‘On that date our goal is to get everybody in the community inoculated with the flu vaccine,’ said Registered Nurse Pat Johnston, the Public Health Nurse for Craig County. ‘The second goal is to successfully run the clinic as a bioterrorism drill.’ ... According to the Craig County Health Department it is important the community experience a hands on mass inoculation drill in case of a bioterrorism attack that would call for immunization of the masses or a pandemic (global) flu outbreak. ‘Then the Health Department will be at least somewhat prepared to handle the situation and the community would know a little about what to expect,’ said Johnston.” (The New Castle Record, 30Oct06, Gwen Johnston)

[Connecticut] Town mulls bio-defense plan

“Greenwich [Connecticut] would be better prepared to handle a biological attack if the town's laboratory joined a national anti-bioterrorism network, health officials say. Currently, if the presence of a biological agent such as anthrax is suspected, officials must collect a sample and take it to Hartford for testing -- a process that could take precious hours away from the town's response, according to health director Caroline
Calderone Baisley. But as part of the Federal Response Network, the Greenwich Department of Health lab could test for agents here, giving the town a head start on alerting residents, treating those exposed, setting up mass vaccination clinics and doing surveillance work, Calderone Baisley said. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the network in 1999 to improve the nation's response to biological and chemical
terrorism…” (Greenwich Time, 01Nov06, Michael Dinan)

Suspect and a Setback in Al-Qaeda Anthrax Case: Scientist with Ties to
Group Goes Free

“...U.S. officials remain stymied in their nearly five-year quest to bring charges against a man [Abdur Rauf] who they say admitted serving as a top consultant to al-Qaeda on anthrax -- a claim that makes him one of a handful of people linked publicly to the group's effort to wage biological warfare against Western targets. Rauf, 47, has been under scrutiny in Pakistan since he was detained there for questioning in late 2001, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials who agreed to talk about the case for the first time. But officially he remains free, and Pakistan now says it has no grounds for arrest. Last year, in an acknowledgment of the impasse in its four-year joint investigation with Pakistan, the
FBI officially put the case on inactive status.” (Washington Post, 31Oct06,
Joby Warrick)

Russian Chemical Weapons Destruction Program Goes On According to

“Russia has already destroyed 13 percent of its 40,000 ton chemical weapons stores inherited from the Soviet Union said Viktor Kholstov, deputy head of the Federal Industry Agency the Associated Press news agency reported Wednesday.... In September, Russia opened its first nerve agent destruction plant. Victor Kholotsov hopes that the entire arsenal of chemical weapons will be eliminated according to plan and by April 2007, Russia will eliminate 8,000 tons of toxic agents.” (MOSNEWS, 01Nov06)

N.J. [New Jersey] researchers receive grant for chemical threats research

“The National Institutes of Health has awarded a five-year, $19.2 million grant for UMDNJ [University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey]-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers University to develop treatments for chemical weapon attacks, the schools said Wednesday. The money will support a new research center that will include faculty from the two institutions, as well as Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. The center will concentrate on developing drugs to treat those exposed to sulfur mustard.” (Newsday.com, 01Nov06, AP)

Teen Could Face Charges For Chemical Scare

“Investigators are determining whether to charge a Brown County [Ohio] teen for causing a chemical scare that led to the evacuation of several homes. Hazmat crews were called to Moler Trailer Park on East Main Street in Mount Orab around 6:30 Monday night, after a teenager claimed he made mustard gas from information off of the internet. Authorities have confirmed that he did not actually have the formula for making the mustard gas. (WKRC.com, 31Oct06)

Seizures of radioactive materials fuel ‘dirty bomb’ fears

“Seizures of smuggled radioactive material capable of making a
terrorist ‘dirty bomb’ have doubled in the past four years, according to official figures seen by The Times. Smugglers have been caught trying to traffick dangerous radioactive material more than 300 times since 2002, statistics from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) show. Most of the incidents are understood to have occurred in Europe. The disclosures come as al-Qaeda is known to be intensifying its efforts to obtain a radioactive device... Scientists responsible for analysing the seizures have given warning that traffickers are turning to hospital X-ray equipment and laboratory supplies as an illicit source of radioactive material.” (Continuity Forum, 01Nov06)

NATO and Russia ‘counter’ dirty bomb

“Emergency teams from NATO and Russia tackled the consequences of a simulated ‘dirty bomb’ attack in Italy in [the] exercise ‘Lazio 2006,’ which ended on 26 October.
From 23 October, emergency response teams from Italy, Hungary, Romania, the Russian Federation as well as Austria and Croatia, practiced managing the consequences of~a simulated
terrorist attack with a ‘dirty bomb’ or radiological dispersal device... Exercise ‘Lazio 2006’ is the third in a series of consequence management exercise[s] conducted under the responsibility of the NATO - Russia Council (NRC).” (NATO, 31Oct06,

Japan, IAEA to co-host seminar on how to strengthen nuclear security in Asia

“Japan and the U.N. nuclear watchdog will host a seminar next week in
Tokyo to discuss measures against nuclear
terrorism in Asia, the Foreign
Ministry said Wednesday. Government officials from the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, as well as South Korea, China, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will meet at a Tokyo hotel on Nov. 8 and 9, the ministry said in a statement... The meeting - co-hosted by the Japanese Foreign Ministry and International Atomic Energy Agency - is the first of its kind to be held in the region, according to Foreign Ministry official Zentaro Naganuma. The officials will make presentation[s] and exchange views on nuclear security in Southeast Asia and how to support and strengthen measures against nuclear terrorism at global and regional levels.” (International Herald Tribune, 01Nov06, AP)

DOR BioPharma Announces New Collaborations for Ricin Vaccine Development

“DOR BioPharma, Inc. [DOR]... announced today that it has formed an alliance with the Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health in Albany, New York and Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute (LRRI) in Albuquerque, NM [New Mexico], to build upon expertise in testing RiVax™, DOR's recombinant vaccine against ricin toxin, to protect against inhalation and oral toxin exposure. The Company has been developing RiVax™ ... under funding from [the] National [Institute of] Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). DOR's consortium effort began in 2004 with an initial $6.4 million grant award. Recent grant funding of an additional $4.8 million has broadened the development capabilities of the program.”
(MarketWire; 31Oct06; DOR BioPharma, Inc)

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